History and fantasy nerds are you READY TO RRRRRUMBLE?
Most interesting and accomplished bastards of history and fiction!
In this case I mean actual bastards, ie, illegitimate offspring with partially noble heritage, men and women alike (although damned if I can think of any women).
What makes them interesting? What did they accomplish?
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Do you count “ought not to have any kids because they are the actual damn Pope” in this cohort?
Don John, lead villain in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, played by Keanu in the Branagh film
Hmm. Interested, yeah.
William the Conquerer
Depending on who you ask, Elizabeth I.
William Fitz Robert, Second Earl of Gloucester. Illigitimate son of the former king, and biggest supporter of his sister, Matilda, during the English Anarchy. And in the Brother Cadfael novels, portrayed as a humanistic progressive.
Kvothe was a bastard, right? Name of the Wind
Edit: But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.”
I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
Sandy J-T Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of the pope and a mistress, surely counts as a great example here!
Da Vinci, Marilyn Monroe, Steve Jobs, Billie Holiday, Alexander Dumas (the younger), Lucrezia Borgia, Lawrence of Arabia
And of course the ten dollar founding father.
Thinking about it, King Arthur surely! That’s practically the ultimate example.
In fiction, can we talk about Wilkie Collins and Thomas Hardy novels?
Saint Vladimir! He fucked up slavic paganism until it fell apart, and then converted the Kievan Rus’ to (orthodox) Christianity. According to legend, he interviewed a bunch of religions before settling on Orthodoxy, including (German) Catholicism, (Volga Bulgarian) Islam, and (Khazar) Judaism.
ETA: He told the Khazars “well, clearly your God isn’t the most powerful because you lost the temple,” and he told the Volga Bulgars that he couldn’t convert to Islam because “drink is the great pleasure of the Slavs,” and he couldn’t deny it to them. As to German Catholicism, he apparently just found it depressing.