Episode 1, Anarchy, and Episode 2, Master Builder of The Pillars of the Earth have aired. I have to admit that the way the dense text was condensed was admirable, much better than the Dune television adaptations. There were changes made to the story as was to be expected. Things mentioned in the background of Ken Follet‘s book were brought to the forefront of this adaptation. Faramond Openmouth (whatever he is called in this adaptation) becoming a monk was unexpected but why he does so is plausible. I thought more would be made of Regan Hamleigh (Sarah Parish)’s diseased face but she was just a clever as I remembered, more so than her husband who just seemed to just follow her lead. Tom Builder (Rufus Sewell)’s moral conflict was good but why he wouldn’t take newborn his son away from the man that almost killed his daughter is beyond me.
The mini-series is not as sexual blatant as the viewer may have come to expect after Spartacus: Blood and Sand, The Tudors, and Rome but the drama, the most important aspect, is. Prior Philip was cast perfectly by Matthew Macfadyen and his piety and good nature are in everything that he does.
I do not remember if the mother/son incest was in the book but the rape scene may be even more FUBAR as Aliena (Hayley Atwell) was looking at her brother Richard (Sam Claflin) – and he at her – as it was happening with William Hamleigh (David Oakes) running his mouth all the while.
When Aliena made Richard kill for the first time was one of the highlights The Pillars of the Earth: Part 2. His squeamish face was great. That’s what happens when you are not brought up on horror movies.
The new dawn rising ending was appropriate (especially since I know what is coming) but hackneyed.