Looked what I found at a recent book sale. As the movie of the same name is one of those constants in my life this book screamed that it needed rehoming. $1. BARGAIN.
I was never a fan of Mad Max – ooops, Mad Mel – when he was young man. Blame my mother who instilled in my sister and I to “never trust a good looking man”, as well as to “always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus”. Mel Gibson in middle age wore his wrinkles and crags well. I adored him in this one, The Patriot, and We Were Soldiers Once, in which he always played the tough guy, the strong guy with vulnerability, the bloke that could always do with a hug no matter how scary on the battlefield.
James Mackay has researched long and hard to discover the truth behind the legend of William Wallace, and openly admits to a lot of grey areas. This is not an easy read and I resorted to pen and paper to create a mud map to keep track of who was who in the zoo. Not surprising since the days of Wallace date back to the latter half of the 1200’s. In those days they shed Kings and Queens like Australia sheds Prime Ministers.
Who was William Wallace? Wallace was the medieval Scottish patriot who was spurred into revolt against the English when the love of his life was slaughtered. Leading his army into battles that become a war, his advance into England threatened King Edward I’s throne before he was captured and executed, but not before becoming a symbol for a free Scotland.
Much of Mackay’s research starts with the storytelling of Blind Harry, though not that much appears to be known about him either. Blind Harry (c. 1440 – 1492), was also known as Harry, Hary or Henry the Minstrel, and is the author of The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace, more commonly known as The Wallace. This was a lengthy poem recounting the life of William Wallace, written around 1477, 172 years after Wallace’s death. Historians have in more recent years deemed many of the battles mentioned as inaccurate.
Historians aren’t much fun, are they?
After wading through this book, Post It Notes inserted all over the place, I watched the Special addition Braveheart which includes Mel Gibson’s commentary from start to finish. Gibson was Director as well as the actor playing Wallace, and does not hesitate to discuss inaccurate historical references that were utilised for the benefit of cinematic retelling. With Gibson’s chat along with the storyline you look through different eyes and see so many different things within the movie. The use of mechanical horses, for instance, was fascinating as were the descendants of the Wallace Clan used as extras in battle scenes who required no embellishment by way of makeup.
Never seen Braveheart? You been too busy playing with Unicorns? Add it to your Holiday Play List.
I continue to argue that this is the most romantic movie of all time, and the accompanying soundtrack is damn fine too.
ADD TO BUCKET LIST : William Wallace Monument at Stirling, Scotland.