Ash is so cute in this quest, he brings out his more childish side in this quest and I'm reminded that last time we saw him before we got iced, he was still just a kid hero who was trying to prove his worth and bumbled around us like a sidekick. When he cleaned himself up to go with us to his mom I had to pause for a moment because holy mackerel he looked a lot younger and i didn't figure out until I redid the quest haha. The wonders of facial hair everyone. The height difference between them is also cute and disoriented me even more about why Ash did not look like himself. I wasn't expecting his mom to sorta gush over us but it's not unwelcome :) Kinda weird being your son's idol who he literally had to look up to and now being about the same height and age.
I interpreted the hero's reaction to be about how they realise how young Ash used to be (and probably some part of us still has the habit of believing he still is) to us. So we shaped Ash into who he is now but we weren't THERE when I'd say he'd grown exponentially. We weren't there for those years we were frozen, we missed out on his upbringing and he took over some our responsibilities while we were gone. I wonder what would have happened if we were there, would he have grown as independent and reliable as he is now? Were there times when he truly missed us and wanted (not really needed since he looks pretty well grounded by Book 3) our help? I'm sure if we were able to watch we would have swelled with with over how much he'd grown.
I don't know, it's all really hard to connect Book 1 Ash with Book 3 Ash, it's as if they really are separate people to me, they just so happened to have the same name and similar faces.
It's all very jarring to see him show sides of his younger self I guess.