It's the unmistakable beat of Queen's 1977 anthem "We Will Rock You", filling an arena, as a massive crowd of people do a human wave. The competitors enter the stadium and the crowd goes wild at seeing their favourite sportsperson. The competitors are announced loudly, as a hush falls over the crowd, and the sport begins....
It could be the scene at any modern sporting event, except it's actually in medieval Europe, the sport is actually jousting (and occasionally sword fighting) and Heath Ledger's William Thatcher is the star of the show. It was supposed to be his master Sir Ector, except he's sadly no longer of the mortal realm, or as Roland puts it, he's pooped himself to death (except he didn't use pooped!) William, with the help of his friends Roland, Wat and Geoffrey (Chaucer!) becomes the seeker of serenity, the protector of Italian virginity, the enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only, Sir Ulllrrrich von Lichtenstein.... to prove that you don't need to be noble to be a knight.
While not his most accomplished or memorable performance in his short career, it's a role Heath Ledger is perfect for - a charming, handsome, down-on-his-luck squire who just wants to change his fortunes and be more than what his destiny as a peasant offers him. It's something we can all relate to; the want to change our stars.
A Knight's Tale isn't high art, award-winning or historically accurate, it's just a really fun time. It's got sport, it's got dancing, it's got David Bowie (music, not in-person) and it's got a cast that genuinely had a great time together making this movie.
If anything, this movie just highlights what a brilliant and special young talent Heath Ledger was; it wasn't his first role, but it was his first lead role and his face alone was the focus of a massive marketing campaign for the movie, which ended up being marred by a critic called David Manning. He may sound familiar....
While Heath Ledger undoubtedly went on to star in bigger and better roles in Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, his untimely death aged just 28 is still a dagger to my heart. Just imagine what he could have achieved had he not passed away so young....
Thankfully, we have wonderful performances like this to remember him by.
I would love to hear your thoughts on A Knight's Tale! You can get in touch on
or you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:
verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] com
Thank you to patrons Simon E, Sade, Jardiel, Claudia, Simon B, Laurel, Derek, Jason and Kristin for supporting Verbal Diorama.
My website is at https://verbaldiorama.com
Thanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:
Theme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme Song
Music by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe Facebook
Lyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)
Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
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