Spoiler Alert: Watch *Jack the Giant Slayer* before Reading

Гравюры по рисункам Крейна к сказкам «Синяя Бо...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The history of England is shrouded in legend.  Sure, we know many truths and facts about the Tudors, the Plantagenets, William the Conqueror, even Alfred the Great; but going back further, to Arthur, the fog becomes thicker.  Was there even a real Arthur?  Probably.  But are we to believe all those stories about Launcelot, Guinevere, Galahad, Gawain, and the Green Knight–who rode away headless, by the way, after challenging Gawain to lop off his head?  And what are we to make of Morgana Le Fay, eh?

So too with the Anglican Church.  There are reports of bishops from England attending the earliest ecumenical councils, centuries before the pope sent Augustine over to Christianize the island.  Patrick, too, the saint we attribute to so many things Irish, was actually from England, the son of a deacon of an extant church when he was kidnapped by Irish pirates.  Point is, the church was there already.

How it arrived no one can say for sure.  One of my favorite legends credits Joseph of Arimathea, that guy in the Bible who supplied the tomb for Jesus.  Legend tells that he was a wealthy merchant of tin; and the only place in the world where there were tin mines in Jesus’s day was, yep, England.

One more: George is England’s patron saint.  This is the saint who killed a ravaging dragon and thereby saved a good kingdom from certain destruction.  Beyond this we know little.  But a dragon?  The stuff of legend.

The recent movie Jack the Giant Slayer suits this land and church of the Angles wonderfully.  “Fee, fie, foe, fum, ask not whence the thunder comes,” a storyteller’s voice begins; and immidiately I’m thinking, “That isn’t the way it goes.  It’s, ‘I smell the blood of an Englishman.'”  But it’s intentional.  It’s all part of the fun.

The viewer then watches the story of Jack and the Beanstalk unfold, though not exactly the way the story comes to us in nursery rhyme.  There is Jack, sure.  But he lives with his uncle, not his mother.  He doesn’t foolishly sell a horse for beans either; he is actually more burglarized.  Of course the beans have a backstory, which we viewers learn, involving a crown too, once fashioned and worn by an ancient king named Eric, who used the crown to gain authority over a race of giants now ravaging the land.  Of course some bad guy with worse intentions gets a hold of the crown and uses it to his advantage–and everyone else’s disadvantage.  Also, there wasn’t just one giant with a goose that laid golden eggs either, but a whole race of them living between earth and heaven.  They’d once bridged a way to earth, in fact, where they’d got a taste for human flesh, something akin to crack for them apparently, for they’d since longed to get back and feast gluttonously on humanity (and are probably still longing to do so today, we learn near the flick’s end).

The best part comes at the end, when with cutting-edge visual effectiveness we time-lapse to modern-day London, realizing that through it all the giant-controlling crown is still in existence, though disguised through many centuries of royalty, many of whom have added their own ornate details to the diadem, generation upon generation, until, yep, there it sits today, in the Tower of London, along with the royal jewels.  Ha!  That punchline alone was worth the $1.20 I paid to rent this at Redbox.  Plus tax!

Anyway, this entertaining flick aligns well with the similarly entertaining histories of both the land and church of the Angles.

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