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So...Kings. Been rewatching it because I need inspiration for a project. of the best shows to get cancelled in its first season *ever*. I wish I'd tried harder to convince people to watch it but I don't think, at the time, I appreciated how important of a show it actually was.

It's a *better* show if you appreciate it for what it is, not whether or not it adheres to the original story enough. But also, it actually *does*, more than you'd think at first. The writers and show runners were *fans* and *scholars* and it's loaded with Fridge Brilliance and callbacks to the original. I'll tackle that in my third post.

There's always a slight debate over whether original text!David really was so trusting and Godly and pure when he entered court life and then became corrupt (and he only got corrupted by trying to do the right thing), or if he was a bit of a manipulative, ambitious schemer all along who had like five girlfriends back home. The tv show clearly chose to start out with Slightly Naive!David, which is totally fine. They even lampshaded the other theory by having Character A say "He can't possibly be this good" and Character B claiming that he's not, he's just never had an opportunity to sin on this level before.

And he and Jack are actually pretty hot together. I mean, they never even kiss but the way everything is written and directed and played, you can cut that sexual tension with a knife. Jack is definitely head over heels in love even though he believes David is straight and is trying sooo hard to hate him. On this show, we never found out if David was bi or not because they were canceled. But on repeat viewing, I could've fallen for their relationship...I did anyway, of course.

It's just that book!Jonathan and tv!Jack are such different people.

Book!Jonathan is some kind of saint. He's heroic and fearless but also gentle, protective, comforting, ridiculously self sacrificing and loyal to his own detriment. He's desperately trying to keep the peace between the two men he loves more than anyone else, his father and his father 2.0, and their war basically gets him killed. This is the major appeal of Jonathan, that incredible, tragic, selflessness. You get the feeling Jonathan spends a lot of time being totally appalled at the behavior of most of the other characters.

TV!Jonathan basically has trouble facing the world sober. “Jack” is a cynically realistic picture of how a guy with an emotionally abusive, controlling, unpredictably volatile, manipulative bastard of a father might really turn out. He's a brat constantly on the verge of snapping. About halfway down this page there's a fabulous analysis of Jack and his sad, sort of woobie existence. He's emotionally less mature than David, he's consumed by helpless anger, in a situation he doesn't want to be in but can't change. The same people yelling at him about his behavior are also refusing to let him contribute anything of value. The only things he really wants are the things he can't have. He's totally arrogant but in that particular way people are when they don't have a high opinion of themselves. He gets in fights because he's a self hating closet case and if viewers are paying attention they may slowly begin to realize he's legitimately a masochist. I missed a lot of that on the first viewing but oh yes. There are many indications that not only is Jack secretly a masochist ("hit me!" and "you could lecture me sternly in private") and a bottom, but with the "circus brothel" and his claim to have a sex room in his apartment, he's a little freak. And what is David supposed to do with that when he's still in the “innocent, honorable and likeable” period of his life story?

....That is so hot. Too bad the show didn't last and didn't pick up a Fireflyesque following so people would still be writing tons of great fic three years later. There are a couple fics like that, but it would've been nice if there were more.

Book!Jonathan is pro David from the start, he never seems to have a struggle over the fact that this guy is taking his birthright. Tv!Jack fights the inevitable.

But his personality makes perfectly logical sense in that universe, it's just not the same as the book version. And I think that really hurt the show because book!Jonathan is SO beloved and it has a lot of Unfortunate Implications when your only gay character is set up as an antagonist. Even though I'm pretty sure they were going to move on from that, probably the reason they brought in Evil Andrew so they could have a better foil, the audience turned away first. Too bad, because Jack gets one hell of a Crowning Moment of Awesome/Heel Face Pirouette later. He's quite the Ensemble Darkhorse after all, because by the end of the series his parents, his uncle, and his cousin all turn out to be far worse and he doesn't deserve what they do to him.

I wouldn't call it a role reversal or personality switch exactly... but a lot of David's plot revolves around his decisions to protect Jack even though Jack doesn't really deserve it.

Michal, however, is also a total Bizarro World!version. In the original text, she's kind of a bitch. Partly because her husband and her father are both awful to her and just shatter all her dreams (even God seems to get in on the act). But you get the impression that she's also strong and smart and spirited. Tv!Michelle is soft, gentle, innocent, with a quavery little voice and a tendency to make stupid choices (pronounced "too dumb to live" on TwoP forums). I get that they didn't want to Angie Bowie!her but there is such a thing as a middle ground. I feel like book!Michal would have little patience with her.

Maybe you can think of it as a mirror universe. The Witch of Endor did a spell and sent them all into another world, a dystopian future, robbed of most of their memories. Now things are all jumbled up, people act weird, and quote half remembered scraps of poetry and myth that clearly must be coming from some other timeline.


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