Immortal Monday Fails the Holy Grail

Who wants to live forever? Raise your hand. What if there was an instrument that could grant this ability without the downside of say – vampirism? Would you be tempted? This is one modern interpretation of the Holy Grail as seen in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And let’s face it, one of my personal favorites for the mere fact it has Harrison Ford in it (we’ll just pretend that fourth installment never happened). It’s the reason The Holy Grail won itself a spot here on Immortal Monday.

But as I bounce around the highways and byways of the information network on my Monty Python quest for the Grail, what I found was a whole lot of confusion put out there by multiple authors. It’s quite the muddy trap, like the swamps of Mississippi.

The first one to introduce this magical artifact into our history is the French poet, Chretien de Troyes. Unfortunately his work went unfinished due to his untimely death, but he wrote of a Grail that was a large shiny serving dish filled with a glowing power. I rather like this rendition – it glows, it’s shiny, what could be better than that on the magical scale? After all, Grail comes from the Latin word gradale, meaning dish. So therein lies our first clue of its origins. But no magical powers have yet been explained. The author died before he got the chance.

Others took up where he left off, changing the dish to the cup we envision today. At one point in the 1200’s the poet Wolfram von Eschenbach depicted the Grail as a stone that had fallen from the heavens. It’s a curious theory, but easily thrown out. Can someone say meteorite? How easy it would be for others to quickly place various falling stones into this category? We would have buckets of Holy Grails before you know it!

It would be authors such as Robert de Boron and Sir Thomas Malory that would tie the Holy Grail to the Cup of Christ, thus linking its magical abilities to the blood of Christ. Back in the days of old, it was often referred to as the Sangreal, san greal actually meaning “Holy Grail.” But with a simple slip of the “g”, sang real takes on a new meaning — True Blood. Curious, no?

Although the Bible makes no mention of the Cup of Christ past  its usage  at the Last Supper, Boron romanticizes it into a magical artifact that is destined to become famous throughout history. We have heard of the Templar Knights if nothing else in these tales. It is thought that Boron may have latched onto the idea that Jesus passed his blood onto his disciples through the Cup at that last meal. Later at the crucifixion we are lead to believe that Joseph of Arimathea pulls the same Cup from his robes to capture Jesus’ blood as it drips from his broken body. It will be this blood that will grant the Cup, the Holy Grail, its power.

Flash forward to modern day. The Grail has inspired many works in print and on the screen. I have already mentioned Indiana Jones… and, of course, who can forget Monty Python’s famous telling of the story? It was a favorite during my high school years.

Flash forward even further ahead to a story that made a huge splash on literary scene – Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. His book introduced some interesting theories on Christ and his lineage.

And, of course, it is impossible to forget a true cinematic classic and all-time favorite of mine – Excalibur, released in theatres in 1981.   Each gives a different perspective of the Grail, primarily due to artist interpretation.

Circling back to my cinematic crush, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Grail is said to have healing powers. We saw a Templar Knight who looked impossibly old, supposedly granted incredibly long life through the power of the Grail. This was not a true interpretation of the Grail, but rather Hollywood taking privileges . It is rumored that the Grail does indeed gift one with healing, and through its use one may obviate death for a week’s time. Hardly immortality. So, in this instance the Grail FAILS as an object of immortality. But it still continues to draw great interest from many.

Is there a Holy Grail? There was a cup used at the dinner, no doubt.  That is, if you believe a dinner took place. But legend and lore has changed so much through the ages, who knows the truth? Some believe the original story may have stemmed from a Celtic belief and involved a Celtic object, only to be later adopted by Christianity. The Knights of the Templar possibly got involved because the timing was right. The stories were generated around the same time as the Knights were at their height. Food for thought.

Because I always like to give you something sparkly to gaze upon on Immortal Monday, in my search I found that Sweden put out a movie titled Arn: The Knight Templar, released in 2007. I may be stretching just a bit since this movie does not involve any search for the Grail per se, but there are Templar Knights. The leading star, Joakim Nätterqvist, was voted Sweden’s sexiest man of that same year. Let me introduce you…

Joakim Nätterqvist, Sweden's Sexiest Man 2007

Now, because I’m old school, I have to ask. Would you prefer to be trapped alone in a room with Joakim Nätterqvist or Harrison Ford?

Harrison Ford, Sexiest Man Alive 1998

And what do you think – are the stories of the Grail, as recorded by authors throughout history, colorful works of fiction or based in truth?

 Just ’cause…

Go forth and be excellent!

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to escape the everyday stress. Be sure to leave your mind open to the fantastical.
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42 Responses to Immortal Monday Fails the Holy Grail

  1. mgmillerbooks says:

    What a great, thought-provoking post. You been workin’! lol. I don’t know that I believe a Holy Grail exists, but it sure has made for some great stories. And I’m with you. I love the movie ‘Excalibur’. Best King Arthur interpretation ever.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thanks Mike! As a person of faith, I don’t feel the need to believe in every relic. It seems odd to me that Joseph would have been caring the cup around the next day. But what do I know. What I am finding with this and the stories of Thor and Odin is that the older Christian faith liked to dabble with existing fables and rewrite things to fit their needs. At least that’s a theory, considering it is theorized that the original tale of the Grail stems from a Celtic belief. An interesting concept for a future post.

  2. Emma Burcart says:

    I would pick Harrison Ford circa 1998 over the Swedish guy. I don’t go for blondes. But Harrison Ford today? No, thanks. I, too loved the Monty Python movies growing up. And because I didn’t grow up going to church or paying that much attention in school, the movies were the main source of my biblical and history knowledge. I never realized there was a connection between the holy grail and Jesus’s last supper cup. In that case, I think Lil’ John has it. In the modern day it’s called a Pimp Cup.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      LOL! Is there a theme song to go with the Pimp Cup?
      Traditionally, I don’t go for blondes either. But I seem to have gotten a bit of a crush of the blonde in my story. That was unexpected. :-/

  3. Oh honey. No contest. I’d want Harrison Ford in that room with me.
    And, no, I’ve got no desire to live forever. Unless the Buddhists are correct and I get more than one lifetme to undue all my mistakes. I must admit, there are people I wouldn’t mind seeing in the next life, be that in heaven or on earth.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      My husband would say, “You have chosen wisely.” 🙂 If the Buddhists are right, maybe those “few people” are part of your soul circle, destine to interact with you time and time again. 😉

  4. Cool post Debra!
    Oh and I love me some Harrison Ford circa the last century 😉

  5. Definitely Joakim for me. I’ve never had “a thing” for Harrison although he is a fantastic actor, no doubt.

    The Holy Grail is such an interesting subject. You did a great job with researching the information on it!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you Angela. I got to tell you, when the picture of Joakim first popped up I was all, “Who is that?!” I was taken aback by his baby blues. Yea, he kind of did it for me. 🙂

  6. I saw the version of Arn released in the States. Not bad, but apparently it had been spliced together from the three-part Swedish saga. I’d love to see the whole thing. Harrison Ford, hands down!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That would explain a review I read that said you needed the book to explain things left unclear in the movie. I’m not a fan of the chop and splice beyond reason. I may have to Netflix the Swedish version of this film.

  7. Absolutely fabulous post. Such history and potential. Eeekeee. Love it! I adored Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and loved the possible “spin” they put on the Holy Grail. So cool!
    I would definitely pick Harrison! 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      And it was one heck of a “spin!” Left me dizzy there for some time. LOL Well, look at Harrison go! He’s out running the competition by far! My hubs would be proud.

  8. Boy you’re a thinker Debra Kristi!

    As a Christian, I like to stick to the Bible’s teaching of everlasting life. I feel it’s a loving provision from God for positive future.

    But in the interim, I’ll take Harrison Ford vs the Swedish guy, thank you. 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Agreed! The Holy Grail doesn’t really come from the Bible, does it? At least, not in the way we are discussing it. I see it as a wonderful work of fiction. I, too, am a Christian and hold firm in my faith knowing that it will lead me to everlasting life. That’s a different kind of immortality than we are discussing though, isn’t it?

  9. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Excalibur is one of my all time favorite movies, too. Did it really come out that long ago? If I have to choose between Harrison & Joakim, I’d pick Joakim. Thanks for introducing this hunk! But if you throw in Lancelot from Excalibur, I’d have to pick him! You did a dynamite job researching this, Debra. I learned a lot!

  10. Harrison Ford. Why do some men get better with age? Stories are often based on some sort of fact so I like to think the Holy Grail actually exists.

    Wonderful post, Debra. Thanks!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      This is true. Some stories start with a fact and blossom from there. But to say that it started in the Celtic faith or Christian, who’s to say that this point. When it all comes right down to it, I think we are just meant to have faith for faith’s sake and not require objects for proof. If any story was touched by truth, it would have been the original works of Chretien de Troyes and the serving dish.

  11. Emma says:

    wow you did your research! I love the idea of the Holy Grail and all fiction starts from some grain of truth…I’ll take the Swedish guy. He must be beautiful if he beat his fellow countryman Alexander Skarsgard

  12. Debra Kristi says:

    Mmmmm…. I do love Alexander. But Joakim was big on the scene and Alexander was living in the states. I’m guessing that technicality took him out of the running. He sure is a yummy Swed though.

  13. Jessica O'Neal says:

    Loved this post! I am fascinated by all things involved in the Arthurian legend (it’s actually going to be my next Monday series). When I was in college I took a literature class that studied the legend of the Holy Grail, so we covered a lot of the things that you mention. Such an interesting subject. Thank you for bringing it to Immortal Mondays!

  14. Ah, I love the Knight’s Templar and will have to get this movie to see how it ends. The trailer definitely got my interest. As for who would I pick? Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven. Okay, so I’m cheating, sorry!

    I loved how Dan Brown made the Grail a woman’s womb. That was incredible when you think of the imagery involved with the Grail and what it represents. Does it exist? Does Santa? As long as there is a belief that it does, it holds power.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Cheat away! LOL Orlando is easy on the eyes. I have to give you that. 😀
      You’re right, with belief comes power. The grail holds a lot of it. I think what Dan Brown did was brilliant!

  15. I definitely believe there was a cup there, but as to the whereabouts…who knows? I like to believe it’s shiny and glowing and hidden in a secret cave somewhere. As long as there isn’t a killer rabbit guarding it..LOL. As to the man question, that’s a tough one. As I don’t know much about the new guy, I’d go with Harrison Ford…but the young Harrison Ford. None of that I-wear-an-earing-because-I’m-trying-to-impress-Calista business. Earrings are creepy on people as old as my dad….ok, I’m done..hahaha Great post, Debra!!

  16. Lena Corazon says:

    Why, hel-lo, Joakim. It’s quite lovely to meet you. 😉

    That said, I think I’ll have to go with Harrison Ford. I’ve been crushing on him for way too long to discard him for some upstart Swede, even if he was last year’s sexiest man alive.

    This is a great post, Debra, and a fantastic summary of variations of the grail myth. Monty Python was one of my favs growing up, as was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (I forced my parents to re-watch it with me over Thanksgiving break). If there is a real grail, I think it probably would’ve been the simple wooden cup or dish similar to the one that Indy chooses — something befitting the son of a carpenter who spent most of his time chilling out with fishermen and riling up people in power.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      You “forced” them, huh. LOL I bet you guys had a great time reliving Monty Python. I tend to think that if the grail is a cup, you would be right is choosing something simple and low key like the Indy movie. I love the wealth in stories the lore has created.

      “Young” Harry, hands down, seems to be in the lead.

  17. This was a fascinating post for me, especially since the novel Lisa Hall-Wilson and I are finishing right now is a twist on the Arthurian legends. I think there’s some truth behind all myths. The key is to find it. I don’t, however, believe that an object can bestow immortality, so I’d say that part of the myth is false.

    As for Harrison Ford and the Swedish guy, definitely Harrison Ford. I was watching him as Han Solo and then as Indiana Jones when I was probably still much too young to see a person’s heart being ripped from their chest in a movie.

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