The Winter King just had its version of the infamous Red Wedding of Game of Thrones in episode 2.
Based on George R. R. Martin’s novel, HBO’s Game of Thrones is a landmark dystopian fantasy series that quickly rose to the top of the pie and toppled a barrage of records. This was because of the excellent cast, incredibly nuanced and absorbing storyline, and some unforgettable scenes like Ned Stark’s beheading and the aforementioned Red Wedding.
Game of Thrones was a trendsetter for several fantasy creatives, and many shows have become famous by following in its footsteps. One of the newest contenders for its throne is MGM+’s The Winter King, which adapts Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles.
This series offers a realistic and gritty take on the legend of King Arthur. The pilot introduces us to the main characters and the nitty gritty of the dystopian world, but the second episode takes things to a whole new level.
The show does not shy away from showing the horrors of King Arthur’s world and proves it with a terrifying scene that is essentially a bloodbath. It sends a clear message that the show will not hold back in depicting the violence and cruelty of this era.
The Winter King is set during the ‘Dark Ages’ in Britain when the land was ravaged by the Saxons right after the Romans left.
The story follows King Pendragon, who hopes that his newborn son, Mordred, will restore peace and prosperity to his kingdom. He entrusts him to Gundleus, the ruthless King of Siluria, to ensure his safety in the treacherous land. Thus, Mordred is taken away to Avalon, a safe sanctuary run by the powerful wizard Merlin.
However, Gundleus turns out to be a snake in disguise. He arrives in Avalon and ruthlessly stabs the baby after announcing that a child can’t rule Britain.
This is followed by bone-chilling scenes where his men massacre entire villages, leaving almost no one alive to tell the tale.
Gundleus murders Queen Norwena and also kills Lunete’s farmer father. Moreover, he violently assaults priestess Nimue, which may have also severed his connection to the Gods of that world.
This massacre is even more impactful because it is unexpected, much like the Red Wedding. This is show’s second episode, and Gundleus’ nefarious past wasn’t even adequately established before dropping this a-bomb!
The Red Wedding similarly came out of nowhere and killed off major characters like Robb and Catelyn Stark after a relatively peaceful episode (by GOT standards!)
Finally, The Winter King also replicates Ned Stark’s shocking death by killing off King Uther so early into the proceedings.
Eddie Marsan is easily the most recognizable actor in the show, and it comes as a huge shock when he exits the show in episode 2 itself, much like Sean Bean in GOT.
So, don’t be too attached to any Winter King character because they may be torn into pieces or beheaded before you even realize it!
About The Winter King
The Winter King is a British historical fiction television series based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles novels, starring Iain De Caestecker as King Arthur. The series premiered on MGM+ in the United States on 20 August 2023, and on ITVX in the United Kingdom at a later date.
The story is a retelling of the Arthurian legend and takes place in Post-Roman Dark Age Britain, a land where the warlord Arthur has been banished and Merlin has disappeared, Saxons are invading and a child-king sits unprotected on the throne.
We meet a vain and unpopular Lancelot; an ambitious and scheming Guinevere; Merlin, who is a more absent Druid than a mystic magician; and Mordred, who is Uther’s grandson and legitimate heir to the throne. The tale is told by the elderly Saxon-born monk Derfel Cadarn for Igraine, a young queen, long after the death of Arthur.