A Knight's Tale (2001) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.

  • Inspired by "The Canterbury Tales," as well as the early life of William Marshall (later First Earl of Pembroke), this is the story of William, a young squire with a gift for jousting. After his master dies suddenly, the squire hits the road with his cohorts Roland and Wat. On the journey, they stumble across an unknown writer, Chaucer. William, lacking a proper pedigree, convinces Chaucer to forge genealogy documents that will pass him off as a knight. With his newly-minted history in hand, the young man sets out to prove himself a worthy knight at the country's jousting competition, and finds romance along the way.

  • After the untimely death of a jousting knight in the middle of a match, the knight's peasant squire William Thatcher dons the dead knight's armor and with the help of his two friends complete the match and wins the jousting tournament. As the trio leave the tournament and head home, Will convinces the two friends that he can change his stars by entering other jousting tournaments and becoming a real knight. Geoffrey Chaucer an unknown writer who they meet along the road agrees to forge Will's papers of royal genealogy and becomes his Herald. This starts them on a journey filled with deception, peril, love and failure as Will meets a beautiful princess, faces a most daunting and evil jousting opponent and forces Will to comes to grips with his humble beginnings.

  • When a knight dies during the recession of a fight, one of his squires, William Thatcher, disguises himself as his master in order to win the prize money of the tournament. He wins the fight and decides to, together with his fellow squires Wat and Roland, take on a new false identity as a knight and make a living winning tournaments. On their way to a tournament, they meet Geoffrey Chaucer, a poor writer who joins the group. The quartet then keep traveling through England and France, fighting in tournaments.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • (As it was said, may contain SPOILERS. Well, I guess.. that's ME, as this is my favorite movie and my Favorite Actor died at my same age of 28, HEATH LEDGER)

    The film takes place in the medieval times and contains many anachronisms, as it contains music and wordings that do not fit those times.

    It started with 3 faithful & loyal squires: Roland (Mark Addy), Wat (Alan Tudyk) and William (Heath Ledger). As they are on their way to Victory, all 4 together with the Knight took a little rest and when Roland came to his lord (their knight) he found out that he is no longer breathing and is already dead. They no longer have the chance to participate in the final round of Jousting, (a sport during the Medieval times).

    William took the armor vest and wore it to join the jousting, where he won consecutively. Together with the 2 squires, he trained himself the use of Sword and Lance as it may be his edge for such game.

    When they are on their way to a place were there is a Jousting and Sword competition, they encountered a writer, Geoffrey Chaucer. He joined the three and he stood as the Herald of Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein from Gelderland, the name William has adopted to pose as a nobleman.

    Geoff presented Ulrich to the panel and told them that Sir Ulrich will compete for Sword and Jousting.

    As Ulrich was wandering around that area, singing, he saw a beautiful lady (Shannyn Sossamon)and he followed her. Insisting for her name, the lady asked if he would care if she is ugly. Ulrich was speechless.

    Ulrich had just finished his first jousting round, when a man approached him and he said that he was there because of Ulrich's Herald. He found out that Geoff had a serious gambling problem. He was unclothed by two men as his punishment. Ulrich asked the two men to release him and give him back his clothes and repay them after the game. They then released Geoff and on their way out, Geoff said that he actually is a writer, he lied before and has gambling issues. Ulrich started to compete with the sword just after they talked. People were so impressed, as he gains consecutive wins. He's proclaimed a Sword Champ.

    Prepared for another jousting, Sir Ulrich pointed to Geoff the woman he liked, it's the woman he saw while he was roaming in the crowded area. Geoff commented that Ulrich is so ambitious and is going too far now.

    William persists to ask the lady her name. The lady didn't say her name, instead she said, "You Persist?" Another knight was sitting beside the lady, Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) and humiliated him about the suit of armor Ulrich was wearing and of how Ulrich says his name. Ulrich was pissed, he left and went on to his game.

    During one of his games, he faced the Black Prince of Wales and hit him with 2 points. Realizing that the competitor belongs to royal blood, Ulrich calls it a draw and spared Prince Edward.

    He impressed the crowd with his fearless fight and merciful judgment. Even Count Adhemar and his Herald were impressed.

    From one of his games, he had a very strong hit on the chest and his vest needs to be fixed. They went to several blacksmiths, but the blacksmiths asks for a "money-down-to-fix". One of the blacksmiths suggested they try approaching the Lady Farrier just next to them and see what she can do.

    Kate, the Lady Farrier, also refused and said that she doesn't work for free, but when she felt that she was underestimated by the other blacksmiths, she took Ulrich's vest and successfully fixed it.

    Before the game starts with Count Adhemar as his contender, the lady's maid approached William and said she had a message from the lady. The lady wished to tell William that her name is Lady Jocelyn and handed over a piece of cloth. William accepted it gratefully and was inspired. With two consecutive nice hits to Count Adhemar, and Adhemar not hitting Ulrich, he decided to hit Ulrich on the face and flash of William's memory went on during his childhood with his father, wishing that one day he'll change the stars and he'll be a knight.

    When the game ended, Count Adhemar picked up the piece of cloth that Ulrich had dropped. Adhemar handed back the cloth to Lady Jocelyn and she left without a word.

    After winning, Ulrich paid Geoff's penalty to Simon the Summoner (Steven O'Donnell) and Peter the Pardoner (Jonathan Slinger) from Rouen.

    Kate commented that the armor which Ulrich was wearing was not originally made for him, and she offered to make new armor. Ulrich asked how much would it cost. She said it would cost nothing, but instead take her as far as Paris. Ulrich refused and said that they walk alone, then asked her to take her gold (a payment for the vest fix).

    As they were packing up their stuff, Geoff suggested to them that they should stay and Ulrich should attend the dance party. Ulrich and Geoff had an argument about whether he should attend or not. Minutes after, Lady Jocelyn's maiden approached them and ask what color and kind of tunic Ulrich will wear in the dance party. As Geoff answered that they wouldn't be attending, Ulrich blocked Geoff and said don't speak of things he doesn't understand. Ulrich asked Roland what tunic he will wear tonight. Roland, shocked, described the attire based on the tent that he is facing. Then the maiden left. Ulrich dejectedly said he couldn't dance. All 5 of them, Kate, Geoff, Wat, Roland and Ulrich went to a place where they can work on Ulrich's Tunic and Dance problem. Kate and Geoff helped teach the dance. Wat, being bullied by Geoff as always, became Ulrich's partner during the practice, while Roland fixes the tunic.

    Roland managed to make the tunic while William learns the steps. Ulrich attended the gathering. He and Lady Jocelyn both wore green colored attires. They dance similar to a Farandol but with lots of differences, (especially modern moves. OST- Golden Years by David Bowie) which makes the scenario anachronism.

    Jousting took place again the next day were Count Alemar is to face the Black Prince of Wales: Prince Edward as his opponent. Alemar calls it a draw. Just to impress the crowd. Ulrich on the other hand, though he was informed that he will be fighting against Prince Edward for the second time, decides to fight him anyway. Wat, Ronald and Geoff told Ulrich about this but Ulrich still went on with the fight and hit Prince Edward squarely in the chest with 2 points. Edward loses the game. Geoff approach Ulrich and ask if he knows what he's doing. Ulrich told Geoff that Edward is taking the risk and is putting himself to danger and told Edward that he knows that he is a prince. Edward appeared stunned and wondered why Ulrich would still go on even if he knew what he is. Ulrich said that it is not in him to withdraw. "But it happens" added Prince Edward. Sir Ulrich was named Jousting Champion. But William/Ulrich still has the feeling of a 2nd placer as Count Alemar withdraws and he did not defeat him in a Joust.

    They went through different jousting competitions and they couldn't find Count Alemar. Unknown by them, count Alemar went to Gelderland to research Sir Ulrich's genealogy. He failed to see Ulrich's name on the painting as he doesn't exist. He found out that Ulrich is a fraud.

    Ulrich sent a sweet letter that was composed by him, Kate, Wat, Ronald and Geoff writing it for Lady Jocelyn and asking if she would come to Paris.

    Jocelyn got the letter, had tears in her eyes and Wat asked if she has something for his master in return. Jocelyn smiled.

    Wat, going back to were Ulrich and the rest were, said that Jocelyn is going to Paris with them. Sir Ulrich asked if she gave something in return. Wat kissed William on the lips and William shouted YES. He knew that Lady Jocelyn just send him the kiss. HE was so HAPPY!

    In Paris, Ulrich/William meets w/ Jocelyn in a church, where she tells him that if he truly loved her, he would lose. Ulrich tells her that's nuts. The next day at the jousting tournament, however, Ulrich intentionally loses all his matches...until, that is, Jocelyn sends word that if he loves her, he'll not lose another match & will win the tournament...which he does. That nite Jocelyn tells him that she knows his friends sometimes call him William, but she doesn't care what his name is. She crawls into bed w/ him, & tho he's hurt from the losses earlier that day, they seem to be able to get the deed done. .

    On their way to London, William had a flashback of a childhood memory. It was a time when he and his father were on their way to London on a boat. It was at that time that young William came to the attention of the knight who apprenticed him. He's torn between wanting to go w/ the knight & not wanting to leave his father. His father gives him his blessing & tells him all he has to do to find his way back is to follow his feet.

    Now that they are in London, Geoff informed Ulrich (William) that Count Alemar is on the list to compete. Ulrich and Alemar saw each other and Count Alemar said that Lady Jocelyn will be his bride no matter what it takes.

    That night Ulrich, on his horse, roams around the area while it is raining when he sees a little girl playing with a stick like it was her lance. The little girl told Ulrich that he was her favorite knight and she wondered why Ulrich is roaming in that area. Ulrich told the little girl that he used to live there and he asks the little girl if he knows a man who looks like a knight that had lived just around the other corner, but probably died long ago, possibly before she was born. The little girl told Ulrich that she also lives there and she knows the man Ulrich is pertaining to. She said that the man still lives there, but is blind and been there for years.

    Ulrich, with his curiosity went to that place and saw an old man fixing a fisherman's net. John Thatcher (William's Father) heard a squeak from the stairs and asked "if somebody is there?" He thought that the person on the stairs was the owner of the net and advised him to come back tomorrow as he is not yet done with it. Then, John Thatcher asked again, "Who Are You?". Ulrich answered "A Knight" and said that he is Ulrich. John said that he knew him as his name is being chanted in the stadium. John asked what business he has there. Ulrich said that he has a message for John coming from his son. John was stunned. He asked him to come inside and asked for his son's message. Ulrich said that "Your son has changed his stars". With teary eyes, John has recognized this phrase and asked if his son has followed his feet. Ulrich answered "YES". And he knew that the knight standing in front of him, the one with whom he is now speaking, is his SON WILLIAM. They hugged each other and cried.

    They had dinner and William mentioned that he has a girlfriend. His father told him that he wants to meet her. But Ulrich changed the topic to the water dripping from the roof. William fixes the leak. Unknown to him, Count Alemar has followed him and confirmed that he is a fraud and doesn't belong to a Royal line. In the morning, Ulrich is so happy that he told Wat, Ronald and Kate that he has spoken with his father and it was a great time in his life.

    Geoff and Jocelyn approach. The four of them appear as if someone has died. William asks why they are sad. Geoff and Jocelyn tell William that people knew already who he was and they are waiting for him to be arrested and put in the stocks.

    All were shocked with the terrible news and Ronald suggested packing their things up. William refused and asked Lady Jocelyn what she thinks. Lady Jocelyn suggested to RUN and do it for LOVE, instead of seeing him being placed in the stocks.

    Ronald, Kate, Wat and Geoff agreed with Lady Jocelyn. But furious William firmly refused and said "I'M A KNIGHT", indicating that I Knight would not be so cowardly.

    Ronald commented that everything must be put to an end. They prepared Ulrich and they went to the game. Officers approached them and told William that he should remove himself from the game of honor. But William answered that he is there to compete. They said that he is here to be arrested. And he was arrested and was put in jail.

    Count Alemar visited William and reiterates the words he keeps on saying while he punches him. With every punch he says "YOU HAVE BEEN WEIGHED", "YOU HAVE BEEN MEASURED" "AND YOU HAVE BEEN FOUND WANTING". Then with a last punch on the stomach, Count Alemar leaves.

    The next day, William is placed in the stocks and there's one boy who slapps his head as everyone applaudes what the boy has done.

    Ronald, Wat, Kate and Geoff stand by his side and don'tt leave him. 2 men with hoods stand there in the audience and when they reveal their faces. the people find out that it is the Black Prince of Wales, Prince Edward. He approaches William and tells him how William's men love him and if he knew nothing else about him that would be enough. He tells the guards to release William and ask how he can repay the kindness William once showed him. He asks William to kneel. Prince Edward takes his sword and proclaimes William, SIR William.

    Applause went on and Prince Edward asks William if he is fit to compete. He said that he can prepare for his opponent. Sir William, officially the new knight, thanked his lord, Prince Edward.

    The Final battle between Sir William and Count Alemar has come. Alemar cheats by placing a sharp tip on his lance. They rode and Count Alemar hit William on the right side of his chest. The tipped lance was left in his chest and Ronald had to pull it out. Wat and Geoff found out that Alemar is cheating. William is severely injured by the 1st attack. And with much pain in his chest, he dropped his lance and was hit again for the 2nd time by Count Alemar. Ronald said that the only way to win the game is un-horse him or to kill him.

    Being in so much pain, he asked Kate to remove his Armor Vest so he can breathe well. He asked her not to put it back again. Kate looks at Ronald and he agreed. He couldn't carry the lance anymore so he asked Wat to tie the lance on his arm. Wat looks at Ronald again and he said do whatever William says. When the game is about to start, Geoff made a heartfelt introduction for William,from the Prince's viewing box, to buy him time to get the lance lashed to his arm, as the joust was about to start and Will was not yet ready. Geoff introduced him as the son of John Thatcher and with his official title, everybody knew that he is Sir William Thatcher. Wat told William that everybody heard Williams name including his father. Geoff said "Godspeed William".

    William with no vest and a a lance tied to his arm, rode on his horse and fought with Count Alemar. When he is about to reach Count Alemar, he shouted "WILLIAM" and hit Alemar squarely in the chest, bringing him down off his horse. Count Alemar fell and had a vision of himself flat on his back on the ground, with the 5 people he hates. Wat stood above him saying "HE HAS BEEN WEIGHED", then comes Ronald saying "YOU HAVE BEEN MEASURED", then Kate said "AND YOU ABSOLUTELY" Geoff came above him and added "HAVE BEEN FOUND WANTING" finally, William completed the circle saying WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD. GOD SAVE YOU, IF IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Then they left him.

    Victoriously, William and his friends rejoiced. His father is so pleased and so is Prince Edward. Lady Jocelyn is so proud of him.

    The story ends where Ronald, Kate, Geoff and Wat were leaning forward at the center of the stadium as Geoff is thinking about writing a story about everything that had happened, bullying Wat "Maybe Not Yours".


    "In Memory of Heath Ledger"

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