We are almost Midway through the series and the conflicts, subversion, alliance and parallels regarding various clans and characters are reaching a crescendo.
The tenacious alliance between Queen Antedia and the Romans reaches a more concrete position as Aulus, ever the charmer, kisses Antedia’s hand instead of her feet when she commands him to. As they say- keep your enemies close and the Romans closer. Queen Antedia seems like a capable and hardened ruler, but her hatred for Cantii is blinding her to the greater threat which is on the verge of enslaving her land. It’s a dire game of politics, where she thinks that bonding with the Romans will give her the edge to defeat cantii since she is sure of her military prowess; and in case Rome ever turns on her, she will certainly be able to defeat them. Aulus on the other hand is just trying to slowly slither his way into the already broken land ruled by magic and rivalries. A very prominent set up is visible, where the old queen is certain to clash with the new and young Queen Keera of Cantii.
Speaking of the young and new queen Keera, she is conflicted at being thrust on the throne and as expected, her brother Phelan, goaded by his wife Ania, questions Keera and whether she had prior intentions of being Queen. The jealousy is clearly visible and forms a crack in what has been a quite supportive sibling relationship, and it is all due to the questions which Ania had put in her husband’s mind regarding the legitimacy of the new rule. Ania seems like a person who has gone mad by her inability to secure power and thus, is prepared to do anything to secure it- even participate in orgies with the druids. She only evokes a kind of desperate pity from the viewers.
For the druids, this episode seems to have humanized their leader Veran because whereas he seemed like a trickster before, for now, he seems like a man who has a huge weight to carry- of truly trying to guide the people and in this, he is in the same position as Keera, they both realize and so there is a certain gradual building up of amicability and respect in their relationship.
Personally, epic scenes draw me in and the scene of Keera being crowned queen gave me goosebumps like nothing else (well, except for the crowning scene of the Queen in ‘The Crown’). The music, the ritualistic words chanted by Veran:
‘Before the gods there was nothing but chaos. Now we stand beneath their unyielding gaze, below the cold moon, beneath the stars,child of the gods, I crown you, may you never speak again except to show us the way.’
All of it builds up rapidly and leaves the viewer in a euphoria. But after all the dramatics are over, the only one left is an unsure Queen who wants to do good by her people but everything and everyone seems to be against her. In such a moment, wanting clarity, Veran meets her and reads out the runes written on her shoulders after her mother was killed, it states that- she will be the hope of a blind father. While the moment has various layers of meaning to decode- from the implication that Keera was destined to become Queen and that she will right the wrongs of her father; but the one which is most prominent is the parallel running between her and Cait, they seem to be on the opposite junctures of life and social status- one a Royalty, the other on the run; one a child and the other an adult; but the thread which connects them is that they are both children who are the hope of their blind fathers: literally and metaphorically.
As an ending I must say that this series certainly has the gore and sex of Game of thrones- with the blatant nude scenes or the scenes of the druids pulling out the sacrificed King’s bones from his body, they certainly aren’t shying away; but I will not be remiss to say that there is a certain line in the sand which this show hasn’t crossed and that makes me admire it more.