“Destiny is a Gift”

Coco Bradford, Editor

“Destiny is a gift. Some go their entire lives, living existences of quiet desperation, never learning the truth that what feels as though a burden pushing down upon their shoulders is really a sense of purpose that lifts us to greater heights. Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor, that to strive and triumph in the face of fear is what it means to be a hero. Don’t think. Become.”

This is a statement that Blinky Galadrigal says to Jim Lake, Jr. in episode two of season one of Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, in the episode “Becoming: Part Two.” The speech gets repeated by Jim Lake, Jr. during his audition for the school play in the same episode. It is also what concludes the series, and subsequently what ends the story of the whole universe in the final movie.

This speech is one of the only things I know by heart. It is forever stuck in my head.

I don’t know what has made it so perfectly ingrained in my brain but it is. There are a few things that are weird about its permanence in my brain. First, it is a show for kids. It shouldn’t be something so relevant to me anyway. But if we ignore that, it is still so out of place. It isn’t like my life is the life of a hero or one where destiny is so relevant. I don’t live in a fantasy world or a world of valor and fear. And yet, for some reason, this is a composition that refuses to be anything other than top-ranked in my brain. It isn’t about something important to me but it remains something important to me.

This show, Trollhunters, is one of a few shows that my emotions have attached themselves to without hesitation. It is one that I recommend when people ask for a show along these lines. It’s beautiful, it’s witty, it’s heartfelt. It’s a show that makes you care. This speech is such a perfect representation of the show, and it, for me, is a symbol of the beauty that the show is. It is a small piece of a bigger work, and both are wonderful. Since I first heard it, I have loved it.

The feeling of art just being great is a feeling that gets me quite easily.

The speech, when it first enters the show, occurs when the mentor of the show, Blinky, is trying to convince the protagonist, Jim, that the role he has been given is truly his. It remains a theme throughout the show that Jim doesn’t think he deserves his spot, and this is the first of many attempts that Blinky performs to keep Jim on his path. Blinky, as the mentor, knows that Jim deserves this role, and this is part of Jim’s legacy of doubt as he goes through his journey as the Trollhunter. It is the start of a much greater theme of being okay with oneself.

The first episode of the show starts with the idea that Jim needs to find adventure in his average life. The second time we see the speech, Jim is doing exactly that. When we hear Jim himself repeat what Blinky told him, he is on the stage auditioning for a play. He is stepping out of his comfort zone and making things happen for himself. Because he is okay with himself for that time, he is able to do more and choose other things besides the same old stuff. It connects to the first theme and relates in a really cool way through the show. Before Jim is the Trollhunter, he is a normal person living a normal life. When he goes through the journey of being the Trollhunter, he lives a life of adventure and does things he enjoys. He learns how to be demanding and do what he wants, as well as do the right thing. His character develops so much as the Trollhunter.

The third time we hear the destiny speech, it is concluding the series of Trollhunters (not to be confused with the universe of Tales of Arcadia, which includes Trollhunters, 3Below, Wizards, and Rise of the Titans). It is especially impactful here not only because it is a series finale, but also because the original voice actor for Jim Lake Jr. passed away, and they use his original voice recording of the speech over the final scene. The final episode ends with Jim and some of his team going on a quest, while some of them stay in Arcadia to protect it. They are saying goodbye as we hear the speech. This long-term division of the team is so emotional because it is a new thing, and change is always a hard thing to see. The use of the speech here is such a good choice because it is showing how far Jim has come since his finding out he was the Trollhunter. It shows the way he followed the gift of his destiny and the way he used fear to gain valor through his career. It is the perfect way to conclude the series, and it has made me cry quite a few times.

The final time we hear the speech, the entire cast of remaining heroes is uniting in Arcadia to end all the fighting. They need strength to get through the final battle, and so they use the inspiring words from the very start of this universe’s shows to get through to the very end. It is another great rounding-off tool, and it is once again the best choice they could have made with the script.

Every time the speech appears in the text, it is stunning and profound. It is a symbol of so much development for Jim, and it is a representation of the start of their journey through the end of it. It’s perfect.