"...Why don't you kill him? Then you can keep the sword..."
Sgt. Harper (Daragh O'Malley) to Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean)

Quotation

 

 

origin
 

"SHARPE'S SWORD" - Film, 1994-- rg/03. November 2006

back to German Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharpe's Sword

Die Scharfschützen - Jenseits des Todes

Richard Sharpe, Major - Sean Bean
Patrick Harper, Sergeant - Daragh O'Malley
Rifleman Harris - Jason Salkey
Rifleman Hagman - John Tams
Rifleman Perkins - Lyndon Davis
Rifleman Cooper - Michael Mears
Rifleman "Tongue" - Paul Trussell

 

 

"Sharpe's Sword" begins with people, that couldn't be farer away from something so savage as a sword: We see a coach with a priest and same nuns in it.

But the peace of that first scene lasts only a few moments, then it is broken. A group of French soldiers catch them. They kill the nuns and torture the priest. And the most ruthless of them is the man with the sword, Colonel Leroux of Napoleons famous Imperial Guard.

Swords/Schwerter. Why is the man with the sword so easily identified as dangerous?

We see Leroux, his fine Klingenthal blade and we believe it at once, that here is a dark knight, that will bring death, betrayal, destruction...Verrat, Verderben...

"Schwert" - von althochdeutsch "swerd"

"Sword" - from Old English "sweord"

Fundort: Internet: Wikipedia

We know it from long, very long ago, from times that we only remember through long traded stories, stories that are told since our history vanishes into the literal darkness before the written word.

One of these stories is the Nibelungenlied, that tells about the adventures of Siegfried, of kings and knights and not to forget - about some beautiful women. The written version of the Nibelungenlied, that we know, was done in the 12th century. And why did I have to think of that tale? Apart from the fact that we hear about one of these famous swords that even have names - in this case Siegfrieds Balmung? It must have been Leroux, that coldhearted warrior, who struck a cord and reminded me irresistibly unwiderstehlich of the dark lord of the Nibelungenlied.

Hagen. Hagen von Tronje. "...von Tronie Hagene". A, as the Lied says, "...Recke..." (and is there a translation for that? "Warrior" says it, but not all) "...starc und vil küene / in scharfen striten unverzaget..." - strong and much brave / in sharp strife intrepid.. .

And were the author of the Nibelungenlied describes in the first chapters - called "Adventiures" - in elaborate detail all the other persons, Hagen is never explained. He is called from King Gunter of the Burgunder, when nobody at his court knows, who the fine man with his comrades might be, who arrives unannounced a the gate of Worms... "...sit wir in nicht erkennen, so sult ir heizen gan / nach minem oeheim Hagenen: / den sult ir si sehen lan..." - Since we of them know nothing, / bid some one quickly go / And fetch my uncle Hagen: / to him thou shalt the strangers show...

" Und damit betritt eine der Schlüsselfiguren des Nibelungenliedes, ...eine der glutvollsten, der erschreckendsten, doch so vertrauten Gestalten die Bühne: Hagen von Tronje. ... Und man (hört) den Tronjer hereinklirren und die anderen bei seinem Eintritt verstummen." (aus: "Disteln für Hagen", Joachim Fernau, Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, Taschenbuchausgabe, 2. Auflage Nov. 1978)

"And so, one of the key persons of the Nibelungenlied, one of the most glowing, frightening but so familiar figures enters the stage: Hagen von Tronje. ... One hears him clattering in and the others growing silent."

The films:

Die Scharfschützen - Das Banner des Blutes -- Sharpes Rifles

Die Scharfschützen - Der Adler des Kaisers -- Sharpes Eagle


Die Scharfschützen - Kommando ohne Wiederkehr -- Sharpes Company

Die Scharfschützen - Armee des Schreckens -- Sharpes Enemy

Die Scharfschützen - Der Preis der Ehre -- Sharpes Honour


Die Scharfschützen - Blutiges Gold --Sharpes Gold

Die Scharfschützen - Die Wolfsjagd -- Sharpes Battle

Die Scharfschützen - Jenseits des Todes -- Sharpes Sword


Die Scharfschützen - Das verschwundene Bataillon --Sharpes Regiment

Die Scharfschützen - Todfeinde -- Sharpes Siege

Die Scharfschützen - Der Verräter -- Sharpes Mission

Sharpes Revenge

Sharpes Justice

Sharpes Waterloo

Sharpes Challenge

 

"...It was a weapon of exquisite craftsmanship, a straight-bladed, heavy cavalry sword made by Kligenthal (sic!) as were most of the French cavalry blades...The blade was beautiful, a sheen of steel...and the hilt and guard were made of the same steel. The handle was bound by silver wire, the swords sole concession to decoration, but despite it's plainness, the weapon proclaimed itself as a beautiful, exquisitely balanced killing blade."

from book "Sharpe's Sword" by Bernhard Cornwell, HarperCollins Publishers, London, paperback edition 1994 (first published 1983)

But at least, one of the females, not a nun yet, has managed to escape, and do we wonder, that she is rescued a short time later by our Richard Sharpe and his men? Due to the terrible things she has seen, she can't speak, and can't really remember what has happened, and since nobody knows her name, she is simply called "lass".

Lass now, showing that she is a true female chooses for her saviour, hero and protector none other then Mister Sharpe.

Poor Sharpe - not only has he to handle the addition of Lass to his troup, but also he has to arrange himself with a captured French officer, a Captain Delmas (as he names himself) to whom he takes an instant dislike. Not only were the circumstances of his capturing strange, he was found near the body of a French soldier of high rank - at least his tunic indicated that - but also this Delmas carries a beautiful sword, a Klingenthal, and isn't that a much too expensive item for a little French officer?

Sword Interlude - About Klingenthal

"Klingenthal" that now of course is a German word. Not that I ever had heard before of that place or manufactory. Long live the internet - fleißig googeln - and you learn: "Klingenthal" is a French blade manufactory!!!! Situated in Elsass, hence the German name. And what does it mean? "Klinge" = Blade, "Thal" = Valley. The blade valley. and actually named from the making of blades, they did there. Founded in the 18th century, because France didn't want to be so dependent from the - now it comes - blade manufactury in Solingen! in Germany...

First workers were from Solingen. Reality has always the best phantasy - German Workers working hard to create perfect weapons - Fine Swords - for the Arch Enemy, isn't that the ultimate irony? So the French can happily pierce the blades through them Germans - or perhaps of course a few Englishmen.

And the "English Irony": Sharpe's Sean comes from Sheffield, (would we translate that into "Klingenstadt"?) and what does his 100% Blade Tattoo on one arm mean in this context? ;-) Hey, all these men made of steel. Subconsious connection of Bernard Cornwell, when he wrote the book long before the films? Chance? Or is there no chance and it just is another proof that Bean had to be Sharpe?

Infos about Klingenthal: http://www.chez.com/klingenthal/

We? Well, we know already, that he is Leroux, because we have seen, how he managed to change the tunics and then has shot down in cold blood his soldier collegue. But Sharpe? He cannot know, but his instincts tell him all the same, that this is not the harmless man, he tries to be. When he asks for parole, Sharpe is all denial, but is overruled by his senior officer, Colonel Berkeley

Back at the camp, Lass'es determination to be protected only by Richard Sharpe leads to some hilarious scenes. She doesn't want to stay in Harpers and Ramonas tent, and as soon as she is alone, flies into Sharpe's, were he finds her, as he wants to go to sleep. Not that he tries (pretty hard) to deliver her back, but has in the end to give in: She sleeps in his tent - on the floor, with her own blanket, sternly ordered to stay were she is! And in the next night, he sleeps outside, and she is in his bed.

"...Sigurd the southern laid a naked sword, a glittering falchion, between them; nor the damsel did he kiss, nor did the Hunnish king to his arm lift her. He the blooming maid to Giuki's son delivered..."

Ayy, these knightly men - always so considerate, and always at the wrong time... Oh yes, and this is also from a Siegfried saga - Did you really think, he was known only by one name? No, No! Sigurd he his called in an older version of the story, found in the Edda, and the written version - see above - is from the 8th/9th century. And he is together with the Valkyre Brunhilde. At night, in the bed. But she is not to be his, he has sworn, that she would be King Gunter's, and so... <sigh>

"...Now he watched as Sharpe handed the weapon to the Frenchman, a symbol that he had given his parole and would be trusted with his personal weapon..."

from book "Sharpe's Sword" by Bernhard Cornwell, HarperCollins Publishers, London, paperback edition 1994 (first published 1983)

 

 

But back to the business of war...Grimly, Sharpes doubts of the captured fulfill themselves.

The so called Delmas, now moving free in the camp, will be called before a court of honour, on the request of Sharpe. Sharpe wants to prove, that Delmas is not what he seems to be, and is in fact none other then Colonel Philippe Leroux. He has for prove the two French uniform jackets, and when Delmas is forced to try them on, it shows, that the one is obviously much too short for him, and the other, the one from a Colonel, fits perfectly. But Delmas, helped by the engaging British officer Lord Jack Spears, defends himself to the satisfaction of Colonel Berkeley. Again, he has overruled Sharpe....

Then, the South Essex is ordered to Villafranca. Here, the Fort is held by the French, and the Town by the British. As soon, as they arrive, still with "Delmas" in tow, Sharpe finds, that another trial is waiting for him: None other then the arrogant Simmerson is in charge of the British!

As soon, as they meet in front of town and fort, it comes to a confrontation, in which the Lord Spears takes immediately Sharpe's side and affronts Simmerson in front of all the South Essex and the town notabilities.

For Sharpe, forever fighting with the arrogance of the noble officers cast, that is such an unusual situation, that he is now really starting to befriend Spears. who has already offered to call him by his surname, Jack...

 

 

"...und wil dirz helfen enden / so ich aller beste kan. / doch hât der künec Gunther / vil manegen hôchferten man..."
"... I'll help as best I can, / Yet in King Gunther's service / is many a haughty-minded man..."

Hmmm, yes, and also that is from the Nibelungenlied...It's, were Siegfried decides to go to the Kingdom of Burgundy, because he has heard of the great beauty of Kriemhild, sister to the king. Now, you might wonder - is that really said to Siegfried? SIEGFRIED?? The prince? The Kings son from Xanten? Warned that he will find "...haughty-minded..." man? Now, he is going into another Kings land, that, we would think, means a visit from equal to equal? Nobles amongst themselves?

...And yes, here begins the really interesting part about Siegfried. And I invite you - come...come with me on a journey, which will lead us back, back in time, before the written versions, back to the roots of it all, Siegfrieds roots, as far back as the wild 5th century. And here it is: A time of ruthless changing. The "Völkerwanderungszeit" - primitive German tribes destroying the 400 year old PAX ROMANA and the refined culture of the Romans within only a few years!

Grim men, who have left their homes, and also the laws and rules, behind. And it is a certain type of man you need in such times. Not the "Kings sons" ... not the "heirs" or the fine courtiers, no. Because here, there is nothing to inherit. But all to win. If you are resourceful. If you have intelligence. If you are strong. And if you have this above all: The hunger and drive to better yourself, to make your own luck, to create your own kingdom...

And that, these men, are usually not the fed, warm and cosy creatures of nobility, but, - like in all times - the Princes of Nowhere of humble origins with the empty bellies and the ready swords...

Sword Interlude - About the Making of Swords in Old Times

.I was a short time ago in a Museum, where they showed old tradional crafts. One was a smith. The smithy was situated at a watermill, they needed the force of the mill for the big bellows and the big sledge hammers. Here were the most people, and in the dark room with its big fire you could have heard a needle drop, when the smith - and old, wiry guy, explained, how his assistent tried to make a damascened knife.

"Damascened" or, as I find it is called in English: "pattern welded", means, that strips of hard steel and soft iron are wielded together in a complicated process to give the so made blades the qualties of both materials: too hard to bend, too soft to break...

And that was, what the apprentice tried to do. It is important, how you heat the iron, how to cool it, how to heat it again, how it is most important to put ashes on the steel, how to forge it for some time and then back again into the fire to create something so simple as a knife!

It must have needed days, weeks, months to create a really formidable sword. This must have been a really expensive and valued weapon. In Europa, this technique goes back a long time:

"As early as 700 BC, the Celts were forging weapons, both spears and swords, by piling on layers of iron and forging the whole mess. This process continually improved until by 500 AD excellent pattern-welded swords were being made. In this process, bundles of carburized iron bars were welded together, and then a hard steel edge was welded on. This produced a sword, usually double-edged, with a soft, resilient body and a hard edge. The sword was flat, rather thin, quite light and flexible. Weight was in the area of 28 to 40 ounces." (Fundort: Wikipedia)

No wonder, that the blade smiths were highly valued. so it says for example in the "Pactus Alemannorum" from about the year 600:

"...the highest valued (amongst the slaves) were the lifes of smiths. Who killed an iron smith had to pay 40 Solidi as fine..."

"... Am höchsten (unter den Leibeigenen) wurde das Leben der Schmiede bewertet. wer einen Eisenschmied tötete mußte 40 Solidi Buße zahlen..." aus dem um ca. 600 n. Chr. entstandenen "Pactus Alemannorum",
aus: "Die Erben Roms" von Rudolf Pörtner, Verlag Droemer Knaur, Taschenbuchausgabe 1975

And since the smiths made a big secret about the exact techniques, they used, it was surely no wonder, that they were thought to be connected to the gods and have supernatural forces. Until today, there is something special about the smith. I could feel it in this smithy: Something strange was in that room also, and even in these modern times you could feel the breathe of the old gods, that were so important to protect or damn the lifes of their people...

 

And Siegfried, with his finely made sword "Balmung"? The descriptions in both Edda and Nibelungenlied, when they come to him, are nicely short and full of the simple telling of facts: He came to the kingdom of Nibelung and Schildung, two dwarfs, who couldn't decide, who should own the big treasure, they had. They asked the foreigner Siegfried, who tried to find a way, and in the end, when they quarreled all the same - killed both, took the treasure and became himself the King of the land, which made him a "Nibelunge" (hence the name <g>) Also, he met on his fares a dragon, called Fafnir, and killed him. (that must have been pretty impressive, because he is in the older tales always called the "Fafnicide", der Drachentöter!)

So: all the ingrediences of the Selfmademan, known and feared for his strength, who created his own image and lived by his sword...

"...Siegfried war kein Königssohn. Er war ein haus- und hofloser Abenteurer, er kam aus der Schicht, aus der in jener grauen Vorzeit die 'Recken' hochgespült wurden..." (aus Diesteln für Hagen)

"...Siegfried was not a king's son. He was an adventurer with no background, he came from the class, from which in this dark age the 'Recken' were flushed up..."

 

Berkeley, shocked by Leroux' ruthlessness and the events, decides, that a direct and immediate attack to the French Fort is asked for.

It will happen in the same night as a surprise.

But when the attack begins, it dawns on us pretty fast, that the French are prepared - Someone must have informed them, someone from on the British side. A traitor - and not Leroux, because he vanished before Berkeley made the decision.

Was it perhaps the Irish Rector? One amongst the British soldiers? A question, that will occupy us for the rest of the story.

But at the moment, in the darkness of the night, we fear with the British. The attack becomes a terrible slaughter. Berkeley is mortally wounded, and Sharpe leads from now on. He even manages to enter the Fort at a breach, where he finds Leroux, and a fierce fight, sword against sword breaks out...

Sword Interlude - About Film Swords

- They are used in fighting choreographies, for example in Film, theatre and TV. Here, you pary solely with the edge, which would destroy a historical, sharp sword. Out of this reason, Film Swords have a "pary"- edge from 2 mm (light swords) and 4 mm (for heavy fightings in especially action intense scenes)"

"Schaukampfschwerter - Diese werden in Kampfchoreografien eingesetzt, wie sie z.B. bei Film, Theater und Fernsehen noch immer üblich sind.
Pariert wird dabei ausschließlich mit der Schneide, was ein historisches, scharfes Schwert zerstören würde... Aus diesem Grund haben Schaukampfschwerter eine "Schlagkante" von zwischen 2 mm (bei leichten Exemplaren) und 4mm (für hohe Beanspruchungen in besonders "actionreichen" Darstellungen)."
Fundort: Internet: www.dietraumschmiede.de (viele interessante Infos zum Thema Schwertschmieden.)

...it ends with Sharpe breaking his heavy cavalry sword and a hasty retreat of the British. In the chaos of it, Sharpe is shot down without anybody of his comrades noticing it.At the next morning it is impossible for Harper, to find him, dead or alive. For the world, Sharpe is dead...

"...Die frühen Sagen kennen viele Recken. Sie mußten stets siegen. Ihre erste Niederlage war zugleich ihr Ende; man zertrampelte sie..." (aus Diesteln für Hagen)

"...The early tales know many 'Recken". They always had to win. Their first defeat was a the same time their end. They were crushed..."

"Hier ist in dem Liede gesagt von dem Tode Sigurds. Und geht es hier so zu als hätten sie ihn draußen getödtet; aber Einige erzählen so, daß sie ihn erschlugen drinnen in seinem Bette, den schlafenden. Aber deutsche Männer sagen, daß sie ihn erschlugen draußen im Walde. Und so heißt es im alten Liede von Gudrun, daß Sigurd und Giukis Söhne zum Thing geritten waren, als sie ihn erschlugen. Aber das sagen Alle einstimmig, daß sie ihn treulos betrogen und ihn mordeten liegend und wehrlos."(aus: Ältere Edda, Bruchstück (?) eines Brynhildenliedes.)

"From this lay, in which the death of Sigurd is related, it appears that he was slain without doors, while some relate that he was slain sleeping in his bed: but the Germans say he was slain out in the forest; and it is told in the "Gudrunarkvida hin Forna," that Sigurd and the sons of Giuki had ridden to the public assembly (thing) when he was slain. But it is said by all, without exception, that they broke faith with him, and attacked him while lying down and unprepared." (from: Elder Edda, Part of a Brynhild Tale)

 

 

"...Die bluomen allenthalben von bluote waren naz..."

"...The flowers all around here were wet from his blood..."

Siegfried, the man without anything, made all through the sword, he had done it. He had won everything. Rich beyond dreams through the "Nibelungenschatz", he even had won the hand and love of Kriemhild, a real princess. But with one stroke of a sword, it is all over for him.

And we seem to hear the collective sigh of the established. Order is restored. All can now go on as usual. And Hagen, with his cold mind, he knows also, what to do with Siegfrieds body. They will neatly restore it to Kriemhild, his loving wife:

"...es hiez hagne tragen / sifrieden also toten / von niblunge lant / fur eine kemenaten / da er kriemhilde vant / er hiez in tougenliche / legen an diu ture / daz si in da vinden solde / so si gienge her fure..."

"...Hagen bade to bear / Siegfried thus lifeless, / of the Nibelung country, / Unto a castle dwelling / where Lady Kriemhild found might be. / He bade in secret manner / to lay him there before /
Where she should surely find him / when she from out the door /
Should pass to matins early, / ere that had come the day. ..."

 

...And there it is. The question. Why? Why has it to be Sharpe? And the answer? No sense, no real reason. The war, the cruelness of life. A traitor, who wanted something. And it is Leroux, the man without a conscience, there in the background. He is the Hagen to Sharpe's Siegfried, and the blood of the victims fall forever on the flowers in the field...

 

What follows in the Nibelungenlied, is a time of deep depression. Krimhild weeps for her lost loved one. But after the first deep shock, she wants to know, who is responsible for it? Who has betrayed Siegfried?

Kriemhild changes from the cheerful princess to a dark, doomed person, a forlorn soul. For her, earth is now hell. And from now on, she seeks only revenge...

...Sharpe's friends won't stop searching for him. And in the end, an advise from the Irish Rector send them in the right direction. There is this room. A dark deep cellar, where the common soldiers are carried, when they are deadly wounded. It is called the death room, and so it looks. A doomed place for forlorn souls. If there is hell on earth, here, it can be found.

Slowly, Harper, Ramona and Lass go down the stairs, they will even fight hell to find their Major. And, thank god, one of the miserable creatures, left to die, is the man, they seek...

Sword Interlude - About Bladesmithing in Movies

There are many incorrect depictions of bladesmithing in modern movies, which mislead their audiences into false understandings of the art.

For instance, in the beginning of Conan the Barbarian, Conan's father, upon forging his sword, quenches the orange-hot blade in snow. In truth, this action would probably crack the blade. Sub-zero quenches (that is, quenching a blade at forging temperature in a medium that is extremely cold, such as snow or liquid nitrogen) are useful for some metals such as stainless steel, which is a fairly recent invention, but most other high carbon steels must be quenched in some sort of oil or a brine solution to avoid cracking or warpage." Fundort: Wikipedia - Bladesmith

Sword Interlude - About European blades

The European blade was light, fast, with a hard edge (carbon content ranges from .75% to 1.2%) and capable of delivering a terrible, shearing blow. It was also a one-handed weapon, usually used in conjunction with a wooden shield. Flexibility was a definite necessity. When cutting into a shield or the body of a foeman, the blade had to be able to twist and bend and not break or distort. A man with a sword cutting him does not stand still. Opposed by the armor in use at the time -- mail, leather or heavy padding -- a sword can cut much deeper if it is thin and wide at the striking point because a thin blade does not have to push a great deal of material aside. These swords will cut mail when a hard blow is struck and the mail hit squarely. ...

...These swords remained quite popular until about 900 AD when a new sword appeared. This sword was somewhat slimmer in the area of the point, tapering more sharply from the hilt, and was composed of steel-not iron that had been carburized, but steel all the way through. They were easier to make and, for all intents and purposes, just as strong as the earlier blades. Fundort: http://www.thearma.org/essays/hype.htm

 

Now begins a grim fight for Sharpe's life. Lass is determined, to bring him back to health, and she, who had lost her faith in the christian religion, is even attending mess, finding what she has lost, in the loneliness of the long nights, she spends at Sharpes sickbed.

Harper, desperate to do something, that might help, starts making a new sword from a rough blade. He forms it, forges it, and grinds it. It will be ready, when his Major needs it again, and he will need again a sword, of that Harper is deadly sure.

And Sharpe, in the end, comes back to life. The fever is broken, his terrible wounds mend, and Lass declares her love - Now, wait a minute, wasn't she mute only a second ago? Well, well, that is the effect, Sharpe has on the poor women who come near him, they just can't help it, to fall in love and get healed by the simple method of sharing the Majors bed with him.

At the same time, Rifleman Harris, the learned one, is searching in the library of the castle, where they stay, for the book Candide. That was the book, Leroux had with him, when they caught him in the first place, and Harris is sure, if he can compare the book with the "bill", Leroux had in his pocket, he will break the code and can decipher the bill as a secret note. Will it provide them with the answer, who the traitor on British side is?

Finally, and with the unconscious help of Simmerson, Candide is found. Harris starts to translate.

Kriemhild accepts the marriage offer from the powerful king of the Huns, Attila. He, impressed by her beauty and refinement, is willing to do everything, she wants.

Krimhild has learned, who was responsible for Siegfrieds death: Not only Hagen, but also her own brothers. And so, the last act of the Nibelungenlied begins. The Burgund kings and their knights are invited to a big feast at Attilas court. When they are all in the hall, Krimhild breaks the sacred rules of hospitality. She, who has never stopped loving Siegfried, wants, that everyone who is responsible, pays in full for his death. The Burgunds fight valiantly, but they cannot win against the forces of the mighty Attila.

The still mightily weak Sharpe leaves his sickbed (and Lass) and his men present there gifts: The new Sword from Harper, brown paper powder from Hagman - and the name of the traitor from Harris.

With him found, the final act begins. He will find his punishment. And since this time, nobody has informed the other side, the new attack on the French fort suceeds.

Sharpe - one wonders, how his wounds could heal so fast - finds Leroux and this time, nobody will prevent his revenge. It will be a fight with swords, man against man...

...and I WON'T tell, who lies on the earth at the end!

 

In the end, only Hagen is still alive, and Krimhild confronts him:

Si sprach so habt ir vbele geltes mich gewert / so wil doch ich behalten daz Sivrides swert
daz trvoc min holder vriedel do ir im namet den lip / mortlich mit vntriwen sprach do daz iamerhafte wip

Si zoch ez von der scheiden daz enchunder niht gewern / do dahte si den rechen des libes vol behern
si hvbez mit ir handen daz hovpt si im abe slvoc...

Quoth she: "But ill requital / hast thou made to me. / Yet mine the sword of Siegfried / now henceforth shall be,
The which when last I saw him, / my loved husband bore, / In whom on me such sorrow / through guilt of thine doth weigh full sore."

She drew it from the scabbard, / nor might he say her nay, / Though thought she from the warrior / his life to take away.
With both hands high she raised it / and off his head struck she...

Interestingly so, when there is a tale where swords are involved, people don't come away from these old images of the man with the sword. Something mythical swings with it. A Sword is not simply a weapon, but also a symbol for a whole way of life and for thousands of years of our own history. The knight goes with the sword, even if he is not the nobleman, as we imagine him. Siegfried wasn't that, and neither is Sharpe.

But both lived - and live - through the sword, and even Bernard Cornwell, usually so matter of fact, can't help it. In the foreword of his book "Sharpe's Sword" he says this:

"...I have never really thought of Sharpe as a man from the age of chivalry, yet he is certainly no economist and his sword was ever ready to leap from its scabbard when a woman was involved..." / from book "Sharpe's Sword" by Bernhard Cornwell, HarperCollins Publishers, London, paperback edition 1994 (first published 1983)

Swords... Finally, after searching for days and weeks, to learn more about this mythic, historic, thousands of years old weapon, it struck me, what a sword really is. That was, after reading an article were the sharpening of a sword was compared to that of a kitchen knife, which reminded me instantly of some merciless sharp knifes in my own kitchen...

Yes, and that was finally the moment, when suddenly I saw it: Nothing slightly unreal, nothing full of meaning, no sign, symbol or method, no art of state, fencing or anything. No, in the essence, it is just that: a very big knife, a completely physical item.

No nonsense about that, and certainly no plaything. Think of it: Here you are, and the man opposite you draws this, nearly a meter or three feet long knife of shining steel, with an edge viciously sharpened to cut through your skin as easily as through butter... Brrrr. One stroke, and you could sing your songs and tell your tales in the underworld or the high halls of Valhalla...

 

 

Sharpe ends up with one thing to decide. He fought with the crude sword, that Harper had made for him, and here is the elegant Klingenthal from Leroux, his object of desire from begin on...

...Yet Sharpe's sword was lucky. There was a soldiers' goddess and her name was Fate and she had liked the sword Harper made for Sharpe. The Kligenthal (sic!) was stained with the blood of friends, with the torture of flayed priests, and the beautiful sword contained not luck, but evil...

...From now on this old sword with its dull scabard, would be his sword and Fate's weapon; Sharpe's sword..."

from book "Sharpe's Sword" by Bernhard Cornwell, HarperCollins Publishers, London, paperback edition 1994 (first published 1983)

A few recommended books:

Das Nibelungenlied, text can also be found on Internet: English: www.gutenberg.org, Deutsch: http://gutenberg.spiegel.de,

Sharpes Sword by Bernard Cornwell

The last Kingdom/The Pale Horseman/The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell,
brings to life the early Middle Ages in England, when they were threatened by the Vikings

Das letzte Königreich (The last Kingdom), Bernard Cornwell, im Januar 2007 auf deutsch erschienen

Rhinegold/Rheingold by Stephan Grundy, a book, I like very much, about the Nibelungen and Siegfried and the old Nordic gods. Mighty creatures adequately portrayed

 

You can get the Films

They ran on German TV, and now, at long last, they will come out also in Germany on DVD, on the 8. November 2007!

Pictures:

Background-Picture : Fundort: http://www.mmsseiten.privat.t-online.de/ga-002.htm , Picture 1: Internet, Picture 2,3,4,5: Screencaptures

 

  rg/03.März 2007
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