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With a smile Foulques took the standard of Tours and Anjou and rode up and down the ranks in front of his men, shouting “victory!”, with Amaury and Robert following close behind.
As the cheers and shouts rained down upon him, Foulques struggled to remember a moment that left him as proud.
He had done it.
Foulque's inner thoughts, Chapter 8

Before Plantagenet - a House d'Anjou AAR is an After-Action Report by Jabberjock14 on the Paradox Interactive Forum. It follows the story House d'Anjou, starting with Foulques d'Anjou as he climbs his way to power in the Kingdom of France. After his death, the story moves to his son Geoffrey, who attempt to build a kingdom in Aquitaine (for better or worst). He is succeeded by his son, also named Geoffrey.

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As of January 2020, Before Plantagenet contains 233 Chapters and multiple interludes, that can all be found on the Paradox Interactive forums here.


This work provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: Diverges from our timeline in 1066
  • Archnemesis Dad: In the latter part of his life, Foulques's greatest and most bitter rivalry is that with his own son and heir Geoffrey. This isn't to say that Geoffrey himself is any kind of saint...
  • Badass Grandpa: Duke Foulques remains a holy terror on the battlefield well into his latter years, even after becoming a literal grandfather.
  • Blood Knight: Foulques himself is a nuanced take on this trope — he's a capable leader and shrewd tactician as well as a front-line fighter, and he's not so impetuous as to rush headlong into a battle he cannot win. Nevertheless, he practically lives for war, and he holds a certain contempt for those of his peers he views as too "soft" — including his own son Geoffrey.
    • His son Foulquesson follows in his footsteps, with much less nuance
  • Big Damn Heroes: Anges when she rescues her father and the royal family from the Duke of Champaign's siege
    • Foulques gets one of his own when he saves King Phillipe's family from assassins.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The House d'Anjou. It gets even worse when you consider that most of the French dukes are cousins.
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  • Big Brother Instinct: Alberic, Count of Periograd tries to protect his sister Anna's honor when she becomes pregnant with Geoffrey the Second's child
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Geoffrey eventually seduces his sister Agnes in Chapter 150 after harboring an attraction towards her for years.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Foulques and Geoffrey, for their respective character arcs. To give an example of one of their many points of contention: Foulques is a master of medieval military arts, and is equally terrifying both on and off the battlefield, but is about as subtle as a boot to the head. His son Geoffrey prefers to get his way with wit, charm, and guile, and utterly abhors his father's taste for violence. In turn, Foulques views Geoffrey as a spineless schemer for being unwilling to confront his enemies head-on.
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  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Before Plantagenet begins at the dawn of the High Middle Ages and doesn't pull any punches in portraying medieval France as a setting much different from our own. Warfare is regarded as both noble and ennobling by the aristocracy, with the result that disputes between nobles are frequently resolved through bloodshed. Noblemen are expected to command, and their underlings are expected to obey and remain loyalregardless of their master's morals or ethics (though the nobles themselves can be remarkably selective about this with their own loyalty to the king). Women, even those of noble birth, are not expected to have much agency outside the home (at least not overtly), and those that "rise above their station" are held to blatant double standards and either patronized for being "unfit" or reviled when they act in "unwomanly" ways to hold onto their power and influence.
  • Domestic Abuse: By modern standards, both Foulques and Geoffrey indulge in it, especially Foulques.
  • Death by Childbirth: Foulques sister Hildegarde dies giving birth to Duke Giles.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Alias of Perigord is considered as one in-story, along with an Evil Chancellor. The truth is, it's complicated — while he's certainly not unwilling to get his hands dirty to further his goals or those of his liege lord Geoffrey d'Anjou, none of this has anything to do with his sexual orientation.
  • The Dreaded: Foulques d'Anjou comes to be known as the "Iron Duke," in equal measures for his Cool Mask, his unequaled battlefield prowess, and his intimidating presence and force of will.
  • The Mistress: Foulques has quite a few. The most important being Alearde and Nes. His grandson Geoffrey the Second has Anna de Periograd.
  • Evil Chancellor: Alias of Perigord has a reputation as this, serving essentially as Geoffrey's Dragon during his early rise in Aquitaine. Again, while he's no stranger to underhanded dealings (and may or may not have murdered his father to get his inheritance), he's personally quite loyal to Geoffrey and the House of Anjou, and much of his reputation stems as much from his deviant (for the era) sexuality as from his actual deeds as a councilor (which, while often ruthless, aren't actually so far from the norm as Geoffrey and Alias's enemies like to present them).
  • Founder of the Kingdom: Duke Geoffrey eventually has himself crowned as King of a newly-resurrected Kingdom of Aquitaine after masterminding a revolt that breaks the power of the French crown over the southern half of France.
  • Frontline General: It isn't exactly unheard of for a medieval commander to fight in the front lines alongside his troops, but Duke Foulques particularly relishes the opportunity.
  • Generational Saga: A chronicle of the House of Anjou, beginning with the (historical) Duke Foulques d'Anjou and continuing through his (fictional) son and grandson, both named Geoffrey.
  • Heir Club for Men: Foulques spends this first part of his story desperate to conceive an heir with his aging wife Beitriz
  • Hero of Another Story: There are a fair few characters whose own actions and ambitions have quite a bit of bearing on the Angevins, even though they aren't often the main focus of the story. A few of the more notable ones:
    • Duke Guilhelm of Poitou, neighbor and frequent off-again on-again rival of Duke Foulques in part because Guilhelm serves as Marshal of France, a position that Foulques covets.
    • King Philippe of France, whose own ambitions to increase the power of the Crown frequently clash with his own vassals' schemes (Foulques included, sometimes).
    • Geoffrey himself briefly becomes one after becoming Duke of Aquitaine, as he passes somewhat Out of Focus in favor of his father until they both end up on the Royal Council together.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Duke Foulques and King Philippe, especially after the death of Beatriz.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: There are concerns about this regarding Geoffrey II, even all the way back into the latter part of Geoffrey I's rule. He was never expected to inherit, and he lacks the natural flair for leadership and administration that his father and late elder brother had.
  • Love Hurts: Oh how it does.
  • The Social Expert: Geoffrey's main asset is his silver tongue, which he uses to great effect by charming his way into the good graces of his fellow lords (and into the beds of their wives and daughters). He's also a masterful showman, skilled at using the perks and trappings of his position to win the loyalty of the common folk and send a message to those who might defy him.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Foulques does this to Aines's husband. It succeeds but causes much long term harm.
  • No Pregger Sex: Played straight and subverted. Foulques avoids having sex with his wife Beatritz when she is pregnant with their children but does not hesitate to bed his mistresses and subsequent wives, and in the case of Ness he is downright turned on by her pregnancy.
  • Royally Screwed Up: King Hugues.
  • Rags to Royalty: Both of King Philippe's wives.
    • To a lesser extent Foulques bastard daughter Bella, whose mother was a commoner.
  • Tyrant Takesthe Helm: How Geoffrey views Hughes and especially Henri. Mind you they are tyrants in the medieval sense of going against their vassals and show no indication of being any worse for the common people than their predecessors.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Much of Geoffrey's early behavior is motivated by his desire to prove himself to his father. Even after Foulques's death, for all his own achievements, Geoffrey never entirely leaves behind the influence of his father's shadow.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The men, and women, of the House d'Anjou seem incapable of keeping it in their pants. The same could be said of the French nobility in general.
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