Because I can never leave well enough alone, I’ve been doing a little more digging into the character of Heahmund that was introduced in the season finale of Vikings, as well as looking into this new History Channel series Knightfall that came to my attention. It would seem that if I’d watch commercials or be willing to submit to the greater marketing blitz, I’d have known about these things sooner, but where would the fun in that be? I hate being mentally bludgeoned by a bunch of crap I don’t care about just to find that one nugget of gold that surface on its own accord.
It’s my opinion at this point that the two shows are not related after all, having discovered that Knightfall is not produced by the same team that gave us Vikings. Even so, the synergy is there since, as I stated last time, Heahmund looks to be a warrior-monk type, or proto-Templar. But since we’re talking two different shows from two different creative teams, I’m going to guess that the inscription-bearing sword carried by Heahmund will, in fact, not make an appearance later on Knightfall.
There’s not a lot to be learned regarding the historical Heahmund, which is no surprise given the era in which he lived. That doesn’t stop a series like Vikings, however. The more vague or legendary something is, the easier it is to tweak it to dramatic purposes without destroying the history completely. :P Essentially, Heahmund was a Bishop of Sherbonne, or what we know now as Salisbury, appointed 867-868 and (*spoiler alert*) died in March 871 at the Battle of Marton against — you guessed it — Vikings. So I guess we know how season 5 will go now. lol. This puts a fine point on it for me: I knew of the Battle of Marton because I read up on the legend of Ragnar Lodbrok a while back. One of the Viking kings that claimed to be his son led that charge. No mention of Heahmund to be had anywhere in that account that I recall. If he’s in there, it was a mere footnote. Even so, the idea of the character being introduced into this series is still cool to me.
Knightfall is going to operate in equally legendary territory. On Friday, October 13, 1307, the Templars were executed en masse on trumped up charges of blasphemy, treason, and various other crimes so that King Philip IV of France (“the Fair”) wouldn’t have to pay his debts to them. This is where the modern superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th come from (which did not exist in modern culture before the 19th century), the reality behind the lore being far nastier than anything Jason Voorhees could dish out. Knightfall looks to start with the days just before that fateful day and possibly continue on, chronicling a Templar on a quest to recover the Holy Grail.
Looks sharp, doesn’t it?
Did you catch the references to the Holy Grail? Of course you did. What’s a good Templar story without some legendary Biblical artifact, right? Turns out, one of the lead characters is named Parsifal. The story of Parsifal (or Percival or Perceval) is, of course, chronicled by Chrétien de Troyes in his romance Le Conte du Graal (Perceval, The Story of the Grail), which though unfinished, was heavily expanded upon by later authors in Four Continuations. Chrétien’s version of the story features the first appearance of the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. And now we’re getting into territory where that idea of an Arthurian blog project would be a good idea if there were enough hours in the day, so I’ll just leave it at that, except to say the tale was written in the same time as the Templars rise in power.
Suffice it to say, the series looks extremely interesting to me. Hopefully it’ll be quality enough to warrant going past the initial 10 episodes. There’s no premiere date yet, but I’ll be keeping my eyes on it.