Monday, August 9, 2010
Enter the Villian
For every good amazing hero, there needs to be a villain to match him. For Wallace, Edward Longshanks fit that bill.
He was Edward I, king of England and he was as ruthless as they came. He got his nickname because he was very tall, 6' 2" in height. We know this because historians opened his coffin and looked at him. However when they went t close it back up, they noticed one of his fingers was missing. They think one of the people stole it. He was also said to have had one drooping eyelid. No one knows weather it was from a stroke, or because he was poisoned when a young man on a crusade. (Unfortunately, he was saved in time and lived to torment Scotland and other places.)
He was a powerful man. You can't deny it. He loved to joust and was a frequenter of tournaments, where he sustained wounds. The people of England thought him brave and probably almost invincible. You did not want to cross him. He was not a man to let things go, and one slightly whispered word against him, and you could find yourself on the gallows or worse.
That was why when William Wallace stared his campaign, Longshanks really didn't think much of it. When Wallace's peasant army won against England's might at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, that was another story. Longshanks knew then who he was dealing with and decided it best if he got rid of Wallace all together. He understood the Scots' attachment to him and knew that, without a leader the caliber of Wallace, they would not be able to stand.
A interesting thing I have always thought about Edward was that he, apparently really did love his first wife. He made her monuments all over London after she died and you can still see them today. A lot of people try to let him off easy and say that he was only the ruthless evil tyrant we see in history because of his wife's death, but it is historically proven that he was always nasty, even when he was a teenager. So there.
Unfortunately, Longshanks did not live long enough to see Scotland freed by Wallace's predecessor, Robert the Bruce, but he died a lonely man. Ill, old, and unloved, rotting will malice and disease. Yes, I am cruel, but Longshanks really deserves it!
But for all his faults, I have to admit that anyone less would not have been worthy to fight against William Wallace, and though he got his way, I think he would be completely disgusted to see that Scotland is still very much a nation today after he tried so hard to destroy it and thought he very well would succeed.
I will be back later this week with more Wallace's posts so please keep checking back! And any comments, questions or stories about William I would be happy to hear!