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Western Animation / The Dragon Prince

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"Human princes, returning the egg to the Dragon Queen. That's the gesture that matters. That could end the war, and change the world."
Rayla, "Through the Ice"

The Dragon Prince is an American fantasy adventure animated television series created for Netflix by Aaron Ehasz (a head writer and director of Avatar: The Last Airbender) and Justin Richmond, two of the co-founders of Wonderstorm. They are joined by Giancarlo Volpe as executive producer, who also worked with Ehasz on Avatar before working on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It is co-produced between Wonderstorm and Bardel Entertainment.

Long ago, the elves and dragons drove humanity out of their shared homelands in the east of the world after a human created dark magic, leading to a millennium of war and bitterness. This culminated in Thunder, the Dragon King, being defeated and killed by humans; his only egg, the Dragon Prince, was lost in the attack. A few months later, the two princes of the kingdom of Katolis, Prince Ezran and his older half-brother Prince Callum, and the moonshadow elven assassin Rayla, who had been sent to kill them, discover the survival of the Dragon Prince. Together they set out to return him to Xadia, forging an unlikely bond on their epic quest to bring peace and unity to their warring lands.


The first season was released on September 14th, 2018. The second season released February 15th, 2019. On March 30th, 2019 it was announced that it has been renewed for a third.

Not to be confused with Dragon Prince, a book series released in the '80s.

Tropes in this series include:

  • Action Girl: Rayla, Amaya, and Claudia have all been shown to be competent warriors, and there are plenty of women in both human and elven armies.
  • Adorkable: Pretty much all of the characters shown have had at least one moment of adorkableness, from Claudia's hyperactive personality to King Harrow's idea of Dirtmen (Snowmen made out of dirt) and Mud Sledding.
  • Aerith and Bob: Many fantastic names (Rayla, Lujanne, Viren) alongside accepted given names in modern times (Soren, Claudia, Marcos). Although Elves and Dragons seem to be firmly on the "Aerith" side of things.
  • Advertisement:
  • Advertising by Association: Some advertising associated the show with Avatar: The Last Airbender due to Aaron Ehasz and Giancarlo Volpe's work on that show, as head writer and director, respectively.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Though it's stylized to resemble hand-drawn animation with its limited movement and camera angles.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • A few days before the show debuted, the official social media accounts posted a chartnote  listing ages, heights, and birthdays for the characters that had been revealed thus far. An updated version with additional characters was posted on the official website after the show debuted.
    • The official website includes things like a map of the continent and information on the six sources of magic.
  • Almost Holding Hands: Callum arranges his hand, watching the shadows, so that he appears to be holding that of his crush, Claudia. She looks at him, and he quickly moves his hand away.
  • Almost Kiss: In "Half Moon Lies", Callum and Claudia were moments away from kissing before Claudia started to feel guilty about the whole thing and tell Callum that King Harrow was dead.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Judging from his dialogue, it's heavily implied, although for now uncertain, that Aaravos is trapped or imprisoned somewhere.
    Aaravos: How long I have waited to hear the sound of another voice.
    Aaravos: (When asked where he is by Viren) I don't know.
  • Anachronism Stew: Ostensibly, the show takes place in a classic Heroic Fantasy setting, but occasionally some small modern touches slip in, like Rayla adopting a southern drawl for her human impression, using expressions like "bring it in", and suggesting a high-five (before realizing that her four-fingered hand would break the illusion).
  • And I Must Scream: When Runaan won't tell Viren what a magic mirror does, Viren uses dark magic to trap Runaan inside of a coin. He is implied to have done this before as well.
  • Animesque: Despite being created by 3D CGI animation, the show uses visible outlines and a low frame-per-second rate to look hand-drawn, and the character designs wouldn't be out of place in an anime.
  • Annoying Arrows: Justified. An arrow is fired at Soren while he is wearing his full plate armor. Just like in real life, the arrow did not penetrate his armor.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Elves only have four fingers, lacking a pinkie. Problem is, the pinkie is the most important finger in most sword use, especially the twirling and snap movements elves do a lot of.
  • Background Magic Field: The Primal Sources have aspects of this, given that they are the Sun, Moon, Stars, Ocean, Sky, and Earth, with different types of Primal Magic being more or less powerful based on the conditions present (like Sun magic being weaker at night, and Ocean magic being strongest at high tide), with Primal Stones serving the purpose of allowing a mage to cast spells related to the corresponding Source even when it's not present, like Sun magic at night.  Part of Callum's realization in his Vision Quest that allows him to grasp the Sky Arcanum and use Sky Primal Magic without a Stone is that the world itself is like a giant Primal Stone that he's inside of, with Sky magic all around him, but also inside of him with every breath that he takes.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Claudia uses dark magic, but is a cheerful and earnest person.
  • Being Human Sucks: Humans are apparently the only creatures in the world who are not born with even a tiny bit of magic. Human mages need to either use a Primal Stone or use Dark Magic to take the magic from other creatures in order to cast spells, unlike the apparently Long-Lived Elves, whose mages have the advantage of having a natural connection to a Primal Source, called an "Arcanum".
  • The Bet: In "Breaking the Seal" during a flashback to when King Harrow and his wife Queen Sarai are sparring and discussing a dangerous mission, Sarai successfully disarms and bests her husband. Two guards are watching the spar and the one on the left discretely hands over some coins to the now smugly smiling right guard.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Claudia comes back from her date with Callum crying, Soren angrily asks what Callum did to her while wielding his sword, but Claudia manages to calm him down when she says that he didn't do anything.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Some of Amaya's sign language, such as her speech to Sarai's memorial, is left untranslated. Word of God is that this was a deliberate choice.invoked
      "[…]we decided that when Gren wasn’t speaking for her, she spoke for herself. […] And she’s a deaf character — we wanted it so that understanding what she’s communicating here is for the deaf audience."
    • In "The Book of Destiny", a page of the titular book contains a poem written in Arabic that hints at Elarion's past relationship with Aaravos. A different book is written in Danish, and when translated, details a relate from someone (possibly a human) meeting Aaravos, referring to him as someone who looks on their kind nicely.
    • There is also a shot of a page with text in Danish referring to Aaravos.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: A common side effect of using dark magic. It usually fades after a moment, but Viren has used it so much his sclera have turned dark grey. Aaravos on the other hand has permanent black sclera.
  • Blow You Away: The sky is one of the six sources of magic. Callum is seen using wind and lightning spells.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Moonshadow elves use both. Runaan can take his bow apart and wield the halves as two blades.
  • Buffy Speak: Rayla asks one of her fellow assassins if she can borrow their "sharpener thingy" (whetstone).
    • Soren also gets in on the action by referring to a zip line as a 'Slidey-Sling Go-Fast Rope'
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp":
    • Hamantashen are called jelly tarts.
    • Claudia invents coffee, calling it "hot brown morning potion".
    • After Soren invents the zip line, he decides to call it the "Slidey-Sling Go-Fast Rope".
  • Call-Back:
    • When discussing what Ezran and Callum can do at the winter lodge in the middle of summer, Harrow suggests making a dirtman, as snowmen are not possible. Later, when Ezran and Callum are at the lodge with their aunt Amaya, her letter from Harrow ordering her there includes the suggestion the boys would like to build a dirtman.
    • When sparring with Soren, Callum tries to "sweep the leg", only to have Soren step on his sword, pinning it to the ground. A season later, Rayla tries a similar tactic against Soren, with similar results.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Or Dragons, for that matter. When humanity created dark magic the elves almost immediately enacted a pogrom against them and drove every human that they didn't kill out of Xadia without a chance at explaining themselves or reconciling their differences. This level of racial hatred has persisted into the current timeframe of the show, with the friendship between Callum, Ezran, and Rayla being possibly the only positive relationship that humans and elves have had in a millenium. It gets worse with the revelation that humans cannot naturally perform Primal Magic the way the elves and dragons can, meaning that dark magic is the only recourse that mankind has against the magically superior elves until Callum forges a connection to the Sky Arcanum.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Non-lethal variant. Rayla initially only tolerates travel with Callum and Ezran because it'd be meaningless to take the Dragon Prince back to Xadia by herself, she needs it to be given back by two Katolian princes as a peace offering.
  • Cave Behind the Falls:
    • Callum and Ezran were once tricked into investigating a supposed treasure behind a waterfall by mischievous raccoons. No treasure... they just ended up soaking wet.
    • In season 2, the humans have an encampment inside a cave behind a lava waterfall.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The cube in the lodge. Callum leads the group to find it believing it to be important, but as Rayla points out it does nothing and is just a toy. Soon after, however, it is revealed that it is actually capable of detecting magical sources nearby.
  • Children Are Innocent:
    • Part of the reason the heroes are kids, as they're not as jaded as their elders and don't see the war between humans and elves as inevitable. Callum wants to make peace, Ezran views it as a big misunderstanding, and even Rayla clearly thinks that her mission will end things once and for all, and once she sees the dragon egg, is eager to find the truth and make things right between their peoples.
    • After King Harrow is killed, Rayla makes it a point not to tell Callum and Ezran this. Claudia and Soren do the same thing once they find the princes. It's all for the sake of sparing their feelings. Once Callum finds out, he also tries to avoid telling Ezran to spare him the pain of loss. The truth still comes out, though.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Queen Aanya of Duren is younger than ten, but still shows up to the Pentarchy summit rather than sending a regent or a representative. Ezran also decides to go home and assume his duties as king once he learns of his father's death.
  • Child Soldiers: Rayla is a 15-year-old who's expected to carry out assassinations.
  • Cliffhanger: Season 2 ends with Rayla and Callum finding themselves face to face with one of the five remaining archdragons, the Sun Dragon Sol Regem, soon as they cross into Xadia. Meanwhile, Viren is arrested for his crimes with Aaravos' familiar inside his head, Pip flees in the commotion, and Ezran is returning home to take his place as the king with Corvus as his bodyguard.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Rayla loses a braid to an arrow fired by General Amaya's archers. Several episodes later, Claudia and Soren find the braid, which Claudia is able to use to perform a tracking spell.
  • Convection Schmonvection:
    • Zig-Zagged with the enchanted fire dagger. Rayla remarks that the sheath has to be specially made, otherwise the blade will burn the wielder, but people who hold it close to their bodies apparently have no problems. It does hurt Rayla just by holding it too close to her arm.
    • Played straight with the Moonstone Path. Despite being over a river of molten rock, Callum and Rayla cross without even mentioning the heat. Likewise, the rocks themselves do not appear to share any of the heat of the lava they are floating on, whereas realistically they would have been rendered hot enough to burn skin on contact.
    • Amaya and a sunfire elf battle near a literal waterfall of lava. The only time heat becomes a factor is when the elf introduces it.
    • After the Magma Titan is killed, characters have to have it pointed out to them that the molten rock its blood consists of is about to run over their feet before they notice it. Even then, King Harrow and a soldier stand with their feet centimeters away from the lava pouring from the magma titan's corpse and suffer no ill effects.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Lampshaded by Callum when Rayla is trying to kill him, thinking that he's Ezran, saying that even if she kills him and gets revenge for the King of the Dragons and his egg, someone else will just get revenge against the elves and keep the cycle going. Season 2 reveals that the killing of Thunder was in fact revenge for the death of Queen Sarai, and the humans are now planning revenge on the elves for the death of King Harrow, making a straight example of this.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dark magic is incredibly creepy, and certainly morally questionable, but its practice is not appear any more evil than other professions that require the death of animals, such as hunting and butchery. Subverted in season 2.
  • Dark Magic: The humans have learned how to use Life Energy as a source of magic, which understandably disgusts the elves and dragons and unnerves Callum when he sees it. It's also The Corruption, warping Viren the longer he uses it, and after using dark magic to "cure" Soren's paralysis, Claudia seems to slowly be succumbing to this corruption as well. Callum, however, is able to snap out of it after using dark magic once. Part of why humans mages use it is because without a Primal Stone, it's believed to be the only kind of magic they can wield, as they lack a natural connection to the Primal Sources like the elves do.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The earth is one of the six sources of magic.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: In season 2, Callum wants to learn Primal magic, but humans lack a natural connection to magic like elves do and thus need a Primal Stone to perform such magic. Without the one that he destroyed hatching the Dragon Prince, dark magic is the only kind of magic he could perform, and Callum doesn't want to learn that. Callum isn't deterred, however, hoping to find a way to gain the same connection elves have to their primal sources. Aaravos being a master of all the types of Primal Magic despite only having a natural connection to Star magic as a Startouch elf hints that it's possible, and Callum manages the feat by the end of the season.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Early on in season 2, Claudia tried to put a sleep spell on Rayla. Realizing what was happening, Rayla quickly grabbed a nearby rose and pressed her thumb against one of its thorns, using the pain to dull the sleep spell's effect.
  • Dual Wielding: The Moonshadow elves wield two short swords. Rayla's swords can also transform into pick-like axes, which she can use for climbing. Runaan's swords can be put together to form a bow.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The whole plot centers around the eponymous Dragon Prince, who's still an egg at the start of the show.
  • Elemental Powers: Magic is derived from six natural sources. Until the events of the series, where humans have discovered a seventh natural source... Life Energy.
  • Elemental Weapon:
    • Primal Stones, like the Sky Primal Stone Callum uses, allow a mage to use magic even when its source is not present, like casting sun magic at night or sky magic underground. They're also the only known way for humans to use magic that isn't Dark Magic, since they lack the direct connection to the Primal Source(s) that elves and magical creatures do.
    • The Sunfire Elves are known for making blades that retain the heat of the forge.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: After learning of his Dream-Crushing Handicap, Callum believes if he can gain an understanding of one of the Arcanums, he can draw on that specific power, basically forging a connection like the elves and magical creatures have naturally. After his vision quest from using Dark Magic, he realizes that the whole planet itself is like one giant Sky Primal Stone. He understands all there is of Sky and this allows him to use Sky magic without a primal stone.
  • Evil Is Easy: While how evil it truly is is still ambiguous, part of the allure of Dark Magic, as explained in an article by the creators and Claudia in season 2, is that using the life energy of magical creatures allows a mage to do what would normally take natural talent (with only elven mages naturally having a connection to a Primal Source), a Primal Stone, and/or years of study to achieve, fitting in with Viren's obsession with pragmatism. In his Vision Quest after using it to save Rayla and free the dragon Soren and Claudia had captured, Callum expresses surprise and discomfort at just how easy it was, despite feeling that it's wrong.
  • Eye of Newt: Dark Magic is made by using the Life Energy of magical creatures. It seems that things like this are commonly used by Claudia and Viren in their rituals, possibly allowing things like feathers to be harnessed from living magical beasts without killing them. She mentions in "Wonderstorm" that there are interesting things that can be done with a wasp's thorax.
  • Facial Markings: Moonshadow elves have blue markings. Rayla has one claw on each cheek, and Runaan has two stripes across his nose and cheeks.
  • False Flag Operation: When the Monarchs of the other four kingdoms refuse Viren's idea of uniting Humanity to fight against Xadia, he decides to send shadows of the Moonshadow assassins to attack them and show them the threat the Elves pose to Humanity. Whether the plan is successful or not remains to be seen.
  • Fatal Flaw: A recurring theme, especially among the adults, is them holding to this and to their values even when they should bend. King Harrow shows Honor Before Reason, Runaan shows Revenge Before Reason, and Viren's pragmatism eventually tips him into full blown villainy territory.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Claudia knows a spell which turns her hand into a flashlight.
  • Fantastic Racism: The elves and humans are deeply mistrustful of and prejudiced against each other, something that comes up as a recurring theme in the series.
    • The humans believe the elves to be dangerous, literally bloodthirsty monsters who will kill innocents with no provocation, and the mere sight of an elf is typically enough to send human characters in varying states of panic.
    • The elves believe all humans to be lying, corrupt, dishonorable and untrustworthy, and in the past exiled the entire human species from their homelands in response to an individual human creating dark magic.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Runaan tells Rayla that she's not willing to do whatever it takes for justice. Throughout the first season, Rayla is slowly and painfully losing her left hand to the binding that commands her to kill Prince Ezran, but never even considers it, saying she'll lose the hand rather than lose the chance at peace or her friend.
    • When Viren drains a butterfly of magic in "The Empty Throne", the camera keeps him out of focus but he looks and acts distinctly different. As revealed later in "Cursed Caldera", Viren's body and mind are corrupted by dark magic and he has to keep draining magic to look and act normal. When he overuses it, his body looks more sickly and he becomes much crueler and sadistic.
    • When talking about how she traversed the Cursed Caldera, Ellis says that she was really young at the time. The fact that the Cursed Caldera is actually safe and the monsters are just illusions is hinted at by the fact that a small child managed to go through it easily.
    • While praising Callum's magical talent, Ellis tells him she's certain that he would be great even without the primal stone that enables him to do magic in the first place. In Season 2, Callum figures out how to do magic without needing the primal stone.
    • Similarly, Ava says that there is no healer. This foreshadows that her leg wasn't actually healed, but is just an illusion.
    • Ezran's ability to speak to animals is actually shown a couple times before he actually reveals it in "Wonderstorm", but could have easily been brushed off as just him goofing around.
    • In the second season, Callum is trying to learn Primal Magic despite it supposedly being impossible for a human to do that kind of magic without a Primal Stone, humans lacking the natural connection to/understanding of a Primal Source, called an "Arcanum", but there are a few hints that it is possible to do so, namely Villads and his understanding of the wind and Ezran's own ability to communicate with animals, which seems to fit with the aspect of Earth magic relating to flora and fauna. There's also how Aaravos is said to have mastery of all kinds of Primal Magic despite only having a natural connection to Star magic as a Startouch elf.
    • Ezran and Zym mimicking each other while both are asleep foreshadows the fact that they have a psychic link which is put to good use in the second season finale.
    • Lujanne tells Rayla that real trust is about accepting even the dark parts of your friends. Rayla blows her off at the time, but by the end of the season, Callum uses dark magic and Rayla finds it in herself to forgive him for it.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Elves have four fingers on each hand. Humans have the usual five fingers. This poses a problem for Rayla when she has to disguise herself as a human.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Viren is trying to read up on Aaravos and all the books blur out as he reads them, it's possible to read a few facts from freeze frames - establishing, among other things, that Aaravos wanted to give magic to humans.
  • Gender Is No Object: There doesn't seem to be an issue with women serving alongside men as guards, soldiers and in the case of Amaya, as general.
  • Giant Flyer: Dragons, of course, but Lujanne also rides on a giant bird, revealed in season 2 to be a Moon Phoenix.
  • Giant Spider: The group encounters one at the Cursed Caldera.
  • Glowing Gem: The magma titan's heart, a magical artifact capable of fueling a spell to make two kingdoms fertile in the heart of winter, is a glowing gemstone the size of a grown man.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Ancient Draconic, the language used for magic incantations, is basically Latin. Some words/phrases used: Regina Draconis (to send a message to the Dragon Queen), Aspiro (to blow a gust of wind), Fulminis (lightning).
  • Grey and Gray Morality: According to King Harrow, the war between elves and humans is this, and there are "wrongs on both sides". The elves think they're avenging the Dragon King and his egg, but it turns out that the egg is still intact in the palace. The use of Life Energy as magic by human mages might have been evil (even if it's the only kind of magic that they can do without a Primal Stone), but the elves banishing their whole race for the actions of a few seems rather excessive. Throughout their war, both sides commit atrocities and prove they Would Hurt a Child.
  • Harmless Freezing: Ezran jumps into a lake beneath a sheet of ice in order to save the egg of the Dragon prince from being forever lost. Despite holding his breath for several minutes underneath frigid waters, he's fine moments after he comes out. Zigzagged, as the egg being submerged in icy water is nearly fatal to the unborn dragon.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When she realizes the dragon prince is still alive, Rayla immediately realizes she's been misled and joins the princes on their quest to make things right. She's even forced to fight her own leader at one point.
  • Heroic Fantasy: The protagonists are on a daring adventure in a world filled with magic. Unlike in High Fantasy, the conflicts are personal and political rather than great world-ending threats, and morality is definitively in shades of gray rather than black and white. However, like high fantasy and in contrast to Low Fantasy, the tone of the show is generally optimistic about human (or elven) nature, and the scale of the story is greater than the heroes' mere personal lives.
  • Honor Before Reason: King Harrow's Fatal Flaw. He talks all noble and like accepting his own death in retribution for the Dragon King's death is the responsible path - but really, it's not. His only direct heir is a very young boy, and feudal countries ruled by children usually get either invaded by neighbors using the opportunity, or they sink into civil war as various noble factions try to gain influence over the boy king (or murder and replace him with a competent military commander before the country gets invaded - which is pretty much what Viren tries to do once Harrow threw his life away). Likewise, the child Queen Aanya of Duren recalls defending against several actual such attempts of each kind herself. So Harrow put both his people and his sons in dire danger just so he could save his own self-respect. Also, Viren had a point regarding the hypocrisy of trying to stave off the inevitable by putting 200 guards as meat shields between himself and the assassins, as compared to sacrificing just one volunteer who would act as a decoy.
  • Hope Spot: "Breathe" has Ezran and Claudia encountering each other and bonding, with the slightest hint of a Heel–Face Turn for the latter, but then she goes and murders a young deer in order to gain enough Dark Magic to cure Soren's paralysis.
  • Horned Humanoid: Elves all have a pair of horns on their head, making them look something like a cross between Night Elves and Draenei.
  • Horse of a Different Color: When the Elves are shown exiling the Humans, some of them are shown riding what look like Hippogriffs.
  • Hot Blade: Sunfire Elves enchant their weapons to remain as hot as the moment they were forged. This allows them to slice through ordinary weapons with ease.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Deconstructed. Sacrifice is a central theme of season 1, and it's repeatedly shown how sacrificing morality (Runaan deciding to kill the ten-year-old Ezran, Viren's use of dark magic and later decision to kill the princes) in the name of a "greater good" is often indistinguishable from genuinely evil deeds or a cover for more selfish motivations like revenge or power. This is in contrast to the heroes, who repeatedly sacrifice themselves (Rayla's hand, Callum's Primal Stone) for a greater purpose.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Non-lethal version. When Callum and Ezran still don't trust Rayla with the Dragon Prince egg, she points out that she has the ability to just take it from them by force if she wanted to, she needs them the human princes to give the egg back as a symbolic gesture. Of course, pointing this out doesn't exactly foster further trust.
  • Informed Ability: The moonlight elves are stated to be unstoppable assassins, but they are stopped.
  • In Harmony with Nature: The different types of elves are naturally connected to one of the Primal Sources like magical creatures are. This is why they can use Primal Magic without needing a Primal Stone, unlike humans (save with Dark Magic).
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Viren does so at the end of episode 5, when he decides to imprison Gren, in preparation to making sure the princes wouldn't be found alive. Up till that point, his actions could be excused by a need to protect Katolis by whatever means necessary and by desperation, but after that he starts seeking his own power.
  • Kick the Dog: Soren lying about King Harrow being alive to manipulate Callum and Ezran to come home. He also tried to kill Ezran in a zip line "accident".
  • Killed Offscreen: King Harrow's fate is not shown, but Rayla's right wrist binding falls off, indicating that he died — not to mention Runaan, the leader of the assassins sent to kill him, sending the magic message that indicates their success. Likewise, because none of Runaan's party are shown being taken captive, it is logical to assume that all of them were slain as well.
  • Kissing the Ground: Rayla in episode 5 after she gets off the boat.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Three of the six sources of magic are Earth, Ocean, and Sky.
  • Language of Magic: Casting spells requires two steps. First, the mage draws a rune corresponding to the effect they want. Then to project it, the mage has to speak the accompanying word in the dragon tongue. Callum knows the wind spell because Claudia casts it in front of him, but he has trouble with the lightning spell because he cut her off before she could finish the incantation.
  • Life Energy: The seventh source of magic. A human discovered he could cast Dark Magic by draining the life force from magical creatures.
  • Light 'em Up: Ezran's pet frog Bait can emit blinding light on command.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: When soldiers come to apprehend Viren in "Breathe", Aaravos' magic allows him to freeze one soldier solid and shatter him like glass.
  • Lunacy: The moon is one of the six sources of magic. Moonshadow elves like Rayla draw their power from the moon and can become semi-invisible during the full moon. Moon-mages can even cast illusions so life-like that they can feel real.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Soren tried to kill Ezran in a Zipline "accident" by using a loose peg that one end of the rope was tied to. Thankfully, Rayla saw through his attempt and threatened him to hammer the peg in more securely.
  • Making a Splash: The ocean is one of the six sources of magic.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Callum learns about Harrow's death in season 2, he tries to talk to Ezran about it and starts to give him a speech about life. We find out later in the season that Harrow gave this same speech to Callum when he had to tell him that his mother died.
  • Missing Mom: Fathers are fairly present in the story — Callum and Ezran have King Harrow; Soren and Claudia have Lord Viren — but Queen Sarai is dead, and Soren and Claudia's mother divorced their father and moved away. Only Rayla speaks of her parents as a unit, and she's estranged from both of them.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: An animal called a banther is seen in season 2, a cross between a bear and a panther.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink:
    • The overarching conflict between the humans and elves is Grey and Gray Morality verging on Evil vs. Evil: both sides have historically been extremely ruthless and seem to be motivated primarily by power combined with fear and hatred of the other side.
    • The conflict between the main characters and Lord Viren is Black and White Morality once Viren jumps off the slippery slope. The protagonists are largely goodhearted and self-sacrificing idealists who are trying to bring the human-elven war to an end with minimal bloodshed while Viren is willing to have them killed, not simply to protect the kingdom, but with the intention of taking the war to Xadia and reclaiming the lands for humanity.
  • The Namesake: The Dragon Prince is a dragon egg which existence was kept in secret and might end the war between humans and elves.
  • The Needs of the Many: Repeatedly examined, played with, and deconstructed. Sacrificing one person rather than many often comes off as the best solution, but it's just as often used as a way to find an easy way out and not actually solve the problem at hand, causing more problems later. Case in point:. Killing one Titan to save 100,000 people from starvation is an easy choice, but in the process they ignited a war with Xadia.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: While speaking with Viren, General Amaya signs "Guard, send me a stableboy. I seem to have come across a large pile of bull... droppings." From the look on Translator Buddy Gren's face, she didn't sign "bull droppings."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In Fire and Fury, a dragon has been flying over a small town for a couple of days, but the soldiers refuse to take action because it hasn't attacked, with Corvus suggesting it's just intimidating the townsfolk. Soren decides to take command and tries to shoot it down with the town's ballistas, but after the first shot is fired, the dragon immediately retaliates and starts raining fire upon the town.
    • In the past, King Harrow and Viren decided to kill a magma titan so Viren could cast a spell to ensure a food supply throughout the winter. When they actually get to the titan, killing it is much tougher than they realize, and before they can retreat back to their territory with the heart, Thunder catches them. The queens of Duren and Queen Sarai die buying time for the others to escape, and their intrusion sparks a war with Xadia.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • The titular Dragon Prince's egg was believed to be shattered, but that turns out to not be the case. Viren stole the egg, and is keeping it under the castle in Katolis.
    • After a particularly bad spot with ice, the trio make it to the supposed mystic healer, but the egg's stopped glowing, indicating the dragon prince is dead. However, Callum sacrifices the Primal Stone he used to cast magic, saving the prince's life.
  • Not So Different: Runaan and Viren are on opposite sides of the war, but they both urge their subordinates to commit acts of evil in the name of pragmatism. Notably, Runaan and Viren both admit that killing the innocent princes is evil, but do it anyway in the name of "the greater good".
  • Orphaned Etymology: Several words that in real life originate from other (non-Anglophone) cultures appear, despite none of those cultures existing. Soren at one point composes a haiku.
  • Opening Monologue: A monologue at the start of the first episode gives exposition on the setting.
    "Long ago, Xadia was one land rich in magic and wonder. In the old times, there were only the six Primal Sources of magic: the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Earth, the Sky, and the Ocean. But a thousand years ago, a human mage discovered new magic - the seventh source. Dark Magic. It used the essence within magical creatures themselves to unleash dark power. Horrified by what they saw, the elves and the dragons put a stop to the madness. They drove every last human to the west. And so, the continent was divided in two. In the east, the magical lands of Xadia. And in the west, the human kingdoms. For centuries, the King of the Dragons himself defended the border. The humans called him Thunder, for when he spoke, his voice shook the Earth and the sky. But on the eve of last Winter's Turn, the humans used unspeakable Dark Magic to slay Thunder. Then, without mercy, they destroyed his only egg, his heir the Dragon Prince. Now the world stands on the edge of all-out war."
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Western dragon flavor, with some Eastern touches. The setting's dragons are powerful, extremely long-lived winged beasts implied to be attuned to one of the six sources of magic, with the fearsome Dragon King Thunder himself personally guarding the border for centuries. Unlike the traditional Western image of dragons as vicious monsters, however, dragons are by and large treated as noble and admirable creatures... by the folks on the Xadian side of things, anyway. Humans tend to very much see dragons as vicious monsters. It's also unclear how intelligent they are – the existence of a monarch implies some level of sapience, and the few we meet certainly act as if they're capable of higher thought, but there isn't any evidence of a Dragon society or language.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Elves have short horns and four-fingered hands (and four-toed feet) along with the usual pointy ears and lithe build. They are divided into six tribes, each attuned to one of the six sources of magic — the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, the earth and the ocean — and become more powerful the more exposed they are to their source. This understanding of/connection to the Arcanum of their specific Primal Source allows them to cast magic related to said Source without needing a Primal Stone, which humans cannot naturally do. Additionally, it's implied that elves are naturally long-lived compared to humans — in episode 7, Rayla comments on having a sub-century life span while pretending to be human, implying that it is common for elves to live at least over 100 years.
    • Rayla and the other Moonshadow Elves are fearsome assassins who can hold their own against most human warriors. They also have Scottish accents.
    • Sky Elves seem to have feathered wings.
    • Startouch Elves have blueish-purple skin dotted with small white spots resembling stars.
    • Sunfire Elves are capable of creating magical weaponry like blades that remain hot as the moment they are forged for hundreds of years. Additionally, certain sunfire elves can draw on their mystical source in specific ways.
      • Heat-being mode: Where sunfire elves draw on the destructive side of their source, gaining volcanic red glowing veins. This enhances their speed and strength, but it amplifies their aggression into a berserker-like state.
      • Light-being mode: A much rarer form that even fewer sunfire elves can use. This is a healing ability drawing on the healing and growing side of Sun Magic. Not seen yet, but mentioned by the creators in a interview.
  • Percussive Maintenance: When Claudia uses a spell that emits light from her hand like a flashlight, she has to tap her arm a couple times to get it to stop flickering.
  • The Phoenix: Moon phoenixes are giant birds with blue-black feathers, the edges of which trail blue flames, and which draw their magic from the moon.
  • Place of Power: While the different types of Primal magic naturally vary in strength depending on the location and environment, there are six locations, one for each Primal Source, where each type of magic is at its peak, called a Nexus. The only one seen so far is the Moon Nexus, a mountaintop lake which perfectly reflects the image of the full moon, where the ancient ancestors of the modern Moonshadow elves performed rituals, even opening a world to another plane, described as a "shimmering world beyond life and death". It's abandoned save for a single guardian now because it fell on the human side of the land when humanity was forced out of Xadia.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: With repeated use of dark magic, Viren's hair has become more white. Claudia is also seen with a white streak after using dark magic to heal Soren.
  • Power at a Price: This is how dark magic seemse to work, requiring the lifeforce or essence of at least part of living being in order to cast a spell. Excessive amounts of usage also seems to take some kind of toll on the user, as evidenced by Viren draining the life of magical butterflies to keep himself looking like a middle-aged man.
  • The Power of the Sun: The sun is one of the six sources of magic. Sunfire elves are masters of this magical art. A piece of their handiwork, an enchanted dagger with a heated blade, appears toward the end of Season 1, while they are introduced properly during Season 2. A Freeze-Frame Bonus indicates that Bait's a magical sun creature.
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • The Katolis court has the Crownguard, a collection of the kingdom's finest knights assigned to protect the king. Soren is part of it.
    • Rayla mentions that her parents were part of the Xadian equivalent — they were assigned to guard the Dragon King and his family. She's ashamed of the fact that they failed to protect the prince's egg.
  • Previously On: Each episode starts with a recap of what previously happened.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Dark magic, which is powered by Life Energy and has a variety of powerful effects, is represented mostly by the color purple. A human's eyes glow purple when casting it, and dark magic spells tend to have some shade of purple in their magic once cast.
  • The Quest: Once the Dragon Prince's egg is found alive, Callum, Ezran, and Rayla set out on a quest to return it to Xadia in order to stop the ongoing conflict between the two lands.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Viren's attempts to persuade the other four kingdoms to help them, while well-meant, are ultimately rebuffed because he has no concrete proof that Xadia is planning on invasion and the other kingdoms won't risk their own armies and the wrath of Xadia for nothing.
    • Minor example, but Gren has been trapped in Viren's dungeon for a little under a week, so when we see him in Season 2, he has some beard stubble.
    • Soren is knocked around a bit during a fight, then gets thrown into a rock by a dragon. It's the sort of thing most shows would wave off, but here, it actually paralyzes him.
    • After the meeting of the pentarchy, Viren is found to have lied about getting the position of Lord Regent so he could summon them all to start a war with Xadia. When the Council of Katolis finds this out, Viren is stripped of all power and arrested.
    • Unlike in many fantasy series, Rayla's attempt to cut a metal chain with a simple sword doesn't work very well. This is immediately lampshaded by Soren.
  • Regent for Life: Viren wants the title of Lord Protector rather than King as he's not of the royal bloodline, but he clearly intends on keeping it and decides to kill the princes to do so, as he believes they're too young and naive to rule. Interestingly it seems that Amaya is in a similar position and would become Queen Regent if she chose to take the throne, with the High Council acting as the true power until the princes were found and instated. He falsely claims to have been appointed Regent to grant legitimacy to his request to summon the Pentarchy. When he's found out, he's stripped of his position and arrested.
  • Revenge: At least part of the reason the elves are angry at the humans is that the humans killed the Dragon King and destroyed his egg. However, Ezran finds the egg intact in the palace, hinting that something more complicated is going on.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Played for drama. Claudia poses a hypothetical Sadistic Choice to Viren where she has to choose between saving her brother or saving the egg of the Dragon Prince. Though Claudia was joking, Viren answers that she should save the egg.
    • Claudia actually faces a non-lethal version of this very choice in Season 2 and chooses to let the Dragon Prince escape in order to help her injured brother.
  • Rock Monster: Magma titans are gigantic humanoids made out of rock and lava. The one in Book 2 easily shrugs off most attacks, which are deflected harmlessly against the rocky plates covering it, and attacks with powerful crushing blows of its stony hands. It's defeated when a ballista bolt is shot into a crack made into a rock on its chest earlier on, allowing the humans fighting it to tear it out and expose its vulnerable liquid core. Its heart, exposed once it dies, is revealed to be a giant Glowing Gem.
  • Running Gag: Through Book One's credit images, there are several of Soren doing push-ups with increased weight on his back, which includes Bait, Claudia and then both plus Callum and Ezran.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Conjurings for dark magic spells sound like speech spoken backwards.
  • Secondary Character Title: In the first season, the Dragon Prince is just an egg, and the true protagonists are the Power Trio of Ezran, Callum and Rayla who are trying to protect it.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Rayla's awkward nervousness around Callum after his near-death experience indicates she may be developing feelings for him.
    • Callum and Claudia's Almost Kiss, as mentioned above.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • According to the website, Thunder the Dragon King could turn into lightning to travel from the sky to the ground instantaneously.
    • Callum has a talent for lightning spells. Trouble is, he doesn't know the full incantation, so it only manifests as lightning around his hand, requiring it to be Full-Contact Magic to do anything.
  • Shown Their Work: General Amaya uses accurate American Sign Language, and her interactions with people who would be familiar with her disability are authentic. Characters who know her address Amaya directly so she can read their lips, and because talking to a signer's "translator" is considered rude and dehumanizing in Deaf culture. Rayla turns her head away when talking to her during their first encounter, which angers Amaya.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Spoiler Title: Being named "The Dragon Prince", it's no surprise when it's revealed the dragon king's egg wasn't actually destroyed.
  • Star Power: The stars are one of the six sources of magic. According to the official website:
    Star magic is little understood. It draws on the vast and timeless power of the cosmos, and involves divination, cosmic vision, and seeing into the “beyond.” Creatures connected to the Stars are extremely uncommon and rarely seen.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: A magical fantasy world where humans and elves are at war. Design-wise, the kingdom of Katolis evokes a fantastic vaguely European monarchy, and the plot centers around restoring the titular dragon prince to the neighboring land of Xadia.
  • The Stinger: The ending card illustrations occasionally act as this:
    • A couple of episodes have used them to show Corvus' current progress in catching up to the protagonists.
    • A couple images from Season 1 are the only appearances of the elven craftsman.
    • One from the Season 1 finale gave a glimpse of the mirror's secret.
    • One from the Season 2 finale showed Gren being found by some guards.
  • Stock Sound Effects: About once an episode, you'll hear a sound effect from an old 90s PC fantasy game, including The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, Dungeon Siege, or the Neverwinter Nights series.
  • Succession Crisis: Downplayed. Harrow has a clear heir in Ezran, but both he and his half-brother Callum are underage. A regent is typically appointed under these circumstances, and Viren volunteers — before Harrow's corpse is even cold, flouting traditional mourning rites in the process, which he justifies by saying Katolis needs a leader in a time of crisis. Several high-status people don't buy it, however, among them General Amaya and High Priestess Opeli. (The fact that he also "volunteered" to take over the kingship when Ezran and Callum were believed dead probably didn't earn him any confidence.)
  • Symbolic Blood: Rayla covers her blades in berry juice to simulate blood.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: After the third episode, the plot switches between Callum, Rayla, and Ezran on their journey and the happenings at the castle.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Viren attempts to rapidly consolidate power immediately after Harrow's assassination, ignoring traditional mourning procedures and brazenly announcing he will "humbly" accept the "burden" of regency. It doesn't work; he overplays his hand and Callum and Ezran are still alive. When he tries to circumvent Katolis and unite the Pentarchy to invade Xadia, he is stripped of his position on the Council and is arrested by Opeli.
  • Vague Age: According to the official bios of the cast on the show's website, none of the parental figures have listed ages. Amaya is listed as "Aunt-ish", Harrow and Viren are "Dad-ish," and Runaan is "Uncle-ish."
  • Villains Never Lie: Or so Aaravos claims.
    Aaravos: I'm not lying. I never lie.
  • Vision Quest: Callum's dream after using dark magic to save Rayla and a dragon from Claudia and Soren, where he faces the temptation of using dark magic and manages to come to an understanding of the Sky arcanum after interacting with an image of his mother.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Soren admits that the reason he was actually considering killing the princes was because he wanted Viren to be proud of him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Deconstructed. Many characters are willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve otherwise noble goals, but all those actions ultimately only serve to exacerbate the problem in the long run. And as the issue escalates, they resort to increasingly extreme methods that only make things even worse.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Ezran's Speaks Fluent Animal powers don't seem to fit in neatly with the established magic of the series, especially considering the fact that humans supposedly don't have any inherent magic of their own. In the second season finale he even demonstrates that he can do Animal Eye Spy, which he uses to help Zym fly. All There in the Manual material hints that it might be some kind of Earth Primal Magic.
    • Aaravos can use all kinds of Primal Magic despite supposedly only having a natural connection to Star magic as a Startouch elf, and Callum manages to cast Primal Magic without a Primal Stone by the end of season 2.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A recurring theme of the first season is that several of the main characters, namely Callum and Rayla, really sell themselves short on their abilities and potential. Rayla believes that her inability to take a life makes her a poor assassin and Callum thinks that without the primal orb he stole from Claudia he just isn't special. Thankfully there's people around them that assure them that Callum is plenty special without his magic orb and that Rayla not wanting to kill people is a good thing.


Example of: