Watch : The Dragon Prince Review

Watch : The Dragon Prince Reviewby Aaron Ehasz, Justin Richmond
Published by Netflix, Wonderstorm on 14 September 2018
Genres: Fantasy
five-stars

"An extraordinary discovery inspires two human princes and an elven assassin to team up on an epic quest to bring peace to their warring lands. " (Netflix)

After watching the trailer for The Dragon Prince, I was skeptical.  The trailer featured the dialogue lines, “Unstoppable is just another kind of stoppable,” made The Dragon Prince seem cheesy and somewhat childish. But after hearing all the hype, and of course, from loving dragons, I decided to give it a try. I was immediately blown away by the complex storytelling that rivaled any high-fantasy novel or role playing game, the inclusiveness in the well-developed characters, the humor, and the originality of the the show’s magic systems. And ultimately, throughout the series, the value of all lives, whether human, elf, dragon, etc., is the theme.

 

It’s no surprise that The Dragon Prince is so lovable and astounding, what with its diversity of characters and unique world-building and magic systems. Plus, the series was created by Aaron Ehasz, the director and writer of wildly popular Avatar: The Last Airbender, and also Justin Richmound, who was a member of Naughty Dog and even worked on Uncharted–a series known for its witty dialogue–and both were creative forces at League of Legends.

 

 

The Dragon Prince takes place in the magical world of Xadia, where there are six primal sources of magic–the sun, moon, the stars, the earth, the sea, and the sky. Humans, being unable to harness this primal magic, unlike elves, dragons, and other creatures, discovered that they could make their own dark magic by killing magical creatures and using their essence to fuel it. Horrified by their usage, the dragons and elves drove the humans from Xadia, and guarded the border known as the Breach between the new human realms and their own magical realms. The King of the Dragons, Thunder, patrolled the Breach until his murder by humans, who also destroyed the egg of the Dragon Prince, his son.

 

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Thunder, King of the Dragons

 

Or so everyone believed. In the human kingdom of Katolis, where King Harrow is preparing for an invasion of Moonshadow elf assassins, his son Ezran and stepson Callum discover the egg of the dragon prince in the depths of the castle, hidden by the sinister dark-magic wielding adviser of their father, Viren. To stop the conflict between the human realms and the Xadia, Ezren and Callum set off to reunite the Dragon Prince and his mother, along with help from an unlikely source–Rayla, a Moonshadow elf assassin.

 

Watch : The Dragon Prince Review - Blogging with Dragons
Rayla with the Moonshadow Elf assassins.

 

On their adventure to Xadia, we meet plenty of new characters while revisiting those at home. As a chronically ill person, I was completely thrilled to meet Callum and Ezran’s Aunt Amaya, who is the deaf, sign-language using General of Katolis’s army, and a huge force with which to be reckoned. She’s on to the evil ploys of Viren, Harrow’s dark-magic using adviser, who seeks to wrest power from Callum and Ezren, and able to kick almost anyone’s ass with her sword, shield, and intelligence.

 

Watch : The Dragon Prince Review - Blogging with Dragons
Aunt Amaya is just one of many diverse characters that The Dragon Prince offers.

 

It was so amazing to me see a character outside of the typical hero playing a major, successful role, in any show, let alone a cartoon. I was also pleasantly surprised to see two queens in love ruling another human kingdom, a child queen struggling between what’s expected of her and what is right, and a three-legged wolf who is just as strong and loyal without her fourth leg–no matter what anyone thinks. Throughout these story lines and more, the current of the value of all life, no matter how different, flows strong.

 

Watch : The Dragon Prince Review - Blogging with Dragons
Prince Callum, Claudia, and Soren

 

And even when characters are more on the “typical” fantasy side, they’re amazingly developed and in unique situations. Villains have very human motivations for their awful actions, like trying to save a lifelong friend even against their own wishes. Other characters like Soren and Claudia, the son and daughter of Viren, are astoundingly likable as well. Even with orders from their father to kill Ezren and Callum, and despite wanting his approval, they struggle with the fact that their father is not who they thought he was and their inability to actually do what he wants. Fascinatingly, despite using dark magic, Claudia herself doesn’t quite seem evil and it is interesting to watch how Callum’s relationship develops with her as the show progresses. The moral conflict in all the characters makes for a believable human cast against an astoundingly magical backdrop.

 

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At the heart of the show are Callum and Ezran, step brothers who struggle with the assassination of their father and their new place in the world. I was super invested in their relationship, which is not the typical heir to the throne situation that is encountered in most fantasy novels or role playing games. In fact, younger brother Ezran is the heir to the throne, while Callum struggles on to find his place in the world as a “step prince” without many princely qualities. He’s not good at fighting or using a sword and shield, and prefers reading and drawing to these activities.

 

Watch : The Dragon Prince Review

 

When Callum learns he has a gift for magic using a primal stone, which allows him to access one of the Primal sources to use magic as a human , he feels as if he has finally found his meaning in life. But in order to save a life, he shatters the stone, rendering himself unable to use magic like other humans. He’s devastated by the loss of his newfound purpose and gift. When he struggles to resist the easy path of using dark magic and stealing the essence of magical creatures, it is a battle relatable to our own world where humans often take shortcuts wherever they can, no matter what the cost to the people or environment around them. But as Callum makes the right choice, valuing all lives above his own desire to practice magic, viewers feel like they can value others as highly as he does.

 

Watch : The Dragon Prince Review - Blogging with Dragons
Rayla is at odds with the other Moonshadow Elf assassins.

 

Likewise, Rayla, the Moonshadow assassin, gives up her original purpose, as she realizes that being an assassin isn’t who she wants to be. She refuses to kill her targets, recognizing that even in humans, their fear and families are very real things–something that sets her apart from the rest of her cadre. Furthermore, she defends Callum and Ezren, despite the mutual hatred and distrust between elves and humans. Together, they protect the egg of The Dragon Prince, realizing that the return of the egg at the hands of humans and elves could stop the wars and killing between humans and Xadia forever.

 

 

I cannot recommend The Dragon Prince enough. It was everything I didn’t know I needed and so much more. I love the magic systems, the complex characters with original backgrounds and motivations, the central conflict between Xadia and the human realms, and the theme of the show. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the show manages to deftly balance humor against these serious themes, so it never feels heavy. Instead, the show manages to feel fun and uplifting. I anxiously await season three of the Netflix show and cannot wait to see what happens next.

five-stars
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Watch : The Dragon Prince Review

Posted March 30, 2019 in Other Shows, Watch

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2 responses to “Watch : The Dragon Prince Review

  1. I was luke-warm on the series after season one, as I felt that way too often it undercut some of its weightier moments with jokes; it seemed like a show struggling to be for both eight-year-olds and adults at the same time and it hadn’t found the balance yet. Season two, however, was MUCH better and I am on board The Dragon Prince train! By far my favorite character is Claudia because she is absolutely terrifying in the way that she just doesn’t understand the dangers and cost of dark magic. She’s a good person, but one day this power is going to make or break her and I am ready for it!

    Definitely excited to continue to see more of Elves and dragons in coming season – and more Zym!

    • I totally see where you are coming from! I was turned off by that same humor in the trailer initially. Claudia is one of my favorites too! She seems pretty sinister sometimes and then like pure sunshine other times. I also really liked how she supported Callum’s decision not to use Dark Magic and didn’t try to pressure him into using it to make herself feel like practicing Dark Magic was okay.
      I’m super excited for Season 3 as well! I’m in love with Zym! The ending to Season 2 was so touching!!

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