I’ve finished watching “The Pillars Of the Earth” yesterday and while I enjoyed the series very much and basically loved (or, at least loved to hate) every single character, because they are so complex, I must say, William is my favorite. So, I’ve decided to share my opinions on him and how I see him, because It seems how he is probably the most hated character in POTE.
First, I’d like to state how everything I say here is based only on the character of William Hamleigh in the tv-series, because I haven’t read the book yet. I am, however, aware that William in the series is much softer and not as despicable as he is in the book. And the fact that David Oakes plays him just makes it harder for me to hate the character. But I’m trying to be objective.
That said, don’t see William as the ultimate villain of POTE. He is an utterly evil psychopath, murderer and rapist, but I just think there are characters far worse than him. And it’s actually their fault he’s gotten this way. Being brought up in that day and age and in that family doesn’t leave him much choice of emotional growth and development. I see him mostly as a completly broken and tortured person, who has been abused and manipulated his whole life which led to his anger issues. Yes, watching his actions on the show, half of the time I was disguisted but the other half I just felt sorry for him. She made him that way. I think it’s because of his incestous relationship with his mother he can’t form a healthy bond with another woman. He was so sexually frustrated than he was litterally incapable of being in healthy relationship. In order to learn how to respect and care for your partner in the future it’s rather helpfull to have a healthy, caring relationship with your parents in your childhood. And what he has with Regan is nothing but rape and he feels disguisted with both herself and himself for doing it. So, what I’m actually saying is that evil isn’t born. It’s made. He is, most definitely , evil beyond redemption, but I doubt he was born that way. And he genuinely fears God and hell. For me, the key part of his character was when he asked Waleran to forgive him for his sins, which he was only about to commit. He feared burning in hell because of killing innocent peasants, but Regan and Waleran assured him that with simple “ego te absolvo” his soul would be saved, no matter what he did. And it was in that moment that the last bits of his humanity died. Because, if God forgives you murdering, raping, starting a fire…then, you’re not actually a sinner. In his own mind, William was not a villain (but then again, none of them were).I did, nevertheless, found it interesting when he murdered Regan with his wife’s doll. He wanted to hit Elizabeth but stopped in the last moment when he saw a doll she was holding. After that he takes the doll and suffocates his mother with it. I believe that the sight of a doll reminded him of his own childhood, his own long lost innocence and all the suffering she put him through. Killing her, he was finally setting himself free.
In conclusion, William Hamleigh is a truly horrible person and his actions are nowhere near justification, but Regan and Waleran were so much worse than him. They were both selfish, manipulative, evil, heartless villains who cared about nothing but themselves. It’s no wonder William coudn’t be different.
She looked very different. She wore rough, cheap clothing and wooden clogs, and the mass of curls that framed her head was damp with sweat. But it was definitely Aliena, and she was still so beautiful that his throat went dry and he stared at her, unable to tear his gaze away, while the service began and the priory close filled with the sound of a thousand voices saying the Our Father.
She seemed to feel his intense look, for she appeared troubled, shifting from foot to foot and then glancing around as if searching. Finally she met his eyes. An expression of horror and fear came over her face, and she shrank back, although she was already ten yards or more away and separated from him by dozens of people. Her fear made her all the more desirable to him, and he felt his body respond in a way it had not done for a year.