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  #1  
Old May 29th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Malene
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Balian of Ibelin

I think this character deserves a thread.He is of course discussed many places in this forum,but I would like to talk a bit only about him and everything he is.
I do believe there are other people here who might be a bit interested in this man..
Needless to say this thread will contain SPOILERS.

Despite everything I had read about Balian both from movie critics and fans,he was still different from what imagined when I finally got to see the movie.This man may be humble,but he does not take crap from anyone.Even early on when Guy De Lusignan is mocking and taunting him about being a peasant and a bastard kid of Godfrey's,he doesn't look insulted or humbled.His expression rather says "Man,this guy is a stupid jerk!" and he takes back right away.He never let's Guy feel better than him.

Orlando and perhaps Ridley too,has put a lot of work in creating his body language,it seems.He moves quickly,without hesitation.In the beginning of the story when he is working in the smithy he works fast,with determination.Later when he kills the priest,quick and precise.And it continues like that all the way through.Like snapping the whip out of Guy's hand.And in the battle scenes.When he kills those three Templars,they didn't know what hit them!
And other incidents,like catching that horse after the ship has stranded.One second he's kneeling to drink water,the next he is on the other side of the waterhole catching the horse and calming it down at the same time. Even in the love scene with Sybilla it's straight down to business,no hesitating there! (This scene is hopefully expanded in the EE DVD.)

He doesn't go into long discussions with people either.He says what he has to say and if the other person doesn't like it,so be it.
I don't get how some people find this character or Orlando's portrayal of him to be weak or too "young".This man is strong in every way.
I could go on,but perhaps someone else has something to say? I hope so.

Last edited by Malene; May 29th, 2005 at 04:27 PM.
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  #2  
Old May 29th, 2005, 04:19 PM
dee_liteful_1
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That's a great description of his character,Malene. I think Balian is extremely complex, which unfortunately, wasn't explained fully. Hopefully in the EE things will come together and explain things more. I think Balian is very intense, and puts thought into every action he performs. I also love the fact he has a very loving soft facet to him under the rough exterior. For example, the way he can calm a horse in a second.

Great thread! I'm sure a lot of people will have great input.
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  #3  
Old May 29th, 2005, 04:46 PM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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Balian.....oh, how I love that man !!! The strong silent type. Makes me think of the saying, "Still waters run deep". I was completely captivated by his inner strength and determination to live up to his Oath.

Balian may have seemed quiet on the outside, with not much to say, but you could tell great emotion lay just beneath the surface, and you knew that it would not take much to ignite that passion.

I was blown away by his intensity on the battlefield !! From the first fight with the Arab who wanted to take his horse, to the fight on his land against the three Templars sent to kill him, he fought with quiet desperation. And on the battlefield, against tremendous odds, he would fight to protect the people til his last breath.

I guess it was the contrast --- strong silent type vs. intense fighter for the cause of peace --- all combined into one handsome hunk of a man that made Balian one heck of a character, and one of my very favorite roles portrayed by Orlando.
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  #4  
Old May 29th, 2005, 05:57 PM
Sazi
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Malene, I think you see him the same way I do (and Lord knows I've studied this man thoroughly). The fact that he doesn’t speak much, doesn’t mean he has nothing to say. He’s the kind of man who lets actions speak louder than words. And most of the “talking” is in his eyes and expressions, not in his words.
The impression I got is that basically this is a man who wouldn’t hurt a fly. But if you push him too far, or if he needs to safe himself or others, he can be ruthless (like killing Guy’s men with his bare hands).
This man lives his life with great intensity. The way he grieves, fights, loves… he feels things with his whole heart, his whole being. It makes him very vulnerable. But it also makes him very strong.
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  #5  
Old May 29th, 2005, 06:08 PM
desert_rose
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I've only watched the movie once so, this is my first impression.Without swooning over the mans lips and eyes and...i think i'll stop here.

Balian is very different. he moves, talks and behaves with the grace and stiffness of a lord rather than that of a peasant as it would seem in the beginning, alright he lost his wife then lost his dad, but he struck me as different. the battle scenes are spectacular. the editing was excelent and really brought out Balian's swiftness of movement and agility. What struck me as very odd are his battle tactics and his ability to judge what Salahudin(Forgive all spelling errors) was anticipating...after all he is a blacksmith in this movie as well...unless they have a scene in the extended DVD version that explains this ,it doesn't make sense...how do you know whatr to do when you haven't done it or witnessed it being done by someone else?
anyway on a lighter note I love Balian...his sense of honour and duty is what i really loved, more than the body

Last edited by desert_rose; May 29th, 2005 at 06:12 PM.
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  #6  
Old May 29th, 2005, 06:11 PM
Malene
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Sazi,I think you've nailed him pretty well there.That is how I see him,too.
And that is why Ridley Scott hired Orlando.He's perfect for showing strength and vulnerability all at once,with that face and those eyes.

The fierceness in battle stands in clear contrast to his gentleness with animals for instance.
And how he respects King Baldwin instead of pitying him,that is something Baldwin appreciates I think.
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  #7  
Old May 29th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Sazi
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I have never seen any actor who's capable of saying so much without speaking one word like Orlando can. You see it in Legolas, who's also not a man (Elf) of many words. You see it in Joe's eyes. And the scene in Troy, where Achilles and Hector are fighting, the look on Paris' face. And now Balian...
It's all in his eyes, his facial expressions, his body language, the way he moves his hands. Of course a lot of it comes natural for Orlando, you also see him doing it in interviews and such. But whoever says he can't act, clearly never looked at him for more than 5 seconds.
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  #8  
Old May 29th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Or they discount Orlando's non-verbal acting as not acting. They're looking for growling, demonstrative method acting and not giving credence to other, more subtle forms of acting.

Back to Balian. He is a man of conscience and is steadfast in his convictions. A man of honor who tries to do the right thing. He takes to heart the Knight's Oath as well as the Hospitaler's words "holiness is in right action". What is there not to admire in such a man? He's not perfect, no one is, but he strives always to walk the right path.

I much prefer the quiet ones like Legolas and Balian to the outwardly boiterous ones. There is nobility in their demeanor and it comes not from titles but from within, who they are intrinsically.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 06:28 PM
Sazi
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Tiberias says the King has no need of a perfect knight. But I think Balian comes as close as any man can get really.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 06:29 PM
desert_rose
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Sazi i hope that wasn't in reply to my post, 'coz i did not say that Orlando was a bad actor...i was talking abou Balian, who was made by Ridley Scott, who as director in my opinion is at fault for anything wrong with a character.
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  #11  
Old May 29th, 2005, 06:32 PM
Sazi
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No DR, I wasn't responding to you, I don't think you said he can't act at all. But lots of critics say it, that is what I was referring to.
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  #12  
Old May 29th, 2005, 06:38 PM
desert_rose
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sorry sazi!
*takes out a pitch fork, long knife and revolver* Let me at those critics! how dare they!!!!how could they? jealous f***ing lot!
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  #13  
Old May 29th, 2005, 07:37 PM
Emmy
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I think Balian is a wonderful character. I am happy that Orlando played him.
He such a fair and loving guy.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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Malene! SQUEEEEEEE! You saw it!

I should have known you'd start a Balian thread. You're awesome, woman!

desert_rose, I think in the EE DVD it will be explained better how Balian came to possess all the knowledge about battle tactics as well as irrigation systems and the like.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 06:17 AM
Malene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyneth
Malene! SQUEEEEEEE! You saw it!

I should have known you'd start a Balian thread. You're awesome, woman!

desert_rose, I think in the EE DVD it will be explained better how Balian came to possess all the knowledge about battle tactics as well as irrigation systems and the like.


Another thing to notice is that right before Sybilla comes to him,he is writing something.
I would think that blacksmiths of that time were pretty much illiterates.So there has been quite a time span for Balian to learn new crafts I suppose.I too hope this is shed light upon in the EE DVD.
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  #16  
Old May 30th, 2005, 07:55 AM
Sazi
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Well, the whole movie looks like it's taking place in only a few months, but when you see how the crops on his lands have grown, from a dessert into a green oase, you know it's been much more time than that.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:22 AM
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Definitely much more time has past. The film begins in Winter, 1184 and there is a lot of time compression but the actual surrender of Jerusalem occured in October, 1187 so in three years, Balian certainly could have learned to write a bit (although I think he was tallying figures which isn't beyond belief for the artificer/engineer that he was supposed to be in the script).
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:43 AM
Sazi
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The first thing that came to my mind when I saw him writing, was that he was trying to figure out how to pay the bills Not likely of course, but he certainly wasn't just writing a letter, he had to think long and hard about whatever he was doing. Tallying figures sounds right indeed.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Also, I think that Balian is not unlearned. Perhaps not to a high degree but I think we're meant to infer that he could read and write due to the exchange between Balian and Odo.

Odo: What does that say?
We see the inscription on the beam.
Balian: What man is a man that does not make the world better.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 09:02 AM
Sazi
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You're absolutely right, EL. Don't forget, Balian's brother is a Priest too. And I read somewhere that the real Balian came from one of the most prominent baronial families. We don't know much about his background in the movie, but it looks like he's more educated than most would be at that time.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Well, he is a blacksmith not a peasant ...his father says he holds his sword as a peasant, he does not say he is one. And we know nothing about his mother; we could suppose his mother was someone working in the castle , someone well educated but not "noble" so she could have tought him to read and write (there's nice material for fanfic writers?) and he surely trained with weapons (he makes swords so he must have tried them!) Blacksmith is also a trade that keeps you in a healthy shape and gives nice muscles!
I did fell totally in love with Balian : the perfect man!
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  #22  
Old May 30th, 2005, 04:15 PM
Malene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sazi
You're absolutely right, EL. Don't forget, Balian's brother is a Priest too. And I read somewhere that the real Balian came from one of the most prominent baronial families. We don't know much about his background in the movie, but it looks like he's more educated than most would be at that time.
You and EL are right,of course.Having only seen the movie once,some things slip my mind.
If Balian was very lowly he may have respected and feared men like Guy, or even his father when he first meets him,more.
He doesn't seem to think they're much better than him.

It is only the King and Sibylla you can see that he really respects because of their position.Plus they are decent good people,of course.

I kind of wonder what it is that Sibylla wants with him or from him initially.
Only an affair? Or is the plan to get rid of Guy already in her head when she comes to stay with him? As he says,his barony isn't on the way to Kana.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:22 PM
Sazi
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I've been wondering the same thing, Malene. I honestly can't say either way. From what I've seen in the movie I would say she is there because in him she sees a way to get rid of Guy. But from what I've read in interviews, previews, trailers, all the things that never made it to the big screen, I'd say she just wants to be close to him. Maybe the extended DVD will show us more about her motives.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Malene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sazi
I've been wondering the same thing, Malene. I honestly can't say either way. From what I've seen in the movie I would say she is there because in him she sees a way to get rid of Guy.
Well,she does get very upset when he doesn't accept the offer to marry her,so they can all be rid of Guy.
And then she goes ahead and crowns Guy,when she doesn't really have to.or does she? Could a queen rule back then,or did she have to have a king?
She does blame herself afterwards for the situation that arises after the catastrophe Guy creates.
I've seen some people blame Balian for this because he doesn't accept King Baldwins offer to marry Sibylla.That it would be doing a "small wrong".Since when is conspiracy to kill a man a small wrong??

Yes,Guy creates a disastrous situation,but still he is also a man who should be held accountable for his actions. It is not Balians fault that he does what he does.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:40 PM
Sazi
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Balian knew Guy would be trouble and would create a mess, but he's not responsible for Guy's actions, only for his own. I think he did the best he could considering his options.
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