Dungeons and Dragons: Why Venger was NOT the Villain
In fact, Venger was wildly manipulated into acts of evil by a being from another dimension. So who is the true villain of the Dungeons and Dragons animated series? Let’s find out.
Disclaimer: Many of the conclusions drawn in this article are based on the final and un-aired “Requiem” episode of the Dungeons and Dragons animated series, mainly about Venger’s return to good. However, there is reason to believe the series conclusion was not improvised, but rather an integral part of the character’s journeys throughout the show. Much of this is also revealed and explored in the “The Dungeon at the Heart of Dawn” and “Citadel of Shadow” episodes.
The Dungeon Master and his twin children, Venger and Kareena (sometimes spelled Karena), are each incredibly powerful sorcerers already, able to control nearly anything in the realm. The Dungeon Master taught both of his children magic from a very young age. They are all at least 1,000 years old, and their mastery of magic was supremely powerful.
But something went wrong. Somewhere along the way, The Dungeon Master and his son Venger got into a terrible disagreement. Maybe the Dungeon Master refused to share the source of his power, The Heart of Dawn.
Venger decided, one way or other, that he would run the realm better than The Dungeon Master. Venger wanted to take the realm for himself and remake it in his image. But in order to do that, he would need a much greater power. And so he left his family behind him and sought out the dominion he so greatly desired.
In one episode, Dungeon Master defends Venger. He proclaims that there is good in the malicious sorcerer. Or at least there was, a long time ago. He even admits, “Everyone makes mistakes. Venger was mine”. Perhaps, The Dungeon Master hoarded power for himself. Perhaps he didn’t trust Venger until it was far too late. And by then, Venger had been corrupted.
Perhaps it was his own fault, seeking power and danger much greater than himself. And yet, it is a common trope in many stories for a son to want to rise to his potential — whether it was to make his father proud, or to become greater than his father before him. These aren’t evil desires! We all aspire to stand on the shoulders of giants. Venger simply picked the most terrifying giant of all.
So after learning all he could from the Dungeon Master, he turned towards a new kind of power — an all-powerful multi-dimensional entity known only as the Nameless One. The Nameless One is revealed to be the source of all evil in the realm, the ultimate source of mystical strife and “not life as we know it”.
The Nameless One was by no means trapped within the bounds of their realm. He is the ruler of MANY Universes. But he wanted to rule the entire cosmos with EVIL, including this Dungeons and Dragons realm. Even the Dungeon Master, using all of the heroes’ weapons could not defeat him, and was forced to retreat with the children. The Nameless One was never truly defeated.
Not only does that speak to his power, but it speaks to his influence. The Dungeon Master controlled the realm, but The Nameless One transcended that completely. We know very little else about The Nameless One, but it seems that Venger pulls from the same source of power. Venger is rendered completely powerless when the Nameless One begins to terrorize the realm. Venger only has power when the Nameless One is absent from this realm.
Does this reveal more about the Nameless One? Perhaps, but it reveals lots about the relationship between Venger and his powerful patron.
The Nameless One grants Venger his power only in his absence. But if the Dungeon Master taught him magic from a young age, shouldn’t he still be able to use his powers? Maybe he’s simply out of practice. Or perhaps, Venger traded his magic to the Nameless One to gain powers much like a warlock would. We see very little interaction between Venger and the Nameless One, but Venger argues against the evil entity, insisting that he is not a failure and he will defeat the Dungeon Master, meaning that the Nameless One has tasked Venger will defeating his own father.
With a power like his, why hasn’t the Nameless One done it himself? It might be because evil is more than just destruction. The Nameless One wants to rule with evil, and so he has to sew the seeds of chaos, turning families against each other and wreaking havoc throughout the realms. He is unpredictable and incomprehensible.
The Dungeon Master even says that it is extremely important that the kids don’t look at the Nameless One’s face, as it is not meant to be gazed upon. Is that because it drives you to evil? Does it drive you mad? What does it say of Venger that he looks directly at his master in the episode?
Ultimately, there are very few answers to our questions, even in the unreleased and somewhat debated final episode. All we can know for sure is that Venger’s goal to take over the realm is certainly no good, and he is the primary antagonist of the show, but the true VILLAIN is the Nameless One.
Despite all their countless years of warring, the Dungeon Master still knows there’s good in Venger. But there is no good in the Nameless One. Just pure villainy.
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