John , of TheHouseOfPlantagenet, was king of England (1199-1216). Ordinary folks remember him as "Prince" John and the BiggerBad of the RobinHood saga.
He started his career when he was appointed by his father HenryTheSecond to rule as Lord of Ireland. Henry had in fact attempted to make John ''King'' of Ireland, intending to divide the Angevin possessions between his four sons (John, as the youngest was not expected to inherit England.) However Henry's quarrels with the Pope prevented this and John had to make do as a mere 'Lord'. He did a bad job and returned to England within a year having antagonised many and run out of money. He later betrayed his father and joined his brother RichardTheLionheart in his rebellion. When Richard was held captive for 2 years in Austria, John declared himself king. When big brother came back, John begged for his life.
John became rightful king after the death of his brother. John was a superb statesman, but deficient in moral character, and incredibily piss-poor at planning and capitalising on situations. This is reflected in what he tends to be known for: his early reign saw the loss of all Angevin holdings in France except Aquitaine, earning him the nicknames "Lackland" and "Softsword", and he got into a pissing match with Pope Innocent III over naming the Archbishop of Canterbury that resulted in him being excommunicated and England placed under interdict in 1208, which lasted until 1213 (to which he responded by seizing lands of church members who had fled England or remained loyal to Innocent, no doubt providing Henry VIII with some ideas for later). Despite this, he endeavoured to rule as an autocrat, proceeding to extort taxes from the barons and attempt to maximise all sources of income for fruitless campaigns to reconquer Normandy. After one final failure in this goal, they in turn rebelled and forced him to sign Magna Carta which put limits to his powers and, in consequence, the power of all future English monarchs.
He died of dysentery and most of him was buried in Worcester Cathedral. The monks of Craxton Abbey stole his entrails, making him, in death as in life, gutless.
* BreakoutVillain: He was not originally the main antagonist in the RobinHood legend, but has been promoted to the role as the story evolved over time.
* CainAndAbel - With Richard.
* DirtyCoward: Is often accused of being one. Whether he actually was is a matter of debate.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade - John was not a nice guy and perhaps ''some'' of the bad stories about him are true.
** In British royalty, there have been Henrys, Georges, Edwards, a good number of Williams, and even a couple of James and Charles (with maybe a third Charles pending).[[note]]That one, however, might be another one the modern royals avoid taking as regnal name, as is James.[[/note]] ''No one'' has taken the name John since this guy as a name to bear once they inherit the crown (the newly crowned ruler has a choice of Royal name, for example Edward VII's first name was Albert but he was crowned with his middle name Edward).
*** This appears to actually be a combination of dumb luck(there actually were English princes named John--and mostly within a century of his reign, no less--but they all died young)and a more modern event; namely, the death of George V's younger son John around the time of [[WorldWarOne WWI.]] On the other hand, it did cause some disquiet amongst the Anglo-Norman nobility of England when Edward I named his son John[[note]]Context helps here; whereas George V was a very, very, very distant relation of King John who reigned many centuries later--and as the monarchy had lost all political power by that point, any "John II" could really do the nation no harm anyhow--Edward I was John's grandson, and had been instrumental in putting down the sequel to the Runnymede era, the Baron's Wars. Furthermore, there was every sign that he planned to be a centralized and powerful ruler--and unlike his grandfather or his father, he was very competent.[[/note]]
** To clarify, ''John'' is a relatively common first name. Except when it comes to the royal families.
* ParentalFavoritism - He was his father's favorite, while his mother preferred Richard. ''Theatre/TheLionInWinter'' paints a picture of the kind of cosy Christmas this family must have had.