The Dark Ages are among those periods that always seemed like something that I would enjoy visiting from a different perspective than warfare.
I will freely admit to a blind spot here: I only speak English. I only read literature written in English, which if we're talking about the Middle Ages, means English literature, which of course heavily favors England.
That, personally, is tiresome to me. One of the things I did appreciate about Durant was that the English are a part of what's going on but they aren't assumed to be the center of the goddamn world like pretty much every other history I've ever read. With that caveat, here are some interesting movies and TV series (because they take less time) about the English at the center of the goddamn world:
- Wolf Hall.
Thomas Cromwell as the not bad guy. Couldn't get through the book. Tried. The fucking British drive me crazy most of the time but 6 hours of filmed entertainment kicks the shit out of 60 hours of tedious fucking reading. Plus Anne Bolyn is totally hot.
- A Man for All Seasons.
Thomas Cromwell as totes villain.
- The Lion in Winter.
Holy fuck. Kate Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, and introducing Sir Anthony Hopkins at like 22. Basically, "every dysfunctional family holiday" except "your mom" is played by Eleanor of Aquitaine, "your dad" is Henry II and your annoying brother is Richard the Lionheart.
- Kingdom of Heaven.
In which Saladin asses the British out of Jerusalem. Bear in mind that Ridley Scott hates muslims but he doesn't make that painfully obvious in this.
I know you understand these are "books", not "book." Keep in mind, though, that all of Lord of the Rings is about as long as two of five Game of Thrones books (LoTR is 455k words and Storm of Swords is 422k while Dance with Dragons is like 430k). The Durant books clock in at over 3 million words.