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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 Robby 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Season 1 episode The Trap would state that Arthur and Guinevere have been married for ten years, combined with Arthur traditionally being fifteen or sixteen when he pulls the sword from the stone, would mean that they are at least in their mid-twenties at the youngest. By the second season, it was established that Arthur has been king for forty years, and both he and Guinevere are treated as being older.
  • 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.
  • Gender Flip: In contrast to his comic counterpart Sligon, Cynan is the father of a brace of sons rather than a single daughter.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Love Triangle: Valiant, Rowanne and Arn. It later became a Love Quadrangle with the introduction of Princess Aleta. 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.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Said word for word when Valiant almost killed a man.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The witch whose son Valiant almost killed 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.
  • 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.
  • Series Continuity Error: 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.
  • 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: Valiant and Arn's first meeting. They share fish and fruit, then get into a row. Valiant grabs a stick, and charges Arn. It turns out there's a huge snake behind him.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: There are a number of examples.
    • 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.
  • Very Special Episode: The show tackled issues such as racism, sexism, child abuse, alcoholism environmentalism, and even gun responsibility (though they used crossbows).
  • 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.