This is the post I do every Friday, which I post a first line of a book, which generally has a connection to a date close to when it is posted. In addition the book is usually one that I have read or is on my TBR.

The reason I decided to do, Ivanhoe, as the book, for my First line Friday post, is because Sir Walter Scott the writer of this book was born on the same day and month as last weeks write stieg Larsson or though Scot was born on the 15th August 1771, 183 year before Stieg Larsson, was born.

So here goes:-

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

First line

“In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster.”

Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott


Ivanhoe tells the story of one of the remaining Anglo-Saxon families, at a time when the Normans were most of the power in the country.  It is now 1194 and people are returning to the country after the unsuccessful third crusade.

Returning to a and England dived between Jews and Christians, Saxons, and Normans, even Ivanhoe’s family is divided. This was because he want on the Crusade with, King Richard 1st ( Lionheart), who is still believed to be held by King Leopold of Austria, after being taken captive on his return.

Main Characters

Wilfred of Ivanhoe

A brave Yong Saxan Knight, banished by his farther for his support of the Norman King.

Cedric of Rotherfood

Ivanhoe’s farther, mistrusted by the Normans for his resistance against them.


Cedric’s ward, a decendent of Saxon kings, sh and Ivanhoe, are both in love.


A rich merchant, like all Jews at the time considered an “Infidel dog”, by Normans and Saxons alike.


Isac’s daughter who hates violence and chivalric deeds but loves Ivanhoe.

King Richard I

The heroic warrior Knight who secretly does good deeds as the Black Knight.

Prince John

Richard’s brother who plots to take over the throne of England.

Locksley, alias Robin Hood

Called “King of outlaws and prince of good fellows”, by Richard I


Ivanhoe, United States 1911, directed by J. Stuart Blackton[22]

Ivanhoe United States 1913, directed by Herbert Brenon; with King Baggot, Leah Baird, and Brenon. Filmed on location in England

Ivanhoe, Wales 1913, directed by Leedham Bantock, filmed at Chepstow Castle

Ye Olden Days United States 1933, directed by Burt Gillett

Ivanhoe, 1952, directed by Richard Thorpe, starring Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders; nominated for three Oscars.

film poster 1952

The Revenge of Ivanhoe (1965) starred Rik Battaglia (an Italian peplum)

Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman (1971) aka La spada normanna, directed by Roberto Mauri (an Italian peplum)

The Ballad of the Valiant Knight Ivanhoe (Баллада о доблестном рыцаре Айвенго), USSR 1983, directed by Sergey Tarasov, with songs of Vladimir Vysotsky, starring Peteris Gaudins as Ivanhoe.

TV Shows

1958: A television series based on the character of Ivanhoe starring

1970: A TV miniseries 

1982: Ivanhoe, a television movie starring

1986: Ivanhoe, a 1986 animated

1995: Young Ivanhoe, a 1995 television movie

1997: Ivanhoe the King’s Knight a televised cartoon series

1997: Ivanhoe, a 6-part, 5-hour TV miniseries

1999: The Legend of Ivanhoe, a Columbia TriStar International Television production

2005: A Channel 5 adaptation entitled Dark Knight

About Sir Walter Scott

protrait of sir walter scott
Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott was born on the 15th August 1771 in Edinbrough Scotland, in a third floor apatment near the city’s University. Being the ninth child, (six died previously), of Walter Scott (1729-1799) and his wife Anne Rutherford.

In 1773 Sir Walter Scott caught Polio which left him lame, which had an affect on his writing, throught his life, to help him with his illness, he spent a short period of his young life with his paternal grandparents in the Scottish Borders.

After studying at The University of Edinbrough, he start his apprenticeship as Writer at the Signeta society of Scottish Solicitors. Also around this time he meat the blind Scottish poet,Thomas Blacklock as well as Robert Burns.

Sir Walter Scott got his start in literature by translating German poems by Gottfried August Bürger these poems about German Folk History, joined up with his own interest in Scottish, folk law and history. This started him on writing his own poems on similar subjects.

Scots first novel Waverly, was published in 1814, with only 1,000 books were printed thug it was such a success, that same year another 3,000 books printed in two further editions. 27 further books under the Waverly name were published, (8 in France), and by the time the ^the sixth book Rob Roy came out, it had a first print run of 10,000 copies.

In 1820, there was a change of location and time period with, Ivanhoe, which is set in medival England, in addition 8 of the next 17 books were set around during the late, medival period of history.

In 1825 because of a UK banking crisis his printing firm went ou of business, and with Scott being the only one, financially involved, leaving himself in a debt of about £130,00 or £10.700,000, in todays money, rather than declare himself bankrupt, He put his finances under his creditors control, and wrote himself out of debt.

On the 29th October 1831, in hope of improving his health, he went to Malta and Naples, on a ship provided by the the Admiralty. However on his journey home he had is final stroke and was taken to Abbotsford, were hi died on 21st September 1832.

My Relationship with Ivanhoe

I came across the story of Ivanhoe after seeing the film on the TV when I was a child and going to the history books we had, (as this was before the internet), and looking up the historical context of the film.

A few years later a weekly collection which came out in 48 weeks called the, Great Writers, each week there was a about a writer’s life and his work concentraiting on on book, in addition, there was a hard back copy of that book. One of the weeks they did Sir Walter Scott and the Book was Ivanhoe. I did start to read it at the time although I did not finish it, the book has always been on my TBR, although not very high up on that list.

6 Facts About Sir Walter Scott And his works

Roger More, The third movie, James Bond, played Ivanhoe in the 1958 TV Series.

Edinbrough Waverly train station is named after the Waverly novels.

In 1818 it was Walter Scotts team that found Scotland’s missing crown Jewls.

Invented the story of Robin Hood Splitting the arrow in the target.

Splitting arrow

Named the war between the English royale dynasties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, The War of The Roses.

The story of Sir Walter Raleigh putting, his jacket on the floor to protect the foot of Elizabeth on the floor, comes from his novel Kenilworth.


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