Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom)
He gives life to an unfortunate french blacksmith, the illegitimate son of a nobleman from whom he inherits his land in Jerusalem, where he will become leader and defender of the Holy City. In the film, many details of Balian’s past are not offered, although in the extended version he says that he has fought with what certain military aptitudes would be supposed to him, although from there to having the training required for combat it would be like an amateur soccer player from a Singles against married people match end up playing in a professional team of first level for family or economic interests, would not be up to the task, knowing how to read, write and notions of trigonometry would rather be a license.
Historically, Balian’s character is quite distorted since he was actually born in the Holy Land and inherited the barony of his brother Baldwin, was married to Maria Conmena, widow of King Almarico and stepmother of Baldwin IV and Sybilla also, at the time of the film it would be almost fifty; it is not true that he did not participate in the battle of Hattin since it was along with Raymond of Tripoli the only ones who managed to break the Muslim siege and escape the massacre; it is true that Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin but then he moved to Tripoli with his family where King Richard of England granted him the manor of Caymont.
Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson)
Knight of noble birth that when deprived of legitimate descent goes in search of Balian, his bastard son to bequeath his possessions and continue his work as protector and advisor to King Baldwin IV. This character is fictional but is partially inspired by William of Tyre.
“Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth, always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless, and do no wrong. That is your oath. And that’s so you remember it”.
Hospital Knight (David Thewlis)
Faithful companion of Godfrey , accompanies and advises Balian on his adventure and remains faithful to his principles even knowing that they will lead him to certain death. Another fictional but extremely interesting and charismatic character, in the extended version it is sometimes shown as an angel of the guardian of Balian who shows him the way.
“I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of God. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. And goodness – what God desires – is here [points to Balian’s head] and here [points to Balian’s heart] and by what you decide to do every day you will be a good man…or not.”
The good guys:
Tiberias (Jeremy Irons)
Chief advisor of King Baldwuin and commander of the army of Jersulén. Promotes peaceful coexistence between Saracens and Christians. It is based on Raymond III of Tripoli, lord of Tiberias and regent of the crown after the death of Baldwin IV. The change of name in the film does not receive any explanation although it is presented as lord of Tiberias, although it is said, the screenwriter decided the change to avoid confusion with the name of Reinaldo but his dispute with Guido and the latter. In reality Rayford of Tripoli fell out of favor after the defeat of the hattin horns and died a few months later on shot.
Sibilla (Eva Green)
Sister of King Baldwuin and wife of Guy de Lusignan, who inherits the throne after the death of Baldwin IV. Sybilla the extended version includes the character of his son Baldwin, who inherited the throne at the death of his uncle as Baldwin V but who died a year later due to his poor health (what they say in the extended version is more dramatic) of so Lusignan’s guy is crowned king for being Sybilla’s husband who inherits the crown. He is at the center of the political game, being aware that the destiny of the kingdom will depend on his decisions and actions (in relation he put himself on Guy’s side). He falls madly in love with Balian when he sees in him a man of integrity who does not ambition wealth or is influenced by the greed that surrounds them. She is presented as a tortured and unhappy woman who finally renounces to be queen to return with Balian to France. In real life Saladin allowed Sybilla to remain with her husband during his captivity until his release. He died in 1190
Baldwin IV (Edward Norton):
King of Jerusalem, defender of peace and harmony with Muslims. He reigned from 1174 to 1185, died with just 24 years quite affected by leprosy since he was practically blind and had serious damage to his face, arms and legs. In the film he is represented quite faithfully both for his convictions and for his good work, although the masks are an artifice, so that it is the last bulwark of that idea of a new and compassionate world in which tolerance prevails and He respects it so that he affirms «I am Jerusalem.»
“A King may move a man, a father may claim a son. That man can also move himself. And only then does that man truly begin his own game. Remember that howsoever you are played, or by whom, your soul is in your keeping alone. Even though those who presume to play you be kings or men of power. When you stand before God, you cannot say “but I was told by others to do thus” or that “virtue was not convenient at the time.” This will not suffice. Remember that”
Saladin (Ghassan Massoud)
He is presented to us like a pious, chivalrous and religious Saladin, strict and fair but not extremist, a man of war that is respectful and legal with the agreements previously adopted. A pragmatic man who does not blind the conscious fanaticism that the prosperity and welfare of his people are not born from Allah, but from the ability that men like him can have to create a framework of mutual respect and tolerance for other people and other religions . It is not shown that he promoted jihad or holy war as the main pillar of his policy to legitimize his leadership and that although he forgave the life of the population of Jerusalem, compared to the taking of 1099 this was almost bloodless although its inhabitants had to pay a substantial ransom and many were enslaved.
The bad guys:
Guy of Lusignan (Marton Csokas)
He is one of the characters that best reflected, although in his defense it should be said that in the battle of the horns of Hattin it was not him, but his uncle Gerad de Ridefort, Templar Grand Master who wanted to go out to meet Saladin due to a dispute he had with Rayford of Tripoli as he believed that the Christian army should not move away from its base and attack Saladin from the front would be suicide but since four years before he had refused to confront Saladin he did not want to be branded a coward. It is true that he was captured after the battle but was not donkey strolled with, he wasn´t a Templar knight.
Raynald of Châtillon (Brendan Gleeson)
Commander of the Knights Templar and lord of Kerac. His provocative and belligerent attitude is the trigger for the start of a war against Saladin. It is true that the act of attacking a caravan in which the Saladin ‘s sister traveled triggered the war that would end the seizure of Jerusalem but it is not true that he was a Templar knight. His death at the hands of Saladin as seen in the film is quite similar to how it is narrated in the chronicles.
“I am what I am. Someone has to be”
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