Monday, 14 January 2013

Ken Follett's World Without End

Channel 4 began showing Ken Follett's 'World Without End' on Saturday, January 12th.  It screened 'Pillars of the Earth' last year.  With it's connection to Edward II, it was a 'must-see' for him.  I should point out that I haven't read the book, so I've no idea whether the book is accurate.  The story starts in 1327, with the 'murder' of Edward II.  The only glimpse we have of Edward is of the back of his head, as he surrenders to his wife, Isabella,  after being defeated in a 'civil war'.  Very dramatic, and we have Edward removing his crown and handing it over to his son, which of course, did not happen.  We then follow the story of a knight, who seeks sanctuary with the monks and nuns of Kingsbridge, after claiming to have witnessed the murder of Edward II.  No red hot poker here - the king was hanged in his cell, and the story given out that he slipped and broke his neck.  The knight appears to threaten Isabella with revealing the truth unless she promises him his safety.  

Edward III seems to be older than he actually was, and certainly seems more ruthless.  Thus we have Roger Mortimer dragged from Isabella's bed and hanged without trial.  Isabella now seems hellbent on recovering the knight's whereabouts.

As far as the story of Edward II goes, the TV production is obviously inaccurate.  But the lives of the 'ordinary' characters is well-portrayed and the settings and costumes fantastic.  I look forward to the rest of the series.

8 comments:

Daphne said...

I've seen all of the episodes and found them entertaining. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

Kathryn Warner said...

I've read very mixed reports of this series - some people say they enjoy the story, though a lot think the inaccuracies are so awful it ruins the programme for them. I'll probably end up having to watch it at some point...:)

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

I've seen The Pillars and had the simillar impression: the lives of the fictional characters were colourfully depicted, with all the costumes and scenography, but King Stephen, the Empress, Robert of Gloucester, IMHO, suffered because of the inaccuracies. Still I have found the series quite entertaining. I suppose it may be the same with the World.

Anerje said...

Hi Daphne - I will stick with the series. I enjoyed 'Pillars', and yes Kasia, there were inaccuracies with the 'true' historical characters, but I enjoyed the stories of the others.

Yes Kathryn, you ARE going to have to watch it:> and I know you'll strongly disagree with some of it!

Gabriele C. said...

They showed the whole thing (Pillars and World) here, always several episodes in a row (German TV did the same with Rome, The Tudors and A Song of Ice and Fire), but I stopped watching some way during Pillars; I didn't find the acting convincing for the most, and the historical blunders were too much. But I have to add I'm very picky about these things; I didn't finish either Rome, The Tudors or ASOIAF - the latter for character assassination of Jon Snow and sexposition - either, so I'm not someone whose taste to go by. ;-)

Anerje said...

I must admit, Gabriele, I had to watch with gritted teeth last night with the historical accuracies, which were big ones!, and focus on the ordinary characters. I watched 'Rome' and enjoyed it, and although I know little Roman history, took it with a pinch of salt. The Tudors I watched purely to pick apart:>

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Anerje, thank you for paying a visit to us on Henry's blog :-) As for the Empress, I'm planning to read Elizabeth Chadwick's Lady of the English. I've already read an excerpt on Amazon and it's brilliantly written (like all E. Chadwick's books). Sounds (or rather seems) like a must-read :-)

Dancin' Fool said...

Hello! I read Pillars of the Earth and loved it. I have not read World Without End but I watched the final episode of the TV series last night and am appalled at the injustice done to Edward III!

Medieval history is a passion of mine and a subject I came to through historical fiction however I really feel that either Mr Follett or the writer of the screen play has acted irresponsibly by indulging in this much poetic licence.

I am planning on reading the book to confirm and anticipate an enquiry to Ken Follett. (It feels good to get that out, I have been ranting about it!)

P.S. Have you read The Greatest Traitor and/ or The Perfect King by Ian Mortimer? Fantastic books that were in depth and honest about Edward II, Edward III and Roger Mortimer. (I also feel the murder of Piers Gaveston was a terrible injustice.)