Ivanhoe Read-Along: That’s a Wrap!

Ivanhoe

This is the final recap for the Ivanhoe read-along!  This week, we read chapters 39 – 44, but if you’re a little behind, that’s OK!  I’ll be posting the review tomorrow, and I’ll mark any spoilers.  The previous weeks’ recaps are below:

In 1825, a banking crisis in the UK caused the Ballantyne printing business to collapse.  Sir Walter Scott was the only partner with a financial interest and the company’s debts of £130,000 caused his very public ruin.  Rather than declare himself bankrupt or accept any kind of financial support (he even turned down help from the king), he placed his house and income in a trust belonging to his creditors, and was determined to write his way out of debt.  Scott was still in debt when he passed away, but his novels continued to sell, and the debts were paid off shortly after his death.

[SPOILERS]  Cedric organises Aethelstane’s funeral at Coningsburgh.  The Black Knight/King Richard arrives with Wamba, quickly followed by Ivanhoe.  King Richard reconciles Cedric with his son and gets him to agree to Ivanhoe and Rowena marrying. Suddenly, Aethelstane appears, not dead, but having been placed in his coffin alive and then held prisoner by some monks who were after the funeral money.  Aethelstane pledges his loyalty to King Richard, demands the death of the monks who held him, and urges Cedric to marry Rowena to Ivanhoe.  Soon after this, Ivanhoe receives word concerning Rebecca. He rushes to fight as her champion against Brian de Bois-Guilbert.  After Ivanhoe is knocked from his horse, the Templar also falls and dies “a victim to the violence of his own contending passions”.  The Grand Master declares this the judgement of God and proof of Rebecca’s innocence. King Richard, who had followed after Ivanhoe, arrives at the Templar Preceptory, banishes the Templars, and declares that the Malvoisins’ have committed treason and will be executed.  The book closes with Rebecca going to bid Rowena farewell since she and her father are leaving England. Ivanhoe and Rowena marry and live a long and happy life together, though the final paragraphs of the book state that Ivanhoe’s long service ended when King Richard died.  [SPOILERS]

Is it just me, or were these final chapters a bit anticlimactic?  I still really enjoyed this book, even the slow parts.  I probably won’t be adding it to my Through the Magic Door list after all, but it’s a book I’m never going to forget, and I’m happy I read it.  You never really know what you’re going to get with classic literature because people’s tastes during the times in which the books were written are often so very different from ours today, and it’s beyond difficult to write a truly timeless book.  On top of that, just because “everyone else” loves it doesn’t mean I will.  In fact, there are at least 3 books I can think of off the top of my head that I absolutely hated but are on all the “Top 100 Books Everyone Must Read” lists.

Did you enjoy the book?  What are your thoughts on the story, characters, setting, etc?  Please mark any spoilers.

3 thoughts on “Ivanhoe Read-Along: That’s a Wrap!

  1. How excited were you that (SPOILERS AHOY) Athelstane wasn’t dead after all?! (SPOILERS END!) Unrealistic as it was, it made me pretty happy.

    Sorry to hear it won’t make your favorites list after all, but I’m sure your next Magic Door pick will arrive soon enough. 🙂

    Thanks for hosting such a great read-along! You really helped encourage me to finish this one out when things got slow.

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