After the conclusion of the Uncrowned King Tournament, Lindon discovers the truth about the Wandering Titan and its inevitable journey to the Sacred Valley. Gathering his friends and allies, Lindon fully commits to his own return in order to try to save his family and everyone else in his home before destruction arrives. As the series turns to its climactic arc in Bloodline, the dynamics of characters, family, and societal structure all take a focus as Lindon returns home a changed man, and has to grapple with returning to a place where he was Unsouled, a failure, after achieving things unheard of even in the world beyond the Sacred Valley.
Bloodline focuses primarily on Lindon’s journey to the Sacred Valley after he gets a glimpse into the mind and intent of the Wandering Titan, realizing that it is heading home, to his home. His task immediately shifts to convincing the people of the Sacred Valley to flee in the face of unimaginable danger. He has to convince them as an Unsouled, that he has not only survived a dangerous journey beyond the valley, but through it has become overwhelmingly powerful after leaving with Yerin. He has grown, both as a person and a sacred artist, in the time since he left. As Lindon’s task progresses, Yerin searches for more knowledge about the Sage of the Endless Sword. There are threads about why her master first came to the Sacred Valley, how it connects to her Blood Shadow, and the hidden vault within the valley that is drawing the Wandering Titan, the vault that Adama was seeking out. The group also get to reunite with Orthos when they reach the valley, and the others meet Lindon’s family shortly after. There is the additional return of Jai Long and his sister, Jai Chen. The recurring characters are given some more influence on the story, being able to reprise their roles, even if they don’t clearly serve a purpose in the greater narrative. This is a good development to have characters be a part of the world and story, and not have to serve a clear purpose to still have a place in the narrative.
The reunion with Lindon’s family is a remarkably powerful moment in the story of Cradle. It is heartbreaking to see after all he did, after leaving home, that Lindon returns to find them treating him just as they did when he left. He is still Unsouled in their eyes, they don’t see him as anything more than the untalented boy who he was before he left. There is real emotion in the writing, and we see Lindon in a very vulnerable state. He is angry, disheartened, and understandably resentful after all he did, all he sacrificed in order to try to save them all. His selfless acts go continuously unacknowledged by his family, by the people of the Sacred Valley, both by their dismissal of him or by outright hostility.
The helplessness Lindon experiences when he witnesses the destruction of his home is a new sort of character growth that has been missing. He did all he could to prepare, and while circumstances favored him, there was not enough to succeed. More so than failing to advance as far as his friends in the Uncrowned King Tournament, this is a pivotal moment for Lindon. He still “failed” to protect his home and Lindon views himself through that perceived failure, despite all he accomplished. That combined with his dejection after seeing his family and how they continue to treat him, his growth shows the significance of his friends and found family. They see him for his own strength, what he has accomplished, and who he has become in spite of all the challenges facing him.
Bloodline brings a uniquely complex net of interactions and social dynamics into play. Returning to the Sacred Valley as a remarkably powerful sacred artist is jarring for Lindon after his time away. From his family interactions to those with the rest of the people in the Sacred Valley, especially those who Lindon knew and respected, highlight how complex power and societal structures can be. They are handled really well, and the narrative journey in Bloodline makes the bold choice to focus on the people while the shift in the story begins. With the Uncrowned King Tournament concluded and the Wandering Titan reaching the Sacred Valley, the shift has arrived. Lindon’s journey to save his home has reached the conclusion he had been shown by Suriel, though far sooner and with greater ramifications than he ever could have expected.
Bloodline is written by Will Wight, and is published by Hidden Gnome Publishing.
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