New Bernard Cornwell show The Winter King is no The Last Kingdom

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I first read Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles in middle school. I’d seen a few other King Arthur things here and there

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but nothing quite grabbed me like this. It was epic without being cheesy, nuanced without being boring.

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It featured a cast of characters most of us have heard of — Arthur, Merlin, etc — but had a different perspective on them.

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They were real people situated in a real time and place in history, where the idea of magic was treated with such fear and respect

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that it might as well have been real, even if no one was shooting lightning bolts out of their fingers.

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I devoured The Winter King, the first book in the series, and quickly read the next two. For years I thought they would make a great TV series. And now MGM+ has gone and made it. 

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And the first episode is…pretty lame, all things considered. We know that Cornwell’s work can make for good TV; just look at the Sharpe series starring Sean Bean

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or the Netflix show The Last Kingdom. In my opinion, The Warlord Chronicles is Cornwell’s best work, so I’m very disappointed that MGM+’s

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The Winter King is such a middling effort. The TV show seems intent on taking everything that made Cornwell’s books different and interesting and boiling them away. 

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