The Pillars of the Earth

Season 1 Episode 2

Master Builder

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

By Users

Episode Summary

Master Builder
Tom, together with Alfred and stepson Jack, gets the chance to make his dream of building a cathedral true when a fire destroys Kingsbridge church. Prior Philip finds himself caught between Bishop Waleran and the Hamleighs as both ambition Shiring Castle. William takes revenge on Aliena and Richard in the form of a brutal attack but the Aliena comes out of it stronger and promises her father to regain what was taken from them. Kingsbridge is rocked by the accusation of Ellen being a witch.moreless

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  • 102

    The first hour was pretty tolerable, but the second was painful to get through. I found myself constantly looking at the clock wondering when my death sentence would be over, when I would move onto a better place, like the late king did.

    The show is trying too hard to be The Tudors, and while I miss the Showtime series which just ended, this is not the replacement I am seeking, I am sure The Borgias next year will take care of it.

    People who don't normally watch Starz tuned in to see Pillars of the Earth, but they cannot be pleased with what they saw.moreless
  • marvelous miniseries

    What a marvelous miniseries. I read the book almost 20 years ago and am astonished about how it was filmed. 20 years back I was under the impression that it was way to hard to make it into film. We can be so blessed to live now and not have the life the people had back then.

    I can recommend it to anyone with a interest in history, all fictuous of course be beautifully made. When you walk around in the old cities in Europe, like Heidelberg, or Delft and you look an the big churches and think back that this was how it al begun, with corrupt "holy" men, only thinking of themselves and true belivers on the other side...moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • The first part of Ellen's curse ('Your church, dear Prior, shall burn to the ground') becomes true in this episode when Jack sets Kingsbridge church on fire so Tom has work there.

    • This episode is set in A.D. 1138.

    • Goof: When Aliena and Richard sneak out of Shiring castle after William's attack they are not wearing cloaks. However, when they arrive to Winchester to see their father, they have some cloaks on.

    • Goof: When talking about the patron Saint of Kingsbridge cathedral, Philip tells Alfred that St. Adolphus' head was cut off by the Romans and threw in the river and that the saint's headless body pulled it out and carried it to Kingsbridge. However, St. Adolphus was a 9th century Spanish martyr caught up in the persecutions conducted by the Caliph of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman II.

    • While discussing the terms of their shared ownership of Shiring, Philip tells Regan Hamleigh: 'Politics is a bargain between beggars'. That is exactly the same sentence that Waleran told Philip in episode 1x01 Anarchy when agreeing on helping each other to become bishop and prior respectively.

  • QUOTES (33)

    • Tom Builder: Get away from me! That man nearly killed my daughter!
      Jack: No! I saw him that night.
      Tom Builder: What night? What are you talking about?
      Jack: The night that your woman died. He took it.
      Tom Builder: He took what?
      (Tom and Agnes' son cries in his cradle. Johnny Eightpence soothes him affectionately. Tom approaches, kneels down and holds out his arms)
      Tom Builder: Please, I won't hurt him. I promise.
      (The baby cries in Tom's arms)
      Tom Builder: I'm no good to you, am I? (Crying) I'm no good to anyone.

    • Tom Builder: He's better off here than he is with me but I don't want to leave. I left him once before. I can't do that again.
      Ellen: You have little choice.
      Tom Builder: I know that. You think I don't know that? I'm useless. I can't support my family. I can't stay with my son. Why can't God give me work just this once?

    • Tom Builder: All my life I've waited for work like this. Now it's here and they can't afford to pay me.
      Jack: We could work for free. They'll give us food and lodging and you could stay with your little boy.

    • Philip: It's gone, smashed. We're finished. You can't rebuild a cathedral without its relic.
      Cuthbert: A skull's a skull, Philip. We don't even know it was his.
      Philip: What about the miracles?
      Cuthbert: I've been praying to that skull for years to save my poor sister from the street. Useless!
      Philip: It does take belief, too.
      Cuthbert: Yes, but what if people believe another skull is his? One from the ossuary. There's thousands. And who's to say the monk whose head we choose isn't a saint?
      Philip: Because that would be a lie!
      Cuthbert: Not a lie, a... a leavening, a means to an end. And the end is God's glory.

    • Philip: What makes you think there'll even be a new church?
      Tom Builder: Because I will build it. You house us, you feed us and I will defer payment. This may be the Devil's work, but it was God that sent you a master builder.

    • Philip: My dear bishop: Undoubtedly, you have
      heard of our misfortune. But God has blessed us with a rough-handed angel to help us through this crisis. Tom Builder is his name. And he is determined
      to give us a new cathedral. There is much work to be done and workmen to be hired. Of course, this brings up the question of money. I don't wish to burden you as you begin your office but perhaps, with your permission, I could approach our king and ask his favour in this trying time.
      Man: The plans for the expansion of the palace, Your Eminence. We are repairing the old buildings and the chapel. And we're adding an entire new wing over here.

    • Tom Builder: I want you to make a statue of St. Adolphus.
      Jack: Me? I've never worked in stone.
      Tom Builder: That's not true. I saw the carvings you did in the cave. I think you'll manage.
      Jack: I wouldn't know where to start.
      Tom Builder: Take your time. Experiment. Listen.
      Jack: To what?
      Tom Builder: To the stone.

    • Tom Builder: I've seen the monks watching you while they work. They don't know what to make of you.
      (Both chuckle)
      Ellen: Oh, I think they do, Tom Builder. Are you jealous?
      Tom Builder: No, I'm not jealous.

    • Philip: How long will this take?
      Tom Builder: It depends how many people you employ. But if you were to hire 30 masons with enough labourers, carpenters and smiths to service them, that's 15 years.
      Philip: Have you done this before?
      Tom Builder: No.
      Philip: How do you know it'll work?
      Tom Builder: It'll work. What do you think?
      Philip: I think it's extraordinary.

    • Ellen: What's wrong?
      Jack: He took my ring!
      Alfred: I don't want his bloody ring!
      Jack: Where is it?
      Alfred: Look at me, boy! Hey! You can't witch me! You killed my Ma and you stole my Da, but you can't work your charms on me!

    • Waleran: You really want to rebuild your church, huh?
      Philip: Yes, Father, I do. The cathedral is God's shadow over history, Father. We... we live in a world that is striving for order, which is art, which is learning, which is people creating something that will bring God's heart into their community, that will survive wars and famine, that will survive history.
      Waleran: I thought I was ambitious.

    • Waleran: Look around you. This is the smallest earldom in the kingdom, but it has a huge quarry which produces first-class limestone, and its forests, good timber. If you had this land, you could rebuild your church.
      Philip: Why would the king give me land instead of money?
      Waleran: You unmasked the traitor. Bartholomew confessed. Maud and Gloucester ran away to France. Stephen owes you his crown.

    • Alfred: (About Ellen) She is a witch. I saw her.
      Remigius: Doing what? Say it.
      Alfred: Making a potion out of dead frogs. She gave it to my Ma and it killed her. Then she bewitched my Da and made love to him on my mother's grave.
      Remigius: You swear to that? On your soul?
      Alfred: Yes.

    • Remigius: (About Ellen) Brothers, the boy speaks true. I knew this woman years ago, when I first came here. She was condemned for witchcraft and a price put on her head. She disappeared with her son and the people said the Devil had taken them home. It was she who started the fire. She must burn.

    • King Stephen: I heard about your fire. How soon will you rebuild?
      Philip: As soon as I find the money, Sire.
      King Stephen: I hope you haven't come to beg for it. We're paupers here.
      (Crowd laughs)
      Waleran: I think I have found a way to rebuild without further diminishing your coffers, Your Majesty. Give Shiring and all its land to the diocese of Kingsbridge, and we'll give you a new church.
      King Stephen: What a clever idea. Unfortunately, I gave Shiring to Percy Hamleigh less than an hour ago. Well, it's not official. Well, not yet. Present a strong argument for your case and I might reconsider.
      Waleran: We could rename the church after a saint of your choosing, Your Majesty. St. Stephen, perhaps? Or St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors lost at sea.

    • Cuthbert: (About Ellen) You need to send her away.
      Tom Builder: What's that?
      Cuthbert: Remigius says she's a witch. He sent a letter to the bishop.
      Tom Builder: Why'd he do that? It's gossip. It's worse. It's malicious and dangerous!
      Cuthbert: He has a witness (turns his sight towards Alfred)

    • Waleran: Your Eminence, I'm told you're seeking an emissary to Rome. I would be happy to volunteer.
      Archbishop: You are too new to the post, my good bishop. Rome demands a more experienced politician.
      Waleran: Perhaps a visit to my palace would convince you. I have worked changes to the diocese.
      Archbishop: It's hardly a palace, when I visited years ago. More like a ruin with a roof. Excuse me.
      Waleran: Not a ruin for long.

    • Regan Hamleigh: How could you be so stupid? Waleran is using you and your church to get the earldom for himself.
      Philip: That's a lie.
      Regan Hamleigh: Is it? Then why did he tell the king to give Shiring to the diocese and not the priory?
      Philip: It was a slip of the tongue. Besides, he only means...
      Regan Hamleigh: ...that he will control the purse strings. And believe me, monk, a church is not where he wants to spend his gold. He's hired this man to triple the size of his palace.

    • Regan Hamleigh: Side with us, monk. We will make a generous contribution to your building fund.
      Philip: No. We go to the king instead and divide the earldom equally, with you getting the better half.

    • Philip: I have one other request. I must have protection for the lady Aliena and her brother Richard.
      Regan Hamleigh: You've seen them?
      Philip: They're hiding in the castle, starving and penniless. They need to be taken care of.
      Regan Hamleigh: Oh, but of course. We'll see to that.

    • Tom Builder: (Slaps Alfred for giving Ellen away as a witch) Why'd you say that? Answer me! Why'd you say that? She's been good to me! Better than I deserve. Don't make me choose between you, boy.

    • Tom Builder: Brother Remigius has been claiming you're a witch. He's got Alfred here to give proof to the lie.
      Ellen: It's not a lie. Not entirely.

    • Ellen: Jack's father had a secret. Something to do with a ring he had. He wouldn't tell me what it was. He wanted to see the king, to tell him what he knew. But I was only a naive novice. How could I help? I hid him in a barn on our convent property, where he asked me for a quill, paper, sealing wax and ink. I then went to my priest confessor. The next day, he was taken from the barn and accused of stealing the Kingsbridge Priory's chalice. He was tortured, confessed... and his tongue was cut out. He was held for nearly 3 years before he was brought to trial. The prior whose chalice was stolen testified against him. The Lord of the District served as his judge and my priest confessor
      passed sentence. Then... a remarkable thing happened.
      (Jack's father chants as he is being burnt to death despite lacking a tongue)

    • Ellen: I curse you, all 3 of you! Stay back! Touch me and you'll be dead by morning. Your church, dear Prior, shall burn to the ground. Your children, My Lord, shall die on the gallows. And you, good Father, the confessor whom I trusted, you shall one day climb very high, only to fall. Only to fall.
      Martha: What was the secret they didn't want him to tell?
      Ellen: I never learned.

    • King Stephen: My loyal subject, Percy Hamleigh, is the Earl of Shiring. He shall have the castle and all arable lands and low-lying pastures. All other farmlands, I give to... the Priory of Kingsbridge for the building of the new cathedral.
      Philip: And the quarry?
      King Stephen: Goes to the Hamleighs. But you may take what stones you need.
      Philip: (Surprised that the terms he agreed on with Regan Hamleigh are altered) But... but that's not...
      King Stephen: Enough. My decision stands.

    • Waleran: I don't take kindly to priests who steal.
      Philip: And God doesn't take kindly to bishops who lie.
      Waleran: I swear by all that's holy, you'll never build your church.

    • William: (To Aliena, who is resisting his assault) Lie still or the boy dies. Cut off his ear, Walter!
      Richard: No!
      (He screams as part of his ear is cut off. Aliena stops fighting)
      William: (As he rapes her) You see, bitch? I'm a better man than you deserve.

    • Aliena: Kill him.
      Man: You fucking bitch!
      Aliena: Shut him up.
      Richard: How?
      Aliena: I don't know how. Just cut off his head! Kill him before anyone can hear.
      Richard: (Not daring to do it, he hands the sword over to her) Allie, please.
      Aliena: You have to do this, Richard.
      (Richard hesitates but ends up killing the man)

    • (About Ellen)
      Waleran: Where is the woman?
      Remigius: Locked away, Your Eminence. As you wished.
      Waleran: Good. Prepare for a trial this evening.
      Remigius: We don't have a witness anymore. The boy will not testify.
      Waleran: I'll be the witness. I want this thing ended quickly.

    • (About William raping her)
      Aliena: Richard, listen to me. You mustn't tell Father what happened.
      Richard: I'll tell the king then. He'll have both their heads.
      Aliena: No. You mustn't tell anyone, ever.

    • (About Ellen)
      Philip: Is it true? Is she a witch?
      Tom Builder: No. I swear by all that's holy.
      Philip: She's not the mother of your children, though, is she?
      Tom Builder: No.
      Philip: Are you living in sin?
      Tom Builder: You can't burn her for that.
      Philip: If I save her, you must marry her.
      Tom Builder: I will.
      Philip: Bring her back to the Church.
      Tom Builder: That's her decision. It's not mine.
      Philip: It's my condition.
      Tom Builder: Whatever. Whatever you say.

    • Remigius: This woman here stands accused of consorting with the Devil. The bishop himself bears witness against her. Do you want to say anything
      before we pass sentence?
      (Ellen cuts the rope around her wrists using the knife Johnny Eightpence has given her)
      Monk: Oh! Such witchcraft!
      Monk: She's the Devil!
      Monks: Oh!
      (Ellen jumps on the table, ducks and exposes her vagina in front of Waleran and the monks)
      Monk: Avert your eyes from the witch.
      Ellen: (As she urinates) Piss on you, Lord Bishop! (She stabs him in the chest and runs away)

    • Aliena: Father... just as Maud and Gloucester are raising an army to reclaim the throne, so to will I claim back what is mine, what is ours. I swear by Jesus Christ and all his saints that I will not rest until Richard is the Earl of Shiring and lord of the land that you once ruled. Do I have your blessing in this?
      Bartholomew: Always... and forever.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Rufus Sewell, Liam Garrigan and Eddie Redmayne (who play Tom, Alfred and Jack) were taught to carve and work the stone by a Budapest firm of professional stonemasons, Reneszansz Plc., who carry out maintenance and restoration on real historical buildings and who did most of the stone-dressing for the set. They also trained the actors on how to use their mallets, hammers and chisels noiselessly so they could speak their lines whilst working on the stone, which added greatly to the authenticity of the scenes. Out of handling real limestone, the actors got blisters and scrapes on their hands which provided them with a keen understanding of what stone masons did and how strenuous and difficult their work was.

    • Ken Follet's favourite big prop was the tread wheel crane, equipped with a human-sized hamster wheel, which is usually operated by Alfred on the cathedral set.

    • This episode aired together with 1x01 Anarchy as a two hour premiere.

    • Eddie Redmayne (who plays Jack) does the 'Previously on The Pillars of the Earth' voiceover at the beginning of the episode.

    • 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.
      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, July 31st at 10:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Thursday, August 5th at 09:00pm on Starz Edge.
      Saturday, August 7th at 12:57 am on Starz Edge.
      Saturday, August 7th at 10:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Tuesday, August 24th at 12:00am on Starz.
      Friday, September 3rd at 11:00pm on Starz In Black.