An easy-to-miss detail in the Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves trailer quietly confirms the inclusion of the Harpers, a secret spy organization in the D&D world. It’s been known for a while that Paramount’s live-action Dungeons & Dragons film will be set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. In addition to being a key part of the tabletop game, Forgotten Realms is the home of D&D’s most iconic locations and characters from the books and the video games.
The Honor Among Thieves trailer provides a tease of how deep into D&D lore the movie intends to go. So far, several monsters and character classes associated with the franchise have already been shown off. Plus, shots in the trailer make it clear that at least a few regions from the Forgotten Realms, including the Underdark and the city of Neverwinter, will be visited over the course of the story. Another hint points to the introduction of a major faction from the Forgotten Realms universe. Here’s how the trailer sets up the Harpers, and what their presence would mean for the movie.
The Harpers In Dungeons & Dragons Explained
In the trailer, Chris Pine’s Dungeons & Dragons character wears an outfit that sports a symbol of a crescent moon combined with a harp. This emblem identifies Pine’s Edgin as a Harper. In the world of Dungeons & Dragons, the Harpers are a massive network of spies. They operate in secret, and while many people in the Forgotten Realms are aware of their existence, their exact motives are a subject of great mystery. They have bases of operation set up in multiple cities regardless of borders, meaning that they aren’t controlled by any government.
Also known as Those Who Harp, their operatives act in what they believe to be in the best interest of the world. As a result of their secretive nature, people outside their organization are generally wary of their activities, but in truth, the Harpers usually are working toward maintaining order and combating threats to civilization. Sometimes seen as meddlers in affairs that aren’t their own, the Harpers send their agents on missions to various Dungeons & Dragons cities that tend to involve them thwarting the plans of rival factions, preventing war, and investigating mysteries with possible political implications.
What The Harpers Mean For Dungeons & Dragons’ Story
Part of what’s so interesting about the Harper emblem in the trailer is the fact that Pine’s character doesn’t appear to represent what one would expect from a member of their organization. While bards like Edgin technically can be Harpers, how he’s characterized in the trailer contradicts a bit with the portrayal of the Harpers in most books and video games. As his character says in the trailer, he leads a “team of thieves.” Harpers, on the other hand, have more benevolent goals and don’t pursue money or act as mercenaries. For that reason, it’s possible that Edgin is a disgraced Harper who no longer works for the organization in the timeframe of the Dungeons & Dragons movie.
If that’s the case, the Harpers may factor heavily into his backstory, but other members of the group may not appear in the flesh. Either way, Edgin being a Harper at any point in his lifetime – regardless of whether or not he’s somehow still with them – says a lot about his character. To become a Harper, he must have been viewed as a highly competent adventurer. Plus, his association with them means that he wasn’t always a thief. The marketing has emphasized the idea that its central characters aren’t true heroes, but a connection to the Harpers implies that Edgin is – or at least was – a real force for good in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.
Famous Harpers in The Dungeons & Dragons World
Depending on how Honor Among Thieves plans to utilize the Harpers, references or possibly even cameos of its existing members could appear in the movie. Over the years, the Harpers have cast a long shadow over D&D canon. Two major characters tied to the Baldur’s Gate video game series, Jaheira and Khalid, had reputations as Harpers. Other notable agents of the organization include Danilo Thann and Arilyn Moonblade, the protagonists of Elaine Cunningham’s Harpers book trilogy.
Arguably its most visible member in the tabletop game’s world is Elminster, an old and mysterious, red-robed wizard in the vein of The Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf. In addition to headlining his own books, Elminister has made appearances in dozens of other works set in the Forgotten Realms, some of which being Dungeons & Dragons video games, like Baldur’s Gate. Given his prevalence in this universe and status as one of D&D’s biggest icons, it won’t be a surprise if Elminster makes a cameo as one of Edgin’s fellow Harpers in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.