Each room is named for an important character from the medieval time period. On this page you will learn the history of each specific character and read highlights of their daring adventures and heroic tales.uncover their stories
The story of Prince Valiant is set in the time of King Arthur. Valiant, also called Val is a Nordic prince from Thule, located on the Norwegian coast. Early in the story Val encounters the witch Horrit who predicts he will have a life of adventure, but noting that he will soon experience grief. Arriving home, Val discovers that his mother has died and that his father has lost the throne of Thule to his enemies. With his mother gone and a father deposed Val travels abroad. Val eventually becomes friends with Sir Gawain of Camelot and while traveling Val saves Sir Gawain from a robber knight who attacked them on the road. Val and Gawain decide to take the villain to Camelot for judgement from King Arthur, while on the way the whole party is at one point attacked by an enormous beast. They all at length succeed in killing the beast, but Val is outraged that Gawain still seeks to have the robber knight tried before King Arthur after the knight helped defeat the beast. The young prince naturally speaks up in his outrage before the great king, his queen Guinevere and his feared wizard Merlin and so a career at Camelot is born. Val acquires the Singing Sword, Flameberge, a powerful magical blade which is the sister sword to Excalibur apparently created by the same enchanter who forged Arthur's famous sword Excalibur. The original owner of the Singing Sword is Prince Arn of Ord (not to be confused with Arn Magnusson of Sweeden), Valiant's rival for the maid Ilene. The two men put aside their differences when Ilene is kidnapped by Viking raiders on her way to Ord. Arn hands Val the charmed sword to help him hold back their pursuers while he himself rides ahead to free Ilene. The pair continue in their efforts to rescue Ilene, eventually discovering that she has been killed in a shipwreck. Arn gives the Singing Sword, Flameberge to Val after that adventure and the two part as friends. Because of his great deeds Val is knighted by King Arthur and becomes an honored Knight of the Round Table. Soon after, Val helps his father to regain his lost throne as King of Thule. On a Mediterranean island he meets the love of his life, Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles, whom he later marries. After years of marriage, Val and Aleta have their first child, a son named they name Arn. Young Arn is named after Val’s old friend, Prince Arn of Ord who first gave Val the Singing Sword all those years ago.
Sir Galahad is a knight of King Arthur's Round Table and one of the three achievers of the Holy Grail. He is the son of Sir Lancelot and Elaine and is renowned for his gallantry and purity as the most perfect of all knights.
The circumstances surrounding the conception of Galahad are myth. It happens when King Arthur's greatest knight, Lancelot, mistakes Elaine of Corbenic for his secret mistress, Queen Guinevere. King Pelles, Elaine’s father has already received magical foreknowledge that Lancelot will give his daughter a child and that this little boy will grow to become the greatest knight in the world, the knight chosen by God to discover the Holy Grail. Pelles also knows that Lancelot will only lie with his one true love, Guinevere. Destiny will have to be helped along a little so Pelles seeks out an enchantress who gives him a magic ring that will make Elaine take on the appearance of Guinevere. Lancelot and Elaine sleep together, but on discovering the deception, Lancelot leaves Elaine, but when he finds out that they have conceived a son together, he forgives her. "Galahad" was Lancelot's original name, but it was changed when Lancelot was a child. At his birth, therefore, Galahad is given his father's own original name. Merlin prophesies that Galahad will surpass his father in valor and be successful in his search for the Holy Grail.
Upon reaching adulthood, Galahad is reunited with his father Lancelot, who knights his son after being defeated by him. Galahad is then brought to King Arthur's court at Camelot , where he is accompanied by a very old knight who immediately leads him over to the Round Table and unveils an unused chair that has been kept vacant for the sole person who will succeed in the quest of the Holy Grail. For all others who have aspired to sit in the chair, it has proved to be immediately fatal. Galahad survives this test, witnessed by Arthur who, upon realizing the greatness of this new knight, leads him out to the river where a sword lies in a stone with an inscription reading "Never shall man take me hence but only he by whose side I ought hang; and he shall be the best knight of the world." This resembles the legends of Arthur's own sword, Excalibur. Galahad accomplishes this test with ease, and Arthur swiftly proclaims him to be the greatest knight in the world.
While all of the Knights of the Round Table set out to find the Holy Grail, it is Galahad who takes the initiative to begin the search for the Grail; the rest of the knights follow him. Arthur is sorrowful that all the knights have joined the quest as he believes that many will never return, dying on their quest. Galahad, in some ways, mirrors Arthur, drawing a sword from a stone in the way that Arthur did. In this manner, Galahad is seen to be the chosen one.
Galahad for the most part travels alone, smiting his enemies, rescuing Sir Percival from twenty knights and saving maidens in distress, until he is finally reunited with fellow knights, Bors and Percival. After many adventures, Galahad eventually finds the Grail. After seeing the Grail, Galahad, however, makes the request that he may die at the time of his choosing. So it is, while making his way back to Arthur's court with the Grail, Galahad makes his request to die. Galahad bids Percival and Bors farewell, and angels take him to Heaven, as witnessed by Bors and Percival. While it is not explicit that the Holy Grail is never to be seen again on earth, it is implied as there has since then been no knight capable of obtaining it. Galahad's success in the endeavor that was the search for the Holy Grail was predicted before his birth, by Merlin: Merlin had told Uther Pendragon that there was one who would find the Grail but that he was not yet born. At first this knight was believed to be Perceval; however it is later discovered to be Galahad. Galahad was conceived for the divine purpose of seeking the Holy Grail. But Galahad's conception happened through pure deceit; under a cloak of deception that was very similar, in fact, to that which led to the conception of Arthur. Despite this, Galahad is the knight who is chosen to find the Grail. Galahad is exalted above all the other knights; he is the one worthy enough to have the Holy Grail revealed to him and to ascend into heaven.
Gawain is one of a select number of the Round Table to be referred to as one of the greatest knights and closest companions of King Arthur. He is often portrayed as a formidable, courteous, and also a compassionate warrior, fiercely loyal to his king and family. As such he is a friend to young knights, a defender of the poor, and is also known as "the Maidens' Knight". Gawain appeared in the earliest Arthurian literature as a model of knightly perfection, against whom all other knights were measured.
While Gawain is the Knight of The Round Table who was most often written about, his character was viewed differently by the French as compared to the English and the Scotts. In Middle English poetry, Gawain was generally regarded as a brave and loyal knight. Perhaps his most important single adventure was that described in a fine, anonymous 14th-century poem, Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knight. It describes how Sir Gawain, accepts a challenge from a mysterious "Green Knight" who challenges any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts and beheads him with his blow, at which the Green Knight stands up, picks up his head and reminds Gawain of the appointed time. In his struggles to keep his bargain, Gawain demonstrates chivalry and loyalty until his honor is called into question by a test involving Lady Bertilak, the lady of the Green Knight's castle.
Water deities were extremely popular within ancient Celtic culture for they controlled the essential essence of life itself. The spontaneous movement of springs, rivers and lakes clearly showed the supernatural powers of the goddesses who lived within the water. To this day we have a fascination with oceans, rivers, lakes and streams. Many believe that life on earth began in the depths of the oceans and that when we return to the water we are simply returning to that from which we came. This fascination with worshipping the power and majesty of the water still exists today in our rituals and customs of praying for good fortune at wishing wells all over the world.
The Lady of the Lake Viviane who is also known by many other names is a mysterious figure an enchantress associated with Arthurian legend. She plays a pivotal role in many stories, including giving Arthur his magical sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin who was seduced by her beauty, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father. The Lady of the Lake began appearing in the French chivalric romances by the early 13th century, becoming Lancelot's adoptive mother. She refuses to give Merlin her love until he has taught her all his secrets, after which she uses her power to trap him forever in a glass tower. Though Merlin, through his power of foresight knows beforehand that this will happen, he is unable to counteract Viviane because of the 'truth' this ability of foresight holds. He decides to do nothing for his situation other than to continue to teach her his secrets until she takes the opportunity to entrap him.
It was an enchantment of Viviane's godmother, the goddess Diana given to her father Dyonas, that caused her to be so alluring to Merlin. Diana was the Queen of Sicily that was considered a goddess by her subjects. Diana killed her lover to be with another man, but then she was beheaded by this man as a murderess at that lake, later called the Lake of Diana. This is the place where Lancelot du Lac ("of the Lake") is raised, at first not knowing his real parentage. In some legends, not only is Viviane Lancelot’s mother but some believe she is not just the god daughter of Diana and daughter of Dyonas but actually the daughter of Uther Pendragon which would make her Arthur’s sister. Uther Pendragon is the King whom Merlin once summoned the dragon’s breath on the night that Arthur was conceived. If this is true it would explain why Viviane helps Arthur when he first breaks Excalibur and restores the sword to him and also explain why Viviane is at the time of Arthur’s death is one of the three ladies who later carries Arthur’s body over the water to the Isle of Avalon. Whatever her origins or her motives, Viviane, the Lady of Lake, will remain a mystery to those who try to uncover her many secrets.
Isolde, also known as Iseult, is an Irish princess who is famous as the wife of Mark of Cornwall and the lover of Tristan. Her mother, the Queen of Ireland, is also named Isolde. Isolde is first seen as a young princess who heals Tristan from wounds he received fighting her uncle, Morholt. When his identity is revealed, Tristan flees back to his own land. Later, Tristan returns to Ireland to gain Isolde's hand in marriage for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. She is betrothed to an evil steward who claims to have killed a dragon and displays its head, but when Tristan proves he killed the dragon by showing that he already took its tongue, Iseult's parents agree to let him take her to Mark. On the journey back to Cornwall, Isolde and Tristan accidentally drink a love potion prepared for her and Mark by Isolde and guarded by Brangaine, Isolde's lady-in-waiting. The two fall hopelessly in love, and begin an affair that ends when Mark banishes Tristan from Cornwall. To find out more about the Irish princess Isolde and how her story ends, research Tristan and Isolde or watch the 2005 film Tristan & Isolde, starring James Franco and Sophia Myles in the Chatea De La Mer, Cinema by the Sea theater.
Guinivere’s is infamous as the beautiful queen of King Arthur and also as the lover of Lancelot. Her name will forever be tied to one of the most famous love triangles in English literature. While the story of King Arthur may be part legend and myth it has inspired numerous additional tales, poems, articles, books, and films. The myths and legends surrounding King Arthur make him perhaps the most read about, discussed and reimagined king in history. It is then no surprise that his beautiful queen, Guinivere should also have much myth and legend associated with her own actions and deeds. Who was Guinivere? It is difficult to betray the most famous king of all time and not be considered the most infamous adulterer of all time. In some literary accounts Guinevere is a reluctant betrayer of her husband Arthur. In these accounts Guinivere is devoted to the king but eventually gives into her passions only because of circumstances where she and Lancelot are thrown together when Lancelot overcomes tremendous odds and exposing himself to great personal danger saves her life. In these accounts her love for Lancelot grows as much from gratitude and adoration as anything. She is seen as in love with and committed to Arthur but is overcome with feeling she cannot hope to control as a sort of helpless victim. After all, Guinivere is the daughter of King Leodegrance, who had served Arthur's father Uther Pendragon and was entrusted with the Round Table after Pendragon's death. Arthur actually receives the Round Table from Guinivere’s Father Leodegrance so she is committed to what the Round Table and the idea of Camelot stands for. Arthur defends Leodegrance against his enemies which leads to Arthur’s meeting and marriage with Guinivere in the first place.
In other accounts, Guinivere is seen as unvirtuous and seeks to seduce Lancelot against his will almost from the moment she meets him as she is instantly smitten. In several accounts the sourcerer Merlin warns Arthur not to marry Guinivere and tells Arthur that she will one day betray him and that her betrayal will be his undoing. Arthur takes no head to Merlin’s warning and instead marries her. Following his early rescue of Guinivere from Meleagant and his admission into the Round Table, Guinivere and Lancelot begin an escalating romantic affair that in the end will lead to Arthur's fall. They behaved in such a way that "many in the court spoke of it." Guinivere is charged with adultery on three different occasions. Their now not so secret affair is finally exposed by Guinivere's sworn enemy and Arthur's half-sister, the enchantress Morgan le Fay and Sir Gawain. Revealed as a betrayer of his king and friend, Lancelot defends the queen’s honor. Arthur reluctantly sentences his wife to be burned at the stake unless a champion can prove her innocence. He believes in her innocence but wants it proven for the world to see in a tail by combat. In one lesser known account, knowing Lancelot will fight to stop Guinivere’s execution, the king sends many of his knights to defend the pyre where Guinivere is to be burned if found guilty, though Gawain refuses to fight. Lancelot arrives and rescues the queen. However, Gawain's three brothers Gaheris, Gareth and Agravain are killed in the battle, sending Gawain into a rage wanting to avenge his brother’s deaths.
In yet other accounts Guinivere later returns to Arthur and is forgiven for her earlier betrayal but conspires with Mordred, Arthur’s son, who wishes to marry her and overthrow Arthur. Hearing of the treachery, Arthur returns and slays Mordred, but his wounds are so severe that he is taken to the Isle of Avalon. When Arthur’s body is taken to Avalon by three mystical ladies he is not yet dead and some believe that when he is healed he will one day return to reclaim and rebuild Camelot, this is why Arthur is sometimes referred to as “The Once and Future King”. Guinivere eventually retires to a convent as punishment for her infidelity. Her contrition is sincere and permanent. Guinivere meets Lancelot one last time, he asks her for one last kiss but she refusing him, then returns to the convent where she spends the remainder of her life. Guinivere is often portrayed as a scapegoat for violence without developing her perspective or motivation. The tragedy of Guinivere captures our imagination. Not only is Guinivere disloyal to Arthur but her betrayal is with Arthur’s best friend and Camelot’s greatest knight, Lancelot. How much is Lancelot to blame for also betraying both his best friend and his king. Can any blame be assigned to the noble Arthur himself who was in fact warned by Merlin before he chose Guinivere to be his bride that she would one day betray him yet he chose to ignore it. The peace and prosperity that existed in Camelot prior to the betrayal is looked upon as a symbol of a Golden Age that people around the world should aspire to. Camelot is as much an idea as it is a place. The moral of the story is that disloyalty, deceit and betrayal no matter the motivation can ruin the lives of all those around us even to the point of bringing down something as splendid and uplifting as the idea that once was Camelot.
Sir Lancelot du Lac which translates to Lancelot of the Lake is a character of Arthurian legend. Over the centuries there have been many poems, stories, tellings and retellings of Lancelot’s actions and deeds. Lancelot is known as King Arthur's greatest companion, the lord of Joyous Gard and the greatest swordsman, jouster and knight of his age. In one such telling we know that Lancelot was born and raised in France. While in France he learned how to fight and eventually became the greatest knight in all of France. Lancelot was so great a knight in fact that he never met his match in single combat and had to leave France in search of greater adventure and to meet a king worthy of his allegiance.
Lancelot travels to England where one day he blocks passage on a bridge by a lake and will not move until he is defeated in single combat. He is seeking a king worthy to pledge his loyalty and his sword. Lancelot explains that it is his curse to never have met his equal in single combat and that since no man is his equal he cannot step aside and yield the right of way on the bridge to any knight. He encounters several knights and joust with them defeating each and every knight he faces by unhorsing them easily with his lance. After Lancelot defeats all the knights he faces one by one he finally meets King Arthur on the bridge. Arthur also refuses to yield to Lancelot. Arthur and Lancelot have a joust to see who is more skilled. Lancelot also unhorses King Arthur and defeats Arthur in single hand to hand combat. At first the battle is thought to be to the death. However, at the last minute Arthur calls on the magical power of his sword Excalibur which ultimately gives Arthur the victory, but Excalibur is broken in the process. Arthur is ashamed of abusing the sword's power to serve his own vanity and throws the sword's remains into the lake, while admitting that Lancelot really defeated him. The Lady of the Lake, Viviane offers a restored Excalibur to the king. Lancelot states that his curse to never have met his equal in single combat is now lifted. He pledges to serve Arthur, and to become the champion of the king and of Knights of the Round Table. Over time Lancelot became Camelot’s greatest champion. Lancelot, Arthur and the other knights unify the land. King Arthur creates the Knights of the Round Table and builds Camelot. There is peace throughout the land and this is Camelot’s Golden Age.
Arthur falls in love with and marries Guinevere who becomes his queen. Meanwhile, Arthur's half-sister Morgana, a budding sorceress who hates Arthur, becomes apprenticed to Merlin the magician in hopes of learning Merlin’s sourcerer secrets. Eventually, Lancelot falls in love with King Arthur’s queen, Guinevere from afar. At first, Guinevere is unaware of Lancelot’s love for her, but one day after the queen’s caravan is attacked by bandits Lancelot saves Guinevere’s life. The two spend much time together and eventually Lancelot reveals to Guinevere his love for her and tells Guinevere that “while you live I will love no other”. At first Lancelot’s love for Guinevere is the love a loyal subject and knight has for his sovereign queen. However, Guinevere cannot deny her deep desire and the growing passionate feelings she has for Lancelot. Lancelot stays away from the Knights of the Round Table to avoid Guinevere because of his loyalty to his friend Arthur the King. He meets Perceval, a peasant boy and takes him to Camelot to become a squire. Sir Gawain, a knight of the Round Table under Morgana's influence, accuses Guinevere of driving Lancelot away, "driven from us by a woman's desire". As the king Arthur must judge all charges and therefore must judge Guinevere’s guilt or innocent in her relationship with Lancelot so he arranges a trail by combat with Lancelot as the champion to prove the queen’s innocence against Gawain who fights to prove her guilt. The night before the trail by combat Lancelot attacks himself in a nightmare and awakens to find himself severely wounded by his own sword.
Because of his wounds Lancelot is late to the duel and Arthur hastily knights Perceval to fight Gawain in Lancelot’s place but Lancelot appears at the last minute and defeats Gawain, while nearly dying from his own self-inflicted wounds. Merlin heals him and he rides out to the forest to rest. Guinevere realizes her passion for Lancelot cannot be denied and goes to him and they consummate their love in the forest. Arthur finds Guinevere and Lancelot asleep together. Heartbroken at their betrayal, he thrusts Excalibur into the ground between the sleeping couple. Merlin's magical link to the land impales him on the sword and Morgana seizes the opportunity to trap him in a crystal with the Charm of Making. Morgana takes the form of Guinevere and seduces Arthur. On awakening to the sight of Excalibur, Lancelot realizes the king knows of their betrayal and flees in shame while Guinevere lies weeping. Once Arthur abandons Excalibur, Lancelot cries, “A king without a sword! A land without a king!”.
Morgana bears a son, Mordred, and a curse caused by Mordred's unnatural origin strikes the land with famine and sickness for many years. Arthur spends the next several years at war with Mordred’s armies as their two forces struggle for control of the land with Mordred’s forces gaining in strength. While traveling Perceval encounters a bearded old man with armor under his tattered robes, not knowing that it is Lancelot, who preaches to followers that the kingdom has fallen because of "the sin of Pride". Arthur and Mordred's forces meet in battle, with Arthur's army benefiting from the fog that conceals their small size. Vastly outnumbered with almost no chance of victory Arthur’s forces are losing the battle, but an old and tattered Lancelot arrives unexpectedly on the battlefield and turns the tide of battle in Arthur’s favor. At first Arthur doesn’t recognize this old vagabond, but something about his fight style is both familiar and brilliant. Arthur eventually realizes it is his old friend and champion Lancelot come one last time to his rescue. Mordred is slain and Arthur’s forces win the battle. Lancelot collapsing from his old, self-inflicted wound tells Arthur the wound has never healed. Arthur and Lancelot reconcile and Lancelot is able to die with honor.
Lady Rowenna’s character is set in 12th century England. She is a beautiful young maiden who is ward of Cedric of Rotherwood. Cedric is the father of Wilfred of Ivanhoe. Rowenna was known to be a beautiful and captivating maiden. She was so beautiful in fact that upon first seeing her beauty the evil Norman knight Sir Maurice de Bracy swore that he must have her as his wife even if it was against her will.
Rowenna comes from a wealth family of noble Saxon blood. At this time in England’s history, England is dominated by the Normans whose origins lay in France and northern Europe. The Normans have all but conquered the Saxons who lived in England long before the Normans arrived. The Normans tend to look down on the Saxons and generally treat them with the disrespect of a conquered people. Cedric who is of Saxon blood hopes to marry young Rowenna to Lord Athelstane, a claimant to the crown of England.
If Cedriec can marry the Lady Rowenna to Lord Athelstane he believes this is the first step in reviving the Anglo-Saxon monarchy and nobility in England. Rowenna, however, has other ideas and refuses to marry Lord Athelstane because she has always loved Ivanhoe who is Cedric’s disinherited son. Cedric has disinherited Ivanhoe because he is angry that Ivanhoe disobeyed him by going away to war during the Crusades to fight with England’s Norman king, King Richard the Lionheart. Both Rowenna and Cedric believe Ivanhoe is off to war in Europe with King Richard and are surprised when Ivanhoe secretly returns to England and fights in a jousting tournament that he wins defeating four Norman knights.
After winning the tournament, Ivanhoe chooses Lady Rowenna as the Queen of the Tournament. Having the Lady Rowenna, who is Saxon, as Queen of the tournament is a great source of pride not only for the Lady Rowenna, but for Cedric and the rest of the Saxon spectators in attendance. Between refusing to go ahead with the a prearranged marriage to Lord Athelstane and dodging the unwanted advances and imprisonment of Maurice de Bracy, the Lady Rowenna is able to keep her virtue for the one man she truly loves Wilfred of Ivanhoe. Sir Walter Scott, the author of Ivanhoe leaves us with an interesting unanswered question, who is the best companion for Ivanhoe is it the Lady Rowenna or the Rebecca?
Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert is a character from Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe. Bois-Guilbert is a member of the nobility and of the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar are the most powerful military and religious order in all of Europe and some say throughout all of history.
The period is the twelfth century and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert is considered by some to be the greatest knight in all of Christendom. Bois-Guilbert is a conflicted man and one of the most complex villian/anti-heroes we shall ever encounter. As a member of the Norman nobility and the Knights Templar, Bois-Guilbert is an extremely proud man. In the story of Ivanhoe, when Bois-Guilbert returns from the Crusades where apparently he betrayed King Richard The Lionheart, he fights in a tournament against Sir Wilfred Ivanhoe where he is defeated by Ivanhoe but where he catches a glimpse of the Lady Rebecca. He falls deeply in love with Rebecca the most beautiful woman he has ever seen (in the 1956 film version of Ivanhoe, Rebecca was played by Elizabeth Taylor).
Rebecca’s love is forbidden to Bois-Guilbert because he is not only a Christian but a member of the Knights Templar, a Christian religious order, and Rebecca’s faith is Jewish. To further complicate matters, Rebecca has fallen in love with Ivanhoe after tending his wounds from the tournament. Although, Ivanhoe won the tournament, he suffered life threatening wounds at the hands of Bois-Guilbert and comes very close to death. Bois-Guilbert’s passion and desire for Rebecca knows no bounds. He must possess Rebecca no matter the cost. Bois-Guilbert kidnaps Rebecca, throws he father in prison and comes close to forcing himself on her despite her protest.
Although Bois-Guilbert is as evil and power crazed as they come in the end he cannot take Rebecca’s virtue and leaves her untouched. Instead he tells Rebecca that with her by his side and with the knights of Knights Templar following him he could conquer all of Europe and they could rule a huge empire as king and queen. He promises that if she will run away with him he will give up everything of importance including renouncing his faith and his pledge to the Knights Templar.Rebecca rejects Bois-Guilbert because she knows in her heart he is evil and she is really in love with Ivanhoe although she is hesitant to admit her love for Ivanhoe to Bois-Guilbert. Rebecca senses that Ivanhoe may also love her, but knows that it is hopeless as Ivanhoe is betrothed to the Saxon princess, Lady Rowena whom he loves above all others.
The Knights Templar eventually capture Rebecca and Bois-Guilbert for running off with her and accuse Rebecca of being a witch. They say that Rebecca used witchcraft to heal Ivanhoe’s wounds from his fight in the tournament with Bois-Guilbert. During this time in the middle ages witches were burned at the stake unless they have a champion who can defend them and be victorious in a trial by combat. Because Bois-Guilbert is so deeply in love with Rebecca he tells her of the chance that she might be spared as a result of trail by combat hoping that he will be her champion.
In a strange twist of fate, the Knights Templar choose Bois-Guilbert as their champion and plan to force Bois-Guilbert to fight and prove Rebecca’s guilt not her innocence as he had hoped. The Knights Templar know that Bois-Guilbert loves Rebecca, but he is their greatest knight. Left with only one option Rebecca chooses the man she really loves, Ivanhoe as her champion. Ivanhoe truly loves the Lady Rowena whom is to be his wife, but he also has strong feelings for Rebecca and owes her his life for mending his wounds from the tournament so he agrees to be her champion. The stage is set for the trail by combat between these two great knights Bois-Guilbert and Ivanhoe for a battle to the death. If Ivanhoe wins the trail by combat defending Rebecca’s honor she is to be set free. If Bois-Guilbert representing the Knights Templar wins, Rebecca is to be burned at the stake as a witch.
The Knights Templar of course know that Rebecca is not a witch, however, they want her to die to get their hands on Rebecca’s father’s fortune, and to free their greatest knight, Bois-Guilbert from the hold she has over him. The irony for Bois-Guilbert is if he wins the woman he so desperately loves, Rebecca, will burn as a witch and if he loses he will most certainly die in the trail by combat which is a battle to the death. Just before the trial by combat begins, Bois-Guilbert explains to Rebecca that while he loves her and is willing to renounce his faith, his nobility, the Knights Templar and is even willing to die for her there is one oath he cannot break. its the one thing he simply cannot do.
Bois-Guilbert explains that while he has been a proud, arrogant and sinful man all his life and admits that he has raped and killed, lied to and betrayed others there is one sacred promise he made to himself and to God many years ago that he has never broken. This is the one promise he has never broken and cannot break now not even for his love for Rebecca. That sacred oath is that when in single combat he must summon all his strength, all his courage and use all his fighting skill to utterly destroy his enemy showing no mercy and giving no quarter in order to be victorious no matter the cost.
So now he must fight Ivanhoe and use all his strength to kill Ivanhoe in single combat knowing that his victory means the love of his life, Rebecca will burn in the flames as a witch. (While we love the 1952 version of the film Ivanhoe starring Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor, to get a deeper glimpse of the complex nature of Bois-Guilbert and to see how this story ends we recommend the 1997 version of the mini-series with Ciaran Hinds as Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert).
Wilfred of Ivanhoe is the leading character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is the son of one of the remaining Anglo-Saxon noble families at a time when the nobility in England was overwhelmingly Norman. Ivanhoe is out of favor with his father for his allegiance to the Norman King Richard, known as Richard The Lionheart. The story is set in 1194, after the failure of the Third Crusade, when many of the Crusaders were still returning to their homes in Europe. King Richard, who had been captured by Leopold of Austria on his return journey to England, was believed to still be in captivity. Ivanhoe is disinherited by his father Cedric of Rotherwood for supporting the Norman, King Richard and for falling in love with the Lady Rowena, a ward of Cedric's and descendant of the Saxon Kings of England. Cedric planned to marry Rowena to the powerful Lord Athelstane, who hoped to gain the Crown of England.
In the story of Ivanhoe, Norman knights seek the hospitality of Cedric. They are guided to Cedric’s home by a pilgrim traveler, also returning from the Holy Land that same night. Also traveling, Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, seeks refuge from Cedric. Following the night's meal, the pilgrim observes one of the Normans, the Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert, issue orders to capture Isaac and take him prisoner for ransom. The traveler then assists in Isaac's escape from Rotherwood. Isaac of York offers to repay his debt to the traveler who is Ivanhoe is disguise with a suit of armor and a war horse to participate in a tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle.
On the first day of the tournament a mysterious knight, identifying himself only as "Desdichado" Spanish, taken by the Saxons to mean Disinherited Knight, defeats Bois-Guilbert in a joust. The masked knight declines to reveal himself despite the king’s request, but is nevertheless declared the champion of the day and is permitted to choose the Queen of the Tournament. He bestows this great honor upon the Lady Rowena.
Ivanhoe is severely wounded in the competition yet his father does not move quickly to tend to him. Instead, Rebecca, a skilled healer, tends to him while they are lodged near the tournament and then convinces her father to take Ivanhoe with them to their home in York. In the forests between Ashby and York, Isaac, Rebecca and the wounded Ivanhoe are abandoned by their guards, who fear bandits and take Isaac’s horses. Cedric, Athelstane and the Lady Rowena meet them and agree to travel together. The party is captured by the Knights Templars, de Bracy and Bois-Guilbert. In the meantime, Bois-Guilbert rushes with his captive to the nearest Templar stronghold, where Lucas de Beaumanoir, the Grand Master of the Templars, takes exception at Bois-Guilbert's infatuation with Rebecca and subjects Rebecca to a trial for witchcraft. At Bois-Guilbert's secret request, she claims the right to trial by combat; and Bois-Guilbert, who had hoped to be Rebecca’s champion, is devastated when the Grand-Master orders him to fight against Rebecca's champion. Rebecca then writes to her father to procure a champion for her.
Ivanhoe receives word from Isaac beseeching him to fight on Rebecca's behalf. Ivanhoe, riding by day and night, arrives just in time for the trial by combat against Bois-Gilbert. To see how the story ends, there are three different versions of Sir Walter Scott’s timeless classic available for viewing in Chateau De La Mer’s, Cinema by the Sea movie theater.
Rebecca is the beautiful daughter of the wealthy Jewish banker, Isaac of York (Rebecca was played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1952 film Ivanhoe.) Isaac has just returned from the Holy Land on the same knight as Wilfred of Ivanhoe and meets Ivanhoe on the road to Rotherwood. That night Isaac seeks refuge at Rotherwood but during the evening meal Ivanhoe hears of a plot by the Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert to kidnap Isaac and hold him for ransom.
Disguised as a pilgrim, Ivanhoe helps Isaac escape from Bois-Guilbert. Isaac is grateful and offers to repay his debt to Ivanhoe with a suit of armor and a war horse to participate in the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle. During the tournament Ivanhoe miraculously defeats four Norman nights including Bois-Gilbert but is badly injured. Rebecca feels beholden to Ivanhoe for helping her father earlier so she tends his wounds using various herbs and other plants. Rebecca’s healing techniques literally save Ivanhoe’s life as his wounds are life threatening.
In healing Ivanhoe and nursing him back to health she falls deeply in love with Ivanhoe. The kindness Ivanhoe showed her father earlier plus his bravery and skill displayed in the tournament against the Norman knights makes Ivanhoe the most chivalrous knight Rebecca has ever meet. During the tournament Bois-Guilbert catches sight of Rebecca and swears that he must possess her and that no man is safe who would stand in his way. When Rebecca was held captive in a castle Bois-Giulbert escapes with her and takes her to a stronghold of the Knights Templar. While held captive, the Templars accuse Rebecca of using witchcraft to heal Ivanhoe and threaten to burn her at the stake. To find out more about Rebecca’s trial see info on Ivanhoe or Bois-Guilbert.
In the love triangle that existed between Ivanhoe, Rowena and Rebecca, people will invariably attempt to compare Rebecca to Rowena. There really is no comparison other than both women are in love with Ivanhoe. Rowena is a member of Saxon nobility whereas Rebecca is not noble and is persecuted because of her religious beliefs. The reason most people admire Rebecca is that whenever she is threatened by violence and shameful acts she responds with nobility, pride, resolve and integrity. Rebecca chooses her own fate and refuses to let others decide it for her even if it means her own death by fire. In the end Rebecca resolves that to live with dignity one must be willing to die with honor.
Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, and was overlord of Brittany. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. By the age of 16, Richard had taken command of his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and achieving considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not retake Jerusalem from Saladin. Although Richard was king of England he spent very little time there. Most of his life as king was spent on Crusade, in captivity, or actively defending his lands in France. He was seen as a hero by his subjects. He remains one of the few kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure both in England and in France.
Damsels in distress, chivalrous knights, courtly love and romance, magicians and magical swords, friendship and betrayal this is the world or Arthurian legend. He pulled a magical sword from a stone when he was only a boy. He thought all men were equal and created the Knights of the Round Table. Perhaps no other King in literature has been written about more than King Arthur. There have been countless books, poems, songs and films made about and depicting the acts and life of King Arthur. Two films that retell the Arthurian legend are the 1995 medieval film First Knight, starring Sean Connery as King Arthur, Richard Gere as Lancelot and the 1981 epic fantasy film, Excalibur which stars Nigel Terry as Arthur, Nicholas Clay as Lancelot and Cherie Lunghi as Guinevere. Both films are available for viewing in the Chateau De La Mer, Cinema by the Sea movie theater.
Rather than retell the story of Arthur here, we will allow the reader to review literature and films about Arthur on your own. Perhaps the two most common questions often asked about Arthur are:
First, did King Arthur actually live, was he a real man of flesh and blood or is he entirely a character of fiction?
Second, why is the story and legend of Arthur so enduring and what allows it to capture our imagination more than a thousand years after he lived if he lived at all?
In regards to the first question, while there is no doubt much of the story we know today about Arthur is made up fiction, the historical basis for King Arthur has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the History of the Britons sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Roman-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century. The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae, which also link Arthur with the Battle of Badon. The Annales date this battle to 516–518, and also mention the Battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Mordred were both killed, dated to 537–539. These details have often been used to bolster confidence in the account and to confirm that Arthur really did exist.
Some scholars believe that the real King Arthur and that all of the later myths and fictional and romanticized stories are based on is the Roman-British warrior Arturus or Artorius who fought Brittan’s enemies after Brittan was conquered and then later abandoned by the Roman empire. The Roman name of Arturus or Artorius was changed to Arthur down through the centuries. Later myth and legend were added to the deeds of the real Arturus/Artorius to give us the mythical Arthur we all know and love. Other scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce, so a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely. It seems we will never know for certain of the real origins of King Arthur as so much has been lost through the ages. But if you are one who believes that where there is smoke there is also fire, then you will believe that the legend of Arthur, King of Camelot are undoubtedly based on the actions and deeds of the real Arthur, the war-lord who protected Brittan from its enemies.
In response to the second question, why is the legend of King Arthur timeless? King Athur is the most legendary icon of medival Brittan. Over the centuries his story has been told and retold. Images of Arthur are on display in the halls of England’s Parliament to this day. While Arthur may not be the perfect man, in the eyes of many he is the perfect king. Arthurian qualities are too numerous to mention. Arthur is strong, chivalrous, noble, he believes that good will conquer evil and that the strong are made strong so they can protect the weak. Arthur did not seek power out of vanity or vain-glory, but when he had power he used it for good to lift up others. He was a loyal friend, a fair judge, a strong leader and an exemplary example to others. And while Arthur had a tragic end his story is one that will continue to inspire and capture the imaginations of those who come to know Arthur, the once and future king.
Who was William Wallace, the man who inspired such hatred by his English contemporaries but such devotion and adoration amongst the Scots seven hundred years after his death? William Wallace was the Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the First War of Scottish Independence as portrayed in the 1995 Academy Award winning film we have all come to know and love, Braveheart. While parts of the film are fictionalized for dramatic purposes as Hollywood tends to do, several aspects of film are historically accurate. Wallace did lead one of the first acts of defiance against the English when he assassinated William de Heselrig, the English Sheriff of Lanark, in May 1927. Some say this was an act of revenge for how the sheriff had treated Wallace’s lover but what we know for certain is that Wallace would not submit to the English occupation and rule of Scotland by the English King, Edward I also known as Longshanks. We also know that on September 11, 1297, Wallace won a great victory against the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. He did this at a time when his forces were greatly out number and when it was unheard of for dismounted infantry to defeat superior mounted horse cavalry. After Wallace’s victory he was named The Guardian of Scotland. Previously, there had been groups of barons, bishops and lords who were collectively honored as the Guardians, but only Wallace was given this title alone as the sole Guardian of Scotland.
After years of fighting the English who had larger armies and greater resources along with internal political strife within Scotland, Wallace was eventually defeated by the English. Wallace evaded capture by the English until August 5, 1305 when a Scottish knight loyal to King Edward, turned Wallace over to English soldiers. Wallace was transported to London, then taken to Westminster Hall, where he was tried for treason and for atrocities in war, "sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun." He was crowned with a garland of oak to suggest he was the king of outlaws. He responded to the treason charge, "I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.” Wallace lived in brutal times and as a result often used brutality to fight his enemies. It is no surprise then that Wallace’s execution is one of the most brutal ever witnessed. Following the trial, on August 23, 1305, Wallace was taken from the hall to the Tower of London, he was stripped naked and dragged four miles through the city streets at the heels of a horse to Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered, that is he was strangled by hanging, but released while he was still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burned before him, beheaded, then his body was cut into four parts and then sent to four corners of the English empire. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge for the English people to jeer at.
Wallace’s story is both tragic and uplifting. Tragic that while Wallace was undoubtedly a great hero to the Scottish people and their fight for independence, internal politics ultimately lead one of his own countrymen to betray Wallace and turn him over to his enemies the English and tragic circumstances of his execution and death. His story is uplifting because of Wallace’s unconquered spirit and his willingness to fight and never yield no matter the odds or forces arrayed against him. To get a true measure of the man listen to Wallace’s own words and remember these words were spoken by William Wallace not when it was easy or convenient but when his life and those of his fellow countrymen hung in the balance:
“We come here with no peaceful intent, but ready for battle, determined to avenge our wrongs and set our country free. Let your masters come and attack us we are ready to meet them beard to beard”.
“I cannot be a traitor, for I owe him (Edward) no allegiance. He is not my Sovereign; he never received my homage; and whilst life is in this persecuted body, he never shall receive it. To the other points whereof I am accused, I freely confess them all. As Governor of my country I have been an enemy to its enemies; I have slain the English; I have mortally opposed the English King; I have stormed and taken the towns and castles which he unjustly claimed as his own. If I or my soldiers have plundered or done injury to the houses or ministers of religion, I repent me of my sin; but it is not of Edward of England I shall ask pardon”.
“My Son, Freedom is best, I tell thee true, of all things to be won. Then never live within the bond of slavery”.
The story of Tristan is set in 5th century England and Ireland. Mark of Cornwall plans to unify the peoples of Britain the Celts, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes under himself as king to resist Irish domination.
Most lords agree to this, as Mark is highly regarded and respected as a fair and courageous leader. The Irish king Donnchadh discovers this and sends troops to attack a Jutish Castle where a treaty between the British tribes is being discussed. The raid claims the lives of the castle's lord and his wife, but Mark manages to save their son, at the cost of losing a hand. Feeling compassion for the young boy, whose father loyally supported him, Mark welcomes Tristan into his home and regards him as a son.
Tristan grows into a fierce, courageous warrior whose loyalty to Mark is that of a son to his father. Tristan and other Cornish warriors launch an attack on an Irish slave caravan. Tristan fights Morholt, the champion and leader of the army of Donnchadh, whose lord's daughter, Princess Isolde, has been promised to Morholt in marriage. Though Tristan kills Morholt his forces are overrun, he is severely wounded in the fight and believed dead, though he is in fact only suffering the effects of Morholt's poisoned sword. Tristan's body is put out to sea on a funeral boatwhich eventually washes up along the shores of Ireland. He is discovered by Isolde and her maid, Bragnae, who administer an antidote that revives him. Bragnae insists that Isolde conceal her identity so Isolde tells Tristan her name is Bragnae and that she is a lady-in-waiting. Tristan and Isolde fall in love as she nurses him back to health. The two lovers must separate after Tristan's boat is discovered. Tristan returns to Cornwall and receives a hero's welcome. A confused but overjoyed Mark welcomes him back with open arms. Plotting to defeat Britain, Donnchadh proposes a peace treaty, promising his daughter Isolde in marriage to the winner of a tournament. Tristan wins the tournament on behalf of Mark, unaware that "the prize" is the woman he fell in love with in Ireland. When he discovers the truth about Isolde, he is heartbroken to see her betrothed to Mark, but accepts it since the marriage will end "a hundred years of bloodshed."
To find out if Tristan will be with the woman he loves, you may screen the 2006 film Tristan & Isolde, by the acclaimed producer and director, Ridley Scott available in the Chateau De La Mer, Cinema by the Sea, movie theater.
Arn Magnusson is born in 1150, in Western Sweden. At the age of 5, he had a life-threatening accident, and was believed to be saved thanks to his mother's prayers to Saint Bernhard of Clairvaux. He spent the next twelve years of his life at a monastery in Varnhem, Sweden. He met a former Knight Templar, who instructed him in the use of the sword and the art of medieval war being used in the Holy Lands. The Prior, Father Henri, told Arn to witness for himself the outside world, and only after that would he be able to take the eternal vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He grows up to become an educated young man and a skilled warrior. In the monastery in Sweeden, Arn meets Cecilia, the love of his life. Then a cruel and jealous world forces Arn and Cecilia apart. Cecilia is imprisoned in a monastery. Arn is sent to the Holy Land as a Knight Templar, where war is raging between Christians and Muslims. Arn and Cecilia both have to struggle to survive to learn how to confront evil and overcome physical hardship. Their painful separation causes their faith in God to waver though not their faith in each other, and their conviction that they will one day be reunited. When Arn returns home, he has to fight for his love and what has become his mission: to unite Sweden into one Kingdom. To get a glimpse into the real life story of Arm Magnusson, you may view the film Arn: The Knights Templar in the Chateau De La Mer, Cinema by the Sea movie theater.