Ivanhoe Read-Along: Week 3 Recap

Ivanhoe

Today ends week three of the Ivanhoe read-along, and we’re now at the halfway point.  We’ve read chapters 17 – 25, but if you’re a little behind, that’s OK!  I’ll mark any spoilers so you can come back after you’re caught up, and the previous weeks’ recaps are here and here.  Below is the chapter breakdown:

  • Mon. 24th Nov. – Sun. 30th Nov.: Chapters 1 – 7
  • Mon. 1st Dec. – Sun. 7th Dec.: Chapters 8 – 16
  • Mon. 8th Dec. – Sun. 14th Dec.: Chapters 17 – 25
  • Mon. 15th Dec. – Sun. 21st Dec.: Chapters 26 – 31
  • Mon. 22nd Dec. – Sun. 28th Dec.: Chapters 32 – 38
  • Mon. 29th Dec. – Sun. 4th Jan.: Chapters 39 – 44

It turns out that most of the popular conception of Robin Hood actually comes from Ivanhoe.  Sir Walter Scott supposedly took the name “Locksley” from an anonymous manuscript written in 1600 that used the name as an epithet for Robin Hood. The name has been used to refer to Robin Hood ever since.  Also, Robin’s familiar feat of splitting his competitor’s arrow in an archery contest comes directly from Ivanhoe.  However, Scott shunned the late 16th century depiction of Robin Hood as a dispossessed nobleman. This didn’t prevent Scott’s contribution to the legend though, since many of the films about Robin Hood, including the parody “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”, give him traits that come from Ivanhoe.

[SPOILERS]  This week’s chapters have us jumping around a bit from one place to another in order to keep up with all of the characters.  The story progression has slowed a little, but I think it will be picking back up again over the next week’s chapters.  Maurice de Bracy and his men take Cedric, Lady Rowena, Isaac of York and his daughter, along with several others, hostage.  They’re all locked up in various rooms of Front-de-Boeuf’s castle, but not before Wamba and Gurth escape and then run into Locksley, who gathers up his men, including the friar of Copmanhurst, to rescue the captives. The Black Knight joins Locksley and his men, and they all besiege the castle.  Scene by scene we find out what is happening with the captives: Lady Rowena refuses de Bracy’s marriage proposal and he threatens to kill Ivanhoe and Cedric, Rebecca threatens suicide rather than give herself to the Templar, and Isaac refuses to pay for his freedom when he finds out what the Templar plans to do to Rebecca.  Each interaction is interrupted by the sound of a horn.  We find out that it’s a messenger notifying Front-de-Boeuf, de Bracy and the Templar that Locksley and his men are there demanding the captives be let go.  They send the messenger back to tell Locksley and company to send a confessor for the captives who will be executed.[SPOILERS]

I now have two characters that I love to hate.  I already didn’t like de Bracy from last week’s chapters, but now I also despise the Templar.  The only thing I’m finding a bit confusing is that it seems the one character who’s name is the title of the book doesn’t seem to be a central character.  I’m curious to find out when he’s going to come back into the picture.  When I planned the chapter breakdown I had no idea that this week would end on a bit of a cliffhanger!  I really wanted to continue reading, even more so than the previous two weeks.

How are you enjoying the book so far?  What are your thoughts on the story, characters, setting, etc?  Please mark any spoilers.

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