The Letter for the King

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Letter for the King TV Poster Image
Underdog hero stands out in book-based fantasy series.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Themes of finding and following your destiny are strong throughout the story. The quest for power drives the actions of many. The concept of heroism is explored, and Tiuri emerges as an unlikely hero in that he lacks the physical strength and kill instinct that most knights have, but his morals and compassion prove equally valuable. Loyalties are difficult to decipher at times, and some characters play one side against the other for personal gain. Racial and ethnic stereotypes play a role in the story. One knight-in-training is female. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

 Tiuri is smart and compassionate, and he is untethered by the kind of class stereotyping that exists in his time. Many characters are difficult to predict in their true intentions; sabotage and manipulation are common in the quest for power. 

Violence

Frequent instances of violence, but blood and gore is kept to a minimum. Stabbings and intense death scenes play out. Weapons include crossbows, swords, and knives, and hand-to-hand combat comes into play at times. The main characters are teens whose lives are constantly threatened by adults. Lots of peril and some jump-scares. 

Sex

Two characters form a romance; expect kissing and the like. 

Language

Infrequently "dammit," "ass," "shut up," and name-calling like "brats," "turd," "scum," and "idiot." 

Consumerism

This series is based on a book of the same name. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Letter for the King is a book-inspired fantasy series about a young knight named Tiuri (Amir Wilson). He's a misfit whose compassionate character and strong principles earn him disdain from those around him but prove invaluable in fulfilling his destiny. The story raises issues like racial, ethnic, and class prejudice, but the characters’ actions ultimately work against bias in positive ways. Characters' true loyalties can be difficult to figure out, making it hard to decide who's a hero and who's a villain. While the show minimizes the violence that's common in this genre, you can still expect to see plenty of weapons (swords, knives, crossbows, etc.), as well as intense death scenes -- but little blood. There's some romance between characters; expect kissing and the like. Language is infrequent and typically involves name-calling ("scum," "idiot," and "brats," for instance), as well as "ass" and "dammit."

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGandJ March 24, 2020
Why?! This show had my 10 & 12 yr old completely entertained (and me too a bit). I really appreciated Netflix for having a medieval fantasy show that w... Continue reading
Adult Written byFallenMuse March 28, 2020

I'd say more PG-13 for the violence

Like most parents, when I see a title rated PG, I immediately think of an innocent children's show with bright colors and fun characters that make our youn... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

THE LETTER FOR A KING centers on 15-year-old Tiuri (Amir Wilson), the stepson of a Dagonaut knight whose high hopes for his adopted son following in his footsteps go mostly unfulfilled. Despite all the best training, Tiuri’s destiny as a knight isn’t promising, and his gentle nature doesn’t ingratiate him to his peers competing to earn the title, either. But when fate steps in and sweeps Tiuri off on a dangerous quest to deliver a secret letter given to him by a dying knight in the hopes of saving the kingdoms from a looming darkness wrought by the bloodthirsty Prince Viridian (Gijs Blom), this unlikely hero’s true destiny begins to take shape. As he races across the land on the magnificent and intuitive steed Ardanwen, he makes allies and enemies along the way and slowly confronts the truth about who he is and where his destiny will take him.

Is it any good?

Billed by Netflix as a Game of Thrones for a younger crowd, this fantasy series has some pitfalls, but its choice of a hero makes up for most of what bogs down the story. Tiuri is instantly likable, a clear underdog who’s pressured by his stepfather’s position to be more than he is. He’s not terribly strong, not great with a sword, and only serviceable in a jousting contest, which puts him at a severe disadvantage in the knight games that provide our first good look at him. His competitors laugh at him, and his stepfather seems ashamed. As the story wears on and Tiuri comes into his own, though, we see that despite what society tells him, it’s not those qualities that determine his success.

The Letter for the King tries so hard to make its story a sweeping, engrossing saga that it sometimes loses itself in the magnitude it’s attempting to convey. Viewers are inundated with characters and kingdoms (all with unfamiliar names, of course), prophecies and social constructs, stereotypes and mysticism right from the start, and it’s a little too much to grasp at first. It takes several episodes for the series to really gain traction and the pieces to fall into place, at which point more interesting characters are introduced and factor into Tiuri’s quest, either as allies or as those who hope to keep him from fulfilling it. One thing the series does very well is make the young characters far more interesting than are the adults, and viewers will especially appreciate the complexities of Tiuri’s and Lavinia’s relationship and the dynamics that play out among the group of teens tasked with tracking down and capturing the young hero. The bottom line? This series can be laborious to watch, especially in the beginning, but it’s beautifully adapted and minimizes the violence and language that can permeate the fantasy genre. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how and why The Letter for the King avoids graphic violence. Does doing so help it draw a younger audience? Would the story have been more or less compelling if more extensive or realistic violence was shown? 

  • This story raises the idea of prejudice in subtle ways as we learn bits about Tiuri's heritage. In what ways does he face bigotry from others around him? What judgments do they make about him that seem unfair? How can we help minimize prejudice in our own encounters with people? 

  • Tiuri's courage is a notable characteristic that factors into his success. Where else do you see courage at work among the characters? Can villains demonstrate positive traits? Is that the case in this series? 

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