The Pillars Of The Earth – **1/2

Posted: March 21, 2013 in 2010, Canada, Germany, Historical, TV series, War, XX1/2
Tags: , ,

For years Ken Follet’s best seller The Pillars Of The Earth has been lying on my book shelf. For years I’ve been telling people how good it is and how they should all go home and read it. Especially when I am in front of the gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg, explaining stuff about medieval architecture. There’s always one tourist that nods and agrees on how intriguing and informative this medieval thriller is. But just like myself, they most likely never read the book.

A few years ago, a television series was produced with German and Canadian money and the help of Tony and Ridley Scott. And suddenly tourists knew what story I was referring to. So, I figured I finally had to watch this medieval soap which is pretty bad overall, but very entertaining as well.

It’s an 8 hour series with dozens of characters and hundreds of twists, which makes it confusing at times and which makes you wish they had made a 48 hour series. There are scenes that only last one minute but could easily fill one episode. If only they would have explored the themes a little bit more in-depth! Sure it’s a televised drama and not a documentary on the history channel, but still. It feels like all the historical and informative stuff is just mentioned briefly and the main focus lies in everything that makes modern-day dramas successful: murder, deceit, treason, infidelity, hatred! Sure, that’s exciting but it’s very superficial as well.

I can no longer recommend this series as a means of learning more about cathedral construction in the Middle Ages. It only focuses on the intrigues that were ample at the courts and the church during the dark Middle Ages.

Yet for some reason I liked looking at this badly acted, terribly edited, poorly directed and historically inaccurate account of an interesting period in history: the anarchy in England during the reign of Henry I. Predominantly because I wished I had been part of it. As an extra, preferably as a knight. I love medieval stuff. So much so that I don’t care if it’s accurate or not.

Maybe I need to read the book after all.

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