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"A boy alone, lost in a savage land ruled by darkness. His people gone. His kingdom a smoldering ruin. His only hope is the Sword of Light; a magical relic, forged by the ancient gods - and the only thing powerful enough to return his land to freedom …"
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Niko and the Sword of Light is a 2017 series produced by Amazon Studios for Prime Video, as part of their Amazon Kids streaming service. It aired its first 13 episode season on July 20, 2017. The second season released on December 28, 2018.

It is the story of the last human, a boy named Niko, who wants to travel to the center of darkness, which corrupted the world of light and poisoned everything it touched. He is in possession of the Sword of Light, a magical sword which is bestowed with the power of light.


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The 2017 series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Dress Rip: Subverted. It happens with Lyra by accident after Niko pulls her now-corporeal self out of a muddy sinkhole. She's rather miffed when she sees that her dress is ruined.
  • Action Girl: The previous Champions, especially Aura, that came closer than any other to defeating Nar Est. Lyra proves to be no slouch herself once she gets used to true physical form again.
  • Actual Pacifist: King Scampi and the Shrimps don't believe in violence or resisting Nar Est in the slightest as their undersea kingdom has kept them safe from most of the world's threats.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The first 3 episodes cover the pilot more or less, but add more characters and backstory.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Jackal was much more gaunt and overtly sinister-looking in the Pilot Episode. Corey Burton's voice work for him in the show is likewise less guttural.
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  • Adaptational Dumbass: Niko is a Fearless Fool compared to the more pensive and reluctant version of him from the Pilot Episode. Likewise, Mandok is less wise than he is cunning here in contrast to how his beta version was capable of handing out genuine sage advice.
  • The Ageless: The imprisoned humans have ceased aging for over seven hundred years. Nar Est has also remained unchanging during that time.
    • Aura also counts, as she has been kept alive by the powers of the Spring of Destiny. The cost is that she cannot pass the boundary of the Spring without fading to dust.
  • All-Loving Hero: If you're in trouble, Niko will help you. If you're an enemy, he'll defeat you and offer you mercy. If you're antagonistic, but not blatantly evil, he'll try to negotiate. Even the Darkness is shown leniency as Niko is content to banish it instead of destroying it as was his purpose after he learns that it's an essential and primordial universal force.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Niko manages to defeat the Darkness by calling upon the power of several past Champions to enhance his own.
  • Artificial Human: Niko and the other Champions before him, who were made through the power of a now destroyed magic chrysalis to wield the power of Light and defeat Nar Est.
  • Ascended Extra: Mandok, who went from being a one-time minor character in the Pilot to a full-on supporting cast member. Though Lyra's an even bigger example as she went from being a face on a gold coin to the franchise's deuteragonist.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: One of the major symptoms exhibited by those poisoned by Exuber-Ant venom.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Harpsichord of Light, used by a Musical Assassin Champion. To activate it, he just needed to play it, and he was quite good at that. However, its attacks were imprecise, unable to discriminate between friend and foe. Plus, he had to physically carry it around as it was.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Nearly all of Nar Est's monsters are normal creatures that he has transformed with his dark magic. Niko can transform them back to normal with his sword. Some are grateful, while others lament losing their fearsome forms, and one sibling trio even keep seeking him out again to be re-transformed.
  • Barbarian Hero: Dissimilar to the culture that made them, the Champions are a more brutish, rough-and-tumble breed.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT tell the Umlauti "Thank you". They have a rule against that.
  • BFS: The titular Sword of Light. Although if Niko was an adult, it would have just been a regular sword to him.
  • Big Bad: Nar Est, an Evil Sorcerer who imprisoned humanity.
  • Big Brother Worship: Niko initially views Aura, a fellow Champion, as he would an older sister, and is eager to get to know her and to hear of her past triumphs in battle. His admiration wavers when he discovers her to be working for Nar Est, but he ultimately accepts and embraces their bond and vows upon her death to defeat the Darkness and avenge her.
  • Big Eater: Niko tends to stuff his face a lot, especially with Breadmelons.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The second season starts out on Lyra's fifteenth birthday — the first one she's had in 768 years. Too bad she still has to deal with her queenly duties, magic lessons, keeping Niko's antics in check, and Nar Est's escape from his enchanted prison.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Javelin of Light.
  • Buffy Speak: Combined with Motor Mouth, this is how Niko primarily talks. His vocabulary is large enough to allow for lengthy boasts and speeches, but it lacks words to succinctly express his thoughts.
  • Cassandra Truth: Niko spends the first two episodes of the second season trying to convince everyone that the bug he keeps seeing is an agent of darkness, while Lyra and her advisors assume he's just having trouble adjusting now that his role as a Champion is through. (Not helping is that this isn't the first time he's raised the alarm like this, apparently.) Of course, Niko turns out to be right, and the darkness succeeds at freeing Nar Est from his prison before they can stop it.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Jackal cheats in a race with Niko, which gets him imprisoned. When he protests to get Niko imprisoned also, as Niko had used his sword in the race despite being forbidden to do so, Niko is given as pass as he hadn't tried to use his sword to attack his opponent, but to save himself and an animal he was stuck to.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Several of the trinkets and baubles Mandok brings out to try and bribe his way out of danger, such as the sky whale tooth and firebat feather, end up being immensely useful later in the first season.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mandok is a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to hiding from danger, so much so that Niko advises him to take his leave from their group before facing Nar Est, as he's more than proven his loyalty to them already and he isn't likely to find many safe spots inside the Cursed Volcano. Mandok ends up managing exactly that, protecting Carondolet's orb from danger while Niko faces the Darkness, Lyra fends off Nar Est, and Flicker tangles with Rasper.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The end of the first season sees Lyra being crowned queen of Carondolet in her father's name, while season 2 reveals she named Niko her captain of the guard. Though to be fair, she's Really 700 Years Old, and he's a Laser Guided Tyke Bomb with all the skills a warrior would need.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Deconstructed. After being bitten by an Exuber-Ant, some of Lyra's hyperactive ramblings and actions are revealed to carry measures of validity as the heroes explore the tunnels though it's nothing she wouldn't have said or done more reasonably if she had been in her right state of mind and her newfound deranged brashness turns out to be more of a liability than a boon.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jackal is a very capable warrior, but he's rather wary of Niko gaining a Heroic Second Wind if directly ambushed or attacked while imperiled by an outside third party so he opts to bide his time until he's absolutely sure his target can't even move let alone fight back.
  • Cool Airship: Chompsky builds one to present to Lyra for her fifteenth birthday. It still has a few kinks to be worked out, though, as they find out while using it to search for the map to the Forgotten Fortress.
  • Cowardly Lion: Mandok has developed into this by the end of the first season. He's terrified of being put in danger, but he'll throw himself right into the path of peril without a second thought if it means helping his friends.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Lyra, though it's actually an astral projection. At least until she fully materializes in episode 2.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Darkness is pretty much the de facto force of evil in all three incarnations of this story. In the series proper past!Nar Est tried to make an argument for it being harmless and in the finale the Darkness itself claims that it and the light cannot exist without the other, but both quickly ring hollow.
  • Decomposite Character: Much of Niko's doubts, fears, and snark from the original story are passed on to Lyra who wasn't in either of the earlier iterations of the tale.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: The Mountain Dwarves Niko and Lyra meet after passing through the Shoulda-Coulda Wood are nigh identical to the Hill Giants they met earlier, though they insist that they're quite different.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Crushing Hammer of Light.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: As of the season 1 finale, Niko's ultimate reward for saving the kingdom from the Darkness is...a water slide. (Though, to be fair, it is a really big waterslide. Season 2 reveals that he did receive a few more worthwhile rewards for his service, such as a treehouse for him to live in and the position of captain of the castle guard.
  • Epic Fail: Nine of the Champions didn't even reach Nar Est because they died after Lyra brought them to the Sky Maze to train.
  • Epic Flail: The Flails of Light.
  • Evil Knockoff: Nar Est creates a Sword of Darkness for his battle with Niko. Having no real swordfighting experience, he is unable to use it properly, and Lyra ends up breaking it with her staff.
    • In season 2 Nar Est manages to use the remains of the Chrysalis Niko and the other Champions were made in to create a Champion of Darkness. Unlike the Sword of Darkness, it's much more effective.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening credits for the first season have Niko state that his mission is to free his people by defeating the Darkness. Come the second season, his people have already been freed, and so the opening is altered so that his aim is simply to protect them instead.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Subverted. While disarmed of his weapon, Niko gets his hands on one of Jackal's boomerangs. He proudly proclaims his combat mastery and gives it a toss, and Jackal turns and watches as it spirals off into the distance and vanishes...allowing Niko the chance to tackle him from behind.
  • Exposition Beam: Flicker can project people's memories, allowing them to be viewed by others.
  • Face Death with Dignity: For all his Pragmatic Villainy, when Jackal's back is to the wall, he stands his ground before Niko and merely tells him to "make it quick." Ultimately, though, Niko subverts this by sparing him.
  • Fallen Hero: Aura, a former Champion who failed in her duty. It turns out that after she was defeated, she made a deal with Nar Est so he would spare her life.
  • Food as Bribe: Nar Est almost manages to con Niko in handing over the Shard by offering him a room full of confections.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: After Diggantus is defeated and convinced by Niko that they aren't there to raid his treasure, he presents Niko with an antidote to Lyra's poisoning as well as a highly valuable set of armor that would come in handy against Nar Est, but he can only choose one. Lyra insists, quite exuberantly, that Niko take the armor. Niko hesitates for only a moment before choosing to cure Lyra.
  • Gender Flip: The Beady Brothers Cerberus wound up becoming Dingle, Lump...and Doris.
  • Genetic Memory: The Champions get occasional personality traits and battle experience from the previous Champions born of the Chrysalis (for example, Niko's love of Breadmelons comes from Aura, the first Champion to like them).
  • Genius Loci: Skayma of the Shoulda-Coulda Wood in that he technically is the Shoulda-Coulda Wood.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: By the time we are formally introduced to her, 200 years of being stuck living around the Pools of Destiny with only Nar Est's voice for company has squeezed out whatever vestiges of heroism Aura might have had.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Darkness itself, which is using Nar Est as a pawn.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Niko has a sword, while one of the previous female Champions, Aura, had a bow. Niko uses frequent Sword Beam attacks though, Aura's Bow of Light was also capable of being used a melee weapon, and she used a spear when not using the shard. Another female champion also used Morningstars of Light, and Lyra herself uses a staff.
  • The Hero: Petulant, Reckless, and Naive as he is, Niko can always be counted on to do the right thing even if it would demand great personal sacrifice from him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Nar Est is so engorged with dark energy that Niko's typical Darkness Begone attack just diminishes him instead of depowering him like it does with his minions. This proves to be his undoing when Niko banishes the Darkness from the planet, resulting in Nad Est and Rasper being dragged into and trapped within the shrinking Well of Darkness when everything else they corrupted is simply freed of their cursed state. And if Nar Est could have kept his mouth shut, Niko might not have even gotten the idea to do that!
    • Aura's attempt to use her bow as a melee weapon against Niko backfires as he can use it to fire arrows back at her since he's a Champion himself. In that same vein, the destruction she wreaks upon the Pools of Destiny during their battle ultimately gets her crushed to death.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: King Skampi and the Dolphin Queen.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Every Champion before Niko (with the exception of Aura) failed to make it to the Cursed Volcano despite being more physically developed and mentally focused on the mission of defeating Nar Est.
  • Karma Houdini: Jackal who manages to escape punishment from both sides of the conflict.
  • Large Ham: Niko can be exceptionally loud for such a small warrior.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Deconstructed with the Champions. While they each have a measure of free will, they are hardwired to defeat Nar Est, free mankind, and not much else that does not feed into those above goals. Niko is only as heroic as he is because he was woken up before he was programmed to solely follow those directives above all else.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Niko instinctively fights as if he's much larger, stronger, and more experienced than he actually is, probably a result of being woken up early. Sometimes, it's a sufficient stratagem, but oftentimes it just imperils him. When Lyra gets bitten and poisoned by an Exuber-Ant, she becomes even more reckless and foolhardy to the point where Niko has to be the cautious one.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Niko and Lyra, and Niko and Aura.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: It takes a bit for Lyra to get used to having a physical form after she materializes fully.
  • Lighter and Softer: Niko turns out to be this when compared to his predecessors as he exorcises cursed creatures instead of destroying them, and goes out of his way to help those in need without expecting anything in return.
  • Light Is Good: When the hero wields the sword of light, this is pretty much a given. Although, Aura still wielded her weapon of light even during her heel turn, which could imply that Light Is Not Good is also at play.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: The Ping Beetle, used by Nar Est to track the heroes' movements.
  • Living Shadow: Nar Est, as a result of Lyra breaking off the piece of the crystal that became the Sword of Light, was reduced to a shadowy form, unable to interact with the physical world directly.
  • Lovable Coward: Mandok, who would run away from most fights if it wasn't that Niko is usually the safest place to be.
  • Magic Feather: The climax reveals the sword/shard is more of a conduit for Niko and other Champion's power rather than the source, as after losing the sword Niko is able to summon another from the light within him. This is somewhat foreshadowed by the sword going dark but not turning back into a shard when Niko loses hold of it.
  • Magic Staff: After gaining a Simple Staff (albeit unbreakable) in episode two, Lyra adds the Ovid of Delphinus to it in episode three. At first it just acts as a compass for the Pools of Destiny, but later Lyra learns it has the power to absorb and redirect energy. The Ovid is eventually smashed apart during the battle against Nar Est, but by the second season, Lyra has it replaced with a fire opal with which she can practice real magic.
  • Meaningful Name: The three Champions whose names we know have these: Niko, which means "victory"; Anatole, which means "sunrise"; and Aura, which means...aura.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Nar Est is fond of making these for his dark armies, especially if adding antlers is an option. However, there are also examples occurring naturally in the world, such as the arachnotaur.
  • Morph Weapon: The Shard takes different forms depending on the Champion who wields it, among them the Battle-axe, Flails, Crushing Hammer, Bow, and even the Harpsichord of Light. Niko's weapon of choice is the Sword of Light, of course, though as of Season 2, he appears able to make it assume its other forms at will.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: Lyra, the Champions, and Nar Est have spent the last 700 years locked into a cyclical stalemate — even if they make it to him, they can't harm him as he's been reduced to nothing but a phantom by the shattered jewel and is completely immune to their attacks. But even with every Champion he defeats, Nar Est can't do anything to keep Lyra from escaping with the shard so long as her magical connection to Carondolet is intact, which makes Niko's quest all the more dangerous once she's forced to sever it in order to save him. Should Niko fall, there will be nothing stopping Nar Est from recovering the shard and achieving his full power.
  • My Greatest Failure: Lyra has a number of regrets, many related to not doing more to stop Nar Est from rising to power, the rest involving the many former champions who met their doom under her guidance.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Flicker goes into a cocoon to metamorphosize a few times throughout the season, becoming bigger and stronger each time.
  • No Need for Names: The Howlese Warrior who meets up and joins the team in the Tumbledowns comes from a people who don't have a use for names. Niko refers to him as "Sidekick", but tries to come up with with a better name; though his suggestions only serve to annoy Sidekick more than anything else. It turns out he actually does have a name: Jackal.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Mandok gets very nervous during a song the Tumblebees perform about a nameless traitor as, unknown to everyone else, he had just been forced into becoming Nar Est's spy.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Umlauti are a race of this, with a mixture of Badass Bureaucrat as well as they are also the last remaining group with a standing army.
  • Out of Continues: Prior to Niko's emergence, Lyra could always fall back on the fact that the Chrysalis could eventually manifest a new Champion for her to pin her hopes on if her current one got too banged up. With its destruction, Niko is the last of his line and if he falls, Nar Est's victory is assured.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The mountain dwarves are an aversion, being rock elementals that play "rockby" instead of metallurgy. However, they are identical to the hill giants.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Nar Est apparently can't leave the vicinity of the fractured Crystal, forcing him to rely on minions and monsters to terrorize the world beyond the Black Volcano.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Jackal's weapon of choice. It's averted when a disarmed Niko gets his hands on it - it merely spirals off into the distance and vanishes - though he uses the distraction to tackle Jackal from behind.
  • Previously On
  • Really 700 Years Old: Lyra and the other imprisoned humans, as their imprisonment halted their physical aging for over seven centuries. Despite this, some of the other humans still treat Lyra like a teenager.
  • Red Herring: It's initially implied that the Exuber-Ant Queen is the dreaded Diggantus. She isn't.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Aura, she later comes back as a spirit to help Niko banish the Darkness for good..
  • Regretful Traitor: Mandok is forced by Nar Est to become his spy in lieu of being cursed, and is clearly guilty about it before he manages to stand up to him.
  • Sadistic Choice: The climax of episode 2 presents Lyra with one of these — to let the last of the Champions die and return to Carondolet with the shard, which ensures her people's survival but keeps them trapped and imprisoned indefinitely, or sever her link to her kingdom so she can become corporeal and save Niko, cutting her people off from the last of their magic and dooming the entire world to darkness if he fails to defeat Nar Est. She chooses the latter.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: At the end of Season 1, Nar Est and Rasper are sealed in the same prison they kept humanity in, though they're freed by a remnant of the Darkness early in season 2.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The remaining humans.
  • Skewed Priorities: Lampshaded and Justified: Niko is only a few days old and has little life experience, so when he and Lyra end up in the Shoulda Coulda Wood, a forest that brings their regrets to life, the only regret he has to dwell on is of a breadmelon tree that had been squashed earlier.
    Lyra: Oh, havoc, is that your idea of a regret?
  • Sky Pirates: They prefer "Gentlemen of opportunity.
  • Squishy Wizard: Lampshaded by Niko during his penultimate duel with Nar Est; he points out that as powerful a sorcerer as Nar Est is, he's a terrible warrior.
  • Spanner in the Works: Mandok and Flicker, who woke Niko up early and broke the Chrysalis.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Or scorpion-snail if you please...
  • Sword Beam: Niko's main means of magical attack while using his weapon. Nar Est performs similar techniques with the Sword of Darkness.
  • Terrible Trio: Doris, Dingle, and Lump, a trio of Imposter-Possums transformed by Nar Est's magic into a three-headed cerberus-like creature. After being de-cursed by Niko, they mourn the loss of their monstrous size, and willingly (and repeatedly) return to the volcano to get re-empowered by Nar Est's magic in exchange for carrying out his orders.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Flicker undergoes a number of metamorphoses over the course of the season, growing larger and stronger with each transformation. However, he never quite reaches the same size and level of power he had when he was cursed as Xerxes.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Nar Est used to advise Lyra's father, but poisoned him in a bid to take power and harness the Crystal for his own purpes.
  • The Unfettered: Lyra, and by extension the Champions of Light, prioritize defeating Nar Est and freeing the trapped humans above all else, no matter the cost. Niko, however, strives to help anyone in need of aid, and through adventuring with him, Lyra is shocked at just how much she had ignored the world around her all these centuries in pursuit of her mission.
  • Was Once a Man: Nar Est used to be fully human before dark magic consumed him.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • They're never really called out on it, but Lyra's advisors' first response to seeing Niko about to fall to his doom is to order Lyra to take his weapon and leave him there to die, only relenting when they realize they're Out of Continues and that he is humanity's last hope. It's implied that they've relied so heavily on the Chrysalis to produce new Champions that they never stopped consider the worth of each one they kept losing.
    • This is discussed a bit more when the heroes visit the Tumbledowns, and Niko reminds Lyra that they should be fighting to save all creatures from Nar Est's evil, not just the humans who are imprisoned by him.
  • You Are Number 6: Niko quickly learns that he is just the latest (and last) of a long line of shard-wielding Champions who have all previously failed to defeat Nar Est. He takes it in stride.

     2015 pilot 
  • Amnesiac Hero: Niko, in contrast to the version from the full-fledged show who just doesn't have any memories due to his very recent creation.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The origin of the Darkness here.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Mogwamp's stomach.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Niko does this a lot.
    "Dragon SLASH!", "Thunder STRIKE!", or when doing a finishing move "Let the Darkness BE GONE!"
  • Control Freak: Chompsky's reason for staying inside the Mugwhump. The world outside of it has become too chaotic and dangerous thanks to the Darkness.
  • Cool Sword: The Sword of Light, obviously.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Darkness corrupts anything it touches, turning harmless animals like three Opossums into a Hellhound-ish beast, or a toad into the Mogwamp.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Niko and the Sword of Light
  • Kid Hero: Niko.
  • Identity Amnesia: Niko does not know where he came from, only that he has to travel to the volcano of Darkness, to defeat the Darkness, forever!
  • Large Ham: Niko.
    "Let the darkness BE GONE!",
  • Legendary Weapon: The Sword of Light.
  • Light Is Not Good: The human's civilization was obsessed with light, yet their greed still unleashed darkness into the world. Also Jackal craves the sword of light for his personal use, unlike in the series proper.
  • Riddle Me This: The Mogwamp will guide Niko back to the trail, if he can solve its riddle. If Niko fails to figure out the answer, it'll eat him instead. When Niko successfully solves the riddle, it tries to eat him anyway.
  • Saving the World: Niko tries to defeat the Darkness.
  • Sword Beam
  • Talking Animal: Every talking character except Niko so far.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Both averted and subverted. When subverted, it is played for laughs.
  • Your Other Left: Niko seems to have problems when it comes to distinguish left/right or east/west:
    Niko: (after he hears noises from outside his night camp) "Something approaches from the east - no, west!"
    Niko: (continuing this way to the heart of the Darkness) "To VICTORY!" (leaves screen to the right) *beat* (returns) "This way?" - "Yes..." - "To VICTORY!" (leaves to the left)

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