I started reading Ivanhoe with a sense of dread, but it’s been on my to-read list for over 50 years so I was determined to plough through. The first 50 pages were heavy ploughing, indeed. Then I fell love with the story and the language and read the rest swiftly and with great enjoyment.
Aethelstane and his obsession with his next meal was particularly delightful. I saw Jon Stewart as Wamba and Richard McCabe as Gurth and enjoyed every appearance.
Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, the evil King John…a story with these characters is unlikely to go wrong. Wilfred of Ivanhoe was rather a snooze except in his few finest moments, and I was happy that he and Rowena were united at last. Even though Rebecca wanted him, she deserved better.
The Templar knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert was particularly fascinating and I was sorry that he got off on the wrong foot in his attempted seduction of Rebecca. He was the only character who came to fully appreciate her, but alas, the damage had been done. I couldn’t see him as evil so much as tragically flawed and misguided. He had enough substance to have been worthy of a sequel had he not been killed off.
For me, Ivanhoe was a delightful read.