Brilliant Borgen

Have you seen Borgen??

I refer to the Danish TV series of that name; a gripping political drama full of twists and turns, of plot developments I consistently fail to correctly predict!

I’ve never studied Danish, and while I’m not about to start in earnest I have been picking up a few words here and there as I watch. My favourite is Tak (Thank you).

It goes without saying that my pathetic knowledge of Danish means subtitles are an absolute necessity if I am to understand what’s happening in Borgen.

Before I started my Borgen adventure I thought about how I have watched French movies in the past. Subtitles were necessary but at least my smattering of French would give me more of a connection with the characters. I wondered if that connection would be lacking in Borgen; if I would be missing something from the overall watching experience.

So have I missed something? It doesn’t feel like it!

Last year, enthralled during the entire five series of Breaking Bad, I exclaimed more than once: This is the best series I have ever watched! But Borgen has surpassed it – although admittedly I’ve only seen three episodes so far. The intriguing characters in this Danish masterpiece are presented as multi layered. Even the liars are not ‘black and white’, their motives at times benevolent. And as I have already mentioned, it’s very hard to predict which way the storyline is going to swing next. At one point a larger-than-life character is introduced and it appears he will feature strongly. He does, but only for a single episode. Then he is fired from his job and he completely disappears from the storyline. Will he return? I don’t know but whether he does or not I’m pretty sure the relentless pace of this drama will not let up. At the heart of it all is Birgitte Nyborg, a politician with Heart, fighting for the values she cherishes as she comes up against one challenge after another from fellow politicians expert at playing the ‘game’ we call Democracy. Sidse Babett Knudse is the actress who plays Birgitte, and her stellar performance alone makes Borgen compelling viewing.

Compelled I am to continue watching. Even though I don’t understand a word being said in the dialogue.

Thank goodness for subtitles! They are proof that the written word can convey as much meaning as the spoken word.

See you soon readers!


Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, home of the most comprehensive Spanish learning program for children ever to appear online

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…

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