Ken Follett’s Pillars Of Earth: The Power Of Hope & Forgiveness

Pillars of Earth is a beautiful game. It looks like a painting in some places and in others a really good comic. I want some of the art for Pillars of Earth up on my wall. Daedalic Entertainment games made this. I haven’t played many other Daedalic Entertainment games but Pillars of Earth kind of restored my faith in the company. I’m not going to lie. Deponia is comedic but this is a work of art.

Background for Pillars of Earth:

I spent 2 days binge playing Pillars of Earth. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of games and I also recently studied the Last of Us parts 1 and 2. No matter where you stand on the Last of Us story, something interesting is how similar they are in how often you change the main character. In Pillars of Earth, you have Tom, Jack, Aliena, and Phillip as playable characters throughout the story and it surprisingly doesn’t feel like backlash. My only complaint was that sometimes it was hard to see where you were going in the game space but that’s a minor thing. It’s hard to explain because you have so many main characters and their stories interweave so intricately. I will do my best to explain the story.😊

Welcome to Kingsridge

Philip:

 First up is Philip who is coming from his small cathedral called Saint John’s which you never visit in-game and he’s got a huge task in front of him of being recently appointed Prior of Kingsridge. The city’s in shambles. He’s just trying to pick up the pieces and keep everyone together and fed. Then he needs to rebuild the cathedral cause it’s burst into flames. It’s just a hot mess all around and he’s doing a great job. He’s made mistakes like helping his brother overthrow the Earl. However, he spends the rest of Pillars of Earth trying to make it up to the children of the Earl he wronged.  He loses his faith at some point but then he is able to realize through mentoring that faith can be found again. What a powerful story.

Tom:

 Then you have Tom who is literally in the 1st scene of the game. He fails to help his wife through childbirth and she dies. He’s left with a baby while his family’s starving. His passion is for building cathedrals. One day he tells a story to his daughter about how you build a cathedral from the ground up. Suddenly they find a new family–Ellen and Jack– and when they come back for the baby, the baby’s been taken. So they chase after work. They find some for an earl but his reign is short. Then they arrive in Kingridge and he starts to work on building the cathedral with his long-lost son who was raised as a monk. 

Alliana :

 Then you have Alliana who is the daughter of the Earl who gets overthrown. She’s a self-made woman. After her dad was killed she had to make a name for herself to try to restore her family’s honor. Her father made her agree to an oath that she supports her brother. She has a wool business and she comes to Kingsridge and falls in love with Jack and work and life. She survived abuse and threats of rape by the guy who took over her dad’s earldom. Later, once threats emerged from the same guy, she didn’t back down but she agreed to marry someone she did not love to protect Jack and I admire her for that because then she spends a whole chapter of the game trying to find him again with her newborn son. And they were able to reconcile and return to Kingsridge.

Tom on his way to find Jack and Ellen

Jack:

Kid Jack:

 Raised in the forest there’s Jack with his mother Ellen and knows nothing of a modern world. They meet up with Tom and his 2 children Alfred and Martha and they traveled together trying to find work and they find it in the earldom. Unfortunately, it is sieged and many perish but they are able to escape. They make it to Kingsridge and the monks are not going to welcome them freely. Apparently, Jack’s father stole something and so his mother left. Jack takes matters into his own hands and burns down the cathedral. In the ceiling, someone is there in the flames we don’t know who but he seems to know Jack.

Young adult Jack:

Years later he has become a builder under Alfred and Tom and he’s frustrated at the constant comparison between him and Alfred. Alfred is more serious he doesn’t have the creativity or the spark that Jack has. Meanwhile, there’s still the question of what happened to his father all those years ago. Ellen’s given more information that his father was hanged by the townspeople but doesn’t know why.

Tensions rise and he decides instead of becoming a monk, as Tom wanted, “I am going to go forge my own path”. So he leaves and tries to find what semblance of his father he could. He discovers all these cathedrals and they build them so differently here and he discovers math and many friends and maybe even a new love interest. However, he can’t forget about Alliana she was so beautiful and they spent had such a lovely night together. So he travels onward and finds work for a cathedral.

Reunited Jack:

Suddenly Alliana has come to him with his son. As they are about to leave, they come across his grandmother who tells them they thought that his father had died at sea because he was aboard a ship called the white ship which had members of the Royal family and everyone was supposed to have drowned. Armed with a relic that seems to be magical, he comes back to Kingsridge to try to restore it to its former glory with him as the master builder. Philip agrees but doesn’t like they’re trying to trick the town’s people. They start building the cathedral but there’s a drought. Jack and Alliana have more kids.

The end of Pillars of Earth:

However, we aren’t done yet. Recently Philip wrote something controversial in the church: everyone carries a piece of God with them and the clergymen are not above the regular men. For this, he’s on trial. With the help of Jonathan and Jack, they claim that Philip was not the father to Jonathan. They are able to prove why Philip is not responsible for the death of Jack’s father. It is the fault of the Bishop who is put under trial and not killed. In the epilogue we see him come back to Kingsridge and he has one less conversation with the former Bishop, his faith restored, and is a beautiful moment to see Jack and Eleanor happily still married and they have kids and grandkids. Martha is here and she stayed in Kingsridge. Tom died long ago protecting Jonathan his son from falling debris after Kingsridge was attacked.

Final Thoughts on Pillars of Earth:

I’ve never read any of the books for this game but after playing through it I want to see if I actually had any choice in some of this at all. At its core, this game is about faith, hope, and forgiveness. There are many things that happen in this game that you as a player get to choose if you the character would like to forgive others.

The villains very clearly deserve their fate. I am not one to judge but if a murderer rapist were to die at the hands of one of his victims I would not be sad. The Bishop however I think got off a little too easy but I understand that he probably spent a long time in a medieval prison and given the state we get to see the Earl while he’s in prison it would not have been a very happy time for him.

Thank you for reading my take on “Pillars of Earth”, I appreciate it. Comment below your favorite Daedalic Entertainment game. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list. See you in the next post!

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