Review: Knightfall

What with my new HEMA past time, I want to love Knightfall, but so far (after two episodes), it’s more like curious skepticism. I will keep watching…it’s just, well.

Let’s get medieval on this.

On the side of the Angels:

  • Yes to sets and landscapes.
  • Yes to castle keeps and cathedrals.
  • Yes to swords.
  • Yes horses.
  • Yes to sweeping snowy white capes and suits of armour.
  • Yes to the proper use of terms such as compline and matins.
  • Yes to surly soldiers.
  • Yes to smart arse farm boys.
  • Yes King Philip loved Queen Joan.
  • Yes to Templars losing the Holy Land and feeling bad.
  • Yes to the Templars being loathed because of their immense wealth and immunity from taxes.
  • Yes to political intrigue.
  • Yes to Templars offering alms, safe havens and letters of credit.
  • Yes to Templars fighting to protect everyone.

Templar symbol. Source of rumours.

On the side of the Devil:

  • Oh come on. The rape and murder of a young woman is the inciting incident for a farm boy to become a warrior monk?
  • No to Greek fire like explosive missiles. It’s not Mission Impossible. Except it kinda is.
  • No to Days of Our Lives love triangles between a warrior monk and his Queen.
  • Sure, Queen Joan was known as smart and resourceful, but she loved her husband. While an intriguing character, this QJ is not her. Plus, she died aged 32 after an illness.
  • No to Popes in full regalia all the time. Not sure Popes dressed like they were presiding over Easter Mass when in business meetings.
  • If everything is in English make everything in English (aka Percival instead of Parsifal). Otherwise Latin and Arabic and regional dialects all the way.
  • Language. Can’t believe I am saying this, but to ‘curse like a Templar’ was a saying. So, have at it. Swear more.
  • More music.

Queen Joan. Knightfall wasn’t cast like this.

Everything else is in Limbo:

  • Pass to names used. The name Parzival is from a 13thC poem about the Holy Grail. Which is a pity because Alfred Lord Tennyson ruined it with his 19thC take on Arthurian legends, thus Parsifal sounds fake. Also, is poetry our best evidence for name conventions for historical Knights Templar?
  • Should this be history or Arthurian legend? Because the Parsifal/Grail stuff is Celtic myth/history.
  • Maybe to Templar relationships, however, there were more rumours about affairs with each other tbh.
  • Maybe to Templars having hold of and losing the Grail. If this turns into an Indiana Jones adventure I’ll be angry.
  • Everything else the Templars get up to, depending on whether the writers follow history or conspiracy theories.
  • Men could be married and be Templars but they were disqualified from wearing their signature white mantle.
  • Where are the women Templars? Yes. They existed. They mostly prayed but they existed.

Mostly, this TV version of the doomed adventures of the Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici makes me miss Vikings. Funny how, in this global age, tales of Norse raiders and the violent squabbling of siblings over the spoils feels more familiar and close than romances of knights in white from the age of chivalry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.