The Long Night is upon fans of Game of Thrones

It’s going to be a very long wait for Game of Thrones fans. Recently, it was announced that the final season will not be released until spring of 2019. Will Bran reveal what he knows about Rhaegar? Will Jon Snow defeat the Night King? Will the Long Night end? Who will sit on the Iron Throne if the battle is won?

Fortunately, there are some fantastic television series DVDs in our collection to help you get through the Long Night.

Vikings

There are only two things that matter to the Vikings: destiny and war. And the only way for a Viking to achieve his destiny was to be victorious in war. Vikings follows the story of the legendary Norse hero, Ragnar Lothbrok. Ragnar is an ambitious and methodical warrior who is a descendant of the god Odin. Eager to achieve what no other Viking has done, he eventually he leads an army to the shores of England to raid the Saxon villages.

Axes and shields may dominate the screen but at its core Vikings is about politics. Ragnar is a calculating leader who plays the long con, often outsmarting his opponents through strategy rather than blood. Women also play a strong role in the show. Lagertha (Ragnar’s wife) is a shield maiden with a reputation for courage and wit all her own. When it comes to fantasy, Vikings goes light on the supernatural elements. A raven may appear to give the idea that Odin is watching, but the fantasy symbols are few and only serve to reflect the belief system of the time.

Vikings combines action with intrigue and is my go-to series between seasons of Game of Thrones. Season Five, Part I of Vikings will be release in April 2018.

The Last Kingdom – (based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Series)

The Last Kingdom shares the same timeline as Vikings but the story is told from the point-of- view of the Saxons.  What we know as modern day England is broken up into seven separate kingdoms. Six of the seven kingdoms are ruled by Danes (Vikings). For decades, the Danes have attacked and plundered Saxon lands and now only Wessex remains free. The show follows Uhtred, the young heir to Bebbanburg. His family is murdered by ruthless Danes and he is taken as a slave. Overtime, he is sold to a Danish Earl who treats him as a son rather than a captive. Uhtred grows to be a man of two worlds – born a Saxon but raised in the brutal traditions of the Danes. His adoptive father is murdered in the first episode and his quest for retribution sets the tone for the remainder of the show.

The Last Kingdom is a fast paced, plot-driven series that is quick to watch – the first season only has eight episodes. It’s a good choice for those who don’t want to commit to hours of television watching.

Spartacus

A Thracian soldier is captured and enslaved by the Romans. Forced to fight as a gladiator for Roman entertainment, Spartacus conspires to overthrow his masters. His path to freedom is bloody and full of vengeance.

This is not a show for the faint of heart. There is a lot of action and violence, true to the nature of historical gladiator fighting. The cast is incredibly talented. You can’t help but love the villainous husband and wife who run the gladiator school. Played by John Hannah and Lucy Lawless respectively, they are comparable to the Macbeths – always plotting to rise above their station. The costume and set design is equally impressive. There is a great attention to detail placed on replicating the style of the Roman time period. It is done on a scale that is usually reserved for big budget Hollywood movies.

Spartacus is a wild ride – it is incredibly fast paced with a scandalously shocking storyline. It is one of my guilty pleasures.

Reign

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was only six days old when she ascended to the throne. Viewed as a threat to the English crown, she was sent to France for her protection. The show begins with Mary’s betrothal to Dauphin of France and follows her rise to power until her execution in England.

Reign takes a lot of liberties with history, which makes the story hard to predict. The Mary we see on the show is much more scandalous than the Mary we read about in our history books.   The costumes, accessories and music of the show are designed in modern style, giving it a Gossip Girl type of appeal. While not a true fantasy show, there are elements of the supernatural on the fringes of the storyline – just enough to add a twist to the plot and keep the audience guessing how the story will unfold.

Reign is a plot-based show, rich with intrigue and conspiracy. The main character, Mary, is a relatable girl that you will root for even when you already know her fate.

-Lesley L.

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