“For the honor of Grayskull…”, my seven year old daughter yells, running around the house, waving a pretend Sword of Power after watching the last episode of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. I won’t lie; I almost teared out of pride and nostalgia. It was the exact same reaction I had when Filmation introduced She-Ra: Princess of Power in a He-man episode called, “Into Eternia.” Of all the 80s reboots, She-Ra and the Princesses of the Power is the one I was looking forward to the most because I get to introduce and share one of my favorite cartoon heroines with my daughter.
In its current reincarnation, Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reimagines Eternia and its familiar cast of characters, independent of any references to the He-Man mythos. The first scene takes us into the Fright Zone and introduces Adora as part of the Horde, a future Force Captain, along with her best friend Catra and her adopted “mother”, Shadow Weaver. Interestingly enough, it’s Catra who accidentally sets Adora into the path of the Sword of Protection, the First Ones, and eventually Adora’s transformation into She-Ra when she suggested sneaking into the Whispering Woods. From there, we see the beginnings of Adora’s internal struggle, her fateful meeting with Bow and Glimmer, and the unravelling of her friendship with Catra, central to the season’s storyline.
What sets this apart from the original series is the characterization of each of the princesses as well as the villains. Each princess we meet is definitely her own person; from the courageous yet insecure Glimmer, the emo Mermista, the hippie Plumeria, to the brilliant and quirky Entrapta. That’s the beauty of it. They’re not stuck in a one-size-fits-all mold. However, their individuality and seclusion from each other provides the biggest challenge to uniting and defeating the evil Horde.
As interesting as it is to see their relationships form and how Adora grows into her role of She-Ra, it is the “villains” who take the show and run with it, especially Catra, who loses her best friend to this band of merry princesses. In her quest to bring back Adora, she finds her self, comes to terms with her loss, and ultimately evolves into one of the most capable, and manipulative “villains” of the show. Her character development makes the show relatable.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power explores the themes of friendships lost and friendships gained, of growing into your own power, accepting your destiny, and being true to yourself. Definitely a show to binge watch with your daughter.