The Pillars of the Earth

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jul 23, 2010 on Starz
out of 10
User Rating
84 votes

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Episode Summary

After the death of the only legitimate heir to the English throne, the succession to the reign will lead to a long war known as The Anarchy as King Henry's daughter Maud and nephew Lord Stephen compete for the crown. Church is not foreign to politics and Philip, a monk, will learn it the hard way: after being elected prior with the help of Deacon Waleran Bigod, he will soon find himself indebted to the man and called upon it.moreless

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  • The pillars of the

    Como sea es chebre
  • 101

    There may not be as much anticipation surrounding Pillars of the Earth as there is with HBO's mini-series, but a lot of people are still excited for the latest foray into the past from premium channel Starz.

    There are some big names here as Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland and Alison Pill (who was fantastic on In Treatment last year) are all a part of the festivities.

    Things are a bit hard to follow throughout this pilot as a lot characters are introduced, characters with few discernable unique traits, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Right now viewers should just try to sit back and watch and pick up what they can.

    What I did see was a well-directed period drama that could get great over time. This first hour was a bit slow-moving, but throughout time I think it will most definitely improve and pick up in pace.moreless
  • This episode is just the beginning of the saga.....

    I was glad to see this book on TV. I have enjoyed the plot so far, only looking to see if it is entertaining. I am not holding it to be true to the book as nothing is as vivid as my imagination when reading a good book. I am watching it on Netflix as we do not have broadcast or cable TV, so I am waiting a bit until I can do a marathon of sorts to see what the other episodes have in store! I love the actor selection so far and look forward to see "Jack" grow to Master Builder. I did imagine Ellen a bit more of a looker, but then it was in the 12th far I am enjoying it!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

  • QUOTES (32)

    • Archbishop: We are not quite certain how it happened, Your Majesty. Whether it was a hidden rock or a storm. But there were no survivors.
      King Henry I: Not even my son?
      Archbishop: I am deeply sorry, Your Majesty.
      Maud: I'll marry, Father, and have a baby boy.
      King Henry I: That's very sweet of you, Maud. But I don't think I'll live long enough for him to come of age. Who will rule once I am gone?

    • Lord Stephen: There's Gloucester.
      Archbishop: The king's bastard? He will never inherit.
      Lord Stephen: There's the king's legitimate daughter, Maud.
      A child. And female.
      Lord Stephen: Then, I suppose, there's me. But I'm only the king's nephew.
      Archbishop: And... grandson of William the Conqueror. This shipwreck puts you in direct line to the throne, my good Stephen, which we will support when the time comes. Since, unlike the king, you hold the Church in high esteem.

    • Archbishop: There are whispers. The shipwreck was quite convenient.
      Waleran: Rumours born of jealousy, Your Eminence. What happened was ordained by God. It's to the Church's benefit that no one survived.

    • Prior James: Many years ago, the man survived the shipwreck, but I was ordered to arrest him.
      Philip: Sorry, I don't...
      Prior James: He was innocent. He was innocent.
      Philip: Who?
      Prior James: The Frenchman. He saw what happened to the ship. He knew! He knew too much.

    • Bartholomew: Some children are... they're... (Chuckles) They're born willful, my good Percy. I must warn you, my daughter has turned down more suitors than there are stones in Shiring Castle.
      Regan Hamleigh: You need to be more forceful with her then.
      Bartholomew: Well, I have tried. But I made a promise to Aliena's mother. The girl could choose her own husband.
      Regan Hamleigh: I've never heard of such a thing!
      Percy Hamleigh: This marriage would be advantageous to all, Lord Shiring. My son would gain a title, and your daughter, some of the richest farmland.
      Bartholomew: The way to my daughter's heart is through affection, not advantage.

    • Agnes: I want a home, Tom! A roof over our heads, food on the table.
      Tom Builder: There's a cathedral going up near Wells.
      Agnes: You and your cathedrals! Why can't you be content with building houses?
      Tom Builder: Look around you. We're in a cathedral. Nave, columns, heavenly light.
      (Jack, who is witnessing the conversation, looks around)
      Agnes: No cathedral I've been in looks like this.
      Tom Builder: That is why I must build one.

    • Tom Builder: You're an artist, I see.
      Ellen: Jack is, not me.
      Tom Builder: Your son did these?
      Ellen: He was reading and writing by age 5.
      Tom Builder: Who taught him?
      Ellen: Who do you think?
      Tom Builder: Who taught you?
      Ellen: My father.

    • Ellen: I'm a renegade nun. Novice, really. I never took vows. I ran away because... well, one day, on a beach, I met Jack's father. He was a Frenchman who survived a fire at sea. I hid him in the cloister's barn and helped him recover. We fell in love.

    • Tom Builder: (About Jack) Why doesn't he speak? Is he mute?
      Ellen: No. Only to strangers. When he was young, he saw... a terrible thing.

    • Agnes: We don't abide with witches.
      Ellen: I'm not a witch! It's medicine. I used it to cure your daughter.
      Agnes: God help her then. Medicine is sin.

    • King Henry I: Because I am weary with age and have no male heir, I've gathered you here to swear allegiance to my daughter. The princess Maud and her husband expect a son, the soothsayers assure me. I ask you, lords of the land, to pledge before God that until this son comes of age, you will recognize Maud as your ruler.
      Regan Hamleigh: Along with her bastard brother.
      King Henry I: Do you swear, my good Gloucester?
      Lord Gloucester: I so swear...
      (Maud pants in pain)
      Lord Stephen: (Rushes in and kneels down) I so swear, Uncle.

    • Lord Stephen: The grandson of William the Conqueror takes precedence over a bastard.
      Lord Gloucester: The king's bastard, whom he loves as much as the son who drowned. How fortunate you weren't on that ship, Stephen.
      Lord Stephen: (Unseathes his sword) I have no pretensions to the throne.
      Lord Gloucester: (Unseathes his sword) Ah, but the Church behind you does.
      (They swordfight until Lord Gloucester has Lord Stephen at his mercy) And with you and the Pope in power, think how the people will suffer!

    • Agnes: You're a good man. You deserve something... beautiful.
      Tom Builder: I have you.
      Agnes: The cathedral... build it. Promise me (She dies)

    • (About the newborn baby)
      Martha: He's so little.
      Tom Builder: He came too early.
      Martha: (Crying) How are we supposed to feed him?
      Tom Builder: No, we can't. No, we can't. Alfred, will you take your sister? I'll join you shortly.
      Alfred: (Crying) But you can't leave him, Da.
      Tom Builder: It's God's will. He won't starve. He'll just fall asleep, and his ma will take him.

    • Tom Builder: (Crying as he leaves his newborn son on the tomb of his mother) God keep you, Son. You sleep with your Ma.

    • Lord Stephen: The king is dying, Your Eminence. As Archbishop of Canterbury, you alone can crown the next king.
      Archbishop: You will favour the Church in all your dealings.
      Lord Stephen: (Kneels down) I'll give you whatever you want.

    • Lord Gloucester: Stephen has the support of the Church and the backing of any who fear being ruled by a woman.
      Maud: Which is most of the men in this country.
      Lord Gloucester: He's only king because your brother was drowned.
      Maud: An unfortunate accident.
      Lord Gloucester: Unfortunate, yes. But an accident?
      Aliena: Not, I think, an accident.

    • Lord Gloucester: Stephen has broken his oath to you, Sister.
      Maud: When kings die, oaths die with them. Except, perhaps, here, at Shiring Castle.
      Bartholomew: I loved your father. He had my complete support. And so, therefore, do you. You have my word. As do you, Gloucester.
      Maud: I knew we would, Bartholomew. We'll raise an army together and take Stephen by surprise. And if he thinks he's fighting a spoiled princess, he's wrong. I'm now a mother defending her son.
      Bartholomew: And her rightful realm.

    • Francis: Maud, supported by Gloucester and Earl Bartholomew, is secretly raising an army against Stephen to regain the throne. Stephen must know of their treachery. But if word came from me, Gloucester would have me hanged.
      Philip: You're asking me to do this? I'd never get an audience.
      Francis: Your bishop would. If Maud wins, the Church will be the loser. Politically, we must back Stephen.
      Philip: But I don't believe in politics, Francis. I believe in the will of God.
      Francis: It's the Church's will, Philip. Second to God, remember?

    • Philip: Three days ago, um, a gravely ill soldier came to my monastery and he had a secret that he wished to tell before he died. His master, Bartholomew, Earl of Shiring, is conspiring with Robert of Gloucester to raise a rebellion against the new king.
      Waleran: Was he telling the truth?
      Philip: He was a dying man.
      Waleran: Who else knows this?
      Philip: No one.
      Waleran: See that it remains that way.

    • Ellen: Jack needs a master builder to apprentice him.
      Tom Builder: He's practically mute.
      Ellen: But he's not stupid. Give him a voice. We won't be a burden. I promise.
      Tom Builder: We?
      Ellen: I'll travel with you. I'll help you find work and food. And I'll nurse Martha back to health.
      Tom Builder: We're not married. People will talk.
      Ellen: And who will tell them? Our hearts are pure, Tom Builder.

    • Philip: Who's that fellow there with the baby?
      Cuthbert: Johnny Eightpence. He's the newest addition to our community. He found the baby on a grave and brought him here and now he's turned from thief to wet nurse.

    • Philip: Prior James mentioned something about a shipwreck. A survivor.
      Waleran: No names?
      Philip: No.
      Waleran: A delirium of death.

    • Waleran: So becoming Prior of Kingsbridge would satisfy your ambition? Well, be direct, Philip. As the bishop's representative I can sway the election. If that's what you want from me, say so.
      Philip: (Chuckles) Yes.
      Waleran: Good, good. But politics is a bargain between beggars. When the bishop dies here, the monks here elect the new one.
      Philip: So if you make me prior, I, when the time comes, make you bishop?

    • Remigius: You owe me this, Father.
      Waleran: I don't like being told I owe anybody anything. Since we're being blunt, Philip is the better man for the job. He's one of those rare priests who actually believes what he preaches. I admire that. Besides... you owe me, Remigius, remember? Sodomy! Huh! An excommunicable offense. And as your confessor, I hold your eternal salvation behind sealed lips. Here's what I want you to do. Philip is idealistic, which is generally commendable, but occasionally awkward. You will be my eyes and ears and tell me everything.

    • Waleran: There's reason to celebrate as well as mourn. Philip of Gwynedd has been elected our new Prior of Kingsbridge to replace the late Prior James. May St. Adolphus, whose relic sanctifies this church, help guide him. At the same time, sadness descends. Our good bishop, who led his flock for so long, died quite suddenly while saying mass Saturday last.
      (Crowd murmurs. Flashback to Waleran retrieving the poisoned cup from the bishop and wiping it)
      Waleran: The monks will now choose a successor. And Prior Philip, with God's help, will show them the way.
      (Philip stares at Waleran in disbelief)

    • Percy Hamleigh: We're still waiting for our title. You gave us your word!
      Waleran: Did I? I fear you misremember, Percy, but not to worry. I have interesting news for you. Bartholomew has sided with Maud against King Stephen.
      Percy Hamleigh: Bartholomew's turned traitor?
      Regan Hamleigh: Shhh!
      Waleran: (Points to William) You may win that title yet.

    • Tom Builder: I hope you're not planning on doing battle soon.
      Matthew: Why do you say that?
      Tom Builder: All the mortar on your keep gate is crumbling. It'd just take a crowbar to bring that down. A keep has an undercroft with a wooden door. If I were attacking, I'd put light to it.
      Bartholomew: If you were earl, how would you prevent it?
      Tom Builder: Well, I'd hire a mason. I'd have him standing by with stones to block up that doorway in case of trouble.
      Bartholomew: Hire this man!

    • Aliena: Hello, Martha. You're up early.
      Martha: Da makes me work. Alfred, too. He's my brother.
      Alfred: Uh, milady, an honour.
      Aliena: Thank you. And this is?
      Martha: That's Jack. He doesn't talk much. But look, he made a likeness of me.
      Aliena: It's remarkable. Your brother's quite gifted.
      Martha: Oh, he's not my brother. Jack's a bastard.
      (Alfred and Martha laugh. Jack looks down)
      Aliena: He's a gifted bastard.

    • Percy Hamleigh: Surrender, traitor!
      Bartholomew: I'd rather die for Maud.
      Percy Hamleigh: Then so will every man, woman and child in this keep!
      (Bartholomew looks around at the massacre)
      Bartholomew: Halt! Halt! Hear me out!
      Percy Hamleigh: Halt!
      Man: Halt! Stop the fighting in Lord Percy's name!
      Bartholomew: Spare my people. Stephen knows you covet my title. He may, therefore, doubt my guilt. If you spare my people, I will confess guilt to his face (He hands his sword out in surrender)
      Percy Hamleigh: Thank you, Earl of Shiring.

    • King Stephen: Maud's fleeing to France with her precious son. Stop them! Bring them here. I want that child dead at my feet!

    • Tom Builder: A worker said there's a new prior at Kingsbridge. New priors have work.
      Ellen: The Kingsbridge prior's dead?
      Tom Builder: So they say.
      Ellen: Good. May the Devil take his soul.
      Tom Builder: You knew him?
      Ellen: Yes, I met him once.

  • NOTES (19)

    • Nominations:
      - Golden Globe Awards 2011, Best Mini Series or Motion Picture made for TV for
      - Golden Globe Awards 2011, Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini Series or Motion Picture made for TV for Hayley Atwell.
      - Golden Globe Awards 2011, Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini Series or Motion Picture made for TV for Ian McShane.

    • The Pillars Of The Earth is a project funded by German production company Tandem Communications, with Muse Entertainment and Scott Free Productions. The miniseries took around a year to be produced, at a cost of 40 million dollars.

    • According to Gyorgy Andreka, animal wrangler, more than 50 animals were on set at the same time, chickens, geese, horses, donkeys, dogs, oxens, pigs and cats being among them.

    • Few medieval men shaved every day, so most of the male cast were forbidden to shave. They have beards or stubble.

    • Costume Designer, Mario Davignon, used a wide variety of sources to recreate the Medieval universe, from tombs carvings and effigies to pictures from books and scrolls of the time.

    • The choice of fabric was a good indicator of social status, as well as providing an insight into the age and character of the wearer. Ellen's fur and leather suggest that she is capable of fending for herself in the forest whilst Regan's square gowns and headdresses stress her wealth. Philip's grubby habit is appropriate for a humble monk but the bright red trim on the sombre black garments worn by Waleran indicate that he is not as humble as he claims. The patterned cloth in the formal tunic worn by William Hamleigh at his wedding reveals his wealth and status. Its short hem shows that he is an active young man who relies more on himself than on his servants as opposed to King Stephen who wears ankle-length robes. There are also differences in armour: at Jack's trial, the guards wear old-fashioned disc-and-leather hauberks, while he can only afford conventional chain mail.

    • The sturdy woollen tunics worn Tom Builder are dyed and stand out against the plain ones worn by ordinary labourers. Even though some of his tunics are blue (dyed by one of the best known plants in England, woad) they lack the intensity of the dark blue of Empress Maud's gown (dyed by an expensive import, indigo). The deep red robe worn by King Stephen is also died by another costly import: kermes or cochineal. The locally produced dye, called madder, could only manage a serviceable but unimpressive russet, worn by commoners.

    • Even though jewellery is generally considered (under theatrical classification) part of a costume, Jack's Phoenix ring was classified as a prop because it plays a major role in the story.

    • Director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan stressed the need for the cast and crew to educate themselves about the period in which the story takes place, which he found essential for their work on the production to be properly informed and completely credible.

    • Ian McShane refused to get his hair cut for the role which made it a big harder to get the plastic tonsure applied.

    • The principal photography of The Pillars Of The Earth was completed on November 21st in Budapest, after 112 days of shooting.

    • An animatronic baby was used for the scene where Agnes delivers her baby boy because of restrictions against having an infant out in the woods when it gets cold at night.

    • This episode aired together with 1x02 Master Builder as a two hour premiere.

    • (Show) Also Known As:
      Germany: Die Säulen der Erde.
      Spain: Los Pilares de la Tierra.

    • This is the second time that Donald Sutherland appears in a a Ken Follett adaptation since he first appeared in Eye of the Needle (1981).

    • John Pielmeier, who plays Cuthbert, also wrote the television adaptation from Ken Follet's novel.

    • Filming locations:
      Burg Kreuzenstein, Leobendorf, Lower Austria, Austria.
      Votivkirche, Vienna, Austria.
      Fót Studios, Budapest, Hungary.
      Ócsa, Pest, Budapest, Hungary.

    • International Air Dates:
      Canada: July 23rd, 2010 on Movie Central.
      Canada: July 23rd, 2010 on The Movie Network.
      Germany: November 15th, 2010 on SAT 1.
      Ireland: August 15th, 2010 on TV3.
      Italy: October 1sr, 2010 on SKY.
      Netherlands: October 8th, 2010 on RTL.
      Spain: September 14th, 2010 on Cuatro.
      UK: October 16th, on Channel 4.
      USA: July 23rd, 2010 on Starz.

    • Broadcast:
      Friday, July 23rd at 10:00 pm on Starz.
      Tuesday, July 27th at 10:35pm on Starz Edge.
      Wednesday, July 28th at 10:00pm on Starz.
      Thursday, July 29th at 11:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Saturday, August 7th at 12:00am on Starz Edge.
      Saturday, August 7th at 09:00 pm on Starz In Black.
      Monday, August 23rd at 11:00pm on Starz.
      Friday, September 3rd at 10:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Sunday, October 3rd at 12:50am on Starz Edge.