This was originally posted at Finding Why
Sharing this joy with others who choose to follow my lead is gratifying in the extreme.
A Knight’s Tale is a movie about a quest, but it’s not the type of quest won with swords. The entire film turns on a single early scene. (I’ll leave you to review the plot and characters if you haven’t seen it.)
A Knight’s Birth
William, determined to change his stars, gathers all the recently won silver from his two companions and announces that despite being of low birth, he intends to joust as a knight. Roland, William’s close friend, simply stares in confusion. Wat, less intimate and more volatile, says “We’re the sons of peasants! Glory and riches and stars are beyond our grasp! But a full stomach, that dream can come true!”
When William challenges them to take the silver if they can, Roland and Wat glance at each other, bewildered. Assuming they’ve agreed with his obviously correct judgment, William turns to walk away, at which point his loyal followers jump him from behind. The struggle ends with Wat biting William’s closed fist, shouting “See how hungry I am?”
Yet, Roland and Wat follow Will, and not just because he promises them riches. Roland’s repeated statement that “God love you, William; no one else will” is clearly manly bluffing. These men may have been bound by their service to Sir Ector, but Roland and Wat follow because they do, indeed, love Will.
The Dream Chooses You
Idealists don’t choose their obsession; it chooses them. The burning desire to create a world that matches our idealistic dream is the kind of lifelong quest real dreamers yearn for, not because we choose it, but because it’s who we are. It’s a road without maps or signposts, filled with challenges to overcome and thrills for the adventurous spirit.
Other travelers share the path, sometimes for their own short journey, sometimes to join the quest.
Squiring the Dreamer
Roland and Wat follow Will on his quest. They spend weeks training in the woods, bonding as a team, as friends; creating the impossible: a knight and his squires.
Late in the movie, when armed guards come for Will, his squires stand by him despite their misgivings. Loyalty doesn’t always include understanding; trust is not a purely logical thing. (In the scene with Will in the stocks, Prince Edward says, as he’s about to release Will, “Your men love you, and that would be enough for me.”)
In the end, each achieves his (or her, in the cases of Kate and Jocelyn) own vision of the dream. Though we’re not told what further dreams Roland, Wat, and Will pursue, it’s clear that Geoff is off to change the world in other, perhaps grander ways.
There is infinite inspiration in the quest to change the world.
The honesty and support and love of those who glimpse a vision and follow by choice is, perhaps, the nobler simply because it is a choice.