The things we do for love

The things we do for love

At UnHerd, writing in favour of arranged marriages.

One small illustration of the social values of the age comes via a poem celebrating William Marshal, a tournament star and member of Eleanor’s entourage. Marshal went on to serve four kings and helped save Magna Carta, becoming the epitome of medieval chivalry and also providing the inspiration for A Knight’s Tale and Ser Barristan the Bold in Game of Thrones.

Following Marshal’s death, his five sons commissioned a biographical poem to glorify their father, filled with his derring-do as loyal knight and all-round hero; it contains a passage that to modern eyes seems curious. On the road one day, our brave knight came across a young couple who had eloped because they were in love, but their families disapproved. Marshal, the poem boasts, simply robbed them at the point of the sword and, the reader is supposed to see, rightly so.

 This episode says much about popular attitudes at the time, when — like in most societies — marrying against your parent’s wishes put you beyond the pale. Marshal’s own wife, Isabel de Clare, had been awarded to him as a reward for his service to Henry II, when Marshal was 43 and his bride 17. Did she want to marry him? No one cared.

Read it all there…

Eleanor of Aquitaine

For more Game of Thrones-related historical fun, click here.



What do you think?