This article contains spoilers for the ending of The Letter For the King. Read our spoiler-free review here.
The Letter For King takes its time getting to its climactic face off between the powers of darkness (Prince Viridian) and our hero (Lavinia), but, once it gets there, things move quickly. If you had trouble keeping track of everything that went down in the final episode of Netflix‘s six-part family fantasy series, then we’ve got your back. Here’s a breakdown of everything that went down in the ending of The Letter For the King…
Does Lavinia Have Powers?
The Letter For the King races into its sixth and final episode, picking up moments after the Episode 5 reveal that it isn’t Tiuri who has magical powers, but Lavinia. It’s been Lavinia this whole time. She was the one who caused a windstorm at the Monastery at the End of the World. She was the one who saved Tiuri from becoming a human BBQ. And she’s the one who knocks Sir Fantumar and his men off their horses at the end of Episode 5.
Pretty much no one takes this revelation well. Lavinia takes off, overwhelmed by the revelation of her powers. Without Lavinia or powers, Tiuri succumbs to hopelessness and alcohol. He doesn’t think he can deliver the letter to the king without Lavinia’s help. It’s Arman who finds him and convinces him otherwise, reminding him that Tiuri wasn’t given this mission because he has magical powers or is good with a sword; he was chosen because he was the one who answered the call when no one else would.
The reveal of Lavinia’s magical powers is easily one of the best moments of this entire season, and gives The Letter For the King additional narrative momentum heading into its final hour. Unfortunately, the series almost exclusively focuses on what this means for Tiuri. After he and Lavinia get into a fight, we don’t see her until she shows up to fight Viridian.
I get that the show was probably trying to build some suspense around whether or not Lavinia would show up, but, come on, we all knew she would. By having the character off-screen for much of the buildup to her big face-off against Viridian, Letter For the King undercuts the narrative power of granting Chosen One status to the street smart girl rather than the noble guy. (Though, it feels relevant to note that Tiuri is a character of color and Lavinia is white, which has meaning both in our world and the world of Letter For the King, as many of the Eviellans seem to be people of color, even if this is never explicitly commented on.)
One of this series’ best elements is how it contextualizes the classic Chosen One story in a broader world, filled with lots of characters and identities. Even when Tiuri is the presumed Chosen One, the show is aware of his limitations and how he cannot do this alone, while never forgetting that his kindness and willingness to step up and risk his privilege when others will not is what makes him special—even after we find out he doesn’t have any magical powers.
Or does he…
Does Tiuri Have Magical Powers?
Does hearing voices and sometimes seeing faces in flocks of birds count as magical powers? See the “What Do the Birds Mean?” section below for more discussion.
Does Letter For the King Bury Its Gays?
Honestly, this is the worst part of an otherwise pretty fun, great family fantasy TV series. Letter For the King made a lot of changes from its half-century-old Dutch source material to diversify its story, making it a more complex and inclusive world.
When, in Episode 5, we see Foldo admit that the one thing he hasn’t done that he would like to do before he dies is kiss Jussipo, and then he does, it seems like yet another change (like the Lavinia Has Powers! twist) that subverts expectation in the best of ways.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t last for long. Jussipo dies in the fight against the Red Riders in the very next episode, his last act literally to flirt with Foldo, which is pretty god damn tragic and feeds into a decades long bad habit Hollywood, etc. has of killing its queer characters first. This example fits into the Out of the Closet, Into the Fire specifically.
Not a good look, Letter For the King.
What Happens to Iona?
Iona is the Novice who gets the most consistent characterization across the first season, and this continues into the season finale.
In the final episode, the Novices make it to Unauwen, using the sewer system to sneak into the castle. Before they can enter the room holding King Favian, however, they are met by Iona, who claims she has had a change of heart. Really, it is a ruse to grab the letter from Tiuri, which she does! Jaro encourages the Novices to walk away, but they cannot—they are honor-bound to do the right thing.
After the dust has settled on the final battle, Iona and Red Rider Jaro are both still alive and still riding together. While Jaro tries to act like he doesn’t care about this young protege, he obviously does. When Iona rides off in a different direction, it’s not long before he follows. It seems that they both agree they make a good team.
What Happens in The Letter For the King’s Big Battle?
Those going into The Letter For the King expecting an epic final battle on the scale of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings will be sorely disappointed. Not only do those examples have a much higher budget than Letter For the King, but, as adult stories, they have very different ambitions.
A fight breaks out and, in the chaos, Piak manages to snatch the letter from Jaro. He gives it to Jussipo, who throws it to Tiuri, who races into the great hall where King Favian and Prince Iridium are holding the world’s most awkward welcome home dinner for Prince Viridian, who is biding his time until the blood moon fully rises and he can fulfill the dark prophecy.
Tiuri successfully delivers the letter to Favian, who learns of Viridian’s planned betrayal. Prince Iridium and Prince Viridian fight, and the older brother runs the younger brother through with his sword. The villain is seemingly slain, but stolen magic runs through his veins. Black blood rises from his body and he ascends into a dark, quasi-corporeal, otherworldly creature. Tiuri stands alone to face him, as Favian’s guests look on, which is when Lavinia enters.
Lavinia has chosen to believe in the prophecy that a hero, Lavinia herself, will stop Viridian and the darkness—or maybe she has just chosen to believe in Tiuri, maybe she has chosen to be at his side rather than run away from the problem. Viridian’s darkness fills the room, swallowing even Tiuri at Lavinia’s side, but Lavinia’s light is too powerful. She fights back, and defeats Viridian. The darkness retreats, and Lavinia, exhausted, collapses into Tiuri’s waiting arms. She is still making jokes.
While some may be disappointed by the lack of bloodshed or even physical fighting that happens in the final showdown between Viridian and Lavinia, I appreciate the show’s understanding of its own limits. The bar has been raised so high when it comes to on-screen battles and, again, this was never going to be a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings-level display. Instead, Letter For the King chooses to lean into the more theme-driven visual of light versus darkness, and it is beautiful to watch.
Does Tiuri Become a Knight?
The final moments of The Letter For the King wrap up the story nicely. The Novices return to Dagonaut and are knighted by Queen Alienor, even Piak, who becomes the youngest knight in the history of the kingdom. Tiuri’s mom is there, as is Piak’s mom, who is crying no doubt out of pride for Piak and sorrow over the death of Jussipo. (Same, mom. Same.) Lavinia and Ardanwen the Horse are there, too.
What Do the Birds Mean?
Good question, fam.
The episode and season ends with a flock of birds overheard. Tiuri hears their chirps, his attention pulled from the applauding crowd to the flock overhead. They change formation as they fly, forming into a face like we saw in the very first episode. The face comes towards the camera before the screen fades to black, implying that this adventure might not be over, implying that Tiuri still has power inside of himself that could be explored.
The birds are not a part of the book—in fact, there is no magic whatsoever in De brief voor de Koning. The series implies that the voices Tiuri hears are related to the shaman blood running through his veins, which is, again, not an element of the book, so we are flying blind in terms of source material.
As the last remaining shaman, Tiuri may be the only person left alive who has access to the world of the good and evil spirits. Should Letter For the King continue, the series would no doubt explore what this means for Tiuri and for the kingdom of Eviellan, which has been ravaged by war and Viridian’s system slaughter of the other shamans.
What questions do you still have about the Letter For the King ending? Let us know your questions and theories in the comments below…