Follow TV Tropes

Following

Literature / Die Pilgerin

Go To

Die Pilgerin (The Pilgrim Woman) is a historical adventure/romance novel by Iny Lorentz (a pseudonym of a German couple Iny Klocke and Elmar Wohlrath), first published in 2007. Set in the late Middle Ages, it centers around Ottilie "Tilla" Willinger, a young girl from a fictional town of Tremmlingen. As her father lays on his deathbed, Tilla promises him to bury his heart in the holy ground of Santiago de Compostela. Little does she suspect that her brother is plotting a huge intrigue, aiming to become the mayor of Tremmlingen, and that intrigue involves Tilla getting married to the horrible Veit Gürtler, a cruel merchant who had previously beaten his first wife to death. In the end Tilla manages to flee Tremmlingen disguised as a young man, but the real dangers are still in front of her.

Advertisement:

The book was made into two-part miniseries by ZDF in 2014.

Die Pilgerin contains examples of:

  • Abuse Mistake: Subverted. When Radegund discovers Otfried and Ilga having sex, it's Ilga who convinces her that Otfried had raped her, and Radegund believes it because she doesn't think a man would be as rough with a lover as Otfried was with the maid.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Damian Laux is described as strongly built but not good-looking in the novel, yet he's quite handsome in the film.
  • Adaptation Distillation: From all these plots and subplots from the book, we have only two: the pilgrimage itself and the intrigues of Tremmlingen. And even these are simplified.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Rigobert, Otfried's Evil Minion in the book, is an Anti-Villain in the film who actually kills Ottfried in the end.
    • Damian Laux, a rather boring and calculating guy in the book who had no romantic interest in marrying Tilla, is a loving fiancé in the film.
    • Advertisement:
    • Felicia, a manipulating Femme Fatale who doesn't shrink away from hiring killers in the book, is a Sympathetic Murderess in the film who killed an abusive husband.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Elsa, Tilla’s old nanny, is Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane witch in the film.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Felicia de Lacaune from the book is Felicia de Bearn in the film.
    • Aymer is a surname rather than a given name in the film.
    • Tilla calls herself Otto in the book but Moritz in the film.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Much of this in the film. In the book, at least in the beginning, Tilla's brother Otfried is mostly manipulated by Gürtler, and it's Gürtler who kills Otfried and Tilla's father. However, in the film, Otfried is clearly the mastermind, and strangles his father himself.
    • In the book, Sepp, one of the pilgrims from Father Thomas's group, is a rather selfish man who was cruel with his wife, but in the plot itself he's never doing anything outright criminal until he kills Hugues de Saltilieu, at least, and later he performs a definite Heel–Face Turn. In the film, he is a villain who's Hiding Behind Religion, and, worst of all, gets a Karma Houdini.
    • In the book, Father Thomas is a kind-hearted and wise, though stern priest, who remains a good friend of everyone in his pilgrim herd. In the film, he is much harsher, and eventually abandons the group.
    • Advertisement:
    • In the book, Aymer de Saltilieu progresses from Affably Evil to Friendly Enemy to Action Hero and A Father to His Men. In the film, he is an Ax-Crazy (and horribly squicky) Big Bad Wannabe.
  • Adapted Out: Loads and Loads of Characters from the novel. Hedwig, Anna, Renata, Peter, Starrheim, both de Coeurfachons, Brother Carolus, Philippe de Saint Vith, Hugues de Saltilieu, Gaston Phoebus, everyone from Spain...
  • Aerith and Bob: Considering that the action takes place in several European countries, it's natural there are Tilla Willinger and Blanche de Coeurfachon in the same pilgrim group.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted as Sebastian was ordered to protect Tilla at all costs by his father and was very reluctant to go on the journey. Double subverted when he indeed falls in love with her.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: For Otfried and Hugues de Saltilieu, even their closest kin didn't weep. Downplayed with Gürtler: though everyone was glad in their hearts to get rid of him, his death meant huge financial problems for his relatives.
  • Arranged Marriage: Lots and lots of plans for that, some of them working out. Tilla and Damian Laux, Tilla and Veit Gürtler, Otfried and Veit's niece Radegund, Felicia de Lacaune and Hugues de Saltilieu, Felicia de Lacaune and Aymer de Saltilieu...
    • Perfectly Arranged Marriage, at least two of them: Tilla and Sebastian's and Blanche and Starrheim's marriages are organized in accordance with both the political reasons and the wishes of the respective brides and grooms.
  • The Atoner: Three Willinger generations. Tilla's grandfather was a very harsh man and wanted to atone for his crimes by going on a pilgrimage to Santiago. He kept putting it off and died without having done it. He asked Tilla's father Eckhardt to go to Santiago instead. Eckhardt was even harsher, kept putting the pilgrimage off and also died without having done it. Finally, Tilla does go on that pilgrimage, and she too wants not only to pray for her father and grandfather but to atone for her own sins (the worst of which being in her opinion the fact that she slept with Aymer and enjoyed it).
    • Sepp goes to fight with the French knights to atone for Hugues de Saltilieu's murder.
    • Anna and Renata go on the pilgrimage to atone for themselves and their husbands, who, according to Anna, "loved each other more than their wives" and forced the sisters into bizarre sexual practices.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Several hours that Tilla spent as Veit Gürtler's wife were more than enough.
    • Anna and Renata's first marriages also weren't exactly enviable.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix, Bigorre and Bearn. Tilla thinks him the handsomest man she's ever come across, he compares himself to the Greco-Roman god and underlines at every possible moment how popular he is, and he spends his life in a luxurious palace collecting paintings and surrounding himself with performing arts of the day.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: The three main female characters from the pilgrim group: Blanche as the Beauty, Hedwig as the Brains, and Tilla as the Brawn.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Discussed sometimes – Tilla thinks it laughable that anyone would fall for that. After her encounter with Felicia de Lacaune, she comes to the opposite opinion and distrusts every pretty lady they encounter. However, her distrust doesn't extend to handsome men like Count Phoebus.
  • Being Evil Sucks: What Sepp eventually learns.
  • Betty and Veronica: Several examples.
    • Tilla, even after already having chosen the dear friendly good-humored Sebastian, can't help but feel attracted to the controversial and alluring Aymer.
    • For Ambrose, the tomboyish and extraordinary Tilla is the Veronica and the sweet and simple Anna is the Betty.
    • Not that there was very much True Love involved on any side, but Otfried did have The Ingenue Radegund and the wild Ilga at his disposal. At the same time, mind you.
    • For Sepp, his Incorruptible Pure Pureness of a wife as Betty and Felicia as Veronica.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Otfried and Gürtler.
  • Big Bad Slippage: Otfried who starts as merely annoying and stubborn, but slips down very fast.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ilga, Otfried's maid and long-time mistress.
  • Brainless Beauty: Discussed. Gaston Phoebus tells Tilla that he needs her for a task that requires intelligence and character, as the beauties that serve him in bed aren't fit for that.
  • Broken Bird: Anna and Renata after their troubled marriages, then Renata all over again after being raped.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Inverted with Hugues and Aymer de Saltilieu – Captain Rough and Sergeant Smooth.
  • Cast Herd: Played Up to Eleven because the pilgrims are called "the herd" of Father Thomas who's The Good Shepherd. His In-Universe Cast Calculus (when choosing whom to include in the group) wasn't just random: he wanted eleven pilgrims with him, so that the total number would be equal to that of the apostles.
  • The Cavalry: Starrheim and his reserves that included Sebastian and Sepp saved the day for Aymer de Saltilieu's army that was starting to panic after a too early attack was stomped.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The first appearance of Aymer de Saltilieu seems like merely an (un)pleasant (Tilla still isn't sure) delay totally insignificant to the main plot. Then he reappears in Phoebus's castle as a political figure and an interested party in the war of Castile. And then he is the leader of the key battle of that war, defeating the Englishmen and also allowing a chance for Starrheim, Sepp and Sebastian to take a level in badass and get favors from the king.
  • Cool Old Lady: Elsa who plays a big part in Tilla's preparations for pilgrimage and conceals a piece of vital evidence against Otfried in her house's basement.
    • Even more so with Hedwig, who is the voice of reason during the highly dangerous journey of the pilgrims.
  • Dating Catwoman: Hugues de Saltilieu and Felicia de Lacaune get their Foe Yay moment when he kisses her passionately and she is so carried away with it that she's ready to give herself to him in the nearest bedroom. It doesn't stop her from arranging his murder a few hours later.
  • Decoy Damsel: Played straight or subverted. Depends on what you think of Felicia.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: It took many months and hundreds of miles, but it went successfully with Tilla.
  • The Dividual: Anna and Renata who are inseparable and hardly distinguishable twins in the beginning. And then Renata gets gang-raped and pregnant which leads to her sinking into depression and becoming The Quiet One forever, while Anna, on the contrary, gains more bravery and self-confidence. They still retain their sisterly bond after marrying Peter and Ambros respectively and give birth on the same day (Renata to her second child).
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Tilla marries Veit Gürtler, and her brother marries his niece.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Oh dear.
    • Veit Gürtler's many kinsmen who do nothing but fight over his inheritance. The brooding cynical Rigobert ends up as the Only Sane Man in the mess. And if we add that Otfried's their kinsman through Tilla and Radegund too...
    • Eckhardt, Otfried and Tilla (plus Missing Mom, long dead). Eckhardt used to bring Otfried up like himself, then regretted it and chose Tilla as the heiress at the last moment... chaos ensues. No less dysfunctional is Otfried's household after Tilla's flight: Otfried, his wife and his bedmate (not the same person!).
    • The de Saltilieu cousins and their prisoner, er, charge, er, fiancee Felicia.
  • The Eeyore: Hermann and Robert whose task is supposedly protecting Anna and Renata but in reality the only thing they are doing is whining, souring everyone's mood, and whining again. They end up turning home pretty soon because they are frightened to death of foreign languages, not to mention foreigners themselves.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Rigobert genuinely loves his family, and it's the news of Radegund's death that leads to his Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Qualifies for most of the bad guys, the exceptions being Gürtler, (eventually) Otfried, and arguably Hugues de Saltilieu.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Sepp's wife is only referred to as Sepp's wife. Even in his own thoughts.
  • Femme Fatale: Felicia de Lacaune, oh so much.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Peter and Sepp aren't very nice at the start, but they get way better and way friendlier with the rest of the group.
    • Tilla, Sebastian, and Rudolf von Starrheim certainly didn't think that Aymer will turn out like one.
  • First Girl Wins: Tilla is the first girl Sebastian speaks to in the novel.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Damian and Sebastian Laux, the successful merchant and the Cloudcuckoolander. Subverted later, as Sebastian turns out to be far more perceptive and responsible than his narrow-minded brother.
    • Although they are cousins, that's what Hugues de Saltilieu likes to think about Aymer and himself respectively. In fact, everyone sees it's the other way round.
  • Gentle Giant: Ambros, a classic example.
    • A rare female version is Olivia, a pagan priestess.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims: Ilga's poison kills two people: the dreadful Veit Gürtler, thus saving Tilla's mental and physical health and quite possibly her life, and the sweet, gentle and trusting Radegund Willinger.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sepp and Peter.
  • Hot Consort: Felicia for Aymer, eventually.
  • Infant Immortality. Discussed as something only to wish for. Hedwig's grandchild nearly dies during birth, and the couple of times when there's a possibility Tilla is pregnant (she isn't) she muses that Otfried wouldn't show mercy if she shows up with a child in Tremmlingen.
  • I Gave My Word: Tilla will stop at nothing to bring her father's heart to Santiago because of her promise to him.
    • Rudolf von Starrheim. In a tricky situation you said you were a pilgrim to avoid bloodshed? Very well, then you must become a pilgrim in truth.
    • Aymer de Saltilieu. Sometimes to his own regret, as he really doesn't want to let Tilla go.
    • Subverted with Otfried. As his father's dead, it's alright to forget about that pilgrimage idea. Oh, and does Otfried's maidservant honestly believe he will marry her just because he said so when in bed?
  • The Ingenue: Poor, poor Radegund.
    • Blanche, in the beginning at least.
  • Intimate Healing: Aymer with Tilla. Justified as she had scars on her thighs after a very exhausting horse chase.
  • Heel Realization, combined with Redemption Equals Death: When Damian is cornered by Otfried's Bavarian troops, he regrets caring only for money and profit in his life and muses on what would become with his family when he's gone. He decides at least to die a noble death, and he does.
  • Honor Before Reason: The first meeting with Felicia de Lacaune. If a beautiful lady asks for your help, naturally you should help her – even if it involves leading her captors on a Wild Goose Chase and just barely escaping the subsequent mess alive. Tilla marvels at the foolishness of her male companions who get Distracted by the Sexy.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Brother Carolus's attraction to Sebastian who is straight.
  • Lady in Red: Felicia in the film.
  • Lovable Coward: Ambros, an excellent, friendly man – and a cowardly one. He's not very happy about it.
  • Love Dodecahedron: So, let's see... Tilla's engaged to Damian Laux but later has to get married to Veit Gürtler. She is Just Friends with Ambros and Starrheim, and has something going on with Aymer. In the end she marries Sebastian Laux, who is also loved by Brother Carolus. Ambrose marries Anna, whose sister Renata marries Peter, and Starrheim, whose first betrothed leaves him for his best friend, gets Blanche. Aymer marries Felicia de Lacaune, who was previously scheduled to marry his cousin Hugues. Otfried has a long-lasting affair with Ilga but marries Radegund, for whom he also develops some fondness (although not much).
  • Love Epiphany: Sebastian and later Tilla get it when they realize their love for each other.
  • Love Redeems: The case with Peter and Renata.
  • Malicious Misnaming: The villains love it.
    • Gürtler only calls Tilla her full name Ottilie, even though she wasn't called this since the actual day of baptism and she hates the name. Later it comes in handy for her as she thinks of a male name for herself – "Otto" jumps to her mind because thanks to Gürtler she had reacquainted herself with "Ottilie".
    • Hugues de Saltilieu pronounces Felicia's name as "Fe-lee-see". She doesn't take it well.
  • Marital Rape License: Thanks to Gürtler's treatment, Tilla is dead scared of any close contact with men – until she crosses paths with Aymer.
  • Moral Myopia: Otfried. If Tilla goes alone when in mourning to see her nurse, it's awfully improper! A double wedding during mourning time, where one of the brides is firmly unwilling? Okay.
  • Morality Pet: Renata to Peter, sort of.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Ilga wants to kill Radegund and have Otfried for herself, but by accident it's Veit Gürtler who drinks the poisoned wine... Tilla should really be thankful.
    • Felicia conspires to murder Hugues de Saltilieu and has Sepp do it for her. The murder was pretty horrifying even for the Asshole Victim, but really when Aymer stepped in as his cousin's heir it was a great relief for everybody.
  • Only in It for the Money: Peter and Manfred go to Santiago as "ersatz-pilgrims": they are paid by people who wanted to become pilgrims but didn't want the long way and all the risks.
  • Parental Substitute: Elsa, Tilla'a old nurse.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Damian in the film, while in the novel his planned marriage with Tilla was purely of convenience.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Tilla, dressed up as Otto, has to dress up as Felicia de Lacaune to distract Hugo de Saltilieu and his men. It works only for a very short while.
  • Romantic False Lead: For Tilla, chronologically: Ambrose, Starrheim, Aymer.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: When Tilla, Sebastian, and Starrheim get captured by the de Saltilieus, Aymer offers Tilla to heal her wounds and help with their escape in exchange for her spending a night with him. As in his way with women he is as unlike Veit Gürtler as possible, she ends up giving a Questionable Consent and later has mixed feelings on the whole incident.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: Felicia's way of getting what she wants.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Somewhere in the middle of the novel, it dawns on Sebastian that hey, Tilla is a woman.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Blanche de Coeurfachon. For a long time Tilla believe that all her sweetness and meekness are just a façade. They are not.
  • Shipper on Deck: Aymer decides to give Sebastian Tilla's hand in marriage as a reward for his exceptional bravery in battle. He had noticed all the looks the two were giving each other. He advises Starrheim to pursue Blanche as well, and it's his suggestion that opens Starrheim's eyes to the fact that She's All Grown Up.
  • Sole Survivor: Subverted. Rigobert and Anton Schrimpp meet Ambros while searching for Tilla, and he tells him Tilla and the rest of the group were killed by marauders. Later he reunites with the rest of the group – the majority had survived after all.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Manfred is killed halfway through the novel but is one of the survivors in the movie.
  • Spotting the Thread: Hedwig notices "Otto"'s acting suspiciously like a girl on several occasions.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Aymer's favorite way to start a conversation with Tilla is "come to her side as quietly as possible and startle her with a flirtatious greeting". Bonus point if she doesn't know he's in the same town as herself.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Tilla aka "Otto".
  • Taking Over the Town: Otfried by the last chapters.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Starrheim's thought when he is told he'll be under Baron de Saltilieu's command... and then a cheerful Aymer de Saltilieu greets him heartily and tells him of Hugues de Saltilieu's death.
  • This Way to Certain Death: In a burned monastery there are still signs of struggle and blooded swords. Later, the same or similar marauders overtake Father Thomas's group.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tilla and Blanche.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tilla, from a Girl Next Door to Beware the Nice Ones. Sebastian, from a Nice Guy to Action Hero.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The final riot in Tremmlingen.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Otfried considered his sister headstrong at most and never paid any heed to Sebastian Laux. He certainly didn't expect them to return from their pilgrimage with an army, and Sebastian a hidalgo of Castile!
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Unsettling for a third party. As Sebastian tells Brother Carolus he's searching for a feminine-looking boy, Carolus thinks Sebastian's homosexual as well, but then he sees "Otto" and realizes it's a girl.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Sebastian for Tilla.
  • Weddings for Everyone: Father Thomas was having a very busy time in Santiago when four couples demanded to get married right there and then. And that's only the pilgrim group.
  • Wife Husbandry: Although a short-term one, but still. Blanche is still looked upon as a child when she joins the group under Rudolf von Starrheim's protection. In several months, she grows up (both physically and psychologically), falls in love with him, and they marry.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Big Bad ones yet again. Veit Gürtler especially, considering he beats his first wife to death. And Otfried would strangle a girl – not that Ilga didn't deserve it.
    • Sepp too initially, although this changes.
  • Xenafication: Tilla is much tougher physically in the film than in the novel, and her first scene in Tremmlingen shows her hunting a boar, with a bow and arrows, all by herself. She is also no stranger to men’s clothing, while in the book, she feels extremely uncomfortable in her disguise in the first days.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Inveeted. Tilla is sure Aymer will not free her and her companions and is very impressed when he actually does it.
Top

Example of:

/

Feedback