Fiendish Fridays #4: Waleran Bigod

Fiendish Fridays is hosted here at She Reads Novels, profiling some of our favourite literary villains. You can see a complete list of previous Fiends and suggest one of your own here.

This week’s Fiend comes from one of my favourite historical fiction novels, The Pillars of the Earth!

#4 – Friday 19 February 2010: Waleran Bigod

Name: Waleran Bigod

Appears in: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

Who is he? A 12th century English bishop.

What is he like? Tall and thin with long arms and legs, ‘lank jet-black hair and a pale face with a sharp nose’. He is compared to both a spider and a bird of prey.

What makes him a Friday Fiend? He is constantly scheming and thinking of ways to thwart Prior Philip and Tom Builder in their mission to build a cathedral in Kingsbridge. Unlike his violent accomplice, William Hamleigh (definitely a future Friday Fiend!), Waleran uses his brains and his influence in the church to get what he wants, which makes him a very dangerous enemy.

Redeeming features: As one of the Kingsbridge monks points out, Waleran seems genuinely devout, but is driven by ambition and a belief that the end justifies the means. This leads him to think it’s acceptable to do whatever he wants in the service of God.

Have you read The Pillars of the Earth? What are your opinions on today’s Friday Fiend?

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