The series focus on Tiuri – a knight-in-training who is tasked with delivering a vitally important letter to King Favian, whose kingdom is under threat from his villainous son Prince Viridian.
Given that the 1962 novel was only translated into English as recently as 2013, it’s likely that it might not be overly well-known amongst British and Irish audiences, so some fans watching the show might want to know how closely the plot of the book is followed…
How different is The Letter for the King from the source novel by Tonke Dragt?
While the basic premise is the same, there are actually a significant number of changes – and the series is therefore more of a reworking of the novel than a direct adaptation.
The scenes of Tiuri being approached by the squire of a dying knight as he undertakes a vigil are fairly consistent with the book – up to the point that Tiuri stays with the knight as he passes away.
However there are numerous diversions from the book’s plot from that point onwards – most of the action in the book focuses solely on Tiuri’s journey, and so a lot of the background that we see in the series doesn’t make it into the book, including various warring factions.
Much of Tiuri’s own family background is new for the show – the whole storyline concerning he and his mother being refugees from a kingdom where magic has historically been prominent is not in the book, nor is there anything to do with a prophecy or Prince Viridian’s conquering of Eviellen.
In the book the character of Piak is Tiuri’s best friend and squire accompanying him for the whole of his journey, but he has a different role in the show – as the younger brother of one of Tiuri’s fellow knights in training. These knights-in-training are themselves new characters for the show – so even fairly major characters such as Iona are not present in the book.
Lavinia also has a far bigger role in the series. In the book, she and her father provide Tiuri with weapons when he arrives in Mistrinaut, but she does not join his quest as she does in the book – nor does she fall in love with him.
In short, then, the series differs from the book in fairly major ways – and should be a considered a fairly loose adaptation.