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Western Animation / DOTA: Dragon's Blood

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Dota: Dragon's Blood is a 2021 animated series produced by Netflix and Studio Mir, based on Valve's Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game Dota 2. The story follows Davion, a young but renowned Dragon Knight who crosses path with Mirana, the Princess of the Moon, as they go on a quest that would eventually involve events and powers much larger than they both expected.

Watch the the teaser and the official trailer.

Book II of the series was released on January 18, 2022, and Book III was released on August 11, 2022. The trailer of Book II can be seen here and the Book III trailer can be seen here.

Dota: Dragon's Blood provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Dragons are animated pretty much exclusively in CGI and are rendered with Cel Shading and a reduced framerate to match 2D animation.
  • Adaptational Badass: In Dota 2, Slyrak was described as having grown weak by age by the time Davion had found him. In Dragon's Blood, he's depicted at his prime instead, strong enough to give a demonically-possessed Eldwurm a proper fight.
    Slyrak: Uldorak was ready for death! The madness was upon him; the weakness. I am not so disadvantaged!
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Invoker, normally an arrogant narcissist with a massive ego, is downright courteous in Dragon's Blood by comparison...insofar as he bothers to acknowledge other people as more than barely alive. Needless to say, there are still shades of his arrogance.
    • He once was an even nicer guy than that, prior to his daughter's death more or less at her own mother's hands.
  • Alien Sky: The main setting has two moons. One is identical to our moon, whereas the other is a massive dark hunk of spherical rock that reflects little light, and appears to have been partially destroyed by some great cataclysm.
  • All Myths Are True: Fymryn stole the lotuses in the hopes of reviving the old goddess Mene and allowing the elves to return to their true homeland just like in the old tales. It's bitterly subverted when the Invoker bluntly tells her that story isn't history faded into myth. It's just a story, it won't bring back Mene, and Fymryn stealing the lotuses has accomplished nothing save for giving Selemene a casus belli.
  • Alternate Continuity: Among the many deviations from the original game's lore, the fact that most of the playable heroes from it that appear here die should be proof enough that the show isn't canon.
  • Anyone Can Die: The show does not pull its punches in this regards, but special mention goes to Lina, Winter Wyvern, Marci, and Davion, who are killed off despite being part of the playable cast of Dota 2.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Terrorblade: You fail to consider that I see everything, and all of this is part of my plan.
    Invoker: Interesting. And in how many realities do you and I have this conversation?
    • Terrorblade almost immediately follows it up with one of his own. Invoker's face says it all:
    Invoker: What you can see, I can imagine. We are evenly matched.
    Terrorblade: And the girlnote ?
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Terrorblade, Selememe and Invoker are the villains of Dragon's Blood, being the driving forces behind the events that occur in the series. They're far from the only evil characters, however.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Book 1 ends moreso on the bitter side than the sweet. The elves have effectively declared war on humanity, Terrorblade is set to capture 7 of the Eldywrms' souls, and Davion has been captured by the other Dragon Knights. However, Mirana has returned to her people, Fymryn sets off to give Davion's dragon's tooth necklace back to him, and the Invoker has completed his revenge against Selemene, leaving her in no state to continue tormenting mortalkind.
    • Oh boy, where do we begin with Book II? Marci perishes defending Mirana, Lina is impaled upon the throne of the Helio Imperium, Auroth meets her end protecting Bram, the eldwyrms have been sold out by Vahdrak to the Invoker, the Dragon Knights are all but exterminated, Luna has forsaken Selemene and been rendered powerless in turn, and Fymryn departs from the Invoker's tower unsure of where to go or even who she is. On the flipside, Mirana is crowned Empress of the Sun and fulfills her birthright, Slyrak sets off for Foulfell to do battle with Terrorblade (meaning Davion is no longer living on borrowed time), Selemene has risen back into divinity and the Coedwei have stood down from their genocidal rage, and Mene's vengeance will not come to pass at least for the time being.
    • Book III, which is arguably the biggest bittersweet ending of the entire series. Mirana undoes Invoker's experiment with his acceptance of the fact that Filomena will always die from the rot afflicting her from youth. However, this means reverting back to her original reality, and everyone that has died before this moment will stay dead, which now includes Davion, who had sacrificed himself in the battle of Foulfell, killing Terrorblade and stopping his ultimate plan; it also meant saying goodbye to Marci once more. However, with Fymryn now taking her place as Mene and Mirana ascending to godhood and bearing her and Davion's child, the promise of making a new world in the wake of the battle of Foulfell sparks some hope. And, somehow, Filomena seems to be alive and cured.
  • The Cameo: In Book III, Episode 4, Windranger, Axe, Phantom Lancer, and Tiny appear as the 'special individuals' who have been empowered by the Direstones and Radiant Ores, as explained by Filomena to the council when she tries to gain an audience with Mene.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Invoker's defensive magic uses his life force as its source of energy. If his shield is depleted, he does not die (or at least, not the one time we see it happen) but is left catatonic. Overextension also renders him visibly older, though this reverses as his magic recovers.
  • Casting Gag: All but one of the voice actors for the Eldwurms are horror alums. Sylrak is played by Tony Todd of Candyman and Final Destination fame, Aethrak is played by Robert Englund from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Lirrak is played by Cassandra Peterson of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Vahrak is played by John Kassir from Tales from the Crypt, and Byssrak, Indrak, and Orrak are played by Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, and Ashley Laurence from Hellraiser.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Invoker uses the Shopkeeper's pendant originally used by Mirana to make a deal with Terrorblade – for the price of seven of the eight eldwyrm souls, the demon would take down the goddess Selemene, all for vengeance. Terrifyingly, he manages his part of the deal, and Terrorblade delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle beatdown to the Jerkass goddess.
    • Subverted by Davion in Book 3 Episode 2, in that his 'deal' is for Terrorblade to stand still and gloat over his apparent victory for just a moment longer, so that Davion can stab him through the heart.
  • Deity of Human Origin:
    • Technically Selemene was an elf before she took Mene's divine spark and ascended into godhood. However, this was so long ago that when Fymryn (Mene's reincarnation) steals the spark back, she withers and dies on the spot regardless.
    • Mirana always held the power of the solar worldwyrm in her blood, but was physically completely human.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The eight Eldwyrms of The Thunder each hold and represent a piece of the Primordial Mind, which are the building blocks of creation. The four elements – water, fire, air and earth – and the four forces – Luminositynote , Ionnote , Voidnote  and Chaosnote  – are represented by Lirrak, Slyrak, Aethrak, Uldorak, Orrak, Indrak, Byssrak and Vahdrak.
  • Exact Words: The Invoker swore to collect the souls of the eldwyrms. He never said anything about giving them to Terrorblade once he had them.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage: Fymryn is part of a "pod", a marriage involving two women and two men, who all seem to love each other equally. Their deaths hit her especially hard, as she's losing three spouses instead of one.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Selemene and Terrorblade face each other in combat, in Book 1: Episode 8. It's not even a contest; Terrorblade only doesn't eat Selemene because, in his own words, the thought of breaking her spirit a second time later is too enticing.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Helio Imperium is clearly inspired by the Roman Empire, even up to having a Senate and its implied origin as a Republic.
  • Fantastic Racism: So very much of it. Clearly there's mistrust and downright hatred between humans and elves. And not without cause, since both humans and elves do some pretty awful things to each other during the course of the series.
    • Book II takes it up to eleven, with the elves committing hit-and-run slaughters of traveling human caravans, leaving none including women and children alive. Their ultimate goal is to topple the Helio Imperium and establish an elven empire in its place.
    • Dragons, even the nicer ones, have a habit of referring to humanoids as "mice", for obvious reasons. Slyrak's first words spoken to Davion are somewhat jovial, but he still advises the "little mouse" to flee before he gets hungry.
  • God in Human Form: Sort of. Fymryn is a reincarnation of Mene born from the prayers of her followers over the course of the preceding thousand years. She has no memory of her life as Mene, and not even the slightest trace of a divine spark; the Invoker makes it sound like she's more of an 'echo' of Mene than a true rebirth. Still, he tasks her with the murder of Selemene so that Fymryn can claim the goddess' divinity for herself.
  • Gone Mad from the Revelation: Kasshurra certainly didn't take well to the effects of exposure to equal pieces of Radiant and Dire ore, as they cut him off the song of the eldwyrms and granted him sentience, but left him all alone with the latter's corruption.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: The innkeeper in episode 2 gives Davion a flagon of an "old family recipe" the morning after a night of binge drinking. It makes him gag but he finishes it anyways.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Lina resents the bureaucratic corruption of the Helio Imperium and wants to use her influence and fame to transform it into a republic. She even thought it was worth hiring an assassin to murder Mirana, the imperial family's last living member.
    • Kashurra's first priority is keeping Mirana safe and sound, as he clearly considers her akin to a daughter of his own. That might or might not be why he murdered her parents.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: In episode 3, Mirana enters a cave filled with zombie-like people devouring each other. The way they are eating each other comes off like a blood orgy.
  • Interspecies Romance: Auroth the Winter Wyvern absolutely gushes over Bram, from giving him a ring from her hoard that projects a magic shield, to playfully challenging him to duel her, to teaching him to write! He's not into her that way at first, but by the time she meets her end at Kashurra's hands, Bram is utterly destroyed. Book II ends with a poem he wrote in eulogy to her(!)
  • In Their Own Image: Terrorblade wants to harness the eight souls of the eldwyrms, who reign over the primordial elements of the universe, to do this. Stopping him is the overarching goal for much of the series until Book 3 Episode 2, when the Invoker finally succeeds in doing it himself. The result is a world where, among other things, his daughter is alive and well, Selemene is mortal and happily married to him, and Mirana's father is alive albeit senile.
  • Ironic Echo: Selemene asks everyone who encounters her, "do you love me?" After Terrorblade defeats her, in her own temple, after her faithful are diminished, The Invoker looms her. Her former lover then asks, "do you love me?"
  • Kill the God: Fymryn reluctantly does it to Selemene via taking her divine spark, which results in the thousand-year-old goddess rapidly aging and expiring.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: In the battle between Slyrak and Terrorblade, Davion decided to help Slyrak, despite being a Dragon Knight because he knew Terrorblade was a much bigger threat.
    • Ultimately, Selemene proves to be this in the face of the genocidal elves.
  • Light Is Not Good: This take on the Radiant apparently leads to people acting just as crazy and cannibalistic as those consumed by the Dire in season 3, as several of the infected have blue lines.
  • Mugging the Monster: A group of thugs tried to rob Davion right after he had fused with Slyrak. Apparently, they were torn to pieces. The group of thugs that tries to avenge the first doesn't fare much better either.
  • Not Your Problem: Mixed with Blatant Lies. Selemene rejects all responsibility after Luna utterly demolishes the Elves' forces and slaughters many of their civilians wholesale, despite Luna actively proclaiming to Selemene that she wanted to do this. Doubles as an insight into Selemene's egotistical nature.
    Luna: All I can think about is killing them. Burning their fields, their families, their flesh. But it's more. Their blood, their pain, I...I crave it. The taste, the smell...
    Selemene: You're afraid there is no light behind your shadow.
    Luna: I want to make those traitors pay in ways'd never forgive me.
    Selemene: That's impossible. will do the things that must be done.
    Luna: Coedwignote  is yours.
    Selemene: But the Coedwei do not say my name in their prayers. They shudder at yours. Again and again, I hear 'Scourge' in their words, in their hearts. What have you done?
    Luna: I found their leader. Shattered their resistance.
    Selemene: By killing anyone who stood in your way! You have failed me.
    Luna: This is...what you wanted.
    • In Book II, as Fymryn confronts Selemene in the Invoker's tower, the goddess denies any blame for the intermittent — now full-scale — conflict between her followers and those of Mene's.
    Selemene: I did not banish them from the Nightsilver Woods. They left of their own free will. Those who remained accepted me as their goddess. We lived in peace. I left you to your own.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: There are eight breeds of dragon, each having an associated Eldwyrm with Resurrective Immortality.
  • The Power of the Sun: Mirana harnesses the solar power of the Worldwyrm in her blood in order to bring an end to Kashurra, though it's not enough to save Marci's life. The power is so potent as to result in her apotheosis; she becomes quite literally Selemene's solar counterpart, right down to providing her power and blessing to Luna and her legion.
  • Prequel: The events of Dragon's Blood take place long before the war between the ancients. Though apparently not too long, as the Mad Moon — whose destruction heralded that war — is visibly crumbling in the night sky.
    • Not too long at all, considering fragments of the Radiant and Dire have already fallen into the hands of a select few people and begun working their notorious mind-bending abilities upon those hapless few.
  • Religion of Evil: Played with. Mirana and Marci both worship Selemene as a benevolent goddess, and Luna attacked the elves under the belief that they were planning to attack their order. However, the order also practices forced conversion making captives pledge their soul to Selemene or die, and Selemene herself is an egocentric narcissist who usurped her position from a much more benevolent goddess, tortures those who worship her, is spiteful and vindictive to those who don't and let her own daughter die for seeing her as her mother rather than a goddess.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The Eldwyrms of each breed of dragon, like Slyrak, are reborn when their bodies die. Terrorblade is trying to steal their souls as part of his plans for ultimate power, preventing them from being reborn. As long as Slyrak is bound to Davion, he also cannot reincarnate.
  • Revenge: Nearly every character in the first book is motivated by it to one degree or another.
    • Davion and Kaden both took up roles as Dragon Knights because dragons killed the people close to them. Given Davion sets up a surviving child of a dragon victim to follow in his footsteps to Dragon Hold and become a Dragon Knight too, it seems this is a uniting motive of all Dragon Knights.
    • Mirana and Luna end up holding grudges against the Elves, to different degrees. Mirana goes into Exile for failing to stop Fymryn from stealing Selemene's lotuses, and later lashes out at the girl, claiming her victim of only her own choice to reject Selemene. Luna, in contrast, adopts the grudge of Selemene directly, hating the Elves for rejecting her, and when the Elves rebel against Luna's invasion, she turns that grudge into a bloodrage violent enough to slaughter the Elves wholesale just to make them suffer.
    • Selemene herself values vengeance against any who refuse to devote themselves to her and worship her as a goddess. However, she values achieving that slavish love for her over punishing to the point of death, as seen when she lashes out at Luna for committing the aforementioned atrocities in Selemene's name. She also outright refused to heal her daughter when Invoker offered up both his devotion and worship, but their daughter refused to worship her. She wanted her mother, not a goddess, and Selemene let her die for that.
    • Invoker himself is ultimately the greatest example of the trope, orchestrating the events of the entire book so as to facilitate revenge against Selemene for letting their child die. The final shot of the book is him delivering an Ironic Echo to her, and acknowledging his vengeance exacted.
  • Shout-Out: Episode 4 is titled "The Monster at the End of This Book"
    • Four episodes are named What the Thunder Said, The Fire Sermon, A Game of Chess, and Burial of the Dead; all names of recurring dreams in Fallen London, as well as being derived from The Waste Land.
    • The final episode is titled "Consider Phlebas" another line derived from The Waste Land and the title of Iain M. Banks' first book in The Culture series
  • Solar and Lunar: Selemene is, for better or for worse, the Goddess of the Moon; her servants, the Dark Moon Order, answer only to her, though the Helio Imperium welcomes them as something akin to a police force for the elves in their enclaves.
    • Mirana has been at some point or another, as the information broker in episode one points out, Princess of the Sun and Princess of the Moon. After unlocking the power of the worldwyrm, she ascends into proper divinity as the God-Empress of the Sun.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: The way Mirana touched her belly with a smile by the end of Book 3 after the Shopkeeper asked her if she find everything she was looking for, which implied that she is carrying late Davion's child.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: As if the elves were going to let the atrocities committed against them by the Dark Moon Order go just because Selemene's lotuses were returned to her. Fymryn being willing to set aside her rage doesn't mean any of the other elves would. Book 1 ends with the elves ready to resume their war with humanity, and Fymryn takes the opportunity to deliver a beatdown to Luna.
  • The Theocracy: The Helio Imperium's royal family has the power of a primordial draconic deity in their blood which, when unlocked as part of the monarch's coronation, is potent enough to immediately ascend them into godhood. Though from what we can tell, they fall on the lower rungs of power among the gods in this series; Mirana's uncle, the reigning emperor, is killed just by being dropped from too high up. Contrast this with Selemene, who may not be able to hold her own against Terrorblade, but can at least fly. Still, God-Emperors are God-Emperors, weak or not.
    • Then there's Mene's domain in an alternate timeline, the Principality of Shadow, ruled by a council of priests who answer directly to the deity. This falls more closely in line with the strict definition of theocracy, as it's shown Mene keeps mostly to herself and leaves most if not all final decisions in the hands of her church.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The information broker in the first episode: He only escapes being killed by an angry mob in episode 1 because Davion stepped in and helped him sneak away and distracted the crowd with a round of drinks afterwards. He later returns to betray Mirana and Marci to a group of slavers, since they offered him a better reward.
  • Wham Shot: Kashurra, Mirana's caretaker during her early years, displays very little emotion even despite his obvious affection for her. Come Book II Episode 7 and Auroth, to her sheer paralyzing horror, discovers this to be due to his enthrallment by not only Radiant, but also an equal piece of Dire ore; he even wears a ring with small splinters of both(!). The substance is so powerful that merely living in proximity to it for several years made her sapient. Kashurra did so for millennia, has Gone Mad from the Revelation of the mixture of Radiant and Dire, and he has the power of an Eldritch Abomination to show for it.
    • Book III, Episode 8. In one final bid to convince her father to let the experiment be undone, Filomena reveals symptoms of the rot that claimed her in her original life, revealing that she will always be afflicted by it, and as such will die from it eventually.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: What Invoker ultimately has to learn over the course of Book III is that no matter how many times he tries, be it a hundred, a thousand, or twelve thousand four hundred and three times, Filomena will be afflicted with the incurable rot, and as such will die from it. At the very least in the final moments leading up to the experiment being undone, Invoker has accepted that fact.


Video Example(s):


Invoker vs Terrorblade

Normally, breaking a pact with a demon brings dire consequences. Even for a mage in an isolated tower. Yet this time, the Invoker managed to avert the consequences out of raw magical power alone.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (8 votes)

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