Cafe Libri discussion

2010 Book of the Month Reads > October: "Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
For discussions concerning October's book of the month Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

message 2: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) Just got my copy

message 3: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I just got a copy as well. I downloaded a free ebook from Googlebooks to my Nook. I'll probably start it in a week or so.

message 4: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Great! I'm looking forward to the discussions. I'm going to download a free copy to my Nook (birthday gift). :D

message 5: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Yay, fun! :)

message 6: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Which copy did you download, CK? I had trouble finding one that was the complete version and free.

message 7: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) There's 3 versions offered for free by Google Books. I downloaded the first one that is the Illustrated Holiday Edition and the publishers are Estes and Lauriat. It's edited by Andrew Lang. The Nook shows 337 pages, but the eReader doesn't count page by page like books do. Sometimes you read 2 or 3 screens and that counts as one page, so it may be a lot longer than it intially looks. My version ends with the line "His fate was destined to a foreign strand, A petty fortress and an "humble" hand; He left the name at which the world grew pale, To point a moral, or adorn a TALE." I believe that's the very last line of Ivanhoe from what I could gather by looking at versions posted on the web, so I think it's all there. I don't know about the other 2 versions posted by Google books. I didn't download those ones.

message 8: by Cari (last edited Sep 07, 2010 01:18PM) (new)

Cari (carikinney) I take that back, I was only looking at the first page of offerings. There are several versions offered for free by Google Books. I'm not sure which one to go with. I looked more carefully at the one I downloaded and it's digitized from an 1893 version. I'd like to find a newer one where the language isn't so awkward to read. Plus, I do think that version I mentioned above is missing some parts. It ends with the correct text, but I don't think it starts with the correct chapter. So I'll have to do some more searching.

message 9: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Okay, I think I'm going to go with this version of Ivanhoe:

It's a 1960 version -- free by Google books. There seems to be about 44 chapters and the first line of Chap 1 and the last line at the end of the book seem to agree with what I've seen in the full-text versions online at free domain book sites, so I think the whole book is there.

I downloaded it to my B&N account from my laptop first. After it seemed to be a good copy to go with, then I clicked "Check for new B&N content" on my Nook and it pulled it down wirelessly to my Nook. Hopefully this copy will do the trick. :)

message 10: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) By the way, I don't know if you noticed that I changed to "Aerin" on here as well. I figured it's easier to just go by Aerin on all the website versions (Lunch, Goodreads, Shelfari). I'm only going by my first name over at Yahoo because I've been there for years now with my regular name. But outside of Yahoo, it's Aerin. Hope that's not confusing.:) It's just easier than worrying about who's reading the public websites. At least at Yahoo a person can't see the messages unless they join. I'm never sure about what all they can see at these other sites, so I like a little more anon.

message 11: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Thanks for all the updates about Ivanhoe. It was extremely difficult to find one that was an unedited version with complete text. I didn't even think about the language.

I can't tell which version I got. It shows that it is 718 pages. The title page says Longman English Classics edited, with notes and an introduction by Bliss Perry A.M. The man was a professor at Princeton University, and it looks like this copy is from Harvard University. It has all sorts of textual notes, so it's looking pretty authentic. The original copyright is 1897 and shows updated copyrights of 1898, 1899, 1901, and 1902. Hopefully it's a good edition!

Any thoughts on the one I found? I think it was another Google book too.

I bookmarked your copy, and I'm going to ask J about it to see how it compares with the one I downloaded.

Also, the name change to Aerin here makes sense. From now on, I'll refer to you as Aerin instead of CK. :)

message 12: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Do you have a link to the version you downloaded? There's so many free copies that I wouldn't know which one is the one you downloaded without looking at them one by one and downloading them first so I can see their title pages.

I've read Chapter 1 so far of the copy I downloaded. It seemed okay. I gave the link above, but basically it's The Silver Series of English Classics edited with introduction and notes published by Silver, Burdett and Company. I have no idea what the Silver Series is, but the text seems to agree with the text on this link:
My copy has 648 pages, but I have no idea how many of those are dedicated to introduction and notes. :)

message 13: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Oops, sorry. Here's the index page. I posted the link for Ch. 1.

message 14: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Mine starts in the same place with the same text. It looks like I got a good edition. I have no idea how to find the url. I was browsing on the Nook itself by looking at the covers. I'll probably just stick with this version.

Thanks for the help, Aerin!

message 15: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Same here. I think I'll run with this copy and see how it works out. The only gripe I have about free books with Google is they are scanned in and so sometimes you run into a few characters in a word that get messed up because whatever scanning program they used interpreted the letters as something else. But so far I've only come across 3 messed up words and I could still tell what they meant. It's just not the cleanest copy a person could get.

message 16: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "The only gripe I have about free books with Google is they are scanned in and so sometimes you run into a few characters in a ..."

Yeah, I noticed that with some of the copies I was looking at too. I wanted to buy a version of the book, but J said not to waste money on public domain books, lol. Oh well. I guess I will live! ;)

message 17: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I just got through Ch. 4 of Ivanhoe. The stage seems to be set now for the story to pick up.

message 18: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Quite a bit of info in Ch. 1. It wasn't the most engaging start to a book for me, but it does set the history and politics of the time period. The first chapter tells it's the 12th century just after the Third Crusade. It's near the end of the reign of Richard I (the Lion-Hearted). There's tension between the Normans and the Saxons because the population of English Saxon are under control of Norman royalty and the forced official language has become French. A large number of Saxon nobles were disinherited, many of them forced to become serfs. Even through Richard I is a Norman King, he was reasonably fair to his subjects. However, he was captured and imprisoned and his brother John took over his absence. Under John's rule, the Norman nobles were encouraged to be more cruel and ruthless in taking property and possessions away from the Saxons.

We're introduced to Gurth, a swineherd, and Wamba, a jester. They are two Saxon servants from Rotherwood -- the keep belonging to their master, Cedric, a Saxon lord. They are having a conversation about Saxons and Normans and expressing some of their discontent about the rules that now exist in England. One, in particular, is a cruel law by the Normans that required that their dog, Fangs, have his front claws removed. I think this was to prevent dogs from chasing and catching wildlife in the forest that are meant for the nobility to hunt.

I didn't find this first chapter the easiest or most entertaining to get through, but it does give a good picture of the state of affairs as the story starts up. I'm curious what roles Wamba and Gurth will have throughout the novel being they were the first two introduced.

Did anyone read Ivanhoe in high school or college? This is one of those books that was briefly mentioned by one or two of my teachers many years ago, but not one that we were required to read.

message 19: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Here are some book discussion questions for Ivanhoe.

Remember that discussion questions may contain spoilers.


1. What is the historical and social setting of Ivanhoe? What caused the conflict between the Saxons and the Normans? Who, if anyone, is to blame? What are some consequences of the conflict for each group?

2. Many of the important characters in Ivanhoe spend time in various disguises, including Ivanhoe, Richard, Wamba and Cedric. What role does the motif of disguise play in the novel as a whole? Why do characters take such pains to hide their identities?

3. One of the strange things about Ivanhoe as a hero story is that the hero plays such a small part in the story. Ivanhoe is out of commission for nearly two-thirds of the book and the narrative is almost never shown from his perspective. Why is he the hero? Why is he the title character?

4. Think about the novel's portrayal of religion in medieval English life. With particular attention to characters such as the Templars, Prior Aymer, Friar Tuck and the palmer, what does Scott seem to say about the medieval church?

5. How are Rowena and Rebecca the same or different? What are the different difficulties faced by each of the women? How do those difficulties relate to their cultural differences -- the fact that one of them is a Saxon and the other is a Jew?

6. What picture emerges of Prince John, brother of the Crusader Richard the Lion-Hearted? What are the circumstances of his rule and how do his subjects appear to regard him?

7. Women play a limited part in the story. What exactly is the role of women in Ivanhoe? How does Scott portray them? How does the narrative deal with the status of women in the medieval society Scott describes?

8. Isaac of York and his daughter Rebecca are major figures in Scott's novel. Hundreds of years before the 20th century holocaust in Germany, the Jews were already the objects of intense persecution. To what extent does the narrative support the negative view of Jews prevalent even in Scott's time?

9. How do Cedric and Isaac compare as fathers?

10. What is the function of Wamba and Gurth in the novel?

message 20: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Thoughts on Chap 2 ---

As Gurth and Wamba are moving the swine herd alongside the road, they encounter a party of about 10 travelers. The two prominent figures are Prior Aymer, a Cistercian monk, and Brian de Bois-Guilbert, a Knight Templar.

Much of this chapter is spent describing these two characters, how they're dressed, the people they travel with. What stood out most for me was Scott's portrayal of the monk. Prior Aymer is about as un-monk-like as monks could be. He's a man who loves to eat, drink and wear extravagant clothing -- "composed of materials much finer than those which the rule of that order admitted. His mantle and hood were of the best Flanders cloth, and fell in ample, and not ungraceful folds, around a handsome, though somewhat corpulent person. This worthy churchman rode upon a well-fed ambling mule, whose furniture was highly decorated, and whose bridle, according to the fashion of the day, was ornamented with silver bells."

Early impressions are that this won't be a likeable character as the story progresses. The Knight Templar didn't seem to stand out favorably either. He's arrogant, rude and proud. In fact, it's easy right away to sympathize with Gurth and Wamba when this party crosses their path and the Knight rudely demands directions in how to get to Cedric the Saxon's place. Gurth doesn't want to tell them how to get there. He dislikes the Normans and he's aware that his master, Cedric, doesn't like them either. Wamba ends up giving them poor directions intentionally in the hopes that they won't ever reach Cedric's.

Cedric the Saxon was referred to as being one of Prior Aymer's franklins. I had to look up franklin as I had no clue what it was.
-- franklin: a medieval English freeholder of nonnoble birth holding extensive property.

The traveling party later comes across a Palmer (pilgrim) who points them in the right direction, saying he "was born a native of these parts" and they eventually arrive at Rotherwood, Cedric's mansion.

This chapter was easier to get through than Ch 1, but it was noticeable how description overshadowed dialogue and events/action. There's some reference on the web to Scott's "ponderousness and wordiness" (I can see that), however, he is credited for essentially inventing the modern historical novel.

message 21: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Thoughts on Ch. 3 and 4 ---

The Prior and Knight are admitted into Cedric's keep, and it's immediately clear that Cedric doesn't care for them being that they are Normans, but he's a very proud Saxon lord and it's custom to provide hospitality and lodging. His pride shows itself in how he has the seating arranged for their meal. The Normans and their party are seated below the dais where Cedric sits, and he vows never to walk more than three steps from his dais to meet anyone who doesn't share the blood of Saxon royalty.

I think Scott wants to us to see how deep this division is between Saxons and Normans in England. There's a dislike and distrust that is quite obvious. What isn't clear is why Cedric still has his land and mansion when so many other Saxons have had theirs taken away by Norman royalty. Why have they not crossed Cedric in a way that they have others?

Lady Rowena is introduced in Ch 4. She's Cedric's ward and apparently a woman of great beauty. He didn't want her to come out and dine in the presence of the Normans, but she did so against his wishes. I noticed that when Scott introduces a new character to the story, he often gives very detailed descriptions of their physical characteristics and their clothing. Rowena was no exception. Here's part of the paragraph that described her. It was almost twice this long. I didn't copy and paste the whole thing.

"Formed in the best proportions of her sex, Rowena was tall in stature, yet not so much so as to attract observation on account of superior height. Her complexion was exquisitely fair, but the noble cast of her head and features prevented the insipidity which sometimes attaches to fair beauties. Her clear blue eye, which sat enshrined beneath a graceful eyebrow of brown sufficiently marked to give expression to the forehead, seemed capable to kindle as well as melt, to command as well as to beseech. If mildness were the more natural expression of such a combination of features, it was plain, that in the present instance, the exercise of habitual superiority, and the reception of general homage, had given to the Saxon lady a loftier character, which mingled with and qualified that bestowed by nature. Her profuse hair, of a colour betwixt brown and flaxen, was arranged in a fanciful and graceful manner in numerous ringlets, to form which art had probably aided nature. These locks were braided with gems, and, being worn at full length, intimated the noble birth and free-born condition of the maiden."

I'm not going to paste every description of characters, but this a good example of the author's colorful and lengthy manner of description. For my personal tastes, the descriptions go on a bit too long, but I won't deny they paint a detailed picture.

Cedric is upset that Gurth and Wamba haven't shown up yet with the swine herd. He's already devising modes of vengeance in his mind because he feels they either encountered thieves on the road or some of his neighbors are responsible. This is a good look at Cedric's temperament. He seems to reach a boiling point easily. It makes me wonder how things may have gone when he parted with his son. Ivanhoe is Cedric's son and hasn't appeared in the story yet, but early information tells us that Ivanhoe went to fight alongside the Normans in the Crusades and this angered his father to the point that he disinherited him for being so defiant and thinks of Ivanhoe as nothing to him now.

When Gurth and Wamba finally arrive, they get a few stern words from Cedric for causing him to be upset the past couple of hours imagining the things that might have happened to his property (the swine herd). Wamba says it was Fang's fault because he can't herd the swine since his foreclaws were removed causing him to be lame.

Poor dog. I have a hard time reading about cruelty to animals. In this case, the idea of it is so awful because the only reason the dogs are made lame is so they won't chase after animals in the forest that belong to nobility. To make matters worse, Cedric hears this and simply says to go hang up Fangs and get another dog. I think my nostrils might have flared a bit when I read this. Wamba placed the blame where it belonged and Cedric said he would take care of it if happens again.

So far at this point in the book, Scott has introduced two divisions. There's the division between the Normans and Saxons. The other which hasn't been touched on very much yet is the one between Cedric and his son Ivanhoe. As I continue to read along, I'll be looking to see if there's some kind of resolution with either of these.

message 22: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Thoughts on Chap 5 --

From what I can tell thus far, prejudice will be a topic to come up several times throughout Ivanhoe. While the early part of the book focused on the division between Normans and Saxons, it seems they were united in one thing at least -- their dislike of the Jews.

In Ch 5 another traveler shows up at Cedric's keep looking for a place to spend the night. He's a Jewish man -- Isaac of York. His arrival causes a stir because the Normans (Prior Aymer and the Templar Knight Brian De Bois-Guilbert) don't wish to see him admitted. The reaction in Ch 5 is described as follows:

"The attendants of the Abbot crossed themselves, with looks of pious horror, and the very heathen Saracens, as Isaac drew near them, curled up their whiskers with indignation, and laid their hands on their poniards, as if ready to rid themselves by the most desperate means from the apprehended contamination of his nearer approach."

Cedric is prejudiced as well but he allows Isaac into his home, however, he sits him at the lowest tables as far removed from everyone as possible. The servants don't even want Isaac near them and no one wants to talk to him, but the visiting Palmer (Pilgrim) gives him a seat.

At this point it's become clear that this traveling Palmer is actually Ivanhoe (Cedric's son) in disguise. Unlike his father and all the others around him, he has some compassion for Isaac and treats him like a human, as opposed to someone like the Templar who calls Isaac as an "unbelieving dog" as he passes by him.

Isacc was on his way to pay some debts to the Exchequer of Jews when he stopped at Cedric's home for the night. A footnote in my copy says the Jews "were subjected to an Exchequer, specially dedicated to that purpose, and which laid them under the most exorbitant impositions."

This may be more history than would interest other readers, but looked up information about the creation of this office of Exchequer of the Jews was interesting to me. The office was created after a wealthy man, Aaron of Lincoln (Jewish) died leaving a sizable estate that required a treasurer and a clerk to look after it. The king wanted duplicate records kept from then on about debts owing to the Jews. I suppose there was some kind of threat felt about the financial activities going on. Aaron of Lincoln was a Jewish financier whose specialty was loaning money for the building of abbeys and monasteries throughout England. He advanced money on a number of things and when he died, the debts owed to him became debts owed to the king, and in this way, Aaron's death ended up bringing the abbeys into the king's power. When Aaron died, he was the second richest man in Britain. Until his death, it doesn't sound like the king was fully aware of how far Aaron's activities had spread. He had agents and Wikipedia says he pretty much had a banking association that had spread throughout England. Unfortunately, this seems to have given rise to an Exchequer specifically for the Jews, and one who sometimes taxed Jews three times more than other groups.

Jews started to show up in larger numbers during the Norman conquest of England. No records were kept before this of them being in England. As their presence became more apparent, they were labeled the king's property, and taxes were imposed. The Crusades going on in other regions increased the anti-Jewish sentiment in England.

Ivanhoe doesn't appear to have taken on the prejudices of his father because he does act kindly towards Isaac. Even though Ivanhoe is currently in disguise as a Palmer, he did just return from the Crusades where campaigns were waged against Jews as well as Muslims. Perhaps seeing first-hand what happened influenced him in ways it apparently didn't influence the Templar Knight who mistreated Isaac. There's no mention of what Ivanhoe saw or why he would treat Isaac so much better than the others treated him.

I'm confused on how Ivanhoe escapes recognition in his father's home. Rowena, the woman he has feelings for, doesn't recognize him. Neither does his father, the servants, or the Templar Knight who met up with him before in a tournament. There's no good description of his appearance or what is making him so difficult to recognize. And what about his voice? No one recognizes his voice either? He's dressed as a Pilgrim, but aside from that, I wonder why no one suspects who he is.

message 23: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "Okay, I think I'm going to go with this version of Ivanhoe:

It's a 1960 version -- free by Google books. There seems to be..."

This version of the book is no longer working. Does B&N change the links for their ebooks? I really needed a new copy of Ivanhoe, and since you were having a lot of luck with your version, I hoped to read it too.

message 24: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Anyone have an outstanding quote from the book for our website? Seeing as I
haven't read much of it, I haven't chosen one. I know Aerin has posted some
passages, but none stand out as a really good quote...or at least none of them
struck me in that fashion. Let me know if there is a section from one of the
passages you want to highlight on the website, Aerin, or if someone else found a
passage that would shine on our website.


message 25: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Yeah, that Ivanhoe link at B&N's site isn't working for some reason. Darn! I'll see if I can locate the book again. The copy I'm using seems to be decent. There are the occasional goofs from a bad scan, but there seem to be few. I'll send a link that works when I find the book again. I'll check today.

message 26: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Well, bummer. It looks like they removed the copy that I downloaded. I looked at the images for all 50 ebook copies of Ivanhoe they have at the B&N site and none of them match the ebook image of the one I download a few weeks back. They removed it for some reason. :(

message 27: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "Well, bummer. It looks like they removed the copy that I downloaded. I looked at the images for all 50 ebook copies of Ivanhoe they have at the B&N site and none of them match the ebook image of ..."

Darn...I can't believe they removed it. I wonder why...well, I might just purchase a copy if I can find a complete version for a cheap price. I was looking forward to reading this book too, and the experience is being soured by a bad scanned book. >.>

message 28: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I don't know how much you want to spend on a book, but the B&N classics version is usually a good inexpensive buy because it's their classic series. They have Ivanhoe for $1.99. It has a handful of reviews, but they all seemed good.

message 29: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "I don't know how much you want to spend on a book, but the B&N classics version is usually a good inexpensive buy because it's their classic series. They have Ivanhoe for $1.99. It has a handful ..."

Thanks for the recommendation, Aerin. This was the title I was also the version I was considering to purchase. I couldn't tell if it was unabridged, though, and that is a major concern. If I'm spending money on it, I want to make sure I'm getting the full story. Do you know if the B&N classics are usually unabridged? Also, what's the difference between this title and the Borders version: I have gift cards for both stores (old birthday gifts), but this copy is only $.89. I'm not sure if you purchase ebooks from Borders, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask. :)

message 30: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Unfortunately I do not know if the copy is unabridged or not. As for Borders, I haven't shopped there before except for bound books a few years back. We don't have a Borders store nearby either. Closest one is an hour's drive away. The Borders link didn't bring up a page for me. Sorry. Just a message that the page doesn't exist on their site.

message 31: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) Here's a site you might like to try. It's called Feedbooks. They have a lot of free ebooks and below is their link for downloading Ivanhoe. It's in several formats. I downloaded the EPUB format version to see if it's the unabridged book of Ivanhoe and it is. There's also a PDF file if you prefer that over EPUB. I don't use PDF very often. I have Adobe Digital Editions (a free program that you can download off the internet) and it allows you to read EPUB formats of ebooks and drag them to your Nook. That's how I read ebooks from my public library. Our library carries EPUB ebooks and they recommend Adobe Digital Editions. I download the EPUB file to my computer, plug my Nook into my computer, open Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), drag the file into ADE. When I see it on the screen, then I drag it over to where it says Nook and it copies onto my device.
Here's the link at Feedbooks:

message 32: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "Here's a site you might like to try. It's called Feedbooks. They have a lot of free ebooks and below is their link for downloading Ivanhoe. It's in several formats. I downloaded the EPUB format..."

Thanks so much for all the research you did to find me this copy. Both yours and Jason's copies look really good even all snazzy with the footnotes being hyper-linked. I'm not sure which version I will use. Probably the one that has the more extensive introduction, lol. I'll save this ebook link in the Ebook Thread for other users too!

message 33: by Cari (last edited Nov 02, 2010 09:31AM) (new)

Cari (carikinney) Since I read The Hunger Games already and won't be rereading it this month, I'm going to continue to send in a couple of posts about Ivanhoe throughout November. I may check out The Lemon Tree if I get a chance.

On to Ivanhoe....(Chapters 6 thru 10)

I'm still enjoying the book even though I'm working through it slowly. The story is moving along at a good pace and prejudice, bravery and loyalty continue to be strong themes in these chapters. The prejudice is primarily against the Jews, not only because they are seen as unbelievers by Saxons and Normans, but also because they continue to have money. They aren't allowed to own any land so they survive by being money lenders and they flourish at it. They are greatly despised for this. Scott does give us a sympathetic view of the Jewish characters Rebecca and her father, Isaac. In particular, there was a scene where Isaac tried to move to better seats at the tournament and Wamba the jester swung pork in his face and caused him to fall down the stairs, taking humiliation from all those around. And even though Rebecca was the most beautiful young lady there at the tournament, she could not be chosen as the "Queen of Love and Beauty" for the event because she's Jewish. That recognition had to go to a Saxon or Norman. Rebecca sums up the relationship between Jews and Gentiles as such:

"These Gentiles, cruel and oppressive as they are, are in some sort dependent on the dispersed children of Zion, whom they despise and persecute. Without the aid of our wealth they could neither furnish forth their hosts in war nor their triumphs in peace; and the gold which we lend them returns with increase to our coffers. We are like the herb which flourisheth most when it is most trampled on."

At this point in the story we get to see Ivanhoe creating some mystery about himself. He takes part in the events at the tournament going by the name of "The Disinherited Knight". He proves to be quite hard to beat and everyone is wondering who he is. He doesn't show his face and he refuses to give his name. His father, Cedric, is there with Rowena to see the events and he has no idea that Ivanhoe is participating.

Ivanhoe wins that day's events and his rewards are the armor, weapons and horses of the knights he defeated. There were five of them. He takes the rewards from four of them, but the fifth knight he refuses the rewards from. That fifth knight is the Templar Brian Bois-Guilbert who dined at Cedric's keep earlier in the book and kept calling Isaac an "unbelieving dog". Ivanhoe refuses Bois-Guilbert's rewards and instead sends a message back that he will challenge him again the next day. I'm enjoying this part of the story because I look forward to Bois-Guilbert's reaction when he finds out who has defeated him. He has no idea that this Disinherited Knight is the same man who was the Palmer at Cedric's home recently -- that he's Ivanhoe in disguise. Furthermore, Cedric and Rowena also have no idea it's Ivanhoe. They all stand to be in for quite a surprise.

Ivanhoe was lent a horse and armor by Isaac for this tournament. It would have been easy for Ivanhoe to take advantage of Isaac here, but the author is revealing to us that Ivanhoe is a true knight in every sense of the word. We're seeing Ivanhoe as a knight capable of being courteous, noble and brave, and he's quickly standing out from all the others. He's also very fair and when he wins the day's tournaments, he sends Gurth to go repay Isaac.

Despite the prejudices of the day, we see a little bit of understanding in some of the interactions. Isaac is shocked that Ivanhoe pays him back as he is so used to not seeing a Christian repay a Jew. He's realizing that Ivanhoe follows a different code from many of the others. Rebecca can see this, too, and she ends up sending Gurth back with the money because she knows Ivanhoe protected her father's life once already.

I like that Scott is revealing some decency between a few of these characters. It's clear that Ivanhoe is well aware of how the Jewish population is viewed, and there's no indication that he accepts the Jews in all that they stand for. But despite their differences, he's capable of compassion, kindness, and fairness in his dealings with Isaac. That's a lot more than Isaac has received from any of the other Saxons and Normans thus far.

message 34: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "Quite a bit of info in Ch. 1. It wasn't the most engaging start to a book for me, but it does set the history and politics of the time period. The first chapter tells it's the 12th century just a..."

Ok...I'm a bit sheepish to admit this...but I finally got through chapter one during the Thanksgiving break when I was at home visiting family. was such a boring beginning. I was really not interested in the history of the period, and the descriptions were really overdone and distracting. I ended up reading a lot of it out loud and giving Gurth and Wamba funny voices just to finish the chapter. Jason kept getting confused, and I kept trying to tell him that nothing happened, lol, that the author was just describing what everyone was wearing. Not sure when I will tackle chapter 2.

A bit of trivia, Sir Walter Scott is one of the authors I had to study for the GRE Literature exam, lol!

message 35: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) LOL! Laughing at your sheepish admission. :) Well, I can't blame you. That first chapter is not much fun to get through. It makes me wonder how many people started this book over the years looking for a grand adventure only to give up with chapter one. Not a great way to pull the reader in. I pushed through it, but it has been my least favorite part of the book so far. The story does get better. And, wow, about Scott and the GRE! LOL

message 36: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
AerinBlue wrote: "LOL! Laughing at your sheepish admission. :) Well, I can't blame you..."

Yeah, I'll pick up reading this book again when we head home for the holidays. I like to take my Nook with me when we're traveling. So, I might have more comments to make at the end of this week.

And, yeah, pretty funny! His writing style didn't really change from book to book. :-P

back to top