Harky and Penk’s display of respect for each other continues here. It’s very deliberate that Harky is the one to praise “the young and their new ideas” and Penk speaks of “the elders and their hard-won wisdom,” not the other way around. Harky does wander off script a little bit in the penultimate panel…he can’t quite resist taking one last potshot at those filthy humans…but Penk smooths things right back out.

Let me just belabor the point a little. While their differences are irreconcilable, both wish to make sure that trolls remain strong, no matter who wins. Harky may think an alliance with any humans is a grievous error, but a troll people half-allied with humans and half split off in conflict with their brothers would be even worse off, in his view, than a people united in that mistake. Penk believes in a new destiny for trollkind, but he’d likewise rather have a people united under Harky as they were before than a civil strife that could cost them the war. And the same applies on a grander scale: the other members of the coalition that Harky has formed can’t afford disunity in the middle of their war either. Whoever stands in the arena after this fight must be able to command all, without any competition from a dead troll’s memory.

In short, while Harky and Penk are willing to risk everything to lead on a personal level, neither will risk damaging their nation or their coalition to do so. That’s them. Iver represents (sigh) a different kind of politics.

FB (referencing then-recent events at the Oscars): Although everyone thinks that one of the golden, statuesque figures named on this stage will walk away the winner tonight, Iver smiles as the dusk sun touches his brow. He has prepared a moonlight surprise.