TV - Movies
The One Medieval TV Drama That Stands Above All
The Competition
By KIM BELL
When “Game of Thrones” debuted in 2011, the show reignited interest in medieval-inspired narratives and influenced other networks to create their own epic series, like History’s “Vikings.” Although there is much to say about these series, they fail the audience in one particular way: their poor portrayal of female characters that reinforces the one-dimensional archetype.
However, Netflix’s “The Last Kingdom” stands apart from others in the genre as it constructs fully-developed, powerful female characters while staying true to the period’s historical source material and realities. The series is set in a restrictive era for women, yet they exhibit various skills and are depicted as fully-dimensional as any modern woman.
“The Last Kingdom” rejects the tired trope from shows like “Game of Thrones,” which finds women’s actions motivated by men and fails to give them complexity and realism. Instead, “The Last Kingdom” demonstrates the strength and humanity of its female characters with acts like self-sacrifice for love and forgiveness — acts traditionally done by males.
Eliza Butterworth's Aelswith thoroughly embodies the show’s commitment to seeing women as humans as the character exhibits growth, vulnerability, strength, and a sense of humor. While the show exists in an era that treats women just as poorly as any other medieval series, the writers make sure the female characters are not defined by their reactions to injustice and abuse.