WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Netflix's The Dragon Prince, streaming now.
In its two seasons thus far, Netflix's The Dragon Prince has detailed the adventures of an unlikely group of young heroes banding together to save mankind from magical threats emerging from a mystical land called Xadia.
However, as the young prince Ezran, his older half-brother Callum and a young elf called Rayla make the trek in Season 2 to return a newborn dragon to Xadia's Dragon King and achieve peace, it becomes clear that, judging by the fantasy realms the series has drawn influence from, The Dragon Prince really stands out as Netflix's version of The Lord of the Rings.
The Tolkien Landscape
Almost everything about the universe created by Avatar: The Last Airbender's Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond feels like it's influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien. The world is split into various sub-kingdoms -- Katolis, Duren, Evenere, Neolandia and Del Bar -- with armies who unite to defend it once summoned by joint councils, similar to when Frodo's quest was decided.
The show also has Elven strongholds in Xadia, with different factions such as Moon Elves, Sunfire Elves and more, all while portraying Xadia on the whole as a dark, supernatural area similar to Mordor. What tops it off is the fiery pits of Xadia from which dragons emerge and go about terrorizing human villages, which has led to this great big war with humanity.
Clearly, we see parallels being drawn to stories such as The Hobbit, especially now that a new dragon has emerged in the Season 2 finale by the name of Sol Regem, who embarks on a mission of terror similar to Tolkien's Smaug.
The Fellowship of Katolis
Trying to avert war, Ezran, Callum and Rayla are facing endless tribulations as they try to return the egg to its owner -- a mission made all the more difficult now that it has hatched. Now, with this baby dragon, Zym, (which is more or less the MacGuffin here instead of the One Ring), Rayla goes about making amends for killing Ezran's father in a blood feud, establishing her as a warrior in the vein of Legolas.
As for Ezran, the new king is torn between a duty to his people and to the fellowship, patterning himself as a young, inexperienced Aragon, while Callum, a budding mage, feels like a teenage Gandalf. It's intriguing to see that, while no one specifically feels like Frodo or Sam, the bonds of friendship and family we've seen created here feel very much like what we saw in Peter Jackson's movies.
Just like that posse, Callum's team continues to help the humans and creatures they meet along the way, such as Phoenixes who can be compared to Gandalf's eagles, as well as a magical elf, Lujanne, who helps them navigate the terrain, just like Cate Blanchett's Galadriel did.
The Dark Forces Looking To Rule
The main antagonist is Viren, the acting regent of Katolis after Ezran's dad, King Harrow, died. However, he's more than just a political figure. He's a wizard using dark magic to conjure spells to control the lands in a similar fashion to what Tolkien's Saruman did. This season even introduced a dark villain from another realm who's been corrupting Viren called Aaravos, a Startouch Elf locked in another dimension, just like Sauron.
As for the rest of the sinister landscape, all these villains -- especially Viren -- are based in huge towers and citadels, evoking memories of Tolkien's The Two Towers. We can also see tributes being paid to Tolkien with other monsters, such as the Magma Titan, which is more or less similar to the Balrog from Lord of the Rings lore, as well as giant spiders who remind us of Frodo's enemy, Shelob.
In addition, there are magical doorways that bring our heroes face to face with other creatures that are doing everything to stop our young heroes from saving all the kingdoms, which is something Frodo's company encountered on a regular basis.
Season 2 of The Dragon Prince is now available to stream on Netflix.