22 thoughts on “Getting Medieval on Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth (2012)

  1. I know I watched part of it, but it made little impression. Yes — all the armour would have been mail, not plate. Some small bits of plate were starting to come in, but not much. It was the massacre at Montsegur that led to that often misquoted, “Kill them all: God will know His own.” “Massacre at Montsegur” is one of the better books on the subject. Between 1295 & 1325 was the period that the earliest known (to date) fighting manual was written. Called “The Walpurgis Codex,” it features illustrations of a woman (presumably St Walpurga) fighting with a sword and buckler.

  2. as I’m reading this–I especially take note of the comment about grommets and the 19th century and it brings to mind the Outlander wedding dress–specifically the embroidered stays which did lace up the back beautifully with what looks to be correctly finished lacing holes….but also in the front…with….I believe….metal grommets. I don’t mention it to be snarky–only because I wondered about it at the time since I had read in several different costuming books that metal grommets were not available in the mid 18th century.

    1. The Outlander corset, at least, had what I would term metal lacing rings, rather than grommets. Grommets pierce a hole in the fabric (the hole is accurate, just, it should be sewn around rather than have metal around it). The Outlander stays had separate metal rings sewn down the front. Which isn’t something you see much of, but I feel like I’ve seen it somewhere? Or hell, maybe I was just relieved that it WASN’T grommets!

    1. Yep, you are correct. The so-called Effigy Stays (aka “effigy corset”) that were constructed in the early 17th century for Queen Elizabeth I’s effigy do have a few metal rings surviving in it, ostensibly to reinforces the eyelets.

      But it’s still 400 years out of date for “Labyrinth” to be using anything like it. I don’t know of any need for reinforced eyelets prior to the advent of body-shaping garments like stays/corsets, since there really was no garment that tightly fitted that would require it.

    1. I didn’t notice a lisp, but then again, he didn’t do a whole lot of talking. Just skulking. I still don’t understand why his entire look was based around the concept of never having taken a bath in his life. THE DUDE WAS NOBILITY. THEY BATHED. EVEN IN THE 13TH CENTURY. THE END.

  3. This movie sounds awful, but speaking of the Cathars, have you ever read the Pagan Chronicles + the followup, Babylonne? OMG they are the best books, just the best.

  4. Another thing that bothered me about this show that I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate into this review, since it has nothing to do with costuming, was the fact that Alaïs is pregnant and gives birth to her daughter around the time of the Cathar expulsion from Carcassonne, which was 1209. The plot does not bother to explain how it suddenly fast-forwards about 10 years (1219-ish) so we go from Alaïs being pregnant-but-not-showing to Alaïs having a pre-teen in literally 2 seconds. AND SHE LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME AND IS WEARING THE SAME DRESS, SO MAJOR CONFUSION FOR THE VIEWER ENSUES. I mean, at least give her a bump so we can get the visual connection between pregnant and not pregnant but with a 10 year old child running around.

    That’s not too bad on it’s own, but since I’m the sort of person who gets hung up on dates and whatnot, I noticed in one of the modern scenes where Alice is discovering HER DESTINY and finds a family tree, it shows Alaïs’ birth/death as 1193-1245, insinuating that she died in the mass-slaughter of Cathars at Montségur AT THE AGE OF FIFTY-TWO. Of course in the movie she doesn’t look a day over 25. It’s never explained, but the only thing I can do to reconcile the fact that Alaïs doesn’t age at all in the film is that she became the Grail Keeper or whatever and that gave her immortality. But again, IT’S NOT MENTIONED IN THE FILM. Also, it does nothing to explain how her sister also ends up not aging either. Really annoyed me that hair & makeup didn’t even bother to put in some gray at their temples or SOMETHING to make them appear to have advanced THIRTY YEARS OVER THE COURSE OF THE PLOT TIMELINE.

    And even weirder, her daughter Bertrande is still about 10 years old when the big fight-to-the-death occurs between the sisters. How in the hell can that be explained? She would have been in her thirties at this point! ARRRRGH!

    I just can’t get behind a movie that ignores it’s own plot timeline. Don’t give me dates if you don’t plan to adhere to them. :P

  5. The book on which this series was based was passed around my friends, who had all made snarky notations in the margins (many of them are archaeologists, so the 21st century dig sections got a lot of hate). The game was to get at least as far as the previous person. I have rarely encountered a dumber heroine, or more awful writing. I couldn’t even get halfway through the book – so the terrible plot holes of the show are no surprise.
    Basically, if anyone is thinking of reading the book to see how it compares, DON’T. Its truly, truly terrible.

  6. Why is Simon de Montfort dressed like one of the Knights Templar? Bah. Does he at least get his smashed in by a giant rock?

  7. Will there be more episodes? So upset ATM I watched the only 2 last night after in Maine we lost power for awhile due to a strong storm and some still dont have power!so had tom watch on my cell phone. Come to find out after i got hooked no more episodes an IMDb shows that it isn’t cancelled so please some email me since i want to know if they will ever make more?

  8. The not bathing thing isn’t as far out as all that, Nudity was considered a sin. The phrase, “died in the odour of sanctity” was quite .literal. The only time many of the more were washed naked was birth and death.

    1. Not so. Actually medieval people loved bathing in a hot tub, and did as much of it as they could. Not many people below noble rank had the space for a whacking big coopered wooden bathtub and could afford fires big enough to heat enough water to fill it on a regular basis; but every town had public bathhouses where you could pay for a hot soak. And people had no problem with mixed nude bathing; in noble households a guest might be invited to take a bath alongside the host and/or hostess, with musicians and pages with trays of snacks in attendance

      The only people who refrained from bathing were the austerer monastic orders, who felt that it was so enjoyable it counted as a fleshly indulgence.

  9. hmmmm. maybe they got their costumes from an SCA yardsale? You know, the clothing the newbs made to have that “attempt” at pre 17th century garb and then got rid of once they learned how to garb better?

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