The most important lessons don’t always strike immediately. Sometimes, time is required for revelation to sink in. When it does, though. That time only helps to build up momentum to create a truly — and literally — breathtaking moment of realization.
Such is the case in The Dragon Prince. Netflix’s animated adventure lives up to the excitement built by its connections to Avatar: The Last Airbender. ATLA is celebrated for its deep storytelling, broad cast of lovable characters, grand plots, and impactful messages. The Dragon Prince continues this legacy in its own right, building on its ATLA foundation and growing in a fresh and unique way.
What viewers have paid particular notice to is the diverse nature of the characters. Main heroes have varied ethnic backgrounds, strong warriors communicate exclusively via sign language and lip-reading, and lovable teammates have specific gender identities.
These characters end up being vehicles for important lessons about society as a whole and individual groups living within the broad expanse of their — and our — world. Can we not find ourselves able to connect to the cast of The Dragon Prince as different races find themselves defined by the worst among them, all the while wanting peace? Most strikingly, do we not also find ourselves trapped in a cycle of revenge perpetuated by a select few in charge?
“You don’t want to die, and I’m sure they don’t want to die,” young Prince Callum reasons with his father to try and call for peace between humans and elves. It’s a simple idea that really gives onlookers pause. At the end of the day, shouldn’t we all just want to live our lives to the fullest? A shared wish by all races, yet instead we cut it short with wars and bombs.
This is one of the subtle parallels to real life that The Dragon Prince offers. But while this talks about mankind’s acts on a grand, geopolitical, strategic scale, the series also offers impactful messages about groups forgotten not just by the elite few, but by the many common folk all around us.
Ellis speaks to any young child with unflinching love towards any adorable creature when she cares for the injured wolf Ava. Ava already faced terrifying…