Tuesday, March 10

Book Review: The Romance of Tristan and Iseult

Author: Joseph Bedier
Title: The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
Genre: Classic, Romance, Tragedy, & fantasy
Pages: 96
First Published: 1900
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

A tale of chivalry and doomed, transcendent love, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult is one of the most resonant works of Western literature, as well as the basis for our enduring idea of romance. The story of the Cornish knight and the Irish princess who meet by deception, fall in love by magic, and pursue that love in defiance of heavenly and earthly law

I do love my tragic romances and this has been one of my favorites since I first read it at 12 years old. Ah yes...I started my romances at a young age. The story of Tristan and Iseult is considered the inspiration of some of the most well-known romances like 'Romeo & Juliet' and 'Lancelot and Guinevere'. I do like the tale of Lancelot and Guinevere (even tho I root for Arthur to win), but I have never liked 'Romeo & Juliet'. 

"Why? It's tragic like Tristan and Iseult!" They ask.

NO! It is not...it is two little kids who knew each other for a couple weeks and decide kill themselves. I believe that a deep love comes from more then a pretty face and just wanting to "be together". While Tristan and Iseult know each other for years - try to deny their love, try to be good so they don't destroy their love's life, but their love will sooner or later destroy them. NOW THAT is tragic! 

I really love this romance and the retelling of the poetry is nice, however, I am not a fan of the "love potion" part. I feel it takes away from the element of love...because I feel like they felt love the moment Iseult saved Tristan the first time. Could be wrong, but they didn't need the potion. Maybe it made it the love more intense. 

Other then that, I do love the fantasy aspect of the story - like the dragon. I loved that scene. 

Oooooh, I am such a sap...my heart melted again for this book. I do love Tristan. But I also felt bad for King Mark...yes when he finds out that he is being betrayed by his wife and nephew he does snap, but he does make up for it later. Honestly, everything would have been fine if they didn't force King Mark to marry...he was fine with leaving Tristan is heir, but NOOOO the damn Councillors didn't like Tristan, so they forced a wife on King Mark to make an heir. Why can't anyone leave well enough alone?!


But yes...I highly recommend this to those that like some tragic classics in their lives. I must actually finish the movie from beginning to end now. I wish that this left out the "love potion", but alas...with or without it they were doomed to love each other. Other then that, I am still in love with the story and the characters. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 5 stars; more like 4.5, but alas, I rounded.

Favorite Character(s): King Mark (even tho he loses his cool at one point), Tristan, & Iseult
Not-so Favorite Character(s): The Councillors & the dwarf (>___>)  
 Favorite Quote(s): "Love pressed them hard, as thirst presses the dying stag to the stream; love dropped upon them from high heaven, as a hawk slipped after long hunger falls right upon the bird. And love will not be hidden...But in every hour and place every man could see Love terrible, that rode them, and could see in these lovers their every sense overflowing like new wine working in the vat."


Piecraft Bucharest said...

This is one of my favorite love stories ever, so your "sappiness" agrees with me perfectly :) You've written a thoughtful review - I love when I come across them. A beautiful post, celebrating a beautiful book. Great stuff...

Blodeuedd said...

Oh silly lovers

Melliane said...

It's interesting to have a different story like that. Not a fan of the cover though, but it's different and can be interesting. thanks!

Anachronist said...

I love this story (and I seriously hate Romeo and Juliet) and I agree with you: tragedy is not an instant suicide after a short bout of calf love. Tragedy is when love makes you betray your friend and your own code of honour.
A nice review of a classic!

Carole Rae said...

Felicia, there is a video game? I must find it and play it!

Ramona, thanks! :3 *blushes*

B, yes. Silly lovers.

Melliane, meh they can never give classic books a nice cover.

Ana, thank you for agreeing with me! Calf love! Bleh! But yes...they are the classic example of tragic love.