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Thread: The Accursed Kings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default The Accursed Kings

    Anyone read this series of books by Maurice Druon? Often name-checked by GRR Martin as an inspiration for Game of Thrones it's basically the story of the French monarchy in the 14th Century with loads of back-stabbing and plotting and stuff over four or five books (I forget how many precisely). I think that Druon was a historian (and resistance hero) so the basic facts are pretty much true but obviously he's filled in the details and kinda chosen the best version of events. His thesis is that when the Iron King, Philip the Fair broke the power of the Templars, seized their wealth and, finally, burnt Jacques de Molay and others of the leadership alive, de Molay cursed his line (and also the Pope and others involved in the scheme) and this curse - although in the book there is never definitive evidence of an actual curse working - was the reason why Philip himself soon died and his descendants squabbled over the throne, each weaker than the last until finally the Capet line was extinct.
    Actually I've checked there are seven books but the last one was written much later and also is kinda different. But anyway, I was thinking of what someone said in the GoT thread about how Martin couldn't finish his books cos history doesn't finish - but Druon's book is (sorta) real history and yet that does finish. He's picked an arbitrary thing - nominally the Capet kings but actually the books end up being more about Robert d'Artois who is clearly the author's favourite character (he says at much at the end) - and when that thing stops so do the books. Anyway, enough talking to myself, has anyone read them? Any thoughts etc? Ultimately the books are not as deep or ambitious as GoT in that they are more like two or three hundred pages each instead of a thousand but you can see the roots of the later series in it. Also I suppose in things such as I Claudius (Graves) or Constantine (Vidal) but let's start with the Accursed Kings.
    Last edited by IdleRich; 29-04-2019 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default

    Also, the books are kinda noteworthy for being a battle between progressive values or at least modernity - represented by The Iron King who (despite his unfortunate habits of persecuting particular groups and seizing their assets eg Templars, Jews) was in favour of a kind of democracy or at least a meritocracy - and a return to feudal times and 'noble chivalry' (i.e the nobles are fundamentally better people and deserve to rule for this reason) represented by the king's brother (I think it is, or uncle or something) and his faction. This divide kinda carries on through the books, with Robert d'Artois as a kind of evil trickster who moves between every side looking for whichever will give him what he wants (to own the hereditary estate of Artois which he thinks should be his but which somehow devolved to his aunt the equally evil troll Mahaut).

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