If Phil had had his druthers, the commando squad that showed up in Chapter 13 probably would’ve become the “anti-Champions,” maybe plus Penk and/or someone else. But Gralor was not a sustainable menace, Yalaria’s capture turned out to be important to the story, and Brix was best as a one-joke idea. Now, Stokla… Stokla could’ve been a recurring threat, but to my mind that’s what makes her loss a bit tragic. The loss of any life is measured partly by the loss of potential.

It’s a reflection of Phil’s measured approach to pacing and politics that we end not with a few warriors stepping forward to be enhanced by the Fireseye, but with Harky’s powerful and as-of-yet unanswered call. Logistically, I am wondering how he followed that up, given that we know no one stepped forward right away. I imagine he gave the stage-frightful a face-saving out, something like “Look within yourselves for the answer. But do not tarry long, for soon
the war drum must sound again.”