Echo of the Past documents my journey in rediscovering my roots after my last computer was destroyed and I lost the 10,000 names on my family tree.

I'm an ethnic mutt. My background is varied and the world is small; it's likely that my research will help somebody, somewhere, so please feel free to use me as a source if need be.

Feedback is more than welcome, and I read any and all comments I get. I'm also up for trading links. If you're interested, email me at: PrettySiren@gmail.com with "link request" as the subject line. (Genealogy and history sites/blogs only please.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thoughts About The Kingdom of Heaven (Movie)

I watched Kingdom of Heaven today. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend it. I expected the movie to be overly preachy and pointlessly violent. However, I was surprised to find that there was an overwhelming message of peace throughout.

What many people may not realize is that the characters in the movie were actually (loosely) based on real people -- people who have many descendants alive today.

Since this is a genealogy blog, I'll focus on my own relatives.

The King of Jerusalem in the movie was Baldwin IV. He was the son of the half-brother of my ancestor Geoffrey Plantagenet, duc de Normandy. That being the case, King Baldwin IV is my 1st cousin, 28 times removed.

Much of the movie was romanticized; though he was a leper, Baldwin IV never wore a mask. However, I was proud, in a way, of the scene right after he died, when Sibylla removed his mask, because it showed his true face, the face that many lepers possess if they don't have access to modern leprosy antibiotics. And when they showed his face, it was clear that the movie-makers intended the moment to be beautiful, instead of frightening. I found that very touching. Sibylla was looking at her brother's face for the first time in many years. Rather than being disgusted or frightened, she looked down on him in sisterly love and sorrow for the fact that he had been cut down in his prime, due to a terrible disease.

Another aspect of the movie I enjoyed was that even though it was, again, romanticized, parts of it also rang very true -- especially at the beginning when they were in France. Today, what happened to the body of Balian's first wife would be appalling, but back then, suicide was considered a major crime against God. Still, it was unnerving to think about.

On another point about Balian: he wasn't a very young man (like Orlando Bloom, who played him in the movie) when he went to Jerusalem. He was in his forties, which might be considered young today; back then, however, it was considered to be getting on up there in years. Furthermore, it's never been proven that he and Sibylla were in love. Balian actually married Maria Comnena who was Sibylla's stepmother. That made Balian the step-father to Sibylla's younger half-sister, Isabella, who would go on to be Queen of Jerusalem after Sibylla.

Sibylla, on the other hand, married Guy de Lusignan AFTER she was crowned Queen.

By-and-large, it was the lives of Balian and Sibylla who were most heavily fictionalized.

All-in-all, though, I thought the acting was great. Orlando Bloom's performances was kinda blah, though.

How am I related to the kings of Jerusalem? Through the Warrens, of course, which you can read more about here.


Timothy Ministries said...

I noticed that you happen to be following my blog, so I took a look at your profile and I see that you're interested in genealogy as well as history and then I saw your post about 'The Kingdom of Heaven.' Given your interests, from a historical perspective, I thought you might be interested in these two items: http://bit.ly/tree-of-jesse http://bit.ly/J6BKU Have a nice day, and thanks for following my blog.

PrettySiren said...

Thanks for the link! I'll take a look at it for sure. =)

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