Ivanhoe: A Romance
Ivanhoe and the Black Knight
— Costumes for the 1828 Stage Adaptation
is an 1819 historical novel
by Sir Walter Scott
, set in the reign of King Richard The Lion Heart
and largely concerning the long-smouldering antagonism between the Normans and Saxons
in the centuries after the Norman Conquest — an antagonism which, at that date, is highly anachronistic
(one might call it a sort of Hollywood History
) and largely the product of Scott's teeming imagination. In the face of severe criticism by his own contemporaries on this and other historical inaccuracies, Scott himself admitted, "It is extremely probable that I may have confused the manners of two or three centuries," but comforted himself
that "errors of this kind will escape the general class of readers
." And indeed, despite the author's Whig history
limitations and prejudices (which are evident
is a stirring and colourful tale, with plenty of action, lovable heroes and heroines and hissable villains, and a real feeling for the genuine — if extremely exaggerated
— romance of The High Middle Ages
The novel was originally something of a Pot-boiler
. Scott's popularity as a poet was waning in the face of the more exotic verses of Lord Byron, and his over-gentrified lifestyle and a life-threatening bout of illness had left his pocketbook in an equally sickly condition. His Scottish
novels were popular enough, but of limited appeal; Scott felt, moreover, the need for a fresher source of inspiration — so he turned to History and The Middle Ages
, the object of his lifelong and devoted — if not always pedantically accurate — study. The novel won immediate, long-lasting, and deserved popularity, restored Scott's fortunes, and helped to launch the entire Historical Fiction
open/close all folders
Scott's novel has had a number of adaptations.
- A stage version was prepared as early as 1826, the pasticcio opera Ivanhoé, which combined existing melodies by Gioacchino Rossini with new texts. Sir Walter attended a performance and was not impressed.
- The opera Der Templer und die Jüdin (The Templar and the Jewess) by Heinrich Marschner had its German premiere in Leipzig in 1829 and was put on stage over 200 times in various German theatres during the following 70 years. It was first produced in English in London in 1840 and was first performed in America in 1872 (New York).
- Another German composer, Otto Nicolai, wrote Il Templario (The Templar), which was first produced in 1840. Other operas based on the novel were Ivanhoé by Thomas Sari, Rebecca by Bartolomeo Pisani and Rébecca by A. Castagnier.
- The French composer Victor Sieg won the prestigious Prix de Rome for his dramatic cantata Ivanhoé, which was first performed in 1864.
- For English-speakers, the best known operatic adaptation is probably Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan's rather turgidly solemn 1891 adaptation, which impressed Queen Victoria and ran for over 150 performances.
- In 1850, William Makepeace Thackeray produced the parodic Fan Sequel, Rebecca and Rowena: A Romance Upon Romance, in which Athelstane and Rowena die and Wilfred marries a converted Rebecca. This parody was popular enough that it was adapted to the stage in turn.
There have been several Film Adaptations
- Two appeared in 1913:
- Ivanhoe was a US production, directed by Herbert Brenon, and starring King Baggot as Ivanhoe, Leah Baird as Rebecca, Herbert Brenon as Isaac, Evelyn Hope as Rowena, and Wallace Widdicombe as Bois-Guilbert;
- Rebecca the Jewess was directed by Leedham Bantock and featured Lauderdale Maitland, Ethel Bracewell, Hubert Carter, Nancy Bevington, and Harry Lonsdale in the same rôles, respectively. (Oddly, both were filmed in the same locations at Chepstow Castle in Wales.)
- In 1952, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced what is probably the best remembered film version, Ivanhoe, directed by Richard Thorpe, and starring Robert Taylor as Wilfred, Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca, Felix Aylmer as Isaac, Joan Fontaine as Rowena, George Sanders as Bois-Guilbert, Finlay Currie as Cedric. This version was nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Colour Cinematography, and Best Score for Miklós Rózsa; it stressed the spectacular and swashbuckling elements.
- A Russian adaptation in 1983, The Ballad of the Valiant Knight Ivanhoe (Баллада о доблестном рыцаре Айвенго, Ballada o Dovlestnom Ryzare "Ayvenho") appeared, directed by Sergey Tarasov, starring Peteris Gaudins as Ivanhoe and featuring songs by Vladimir Vysotsky.
There have also been quite a number of Live-Action Television
adaptations of the novel:
- A 1958 television series with Roger Moore as Ivanhoe.
- A 1970 miniseries starring Eric Flynn.
- A 1975 Animated Adaptation by Air Programs International.
- A very well regarded adaptation in 1982 with Anthony Andrews as Ivanhoe, Olivia Hussey as Rebecca, James Mason as Isaac, Lysette Anthony as Rowena, Sam Neill as Bois-Guilbert and John Rhys-Davies as Reginald Front-de-Boeuf.
- A 1986 Australian Animated Adaptation by Burbank Films
- A 1995 television series starring Kristen Holden-Ried
- A 1997 Animated Adaptation by CINAR and France Animation: "Ivanhoe The Kings Knight"
- Another 1997 production, a mini-series produced by A&E and the BBC, starring Steven Waddington, with Susan Lynch as Rebecca, Victoria Smurfit as Rowena, Christopher Lee as Beaumanoir, and Ciarán Hinds as Bois-Guilbert.
- Darkest Knight, a 2000 Channel 5 adaptation starring Ben Pullen as Ivanhoe and Charlotte Comer as Rebecca.
Tropes employed by this novel (and its various adaptations) include:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Athelstane and de Bracy for Rowena; Bois-Guilbert for Rebecca; Prince John for Alicia Fitzurse.
- Adaptation Distillation: A number of the various adaptations have successfully reinterpreted the original in the terms of their own eras. The 1952 version was extremely popular in an age which demanded spectacle. The 1982 version attempted a sort of Adventures of Ivanhoe approach, and featured some striking performances. The 1997 A&E/BBC version went for a Darker and Edgier, de-romanticized interpretation that captured more of the sense of suspense and tragedy in the novel than other versions. As is the way with most great works, each age will get the kind of Ivanhoe that best suits it.
- Adult Fear: Being part of a subjugated race. Check. Having arrogant aristocrats able and willing to do whatever they want to do to you with the approval of the law. Having a Corrupt Church tell you that you are supposed to be subjugated. Check. Being mocked because your ancestors lost a battle. Check. Being kidnapped by a would-be rapist. Check.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Guilbert loves Rebecca who loves Ivanhoe who loves Rowena.
- Altum Videtur: The churchmen in this novel are very prone to lapsing into gratuitous Latin. Even Rebecca does it at one point.
- Lampshaded by Wamba, who tells Cedric that repeating "Pax vobiscum" will be enough to make him seem like a authentic friar.
- Anachronism Stew: As Scott himself admitted. See above.
- Anticlimax: In the trial by combat to determine the fate of Rebecca, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, the invincible Templar, is facing Wilfred of Ivanhoe, who is still recovering from his wounds — but when they actually joust, Bois-Guilbert simply keels over dead, "a victim of his own contending passions," and Wilfred is left standing there, looking awkward.
- Attempted Rape: Bois-Guilbert is foiled in this by Rebecca's threatening to throw herself off the tower. See Driven to Suicide, below.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: How the narrator describes Wamba's "foolishness."
- Badass Preacher: Friar Tuck
- Being Good Sucks: One reason Rebecca doesn't really enjoy herself in the novel.
- Berserk Button: For Gurth, Cedric attacking his dog Fangs.
- Betty and Veronica: Rowena and Rebecca for Ivanhoe, Athelstane and Ivanhoe for Rowena, Ivanhoe and Bois-Guilbert for Rebecca.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Black Knight for Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe for Rebecca.
- Black and White Morality: Certainly most of the Goodies are very good, and most of the Baddies very bad, but it does not prevent them from being memorable characters. One is inclined to say that, rather than being Black and White, they are all rendered in primary colours.
- Black Knight: "Le Noir Faineant" (aka The Black Sluggard)
- Blood Knight: Front-de-Bœuf
- Boisterous Bruiser: Perhaps the most outstanding examples are Friar Tuck and Cœur-de-Lion himself.
- Burn the Witch!: Rebecca's fate if her champion loses the Trial by Combat.
- The Care Taker: Rebecca the beautiful Jewish maiden cares for Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe after he is wounded in the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche.
- Character Development: Sir Brian de Bois-Guillbert evolves from fully intending to rape the lovely Rebecca to trying to persuade her to turn Christian and voluntarily become his mistress to finally offering to throw away a lifetime of ambitions and plots if she will only accept him. The extent to which this is improvement is highly questionable since he remains unwilling to take "no" for an answer throughout and intends to let her be burned alive as a witch if she won't accept him. On the other hand it certainly demonstrates his sincere interest - which puts him one up on Wilfred who barely knows Rebecca's alive.
- Character Title
- Cold-Blooded Torture: As when Front-de-Bœuf threatens to roast Isaac alive on a grill.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Ivanhoe and Rowena.
- Christianity Is Catholic: The setting dictates this, though Sir Walter throws in a number of hints that "it ain't necessarily so."
- Corrupt Church: Sir Walter, being a conventional if not convicted Presbyterian, invented quite a few corrupt churchmen as Take Thats against the Roman Catholic Church: the worldly Prior Aylmer, the proud, cruel, and lustful Bois-Guilbert, the ignorant and violent "hedge-priest" Friar Tuck, the unscrupulous Malvoisin, the fanatical Beaumanoir, the greedy and treacherous Abbot Wolfram who betrays Athelstane. Indeed, there is not a single completely decent cleric in the whole novel.
- To be fair, Prior Aymer's faults are made up for to a large degree by his good nature. He is fonder of the wine, the women and the hunt more then a churchman should be but he is not cruel like many of the characters and not a Knight Templar.
- Courtly Love: Played straight by Wilfred and Rowena (and Rebecca for Wilfred; subverted by Athelstane and de Bracy for Rowena; beaten all to hell and back by Bois-Guilbert for Rebecca
- The Crusades: Where many of the main characters are returning from — specifically, the Third Crusade.
- Dark Is Not Evil: See the Black Knight, above.
- Dies Wide Open: Bois-Guilbert.
- The Dog Bites Back: Ulrica.
- Driven to Suicide: What Rebecca will be if Bois-Guilbert tries to seize her in the tower of Torquilstone.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Ivanhoe champions Rebecca, who is not his Love Interest. Of course, he owed her his life.
- The Dung Ages: Averted in Scott's original novel, though some adaptations have depicted at least parts of the setting this way.
- They are sure not presented as sweet, kind, and pleasant ages though.
- Estrogen Brigade: In-universe. In the first volume, the narrator spends a lot of time repeatedly pointing out how much the ladies enjoy tournaments and matches between knights even more enthusiastically than many men.
- Evil Chancellor: Waldemar Fitzurse — not personally depraved, but certainly ruthlessly ambitious — and a heck of a lot smarter than nearly all the other baddies.
- The Evil Prince: Prince John, whose taking of this role in the Robin Hood legend was cemented by Scott.
- Fan Sequel: W. M. Thackeray's Rebecca and Rowena.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Rape, emphasized by Ulrica and Rebecca.
- Feudal Overlord:
- What Cedric is to Gurth and Wamba.
- Baron Front de Boeuf
- Florence Nightingale Effect: How Rebecca falls for Wilfred
- Gratuitous Norman French: Mort de ma vie! The Normans here are always bursting out with Gallic oaths and phrases — in fact, the novel practically opens with a long discussion between Gurth and Wamba of the intermingling of French words with English and the subtle distinctions of meaning between them both.
- Foil: Rowena and Rebecca, as Scott shows by paralleling their reactions to their would-be-rapists.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: We're told that Reginald Front-de-Boeuf's scars would have made a positive impression if displayed on an entirely different kind of man. On Front-de-Boeuf, however...
- Greedy Jew: Isaac of York in Ivanhoe is somewhere between an example and a subversion. He's a moneylender with seemingly unlimited stores of riches who is very concerned with his money, but he frequently states that his love for his daughter trumps all of his wealth.
- Happiness in Slavery: Lampshaded. When Cedric offers Wamba his freedom Wamba asks that it be bestowed upon Gurth, joking that it is more pleasant to be a slave because no one asks slaves to go to war.
- The High Middle Ages: To be exact, the year 1194 A. D. (But see The Middle Ages below.)
- Historical Fiction: One of the Trope Codifiers.
- Historical-Domain Character: Prince John and Richard Cœur-de-Lion
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Richard I — though Scott's depiction is not uniformly a positive one; his Richard is proud, reckless, a bit sensual, rather violent, and perhaps on the whole not an entirely inaccurate depiction of the warrior king. Still, he does seem to leave out the king’s extreme arrogance, deviousness, intolerance, morbidity, and occasional bouts of almost insane fury. (The theory, by the way, that Richard was a homosexual — which would doubtless have scandalized the strait-laced Puritan Scott — was not seriously advanced until after his time.)
- History Marches On: The view popularised by Sir Walter, of plucky "English" commoners still resisting their "Norman" overlords a century or two after the Conquest was questioned even in Scott's own time, and almost wholly abandoned by serious historians within the same century.
- Hollywood Costuming: Scott's descriptions of clothing and armour are wildly at variance with our knowledge of 12th century costume.
- Hollywood History: At times nearing Critical Research Failure.
- Honour Before Reason: Wilfred tries to explain this concept to Rebecca, who still insists on Reason before Honour.
- I Can Still Fight: What the wounded Wilfred asserts for Rebecca's trial by combat.
- I Gave My Word: As Bois-Guilbert tells Rebecca: “Many a law, many a commandment have I broken, but my sworn word, never.”
- It's All About Me: Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who is too blind even to be aware of it.
- The Jester: Wamba
- Kick the Dog: Gurth doesn't care how badly you treat him, but throw a javelin at his dog, and he's lost all respect for you.
- King Incognito: Richard The Lion Heart is disguised as the Black Knight .
- Knight In Shining Armour: In effect, if not in fact.
- The Knights Hospitallers: The Hospitaller, Ralph de Vipont, is a much less formidable figure than any of the other challengers at Ashby-de-la-Zouche.
- The Knights Templar: Most importantly Brian de Bois-Guilbert, but also Albert de Malvoisin, Grand Master Lucas de Beaumanoir, et al.
- Knight Templar: Averted, oddly enough, by most of the actual Templars in the story, but played absolutely straight by Lucas de Beaumanoir, who is a Knight Templar in both senses of the term — indeed, the Grand Master of the Order.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Virginal Rowena (light) and desirable Rebecca (dark).
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: Scott originally published the novel under the pseudonym Laurence Templeton, in which guise he claimed he was merely transcribing and editing an actual medieval document, the "Wardour Manuscript" note — though the author’s actual identity seems to have been an open secret.
- Love Dodecahedron: Rowena for Wilfred; Athelstane for Rowena, Maurice de Bracy for Rowena, Wilfred for Rowena; Rebecca for Wilfred; Bois-Guilbert for Rebecca.
- Lust: Exemplified by a number of the baddies, perhaps most egregiously by Brian de Bois-Guilbert.
- Matzo Fever: Rebecca
- Medieval Morons: Averted for the most part; though some play is made of the credulity of the crowd during Rebecca's trial, it is made clear that the accusing witnesses found by Malvoisin are acting more out of greed, envy, and political corruption rather than out superstition. (Beaumanoir, though a fanatic, is not exactly a moron.)
- The Middle Ages: Scott's Early Romantic, "Look-to-the-Knight-of-the-Fetterlock-Fair-Rebecca" conception of the 12th century England veers at times very close to the Theme Park Version of the mediæval period.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: A lot of these. The Templar Preceptor Albert de Malvoisin ("bad neighbour").and his brother Philip; Reginald Front-de-Boeuf ("Or 'Beef-head'" as Richard Armour put it, in The Classics Reclassified). Waldemar Fitzurse's last name means "Son of the Bear" — which was also the surname of the ringleader of St. Thomas Becket's assassins.
- Scott states outright that Waldemar is the assassin's son.
- Never My Fault: Bois-Guilbert, refusing to realize that Rebecca is in danger of being sentenced to burn mainly because he kidnapped her.
- Noble Bigot: Cedric, who is enraged against the bigotry of Normans, sometimes has trouble not being bigoted against Jews. As one of the major themes of the book is bigotry, such things are not surprising.
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken: How Wilfred goads Bois-Guilbert into dueling him in the third volume.
- Now Let Me Carry You: Rebecca nurses Wilfred back to health. Later he comes to save her from being burned as a witch.
- Obfuscating Insanity: Wamba
- Obliviously Evil: Bois-Guilbert so thoroughly buries himself under the tropes of Never My Fault and Playing the Victim Card that he honestly doesn't seem to understand that what he does to Rebecca makes him a villain, not her Knight in Shining Armor.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Rebecca of York is described as having "Bright eyes, black locks, and a skin like paper, ere the priest stains it with his black unguent."
- Paper-Thin Disguise: As the Palmer, Ivanhoe somehow manages to sneak back into his own home, where absolutely nobody recognizes him until he finally identifies himself to Gurth.
- People of Hair Color: Although Scott’s assertion of a lingering racial animosity between Normans and Saxons was not absolutely without basis (there was in Henry II's time a Saxon noble called "William with the Beard" who refused to shave as a protest against the Conquest), there can be absolutely no doubt that such feelings were highly eccentric, uncommon, and of no practical social or political importance by the reign of Richard I.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: William Makepeace Thackeray was in love with Rebecca.
"... ever since I grew to love Rebecca, that sweetest creature of the poet's fancy, and longed to see her righted."
— Excerpt from Rebecca and Rowena
- Pinball Protagonist: One of Scott's calling cards is the passive protagonist, who often spends most of the novel being carted around by the Action Hero. Ivanhoe is one of the best-known examples, and famously spends a battle sequence flat on his back in a tower, unable to see anything that's going on.
- Playing the Victim Card: After Rebecca has been sentenced to death, Bois-Guilbert sees himself as the injured party because the girl still refuses to love him. Sure, it's his fault she's in this mess in the first place, but he would save her if she would just agree to reward him.
- Prince Charming Wannabe: Bois-Guilbert just can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that "Marry me, and I'll save your life; refuse, and I'll let you die" is something villains, not heroes, do.
- Public Domain Character: Robin Hood. Scott was not the first, by any means, but he is probably the most influential author in linking the outlaw's legend with Richard The Lion Heart and Prince John; more original with Scott was the linking of the legend with a supposed racial animosity between the Normans and the Saxons. Scott also popularised the name "Locksley" as associated with the outlaw.
- Purple Prose: As an example, Ulrica’s parting Take That to Front-de-Bœuf:
Farewell, Front-de-Bœuf! May Mista, Skogula, and Zernebock, gods of the ancient Saxons — fiends as the priests now call them – supply the place of comforters at your dying bed, which Ulrica now relinquishes! But know, if it will give thee comfort to know it, that Ulrica is bound to the same dark coast with thyself, the companion of thy punishment as the companion of thy guilt. And now, parricide, farewell for ever! May each stone of this vaulted roof find a tongue to echo that title into thine ear!
- Poisonous Friend: Malvoisin to Bois-Guilbert.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The almost impossibly noble Rebecca is said to be the only character based directly one of Scott's contemporaries — a friend of Scott's friend Washington Irving — a Jewish lady from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, named Rebecca Gratz.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rebecca constantly tries to acquaint Brian de Bois-Guilbert with how wrong he is about his actions and motivations regarding his treatment of her, to no success.
- Retcon: Sir Walter invented a role for Robin Hood against Prince John in Richard The Lion Heart's absence to plug some holes in his plot.
- Rightful King Returns: "Take heed to yourself, for the Devil is unchained!"
- Rhymes on a Dime: The novel includes a number of poems and "songs" recited or sung by the characters.
- Richard the Lionheart: A major character.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge / Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The storming of Front de Boefs castle. Probably quite a few readers were pleased with that one.
In that war-cry is the downfall of thy house. The blood-cemented fabric of Front-de-Boeuf's power totters to the foundation, and before the foes he most despised! The Saxon, Reginald! The scorned Saxon assails thy walls! Why liest here, when the Saxon assails thy place of strength?
- Royal Brat: Prince John, who is constantly referred to as petty and spoiled, is an unusual adult version of this trope.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: Two:
- Maurice de Bracy to Rowena: "Marry me, or I'll kill your guardian and your boyfriend." (This is over in the same chapter it appears in.)
- Brian de Bois-Guilbert to Rebecca: "Marry me, or at least have sex with me, or I'll let them kill you." (This lasts until Bois-Guilbert's death.)
- Screw This -- I'm Outta Here: Maurice de Bracy's reaction to King Richard's return.
- Secondary Character Title: Wilfred of Ivanhoe is physically present only for about 25% of the book and unconscious or incapacitated for half of that.
- Servile Snarker: Wamba — it's probably in his job description as a jester.
- Sex Slave: Ulrica
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Shylock from The Merchant of Venice lurks just behind Scott's Isaac, who is partly a subversion of the figure. Lampshaded by Scott in one of the epigraphs.
- Shown Their Work: Scott appended notes to later editions, justifying some of the historical assertions he made, or at least showing what historical incidents had suggested them.
- Splitting the Arrow: Robin Hood does this. Although not the originator of this trope, it is a Trope Codifier.
- Spoiled Brat: Rowena
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Wilfred and Rebecca
- Storming the Castle: Torquilstone
- Swashbuckler: More in its adaptations than in Scott's original novel.
- Those Two Guys: Gurth, a swineherd, and Wamba, a jester, whose conversation opens the novel.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Rebecca and Rowena are universally and rather incorrectly treated this way among Rebecca/Ivanhoe shippers, including Thackeray — with all the venom the trope brings to "Girly Girl" Rowena. In Scott's novel, while Rebecca is unquestionably the most awesome by a landslide, Rowena actually resembles Princess Jasmine more than some Ingenue Princess Classic, and not to mention Rebecca isn't mentioned to be overly tomboyish either.
- Token Good Teammate: King Richard is like this to Locksley's men.
- The Tourney: Central to the plot.
- Trial by Combat: The climax of the novel Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe fights on behalf of Rebecca, the daughter of Isaac of York, who has been accused of sorcery.
- Unfortunate Names: De Bigot, Prince John's seneschal, mentioned in a throwaway line. Very nearly a Mel Brooks character.
- Unrequited Love: Quite a lot. See Love Dodecahedron, above.
- Useless Protagonist:: Wilfred Not quite useless, but useless for most of the book.
- Warrior King: Cœur-de-Lion
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess: Rowena, especially when she tells off de Bracy.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ulrica
- You Can Barely Stand: Wilfred of Ivanhoe meets Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert as challenger in a trial by combat despite barely having recovered of his wounds from the tournament.
- You Got Spunk: Brian de Bois-Guilbert's opinion of Rebecca's attempted suicide to escape him.
Tropes Present in the 1952 Movie
- Adaptation Distillation: Condenses the plot while retaining the basics of everyone's characterization, and avoids the Useless Protagonist problem by making Ivanhoe and Rowena more active.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Ivanhoe does not, as in some versions, return Rebecca's affection.
- Beard of Evil: Prince John has a villainous weedy beard. And De Bracy has a nasty little moustache.
- Betty and Veronica
- Big Damn Heroes: Richard shows up at the very end to do this.
- Combat Pragmatist: Ivanhoe has no compunctions about sneaking up behind people and stabbing them in the back, or hiding in dark corners and popping out to stab them in the back.
- The Evil Prince
- Death by Adaptation: Wamba is promoted to Gurth's role, and is killed at Torquilstone.
- Dueling Movies: With The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men and Miss Robin Hood. Given the fact that this film appears more often on TCM it is pretty obvious that this film won the three way duel.
- Dull Surprise: Robert Taylor's performance edges into this at (a few) points.
- Epic Flail: Bois-Guilbert's weapon in the climatic duel.
- Face Death with Dignity: Bois-Guilbert dies calmly telling Rebecca he loved her and wishing her well.
- Childhood Marriage Promise
- Combat Commentator: the knights briefly do this during the joust.
- Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: Played with. During the final duel, Bois-Guilbert uses a mace and chain—a nicely evil weapon—but Ivanhoe uses an axe. This is to drive home that he's not Rebecca's Knight in Shining Armor.
- Flynning: Oh, yes. At several points you can see one combatant just holding his sword up while the other hits it repeatedly.
- Hero Secret Service: especially evident in the message-arrow scene.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Also present in this adaptation, although it's played with differently. Ivanhoe staunchly supports Richard, because he's Richard's friend; almost all the other characters point out that there's very little to choose between Richard and John. Ivanhoe builds support for Richard by promising a civil rights movement.
- Kangaroo Court: One of the witnesses against Rebecca starts crying and admits that she was forced to testify.
- Leitmotif: The swaggering, menacing Norman theme.
- Oh, Crap: Prince John when Richard shows up.
- Scars Are Forever: As a result of the childhood blood oath, Rowena and Wilfred have matching small scars on their hands.
- Spiritual Successor: Received quite a few: King Richard And The Crusaders, the television series The Adventures of Robin Hood and Richard the Lionheart, the 1970 miniseries of Ivanhoe, The Men Of Sherwood Forest and the Roger Moore Ivanhoe series.
Tropes Present in the 1975 TV Adaptation
- Adaptational Wimp: Front-de-Boeuf to the point that he needs assistance in the Ashby tournament, wants to return to France the moment he hears Richard is returning to England and doesn't even participate in the battle of Torquilstone.
- Composite Character: Front-de-Boeuf is combined with Fitzurse. Until his name is given as Front-de-Boeuf would would think he was Fitzurse.
- Demoted to Extra: Athelstane.
- Spared By Adaptation: Bois-Guilbert, it is rather ambiguous with Front-de-Boeuf on the other hand. The last we see of the latter is Ulrica holding a torch before him. Later, Bois-Guilbert tells Prince John that Torquilstone has been captured and Front-de-Boeuf has gone missing.
- Spiritual Successor: To API's previous The Legend Of Robin Hood. One can't help but think if the animation style used in "The Legend of Robin Hood" had been used in this then there would be less characters with black hair.
Tropes Present in the 1982 TV Adaptation
Tropes present in the 1986 TV Adaptation
- Adaption Distillation: This adaption cuts several aspects and subplots, such as Bois-Gilberts Templar Knight brethren, Rebecca being condemned as a witch by the Templar Grandmaster, the duel between Bois-Gilbert and Ivanhoe at the end, and the social issues facing Isaac of York in his role as an English jew.
- Adaptional Villainy: Bois-Gilbert loses every positive aspect of his character, such as his genuine love for Rebecca, which is portrayed as little more than cruel lust here.
- Adaptation Name Change: Maurice de Bracy becomes Eustace de Bracy.
- Animal Motif: Raven for Bois-Gilbert, Bull for Front-De-Bouef.
- Berserk Button: Remind Front-de-Boeuf of his defeat at the hands of Thomas Multon and he will try and kill you.
- Big Damn Heroes: First by Ivanhoe in the Holy Land to save Richard from a Saracen, later on from the Black Knight to save the Disinherited Knight from Front-de-Bouef.
- Cassandra Truth: When the Black Knight identifies himself as Richard, front-de-Bouef replies with "The King is in Palestine!"
- Composite Character: Though mentioned De Bracy does not appear and Front-de-Bouef is the one who is infatuated with Rowena.
- Demoted to Extra: Wamba, to the point he appears but neither does he speak nor is his name ever mentioned.
- De Bracy and Athelstane might have faired worse. They are mentioned but never appear in person.
- Disney Villain Death: Front-de-Bouef gets this by falling into the flaming inferno that was Torquilstone.
- Fat Bastard: Front-De-Bouef. Even his armor requires a considerable girth to fit him.
- Horny Vikings: While no Vikings appear, Front-de-Boeuf's helmet features horns as a subtle reminder of whom the Normans are descended from. In contrast, the Black Knight's helmet feature wings which is also stereotypically attributed to Vikings.
- Spared By Adaptation: Bois-Guilbert. It seems like Robin's arrow kills him but it just knocked him out.
- Spiritual Successor: To Burbank Films own animated adaptation of The Adventuresof Robin Hood and quite an improvement over both the former and it's own spiritual successor The New Adventures of Robin Hood.
Tropes Present in the 1997 Miniseries
- Adaptation Expansion: The longer running time gives more space for characters to be fleshed out.
- Animal Motifs: Prince John is identified with a falcon.
- Almighty Mom: Eleanor of Acquitaine.
- Bastard Understudy
- Big Damn Heroes: Robin and the outlaws arrive at Templestowe in order to ensure Rebecca and Ivanhoe's safety.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Inverted: almost all of the good guys are blond; the Normans universally have dark hair.
- The Brute: Front-de-Boeuf
- Canon Foreigner: An extremely strange case: Little John. Yes, he's a famous member of Robin Hood's band of merry men, but he's not in the novel (he's mentioned once, but only in the capacity of Robin telling the others that he's somewhere else entirely). Yet in this particular adaptation he's given a large part to play.
- Darker and Edgier
- Death Seeker
- Deadpan Snarker: John.
- Death's Hourglass: The countdown to noon on the day of Rebecca's execution.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Little John to Gurth after a quarterstave duel.
- Clear My Name: Ivanhoe's task.
- Chess Motifs: Prince John and his retainer share exposition over a game of chess.
- Cold-Blooded Torture
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Wamba
- Eye Scream: What happens to Bois-Guilbert at the trial by combat. And then he turns his head so we can get a good look at the empty socket.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Lampshaded. Gurth asks why Ivanhoe is so shaggy.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Bois-Guilbert has a villainous scar on his cheek.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Somewhat played with, as is the Historical Villain Upgrade. Near the end of the plot Eleanor of Aquitane confronts both her sons and lambasts not only John, but Richard as well. If anything she's more annoyed with the latter, since he's spent all but three or four months of his reign in the Holy Lands and has near bankrupted England to pay for his war - leaving John to do the unpleasant but necessary task of raising the money and, oh yeah, keep the country running. As she says, 'John may be a miserable little runt, but at least he's been here!'
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Rebecca.
- Important Haircut
- It's Personal
- Kick the Dog
- Killed By The Adaptation: De Bracy doesn't make it to France.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy
- Meaningful Echo: When Bois-Guilbert is about to rape Rebecca, she tells him that "Reason is a gift of God to civilized men; it has no place here." He repeats this to Beaumanoir during the trial.
- My God, What Have I Done?
- Oh, Crap: How Prince John reacts when de Bracy warns him that Richard is back.
- Pet the Dog: Little John defending Rebecca from a random lech at the tournament; and later, helping Gurth carry the injured Fangs.
- In fact, all the villains get at least one Pet the Dog moment save for Lucas de Beaumanoir, who is even worse than in the novel.
- Prince John does actually seem to be somewhat sympathetic towards Rebecca during her trial; he mocks a lot of the evidence and knows it's pretty much a sham, but there's not a lot he can do about it.
- Sanity Ball: John, Fitzurse, and Bois-Guilbert juggle it.
- Slouch of Villainy: John during the trial.
- Spiritual Successor: To Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in a way, which is in turn a spiritual successor to both Robin of Sherwood and Robin and Marian. It is also a successor to the 1982 film adaptation of Ivanhoe.
- Stealth Insult
- The Resenter: John is very aware that few people like him.
- Xenafication: One gets the sense that the attempt was made to do this with Rowena before someone came to their senses. She is portrayed as much more fiesty and spirited than her book counterpart, and at one point she wields a sword in her own defence - only for the need to use it to never truly arise.