33 thoughts on “Stereotypical Medievalisms in The Pillars of the Earth (2010)

  1. Currently in rehearsals for a production of DeKoven’s Robin Hood. Haven’t seen any of the costumes yet, but I have my fears. At least the director has told us that most of the women will have their heads covered, and I’m looking forward to wearing a wimple.

    I just hope the men don’t all wind up in baggy knee breeches, which seems to be the all-purpose period costume in my theater group for anything pre-Victorian regardless of period.

    1. Well, no baggy knee breeches; baggy pajama pants instead, with a couple of pairs of trunk hose and a few pairs of tights.

      And the women’s costumes range from one or two chemises or bilauts with surcoats to a couple of quattrocento Florentine looks through 17th-century Dutch Jan Steen peasant-genre wear and on up to 18th-century Boucher mock-shepherdess looks.

  2. I’m still torn about this series. The novel is one of my absolute favorites of all time (I’ve worn out two paperbacks) and I spent more time being annoyed at the changes to the story than criticizing the costumes. I also thought some of the casting choices were off – both William and Alfred should have been more substantial and hulking. Eddie Redmayne as Jack was perfection.

  3. The only thing I’d actually heard about this series was that Ian McShane was in it(YAY) and a complaint from someone in a knitters’ group that in a scene where soldiers burn a village, some “wool” proves suspiciously flammable.

  4. I have a question: why is Saree fabric so widely used?
    (I did Hindu dance for 5 years, so I know why Sarres are awesome on their own, but it seems like you all keep spotting the fabric being built into costumes, and I was wondering why it was popular.)

    1. I suspect budget. You can get faux exotic ancient look way cheaper with Saree materials especially synthetic ones, than with authentic reproduction fabrics and embellishments. There are now companies in India the specialize in fake historical armor for costumes that are way cheaper than real stuff. Hell, I go to the local Saree shops when I need silkish looking stuff for less than $10/m.

  5. I liked the acting, liked the story, just really didn’t think too much about the costumes. I guess now that “Agent Carter” has been axed, Hayley Atwell can go back to the princess game. *sigh* loved Agent Carter.

    1. The acting basically made me forget all about the costumes, so that’s saying a lot. I figure if you’re going to skimp on costumes, at least throw all of the money at the talent.

  6. Of the costumes in this, I wanted the Empress’. Maud was actually named as Henry I’s heir, nobles sworn to upheld it. Henry then ‘joined the choir angelic’ and the nobles recanted and produced Stephen, a nephew.

    1. Me too! We have “Cadfael”, but not much else (that’s quality, at any rate). Oh, and “Galavant”, but that’s obviously taking the piss out of reenactors as much as it is the actual middle ages.

  7. I tried watching “Galavant,” but it was too awful. Another groaner that was on the tube recently was “Your Highness,” which was a medieval fantasy which dragged in some good British actors (Charles Dance, to name one) to support some American TV people.

    1. I haven’t watched “Galavant” yet, but Trystan did cover it a while back (I’m on mobile so no linky) and enjoyed it. What I’ve seen of it looks like silly fun and, like I said, taking the piss out of reenactors. It’s got a lot of fans in my SCA group, probably because it resembles SCA events more than anything else. I don’t expect much from a show like that in terms of accuracy (like the SCA–it is what it is, just have fun with whatever level of accuracy you want). I think Trystan liked it because it scratches both of her itches for musicals and silly medieval nonsense. ;)

      I haven’t heard of “Your Majesty”, though. I should check it out! I love/hate train wreck shows.

  8. I don’t know what bothers me more about Maude’s dream armor, the gold lame or the fact the spiral lacing throws of the bottom hem. It looks like its off by half an inch.

  9. Ugh, I actively hated the second part (that one with Natalie Wörner and this creepy clergyman). It has got all the stereotypes: a lusty catholic clergyman who pursuits the “modern medieval woman”, and who, after failing in raping her, decides to burn her at the stake. So. Not. Historically. Correct. Nothing in this storyline is actually correct. Also, two women travel to France to meet the king who is at war, and they actually meet him and he is like: “Well sure, I got time for your shit”. Nope. As I said, hated it.

    1. I believe that you are getting confused with “World without end”, from the same author. Now, that adaptation is pure hell.

  10. The gold lamé is probably supposed to approximate cloth-of-gold. They’re made similarly, but cloth-of-gold is made with real gold, not a synthetic substitute. Using real cloth-of-gold would probably have blown the budget and it’s not particularly easy to find, either.

  11. Why is the Empress Maud about twelve years old? Why is she wearing tie-dye in the last image?

  12. About Aliena’s cleavage; she is always described with big brests in the books, since when she is fifteen.

  13. I have seen girls with sizeable bosoms beginning pretty early. My second wife, for one, was already well along when she was 12. When I first met her, she was 14/15 and already fully developed. She had also developed a mean left hook from guys grabbing at her.

  14. Is there a chance you can do a MCM for amber-eyed David Oakes? He’s got a few historical FrockFlicks under his belt, I believe.

  15. What about the steam game Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth? I came here because I played it and I just love the graphics including all the character variation and costumes.

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