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Ridley Scott’s HMS Terror – A scary delicacy for sailors

The AMC Network released history series about frightful destiny of HMS Terror and HMS Erebor crew

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  • The AMC Network released history series about frightful destiny of HMS Terror and HMS Erebor crew
There are many heavy stories to be heard about the sailing in past centuries. This new series is produced with a tedious attention to details and there is some good acting to be seen. The AMC Network is well-known for the Walking Dead series. There is no need to introduce Ridley Scott. We have been looking forward to this show because we wanted to see a good big-budget sailing story based on history. Why are the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus the best idea?

Things that the show won’t tell you

During expansion voyages, the fear of death was common among sailors. Most of them were aware of it before going offshore, but this particular case will make your blood run cold -50°C. Before the first half of the 19th century, most of the planet’s lands have been discovered. The Arctic expeditions have become the main source of glory, besides wars and protecting The East India Trading Company. 
In 1840 there was still some strategic discoveries to be made in the naval world. The greatest quest of the time was to find the Northwestern Passage from England to Canada’s territories. After centuries of sailing tradition, the ships have been “properly” developed at that time. They had modern equipment like a steam engine, steel plating, and canned food provisioning. Two ships were chosen. Our best effort is to bring you information without spoilers, so let’s check some info about the ships and circumstances of the mission.

HMS Erebus

The shipwreck was found in 2014. Formerly designed as a bomb vessel for protecting the Mediterranean sea. After two years and a refit, she was sent to Tasmania before the departure to Antarctica with HMS Terror. Both ships achieved huge success there. Founding Ross Ice Shelf, studying magnetism and making experiments in many scientific fields. They were naming landscapes after politicians, themselves and also after the ships. Both ships sank long ago, but you can still find Mount Erebus and Mount Terror on the Ross Island. The discovery of America was long past at that time already. The both ship’s crews were considered heroes after returning home. 

HMS Terror

An older ship than Erebus, but also a bomb ship, created in Devon. The name Terror was supposed to bring fear to the enemies of the Crown. As a warship, she has gone through several battles and a war with the United States in 1812 as a part of the blockade. During those times, the ship’s name proved to be rather fitting, because they were not just blocking US import. Under command of John Sheridan, Terror raided several ports and islands of the enemy, bombarded fortresses and engaged in big battles. A few years after the war, the Terror was sent to the Mediterranean for a short period. She took serious damage near Lisbon and went off the sea for major repairs. The ship underwent a refit and was equipped for polar exploration. Together with HMS Erebus, the two ships with a legendary reputation. They were sent to find a new way to King William Island. The wreck of HMS Terror has been found just two years ago, in 2016. 

The show is handled pretty well

We do not want to spoil the story of the series for you, but even if you don’t know, their voyage was a disaster full of cruel events. The pilot episode starts when the first expedition is sent to find out what happened to the ships and their crew. From the first viewing, there are several things in which this tv-show is amazing. Casting, acting performance, costume design, and set design. Things such as tools, plates, cutlery, old product design, were crafted with perfection and historical detail. The exteriors and backgrounds are not real, they are shot using the same technology as Ridley’s motion picture The Martian. 
– The Terror _ Season 1, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: AMC
The mood of the show is just as we expected. It is not a silly horror show filled with jump-scares. You can feel the seriousness of the situation in every scene and dialogue. There are “mysterious” elements in the show, which we think are quite unnecessary.  The proven story of the crew is so strong and emotional that we think about this as junk added by the screenplay writers. It is obvious that atmosphere reached the crew-members souls back then. Paranoia caused by diseases combined with very real polar bears must have taken a toll on their minds. Ridley Scott decided to make the series as an adaptation of the novel. 

Isn’t the story strong enough without the myths?

The opposite view of the supernatural aspects of the show’s story considers the information we possess about the true fate of both vessels. Their wrecks have been found just a few years ago. The myths have become a subject of interest to the explorations who went looking for them. Apart from the things found in the ice, local civilizations were the only sources of information. For centuries it seemed that Erebus and Terror just vanished. The people have been looking for them for over a 150 years. So mythical aspects of the story may be a good move after all. Not because of what really happened to the crew, but it captures the stories discovered by people who went searching for them.
Some time before this series production has been announced, there was this guy who was making HMS Terror DIY model kit for sale. It looks like his business started booming lately. He also writes a blog, where he shares some interesting details about the show. It’s apparent that he appreciates the work that has been done by the production team. 
We know that this is a difficult show to watch because of the chilling atmosphere, but it’s worth the struggle. Maybe in the bad times, you will find your problems less burdening in comparison to theirs.
Knowing the history a little, we fear that there will not be much sailing action. Nevertheless, you can see the spirit of explorers at the end of their glory. 
Matej

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