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"Destiny is a book you write yourself."note 

"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"
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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: The Last Airbender 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.

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There are a planned seven seasons for the show, structuring the show in a three-act structure or trilogy. The first season was released on September 14th, 2018. The second season released February 15th, 2019. The third season was released on November 22nd, 2019.

It is the first entry in a planned franchise including:

  • The Dragon Prince: Callum's Spellbook (March 2020): A Defictionalization of Callum's sketchbook, which contains information about Xadia, the human kingdoms, elves, dragons, and magic. It also contains notes from other characters who have "borrowed" his book at various times.
  • The Dragon Prince Book One: Moon (June 2020): A novelization of season one written by Aaron Ehasz, containing new plot lines and information not seen in the show.
  • The Dragon Prince Through the Moon (September 2020): A Graphic Novel set between season three and four. Rayla, Callum and Ezran go on a quest to find Rayla's parents and Runaan in the "World Between Life and Death".
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Not to be confused with Dragon Prince, a book series released in the '80s.


Tropes in this series include:

  • Action Girl: Rayla, Amaya, Janai, and Claudia have all been shown to be competent warriors, and there are plenty of women in both human and elven armies.
  • Actor Allusion: In "The Midnight Desert," Callum suddenly becomes entranced when he sees what appear to be a set of boomerangs among Nyx's possessions, a throwback to Jack De Sena's role as Sokka.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All Animals Are Dogs:
    • Despite being a glowtoad and vaguely resembling a chameleon in certain ways (long tongue, ability to change color), Bait exhibits certain dog-like behaviors, namely panting and growling.
    • Ava is a wolf but acts more like a dog. For example, she barks which is not a behavior that wolves do.
  • 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 are moments away from kissing before Claudia starts to feel guilty about the situation and tells Callum that King Harrow is dead.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Judging from his dialogue, it's heavily implied that Aaravos is trapped or imprisoned somewhere. Confirmed in Season 3.
    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.
    • The six-sided, Primal Energy-detecting cube Callum carries is said to "unlock a great power" and is named in King Harrow's letter as The Key of Aaravos...
  • 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).
    • Amaya is deaf, and communicates using American Sign Language. In the real world, while deaf and mute people have been using various hand signs to communicate for thousands of years, ASL was the first standardized sign language and came to that standardized status in the early 19th century. In previous centuries, "sign languages" usually involved using 26 or so signs (depending on the alphabet of the local language) to spell out words, and instances of more complicated sign languages were the result of individual families of a deaf person coming up with signs for words. While the Katolis sign language being depicted as ASL could just be a Translation Convention, the very fact that it's a standardized language (to the extent that a Sunfire elf linguist is fluent in it) is fairly unlikely for the Medieval European Fantasy setting.
  • 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.
  • Animation Bump: The animation in season one was much more choppy (which was intentional to make it look more cartoonish) but after criticism from fans over the jarring animation style, the animators then went with a smoother animation in later seasons.
  • 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. Soren is hit with a Moonshadow assassin's arrow, but as he is wearing his full plate armor, the arrow fails to fully penetrate and doesn't do him serious damage.
    • And then, absolutely averted in the season 3 finale. The Sun magic Viren uses to empower the human soldiers makes them fearsome and immune to fire, but a flurry of regular, old fashioned arrows from the arriving Duren army is enough to turn the tide of the battle against them. Prince Kasef, the largest and most vicious of the transformed humans, gets done in by an arrow square to the forehead.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Right before the human army begins their march into Xadia in season 3, some Katolis soldiers choose to lay down their arms and leave the army. Viren allows it, but he accuses them of being cowards and traitors, and declares they will be forced to wear badges depicting a broken chain link to brand them as such. They take that symbol, and they adopt it as the emblem of their new army, which they bear in their banners as they take on and defeat Viren's army later.
  • 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. Subverted when said bad powers and Claudia's reliance on them begin to transform her into more of a villain.
    • Ziard, the discipline's founder, who was Good All Along.
  • 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". It turns out that humans can use magic, but need to forge their own connections first. A flashback scene in season 3 reveals that humans were apparently living in squalor before they started using dark magic.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Claudia started out as the Betty (Callum's childhood friend who he's had a crush on for years) while Rayla started out as the Veronica (An exotic Moonshadow Elf who's a bit of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold), and both are implied to have feelings for Callum. However, due to Character Development, both Claudia and Rayla have evolved in different ways. Claudia has (somewhat) taken on a more antagonistic role, while Rayla has proven herself to be a trusted friend to both Callum and Ezran. As of season 3, the switch has fully solidified, with Claudia developing into a full-on villain, and Callum and Rayla becoming a canon couple.
  • 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.
    Soren: "I'm your big brother, as you know... And I'm always here to punch someone, or whatever you need.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Queen Aanya gets one of these in the Book Three finale.
  • 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'
    • In season 3, Soren provides another example when offering to "smoosh" Aaravos' insect form.
  • 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.
    • In Season Three, the first soldier to leave the Army is the same soldier the Rayla spared in Episode One. Perhaps showing the empathy that grew from such a show of mercy.
  • Calling Your Attacks: To unleash a spell, mages need to say a trigger word in draconic. This is not a strict requirement though as Aaravos can use spells without saying the incantation, implying that better mages don't need them.
  • 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.
  • Chirping Crickets: In "Cursed Caldera," the group makes various jokes about how the Cursed Caldera doesn't seem very cursed and that so far the scariest thing they've seen is an angry cricket. Callum's quip, however, of "recognizing the unmistakable topography of Mount Monotonous" gets no response other than the cricket's chirping. A bit later, Bait eats the cricket.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: The Moonhenge, once an edifice that was a nexus to a realm beyond life and death, but now all that's left are the bases the full structure was built on.
  • 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, as 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.
    • Season 3 ends on one as well, with Viren newly resurrected and Aaravos' insect creature having spun itself into a cocoon.
  • 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:
    • Pointed out 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. Rayla provides a Call-Back to this scene in Season 2 as a life lesson that Callum taught her.
    • Exemplified and defied in season three with the Army of the Broken Chain. Their willingness to defend the elves and dragons helps to break this cycle, despite everything that has happened so far between their people.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dark magic is incredibly creepy, but its practice is not any more evil than other professions that require the death of animals, such as hunting and butchery. It also takes a toll on the body, but not necessarily on the mind; dark magic's effects on a person depend quite a bit on the character of the one who's casting the spell.
    • In Season 2, it's zigzagged. Dark magic can be physically dangerous to its user and can be damaging to their sanity, as seen when Callum uses dark magic to free a dragon. But this was mentioned by Claudia to be inexperience on the part of Callum.
    • Viren uses dark magic multiple times, and it appears to corrupt him the longer he uses it. But Ziard, dark magic's creator, is indisputably compassionate and caring. Thus, it is Viren's lust for power and vengeance, not his use of dark magic, that makes him a bad guy.
  • 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. Ultimately Zig-Zagged, see Dark Is Not Evil. 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.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Viren's dealings with the imprisoned Startouch elf Aaravos have all the markings of this, at least by the end of Season 2.
    • In Season 3, Ezran accepts one of these to stop a war between Katolis and the other human kingdoms. In exchange for allowing anyone who doesn't want to fight to leave the army, Ezran trades places with Viren, the latter on the throne and the former in chains in the dungeon.
  • Death Mountain: The Cursed Caldera is an extinct volcano rising high above its surrounding peaks, dominating the skyline as a looming presence on the horizon. Its sides are crossed by deep ravines, precarious paths and steep cliffs, dotted with dead trees and infested with horrifying monsters. The people who live in the nearby village are terrified of it and won't go anywhere near it, even though a miraculous healer is said to live at the mountain's peak. In truth, the monsters are nothing but illusions conjured up by the peak's resident, who is simply a skilled illusionist rather than a healer.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Harrow and Viren managed to kill the Dragon King Avizandum before the start of the story. This is such an incredible feat that one of the most powerful mages in the world, Aaravos, is impressed and wonders how they did it with just the two of them. Viren explains it involves a powerful Dark Magic Spell that needed incredibly rare and difficult to obtain components.
  • 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 tries to put a sleep spell on Rayla. Realizing what is happening, Rayla quickly grabs a nearby rose and presses 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. Notably, rather than the "building blocks of the universe" type (i.e. fire, water et cetera) they're more of a force of nature/location type (sun, moon, seas et cetera).
  • 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.
  • The End of the Beginning: The series is devided into three parts each consisting of 3 to 4 seasons. The end of season 3 is quite litterally the end of the beginning.
  • 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. Season 2 shows that Sunfire elves have gold markings and Startouch elves have white stars, with Lujanne being the only elf thus far not to have any at all.
  • 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. As we learn midway into Season 3, it's proven to garner a degree of success.
  • 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.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
  • 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.
    • A number of 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.
    • Sol Regem, the former dragon king before Thunder, was known for being so racist and petty towards humans that even elves and his fellow dragons can't stand him. So he spends his days living isolated in a canyon where no one visits. The fact he makes very clear he will happily murder any elves or dragons that don't murder humans on sight may have something to do with it.
  • Filching Food for Fun: Crown prince Ezran steals jelly tarts from the baker for fun.
  • Fire Purifies: The Sunfire elves have a ritual in which the light of the Sunfire Forge, which is the source of their power, can purify someone— that is, remove the parts of them that have been touched by dark magic. They try it on Viren, but they didn't count on Aaravos being at the ready to turn the tables on them.
  • 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 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.
    • The ending credits early in the third season show an image of Queen Aanya wielding a bow, and later show her being visited by Corvus, Opeli, and the baker. This foreshadows her Big Damn Heroes moment in the finale.
  • 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. And for Callum when he tries to disguise himself as an elf, but fortunately the few elves he encounters don't take him seriously anyway.
  • 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.
  • Functional Magic: There seem to be several flavors of this trope in this world. Dark Magic functions like alchemy (in that it uses the magic inherent in the materials used, rather than magic from the "caster"). Primal Magic, on the other hand, comes in two forms. The first is Rune Magic, used by Callum and other mages can use by drawing a rune and saying an incantation in draconic. The second, more nebulous form is Force Magic, whereby a magical creature can tap in to a Primal Source and use it for magical abilities (such as Lujanne's illusions). It can also be used to augment said creature's physical speed and strength, as was the case with Phoe-Phoe and the Moonshadow assassins. Callum first taps in to this form of Force Magic at the end of season 2, when he connects to the sky arcanum.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In "Smoke and Mirrors," Ezran tries to get Zym to go into and stay into the same backpack that he used to transport him as an egg, since he's not ready to fly yet. He isn't very successful and as the focus changes to Callum having a conversation with Rayla about Claudia and Soren, Ezran's continued attempts to wrestle Zym into the bag become a funny background event.
    • Soren can be seen chasing Ezran and Azymondias back and forth playfully in the background of one episode in season 3.
  • 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, generals.
  • 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. Which turns out to be not horrifying at all when Ezran susses it out as a total fake and they later discover that it was an illusion created by Lujanne. A couple episodes later, it shows up and shrieks at Rayla, and she just tells it to go bother someone who cares.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Archdragons are the size of hills when fully grown, but their babies are the size of large puppies. The one time we see the two together (Zym meeting his mother) the baby is smaller than the adult's nose.
  • 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 tetrahedronal gemstone the size of a grown man.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid:
    • Viren's plot in season 2 involves trying to get the other kingdoms to answer his call to invade Xadia. When Queen Aanya of Duren refuses, the others pull back as well. This leads Viren to send magical assassins against the four leaders, to make their countries frightened enough to do it.
    • In season 3, Soren does a smaller version when he sends a message to Lujanne to come and help Ezran escape Katolis and rejoin Callum and Rayla.
    • Before the finale of season 3, Ezran journeys on Pyrrah, a fire dragon, to gather help from other dragons to protect the Dragon Queen and Zym from the magically-enhanced forces of Viren.
    • Opeli and Corvus journey to Duren and meet Queen Aanya. They tell her of the coup, of Viren's invasion into Xadia, and requests the kingdom's help. Queen Aanya leads the army and turns the tide in the hero's favor.
  • 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 Zubeia), Aspiro (to blow a gust of wind), Fulminis (lightning). At the same time, it occasionally borders on Canis Latinicus. For example, that same Regina Draconis actually means "queen of a dragon". "Queen of Dragons" would be Regina Draconum. Or Sol Regem's name, which is presumably meant to mean "King of the Sun", has Sol in the nominative (subject) case and Regem in the accusative (object). "King of the Sun" is actually Solis Rex.
  • 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 morally ambiguous (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.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Soren is sporting stubble in Season 3, following a long off-screen journey and it just happens to coincide with him finally wising up to his father's villainy, and joining the "good guys".
  • 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.
    • In Season 3, one of Viren's allies turns on him after seeing how far he's willing to go. Soren gets a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal when Viren prepares to turn him into a mindless husk, and helps Ezran escape Katolis as a result.
  • Here There Were Dragons: The human kingdoms were once part of the united land of Xadia, but while modern (eastern) Xadia still teems with magical creatures, the humans now live in a mundane world with hardly any. It's implied that human dark mages overhunted magical creatures in the western lands to the point of near-extinction.
  • 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 but his honor has severe consequences.
    • He accepts 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 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 throws his life away). Likewise, the child Queen Aanya of Duren recalls defending against several actual such attempts of each kind herself. As such, 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.
    • He was shown to have this Fatal Flaw again in the past, which is ultimately what got Sarai killed. When the queens of a far-off kingdom asked for food to save ten thousand of their people from starving in a famine, he volunteers all of Katolis' provisions, ensuring that fifty thousand people from both kingdoms would die. After crossing over the Xadian border to collect the heart of a lava titan to use Dark Magic to make the lands grow fertile, many soldiers were wounded after the fight. Lord Viren once again urged King Harrow to leave the wounded behind so they could get the heart quickly over the border (or at least let General Amaya and the other wounded hide from Thunder during the day, and then catch up with them after nightful), but King Harrow stubbornly refused to leave any of the wounded behind. Predictably, carrying the wounded slowed everyone down, and Thunder caught them on his land before they could all safely cross the border, forcing the two queens and Sarai to perform heroic sacrifices in order to save everyone else.
  • 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 kills a young deer in order to gain the Dark Magic needed 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.
    • Ellis rides her pet wolf Eva like a horse.
  • 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.
  • Human Resources: From the dragons' and elves' perspective, Dark Magic requires humans to harvest the Life Energy, organs, and/or body parts of creatures born with magic, like elves, dragons, and lava titans, and so on, to cast spells. For the elves and dragons in question who stand to risk their own organs and life energy harvested off the chopping block, Dark Magic is Powered by a Forsaken Child. (Lord Viren himself also shows that he is not above trapping the souls of elves into coins, and is implied to have done worse in the past.)
    Claudia: That's the great thing about Dark Magic. You find creatures that are born with magic, and you just squeeze it out of them!
  • I Am the Noun: As Viren takes the throne, Opeli tells him that he isn't above the law. He replies that she's badly misjudged the situation.
    Viren: I am the law.
  • 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 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. A big part of why Soren realizes how much of a terrible person his father is precisely due to realizing just how much his father can paint any terrible action as this, no matter how much it isn't, while a large number of humans buy into it. When Aaravos questions Viren about his goals and reasons, he noticeably sounds unconvinced every time Viren tries to paint his actions as for the greater good. Given that Aaravos not only continues to support Viren but tells him how to achieve victory via mass murder, it comes off more as Aaravos being a tad frustrated that his protege is lying to himself about his own nature.
  • 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.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Lord Viren approaches the fully-manned door to the throne room with, he explains:
    Lord Viren: It's something that will protect the king when all your swords have failed.
    Soren: Uh, you-you know they can hear you, right?
    [pause]
    Guard: He knows, sir.
  • 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).
  • Internal Retcon: When Viren tries to find information on an elf named Aaravos, he finds that there's almost nothing on him. When he does find something, the passage immediately disappears.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Even after getting Zym to the Dragon Queen and making a start towards a tenuous peace, the story is far from over. Aaravos seems to have found a way out of the prison Avizandum put him in and he's more powerful than Viren ever was and doesn't seem to have as much as him in the way of scruples.
  • I've Heard of That — What Is It?: In "The Dagger and the Wolf," the group witnesses a man using a glowing blade. Rayla explains that it's a Sunforge blade. Ezran comments "I can't believe I just saw a real Sunforge blade ... What's a Sunforge blade?"
  • 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. Season 3 confirms the deaths of all of the assassins other than Rayla and Runaan. Moonshadow elves when sent on dangerous missions leave glowing magic crystals in a pond in their village, which sink to the bottom upon their deaths. Rayla's crystal is the only one still floating, while a final shot underwater shows four dead crystals on the bottom and Runaan's crystal just barely above the bottom and with a very faint glow, reflecting his current status, neither dead nor truly alive.
  • 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. Dark Magic on the other hand is cast by speaking backwards.
  • 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 and focuses on the understanding that appearances are deceiving even though they're all we can really know about the world, and on manipulating these appearances in order to alter and control how others perceive things. 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.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: When Aaravos reveals that he is imprisoned, Viren is shocked due to how nice and comfortable the prison looked.
    Viren: You're imprisoned? Your home looks like no prison I've ever seen.
    Aaravos: Yes, it's well appointed. But make no mistake, this has been my prison these past few centuries.
  • Magic Is Mental: Very much the case for Dark Magic, where learning spells and rituals are practically an academic pursuit. Primal Magic, however, is decidedly less so, where a great deal of spirituality is required to connect to a Primal Source, and magic itself is a product of both mind and body (dancing, arm/hand movements, breathing, etc).
  • 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.
  • Medal of Dishonor: Soldiers of Katolis who are branded as cowards (read: didn't want to march into Xadia) are forced to wear a sigil of a broken link.
  • 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, a cross between a bear and a panther, is seen in season 2.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Callum and Rayla joke about having to hide their relationship from the Dragon Queen, in case she doesn't approve, but the Season 3 finale shows she's actually quite approving.
  • 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.
  • Multinational Team: by the end of season 3 (or arguably season 1) the core team consists of a moonshadow elf, two humans, and a dragon.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Dark Magic, a taboo art that drains life from magical creatures to do such things as grow crops to feed an entire kingdom in the dead of winter or kill the king of the dragons himself, can apparently also make your pancakes extra fluffy, according to Claudia.
    • Similarly, Lujanne uses Moon magic to make grubs look and taste like cake and ice cream.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The elves in general are not portrayed as physically bigger than humans. However, depending on the type of elf, they are capable of superhuman strength, speed, and agility. This is due to their connection to a Primal Source, and a greater abundance of an elf's Primal Energy increases their physical abilities.
  • Mythology Gag: Callum comes across a boomerang-like weapon in season 3 and seems to recognize it. It should be noted that the actor who voices Callum is the same actor who voiced Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • The Namesake: The Dragon Prince is a dragon egg whose continued survival was kept 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.
  • 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."
    • Amaya gets in another one of these in season 3, this time carefully paraphrased by Sunfire Elf linguist Kazi:
      Janai: Well? What did she say?
      Kazi: If my interpretation is correct, and it is, she suggested an unusual way in which your body might accommodate your sword.
  • 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 dying. However, Callum sacrifices the Primal Stone he used to cast magic, helping to hatch the egg and save the prince's life.
    • Runaan is believed dead, but is actually sealed in a coin by Viren's Dark Magic. It's implied that the same is true of Rayla's parents.
    • Played with in Viren's case at the climax of season 3. After Rayla pushes him off the top of the Storm Spire, it seems like he falls to his death. In the last scene of the season, however, we see him wake up in a cave, and he even wonders if he survived the fall. Turns out, he didn't: Claudia brought him back to life with dark magic.
  • 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".
  • Official Couple: While Rayla kisses Callum in "The Midnight Desert", they don't officially acknowledge their feelings until "Heroes and Masterminds".
  • 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 for the most part 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. The truth is a mixture of both—at least some of the dragons (including Avizandum, Zubeia, and Sol Regem) are sapient and can speak. However, Sol Regem is quite bigoted against humans (who he considers to be lesser beings) and hold human life in very low regard. Sol Regem was even willing to wipe out an entire city just because one human mage refused to give up Dark Magic, and later shows he's all too happy to murder elves and dragons as well that don't do the same.
  • 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, Startouch elves are naturally long-lived, with a life span of one thousand years. Most of them also having varying European accents.
    • Rayla and the other Moonshadow Elves are fearsome assassins who can hold their own against most human warriors. They also have Scottish accents.
    • Skywing Elves have feathered wings and have English accents.
    • 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. They also seem to have French accents.
      • 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 an interview.
  • Our Mages Are Different: First, there are Dark Mages, who are a mix of Scholars and Chemists (Dark Magic spells require components to produce a desired effect). However, there are also Primal Mages, who seem to be a combination of Naturalists, Monks, and Race. Usually, a mage has to be born with a connection to a Primal Source—called an arcanum—to practice this kind of magic (Callum and Aaravos are the only exceptions thus far). Along with that connection, mages need to draw from Primal Energy in the natural world or within themselves. While some study is involved in learning spells, Primal Mages primarily resemble Monks, in that they must cultivate a deep connection to their arcanum, using willpower and mental discipline to perform complex abilities such as crafting illusions, super-strength, or flight. Mages in Primal Magic may also be Athletes, depending how much physical exertion is actually required for their magic.
  • Out of the Inferno: Sunfire elves are immune to fire and in fact it strengthens them, so this happens a couple of times, particularly in Janai's case, although Kazi seems to prefer a less-dramatic entrance. Because they are derived from sunfire magic, when Viren turns his army into seemingly mindless, violent monsters, they also share this fire immunity. Pity they're not immune to regular arrows, though.
  • Palm Bloodletting: Lord Viren does this to complete a magic ritual that would allow him to communicate with Avaaros in Season 2.
  • 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. When they die, they burn up into ash in blue flames and leave behind a single blue feather, that they will be reborn from when the time is right.
  • 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.
  • Platonic Cave: In season 2, Lujanne discusses how understanding that one can only ever know one's perception of reality is central to the moon arcanum.
    Lujanne: The arcanum of the moon is about understanding the relationship between appearances and reality. Most people believe that reality is truth and appearances are deceiving. But those of us who know the moon arcanum understand we can only truly know the appearance itself. You can never touch the so-called reality that lies just beyond the reach of your own perception.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: With repeated use of dark magic, Viren's hair has become whiter. Claudia is also seen with a white streak after using dark magic to heal Soren. After bringing Viren Back from the Dead, almost half of her hair has become white.
  • Power at a Price: This is how dark magic seems 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 in order to hide his darkness-stained skin and eyes and keep himself looking like a middle-aged man.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: From the dragons' and elves' perspective, Dark Magic is especially abhorrent because it allows humans to harvest the Life Energy and/or organs of magical creatures like them to fuel magic that could rival their own. Now, imagine the roles were reversed and it was elves who were not born with magic, but found a way to rival human magic by harvesting the organs and/or life energy of human bodies... (It doesn't help that Claudia and Lord Viren both hint that they or other humans have harvested magical creatures like dragons, unicorns, and lava titans in the past, the first of which definitely has sapience and the latter two might as well.)
  • 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 creature that draws from the sun.
  • 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 apparently deserted and 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.
  • Rascally Raccoon: Ezran is of the opinion that raccoons are mischievous and likely to trick people — you can't trust a raccoon.
  • 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: Gren has been trapped in Viren's dungeon for a little under a week, so when we see him in Season 2, he's grown 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 from the neck down.
    • 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.
    • Ezran not only fails to persuade the hotheaded Prince Kasef that peace is possible by returning Azymondias, but further enrages Kasef by reinforcing his belief that he's really just dealing with a naive child after all.
  • 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 faces this very choice in Season 2 and chooses to let the Dragon Prince escape in order to help her injured brother.
  • Rightful King Returns: Ezran's return to the Katolis capital in season 3 rings of this, unfortunately the moment is overshadowed by his doubt and insecurities over taking the throne. Sure enough, despite his good intentions Ezran's lack of training and experience causes him to make foolish mistakes, and he's ultimately pressured into abdicating in favor of Viren in order to avert the capitol going under siege.
  • 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.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: In "Voyage of the Ruthless," the parrot Berto comments "Nailed it. Squawk!" and Ezran lampshades "Did he just say the word 'Squawk'?"
  • Scenery Porn: Almost all scenes in Xadia by season 3.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Conjurings for dark magic spells sound like speech spoken backwards.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Aaravos the Startouch Elf. The Dragon King imprisoned him untold centuries ago and now Viren seems well on his way to letting him out.
  • 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. They confirm their feelings for each other in season 3 and are still together by the end of the season.
  • 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.
    • The weapons and armor tend to be historically-accurate, to the point that one can easily find the real life reproductions of the historical swords, crossbows, and halberds that they were clearly modeled after.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Rayla gives one to Callum in "Heroes and Masterminds".
  • Side 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.
  • Sins of the Father: A running theme of the show. The Cycle of Revenge and how Vengeance Feels Empty are frequently on display here. Whether they're good or bad, everyone in the setting has to deal with the consequences of the actions of their forefathers, their parents, or their culture.
    • The entire mess started due to dragons not wanting humans to have the power of magic. Or so the humans claim, anyway. It's much more morally gray than that, as revealed in the third season.
    • Season 3 reveals a lot of the reason why the races of humanity and the races of Xadia despise each other. King Harrow's wife was killed by the dragon king, Thunder. In retaliation, Harrow and Viren used a spear fueled by dark magic to turn Thunder to stone and steal his egg. Decades later, the quest of the three main heroes is repeatedly stymied by having to deal with the fallout.
  • Sneaking Snacks: Ezran often sneaks jelly tarts from the kitchen, even using the castle's secret passageways for this purpose.
  • 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 Ethari before he's seen in the series proper in Season 3.
    • 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.
    • Season 3 has a few of these, such as two where Lujanne (under a glamour that makes her look human) is seemingly flirting with a human man, and another where we see Opeli, Corvus, and the baker bowing to Queen Aanya.
  • 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.
  • The Treachery of Images: In season 2, Lujanne discusses how understanding the relationship between reality and one's perception of it is central to the moon arcanum.
    Lujanne: The arcanum of the moon is about understanding the relationship between appearances and reality. Most people believe that reality is truth and appearances are deceiving. But those of us who know the moon arcanum understand we can only truly know the appearance itself. You can never touch the so-called reality that lies just beyond the reach of your own perception.
  • Tsundere: Janai and Amaya may be Fire-Forged Friends, but the former won't admit it.
    Janai: We are not... friends. She is my prisoner.
  • Tunnel Network: Katolis Castle has secret tunnels and passages within it. Exploring them is how Ezran first found out about the Dragon Prince's egg.
  • 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.
  • Warrior Monk: Primal Mages, such as Lujanne and Ibis, combine Western depictions of wizards with Eastern depictions of monks. While they cast spells like wizards, they also have the contemplative mysticism and monastic/ascetic lifestyle more commonly associated with monks. Lujanne spent years meditating and cultivating a deep understanding of her arcanum to become as powerful of a mage as she is. Callum has to explore concepts such as "freedom" and understand the sky on a spiritual level to use Sky Magic. We also get subtle hints that there is a warrior element here as well; Rayla imagines Sky spells looking like "tornado punch" or "lightning lash."
  • "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.
    • Played straight with Ziard, the first (human) dark mage, who began the practice so that humanity would have access to magic and thus ease suffering and no longer be considered inferiors for being non magical creatures.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Discussed and Defied by Queen Sarai. When King Harrow and Lord Viren are all set to cross into Xadia to gain the heart of a lava titan, she calls out Harrow's assumption that it's "just a monster" and asks whether it's intelligent, has feelings, hopes, dreams, or a family? Is it the Last of Its Kind? She argues that to save thousands, they could be murdering a sapient being.
    • This also plays into why the conflict between humans and the magical creatures of Xadia is depicted as Gray-and-Grey Morality: While most humans find Dark Magic to be unsettling at best, most of them accept it more or less as a way to solve difficult problems, and/or level the playing field with magical creatures like dragons and elves. But from the dragons' and elves' perspective (who very much have human-level intelligence), some humans being able and willing to literally cut up magical creatures like themselves and harvest elven and dragon organs and/or life energy is a case of Powered by a Forsaken Child, and most don't want to be anywhere near humans given the damage that humans can (and have) done to them.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    Nyx: Why did it have to be soulfangs?
  • Will They or Won't They?: Mostly averted, especially for a show like this that might be expected to drag out any romantic subplot. There are some vague hints at the very end of the second season that Rayla and Callum might have feelings for each other beyond friendship. It only takes a couple of episodes into the third season before they figure out the interest is mutual and then they just go for it.
  • 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. the website 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.
    • Callum, despite being a human and supposedly unable to use it at all, manages to cast Sky 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.
    • When Rayla is overcome by self-deprecation at the central oasis in "The Midnight Desert," Callum's reaction is this, nearly verbatim.
    Callum: You're too good to feel this bad about yourself. I know that, and you should know that.

 
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