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Friday, September 1, 2017

The Last King

The Last King
The Last King (original Norwegian title Birkebeinerne) is a historical drama that film centers on the efforts of the Birkebeiner loyalists to protect the infant heir to the Norwegian throne. The film is set during the Civil war era in Norway during the 13th century. - paraphrased from Wikipedia.
We watched this last night on Netflix. The first thing we noticed was the big, red-haired wilding from Game of Thrones, Kristofer Hivju, in a starring role. Well, of course, you'll find him here. Who is better at swinging an axe in brutal winter conditions?

The movie has a couple of surprising features:
  • lots of chasing people on skis with evil intent, so much skiing that it put me in mind of old James Bond movies.
  • squads of bad guys using crossbows effectively.
  • horses carrying soldiers running on snow. The snow would have to be either not very deep or well packed. I can imagine short paths being well traveled enough for a horse, or perhaps a narrow path between adjacent villages, but I don't think there were much in the way of roads in medieval Norway. Well, you can't have a medieval war story without warhorses, so mark this one up to the influence of Hollywood.

Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child, 1869, by Knud Bergslien.
The skiing was at least semi-authentic. No fancy tricks, basically just skiing long runs downhill with maybe a few gentle turns.

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