The Kingdom of Heaven
Essay title: The Kingdom of Heaven
The Kingdom of Heaven
The plot of this movie can be very well defined as a romantic quest for what is right and just in the world at that time. The film starts off in the early 12th century with a blacksmith called Balian of Ibelin (who is actually an artificier, or military engineer) that has just lost his wife to suicide and is given the chance to go to the Holy Land to seek forgiveness for her sin by his long lost father Godfrey of Ibelin. This becomes his secondary goal upon arriving in Jerusalem because soon after the start of their journey, Balians father dies and passes on his legacy to Balian making him the new Baron of Ibelin. With the title comes the duty of defending Jerusalem in the name of the king and at the same time being the best knight he can be. He battles not only the Islamic leader Saladin, but also those in the same court (Guy of Lusignan and Reynald of Chatillon), as well as himself while trying to hold on to a secret love the whole time; the love of Princess Sibylla.

What you will find out soon enough is that although the plot seems enticing and the very thought of it is enough to get us all riled up, the majority of the movie has been sort of bent and forged to suit the appetite of the audience that the director was trying to reach. There is still a lot of historical evidence within the film but, not all of it is correct.

I would like to begin with the use of characters and why some of them were changed or made up. After reading through many articles, it became very clear to me that a few of the characters in the film were fictionalized versions of actual historical figures. For instance, the character Tiberias in the movie was actually meant to portray a man named Raymond III of Tripoli. The reason he was called Tiberias in the movie was simply because he was the Lord of Tiberias and perhaps the film makers thought that it sounded better to use that name instead of what he was really called. The other is a character by the name of Nasir, who is a made up character that is used only as a plot point to keep the film moving along nicely.2 Obviously the makers of the film were not too concerned about getting the names right.

The next point I would like to bring to your attention is how the main characters were changed around by the writers in order to make the film a little more interesting for the viewers. The biggest change that seemed to me to be the most important, was that of the character Balian of Ibelin. I thought that the writers would have gotten this one right because the whole movie is based upon this character, but they failed pretty badly once again. After reading an article by Thomas Madden, I learned that Balian was actually born in the holy land and not France as the movie portrays, and he was an artificier, not a blacksmith. Another big difference is that his father was named Barisan instead of Godfrey, and in real life he died 36 years before the time of the opening scene of the film. In the film, Balian is made out to be a young man who is at an uneasy time in his life while in reality, he was a man in his late 40s who seemed to be very content with his faith and his devotion to the divine. The final difference I could recognize is that he was not in love with Sibylla because he was married to her step mother Maria Comnena, however they were both in the fight to keep Jerusalem to themselves.4

It seems that the writers of the film chose to change things like this around because it would not be as fun to watch something about a man in the middle of his life that has already worked his way to the top and just has to defend what he already has. People want to see the struggle of how one gets to where they are going, not just what happens when they get there. By making Balian younger and having him fall in love with Sibylla in stead of his actual wife; they give the viewer a sense of romance and passion that would not have been there otherwise.

One of the biggest and perhaps most controversial aspect of the film was that the main ideas and goals of the two leaders of the territory at the time (King Baldwin IV and Saladin) were nit centered around the belief of tolerance between Christians and Muslims. In fact, it is said that when Guy failed to attack the Muslims in 1183, Baldwin went into a fit of anger because he wanted them all dead. The movie makes it seem as though Baldwin wanted to keep peace between the two groups but that was not true because really, he could not stand the Muslims and would do almost anything to keep the Holy Land out of their hands.

When it comes to Saladin, the film makes it seem as though he was a man of tolerance and respect when in reality, he took pleasure in watching the decapitation of hundreds of christen soldiers and civilians alike. Through out his time as ruler of the Muslims, Saladin Preached jihad(or holy war) on the Christians

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Biggest Change And Use Of Characters. (April 12, 2021). Retrieved from