Title: The Dragon Prince Season 3 Review
Release Date: November 22nd, 2019
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
The third season of The Dragon Prince is darker, more emotional, and more jaw-dropping than before.
This highly-anticipated season had a lot to live up to. This series, which started in 2018, has quickly amassed a dedicated fan following. The end of season two had Ezran returning home to take up the throne, leaving Callum and Rayla to take the young dragon prince to Xadia themselves. Dark mage Lord Viren had also been arrested for treason, and his children, Claudia and Soren, had failed to bring the two princes home to him. It also left open an intriguing mystery of the identity of the powerful elf trapped in a mirror-prison, Aaravos.
The third season started out with a bang and kept up the pace throughout its entire nine episodes. It was fast-paced, heartfelt, and deeply character-driven. The cast and crew behind The Dragon Prince have proven, once again, they can create an engaging world full of dynamic and complicated characters.
The look of this season is beautiful. Each shot seems carefully thought out. The use of lighting, colors, and angles is breathtaking. Upon entering Xadia, Callum and Rayla are faced with many larger-than-life creatures, including dragons. These gargantuan beings are depicted with interesting shots and angles so that their size can be fully felt. Colors are used strategically to set the mood for shots, and there is no detail lost in background environments. All of the cinematography around The Storm Spire was incredible.
There is also no effort wasted in character expressions. Their faces are engaging and expressive, even down to the subtlest eye movements. Viren’s transformations as he uses dark magic and then recovers is continuously fascinating to look at.
Fan-favorites return in this third season of The Dragon Prince, along with new faces. Skywing elves and Sunfire elves take a central role in this season, and each of them represented is unique and fleshed-out. Sunfire elf Janai and her sister are easily show-stealers with their strong personalities. Nyx, the first Skywing elf fans are introduced to, is brilliantly colored and fascinating to watch fly around.
Fans get to see Ezran in a difficult situation as a child-king, burdened with large decisions of a land at war but already impacted by his friendships he’s made on both sides of the battle. It is sad to watch him struggle, and viewers instantly feel for his situation. Rayla returns home to face the consequences of her actions when the Moonshadow elf assassins broke into the castle of Katolis during the first episode of the first season. Without spoiling anything, Rayla’s reactions and emotions to the situation are deep and meaningful. We see Callum continue to grow in his use of primal magic, and it’s very rewarding to see his strength and dedication.
But by far one of the best character dynamics is that of Viren, Claudia, Soren, and Aaravos. Boldened by the new powerful ally he’s made, we see a Viren that is free to act as he chooses. The displays of the great ability of dark magic, and of Aaravos’ own raw power, are stunning. These aren’t antagonists that are in the background, distant threats, or idle. They don’t shrug off their plans onto lackeys, or monologue ridiculously. They are active, present, and urgent.
Claudia and Soren are caught in the middle of the entire situation. They are concerned over their father’s actions but are still fiercely loyal to him and to Katolis. Their struggle and character development are fantastic throughout the entire third season.
One of the things The Dragon Prince does best is not show anyone in a completely good or completely bad light. Fans will find themselves understanding the motivation behind every characters’ actions, even if they may not agree with the choices made. There is racism, but there is also understanding. There is judgment, but also mercy. And there is violence, but also pacifism. With this kind of attention to morality and decisions, the story can run the risk of not having a strong enough motivation to unite our heroes. But, for now, it does exceedingly well in Viren and Aaravos. Whether or not they are the overall antagonists for The Dragon Prince remains to be seen. But for this season, their threat is real and it is a great deal of fun to watch.
There is one place where this season fell a bit short. Aaravos was a compelling mystery throughout the second season. But there was still very little revealed about him in the third. Perhaps, with only nine episodes, it was too short of a time to get into it. But it would have been nice to have more hints dropped at his identity, motivations, and his past.
The Dragon Prince has felt like it grew up in this season. The stakes were raised, there was more violence, and the story got deeper and more compelling. With this entrance into Xadia, the world-building was incredible. A highlight of the season was definitely the city of the Sunfire elves, Lux Aurea. Even with limited time to show the city, every moment was used to display a unique culture.
The political plotlines are easy enough to follow, however, some of the decisions made by Ezran and others within the castle could have used more explanation. The flashbacks were strategically placed and utilized, continuously adding more and more depth to the story. The diverse cast of characters is refreshing, and each of them pushes the plot forward.
Essentially, the third season comes down to a race against time. Rayla and Callum hurry to reunite the baby dragon prince, Zym, with his mother before Viren and the opposing forces of the Human Kingdoms can stop them. Each decision in this season feels like it has gravity. The stakes are raised, but they are also made very, very personal. With ties to the events around them, it is believable why our characters choose to get involved in these world-changing events and not sit to the side.
This review was in collaboration with Scott Roepel.
Verdict: The Dragon Prince season three is impactful, emotionally-charged, and epic fantasy at its finest. It is a beautifully animated character-driven story that is immersive from its first minute to its last. While the season is a bit short and there could be some very minor improvements, it does not take away from the season in its entirety at all. It is the best the series has produced yet and leaves on a cliffhanger that will have fans begging for more.
- Beautiful animation
- Character-driven story
- Fantastic music
- A bit short