The Dragon Prince
The Dragon Prince is a Netflix original animated series. This is basically an American-Canadian CG animation series.
To be honest, I didn’t expect much from the series when I started to watch. I was pleasantly surprised how decent it was.
The plot itself is typical. It’s one of those “the world is facing darkness. Chosen heroes get to save the world” kind of stuff.
Now, this review is going to contain spoilers from episode 1 to 3 as well as some spoilers of background setting.
The backdrop of the world is that human races and other races are at an uneasy stand off. Humans are unable to cast magic by nature and had always been at a great disadvantage.
However, some hundreds years ago, someone discovered dark magic which is basically borrowing a component from a creature with a connection to a primal source (Fire, water, air, earth, moon, and sun). By using such components humans would be able to cast vast amount of different magic, even more powerful than what genuine magic-capable creatures could do.
The downside of dark magic is that you need components from various sources. Basically, to yield powerful magic, you need to kill powerful creatures, defy its corpses, and use its carcass as you see fit.
Basically, dark magic is frowned upon by all other races, except human of course. Some humans are against using dark magic. However, they cannot deny that it has made them prosper. Regardless, utilizing dark magic itself didn’t warrant the current unstable situation although dark magic is the cause of what was to come.
Kingdom of Katolis, specifically Viren a master of dark magic and King Harrow’s top advisor as well as a good friend, sought to enhance human lands which had been devastated by years of famine. In order to do so, he needed a certain component from a certain “monster” which was basically a lava golem.
Long story short, they had to pass through a land controlled by a sky dragon. King Harrow and Viren’s expedition was successful but at great losses: death of Harrow’s wife as well as killing the sky dragon in revenge by using dark magic.
Killing the sky dragon itself was, to other elven races, a forgivable act. However, Harrow and Viren ended up destroying its egg, effectively finishing off a dragon bloodline. This angered them. Since then human races and elven races have been at odds.
As the first episode begins, we, viewers, are greeted with a group of six Moonshadow elves infiltrating into the heart of Kingdom of Katolis. Their goal is simple: Assassinate King Harrow and his son, Ezran.
An eye for an eye. Since the kingdom killed a sky dragon and its egg, it’s only fitting that the kingdom loses its king and his son.
Normally, a mere six Moonshadow elves attacking shouldn’t be an issue. However, Moonshadow elves have an ability to go invisible at full moon. This complicate things for defenders as the elves can simply sneak up to the king’s chamber and finish the king off without needing to go through layers of defenders.
Regardless, their chance at assassination of the king depends on secrecy which Rayla, one of the Moonshadow elves, blows as she spares a soldier out of mercy.
Their cover is blown. Humans know that they are coming. They are literally walking into their death. Regardless, they have sworn an oath to do the job. Their chance of success is further decreased as the group leader dismisses Rayla for being mentally too soft.
Despite being dismissed, she is determined to prove others wrong by sneaking into the castle and do the job.
At this point, it seems clear to me that death is not their concern. For them, keeping the oath they’ve sworn is far more important.
Rayla runs into Callum, a stepson of King Harrow during her infiltration and discovers something far more important: the dragon’s egg which was believed to have been destroyed.
The discovery of the egg changes everything for Rayla. The assassination becomes an afterthought for her. That is because, if the egg is delivered to where it belongs, a peace talk could begin between humans and elves.
Additionally, assassinating Ezran becomes invalid for her. The egg is alive, and so should the crown prince.
From this point on, Rayla effectively becomes a traitor to Moonshadow elves as she fights back her fellow assassins to secure Ezran’s life and attempts to bring the egg to its rightful place.
And this is how their grand journey begins.
Now, I am going to go through over some of main characters as a part of this review because there are some notable things to talk about individuals.
The first thing I noticed about Rayla is her accent. Her accent is weird. It is sometimes Scottish, sometimes it’s Welish. I just could not figure out what accent her VA was using.
If all other Moonelves had her accent, I would have accepted the weirdness more easily, but it turns out that it is just her.
In the end, you know what? It is what it is. Her accent is her character and I simply have decided to accept that.
Once I’ve gotten over her accent issue, I’ve found her fairly cute. She is a quite innocent and pure character, not to mention determined. At the same time, she has a highly sarcastic personality which actually bounces off really well with Callum who has a similar sarcastic sense.
P.S. Moonelevs have only four fingers: one thumb and three others.
Callum is the stepson of King Harrow. Despite that there is a mutual affection toward each other. He is also rational enough to know that he won’t be involved in throne succession. He gives off a vibe that he is a wimp. But he does find his eventual footing.
From episode 1, it is clear that he has hots for Claudia, Viren’s daughter, and quite frankly I don’t blame him. Claudia does come off pretty charming and is a goofball which is a lovable quality in women.
I quite like his development. As said, he is originally a wimp. At the same time, he has had a sheltered life, so that’s somewhat understandable. Going on an adventure with Rayla makes him grow up and finds his true soulmate.
Ezran is King Harrow’s biological son. Thus, he is the rightful heir to kingdom of Katolis. He starts off as a somewhat spoiled child but does show glimpse of high intelligence.
He also has ways with animals and the likes, including dragons.
Which tells me that the title “The Dragon Prince” can be interpreted in two ways. Ezran can be understood as the dragon prince metaphorically because he literally rides a dragon to command a battle later.
Another meaning of the dragon prince is the egg itself which hatches later. The infant sky dragon is also a dragon prince in literal sense.
Claudia is Viren’s second child. She is a younger sister to Soren. At the start, Soren is 18. She is 16. Despite Soren being older, Claudia starts off far more matured.
She is a very talented dark mage, probably even more talented than her father, Viren. She is also a tease and a bit of a goofball which Callum absolutely like her for.
However, she is a very dangerous person. She is insensitive to things that do not concern her. She is moved by familial ties. Everything else matters not, meaning she is willing to kill anything and anyone in order to secure safety of Viren and, to an extent, Soren.
She is in fact capable of murdering people with a smile on her face while apologizing. If that is not a mark of a dangerous person, I don’t know what else is.
Soren is Viren’s son. At 18 in episode 1, he starts off as an immature and careless guy who just want to have fun. He also looks like he is a bit slow in head at the start.
He follows his dad like a puppy and strives to please him any way possible.
That is until he is forced to make a very tough choice. And, oh boy, does he make the right call. Despite his immaturity, when faced with tough situation, he grows up quickly.
I love his development, the manner of it. He decides like a man.
He gives it a moment of a thought and then simply decides. What makes me like him even more is that he does not look back. He may be a simple man but at least he makes a firm decision unlike his sister, Claudia, who is very conflicted in what she should do.
Viren is the villain of the series for some time. Now, he isn’t exactly a bad guy. Initially, as King Harrow’s best friend, he genuinely cares for his well-being as well as safety of man kind.
But there is one thing he and King Harrow argue about frequently: The usage of dark magic. King Harrow wants to limit the usage of dark magic to bare minimum, citing that it disturbs other races as well as it being morally wrong.
On the other hand, Viren is adamant that humans must exercise dark magic to protect themselves. Without magic, they are disadvantaged too much to even make a stand.
I feel neither of them is wrong. But Viren’s stance on continuous usage of dark magic would have only one outcome. Basically, power corrupts.
As he is unable to prevent King Harrow’s assassination, he is initially saddened. At the same time, he sees an opportunity, a chance to become the king himself. Ezran was sent away to a remote location when assassins attacked. So, if Ezran simply goes away and vanishes, he can take the throne.
With such a thought, there is only one path for him.
This is a very good show. As of 2021 April, there are three seasons of nine episodes each. Covid seems to have delayed further seasons.
Thankfully though, season 3 includes the first climax of the series, so you are not left hanging on a cliff. You will have some closures at least.
Watching the Dragon Prince reminds me of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The season 3 episode 9 (The final battle) has the vibes of LoTR certainly.
Interestingly, for me at least, it is an animation series that has reminded me of LoTR. The game of thrones didn’t do it. Hobbits didn’t do it. It’s an animation series that did. I had to smile at that thought.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a masterpiece. I doubt anything is going to come close in my life time. At the same time, the Dragon prince does its own thing really well.
I fully recommend this series. Just be prepared to glued on your seat for half a day.