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The Musketeers BBC

Rajesh , 2788

Swordfights, muskets, conspiracy, chivalry, and more swordfights and gunshots*
If anything from the above-mentioned list fascinates you, BBC’s 
The Musketeers – loosely based on Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers – is made for you.

It is 17th century Paris we are talking about; with dense political structure, complex relations with Spain, constant pressure from Rome and added to that the frequent conspiracies against King Louis XIII. The story is gripping, characters are charming and *sword fights*.

I’ve always wondered why people make movies of such classic novels. TV series (if done properly), do them more justice. Characters get enough time to grow, their actions become more transparent and explicable (and for this particular novel, action scenes are more fun). But then again, it takes effort to make a good TV series or movie. I’ve made none, so I am the least likely person to criticize on that point.

Back to the story which is about a group of King Louis’ Musketeers – Athos, Aramis, Porthos and D’Artagnan - the Apprentice Musketeer.

Athos, one of the best swordsmen, shunned his noble birth to be a musketeer. His past still haunts him quite badly. Porthos was once a skilled thief, but chose a more honorable life. Being a soldier is the best thing that ever happened to him. Aramis is a natural charmer who could’ve been a priest, sending souls to heaven; but rather became a musketeer because he found he was better at dispatching people to hell.

D’Artagnan, a skilled fighter from rural Gascony, came to revenge his father’s death. He meets the three Musketeers and had a good fight with Athos. Although it was a really a misunderstanding, it established D’Artagnan with the Musketeers. Athos, who is generally not so trusting, befriends D’Artagnan. (The first episode was a bit cliched but everything is fantastic after that.)

Together, they make up for the absence of any family. Actually, this brotherhood is a family where they make fun of each other, cry at the fake funerals and say good things only behind the back. The brotherhood is supported by Captain Trivelle of the King’s Musketeers who covers up for their actions.

Constance Bonacieux is another lively and charming character. Sometimes frustrated by musketeers’ actions of getting themselves killed (especially D’Artagnan) but always reliable. Added to that, there is Milady de Winter, the sexy antagonist. Although this is a male-centered show, still there are certain important moments that these women take away not only by charm but gunshots, swords and knives too. In the back-story, Milady has a past with Athos and Constance has a future with D’Artagnan, but nothing is too certain for now.

And because we are talking about ladies, Aramis is the one who can’t be left behind. Being an openly Catholic person in 17th century when Roman Catholic Church is suppressing women rights he openly supports women and respects their actions. He is a contradiction in himself. A soldier who preaches love. A charm for every eye, he never lets anything cloud his judgement.

On the other hand, there is acute judgement of Queen Anne and childlike King Louis whose actions are greatly influenced by Cardinal. Cardinal is another antagonist played by Peter Capaldi in the series,

though he is not a pure villain because in his mind he is guided by an idea for the betterment of France. Milady is one of the Cardinal’s assassins, whom he uses from time to time.

Too much for the spoilers. In the presentation of 17th century France, the show has achieved a good level in showing filth of the streets, but not so much the royalty of the Royal family. But again, it is not a historical documentary and one can’t account for all the facts.

There is wit in the chivalry of these knights. The humor and action keeps the show going. Most of the characters are three-dimensional as opposed to the two dimensional representation in previous adaptations. There is a good sense of realism in story. This series tell you that muskets as well as musketeers are not too reliable (Aramis is a good shot, but he is too modest) and jumping from a second floor hurts like hell. Musketeers are not made of iron. They bleed and die, a lot.

And at the end of it all what do the Musketeers have? No glory, no money, no love, none of the things that make life bearable. Except honor, and they can live with that (Although a little money would be better).

First season done. Second season in 2015. Do catch up with the first season if you haven’t yet.