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The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1)
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Archives > Part Three (Chapter 8 - 10) - TPotE

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Meghan | 423 comments Mod
1. What are your impressions of King Stephen as a ruler? Is he the right choice to rule England, or would Maud bring more justice?

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
2. Was it right for Philip to pray for King Stephen's defeat? Is he overstepping his role as a man of God by taking sides in the country's civil war?

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
3. Why is Ellen reluctant to tell Jack the truth about his father? Is she trying to protect Jack or herself?

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
1. Somehow or other, I haven't really developed an opinion of King Stephen as a ruler, other than it was a dumb decision to keep fighting when the battle was pretty much decided.

2. Well, I admit I was surprised at first that Philip prayed for a certain outcome of the battle. This is almost a theological question, huh? As a good Presbyterian, I think we're supposed to pray more, "Thy will be done; help me to bring about your will" kinds of prayers. More Evangelical denominations, in my experience, tend more toward praying for very specific requests. I guess I would expect Philip to make a prayer more for being able to build the cathedral [to God's glory] and not necessarily pray for a certain strategy, such as the outcome of a battle.

3. I think Ellen was trying to protect both herself and Jack. Clearly, the memory was very painful for her. She was very young and very pregnant when it happened, and it seems she really didn't understand how it happened. And what young child would want to know about his father being hanged? Much better to just fantasize about him being a story-teller. Although, I suppose that it would have certainly been better for him to find out from Ellen than from Alfred. Still, I think she wanted to protect him.

I was really really angry at Philips ultimatum about Alfred and Jack, and at Tom's decision.

It's really amazing to me how people seem to recover so nicely from all of these horrible injuries!

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
Oh Robbie, I love your comments. It reminds me of when I first read this book!

I think that's what makes Philip so morally complex because he doesn't necessarily pray for God's will...he's praying for God to do Philip's will (or at least God be aligned with Philip so it all comes out even).

This is also why I enjoyed this book so much. I'm not such a war/battle buff so I don't know much about strategy. But I think you can really see how complicated it was back then (and I suppose today). Who are you suppose to back? What happens if someone loses but this other thing happens? What really will be the best outcome for YOU may not necessarily be the best outcome for the area/people etc.

Although one would think that had Philip had a little more faith in God, his cathedral would get built if it was truly a gift for God. On the other hand, is faith require more action than just "hoping for the best"? Is it really that unfair to ask God for what you want?

Philip's relationship with Tom (and thereby with Alfred, Jack, Ellen, etc.) is odd to me. It's strange that Tom would put up with so much of what Philip decreed. I think that goes to show the influence the Church had back then and why (at least England) eventually chose to cut loose from it.

Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
That's the thing about Philip. He's very pious but he's also very proud. He thinks he's pretty sinless but he's not. His sins are sins of the heart, and not of the flesh. He is prideful, self-interested, and quick to anger (although he is good at humility in times of anger). He hates William (though I can't blame him, hate is still a sin) and actually prays for people to die! He also wants Kingsbridge to prosper not just for the glory of God, but for the glory of Philip.

Good comments, both of you. It's something I've always thought about: is it okay to be specific in what you want when you pray? The Bible says to ask and you will receive and that whatever you ask in God's name will be given to you. But that also doesn't mean you get everything you want. Sometimes God says it's not the right time, sometimes it's just downright not His will.

And then I think about people who pray that their team will win the game. Don't they realize that it's God's children on BOTH sides of the field? And how often does the outcome of a sporting event actually figure in to God's plan?

Or when I prayed that Brent wouldn't lose his job. But I knew that if Brent hadn't gotten laid off, someone else WOULD have. So in essence, was I praying for someone else to get fired? My uncle needs a heart transplant. If I pray for him to get a heart, am I praying for someone to die in his stead?

Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
I'm with Robbie on #1, BTW.

And as for #3, I think I'm going to reserve judgment because I'm pretty sure I'm going to learn the whole story about Jack's father later on. I DON'T think he was guilty, though.

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
Sigh. Now I'm going to have to go dig out my copy and reread this. Great comments everyone!

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
I thought of Philip's piousness/pride as being typical of a lot of Christians. Well, a lot of people in general, really. I'm sure I said this in response to something later in the book, and I don't think it's a spoiler, I thought Follett did an amazing job of capturing what it is like for a human--sinful by nature as it says in the Bible--to try to act faithfully, which I think Philip is trying to do.

Sarah, yeah the prayer stuff is tough. Perhaps the act of prayer is a demonstration of our reliance on God to take care of us, so our specific requests aren't so important? Sigh. It *is* a mystery. Who knows what the process of granting prayer requests, if/when they are granted is?

I confess. I've prayed for Steelers victories.

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
Oh Robbie...(shakes head sadly)...the Steelers?! (haha)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
Meghan wrote: "Oh Robbie...(shakes head sadly)...the Steelers?! (haha)"

Did you watch that Super Bowl? If that last play wasn't a miracle, I don't know what is! ;)

Every time I read the first post here, I keep reading it as "Stephen King" instead of "King Stephen."

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
Well I'll take the Steelers over the Eagles, but come on!! I didn't get a chance to see the game, but I read all about it. Man-oh-man. I will give you that--it was pretty awesome.

Now that's an interesting thought--what would Stephen King be like in the Middle Ages? heh Instead of a car, he'd have to have a demon carriage. I think he'd actually fit in pretty well during the times. They were obsessed with demons and horror stories.

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