Ludwig II (2012, HD, auf Deutsch w/Spanish subtitles, 2 hrs 22 mins)
Dramatic retelling of the life of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria in the 1800′s, one of the most fascinating monarchs of modern times. From his accession to the throne at the age of 18 to his passionate support of Richard Wagner and his music. From his political commitment to his obsessive construction of extravagant palaces and his gradual withdrawal into a lonely dream world.”
He is unfortunately so beautiful and wise, soulful and lordly, that I fear his life must fade away like a divine dream in this base world… You cannot imagine the magic of his regard: if he remains alive it will be a great miracle!
Richard Wagner, upon meeting King Ludwig II of Bavaria
do you have a favorite historical figure? since you study history?
YES OMG YES YES LUDWIG II OF BAVARIA
I mean how can you not love this beautiful man who spent his life building lots of castles based on myths just because he could, while being madly in love with musicals and theater and worshipping Ludwig xiv and richard wagner
he was also a drama queen, didn’t liked people and being in crowds and he was probably gay and I love him and have read entire books about him just because I love him so much
Ludwig II is my favorite dead king and no one can convince me there is someone greater out there
I just got back from a tiny mini-vacation! One I’ve been looking forward to for a year now.
I went to Bavaria.
You see, I love my home. I love Germany and I love the corner of Germany where I’m from - the Black Forest - because it is literally the place of fairy tales. The original Enchanted Forest. And you can just… feel the fairy tales in every corner of it.
But this mini-vacation brought me to the most magical fairy-tale-like place on Earth. The one and only, the original - Castle Neuschwanstein. Everyone has at the very least seen variations of it, because Disney and… literally everyone else who ever thought up a fairy tale castle… drew their inspiration from Neuschwanstein.
To me, personally, it’s the epitome of dreams. You see, you’ve probably never heard of Ludwig II if you’re not from Germany, I guess. So let me briefly elaborate.
King Ludwig II was the king of Bavaria. Not Germany; Bavaria. Now, Bavaria is part of Germany but back then it was its own kingdom. And Ludwig, he… was the king of dreams. He was known as the Märchenkönig - the fairy tale king. He spent his money and mind on art and music rather than war. He surely wasn’t a perfect king, he wasted a lot of money on his various castle projects, but he was a true dreamer.
And Neuschwanstein is… magical. Inside and out. Every single room is painted with illustrations from myths. Tristan and Isolde. Siegfried the Dragon Slayer. The Holy Grail. They’re detailed and beautiful and enchanting.
The fact that he was such a dreamer and visionary aside, he was also a rather fascinating character. For one; he was gay. He was engaged to a woman for a while but in the end broke the engagement off. He never got married to a woman.
His best friend was his cousin the empress of Austria - Sisi. A woman herself who is quite the interesting character. As much a princess of my childhood as Aurora, Cinderella or Belle were, because there was this cartoon show about her… I’m unsure if it ever even got an English dub or if it was purely Germany though?
And, to this day, no one knows how Ludwig really died. Whether he was assassinated or if he killed himself, after he was dethroned.
I’m just… really a little obsessive with Ludwig II. He fascinates me. He’s the only histoical figure that if time-travel was real, I’d be dying to meet.
And while I was there, I also went to see a musical about his life. It was… mindblowing. Such beautiful imagery and the acting and singing and story and… Even though I already listened to it like 50 times on YouTube, I still cried at the end. I always do.
In my opinion, everyone who would describe themselves as a dreamer, everyone who has an interest in fairy tales and all things that take you to magical places… should, at least once in their life, at the very least visit Castle Neuschwanstein. I’d also recommend Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof, but Castle Neuschwanstein is a must see.
As mentioned in my last post - I went to Bavaria and I saw the musical “Ludwig 2″. Consider myself hooked at the moment.
I want a Disney movie about Ludwig II featuring Empress Sisi as a Disney princess. I want Disney to romantize all the bad things away and I want them to go full-gay and have Ludwig be the first gay Disney prince.
And now let me explain why.
I mean, I’ve always had a fascination with King Ludwig II and I always had the OTP Ludwig/happiness, because he would have truly deserved his own Prince Charming. After a tiny bit of digging, I found out that aside from his one-sided love for Richard Wagner, he was apparently in relationships with both a literal prince - Paul von Thurn und Taxis - and his stable-master Richard Hornig (the pun about riding is really hard to suppress here).
So, before I get into the musical, let me introduce who’s on the picture, left to right:
Prince Otto of Bavaria, Ludwig’s little brother
Count Alfred von Dürckheim, Ludwig’s best friend and confidant
King Ludwig II of Bavaria
Empress Sisi of Austria, Ludwig’s cousin and closest friend
Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, ex-fiance of Ludwig and younger sister of Sisi
Now, I’d like to get into the musical a bit to explain, because my guess is not many have seen it. Considering it’s a German musical only playing in ooone location. The background of the picture is the view you have when standing in front of the theatre where the musical is playing. It is literally across the lake, right opposite of Castle Neuschwanstein.
The musical was about King Ludwig II and his life. In a sort-of similar way as Hamilton; that is to say, it is vastly romantized and not actual history, of course.
Now, as priviously mentioned, Ludwig was gay. But going into this musical, I never expected to get a “Our love can not be”-like duet between Ludwig and a male lover. I’m a realist like that. Ludwig II is literally the most beloved king we had and Bavaria is two things - a country very proud of their cultural heritage aaand the most Christian place in all of Germany. So for a cultural icon to be portayed as gay… yeah, we’re about two to three decades too early for that, by Bavarian standards. I mean, come on, we’re talking about people still laughing the hardest when Prussians are being insulted or made fun of because they’re still hung up on that feud. Which is like literally two centuries old. And Prussians don’t even exist anymore.
So, I had no hopes for gay romance, despite how much I’d have loved it. But it would have also been nice if they hadn’t invented a love-story for Ludwig and Sisi. To explain that, let me recap a little first;
Ludwig became king when he was 18 because his father died. He was a dreamer who would have preferred music and fairy tales and magic over war and death. But his hand was forced; either back up the Prussians in the war or have the Prussians go to war against Bavaria in retalliation. So he was forced to send his younger brother Otto into the war too - and Otto came back a changed and broken man, suffering from PTSD. (The musical had two amazing numbers on PTSD, which surprised me. One sung by Otto, about the nightmares he faced and is still suffering under. And one sung by Ludwig, about losing his brother and wanting him back, asking Otto to return to him.)
For some time, Ludwig was engaged to Sophie, Sisi’s younger sister (that “some time” being right in the year after his princely lover broke up with him to marry a woman as his family pressured him to do). It’s pretty obvious that he broke the engagement off because he was gay and he couldn’t force himself to marry a woman. He died as a king without a queen.
Now, the musical instead spun the tale that Ludwig broke the engagement to Sophie off because he was in love with Sisi. Which he wasn’t. Aside from the whole, ya know, being gay thing, Sisi was his closest friend and nothing more. I’m convinced she might have also been the only person he ever confided in about being gay.
So that part irked me. Because I dislike best friends turned lovers plots anyway, but in that case it was such a straight-washing.
They did, however, put a musical number in that, if they’re pretending Ludwig is straight, really confuses me. The song is called “Die Schweigenden werden verstehen”, meaning “Those keeping silent will understand”, which in its lyrics and sub-text was read by me as a heavy wink that anyone in the closet will understand why Ludwig had to do what he did. Especially since it was sung by his nanny, who always supported him, Sisi his best friend, and his ex-fiance Sophie.
Straight-washing aside, I really truly shipped the hell out of Dürckheim and Ludwig. As above mentioned, I really just always wanted my king to be happy because he lead such a tragic life. And literally the only moment in the musical where he was truly happy, where he was running around laughing and being carefree, was when he showed off Neuschwanstein, still in the middle of being built, to Dürckheim. And just… the way Dürckheim was looking at him, in such fond exasperation, that was such a real expression that it startled me. It was loving. Not to mention, throughout the musical Dürckheim was fiercely protective of his king and always stood true and by his side.
But let me get a bit into why his life was tragic. Bavaria is very, very Christian and the love of God is and was very important. So for Ludwig, it was a harsh conflict, what he was feeling and what the general interpretation of his religion deemed right (I don’t want to say what his religion deems right, because Christianity isn’t against gays; it’s dickheads using religion as a tool to oppress others that twist it to fit their agenda). He spent a lot of his kingdom’s money - and also a lot of money his kingdom didn’t have - on his castle projects. His beautiful fairy tale castles. He was a dreamer and not cut out for war either.
So in the musical, you see this cabinet of villains who want to dethrone him, who blackmail a psychiatrist to declare Ludwig unfit to rule, because they wanted war and he stood in the way of that.
Ludwig was declared unfit to rule and he was held in detention, historically speaking. But no one really knows what happened after that. Ludwig and his doctor went to the lake. It wasn’t a deep lake, it barely reached their knees. Yet later in the evening, both were found dead. To this day, no one knows what truly happened. If Ludwig, driven mad by the wars and his own inner conflict, killed himself and his doctor, of if both were assassinated by those who had taken the throne from Ludwig to make sure the people’s beloved king could not rise again.
Obviously, the musical went for the second route. Because what’s a good story without villains? (And villains are also a very important ingredient for a good Disney-movie.)
And that’s it. That’s the most basic summary of the musical and his life and of what I’d love to see in the movie. I mean, obviously they’d cut back on the PTSD because it should be child appropriate - and I can tell you, I as a 25 year old woman sat real mortified in the theatre at the overwhelming imagery they chose for those scenes.
The musical just… left me very convinced that Ludwig and Dürckheim were more than just friends. And Ludwig would have deserved this love. He really did.
Anyway, as a child I grew up with the cartoon show Sisi and I loved it. To me, she was always one of the unofficial Disney princesses along with Odette and Anastasia.
Which brings me to what I want. I’d love to see Sisi as an actual Disney princess. Romantize the SHIT out of Ludwig and Sisi and their lives like you did with Hercules. But I’d be over the moon and back if Ludwig were to be the first official animated homosexual Disney character. Tell his story, AND use Sisi as his best friend - that way, you get a gay and you still get a Disney princess. You’d also get a straight love story in it due to Sisi and Franz, which as romantized as the cartoon show had it was basically THE it-couple of royalty to me as a child.
I mean, come on, this covers everything a good Disney movie needs. A princess. A prince. Music - because Ludwig was obsessed with music and art so the musical elements would fit rather neatly. The literal fairy tale castle.
So, to round this thing up, this above is what I’d love to see.