The Letter for the King (TV series)

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The Letter for the King
GenreFantasy
Based onDe brief voor de Koning
by Tonke Dragt
Written byWill Davies
Directed by
  • Alex Holmes
  • Felix Thompson
Starring
Composer(s)Brandon Campbell
Country of origin United Kingdom
 Netherlands
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Chris Clark
Production location(s)
  • New Zealand
  • Czech Republic
Production company(s)FilmWave
Release
Original networkNetflix
External links
Official website

The Letter for the King is a coming-of-age adventure television series developed by Will Davies and FilmWave for Netflix inspired by the classic 1962 Dutch novel De brief voor de Koning by Tonke Dragt. The six-episode series was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020.[1]

Premise[edit]

A young aspiring knight Tiuri (Amir Wilson) finds himself on a perilous mission to deliver a secret letter to the King who lives across the Great Mountains.

Cast[edit]

Recurring and supporting[edit]

Notable guests[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date [2]
1"Storm Clouds Gather"Felix ThompsonWill DaviesMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)
Tiuri is a young squire in the Kingdom of Dagonaut. He and his Eviellan mother were rescued by Sir Tiuri after being captured in the war. Tiuri regularly hears unseen voices. Sir Tiuri, describes his step-son as quick and clever but is disappointed with his lack of fighting skill. Tiuri enters the trials for novice knights alongside Iona, Arman, Jussipo and Foldo. On the first day, Tiuri defeats his sparring opponent but is dismounted during the joust when he is distracted by the voices again. His mother gives him his father’s Eviellan pendant. Sir Tiuri defends Tiuri’s honor to the noble knights who scorn his origins. Prince Viridian of Unawen, who has just conquered the Southern kingdom of Eviellan, tries to convince an Eviellan chieftain to serve him and reveals he is a dark sorcerer. She tells him she serves the warrior who will fulfill an ancient prophecy against him. He kills her, burns her body and breathes her essence into himself. On the second day of the trials, Tiuri wins his joust because his step-father bribed the opponent to lose. Tuiri confronts his step-father who tells him to accept his position. During the final challenge, the novices spend a night of silent contemplation inside the tomb of the Knights of Dagonaut which is haunted by the spirits of the fallen knights. Failure by one novice means failure of them all. Tuiri hears the voices again. The vigil is interrupted by a dying Black Knight who has stolen a sealed letter from Prince Viridian’s Red Riders. The Black Knight makes Tiuri swear to deliver the letter and his ring to King Favian of Unauwen before the next full moon, in 14 days. Tiuri is pursued on horseback by the Red Riders. The Black Knight’s horse, Ardanwen, leaps off a cliff carrying Tuiri into the river below.
2"Isn't She a Sweetheart?"Alex HolmesWill DaviesMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)
With the Red Riders and Novices hot on his trail, Tiuri makes his way to Mistrinaut, where the mayor’s daughter takes a keen interest in his mission.
3"At the End of the World"Felix ThompsonRose HeineyMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)
The Red Riders drive their captives high into the snowy mountains. Caught in a storm, Tiuri and Lavinia take shelter inside an ominous monastery.
4"Danger Knights"Alex HolmesHarry CrippsMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)
On a ship headed toward Unauwen, Tiuri and Lavinia meet a mysterious passenger who seems to know the secret of Tiuri's past — and his destiny.
5"Spiral"Charles MartinJoy C. MitchellMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)
Ardanwen guides the group to an eerily empty town. Lavinia helps Tiuri practice controlling his powers. A startling discovery divides the Novices.
6"When the Blood Moon Rises"Felix ThompsonWill DaviesMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)
As the Blood Moon nears and Viridian prepares for his homecoming, Tiuri and friends wrestle with doubt, betrayal and a daunting final test.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In July 2018, it was announced Netflix had ordered an original series based on Tonke Dragt's De brief voor de Koning with Will Davies as showrunner and executive producer. This is the first Netflix adaptation of a Dutch book, although it will be adapted in English; the series is titled after the English translation, which was published in 2014. FilmWave acquired the international rights in a deal with Leopold.[3] Paul Trijbits of FilmWave is executive producing, Chris Clark is producing, and Alex Holmes and Felix Thompson are directing.[4]

Casting[edit]

The cast was announced in December 2018 with Amir Wilson in the lead role.[4]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography took place in New Zealand and Prague, Czech Republic.[5]

Music[edit]

Brandon Campbell composed the music for the series. "It’s an orchestral, adventure score, but we wove in a lot of Western elements. There are acoustic guitars, some vocals, the fiddle, and trumpet. Our approach to this project, and our vision as it came together, was a Western that takes place in the middle of this magical adventure," he told Awards Daily.[6]

Release[edit]

First-look promotional pictures were released in January 2020 followed by a teaser and trailer in February.[7][8][9]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 60% based on reviews from 20 critics, with an average rating of 6.69/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The Letter for the King aspires for greatness, but poor pacing stretched across too many episodes hinder what could be an epic journey."[10] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 55 out of 100 based on reviews from 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11]

Anglophone reception[edit]

Jack Seale of The Guardian awarding the series 3 out of 5 stars and wrote: "But while The Letter for the King doesn’t feel like an adults’ show that kids can get away with watching, it’s also not a kids’ show that’s fun enough for adults to enjoy, with its bowdlerised fights and romance."[12] David Opie of Digital Spy gave it 2 out of 5 stars and wrote: "Unfortunately, The Letter For The King is not the new fantasy smash we were hoping for, so you can toss out any high expectations you might have like a coin to your Witcher. In fact, it's not even that great for fans of the book either.".[13]

The Letter for the King was frequently dubbed as a Game of Thrones for children. Patrick Cremona of Radio Times gave it 2 out of 5 stars and wrote: "The show is watchable enough, and might serve as a useful way into medieval fantasy for younger audiences who aren’t yet ready for the more adult-orientated series that have recently dominated the genre, which is by no means a bad thing. It seems unlikely, however, that this is the next big fantasy series that Netflix might have hoped for. The hunt for the next Game of Thrones goes on…".[14]

Dutch reception[edit]

Although the series topped the Netflix ratings in the Netherlands,[15] it also received very mixed critical reviews, mostly directed towards the execution of the series based on the book by Dragt. Mark Moorman of De Volkskrant awarded the show 3 out of 5 stars and commented: "With nice young actors, beautiful cinematography and a strong queeste, The Letter for the King is a reasonable success. But it does feel a bit like Netflix has crushed our favourite children's book with a steam driver."[16] Belinda van de Graaf of Trouw also awarded the series 3 out of 5 stars and wrote: "In their dedication to inclusivity, the creators even went further. Tiuri's most important companion is no long a boy (Piak) but a girl, Lavinia. And somewhere at the end, there is an intimate kiss between two trainees. Sweet, that kiss between two guys, but that scene is a bit unearned. The same counts for all the hocus pocus that the creators added. It is understandable that Tonke Dragt rather wants to talk of series that was inspired by her book than an adaption of her work."[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ParryBillings, Hannah (February 19, 2020). "The Letter for the King on Netflix: When is it released, and what is it about?". Radio Times. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Letter for the King – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (12 July 2018). "Netflix Preps 'The Letter For The King' Adaptation Of Classic Dutch Novel". Deadline. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (12 December 2018). "Netflix Sets Cast For 'The Letter For The King' Series Based On Classic Dutch Novel". Deadline. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Dutch children's classic 'The Letter for the King' is a new Netflix series". Dutch News. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  6. ^ Larki, Shadan (23 March 2020). "Brandon Campbell on Creating Thrilling Scores For 'Amazing Stories,' 'The Letter For The King'". Awards Daily. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  7. ^ Gibbs, Adrienne (28 January 2020). "First Look: Netflix's New Series 'The Letter For The King'". Forbes. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  8. ^ Weiss, Josh (29 January 2020). "The Letter for the King teaser reveals Netflix's fantasy reach beyond The Witcher". Syfy. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  9. ^ Romano, Nick (26 February 2020). "The Letter for the King series trailer conjures the next Netflix fantasy epic". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  10. ^ "The Letter for the King: Season 1". Retrieved Jun 21, 2020 – via www.rottentomatoes.com.
  11. ^ "The Letter for the King". Retrieved Jun 21, 2020 – via www.metacritic.com.
  12. ^ Seale, Jack (Mar 20, 2020). "The Letter for the King review – Netflix fantasy epic is low on magic". Retrieved Jun 21, 2020 – via www.theguardian.com.
  13. ^ Opie, David (Mar 20, 2020). "The Letter for the King isn't the 'young Witcher' we were hoping for". Digital Spy. Retrieved Jun 21, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Letter for the King review: Forgettable fantasy series never quite takes off". Radio Times. Retrieved Jun 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Privacy settings". myprivacy.dpgmedia.net. Retrieved Jun 21, 2020.
  16. ^ Moorman, Mark (Mar 19, 2020). "Meer Netflix dan Tonke Dragt: Letter for the King is vlotte serie vol zwaargepimpte fantasy-elementen★★★☆☆". de Volkskrant. Retrieved Jun 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Graaf, Belinda van de (Mar 19, 2020). "In Netflix' 'The Letter for the King' is Tiuri niet meer blond". Trouw. Retrieved Jun 21, 2020.

External links[edit]