Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

A Reel Leadership Article

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I’ve never been a big Dungeons & Dragons nerd. I knew little of the backstory going into the movie except that the kids in Stranger Things played D&D a lot. While watching, I was surprised to hear the names Neverwinter and Baulder’s Gate dropped. I didn’t know they were D&D related, but I had heard of or played games revolving around them.

I also knew that D&D had a bad rep in communities because people linked it to bad behavior, anti-Christian behavior, and more. Most of these have been debunked.

The new movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, only helps to break that stereotype more. As I watched the film, I saw so many connections to positive behaviors, repentance, and more. Don’t shy away from this new movie because of things you may have heard about D&D. You’ll miss out on a lot.

Main cast from Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

So, what is Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves about? The story revolves around Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) as they try to get back to Edgin’s daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman). It’s a touching story watching a father fight to return to his family after being betrayed. 

But, as you already know, there are leadership lessons in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. We will look at the lessons and how they apply to your leadership. Put your Reel Leadership hat on. You’re not only going to be entertained; you’re going to grow your leadership and relationships skills.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

1. Leaders change. Some for the better, others for the worst:

Edgin had been an honorable man before he became a thief. He loved his wife and child. He cared for them. And he was a Harper.

A Harper was a member of a powerful organization that fought for fairness and equality. They tended to fight against tyranny and corruption.

Everything changed when the Red Wizards murdered Edgin’s wife, Zia (Georgia Landers). He gave up his vow to the Harpers. He decided to do life for himself.

Leaders change over time. Most get better as they gain experience. Others, sadly, fall away from good leadership. They choose to stray to, as Star Wars would put it, the Dark Side.

They choose to lead for their own benefit. They forsake taking care of others. It’s all them or nothing.

You will have many opportunities to change as you lead. Choose to change for the better.

2. Edgin:

How can he judge me without knowing my backstory?

While Edgin threw this line out more as a stalling tactic, it’s a valid question. Edgin and Holga were brought before a council that would determine whether or not they would go free.

One member of the council was not there. Jonathan (Clayton Grover), a bird-like creature), was running late. He had been caught in the storm.

Edgin kept stalling. Waiting for him. He had a plan… It wasn’t a good one. 

But… When you hear Edgin’s backstory, you gain sympathy for him. He’s not the evil villain you may think. He’s doing the best that he can for himself and his daughter.

Our backstories matter. The backstories of those you lead matter.

Listen to your team members’ stories. They include valuable insight into who they are. You’ll learn why they work there, their family history, and more.

Pay attention to the backstory of your people.

3. It’s hard to make up for your mistakes:

Edgin wanted to be free so he could spend time with his daughter. He’d already been a prisoner for two years. This wore on him.

He told the chancellors it didn’t matter if he was kept prisoner for another two or twenty years. He could do nothing to make up his absence to his daughter. He had robbed her of her father’s presence. 

Edgin’s mistake was costly. It kept him from his daughter. Leaders make this mistake, too. They spend so much time in the office, away from family, that they rob the ones they claim to love the most of their presence. 

This isn’t the only mistake leaders make. They may manipulate, mistreat, or lie to their people. These are hard things to make up.

Be wary of what you’re doing. Ensure your actions align with who you say you are and want to be.

4. Brash actions can destroy goodwill:

Do you remember what Edgin’s plan was? He and Holga would attack Jonathan when he arrived. They would grab hold of him and tumble out the window. This would give them their freedom.

It was a bold, brash plan. It was also unneeded.

After attacking Jonathan, we hear one of the chancellors say that they would have been pardoned. Uh oh…

Leaders need to take bold, decisive actions. They can’t take brash actions, though.

Be cautious if you find yourself throwing caution to the wind. If you’re not listening to those you’re interacting with.

Your brash actions may put you in more danger than you bargained for.

5. Some team members will betray you:

Edgin had formed a team he believed in. It included Holga along with a man named Forge (Hugh Grant), a young wizard named Simon (Justice Smith), and surprise member Sofina (Daisy Head). They were going to raid a stronghold to get the Tablet of Reawakening. This tablet could bring back Zia. 

Unfortunately, not all members of the party were on the up and up. Forge and Sofina had other plans. They would trap the others in a time-freeze spell.

The spell stopped Edgin and Holga while the others were able to escape.

You’re not going to be caught up in a spell. But you may be caught up in internal strife, bitterness, and betrayal.

I’m not advocating that you distrust your team members. I advocate that you are wise and pay attention to their actions and attitudes.

Not everyone is on your side. You may have people within your organization working against you.

Be cautious of them.

6. Edgin:

We’re going to need a team.

Edgin was able to reunite with Forge. This was when he discovered Forge had betrayed them. Forge was the bad guy!

Forge sent Edgin and Holga away with some of his guards. He claimed it was to send them back to prison. His plan was more diabolical. He wanted the guards to kill the duo.

Thankfully, the pair escaped.

Now, they needed to devise a plan to get back to Kira. Edgin knew they couldn’t do it by themselves. They needed a team.

You need a team. You can’t do what you desire without one.

Decide what skills and talents you need. Then begin to recruit people that fulfill those needs.

Eventually, you’ll have a powerhouse of a team.

7. Simon:

She found my lack of self-esteem unattractive.

Doric (Sophia Lillis) was a Tiefling druid. She had the ability to shift shapes. Her powers were amazing; she could transform into animals, bugs, and more.

More than that, Doric had once been the love interest of Simon. Simon lost her interest because he lacked self-esteem.

Self-esteem is a leadership killer. You cannot lead well if you are not confident.

Build up your confidence, your self-esteem. The more confident you are, the more people will be willing to follow you.

8. Xenk (Rege-Jean Page):

This is your quest. I’ve given you the tools. It’s up to you to use them.

Xenk was a character introduced later in the movie. He’s also a Thay. This made Edgin distrust him instantly. 

The Thays are where the Red Wizards originated. Edgin had called them his sworn enemies. 

But not all of the Thays were evil. Xenk was not. He was an ally that Edgin had to come to trust.

After fighting through a dungeon where they had to obtain a helmet, Xenk peaced out on them. He left them but not without a word of encouragement. 

He believed his time with them was done. He had equipped them. He had given them tools. It was now time for them to use the tools.

I see Xenk as the quintessential leader. He came at the right time. He empowered and equipped the team. Then, he left without overpowering them.

The best leaders do this. They show up when needed. They give the people the tools to get the job done. Finally, they left their people to get the work done.

Be like Xenk.

9. Never stop failing:

Simon had failed to master the helmet. The helmet was meant to open the door to Forge’s treasury, where he was holding unknown treasure.

This frustrated Simon. He felt like a failure and was ready to give up.

In steps Edgin.

Edgin shared his failures with Simon. He said he was the biggest failure of all of them. But he was going to keep failing.

That’s how Edgin succeeded—failure to failure to success.

Don’t let failure stop you. Failure is the stepping stone to subsequent success.

John Maxwell encourages leaders to fail forward. That’s what Edgin did. That’s what you need to do.

10. Our idea of success changes over time:

All Edgin wanted was to get his daughter back and bring his wife back to life. That all changed at the end of the movie.

A Red Wizard’s sword stabs Holga. The effects are irreversible except if she were to die and Edgin used the Tablet of Reawakening on her. Then, she would live.

Edgin had a choice to make. To continue on his path of original success or to alter his idea of success and bring back Holga.

His idea of success changes. He chooses to use the Tablet of Reawakening to revive Holga. He is no longer able to bring his wife back to life.

The longer we lead, the more our ideas of success change. I’ve found that to be true in my life as well.

There are things that I thought would bring me great success. The closer I got to those things, the less I wanted them. The more I saw there was something better out there.

Don’t be stuck to your former idea of success. Allow it to evolve and change.

You’ll be more successful if you’re fluid with your idea of success.

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