Saturday, 9 February 2013

Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott

Date of Reading: 05/06/2008
Author: Sir Walter Scott
Publisher: Peacock Books
Place: New Delhi
Year: 2005
Rs. 85

            Reading Scott is an acquired taste and I don't think anyone will disagree if I say this is his best one. I bought this in exchange of my medicine money (books are always better than antibiotics), and happy to say Scott didn't disappoint me a bit.
          What is the difference between history books and historical novels? One gives facts on dead people and the other puts some life to it by adding some tales (most of the time imaginary) which makes them personal. Since its publication in 1819, 'Ivanhoe' has enjoyed a unique popularity as it had brought together Britain's two most popular heroes -- King Richard I (also known as the lion-hearted) and Robin Hood. And it is his first novel to be set in England with its Norman - Saxon conflicts and the plight of Jews under Christian rule. Story is thus:
          Cedric, the Saxon noble, is displeased with his son Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe for showing interest in his ward Rowena whom he intends to marry off to Athelstane, a youth of royal Saxon blood. Ivanhoe goes away and joins in crusade where he comes in contact with King Richard. Meanwhile, King's brother John, who is in charge of the kingdom in Richard's absence, tries to occupy the throne with the support of the disloyal Norman barons.
            His plans are however thwarted by the timely return of Richard who in disguise, helps Ivanhoe at the tournament to defeat John's knights including Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert. The latter is infatuated with Rebecca, the beautiful Jewish girl, whom he has seen at the tournament. She, along with her father Isaac, Rowena, Cedric, Athelstane and the wounded Ivanhoe are captured by Norman barons and kept imprisoned in Torquilstone Castle.
           While the King with the help of Robin Hood storms the castle and rescues the prisoners, Rebecca is smuggled away by Bois-Guilbert to the Preceptory of Templestowe. Though his designs on Rebecca fail owing to the arrival of the Grand Master of the Order, Rebecca is accused of witchcraft. In order to save her from burning alive, Ivanhoe appears as her champion in accordance with the custom and fights a last duel with Bois-Guilbert. Bois gets killed by his own sword.
             Story ends with the marriage of Ivanhoe and Rowena. Rebecca too was in love with the hero and she remains unmarried and devotes her life to help the needy. 
--- Novel is adapted to several movies, the most popular being the 1952 film starring, Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor as Ivanhoe and Rebecca; Joan Fontaine plays the part of Rowena. It is nominated for three Academy awards. The 1982 version, half an hour longer than the 1952 film, is starred by Anthony Andrews.


  1. I still can remember the scenes vividly from the story. I haven't seen the films. The story is so powerful, it is ingrained in me. Thanks for reminding me again.

  2. Dear friend, allow me to nominate you for Liebster Award... please have a look at the following link:


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