Monday, May 23, 2022 | Shawwal 21, 1443 H
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Troy: Fall of a City

The mini-series series Troy: Fall of a City (2018) is much different from the movie Troy that came out in 2004.

The movie was loaded with beautiful stars yet never did justice to the original myth. The series though is based on the Greek myths and not on Homer’s Iliad, which means that it covers more aspects that could be new to viewers familiar with the general story.

The series starts with Paris (Louis Hunter) who’s a shepherd that discovers by chance that he’s Prince Alexander, the lost son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. As an infant, Prince Alexander was kidnapped by a wolf and saved by Agelaus the shepherd who raised him as his own and named him Paris.

This is the story known at the court- told by his parents- but it’s a far cry from the truth. Prince Alexander accompanies the envoy heading to Sparta to learn the art of diplomacy and politics. However, he manages to seduce King Menelaus’s wife Helen and she elopes with him to Troy. When Menelaus finds out about her flight, he seeks the help of his brother King Agamemnon of Mycenae, who raises an army that has the best warriors of ancient Greece including Odysseus of Ithaca and Achilles and his Myrmidons. They set sail to Troy and lay a ten years siege that ends with the Trojan horse ruse that marks the fall of the great city.

But where does the Greek mythology come in? To start with, Paris’s story is told as a whole: why was he abandoned as an infant, how his encounter with the Greek goddesses — Hera, Athena and Aphrodite — ultimately lead to meeting Helen. Also, the sacrifice of Iphigenia — Agamemnon’s daughter —before setting sails to Troy and the involvement of the Amazon warriors in the war, both stories not known to many. In almost all eight episodes, the three Goddesses along with Zeus walk among humans and are witnessed by a few — even Artemis and Hermes were in a few scenes — which was innovative.

The choice of male actors playing different roles was more successful than that of the female cast. Louis Hunter who plays Paris did a good job impersonating the tormented Paris; torn between his love for Helen and the doom he’s bringing his family as a consequence. The choice of a black Achilles (David Gyasi) and a black Zeus (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) was fascinating. Both actors excelled in their roles, especially Gyasi who plays a contemplating Achilles troubled by the futility of this war and the glory it lacks. As well as the choice for the three kings — especially Odysseus — who’s cunning yet humane. As for the female cast, Helen (Bella Dane) was a bit cold for the role, although she embodies a true feminist living in the ancient world: rejecting female oppression practised in ancient Greece and enjoying gender equality practised in her new city.

The actress playing Andromache — Hector’s wife — wasn’t any better, having a long face the whole series and rarely smiling, which takes an effort, to be honest.

Unlike Aimee-Ffion Edwards who plays Casandra, the only female cast perfecting the role of the disturbed seer. Generally speaking, the series is interesting and entertaining, despite having no Greek elements whatsoever (even the location: Cape Town!). However, it has a few flaws such as the baker’s boy who never ages during the ten years of war and when Odysseus asks Achilles if he misses the Adrenaline of fights. Nevertheless, the production is grand and convincing in all aspects: cinematography, costumes, make-up and set decoration. Available on Netflix. For history and Greek mythology fans.

Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of The World According to Bahja.

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