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Daisy Head as Sofina, a Red Wizard of Thay in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. She wears a long dress and skullcap tinged a telltale red, as she walks impassively away from the fight that’s broken out behind her. Photo: Aidan Monaghan

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The Dungeons & Dragons movie gave life to an undead villain with secret backstories and dark powers

Sofina of the Red Wizards of Thay in all her cinematic infamy

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Behind every great party of adventurers, there’s a villain who wants them dead — and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is no different. The titular thieves are pitted against the machinations of a cunning Red Wizard of Thay, who schemes to... well, that would be a spoiler.

But we can tell you that Shadow and Bone’s Daisy Head plays the necromancer Sofina with the uncanny grace befitting an undead sorceress — and that courtesy of Ten Speed Press, we can present an excerpt from The Art & Making of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, full of concept art of Sofina, the Red Wizards, their terrifying emperor Szass Tam, and insight from actors and creatives behind the scenes.

[Ed note: This excerpt contains spoilers for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.]


A mysterious human, Sofina hides her true identity as a Red Wizard. “Red Wizards are the ruling class of Thay, and their leader, their ruler, is Szass Tam,” says actor Daisy Head. “They are ultimately feared as some of the most powerful and nefarious wizards in all of Faerûn.”

Szass Tam is a powerful necromancer. When he took over Thay, he turned its citizens into an undead legion loyal to him and his fellow necromancers. These undead cannot be killed by conventional means, which makes this danger brewing in Thay particularly scary. “It’s a tricky concept to play someone who is essentially undead because it was interesting to try to understand if and how they emote,” Head explains. “There’s more dimension if it is rooted in something real and something emotional. So, I essentially didn’t want her just to be bad for the sake of being bad. So, I developed my own very dark ... backstory from when she was a child, and essentially, she felt she had nothing left to lose, which is why she decided to sacrifice her soul and become one of Szass Tam’s undead. I think she emotes a lot of anger, as you’ll see in the film. I think that the emotions of her past have kind of left a ghost of a blueprint on her soul that is no longer a soul.”

Three potential design concepts for Sofina in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, trying out different hair styles, tattoos, and clothing.

While Forge uses Sofina to aid his role as Lord of Neverwinter, she has her own nefarious reasons for teaming up with him. “Forge is essentially a pawn in the master plan,” suggests Head. “Sofina basically has to do as Szass Tam says, and as much as she loathes Forge, she sees that it is the best opportunity to fulfill Szass Tam’s goals.”

Sofina is a wizard, a class of individuals that can wield magic after a period of intensive study. In Dungeons & Dragons, wizards are able to choose an arcane tradition — the study of a particular school of magic. Sofina is part of the School of Necromancy. Necromancy focuses on spells that control life and death, even allowing users of this magic school to animate the dead.

Six designs for Sofina, the Red Wizard in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves — they explore different hair styles and silhouettes for her dress and headpiece.

Sofina hires Edgin and his band to break into a seemingly impenetrable stronghold to obtain an item from its vault. Sofina is the primary reason for Edgin and Holga’s capture and imprisonment, as she and Forge double-cross the group. After this incident, Sofina works alongside Forge as his top adviser.

Concept art of Sofina, a Red Wizard of Thay in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. She wears a long red-black dress like her final movie look, with a skullcap.

With Red Wizards being feared throughout the land outside of Thay, Sofina hides her true identity by wearing a cowl. This covers the arcane sigils permanently marked on the shaved heads of Red Wizards that visually identify their allegiance to Szass Tam. “The costume department has worked absolute miracles,” confirms Head. “The details and just the use of the fabrics and the way that they’ve tailored it, and the cowl, and having the wire [in the robe’s collar] that is able to shape it and mold it, it’s just astonishing.”

Magic isn’t the only weapon that Sofina wields. She also carries a Red Wizard’s blade, which brings swift death to anyone it cuts. “What we needed with Sofina was something that was a bit more vicious,” Dunne explains. “That’s also something that she hides under her cloak. So, you’ll never see this on her person, as in, worn on the belt, or in a sheath. So, this is always held. This is always hidden under her sleeve, so you’ll only see it when you need to.”

Szass Tam

Concept art for Szass Tam, lich ruler of Thay in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Head necromancer Szass Tam lurks in the shadows, commanding his legion of undead to execute his bidding. He used to be one of eight zulkirs who co-ruled Thay, but over a century earlier, he sought more power for himself and seized control using dark magic. Now Szass Tam is no longer satisfied ruling just Thay — he wants to take over all of Faerûn. “Szass Tam is trying to extend his power and his empire,” states actor Ian Hanmore. “He uses people in that way, you know? He uses the undead, and he uses the living as lackeys. He, himself, can appear in different forms. Always, he’s striving to increase his power.”

Concept art of the Red Wizard council in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Concept art of the Red Wizard Council in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Final concept art of the Red Wizard council in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Sofina is key in helping Szass Tam achieve his plans to overthrow the city of Neverwinter. “He’s basically on a complete power trip and wants to expand the Thay empire and rule as much of Faerûn as he can,” remarks Head. “And Sofina is a very loyal and willing ally and servant to achieving his goals of domination.” But she isn’t the only Red Wizard aiding Szass Tam’s quest for dominance. Other undead necromancers assist in Thay’s dark plans. “The Red Wizards of Thay are a corrupt group of sorcerers who seek to promote chaos and misery,” Smith explains. “They are trying to basically create an army of undead slaves in order to cultivate ultimate power. Our group has to stop that from happening — reluctantly at first — because throughout the film, our group goes from being motivated by self-interest to seeing the importance of helping others.”

Here’s the full cover of The Art & Making of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which Ten Speed Press describes as a “gorgeous tome” showcasing “the storytelling, worldbuilding, and creativity behind the movie with sections that highlight fan-favorite characters, monsters, and settings, plus explorations of key scenes from the film, this book is packed with production photos, concept art, storyboards, interviews, and more.”

Cover art for The Art and Making of Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, featuring a painting the movie’s heroes charging forward.

The book hits store shelves on April 4.

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