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Dear DL History Queens

Is this "Pillars of the Earth" series any good? How would you compare it to "Rome" and "The Tudors"?

I've read Rutherford's "Sarum" so I never saw any need to read the "Pillars" books about cathedral construction. Was I wrong?

by Anonymousreply 4411/11/2012

Visually it is excellent, but a little too gritty in places. The court was much more opulent at the time.

by Anonymousreply 107/24/2010

I know nothing about the series but the book is great. And that type of historical book is not usually my kind of thing. A friend gave it to me and recommended that I read it.

by Anonymousreply 207/24/2010

Jack is my new favorite ginger and it's great to see Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice) again.

by Anonymousreply 307/24/2010

I haven't seen any part of the series yet, but the book was excellent. I read it years ago, and only learned a few weeks ago that someone had attempted to film a miniseries. The underlying "mystery" which brings all of the characters together was nowhere near as interesting as the characters themselves and their lives. Follett used a great deal of historical detail in describing the daily lives of the people, including techinical aspects of building construction and weaving woolen cloth. On the whole though, the story is more aobut viewing how different classes of society (nobles, monks, merchanrs, and craftsmen) relate with each other, with soap opera-like scenarios.%0D %0D The "sequel" book, I think it was called "World Without End," was also a good read, but I did not enjoy it quite as much. It takes place in the same town, several hundred years later. Several of the main characters are descended from the Pillars characters.%0D %0D I'd like to see the miniseries, because I am not sure that it can do justice to the book.

by Anonymousreply 407/24/2010

Why is the king in Winchester, instead of London?

by Anonymousreply 507/30/2010

"Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End" are wonderfully entertaining books. Ken Follett spent ten years on each of them, and the work really shows. I hope the minseries does the first book jusrice.

by Anonymousreply 607/31/2010

yes, I think Follets's gift is creating charachters not necessarily plot development. He relys on history to develop plot. His writing weakness that irritates me is that some characters have a morality that is selective, much like real humans. Ken Follet doesn't seem to realize this in his writing though. He has clearly delinated "good" and "bad" characters and his "good" characters fall back on their morality only when it suits them and they in turn tend to judge the "bad" characters harshly.

by Anonymousreply 707/31/2010

I've had a chance to watch the first three episodes, and I thought they were very true to the spirit of the book, although there were a few plot points I do not recall from the book (e.g., Stephen being haunted by the ghost of King Henry with a prophecy--it has been a long time since I last read the book, so I may have forgotten some things).%0D %0D If you enjoyed the book, I think you will enjoy the series, at least so far. I certainly have.

by Anonymousreply 808/01/2010

R5 - Winchester was the traditional capital of the West Saxons - Wessex (Alfred the Great etc) who later became the kings of a united England.%0D %0D And then they moved the seat of their government to London.

by Anonymousreply 908/01/2010

Thanks r9. So does Edward get a castle there since he's Earl of Wessex? And why ISN'T he a duke like the other monarchs' sons?

by Anonymousreply 1008/01/2010

Dear R10 - what Edward are we talking about? %0D %0D I must - shamefully - admit I've no idea about the context we are discussing - and my own period of expertise is from Edward the Confessor onwards - especially Edward IV and Richard III - oh, and my thesis was on the development of gothic architecture.%0D %0D If it is EtC we are talking about - the title of Duke did not exist in England before the Conquest...%0D %0D And he gets a castle wherever he wants cos his men are the meanest SOBs on the block...though EtC was a truly RUBBISH king.%0D %0D Though castles weren't built in England until after the Conquest...

by Anonymousreply 1108/01/2010

The sex in the book was ridiculous. Definitely written by a straight male.

by Anonymousreply 1208/01/2010

R11, I think R10 is talking about Edward, the son of QE2.

by Anonymousreply 1308/01/2010

I watched part of one episode of this production. I couldn't sit through most of it because I am a true history nerd...There are too many historical inacuracies for me to stomach.

by Anonymousreply 1408/01/2010

mea culpa--inaccuracies

by Anonymousreply 1508/01/2010

My quibble is that the king's daughter, Maud, would have been called Empress Maud, as she was the widow of the Holy Roman Emperor. Geoffrey was her second husband.

by Anonymousreply 1608/01/2010

Ta for that, R13 - The current Earl of Wessex is generally believed to be on the waiting list to become the next Duke of Edinburgh...%0D %0D And Maud (Matilda)WAS known to her peers as the "Empress Maud" - and she was on course to become the first Queen Regnant of England before her utterly awful character alienated everyone and forced her to compromise with Stephen...%0D %0D (This, for a large number of Americans, is your history too)

by Anonymousreply 1708/01/2010

It's funny how our opinions change over time. I love history, r17, and did think of British history as an important part of our background and culture -- but I lived in the northeast during that time. Now, I live near St. Augustine, Florida and the English history takes a back seat to Spanish history. Of course, the English are involved but not in a good way.%0D %0D It was the pirate Drake who sacked the city in 1586, and then in 1740 British Govenor Oglethorpe and a force of British regulars deployed their batteries on the island of Santa Anastasia while the naval squadron blockaded the port.%0D %0D The Spanish managed to send supply ships through the Royal Navy blockade and any thought of starving St. Augustine into capitulation was lost. Oglethorpe now planned to storm the fortress by land while the navy ships attacked the Spanish ships and half-galleys in the harbor. Commodore Pearce, however resolved to forgo the attack during hurricane season. Oglethorpe gave up the siege and returned to Georgia; abandoning his artillery during his withdrawal.%0D %0D %0D In June, there's an exciting reenactment of Drake's raid. It moves through eight blocks of the Old Town with guns blasting and sword fights in the street. Bloody bodies end up all over. Some unsuspecting tourists will step out of a souvenir shop here and there to a scene of ghastly carnage. %0D

by Anonymousreply 1808/01/2010

R18 - Apologies. I really didn't mean that British history was the sine qua non of American history.%0D %0D What I meant was that European history is, to a greater or lesser extent (with a dividing rule (1776)), the history of the USA...%0D %0D And again, apologies to Native Americans. %0D %0D And Asian Americans...%0D %0D And any non-European Americans...%0D %0D And can I stop apologising?????

by Anonymousreply 1908/01/2010

The head of the Priory at Kingsbridge is smart and stupid in equal measures. Maybe stupid isn't the right word, but he is the reason for the death of Earl of Shiry (Donald sutherland) and the rape of his daughter. He just seems to trust the wrong people when he passes on important information. Hopefully now he's learned his lesson.%0D %0D I loved Aliana's threat to the thieving monk, that she may come back later to kill him.%0D %0D Her rapist is so afraid of hell and God, he is fearful enough when cursed by Tom the Builder's wife that he pays him instead of killing him, and then later with that sunrise show put on by Paul and Tom.

by Anonymousreply 2008/03/2010

R20, Philip passed on the message about the Earl of Shiring's (Sutherland) treachery/support of Maud taking the throne to Waleran because his brother (who was secretary to Shiring's co-conspirator) asked him to do it. Stephen promised his full support to the Church, and so Philip thought he was being loyal to the Church's interests. When Philip made the deal with Waleran (support for becoming prior in exchange for Philip's support for Waleran to be the next Bishop), he had no idea that Waleran had made a deal with the Hamleighs years before. Philip is not stupid, but he is ambitious, and trusted the wrong people.%0D %0D Regan Hamleigh (lady with the red blotch on her cheek) is a brilliant political strategist, but supremely creepy.

by Anonymousreply 2108/03/2010

He has exhibited some political skill on several occasions. But those 2 points just stick out to me, especially because they caused a great deal of harm to the same family.%0D %0D Absolutely it's because he doesn't know things that the audience does, and the moves appear to be stupid (especially that last bit, giving over info about the sister and brother clearly hiding from someone). I know he's not, it's just frustrating watching him do things like that. Again, maybe now he'll learn to be more suspicious of people.

by Anonymousreply 2208/03/2010

One thing I like is that I can tell the characters apart. With so many of these large-cast shows, I'm always asking, "wait, which blonde is this?"

by Anonymousreply 2308/03/2010

If this is ancient history then tell me WHO THE HELL IS HELEN LAWSON?!%0D %0D HA! and they say I'm the nut!

by Anonymousreply 2408/03/2010

Is this on network TV or HBO...I have never heard of it and loved the book.

by Anonymousreply 2508/03/2010

The book is ok, but far too long. Unlike others, I found the characters incredibly one-dimensional. Follet also has a tendency to write in five-word sentences, which gives you an idea of its literary sophistication. In other words, it's not that sophisticated, which is why Follet had to make it 1000 pages long, in order to give it the "epic" feel and "grand scale" that he desired.

It's the sort of book that could actually make a better dramatised tv or movie version, so I'd be quite interested in seeing the series. It was also filmed in delightful Hungary, which is where my lovely gf is from, so I'd like to see it for the landscape too. Have no idea when they'll be showing it in the UK or Europe though.

Not interested in the "graphic" ebook version.

Despite Ken Follett being a multi-millionaire, his wife Barbara Follett, the now former British MP, was the member of parliament to make the most dubious expenses claims in last year's parliamentary expenses scandal.

by Anonymousreply 2608/03/2010

"I couldn't sit through most of it because I am a true history nerd...There are too many historical inacuracies for me to stomach."

Really? What did they get wrong? Or is this like "Rome," where they were speaking English instead of Latin?

by Anonymousreply 2708/03/2010

R25:%0D [quote] Is this on network TV or HBO...I have never heard of it and loved the book.%0D %0D It's on STARZ, Fridays at 10pm.

by Anonymousreply 2808/03/2010

In the time period in which the story is set, for example, castles were not the fortresses of stone which are shown onscreen...They were wooden, motte and bailey type of condtruction. Stone castle fortresses weren't built until after the Norman conquest, Their churches, also, were not huge cathedrals, either. Thus, the issue of control of a stone quarry would not have been THAT important to the Saxons. So, NO r27, it;s not like the characters not speaking Latin in the series "ROME"!%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 2908/04/2010

I guess the book/series should be regarded in the same vein as Arthurian fantasies, except--because real historical characters are used, so many people (who don't know/aren't interested in history) never realize the misrepresentations contained in the depictions.%0D

by Anonymousreply 3008/04/2010

I loved the costumes and props in Rome. They seemed to pay a lot of attention to detail.

by Anonymousreply 3108/04/2010

Even if there are misrepresentations of historical people, it still may have a positive influence on people if it gives them an interest in history and into going deeper and really studying history.

by Anonymousreply 3208/04/2010

Hopefully you will be right, r32. However, I feel certain that the vast majority of people who watch films such as the shiteous "Mummy" movie, for example, never care to differentiate between historical fact and outright fiction... They probably believe that Imhotep really was an evil priest and a contemporary of Nefertiti! I'm just cynical, I guess. Sorry veer off topic!

by Anonymousreply 3308/04/2010

R29, you do realize that the book is set AFTER the Norman Conquest. Maud's father, King Henry, was the son of William the Conqueror.

by Anonymousreply 3408/04/2010

You're right about the vast majority, History Nerd. That really doesn't bother me because there are still some people watching those films who will gain an interest in history and will move on that interest. %0D %0D Don't you think that many historians and many history nerds got their first interests in history via romanticized interpretations of history? What was your introduction to history?%0D %0D When I was in grade school, I saw "The Lost Colony" in North Carolina - a colorful symphonic drama that provided a romanticized view of the court of Queen Elizabeth and the founding of Raleigh's colony. When my parents saw how that gave me an interest in history, every vacation after that had us going to historic places - Fort Ticonderoga, Valley Forge, Mount Vernon, Castillo San Marcos, Fort Matanzas, etc., etc. %0D %0D While I still enjoy romanticized films of history, I keep track of enough real history to have my name and writings in a number of history books about the War in the Pacific. %0D %0D I went back to see "The Lost Colony" several decades after the first viewing. I knew all the inaccuracies by that time, but still loved every minute of it. I even took a summer off from reality just to be in one of those outdoor dramas. It was a joy to see the little kids come forth at the end of every show to talk to the actors. You just knew that some of them would be our next generation's history buffs.

by Anonymousreply 3508/04/2010

As "history" or even as historical fiction (not a favorite form, I confess), it's worthless and bothersome, but viewed simply as fiction peppered with a few incidental facts it's okay. At times it has a nice mood and visual style. I've liked Matthew MacFadyen for years, and Eddie Redmayne looks very good when dirty.

by Anonymousreply 3608/04/2010

Regarding "Glory" (with the still-attractive Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes) what should we know about its historical accuracy?

by Anonymousreply 3708/06/2010

Col. Robert Gould Shaw (the guy who led the black regiment, played by Broderick) had a cousin, Robert Gould Shaw II.

This cousin the first husband of the American-born Lady Astor, the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament. (Also known for the supposed exhchange, "If you were my husband, Mr. Churchill, I'd poison your tea." / "Madam, if you were my wife, I'd drink it.").

Their son, Robert Gould Shaw III, was imprisoned for sodomy in 1931.

by Anonymousreply 3808/06/2010

I just watched the first three episodes and liked them. Never read the book.%0D %0D I keep thinking of Ian McShane as King Silas, it took some getting used to him playing someone else.%0D %0D The actor playing William is very attractive. Is William having sex with his mother? their scene on the bed was creepy.%0D

by Anonymousreply 3908/07/2010

R39, the miniseries has shown that Reagan was sexually inappropriate with her son, William, as was indicated in the book. %0D %0D With episode 4, the miniseries takes a major departure from the book. I'm still enjoying it, though.

by Anonymousreply 4008/08/2010

R39,%0D %0D [quote] I keep thinking of Ian McShane as King Silas, it took some getting used to him playing someone else.%0D %0D He will always be Al Swearingen to me.

by Anonymousreply 4108/08/2010

I just saw episode 5, and it was great.%0D %0D I sensed some sexual vibe between Walter and William, too bad William had to go on and burn and kill the good people. I like him as a villain, though. He doesn't talk, just do.%0D %0D I didn't like Harry becoming a monk.%0D

by Anonymousreply 4208/15/2010

He didn't have much of a choice.%0D %0D It was either that, or move elsewhere to continue being a builder/sculptor/artist.

by Anonymousreply 4308/15/2010

So did anyone here watch any of "World Without End," the sequel (of sorts) that's been running on the Reelz channel?

I caught parts of it over the past couple of weeks and will be watching the last few hours as part of the marathon today.

I'm really liking the younger leads, particularly Tom Weston-Jones & Oliver Jackson-Cohen as a Cain & Abel-ish pair of hot brothers. Among the older actors, Miranda Richardson as a ball-busting Mother Superior and Ben Chaplin as a gay one-armed knight turned monk are quite entertaining. And oh yeah, Cynthia Nixon as a scheming murderess mom.

by Anonymousreply 4411/11/2012
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