Yes, I did just finish season three of ‘The Dragon Prince’. What gave it away?
There are a lot of lovable characters in this show. In fact, I’ve already discussed another of the series’ protagonists, Callum. But if I were to try and pick a favorite, I’d have a really hard time! Sorin and his pure heart and dull mind stole my affection practically from the moment he was introduced! Ezran’s purity in a world on the verge of violence is admirable and endearing! Hell, I even have a soft spot for Verin and his completely evil methods! But there is one character that, while very easy to read, stands above the rest of the cast.
The Moon-Shadow Elf assassin who never claimed a life: Rayla.
Rayla is the perfect example of how fleshed out characters in this show can be. She’s quick to intense anger and sadness, but she’s not without her funny side. While she may be an assassin, her actions are far more gentle and heroic than her profession would have you believe. Her personality is incredibly lovable and her actions are just as admirable!
And her tale may be the most dramatic out of anyone in the entire cast.
The Wound: When They Ran Away
Like most of our main characters, Rayla’s journey didn’t actually start with her. Rather, her tale began with the actions of her parents. Actions that would haunt her for years.
Fear not. There be no major spoilers ahead. Only minor ones.
Rayla’s parents were members of the Dragonguard, an elite force dedicated to the protection of the Dragon Prince. However, when the humans slew the Dragon King, the Dragonguard fled, abandoning the egg of the Dragon Prince to humanity’s whims. Their fear led to the end of the storm dragons.
Rayla was forced to take the blame of her parents mistake. Everyone blamed them, and by extension her, for letting the tragedy occur. Even though she had nothing to do with it, Rayla had to live as if she had done it herself.
This wound affects every other aspect of Rayla’s character. Literally every action she takes in the entire series is because of this regret. It forges who she is down to the very core.
The Want: Rebuilding a Legacy
When we first meet Rayla, she’s working as an assassin with the goal to kill Ezran and his dad. She doesn’t want to, as she’s too young and pure to be able to stomach murder. But she sees no other way to restore her family’s honor.
Until she finds the egg of the Dragon Prince.
Out of every one of our three characters, Rayla has the deepest personal connection with the main quest of the series. She is determined to right her parents’ wrong by bringing the prince home. Her firm belief is that completing that quest is the only way to settle those regrets.
Which leads into…
The Lie: Living Another’s Life
Whether she be trying to kill someone or escorting the egg, Rayla has always lived her life under her aim to redeem her parents. Never once did she do something because she wanted to. She always did it because she thought it was necessary in restoring her family’s honor.
This is why Rayla has so little understanding of her own self throughout the series. She doesn’t know who or what she wants to be. All she’s ever known was that regret. The desire to make up for mistakes that weren’t hers. Her life is controlled entirely by her parents.
This is a common theme in ‘The Dragon Prince’. Every one of our main characters are, in some way, haunted by the actions of their parents. Some move beyond them to forge their own identities, and these are the ones who become truly great heroes. Others allow themselves to be chained by them, allowing their parents to control their lives and force then to do things they had no desire to do themselves.
Rayla is part of the former. But she does have one important thing to learn if she wants to truly move out of the darkness.
The Need: To Know Who I Am
Rayla is trapped in the past. Her entire life revolves around the day her parents abandoned their duties. She is so trapped in that single event that she has barely lived life for herself. She barely knows who she is and has no clue what she wants to do.
Luckily, she has some good friends to point her in the right direction. Ezran shows her that her aims as an assassin would only have made her more miserable. Callum helps her see that she is a kind and heroic person. Hell, even the blind pirate is smart enough to see that she needs to find her own path and correctly guides her towards finding it!
What Rayla needs isn’t closure for a mistake that wasn’t hers. She needs to move on from that event. To use it to make herself stronger rather than to chain herself down. She needs to forge her own identity and blaze her own trail.
And thanks to her friends, and even her enemies, she manages to do just that.
Rayla is one of the best characters in this show. I hesitate to say the best, given how many wonderful characters there are. But even among all of them, she stands tall and proud.
Even if she’s pretty short.
If you guys have a favorite character that you want me to have a look at, let me know. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!