“Kings” Warps the Story of David and Jonathan

This article contains major plot points from Sunday night’s episode of Kings, as well as minor spoilers for the next two episodes. 

The new NBC show Kings
that premiered last night in a two-hour movie is supposedly a modern-day
retelling of the Biblical story of David. Sure enough, the main character
defeats “Goliath” – which, in the case of Kings, happens
to be a tank.

And the character of Jack,
the prince and “true” heir to the throne that David is destined
for, is gay – just as his biblical counter-part, Jonathan, probably
was.

But that’s just about the
only gay element that Kings
gets right.

Kings‘ David (left) and Jack

All photos courtesy NBC

In the Bible, Jonathan definitely
loves David – and it’s literally love at first sight. “When David
had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the
soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul,” says the Bible’s
Book of Samuel of Jonathan and David’s first meeting.

Later, Jonathan is a strong
ally of David. He’s the one who warns David that King Saul is plotting
to kill him, because Jonathan “took great delight in David.” Even
though he’s the actual heir to the throne, Jonathan recognizes that
David is the true king, chosen by God.

But in Kings, Jack is
mostly a villain – and a pretty stereotypically gay one at that: pretty
and perfectly groomed, self-centered and vain, bitter and entitled,
scheming, yet ultimately cowardly.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack

It’s familiar gay ground,
in movies such as such as Cruel Intentions and in virtually every
vampire movie ever made. Indeed, the actor who plays Kings
gay prince, Sebastian Stan, even played a similar role before, in the
2006 film The Covenant.

In the first four episodes
made available to AfterElton.com for preview by NBC, Jack isn’t an
ally of David’s; instead he repeatedly tries to undermine him. And he does
all this in his scheming, mostly cowardly way.

He’s a rich, complicated
character, but he’s still a bad guy, the “dark” entitled prince
up against the “light” chosen prince, competing for the affections
of the current king: think Val Kilmer’s “Iceman” in Top Gun
versus Tom Cruise’s “Maverick.”

Ian McShane (left) as King Silas and Christopher Egan as David

In addition, while there are
several hints that Jack might be attracted to David, he seems to be
motivated not by love, but by jealousy because David loves his sister,
the princess, and not him.

But by far the biggest difference
between Kings and its Biblical source material is the fact that
in the Bible, David is probably gay or bisexual too, and he loves Jonathan
back.

“David rose from beside the
stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground,” the
Bible reads. “He bowed three times, and [he and Jonathan] kissed each
other, and wept with each other. David wept the more.”

When Jonathan is killed, David
mourns him, saying, "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing
the love of women."

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