Sometimes, you love a thing for everything it does right, even though it has flaws.
We were fans of the original Netflix series The Dragon Prince when it was first released. The series follows young human princes Callum and Ezran and their elf-assassin companion Rayla as they journey from the human kingdoms to the magical land of Xadia to return an artifact that was stolen, hoping that by doing so they can end the conflict between humans and elves.
It’s a wonderful animated series, perfect for family viewing. There’s adventure, of course; magic and dragons and mythical creatures; plenty of humour and heart; the animation is sophisticated; and the series is chock-full of diverse characters. One of the secondary characters, General Amaya, is a deaf mute and communicates through sign language – a welcome inclusion of a character with a disability shown to be a strong person who dominates in battle and whose physical limitations haven’t stopped her from reaching a high rank.
The second season was released today and we immediately starting bingeing it. We all squeed when finally – finally, finally! – a same-sex couple was introduced into the storyline. It’s an overdue and welcome addition to the canon; but unfortunately it falls victim to one of the worst gay character tropes.
In flashback, we see the same-sex rulers of one of the human kingdoms work with other rulers and royal guards to bring down a fire titan in the magical land of Xadia. The couple sacrifices their lives in the process – a noble ending, sure, and convenient for the plot; but it’s also a prime example of the “bury your gays” trope that’s all too common in TV shows. The trope refers to the fact that when LGBTQ characters are featured on TV series, too often their arcs end in untimely death, effectively erasing the representation.
It’s disappointing that among everything The Dragon Prince does right in terms of diversity and inclusion, the creators would fail to get LGBTQ representation right. Another season is rumoured to be in the works and I dearly hope the creators course-correct on their LGBTQ representation for Season 3, because it is a great show in all other ways, and I want to be able to recommend it.