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Comic Book / Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel

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Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel is a graphic novel written by A. B. Sina, with artwork by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland, created by Jordan Mechner as part of the Prince of Persia franchise, and published in 2008 by First Second Books.

In the 9th century, Layth is the light of the city of Marv, a respected ruler but a weak man. His wife, Princess Guilan, is with child. Guilan's twin brother Guiv had been named as heir to the throne before his father Saman died, but Layth was placed on the throne by the actions of General Amir, whose soldiers keep a suspiciously vigilant watch around the palace. After Guiv is pardoned for attempting to kill Layth and Guilan in their bed, he dismisses an army of men waiting to fight and die for him and heads up into the mountains where he used to hunt lions with Layth and his sister to reach the deserted citadel in the mountains where the invisible prophet of Marv is rumored to live.

In the 13th century, Marv is suffering from a drought, since under the tyrannical rule of the Committee on Dangers Past, Present and Future, all water has been diverted to the royal orchards. A girl named Shirin is forced to end her dancing lessons because her instructor, Arsalan, has been banished by her father. She leaves the city searching for him and instead meets Ferdos, who for seventeen years has been raised in secret by his father Nuri, Guardian of the Water.

Tropes appearing in this graphic novel:

  • Happily Adopted: Layth's father, a commander of the Caliphate, was killed when Saman took over Marv. Saman adopted the infant Layth and brought him up as his own son along with Guilan and Guiv. The three children got along great for the most part, and the schism between Guiv and Layth only really blew up after Saman's death.
  • I Have a Family:
    Shirin's mother: Please, let him go. He's a father. We have a daughter.
    Shirin (not letting go of the garrote): Yes, I know, Mother.
    (Her mother faints)
  • Intellectual Animal: Guiv is followed around by a peacock named Turul who claims to be a thousand years old.
  • Let the Past Burn: The comic ends its 9th-century storyline with the usurper burning down the royal palace with himself rather than surrender it to Prince Guiv. Much of the 13th-century storyline is set in the ruins of this palace.
  • Match Cut: Jumps several times from the royal palace as it stood in the 9th century to the same angle of its ruins in the 13th century.
  • Near-Death Experience: Guiv first becomes a seer into the future while drowning in a pool during his aborted execution.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: An old prophecy of the invisible prophet of Marv proclaims that, on a certain night in a certain year, there will be born a boy destined to kill all the rulers and the ruled. The rulers of Marv accordingly kill every boy born on that date, except for one who escapes and seventeen years later leads La RĂ©sistance to overthrow the rulers. In a Prophecy Twist, the foretold destruction is accomplished by the coincidentally invading Mongols, whose Khan was born at the prophesied time.
  • Nightmare Sequence:
    • Guiv's nightmare is being attacked in the Tower of Silence by countless skeletons, and then being surrounded by doubles of himself, whose heads turn into skulls as he cuts them off.
    • Shirin's nightmare is a dust storm raising up giant boys made of dust, who carry off Ferdos, claiming him as "one of us."
  • Prophecy Twist: As it turns out out, while Ferdos is the "prince" of the prophecy, he isn't the one who kills the corrupt rulers of Marv. Instead that's the leader of the Mongols who was born at the same time.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Turul. The people in the palace seem to think he's a normal peacock, but once he leaves with Guiv and starts talking he says he's lived for thousands of years.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Ferdos seems to firmly believe that he and Shirin are Layth and Guilan reborn, to the extent that they actually wear the exact same outfits that the latter did back in the 9th century.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There are secret passages connecting all the wells, new and old, known only to the Guardians of the Waters.
  • Shared Universe: Possibly. While nothing in the story hints to it, the description of the comic states that the prophecy was first pronounced before a young adventurer escaped a dungeon to rescue a princess and before a scheming vizier tricked a prince into unleashing the sands of time.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Guilan threatens to kill herself with a guard's sword if Layth goes through with Guiv's drowning. He relents after she reveals she'd also be killing their unborn child.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: When Shirin leaves the city of Marv in search of La RĂ©sistance, she cuts her hair and masquerades as a boy named Shapur.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Guiv, accidentally. Local legends speak of the 'invisible prophet of Marv' and the possibility of his return. Guiv answers the door one day with a covered face to hide his identity. At this point word gets out that the prophet has returned.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted. Guiv subdues a lion which attacks him in the mountains. Kneeling over the lion, he lifts his sword, then has a thought and says, "No one gave me the power to take life." As he walks away, the lion gets up and charges at him, and he quickly turns and slashes it to death.
    Turul: No one gave you the power to spare life, yaaahr.
    • Notably, this is a mindset he takes on only after he fails to kill Layth. A flashback sequence shows him discreetly killing a lion with a bow while growing up.
  • Tongue Trauma: The Committee rounds up suspicious persons and punishes them by slicing off their tongues. The severed tongues fill up a bucket.
  • Uncertain Doom: While the comic ends with Ferdos and Shirin lead the people to safety in the ruins, it's unclear whether they will be safe from the Mongols who now rule Marv. It's especially unclear what they plan to do, since the comic simply shows them sitting on the thrones where Layth and Guilan once sat, implying they intend to rule which would definitely cause the Mongols to attack them.
  • Uptown Girl: Shirin is the princess of Marv while Ferdos is a commoner, though he is the prince foretold in the prophecy.
  • Verbal Tic: Turul the peacock, "yaaahr."