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Richard the Lionheart

Posted on 2007.05.01 at 09:42
This comes from a conversation I had with ennorwen  about the wonderful movie "The Lion in Winter." Of course there is the incomparable first version with Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. We were discussing the remake with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close because Jonathyn Rhys Meyers played the French king Philip.  There is the revelation that Henry's son Richard, one of the contenders for the throne and his parents' affection,  had an affair with King Philip - which Philip uses to his advantage in the ensuing power struggle. Silly me. All these years I had thought this was a device on the part of the author James Goldman to add even more intrigue. (This movie has so many machinations, revelations, and reversals in everyone's power struggle. It's brilliant.)  I did not know the affair was based on actual historical evidence. However, ennorwen put me to rights and I did a little research. Yep, apparently Richard the Lionheart was in fact gay and probably did have an amorous relationship with King Philip of France, among others, including a minstrel named Blondel. There is a legend that when Richard was captured by the King of Austria, Blondel discovered his location in the castle by singing part of a love song they had composed together.  Richard sang the refrain and so was found.  If that isn't completely slashy, I don't know what is. The reference to Richard's relationship with Philip is here 
Also found another interesting article in "Out in the Mountains" that includes information about Lawrence of Arabia - also apparently gay. here

Kinda puts a different spin on all those Robin Hood movies I saw as a kid.  *g*


capella_fic at 2007-05-01 18:14 (UTC) (Link)
Heh. It's amazing what you find when you start digging around, isn't it? The quotes about Richard being wowed by his passion with Philip is actually rather sweet. But Honey, you didn't know Lawrence of Arabia was gay??? Where've you been all this time?

The gem I found yesterday while researching the final section of my epic was a Michelangelo anecdote that had SOMEHOW passed me by until now:

Re the Apollo Belvedere, in the Vatican Museums:

"The incomparable Apollo Belvedere (a late Roman reproduction of an authentic Greek work from the 4th century B.C.) has become the symbol of classic male beauty, rivaling Michelangelo's David. Some members of the Vatican staff once discovered Michelangelo in front of the Belvedere Apollo "publicly aroused in defilement." He was caned and shamed accordingly and had to promise to "create something grand" to compensate for his "shocking" behavior."

Poor guy. No wonder he got all hung up on his worthlessness before god, etc, later on. But really. A statue? In public??
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-01 19:08 (UTC) (Link)
Where've I been? LOL!!! Lost in the land of the innocents, obviously. No, I had no idea. And I note there isn't the slightest mention of it in the 1960s film that won an Academy award. I guess once again we've been "protected" from reality by homophobic revisionist history. What a shame.

I had no idea about Richard the Lionheart either. Ah well, neither of them were exactly lovely fellows - both responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. I'd rather idolize Leonardo.

And your quote is priceless. I mean worshiping art is one thing . . . LOL.
talullahred at 2007-05-01 18:55 (UTC) (Link)
Eheh, I have to say that I have a dirtier mind than yours and took it for real. I'm looking forward to the newer movie... JRM is always a treat, or morbo encarnate for the Spanish girls. Also Lawrence of Arabia... I'm surprised it took me 20 something years to discover slash.

I read a bit about Richard Lionheart but the part about the song is new to me. That's highly resemblant of Fingon/Maddy. As I see it, Tolkien was leaving bread crumbs for us of historic inspiration. Well, not, but let me dream. ;)
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-01 19:13 (UTC) (Link)
Hi Tal,
Good to hear from you! Yeah, I don't know why I never took it seriously. I first saw it a long time ago and well . . . I had no idea about anything. Yeah, Fingon/Maedhros occurred to me too when I read that. I expect the Blondel/Lionheart story is fiction, probably based on some older story - same roots JRR was tapping into. But who knows. Bread crumbs, heh, heh.
heartofoshun at 2007-05-01 21:16 (UTC) (Link)
That for the fun stories and interesting references. It is true that I am on a true obsessive tear these days, cranking out Fingon/Maedhros stories, so, of course, the reference to Blondel/Lionheart story reminded me of them. I have been saying for some time that JRRT ought to have realized what he was writing when he wrote that whole scenario. Good grief! He had the same cultural references that I had and I had no doubt about that couple the first time I read The Silmarillion. But mentioning that a couple of times here and there in certain fandom circles has gotten me swamped with outraged protests. Oh, well. Whatever. I stick to my original point that sex has not changed over the last couple of thousand years, only the way it is talked/written about. And if Tolkien didn’t intend to set up such a lovely relationship between Fingon and Maedhros, he really ought to have noticed how it might look to others. And, yeah, right, sure, all of those guys were sleeping together and just cuddling…
heartofoshun at 2007-05-01 21:18 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry about the typos above--I meant "thanks" for the references.
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-01 22:37 (UTC) (Link)
Hi there! Glad to have you pop by. Well, you're right the Fingon/Maedhros story is very slashy, but I doubt Tolkien meant it to be more than showing Fingon's valor and devotion. But different interpretations is the beauty of fanfic. Glad you're having a good time with it. I first read the Silm (finally) about a year ago and that one struck me as great pairing. The other one I'd love to go for someday is Beleg/Turin, but it would be so tragic, don't know if I can. Anyway, I notice you've friended me. Will friend you back.
(Love your icon.)
heartofoshun at 2007-05-02 16:31 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for friending me. No doubt you are right about Tolkien, but Fingon and Maedhros are lovely, just the way he wrote them. I have two favorite Beleg/Túrin fics (one funny: Tehta's "Beleg's Doom;" and another serious: Raihon's "Beleg and Túrin." But IMO there is always room for more! I found the icon online, without credit. Like yours too.
ennorwen at 2007-05-01 21:24 (UTC) (Link)

Isn't is just juicy...

when an offhand comment or discussion sends you into a whole different/new world of discovery? I love it! As to other gay British Kings and Queens - of course there was Edward II, but also, it is generally understood, William II (Rufus the Red, William the Conqueror's son) - and there have been rumors for years about Queen Anne's ah, erm, "close friendship" with Lady Churchill. I have just asked for (and hubby says I will receive, books re: the sex lives of various, composers, royals and infamously "gay" historical figures for my Bday) - I'll let you know what other juicy tidbits I discover -

elfscribe5 at 2007-05-01 22:53 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Isn't is just juicy...

Hey sweetheart,
yeah, I blame you completely for this latest foray into history. Juicy indeed. The stuff you (normally) never read in books or see in movies. Your husband sounds like a most understanding sort. By all means, share what you find out.
And yes, will send info soon. Need to send you another email. (I've been busy - get this - writing!!!)Oh and reading about Richard Coeur de Lion cackles.
ennorwen at 2007-05-01 22:41 (UTC) (Link)


I still need your addy/etc....thanks.
amalc at 2007-05-04 15:21 (UTC) (Link)
You've never heard the rumors that RtLH was gay? I heard this years ago. In fact, I once read an historical romance (I can't remember either the title or the author) in which a young girl masquerades as a boy and goes off on Richard's train to the Crusades. Of course she(he) attracts the attention of the King who then tries to seduce her(him). When he finds out she is a girl and not a boy he is royally pissed off! LOL! This book also mentioned the fact that Richard and his cousin the King of France were lovers. The fact that Richard married a lady called Berengaria and then promptly abandoned her in Sicily or some such place didn't help his reputation any either. The amazing thing about RtLH is that he only reigned for 10 years (and most of those he was away from Britain) and his brother John (of Magna Carta fame) and who has had a very bad press down through the ages, reigned for 17 years.

This period of English history is fascinating. I have always loved it.
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-04 22:38 (UTC) (Link)
No, hadn't heard that. Guess I'm the last to know. LOL. The historical romance sounds fun - a different twist on the girl dresses as a boy theme, for sure. Yeah poor Berengaria. I gather Richard's mom, Eleanor arranged it and it doesn't appear that it was ever consummated and poor Bergengaria had to petition the Pope for spousal recognition after Richard died. I do think it would make a great novel, the whole thing. But I don't think Richard would come off very well, especially after massacring all those Muslims. Fascinating indeed. And why are we still so freaked by gays that this part of the story gets covered up? Society's got some evolving to do, clearly.
Later dear.
lenine2 at 2007-05-04 22:56 (UTC) (Link)
Hello! I used to have that book! I think it was called The Shield of the Three Lions or something similar. I may still have it somewhere in my bookpile. I felt such sympathy for that poor naive girl and her elaborate disguise.
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-05 06:39 (UTC) (Link)
Hi there,
Interesting that you have the book. Do you remember if it was worth reading? Was Richard treated sympathetically? I guess everything's been written about by someone.
lenine2 at 2007-05-05 06:59 (UTC) (Link)
Here it is. I read it nearly 20 years ago and now want to read it again to see if I have a different perspective. (I found it in my cavern of books!) Richard is dealt with from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl who hero-worships him, and doesn't really understand all of his complexities. He doesn't show up in the book until about half way through. I remember sympathizing with the girl's adoration of him, while knowing that he thought she was a boy, and dreading the moment of truth. I felt sorry for both of them. He comes across as a tormented, very human man in the story.
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-06 18:35 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the link lenine. Looks interesting.
amalc at 2007-05-07 13:30 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, how amazing that you remember and have that book. Yes I read it almost 20 years ago too. I particularly remember the fact that she stuffs a twig (or something of that nature) down her trousers to keep up the pretense of being a boy. And you so feel for her when Richard is outraged (instead of being pleasantly surprised) when he finds the false cock as he is trying to seduce what he believes is a very pretty young boy! ROFL. I can't remember much else about the book but may read again. Thanks for finding it.
PS - Finding out Richard may have been gay only makes him more fascinating in my eyes.......
elfscribe5 at 2007-05-07 16:47 (UTC) (Link)
You remember this book too? And I loved that she stuffed a twig down her pants. LOL. Seems like maybe a sausage would have been better to catch Richard's attention. Though she should have known something was up with him if he was interested in her because he thought she was a boy. How completely embarrassing that whole scene must have been - for everyone. Sounds like an interesting book. It got good reviews on Amazon. (chants to self - must not buy any more books.)
amalc at 2007-05-07 17:07 (UTC) (Link)
If I remember the book correctly, precisely because she is so incredibly innocent and naive, she doesn't realize what his tendencies are even though she is madly in love with him - in fact, I doubt she even realizes men can and do, love other men and for this reason she thinks he is going to be very agreeably surprised when he finds out she is a girl. ROFL - what a surprise she got. I can't remember the end of the book though - I suppose she must have found another love interest; it is a romance after all.
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