Hey all, Sam and David here.
Today we’re switching things up a bit for Tabletop Tuesday. Normally we talk about a card game, board game, dice game, or some aspect of TTRPGs. For today we’re instead going to talk about a movie based on a TTRPG…and yes, we might do more posts like this in the future, such as if this Dragonlance TV series gets made and airs. Yes, that’s right, today we are talking about the movie “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”
We are starting today’s post spoiler free. As soon as we finish our general review of the movie, we’re going to move into spoiler territory, and there will be a post break/section break/spoiler tag first.
Now, as a note, we have both seen this movie multiple times. David has seen it three times, and Sam has seen it four times…plus Sam has also read the prequel comic and books. Actually, we should link to the reviews of the books and comics here: The Road to Neverwinter, The Druid’s Call, and The Feast of the Moon. You can find non-spoilery reviews there, but there will be spoilers for these reads in the spoiler section later in the post.
All right, let’s dive on in.
Sam: I’ll be honest…overall I loved this movie. If it was still being shown at the local theater, the one I can walk to, I’d probably go see it another couple times. I’m really glad that I read the prequel books and comic, because it really enhanced the viewing experience for me, but the movie can stand on its own without experiencing them (although I really would recommend checking those prequel stories out).
The diversity of D&D races within the movie was fantastic. Obvious favorite was Jarnathan the Aarakocra. The characters all fit their classes well, and they had good camaraderie as an adventuring party. I believed that they had been together through a number of adventures. I even thought the action and the special effects were done well.
It was a good pace and easy enough to follow. My biggest complaint is that I wanted more, and that is a complaint that was shared with pretty much everyone else who was at the Amazon Prime early screening; while we were walking out of the theater, I just heard group after group talking about how the movie could have been another hour or two and we would have been totally fine with it.
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” had humor and heart and found family and danger and a rag-tag group of adventures out for personal gain, who end up having to save their corner of the world. Basically it was everything I’ve grown to expect from a D&D adventure/campaign/party, and I sincerely hope they make more movies following this party.
David: Okay so I for one have a hard time expressing that I cannot find a movie I have enjoyed as much as this one.
It had the serious overall plot you would expect of a fantasy movie and all of the hilarious shenanigans one would expect from playing a TTRPG.
Overall it was a wonderful experience that was fun and kept to quite a bit of the material of the world. It was great to get to watch it a bit early with other fans and the crowd getting together to laugh and cheer was almost as nostalgic of Avengers End Game assemble scene.
Okay, if you haven’t seen the movie and still want to avoid spoilers, now is the time to ignore the rest of the post. If you’d like to comment, just scroll quickly to the bottom. It is time to enter the spoiler zone. We’ll leave you with this photo we took when we saw the movie two weeks early due to an Amazon Prime subscriber early screening event. The spoilers begin after the photo. Thanks for stopping by.
SPOILERS AHEAD!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Okay, if you’re still here then you either have also seen the movie or you don’t care about being spoiled. Either way, hello and welcome.
For this I figured we would break the discussion down into talking about each of the characters. A lot of the plot and twists and reveals and such all seem like they fit nicely in with discussion about individual characters, so we’re going to deep dive into each of the characters. Again, reminder…SPOILERS AHEAD!
Sam: Look, for all you people saying that Edgin isn’t a bard, he is. The directors chose to have Simon be the main arcane caster within the group and that meant not making Edgin’s bardic magic look like magic at all. If you look at Edgin’s stat block, which was released on D&D Beyond, most of his spells and abilities are things that can be a bit more subtle, things like Suggestion or Vicious Mockery, and of course Bardic Inspiration. He was always cheering on and building up his companions.
When Simon couldn’t attune to the Helm and it seemed like the party was going to split up, it was Edgin’s inspiring speech that pulled the group back together. That’s what makes him a great bard.
Edgin wasn’t necessarily the brains or the brawn of the group, but he was the glue that held them together. And you could tell that he cared for his companions, he really cared for his daughter, and even though he tried to distance himself from it at times, he cared for the general well-being of the citizenry around him.
From the books, I knew Edgin wasn’t exactly the best planner at times, but he always managed to rally in the end, and he could come up with backup plans on the fly that in the end worked out quite well.
David: Okay so I frequently play Bard when playing tabletops. I can definitely say that Edgin has hit that class full tilt. Like Sam said the subtle magic that wouldn’t necessarily notice are a good move considering he was also a spy for the Harpers.
I am in total agreement that his skills lied in the plan making and boosting his friends skills to accomplish their goals. The ability to come up with another plan on the fly when the original plan falls to poop is a useful skill to have and the improvisational skill usually falls under a Bard’s list of skills.
Sam: Holga, I knew she was going to be one of my favorites when I was reading The Road to Neverwinter, and part of it was because of her love for potatoes. Spoiler: I love how important potatoes were to the story. That was seriously fantastic, like when a player collects a bunch of random normal items, and then uses them sessions later in an off-the-wall way that basically breaks the DM. And we begin with that hobgoblin interrupting Holga’s potato time, the highlight of her day, and getting absolutely wrecked. That was so cool.
But I loved that Holga’s first attachment wasn’t to Edgin, and their relationship was basically really good friends or even a pseud0-sibling connection. Holga’s main attachment was to Kira, who she helped to raise and was just as supportive and protective of the girl as if she was her mother.
Also, I just loved watching Holga rage and fight off a group of people while Edgin mostly stood to the side. She was badass, and exactly what I would expect from a barbarian. Watching her pick up random items around her and using them to beat up her foes, that was so excellent.
So it made so much sense, seeing as how Holga is the heart of the party, that she was the one who fell in the final battle. It was a fitting warrior’s death, and Holga was fine with it being her ending, and she had every right to be proud of what she did. But it also was this immensely beautiful moment when Edgin realized that this whole time he hadn’t been trying to bring back Kira’s mom; he had been trying to bring back his wife. We could all see and feel that Kira saw Holga as her mother, and the barbarian had taken care of her the way a mother would, and so it made perfect sense to use the Tablet of Reawakening on her, so Kira could still have her mother.
Also, I just loved that Holga had a thing for halflings; that was amusing and fantastic.
David: Holga is everything I would have wanted in a barbarian. Her fight with groups of people just stood to showcase how a stereotypical barbarian is played and beating up a guy because he was interrupting potato time is an amazing way to go about it.
We had a few moments where I would have thought Intellect was a dump stat, but I think it was more that she just said the first thing that came to mind which either way made it great to have her in the party.
The fact that she had a thing for little people just made me think ‘death by snu snu’. It was interesting to get to see some of her background and it showcased where she was a bit mentally just before they ended up in jail.
Sam: Simon, the lone half-elf. It was interesting that the party was mostly human. It really makes Simon and Doric stand out a bit more. I’ll be honest…what I want to know more about with Simon is his spell dispenser. We don’t really get information about it, aside from the fact that it is called a spell dispenser, and that is something we learn because of movie theater merchandising. It seems like it acts like a component pouch or spell focus of sorts, but it obviously doesn’t prevent his spells from being affected by wild magic.
Simon is a bit cautious and definitely lacks confidence, which hides the fact that he has some real magical skill and power. We see it in the movie when he has those moments where he absolutely has to do something or everything’s over, and that’s when he’s able to do what needs to be done. We see that with attuning to the Helm of Disjunction, and Edgin brings up several other times when Simon struggled with spells until it was almost too late.
This is something that is also seen in both prequel novels…because Simon appears in both. Of course, in Doric’s book Simon only appears very briefly a couple times, but it’s clear that he is having issues with his magic, and it makes him forgettable to Doric, something we see in the movie when she doesn’t even remember him at first.
But with the help of his party, the help of his friends, Simon really does start harnessing his magic, and even when he slips up, they are there to support him and help boost him up, which is pretty awesome.
Honestly, while Simon has these moments of great power and ability, I’d argue that he is the weakest of the party, and I would love to see more development from him, if we get future movies with this party.
David: I feel for Simon on so many levels. I play half elf a lot as a race in tabletops and he is stuck between two worlds. Like when Doric says all humans are trash and he is just like ‘I’m only half human’. I will say I have often played a full caster and even with a full arsenal of spells I feel like there is so much that I can’t do even with magic and they sort of tackled that a bit through Simon.
The self confidence issue I can feel stems from him being descended from a famous wizard and constantly trying to live up to that. I’m glad we got to see a bit of his development in that and I hope we get to see a bit more of it in the future.
Sam: Tied for favorite character has to be Doric, and honestly I have some thoughts about her as a character. I have seen so many comments online talking about how she has no real purpose or story aside from being relegated to a romantic interest for Simon….and excuse me? Were we watching the same movie?
Doric and Holga were the strongest damage dealers of the party (I’m not counting Xenk in this because he isn’t a full member of the group). Aside from that, Doric also contributes to some of the planning, including coming up with ideas on the fly in the arena, and convincing the rest of the group to follow her plan.
Doric is mistrustful of humans, and with good reason. In her prequel book we see her childhood, where her human parents didn’t even acknowledge her aside from putting food and water in a basket for her. They lock her up in the attic and basically just ignore her…because she is born a tiefling, something she had no control over. And in her prequel book we see her connection with nature, and her bonds with the wood elves who take her in and raise her. We also see her training with the Emerald Enclave, and watch as she becomes quite skilled at wild shaping, something she uses quite a bit in the movie…for scouting, for helping in heists, and for combat.
By the end, we see that Doric’s shell has cracked a little bit. She has found a group that she fits with (not that she didn’t fit with the Emerald Enclave, because she did). And while she probably still won’t trust all humans, she’s at least seen that some humans can act selflessly, and some humans have some good in them.
And she has also seen that Simon the so-so sorcerer isn’t as weak and as lacking in skill and confidence that she had believed before after a few brief meetings with him, and one disastrous date. She has seen that he can be confident at times, and he can harness his abilities when it counts to do incredible things. Because of that, she decides to allow him to have another chance, and to go on another date. That doesn’t mean that she is there just as a romantic interest for him. He still has to prove himself worthy, and she’s the one who will judge if he is. She holds that power over him.
Doric is incredible…and it was truly amazing to watch Doric the Owlbear repeatedly bash Sofina into the ground during that final combat outside the arena. It was possibly my favorite moment in the film…although Holga throwing that potato at Forge was pretty damn great too.
David: Owlbear, enough said. Coolest part of the whole movie was watching Doric go all Hulk vs Loki on the evil red wizard.
I didn’t read the prequel stuff, but I could just feel the disdain in her voice for humans, especially her parents. Not being wanted because of how she was born hits a bit hard for some people I am sure and by the end of it it didn’t stop Doric from still protecting those she cared about. I can appreciate that it also didn’t stop her from being open to the idea that not all humans are trash.
I think it was very obvious that the ladies are definitely the powerhouses of this movie and though Simon was built to be the primary ‘caster’ of the group I would have liked to see some Druidic magic being cast by Doric.
Sam: 10/10 absolute perfection for a stereotypical paladin character. Xenk was hilarious. Now, the only of the prequels that he showed up in was the comic, and it was only in one of the two stories within the graphic novel. In Xenk’s comic, we see how he comes across the Helm of Disjunction, as well as his journey to hide it somewhere safe. In it we see him encounter a couple deep gnome children, and help save their community….which explains why the traps guarding the Helm are gnomish in nature, something that is clear because of reading the prequels. Like I said, you don’t have to read them to enjoy the movie, but it expands the depth and immersion to understand how it all ties together.
I loved Xenk’s straightforward nature, and how he didn’t understand irony or colloquialisms or the humor of the others. It was so funny. And of course, I very much enjoyed seeing those glimpses of paladin skills like divine sense and smite attacks. Xenk was absolutely the overpowered badass that we expect with paladins.
Was I sad that he was only in the movie for a short time? Yes, absolutely. But I can also understand how that would have made the final conflict and combat a bit anticlimactic. So, I hope that if we get future movies that we maybe get to see even more difficult foes, and that perhaps we see more Xenk.
David: Perfect Paladin, Xenk is everything I would expect and want in a stereotypical Paladin. Our time with him was too short, but I understand why he left when he did, because if he left with them he would have probably just saved the world by himself.
Watching him take out a bunch of evil assassins was bad ass and nothing against Holga, but Xenk made it look sexy as all nine hells. Him not understanding certain phrases just made me think of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Sam: What a fantastic backstabbing rogue. It was pretty obvious, considering the stereotype of rogues who will turn on their party, that Forge was going to be an antagonist, and the movie did not disappoint. Even in the prequel book and comic, it was clear that Forge was slimy, and selfish. But he also was pretty fun and enjoyable to watch.
I mean, okay, he did at least keep to his word to take care of Kira, even though he used his charisma to make her believe that her dad was the selfish one. Which, okay, Edgin was a bit selfish because he was willing to do some not-so-great things in order to bring his wife back to life, to make up for some of his past mistakes.
Forge was able to fool a lot of people, like any good con man, and I appreciate his portrayal. He was obviously not a good-aligned person, which is clear from him working with Sofina, knowing at least some of what she was up to, and not caring about the fact that it would destroy so many people. As long as he could gain power and wealth, he was willing to do whatever was necessary.
You could see his subtle manipulations, like convincing Edgin to do certain jobs that went against his morals by playing on what he knew to be Edgin’s desires to put his family back together. It was so clever.
I also greatly loved that once Forge was in prison, he tried to do the same thing that Edgin and Holga did, but the council learned from their previous mistake and bricked up the window. Although…poor Jarnathan, slamming into the wall like that.
I could see Forge getting out at some point and causing more trouble for the party at some point….or even causing trouble for a different party. It could be interesting to have him show up in some future movie or series, just to con more folks.
David: I both loved and hated Forge through this movie. I honestly saw his backstabbery coming from a mile away. Never fully trust the rogue guys!
I don’t have much to add to Sam’s stuff on this one but that he was a well made character and I feel like he could pop up in later movies if they decide that should happen.
Sam: The Red Wizards of Thay make a great villain for a campaign, and so it makes sense that they are a wonderful villain for this movie. Even in the prequel novel, Sofina just had this malevolent mystery to her. You could tell that she had some long game planned and was willing to make whatever strategic moves she needed to in order to achieve her endgame.
Gosh, Daisy Head did such an incredible job portraying Sofina. Especially when she was disguised as Kira and started laughing and then turned back into herself while Edgin watched. That was fantastic. And I loved that Sofina’s magic was so different from all the other magic in the movie. Speaking of, the wizard vs sorcerer magic arm wrestling duel was really fun.
All of Sofina’s magic looked really cool, and I really really loved when Forge was showing those wealthy nobles/merchants the vault they could store things in, because you had this funny moment where he expected Sofina to explain in detail the magical protection on the vault, and all she did was say “It is protected by the Arcane Seal of Mordenkainen” as if that explained everything…which it would to a learned arcane practitioner, but it was obvious these men were not that learned. It was so amusing to me, and I loved it.
The spell effects on this movie looked really cool overall. It made watching the movie again and again still just as exciting.
I loved that it was clear that she was smarter than Forge and was only using him as a means to an end, because she knew he would be selfish and that he would do what she needed him to do as long as it benefited him.
And though Sofina was defeated, she is an undead necromancy wizard, and we saw from the Thayan assassins that Xenk fought that it is difficult to actually kill an undead…which means that Sofina is still around. That horn that brings about the Beckoning Death will recharge in a century, and what’s to stop Sofina from trying again then?
David: Arcane battle between Sofina and Simon was definitely a highlight for me. I kept naming spells (some incorrectly lol) as they were slinging their arcane weight around. Sofina was a scary powerhouse of a wizard and the fact that she was an evil wizard should have been easily noticed by the people who worked at the castle.
Guess that just shows how good she was at lying. Watching her get manhandled by Doric as the Owlbear was my favorite part especially when Sofina just even tries to move and Doric lets her have it even more. Edgin’s daughter getting her help bring Sofina down was a nice touch as well.
Sam: We see quite a bit more of Kira in the prequel novel Road to Neverwinter than we do in the movie, and honestly that’s kind of a shame, because she is a valuable member of the party. In the book we can see that she has learned from Edgin and Forge and Holga, and that she is an active participant in a number of the jobs they take on. She calls Edgin out on his crap quite a bit, and joins in on the cons and on planning things. Honestly, I think if we end up with a movie franchise, perhaps in like five years, we can see Kira as an elder teenager and follow on some of her adventures, with or without her found family.
I’ll admit, at times she was absolutely a brat, especially believing everything Forge told her, when she’d traveled with her dad enough, I feel like she should have known that Edgin wasn’t in it for the money. But, whatever, Forge is charismatic and he did have a couple of years to turn Kira against her dad.
I did love that we got to see Kira use her invisibility amulet to help defeat Sofina in the final combat. It’s a skill she used a couple times before in the books, such as against the hag. Kira is a smart girl, and if she gets a little more experience under her belt, I could honestly see her eventually becoming the leader of the party, because she has learned from those around her, and I’d be curious to see what she could learn from Doric because she has basically no interaction with the druid at all.
Honestly, not a lot to say for Kira. She was sort of a side character, but I still felt like it was important to talk about her a little bit.
David: Didn’t really get enough of Kira I feel. I did like that she got to help fight Sofina though. I was not expecting it to be so hard for Edgin to explain to her what was going on, but I guess Forge’s and Sofina’s deceptions were really good. I knew that they were gonna end up using the tablet on Holga though, it seemed like the most logical choice. Movies almost never bring back the long lost lover and almost always the one that took their place. It made complete sense though and I am glad they did.
What did you think of “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”? Let us know in the comments. Spoilers are welcome, but please give a SPOILER tag warning before talking about it, just in case others scroll down to the comments. Thanks, everyone!
Well, I do believe that is all from us for today. Thank you so much for stopping by, and we’ll be back soon with more geeky content.