The two of the greatest novels produced by Ken Follett have revolved around a cathedral, despite the fact that he himself has somewhat negative opinion about Christianity. He has always been skeptical about the religion, and this is attributed by him to his efforts to be realistic while creating a portrait of the medieval church, while writing both the books – Pillars of the Earth and World without Books.
Realistic Portrayal of Characters and Events
The first book Pillars of the Earth has a hero Prior Philip, who is a very practical Christian who just wants to save people from their problems. He doesn’t promise them a better life in some other world; he tries to make their lives better in this very world. He has the kind of religious nature that Ken Follett himself admires. While writing, he doesn’t want to pretend that everything is hunky dory in the church, he thinks the church may also have its fair share of sinners, and presents the same picture. It means, he also writes about monks and priests who are corrupt and wicked. Ken Follett himself was a brought up Christian but he stopped believing when he was just 16 years old.
His Favourite Character
When asked if he has a favourite character, he mentions Gwenda in World without End. He says she falls for the most attractive boy even though she is not pretty herself, and she never accepts no as an answer. She suffers more than other characters in the book but she is not the one who ever gives up hope. The thing Ken Follett likes most about her character is her grit and determination. Readers often ask him if he would like to rewrite the end of William Hamleigh. He says in the first draft he made William Hamleigh die fairly natural death, but the editor protested saying he did pretty awful things and that he deserved a worse death.
Several scenes written by him have graphic sexual violence scenes, which are difficult for the readers. But Ken Follett says emotions in the mind have to have a physical resolution. For example, if there is some kind of tension between two men throughout the novel, it’s only natural they will have some physical violence towards the end of the book. The sexual scenes are also physical manifestation of mental attraction between two persons, hence they are also unavoidable. These scenes often appear unpleasant, but they are part of the story and the readers have to go through them to reach the pleasant climax.
The Name Is Bond… James Bond
Ken Follett says James Bond was his favourite character, and there was a time when he wanted to be James Bond himself, though he soon realized it was not possible because he couldn’t be six feet tall or have blue eyes. He did the next best thing which was possible and he could do better, he decided to tell stories.