She-Ra's Forgotten Fire Princess Is a Legend We Should All Know

The unnamed fire princess losing her goddamned mind.
The unnamed fire princess losing her goddamned mind.
Image: Paulina Ganucheau, Eva de la Cruz, Betsy Peterschmidt (Graphix)

Though Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has come to an end, the series alone didn’t provide the whole picture of Etheria’s magical history. You see, there’s a reason the show never spotlighted a princess whose elemental powers were fire-focused.

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Legend of the Fire Princess was a one-off comic book published by Scholastic, written by Gigi D.G., and illustrated by Paulina Ganucheau and Eva de la Cruz. It told the story of the largely forgotten princess whose hunger for power led to the destruction of her entire kingdom, Candila. While the other princesses don’t know about their lost counterpart, Glimmer’s quite familiar with the legend and she takes it upon herself to share the tale in a way that truly terrifies everyone else.

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Legend of the Fire Princess takes place at a point within the canon of the Netflix series in which Adora was first learning how to use her magic to heal. After Glimmer shares the story, the group begins to ponder whether Adora might be able to heal the Spirit Ember, the fire princess’ runestone that still exists somewhere out in the world. Uncertain as Queen Angela is about trying to tap into the Spirit Ember’s power, when it becomes clear that the Horde intends on making a grab for it, everyone agrees it would be infinitely more dangerous if it were weaponized by the enemy, so they set out to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Illustration for article titled iShe-Ra/is Forgotten Fire Princess Is a Legend We Should All Know
Mermista asking the important questions.
Mermista asking the important questions.
Image: Paulina Ganucheau, Eva de la Cruz, Betsy Peterschmidt (Graphix)

As the Best Friend Squad (and associates) journey out into the scorched ruins of Candila, it becomes increasingly obvious that the Spirit Ember was a power that had the potential to annihilate entire civilizations and disrupt the magic emanating from other runestones. When Perfuma attempts to heal a burned tree to begin bringing life back to Candila’s landscape, she’s alarmed as she realizes life in that particular chunk of Etheria is just gone.

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So much of She-Ra’s mythos revolves around the concepts of harmony, but Legend of the Fire Princess introduces the idea that Etheria’s magical balance is malleable. While there was a time in which the Spirit Ember was a necessary quantity in the world, there’s a reason that the princess’ abandoned castle is marked with warnings about how dangerous the magic that once existed there was.

Things become that much more complicated when Catra, Scorpia, and Entrapta show up in the castle with every intention of dragging the Spirit Ember back into the Fright Zone. Of course, there is fighting, as tends to be the case with She-Ra, but what brings the conflict to an end is everyone correctly understanding that by being near the Spirit Ember, they’re all putting their lives in immediate danger. Much as everyone wants to fight, what they all grasp is that they have to work together in order to keep the Spirit Ember from fully re-activating and unleashing torrents of lava that would almost certainly lead to countless people from multiple realms dying.

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Both She-Ra’s heroes and villains want the power held within Candila, but ultimately, Adora and the other princesses make the right decision to destroy the Spirit Ember because the world is a much safer place without it existing. Beyond that, though, the Spirit Ember wasn’t a necessary element of how She-Ra’s story turned out, and the message to take away from Legend of the Fire Princess is that, sometimes, it’s better to just put one’s weapons down in order to ensure that those same tools don’t end up being the cause of your demise.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

carrercrytharis
CarrerCrytharis

Kind of like how Roy Mustang is the only Flame Alchemist — per Hawkeye’s request, he burned part of the instructions (tattooed on her back) so there could never be another.

There’s a fight late in Fullmetal Alchemist that demonstrates exactly how scary fire magic can be...