Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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Young squire Tiuri has difficulties living up to his father’s name when it comes to the virtues required for knighthood. One night, his greatest challenge yet presents itself with a call for aid that sends him on a dangerous mission to deliver a secret letter to the king of a neighboring country. Why are people hunting this letter? And what is the significance of Tiuri’s own ancestry?


Are you wondering whether you should try this series? Please do not click the play button. You will regret it. I can be easily impressed by book-to-screen adaptations, but this version is absolute garbage. When Jop and I were watching the episodes, we used to joke that the best actor in the entire cast played Ardanwen, the horse. There suddenly is magic in my knight’s tale and Piak the charming mountain boy has been reduced to a silly brat. I did not enjoy one minute of this and I am very sad that Tonke Dragt is still alive to see this adaptation. Just read the book. Please, just read the book.

(This review relates only to the first (and hopefully last) season of this show)

Netflix’s The Letter for the King is the perfect example of how to butcher a carefully crafted story through tragically misunderstanding what a fantasy story should entail. And I hate it.

Some of my bitterness with this adaption might be attributed to my childhood passion for the source material (the book written by Tonke Dragt), but the unfortunate truth is that I started watching this series with very few expectations. In fact, I was curious to see how Netflix would improve on some of the areas the original story lacked, such as the inclusion of POC’s and female characters. Truth be told, Netflix’s version delivered in that regard, but failed miserably on everything else.

One of The Letter for the King‘s major problems is the fact that the creators tried to unite elements of The Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones within a children’s story that absolutely did not need such grandscale embellishments, because it thrived on subtle heroics. The inclusion of magic does not necessarily make for a better story. Similary, the inclusion of grim moralities does not necessarily make for a better story. If you still choose to include such things, you should do this with care, not simply because you aim to tick some boxes from the ‘fantasy check list’.

Which brings me to one of the other main issues; the writing for this series is just not good. Jasmijn and I used to joke Ardanwen the horse was the best actor in this series, but that’s only because that horse didn’t have to deal with a weak script. The child actors (Amir Wilson, Thaddea Graham and Ruby Ashbourne Serkis, specifically) actually showed much of promise. Similary, there were a few great/proven names (such as David Wenham, Andy Serkis, and Kim Bodnia) that I know to be good actors, but who could just not sell whatever the writers wanted to convey. That’s just a shame.

I wish I could leave you with some positive remark, but nope. This series was just not for me.

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