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05/07/2020 16:30:00 •••

Dragon Prince Season 3: Anti-War to the Point of Self-Parody *Spoilers*

I used to think the worst season cartoon finale of the decade was for Star vs The Forces of Evil Season 4. Dragon Prince Season 3 blew it out of the water. Its so stupid its hard to describe everything bad about it but I'll try.

A lot of the story revolves around the heroes trying to stop the humans and the elves going to war. Viren is supposed to be the bad guy in this scenario for wanting to invade Xadia. Except that the elves make it very clear they want a war, as even after they kill King Harrow, they continue to attack the humans. General Amaya nearly dies foiling an invasion by the Sunfire elves. What the story tries to portray Prince Ezran as a tragic hero. However, the citizens don't know any friendly elves and are justifiably terrified, so he just comes off as a Love Martyr instead. Viren's aim of peace through a show of force comes off as rational and historically accurate. The narrative wants people to choose peace when its not an available option.

So when Viren invades with his huge human assembled army, heroes make the brilliant choice of helping the Sunfire elves fight and kill them. You could play a drinking game with how many times Ezran says "there has to be another way" yet in the season 3, Ezran chooses to help the alliance that killed his father instead of the citizens he is supposed to rule and govern. The Sunfire elves are a militaristic society that subjects the humans it captures to a test that could kill or mutilate them, and enslaves them as pets on the if they survive. And they tried to invade as mentioned before. But they're the victims. What really takes the cake is when Ezran leads a group of dragons to burn the human army to death. It doesn't work, but the intention was clear. Had Viren not powered them up before the fight, they would all be dead. Ezran essentially lead attempted mass murder. Yet the show only makes it a note of despair when the army gets up again. Also, Aanya helps the elves, because she's cute, and the writers want to force her in, in spite of losing her parents to Xadia's dragons.

The painful irony is they accomplished what Viren was trying to do, which is use force to pacify the other army. It had the same result of thousands dying, so it really undercut the moral high ground the heroes had for fighting Viren. Also they caused a s***storm of political baggage as a result. The two princes will be known from the survivors for organizing the army's downfall. The main character's won a battle, but lost all political influence they had among humans as a result.

Or they would in a sane world. I have a suspicion that all of this is going to swept under the rug. Especially given Aaravos's return, who will likely employ an army of mooks for all of the heroes to fight, proving the old adage, all is forgiven in the face of a new enemy. What won't return is my respect for the show. This show wanted a big battle and did not care about the context and consequences and what we got was a huge mess.

04/27/2020 00:00:00

Viren is the villain not for making war, but for his pride in leading to that spot with no compromise to other areas. He pushed for Harrow to kill Thunder in vengeance of Sarai. He then sought to kill an innocent child for fear of what he might become.

In regards to the current actions, the Sunfire Elves were stopping human incursions into their land. The humans had built a fortress on the other side of the boarder, and so were expelling them. They then captured an enemy combatant. Amelia isn\'t treated like a pet, but a prisoner in an enemy nation; detained in their prisons, fed, and otherwise unharmed once she proved her worth.

In regards to Ezran\'s push for peace, he is a child but also right. He just failed to articulate this point better. The war could end if the mission to return Zym to his mother by human actions is done right. It could save hundreds if not thousands of lives, but the hatred infesting the other nations, which it must be reminded was inflamed by Viren using magic to make it look like Xadia\'s aggression had increased, wouldn\'t listen to the wisdom and optimism of youth.

After Viren helped kill the Queen of the Sunfire Elves, he then turned his whole army save a handful of people, into fire-ogre slaves with no will of their own. Those men and women couldn\'t be saved, or if they could there was no way to detain them to save them later when the horde was rushing to attack.

I am reminded of the series Babylon 5 where the two alien nations of Narn and Centauri have hundreds of years of aggression between them after the Centauri enslaved and massacred the Narn. Emperor Turhan of the Centauri, who never participated in the atrocities his father and siblings did, oversaw the withdrawal from Narn, and later knew the hatred between the two peoples would never end until one side said, \"I\'m sorry.\" It wouldn\'t fix everything but it would change the course of actions for the days to come.

The returning of Zym, who is an innocent by-standard, because of actions of humans, is a similar salvo. Ezran is seeking to apologize for some of what humanity has done. Further more, Viren, as noted above, has lied, tricked, mudered, and manipulated his way into leading a genocidal campaign that will end with the slaughter of an innocent child.

The series isn\'t anti-war to the extreme. It knows avoiding war at any cost can be a cost to high. It is anti-wars of hatred, wars of ignorance, and senseless destruction.

It is made clear that while there have been boarder skirmishes, no side has made a full mobilization of war on either side of the boarder in Xadia or Katolis, or any other human nation, for decades if not centuries, until Viren pushed for the assassination of the Dragon King, and then kidnapped the egg of his child, and publicly claimed to have killed the child. That became the tipping point in Xadia when further aggression came to be from the assassins of Moonshadow Elves or a dragon flying over their lands.

Look at Callum\'s meeting before the body of the Dragon King. He hates the man for killing his mom, but also feels empathy for Zym because he knows what it is like to lose his parents. He is conflicted in his emotions.

04/27/2020 00:00:00

Except the show didn't focus on peace. If the show was anti-war, then Ezran could have been much more smart about the whole situation. He could have agreed to join the alliance, but dragged his feet the whole time. Its only when he outright refuses to help Kasef that the latter feels frustrated enough to almost declare war on him. And the grounds would be that Ezran wants to be friends with the elves. Honestly, had a war broken out on the grounds of Katolis, many of his citizens would have betrayed him simply because he was holding his principles above their safety.

In the end, Ezran does precisely that, by having dragons attack an army made of the humans of Katolis who really don't know any better. Its the most blatant kind of betrayal. The show completely ignores the mood between its use of music, to the sudden change of the humans into fire monsters, to the casual tone of the main characters tossing quips during the fight. If there was supposed to be a tone to fit the princes' actions, it should have been somber and tragic. The show certainly didn't get it right.

The returning of Zym was a long shot, a really long shot. The main characters and Zym nearly die when Sol Regem tries to burn them after meeting him on the border. Then the characters almost get their souls sucked out by snakes. A Skywing elf almost stole the egg, which would have removed the all diplomatic power of Zym's return if she had taken credit. Ezran had no back up plan if they had failed.

You are exaggerating the fire ogre transformation. Kasef may have acted headstrong and violent, but the show implies he was always that way.The rest of the army is shown to be capable of simple commands at the very least or they would have scattered and charged all over the countryside. Viren is capable of commanding and controlling them and even tells Aavaros that he will stop the invasion after defeating the Sunfire elves. Aavaros doesn't believe him, but we never get the chance to see either way. Nevertheless, I saw several fire ogres in chains at the end of the battle, so they can be detained. I also take issue with the way they dispose of Kasef, when he was simply another ruler trying to stop what he saw was an aggressive enemy and knew little about the context of the situation.

If the Sunfire elves are more then just warmongers, this show suffers seriously from a lack of Show, Don't Tell. The cartoons shows nothing of the Sunfire culture besides militarism and a fantastical eugenics ritual. Khessa's troops aggressively wipes out everyone in the human outpost, and then nearly invades the country, only being foiled by Amaya's actions. If Amaya had failed, then the show would have been about Katolis defending itself from a Sunfire elf invasion. I doubt that Ezran's stance on peace no matter what would have stopped Khessa from deposing him. Needless to say, the Sunfire elves implied their test of "purity" was capable of killing or blinding the unworthy. Also Khessa says to Amaya that she will live as her pet, implying she won't be let go.

My point is this show is about peace, which was one of the reasons I thought the show had much more toned down action. But for all of their moralizing, the main characters show they're better than the villain by inflicting a possibly lesser form of mass death, on their own citizens no less! It really isn't that much better. The show could have had the heroes foil the villain by other means, like have the main characters kill Viren before the main battle, or used magic to trap them in a canyon. But the large war was tone deaf of the message of the show, and made the characters look like hypocrites. The show seems to make the outlandish argument that if you don't believe in war, you should attack your own troops, because if your troops are dead, then there is no more war. Its stupid and a confusion between grey-and-grey morality and white-and-black morality which this show has been struggling with its entire run.

05/03/2020 00:00:00

The message of the show is about the pointlessness of the cycle of revenge and the power of forgiveness. And honestly, it\'s hard to take this review seriously when you use the phrase \"historically accurate\" about a world with dragons and elves.

05/03/2020 00:00:00

Fantasy and science fiction are meant to emulate reality. Its why we use phrases like "realistic" when we address shows like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Otherwise, they are immune to criticism. What I meant by a show being historically accurate, is that when one country tries to invade another country, trespasses on its boundaries, burns a city down, and assassinates its leader, that country retaliates. This is seen in history numerous times. The show addresses Ezran's "peace no matter what" stance and how unpopular it is to the public. From an outsider perspective, it looks bad. Ezran explains he's hedging bets on a long shot that could die in the very dangerous journey through Xadia (and nearly does, several times) and provides no alternatives other then to sit, wait, and hope everything works out. The people that support the war are supposed to be the bad guys, but Ezran implements no policies for the long term. He could have sent a messenger to retrieve Lujanne and have her speak with the people if he wanted to approach from anti-war. Or he could have stalled for time by joining the military alliance and then stall them. Military campaigns can take astonishing amounts of time, especially when a side isn't participating efficiently. Ezran has immense political power and he completely wastes it. Ezran refused to do anything and foolishly ceded his power, meaning his only option, ironically, was war. War on his own people.

Forgiveness should not take the position of burning to death your own citizens. Think of how many families will blame him for the loss of their relatives Think of how King Ahling will react when he learns his son died on the battlefield. All of the other countries besides Duren will see the princes as traitors. Preaching anti-war while inflicting mass death on the citizens you were trusted to protect and rule is pretty contradictory in message.

05/07/2020 00:00:00

Still, \"politically believable\" is a better term that \"historically accurate\" for a context that is not our history.


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