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Western Animation / The Legend of Prince Valiant

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The Legend of Prince Valiant is an American 65-Episode Cartoon based on the Prince Valiant comic strip created by Hal Foster. Set in the time of King Arthur, it's a family-oriented adventure show about an exiled prince (voiced by Robbie Benson) who goes on a quest to become one of the Knights of the Round Table. He begins his quest after having a dream about Camelot and its idealistic New Order. This television series originally aired on what was then The Family Channel from 1991 to 1993.


  • Action Girl: Rowanne and Aleta. Even Queen Guinevere had her moments.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The conqueror of Thule was renamed from Sligon to Cynan.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Rowanne for Valiant, Michael and Arn for Rowanne.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Several monsters look like dinosaurs. For example, the "creature" in episode 2 is a dead ringer for a brontosaurus.
  • Big Bad: The series does not have one single main villain but one for each season: Cynan for Season 1 and Mordred for Season 2.
  • Black Vikings: The Ambiguously Brown Sir Bryant looks like an example of this at first, until it is explained in a centric episode that he is an exiled Moorish prince who joined King Arthur's knights after arriving in England and suffering quite a few misfortunes there too — among them the assassination of his wife and son by thieves.
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  • Bloodless Carnage: There is some blood, but nowhere near what would be expected from a show where most characters have bladed weapons. Justified, as this was a show on what was then the Family Channel.
  • Canon Foreigner: While Valiant did have a very good friend called Arn in the comic strip (although he was a completely different character, the prince of Ord who gave Valiant his iconic sword Flamberge and who Valiant named his first-born son after), Rowanne and Sir Bryant had no counterparts in either the comic or the Arthurian legends it and the show were based on.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Valiant and his family were driven out of Thule when he was a young child in the comic strip. As a result of it happening while he is a young adult in the show, it means the time in the swamp is considerably shorter.
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  • Early Installment Weirdness: A Season 1 episode states that Arthur has ruled Camelot for ten years. Come the second season, it is stated that he has ruled for forty years.
  • Enforced Trope: No magic or dragons were allowed by the Family Channelnote , but this allowed the writers to get more creative, not less.
  • Expy: At least three characters are based on characters from the comic strip, albeit loosely:
    • Rowanne is based on Ilene whom both Valiant and Arn were in love with while in this show they both had feelings for Rowanne.
    • Bryant is based on Sir Tristram who, though not a Moor, was one of the earliest knights Valiant befriended and was often seen alongside him and Gawain.
    • Denys is based on Geoffrey, who found himself free from a cruel home and went on to be the most developed of Valiant's squires.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Sir Mordred, Sir Kay, and Sir Gideon. Three Knights of the Round Table that end up betraying Arthur or his ideals.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble : Of the main cast roll, Valiant is choleric, Arn is melancholic, Rowanne is sanguine, Merlin is phlegmatic, and Arthur is leukine.
  • Grand Finale: Knowing that the show was going to be cancelled, the writers did an excellent job of wrapping up (most of) the plot-threads and loose ends in a four-part finale.
  • The Good King: Arthur
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Rowanne and Valiant could both be this, even though they don't actually end up together.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The Power Trio is trained in all forms of weaponry, but Valiant and Arn favour melee weapons while Rowanne is an excellent shot.
  • Happily Married: Arthur and Guinevere (no sign of Lancelot in this version).
  • Heel–Face Turn: Duncan Draconarius, once a ruthless baron of Rowanne's hometown and an enemy of Camelot, he becomes a wise king and an ally of Camelot after seeing the tragic effect of his actions and the mercy of King Arthur.
  • The High Queen: Guinevere
  • Karmic Death: Many villains fall to their own treachery and on two occasions (Cynan and the Baron of Lionsgate) the actions of a villainous father led to the death of his son, ending the bloodline and leaving the father broken.
  • The Legend of X
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Guinevere in the finale episode.
  • Love Triangle: Valiant, Rowanne and Arn. It later became a Love Square with the introduction of Princess Aleta.
    • Hell, it was a Love Pentagon with Prince Michael of Northland around. This one was seriously complicated and not all that consistent. At first it's revealed that Arn and Valiant are both in love with Rowanne, who sees them both as friends. Then it's never mentioned again until Valiant falls for Aleta, whereupon Rowanne becomes jealous. Then, although the events of that episode should mean that a) Valiant knows how Rowanne feels about him and b) she knows how he feels about Aleta, that doesn't stop Rowanne thinking that Valiant is confessing love for HER, or her being surprised that he isn't. Then, whaddaya know, it turns out Rowanne KNOWS that Arn's in love with her, though there's never been any indication of this before. Then she nearly marries Michael... At the end of the series, Val and Aleta are to be married, however Rowanne chooses duty to Camelot over Michael, ending up being knighted. In the last few episodes, she is mostly seen at Arn's side, leaving their future as a pair ambiguous.
      • Rowanne's character development is about putting feeling of jealousy and romantic longing aside for her duty to Camelot, the responsibilities of knighthood, and fighting for justice. By choosing Camelot over Michael, her development as a character is completed, symbolized by her knighting. The Love Pentagon is then reduced to an Official Couple.
  • Low Fantasy : Family Channel discouraged the show from using magic or dragons, so the show writers made the "wizards", such as Merlin, scientists and the "dragons" cannons.
    • That said, there are hints of magic, most notably when Merlin was poisoned by Morgana.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Said word for word when Valiant almost killed a man. The man was trying to kill Valiant at the time, but he did believe Valiant was an invader.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The witch whose son Valiant almost killed (see My God, What Have I Done?) gives Valiant a potion which shows him Camelot in ruins. It is meant as revenge, but Valiant takes it as proof that Camelot really does exist, and it only fuels his desire to find and protect it.
  • Official Couple: Valiant and Aleta. Given that Valiant/Rowanne was heavily teased before Aleta's introduction, one can only imagine the Shipping Wars that would have ensued had this cartoon existed in the time of internet fandom.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Due to the Family Channel not allowing the show's producer to use dragons and magic, the shows writers got creative, cannons brought from the far east were thought of as "dragons".
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: The trope is discussed in an episode in which Rowanne worries that no one will take her desire to be a knight seriously if she dresses like a woman. Queen Guinevere assures her otherwise.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Arthur, Merlin, Byrant and (sometimes) Gawain, however Guinevere is the best example.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sir Gawain and Sir Bryant.
  • Related in the Adaptation: There is a number of inversions.
    • Gawain is never stated to be Arthur's nephew nor Lot's son.
    • Mordred is never stated to be Arthur's nephew, son (Both from Arthurian myth) or half-brother (From the Prince Valiant comic strip) and thus makes his initial relationship with Morgana less squicky. He is also never stated to be Lot's son.
    • Lot is never stated to be Arthur's brother-in-law.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Rowanne tries this on Valiant and Aleta, only for there to be some drastic consequences for her actions. She then helps bring Aleta and Valiant back together when she saves Valiant with Aleta.
  • Ruling Couple: Arthur and Guinevere. The show makes it very clear that ruling Camelot is a joint occupation.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Aleta.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Valiant's mother dies just before he leaves for Camelot in the comic strip. She is still living by the the time of Thule's liberation in the show.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Valliant and Arn's first meeting. They share fish and fruit, then get into a row. Valliant grabs a stick, and charges Arn. It turns out there's a huge snake behind him.
  • Very Special Episode: The show tackled issues such as racism, sexism, child abuse, alcoholism environmentalism, and even gun responsibility (though they used crossbows).
  • Warrior Prince: Valiant, obviously.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Valiant and Aleta, at first.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Morgana is missing entirely from the last episode after her plan was exposed in the previous episode.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kirkwood viciously whips Denys (the younger son of Cynan who he sold after the fall of Thule due to Denys's mercy) after Denys returns a pouch to the owner after it was stolen by his band of thieves.
    • The episode "The Flute" is about child abuse, where the king beats his son for his clumsiness. Denys also reveals that his father Cynan also beat him.
    • In "The Tree", its shown that Sir Bryant's young son was murdered by highwayman trying to defend his fallen mother.
  • Worthy Opponent: Morgana calls Merlin this. Mordred calls Valiant this as well.


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