The original Record of Lodoss War is a classic fantasy epic following several groups of adventurers as they attempt to save their war-torn land from everything up to and including evil emperors and dark gods. The Crown of the Covenant, on the other hand, centers its story on a single family: the royal family of Marmo. From the start, we have a personal connection with these characters as they are the direct descendants of Record of Lodoss War protagonists Spark and Little Neese and as they spread across the island, we can see how this new war is affecting the various nations of Lodoss—politically, religiously, psychologically, and economically.
Rather than being a story of good versus evil, this is one where the complexities of life and history are taken into account. Lodoss is a fractured land with a magically enforced peace. While there has been no war, that is not to say that the nations have been working together for the greater prosperity of all. Instead, with the threat of war off the table, the various kingdoms can ignore diplomacy—exploiting each other whenever possible without having to worry about any martial consequences.
While there is no doubt that Flaim has been hit the hardest by the enforced peace, this is just a convenient excuse for King Diaz. He believes that Lodoss will be better off as one nation under his rule—and truth be told, he may be right. However, his true motivations are simply those of a young man lusting for power and consumed by his ego. War, propaganda, and revisionist history—he will use any means to obtain what he seeks. The trick, however, is that he underestimates the common man—that it is the people, not the rulers of Lodoss who will decide if he becomes ruler of all the lands. This brings us to our protagonist, Lyle.
Thematically, The Crown of the Covenant is about the power that legends have over the heart of mankind. Lyle knows this all too well. He has dreamed for years about the adventures of Parn and the others and is determined to be the kind of righteous person Parn was. He believes that the re-emergence of Deedlit is what will unite the island—not Diaz’s war.
Yet, after meeting Deedlit, he comes to realize that she alone can’t inspire the people. The legend isn’t that of the “Eternal Maiden,” it’s that of the Knight of Lodoss AND the Eternal Maiden. Deedlit may still be around but the only way for the legend to begin again is for someone to take up Parn’s mantle and become the Knight of Lodoss for a new era. And while Lyle is willing to step into this role, he sees the power of the legend he is now building for what it truly is: If he can become The Knight of Lodoss anyone can—or more correctly, everyone can. And that is the powerful message of this story. Stepping forward to do what’s right can be all that’s needed to have others do the same.
In thinking about these three volumes, I struggle to find anything even slightly negative to say about them in either story or presentation. While the art isn’t the most insanely detailed, it is well done and consistent. Better still is the framing of its panels and how they use visual storytelling to highlight the story’s most emotional beats. Meanwhile, the story itself is filled with callbacks to previous Record of Lodoss War events but blazes a path all its own. If I have one complaint, it’s simply that this opening act of the story is all that currently exists. The rest, for the moment, remains only in the mind of Ryo Mizuno. Hopefully, someday that will change.
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