The dragon spirit does not only live in mythology and fantasy literature: it is also alive in music, so today’s post is dedicated to Tharos and Thanor, two noble dragons that belong to the world of The Emerald Sword and The Dark Secret musical sagas of the Italian band Rhapsody of Fire (formerly Rhapsody until 2006), both part of the same epic story featured in the nine conceptual albums they released between 1997 and 2011. Rhapsody of Fire was originally founded under the name Thundercross by Luca Turilli (lead guitar) and Alex Staropoli (keyboards and piano) in 1993 in Trieste. It is regarded as one of the most important symphonic power metal bands that, a musical genre that, despite not being overly popular, can be quite charming for many fantasy lovers.
Tharos – The Emerald Sword Saga
In The Emerald Sword Saga, the evil king Akron, a servant of the hellish god Kron, has risen to subdue all the living creatures of the Enchanted Lands under a reign of violence and terror. To stop his plans, King Harold III of Elnor summons a council that seeks to reestablish an alliance with all the other kingdoms. During the council, the members of the council also agree that is time to look for the Emerald Sword, a powerful weapon that, according to an ancient prophecy, could turn the tide of war. The council decided that the Warrior of Ice of the ancient city of Loregard, one of the best warriors of the Enchanted Lands, should be the one to undertake this quest. To obtain the Emerald Sword, the warrior of ice must travel to Elnor, where he must find the three Keys of Wisdom that will reveal the Ivory Gates, the entrance to the unknown regions where the legendary sword is held.
Tharos is the fearsome red dragon that guards the second key, and his fight with the warrior of ice is inevitable. After a long and hard combat, the champion of Loregard was able to defeat him, but he forgave the dragon’s life when he had the chance to kill him. In that very moment, the warrior of ice broke the spell that had fallen on Tharos long ago. Tharos told him that he was condemned to fight the knights and warriors who were looking for the second key; sometimes, he killed them, but there were also times when Tharos was killed by the strongest ones, being reborn again so as to repeat a never ending cycle. However, this was the first time his life had been spared by an enemy, and so he understood that the warrior of ice was the chosen one, and he was finally able to spread his wings and fly free after giving him the second key.
Once the three keys were on his hands, the warrior of ice was able to cross the Ivory Gates, entering a region of unimaginable beauty which held a terrible darkness in its heart. Tharos rescued the champion when he crossed a swamp filled with ancient crypts from where the dead came back to life to devour him, and he managed to save the warrior before he was overrun by the ghouls. Tharos was deeply thankful towards the man of Loregard since he broke the spell that tied him so tightly to an eternal slavery, and therefore was willing to help him fulfill his task. They both cross the skies of that mysterious region until they find the Fortress of Abyss; according to the prophecy, the Emerald Sword and its ancestral guardian can be found in its highest tower.
Suddenly, as they were getting closer to the tower, a myriad of winged demons emerge from the skies, forcing the dragon to engage in battle against them. The warrior of ice asked Tharos to fly just above the tower so that he could jump on top of it. He discovered a trap door I the tower that led him to a great hall, where a mystical green light surrounded the legendary sword. Yet as soon as he touched the sword, an inhuman scream coming from the abyss broke the silence of the chamber, and the monstrous guardian appeared before his eyes to face him. The fight is fierce, but when the victory of the monster started to become evident, Tharos threw himself against the beast, thus giving the hero enough time to pick up the sword and strike the guardian. The fortress started to tremble after that, and Tharos was able to escape together with the warrior of ice before the fortress crashed and fell into the abyss.
Tharos took the hero back to the Enchanted Lands, but then he noticed that there were tears in the dragon’s eyes. The dragon had been mortally wounded in the impact with the guardian, but he did not regret helping the warrior. He was finally free, and he was glad to have served the cause of Elnor. Tharos spread his wings one last time and rose to reach the far horizons, to face death in his beloved Dragonlands in the valleys of the north.
The memory of Tharos marched with the warrior of ice ever since, and his spirit would be with him in the darkest episodes of the Emerald Sword Saga.
Tharos in The Emerald Sword Saga:
Land Of Inmortals / Album: Legendary Tales (1997)
Emerald Sword / Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998)
The Dark Tower of Abyss / Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands / Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998)
Dawn of Victory / Dawn of Victory (2000)
The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord / Dawn of Victory (2000)
Agony Is My Name / The Power Of The Dragonflame (2002)
Thanor – The Dark Secret Saga
After the events of The Emerald Sword Saga, the rulers of the Enchanted Lands have decided that the time has come to find the last of the Seven Black Books, the unholy texts that were written by Nekron –the son of the infernal Kron– with angel blood, which contain the secrets to awake the seven terrible powerful demons that can open the gates of hell and thus bring Nekron back to life. However, there is a possibility that this tome might also shed some lights on the current location of the White Book of Erian, a holy text that tells how to stop Nekron’s return. Therefore, the White Dragon’s Order was formed, a group of champions from the Enchanted Lands who were chosen to retrieve both books. The order was formed by five champions from the Enchanted Lands, and it was led by Dargor the Shadowlord, a former enemy of the Warrior of Ice that was now serving the light. The order traveled to the caves of Dar-Kunor in Hargor, the heart of the Darklands and the place where the seventh black book lies. After a dangerous journey in which they were almost captured by the Black Order, the servants of Nekron, the five heroes obtained the last text. The information that it held led them to the ancient fortress of Har-Kuun, where they finally find the book at the feet of the black stone statue of a great dragon.
The book of Erian revealed that in the last primordial war, the black dragon Thanor betrayed Nekron and told the angels where his former lord was hiding. Enraged by the betrayal of Thanor, Nekron captured and tortured the dragon, ripping his eyes out before he died. Only after Nekron was defeated by the angels could they take the eyes of Thanor so as to turn them into two precious stones, Aelin and Mornir, which were then thrown to the earth to spread courage and wisdom among all the inhabitants of those lands. The book also mentioned that the seven demons would inevitably awake on the day of the last eclipse of that century, but if the eyes of Thanor were returned to his statue, the roar of his soul would make him rise one last time to face them.
A few days before the day of the eclipse, the Black Order marched against the alliance of kingdoms, being eventually defeated after several days of intense combat. The heroes were able to retrieve both stones after the battle and they put them in the statue of Thanor the same day of the eclipse. The seven demons that lied on top of the huge columns of Har-Kuun wake up almost at the same time as Thanor, and the fight begins. Etherus, master wizard of the Black Order, sacrificed himself when he cast a forbidden spell that destroyed Koras, the most powerful of the demons. Thanor returns with the heroes after destroying the other six beasts; his time on earth was not over yet. His eyes find Dargor, and two rays of light hit the Shadowlord, thus revealing the final task the angels and the gods of the cosmos still had for him.
Thanor in The Dark Secret Saga:
Heart Of The Darklands / Triumph Or Agony (2006)
Act IV: The Betrayal / The Cold Embrace of Fear (2010)
Raging Starfire / The Frozen Tears of Angels (2010)
On The Way To Ainor / The Frozen Tears of Angels (2010)
Ad Infinitum / From Chaos To Eternity (2011)
Heroes of the Waterfalls’ Kingdom / From Chaos To Eternity (2011)
Thanor The Black Dragon (Azraelangelo, oil painting on canvas, https://azraelangelo.tumblr.com/) link
Rhapsody of Fire official website: http://www.rhapsodyoffire.com/