"This place wants us dead."
AMC's The Terror (Season 1) is a ten-part horror series based on real historic events and the book by Dan Simmons of the same title. Originally airing in 2018, it is a fictional account of the tragic last expedition led by Sir John Franklin in the 1840s which resulted in the deaths of over a hundred men.
Franklin’s lost expedition was a British naval voyage tasked with discovering and navigating the fabled Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic. It departed in 1845 aboard two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Their last reported sighting by Europeans occurred later that year as they were awaiting good conditions to enter the passage. After that they promptly vanished.
When two years had passed and nothing had been heard from them, the admiralty were urged to begin sending out search parties. Unfortunately, they were sent out too late and not one of the men was ever found alive. What they instead uncovered was a chilling series of events involving sickness, starvation, exposure, and cannibalism. If you want to read more about it, this article is a good starting point (Warning: article contains an image of a dead body).
The show begins in the late summer of 1846. Having overwintered on Beachy Island, the expedition enters unchartered territory as they attempt to navigate the most difficult leg of their journey. Unfortunately, the ships become frozen in the ice and their crews must fight to survive the brutal environment and the supernatural being that protects it.
I first discovered this series in the summer of 2021, and it pretty much consumed my life for the next year. What makes this show so wonderful is that at its heart it’s more than just a supernatural horror. It’s a tragedy about love and loss. It explores hubris and colonialism and the consequences of the wilful destruction of natural habitats on indigenous communities. Best of all, it’s a show that values the intelligence of its audience so much so that, even after a hundred rewatches, you’d probably still find yourself discovering something you’d never noticed before.
Here are a selection of quotes from the show that make me feel a little bit insane.
*This Section Contains Spoilers*
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- "If you're wrong we are about to commit an act of hubris we may not survive. You know what men are like when they are desperate." - Crozier
- "You need to understand it wasn't sickness or hunger that most mattered to our chances. It's what went on up here. Notions. A darkness. With no fair man to stem it." - Blanky
- "I do feel alone. All the time now. Every day it's like a trap door, sir. Like something's about to open up and pull me into some hidden space I won't get back from." - Collins
- "As a trusted friend once put it, ‘This place wants us dead." - Crozier
- "This place is beautiful to me, even now. To see it with eyes as a child's, there is wonder here." - Goodsir
- "You use the wind to carry you here. You use the forest to hide inside. You use all this and don't even want to be here. You don't want to live. Look at you. Even if I could help, you don't want it." - Lady Silence
- "Do you believe a man has a soul? How have you come to that belief? Have you seen one? I have." - Tozer
- "The C the C, the open C. It grew so fresh. The ever free, the ever free, the ever free. Without it, without it. Guard it or run to the Earth, above the regions round. I love the C, I love the C." - Peglar
- "Is God here, Captain? Any god?" - Goodsir
- "There’s much about this voyage I can’t reconcile." - Crozier
- "Your friend took my hands. He said, 'Tell those who come after us not to stay. The ships are gone. There is no way through, no passage. Tell them we are gone. Dead and gone.'" - Netsilik Hunter
- "If I were a braver man, I’d kill Mr Hickey, though it would mean my death too. But I’m hungry. I’m hungry and I want to live." - Hodgson
- "All of those stories you would have my biographer tally as courage, it’s all vanity. Always has been. And here we are at the end of vanity." "Then you are free. Hmm?" - Fitzjames & Crozier
- Cormorant font from Google Fonts.
- Song currently playing is 'The Gates of Paradise' from The Terror soundtrack.
- All images are screencaps from the show.
This page is still very lacking, but if you're interested in exploring a more comprehensive fansite, I can't recommend The Cold Boys Fandom Hub enough. It has everything a fan could possibly ask for, plus some more (Warning for spoilers!)