The Armchair Anglophile’s three years old now. First off, thanks to everyone who’s been reading, commenting, and visiting the site—it’s been great hearing from you and I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps etc as much as I’ve enjoyed writing (most of) them. Second, in celebration of the birthday, I thought it only fitting to go back to where this all started: Kingsbridge! Yes, I’m finally getting around to recapping World Without End, the sort-of sequel to Pillars of the Earth. Just so you know, while I did read PotE, I haven’t gotten around to WWE yet, so you’ll get fewer ‘but it was different in the book!’ comments from me this time around. Since this is a celebration of sorts, I think it’s only appropriate to have a little game—feel free to adapt this into Ken Follett Bingo or a drinking game. Using PotE as a guide, I think we can expect the following:
…to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, saint, and tragic murder victim. Becket was born around 1118 in Cheapside, London and educated at Merton Priory in England, then in Paris, Bologna, and Auxerre. He was an assistant to Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and was made Archdeacon of Canterbury and Provost of Beverley. On Theobald’s recommendation, King Henry II named Becked Lord Chancellor in 1155.
Becket and Henry became fast friends but a rift developed between them after Thomas became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. Henry wanted more power for himself, but Becket refused to cede any clerical independence to the king. After several years of fighting, during which excommunications were flung around and the Pope even got involved, Henry, in a rage, allegedly said: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” He failed to realize that, since he was king and all, someone was bound to take him seriously.
Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Well, a lot happened. You might be better off just reading the recaps, but essentially, Kingsbridge wanted to build a cathedral, Bishop Waleran and the Hamleighs caused a lot of trouble, and Aliena and Jack fell in love. Oh, and there was a civil war.
Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Jack and Alfred ogled Aliena before beating the crap out of each other, which led to Tom firing Jack for not being a blood relative. William takes obsessive assholishness to a new level by burning Kingsbridge’s Fleece fair, killing Tom, and sending Aliena’s entire year’s profit up in flames.
Kingsbridge’s cemetery has several new occupants, and it’s about to get another one: Tom Builder. His shrouded body is accompanied by all the monks, Ellen, Aliena, Alfred, a sobbing Martha, and a number of townspeople. Philip says prayers over the body before paying a moving tribute to Tom, his friend, and the reason the cathedral exists. As he finishes, Richard rides into the still smoldering ruins, looking bewildered.
Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Stephen was defeated and taken prisoner, as was Maud’s half-brother Gloucester. Waleran engineered the loss of Kingsbridge’s market license, and then joined with the Hamleighs to side with Maude before torturing Philip into admitting he betrayed Bartholomew and ordering him hanged. He was a busy man that episode.
Philip’s on the scaffold, a noose being tightened around his throat, as a priest makes his way down the line of condemned men, offering them absolution. He makes it to Philip and is halfway through his prayer before he recognizes him. The priest is Philip’s brother, Francis. He’s horrified when he recognizes Philip.
Stephen and Maud battle over Lincoln, aided by William and Richard. Philip, Waleran, and the Hamleighs battle over just about everything else. Continue reading Pillars of the Earth Episode 3 Recap: Battlefield
Aliena stars a business, Tom starts a cathedral, Philip starts trouble, and Stephen starts going crazy. Continue reading Pillars Of the Earth Episode 2 Recap: Redemption
A cathedral needs to be built in Kingsbridge, but politics are tricky when there are two people vying for the throne and the local nobles are up to no good Continue reading Pillars of the Earth: Anarchy, Master Builder