Cartoons, The Mind of a Character

Callum: The Artistic Step-Prince (The Mind of a Character)

*Minor spoilers ahead for ‘The Dragon Prince’*

When ‘The Dragon Prince’ first came out on Netflix, I didn’t pay any attention to it. I wrote it off as a generic children’s show. I’d heard that it was made by the same team behind ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’, which was mildly exciting. But after watching ‘The Legend of Korra’, I was… less than open-minded.

Honestly, I thought that these guys were a one-hit-wonder. They made one of the greatest cartoons of all time and they can’t possibly live up to it. But hey! Maybe it wouldn’t be all that bad. Perhaps I should give them a chance.

And then I binged the entire first season in a day. The show completely took me by surprise and hooked me in almost immediately! It isn’t a perfect show, but it’s so much fun to watch! Whether it be the witty dialogue or the stellar action, every scene of every episode is engaging and wildly entertaining!

But easily my favorite aspect of the show is the characters! Each one of them has a lovable personality, an interesting design, and tons of depth! Honestly, I could analyze any one of these characters! But I couldn’t think of anyone better than the step-prince himself: Callum. And with season three right around the corner, I figured now would be a good time to psychoanalyze him!

Callum isn’t an exceptionally complex character. But he’s so likable and well written that he doesn’t need to be complex! Every scene starring him was an absolute delight to watch! He is easily my favorite character in the entire show!

Though I am positively in love with Claudia. But that’s a topic for another day. And my diary.

The Wound and the Lie: The Useless Step-Prince

As a prince, even a step-prince, Callum has lived a decently privileged and comfortable life. He’s been trained in art, swordsmanship, so on and so forth. But Callum is far from spoiled.

Because he sucked at everything that wasn’t art. And everyone was more than willing to point it out.

Growing up, Callum never had any useful skills that he excelled at. Sure, he could make a really nice drawing! But that wouldn’t exactly do much for a prince. He couldn’t fight, he wasn’t exceptionally smart, hell, he didn’t even have a claim to the throne! As far as everyone else was concerned (save his brother and step-father), he was the fantasy world equivalent of that one cousin that hangs out in your apartment, doesn’t have a job, and eats all your food!

Not that I’d know that cousin. My sister filled that role in my life.

This is why Callum is so excited to learn that he has an aptitude towards magic! He was quick to learn it and talented in using it! Sure, he had a few missteps along the way. But he quickly picked up two powerful spells within a week! As far as he was concerned, that was miraculous!

Even with that, Callum still believes that he’s worthless. He believes that he has nothing to offer, and what little he has to give is worthless for the group. He tries his best to help, but he lives with the constant fear that it won’t be enough.

Worse yet: he fears that he’ll actively drag everyone else down. And he wholeheartedly believes he will.

The Want: Something to Be Good At

Magic was the first thing aside from art that Callum found himself to be good at. Sure, he only figured out two spells! But he did that without a teacher! Imagine what he could do if he learned!

Or could do it without a magic ball.

Callum’s primary goal is the same as everyone else in the group: deliver the Dragon Prince to Xadia and end the war between humans and elves. But his personal goal isn’t just ‘save the world’. It’s ‘get good at magic because magic is all I’m good at’. Bonus points: it’ll be a boon in the quest! Why wouldn’t he pursue it?

Unfortunately, the odds seem entirely stacked against him. As he’s a human, Callum is incapable of using magic without a magic stone. His only option is dark magic, which is understandably not a viable option. Worse yet: his confidence is already lower than average! If he’s kicked down even once, he doesn’t just fall to the ground! He falls all the way down to the bottom of the stairs!

Luckily, he’s got a great little brother and a former assassin to support him!

The Need: Pillars of Support

On his own, Callum likely would likely have fallen flat a long time ago. He’d have just given up and fallen into despair. But thanks to Ezran and Rayla, Callum has the necessary drive to keep going.

Not only that, but they help him learn at every turn! If not for Rayla’s help, Callum would never have figured out his lightning spell! Ezran helps Callum mature as a person at every turn, which helps bolster his courage and confidence! These guys push Callum farther than he could ever go alone!

Every time he does try doing something on his own, he quickly falls apart! When he tried using magic without Rayla around to supervise him, Callum ended up stuck holding out a rampaging Chidori hand and calling for help. In season two, he tries dabbling in dark magic out of desperation, which ends about as well as you’d expect. And I feel like I don’t need to mention how many times he’d be dead if not for Rayla’s help.

Every good hero needs someone to support him. And no one needs support more than Callum. And he’s got some great support behind him.

Conclusion

‘The Dragon Prince’ is not a masterpiece. Perhaps I’ll review the show once it’s wrapped up, or maybe even sooner! But that’s a topic for another day.

Callum is a fantastic character and the perfect protagonist for a show like this one. He’s likable, he’s fun, and he’s compelling! Without him, this show wouldn’t work half as well as it does!

I can’t wait to see where the show goes from here! Where will Callum and the others go from here on out? I am super stoked to find out!

I just want Claudia to be a) happy, b) alive, and c) not evil. If I get that, I think I can finally die happy.

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