Disney princesses have constantly reminded us that young girls can be headstrong and could transform into heroes. This evolution process is depicted in a coming-of-age tale that takes us through the character’s ups and downs. As the narrative moves ahead, we are slowly drawn to the heroic quests of the titular characters.
‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ fashions its story around Raya, a princess of a clan who embarks on a quest to protect her land from a devious plague. In her journey, she encounters different types of characters, who help her understand the ethos of unity. The perils forge a wily grit and determination in Raya, helping her build strong relationships that can restore equilibrium in her land. A motivating story ensconced in a beautiful fantasy world, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an exhilarating ride. Let us look into the details of its narrative. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Raya and the Last Dragon Plot Synopsis
Kumandra was a once prosperous land, a multi-cultural utopia brimming full of magic and mythical beings. The villainous Druun, an ectoplasmic entity, attacked the land and destroyed the prosperity. The dragons of Kumandra united together to create an orb that dispelled the dangerous plague. In doing so, the dragons were frozen in time. Hundreds of years later, Kumandra has been separated into five distinct regions: Fang, Talon, Tail, Spine, and Heart.
Benja is the leader of the Heart tribe, and Raya is his daughter. Benja tries to unite the fractured lands as he is the keeper of the orb. However, unity is a farfetched idea, and an ensuing confrontation with the other clans results in the fracturing of the orb in five pieces. As a result, the Druuns are revived and turn most of the people into stone. It is up to Raya to unite the fractured pieces and find the last living dragon, Sisu, to help dispel the plague.
Her journey of six years finally leads to Sisu, the water dragon. The dragon is an affable creature who teams up with Raya to find the remaining pieces and end the chaos. In their journey, Raya enlists the help of an orphan running a restaurant, a con-baby, and the Spine tribe’s last soldier. Her perilous journey through deserted lands pits her against her enemy, Namaari of the Fang Tribe. Namaari and Raya were friends, but circumstances make them bitter adversaries. With a daunting task ahead, Raya and her team navigate through the challenges and reach a culmination that was her father’s eternal dream.
Raya and the Last Dragon Ending: How Are the Five Tribes United?
Raya’s six-year-long journey reaches a culmination where she has to face her biggest fear — not trusting others. The circumstances that force her to undertake the arduous task have made her cynical. Sisu is surprised at Raya’s disposition and tells her that a lack of trust is perhaps the reason for dissonance in the land of Kumandra. In the end, Raya and her friends have to confront the Fang tribe, whose assault is lead by Namaari.
Sisu tells Raya to exchange a gift for the last remaining piece of the gem. Raya reluctantly agrees, but her apprehension gets the best of her, and eventually, Sisu is shot by a crossbow in the ensuing commotion. When the Druun corners Namaari and Raya, Raya drops her piece and lets the Druun attack her. It can be deduced that Sisu’s injury enables Raya to understand the value of trust. During her long ordeal, she never lets her guard down for a moment. But in the climactic moment, she leaves the fate of the world at Namaari’s hand. This tells us that Raya has overcome her biggest fear and believes in Sisu’s words, that trust helps people unite together.
Namaari is forced to become the antagonist due to the prevalent situations. Her mother tells her that the power cannot be left in other’s hands. In other words, everyone wants to triumph in the game of survival. In the face of the plague, all the people try to save themselves and forget to unite against the common foe. However, Namaari has a change of heart when the Druun runs rampant in her tribe. She decides to put her faith on the line and complete the plan of uniting the orb. Perhaps, Raya’s sacrifice helps her understand the true essence of unity, which is the only way to defeat the Druun. Ultimately, the orb is conjoined, which results in peace and harmony in the entire land.
A Tale of Unity
Interestingly, the Druun is an ectoplasmic entity without any concrete form. It captures the soul of its victims and turns the body into stone. Sisu even says that the Druun is borne out of the conflict between humans. We can assume this plague to be a manifestation of people’s selfishness that leads to conflict. Kumandra was split into five factions because of this reason, and the Druun become a medium to depict the causality of the infighting. Also, to defeat the Druun, the broken pieces of the orb have to be united. Essentially, unity is the key to survival.
Our protagonist is unable to trust anyone but aspires to unite the clans according to Benja’s wishes. His hope is initially broken as the infighting results in a devastating effect. The warring tribes can be likened to the current nation-states who are jousting against each other for supremacy. But is it the step towards peace? ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ definitely disagrees.
Raya’s gruff disposition is smoothened by Sisu, who remains optimistic despite experiencing devastating personal loss. Sisu is the voice of reason, which is exemplified when she hints the world is a sad place because people don’t trust each other. It becomes clear that we can’t wait for a flowery moment to initiate trust as we have to take the leap of faith. This is exactly what Raya does in the face of the Druun attack.
The unity rhetoric of the film might seem trite, but it teaches us the important lesson of forgiveness. Every important character in the story has experienced loss and is motivated by grief. Their emotional conundrum is resolved in the face of a combined effort. The dragons’ sacrifice doesn’t go in vain as the faith in humanity is restored through the path to a unified existence.
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