The Letter for the King

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Cast

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Reviewer

Emily Clark

TV Series Review

For thousands of years, the kingdoms of Unauwen and Dagonaut have waged war against the kingdom of Eviellan. But now, the people of Eviellan (and indeed the whole world) have a whole new reason to worry: A darkness is coming—a darkness that will take everything. And it comes in the form of an old enemy.

Prince Viridian of Unauwen, leading the country’s armies, has conquered Eviellan at long last. But he does so with the use of dark magic. With his newfound power, he plans to return home to overthrow his father, his older brother (and heir to the throne) and anyone else who stands in his way.

He sends letters to those loyal to him in Unauwen and Dagonaut, telling them of his plans and giving instructions to join him.

But the letter is intercepted, and it’s now in the hands of a young, unassuming squire named Tiuri—an Eviellan by birth, but a Dagonaut by upbringing. But even though Tiuri’s adopted father trained the lad as a knight, Tiuri isn’t a fighter.  He’s loyal and has a good heart, but he lacks the instinct and skill for maiming and killing. In fact, the only reason he managed to pass the trials to become a knight was because his father paid his opponent to lose on purpose.

In short, he’s the last person you’d ever want the fate of the world to rest upon. But a prophecy speaks of a young hero that will rise up against the darkness and stop it once and for all. And when strange miracles start happening around Tiuri, everyone starts to wonder if he could be that hero.

Fantasy Genre Tropes

With its medieval style fighting, an evil sorcerer trying to take over the world, and even shots filmed in New Zealand, The Letter for the King is reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings. But that doesn’t mean that families should compare these two distinctly different stories.

The Letter for the King, with its TV-PG rating, seems aimed at children and teens. But even so, Viridian’s use of dark magic is definitely disturbing, especially since he has to kill people and perform a dark ritual in order to grow stronger. And those loyal to him don’t really seem to care if thousands die so long as they get their slice of the pie. But even those who see how the darkness is consuming him are hesitant to speak up since they don’t want to be next on his hit list.

Which is what makes Tiuri such a refreshing hero. He doesn’t want to die either, but he also doesn’t want to see the end of the world be brought about by a madman. He’s willing to do what’s right no matter what the consequences are.

Swordfights are frequent, but not necessarily gory. Cursing is kept to a minimum (we do hear the h-word and a few misuses of God’s name) and people consume mead with most meals. A few teenagers kiss (including one same-sex couple) and there’s a scene where two adults swim together (fully covered) as well.The Letter for the King fulfills many fantasy genre tropes, but because of the way certain scenes play out, it may not be the right series to introduce your family to.

Episode Reviews

March 20, 2020: “Storm Clouds Gather”

Tiuri’s final trial to become a knight is interrupted when a man arrives asking for his help to deliver a letter.

Viridian stabs a shaman woman with a knife. He then burns her cloth-covered corpse in a ceremony to absorb her power, which appears as a cloud of smoke that he then inhales. He demonstrates his powers by causing a mini-earthquake. Mysterious voices whisper to Tiuri throughout the episode and during one instance, a flock of birds forms a face in the sky before the birds dive toward him and knock him over. In another instance, he has a vision of something happening miles away. Someone talks about praying.

During Tiuri’s final trial, he and the other novices are led to the burial ground of all knights of Dagonaut (the entrance of which looks like a giant skull). The chapel inside is filled with skulls and candles, and they are told the place is haunted by spirits which have driven former knights to madness and suicide. The doors close on their own suddenly, and while locked inside for the night, the spirits whisper to Tiuri and the others before blowing all the candles out.

A man is stabbed with a sword (the final motion is offscreen). A stag is shot with a crossbow. People engage in swordfights; several are knocked unconscious from blows to the head and one boy gets a nosebleed. A man throws a flaming log at his opponent’s face. Knights-in-training are knocked from their horses while jousting. Sir Tiuri, Tiuri’s father, knocks a man unconscious for mocking his son. A horse jumps off a cliff into a river, knocking its rider unconscious in the water.

We hear “h—,” “shut up” and a misuse of God’s name. Someone says “thank God.” A man swears by all that is “holy” and threatens to disown his son. Tiuri yells at his father after learning the man bribed Tiuri’s opponent in the trials. People lie, mock and threaten others. A bird defecates. People drink in a pub.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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