A Meeting of Too Many Minds
Synopsis - 1st Episode
Don Quejano lives in quiet, secluded comfort on a small estate in the vicinity of La Mancha of which he is the last male heir.
Never married and long past such cares, he relieves the monotony by reading popular romances about knights, sorcerers, giants and chivalry. In fact, he has devoured so many pages of such stuff that, while he can expertly recall the names of 3rd cousins of relatively minor figures in the lexicography of legendary romance media, his housekeeper has to remind him about the most simple tasks of daily household management. When, upon awakening from a dream one morning, he declares himself to be as a gallant knight like those about whom he has been reading. She, naturally, assumes he is off his rocker, and that his mind is the victim of the trash he has put into it, which reflects her view of popular romances.
About the World of Don Quejano (alias) Don Quixote
By 1605, 150 years after the implementation of movable type by Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, popular books of fiction had replaced the oral tradition of memorized story-telling. Ballads were still performed for audiences in public and private venues as they are today, but now that affordable books were available, well known legends as old as Gilgamesh and Homer's Illiad could be read aloud and the provenance of the author's word was part of the mystique to draw audiences to listen to tales romanticizing historic and legendary heroes, lovers and villains, and in Spain, glorifying the Christian conquest and the crusades. Engravings in these books influenced styles of dress and manners in kingdoms that had only recently been united as nations within the Holy Roman Empire. Young men, influenced by these ideas, fought duels for honor and enlisted in the service of feudal lords and the bishops whom they served to continue the quest for Jerusalem.
For 8 centuries, prior to this date, the Iberian peninsula had been the frontier between the Gallic and later, Christian mentality, and the Arabic and Islamic cultures. The eastern and Arabic fonts of knowledge, included empirical science, art, philosophy, mathematics, law, government, architecture and other ideas that had evolved over thousands of years, and by 1600, the population of España was a hyrid of eastern, African and Gallic blood. Scholars from all over Europe journeyed to the vast libraries of The Toledo created under Moslem caliphates, who commissioned translations of all written works of art, science and religion into Greek, Latin, Arabic and the vernacular that Cervantes wrote in, which we call Spanish. This was the time and place of the birth of modern world literature.
17th century printers took advantage of popular familiarity with the names, myths and stories of medieval times. Montalvo's Amadis of Gaul and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and hundreds of lesser known writers imitated these themes and their protagonists in formulaic plots just as modern day comic books, pulp fiction and TV now do.
About Don Quejano (alias) Don Quixote
Don Quejano read his books of chivalry compulsively. However, he discerned which were faithful to the original legends. Naturally, he was more familiar with fictional characters than real people with whom he had no contact and little interest for it. Naturally, these characters inhabited his dreams and inspired his imagination. His housekeeper feels that his interest in books of chivalry is madness but compared with petty quarrels over money, farms and marriages, romances descroned adventure, ideals, passion and possibility for greatness. Other than opportunity and willful determination, what moved Gilgamesh to the quest for which he is immortalized, or Amadis of Gaul? In Quixote's view, is it not each man's right to pursue the object for which his life will stand as testimony?
The Transformation of Don Quejano: the Knight's First Sally
Some still think that Quejano confused fiction with historical truth and that is how it appeared to many, including the author of his history, known only by an unknown name. In the pilot episode, Quixote emerges from the world of books and declares himself to be the soon to be famous, Don Quixote de La Mancha, sworn to uphold the glory of god and King. He intentionally invents Don Quixote and declares his intention to be Don Quixote in order to roam the world as a knight errant in search of adventure, and to be known throughout history for his valor. If you call this delusional, why is it that, 450 years later, and through the ages since, more people have know Don Quixote name than that of Amadis, Gilgamesh, El Cid, Gawain or Lancelot, et al. He pragmatically declares his love for the beautiful, Doña Dulcinea del Toboso, conferring this name title on Aldonza Lorenzo, a peasant girl who lives in the nearby village of Toboso. And again, with pragmatic wisdome, he invents the name, "Rocinante", for his noble steed, which loosely translated means, "Mother of all Nags", acknowledging the horse being a nag must achieve greatness as a heroic nag. Donning a rusted suit of armor that has filled a corner of the attic for more than a century, he sallies forth to right the wrongs of the world.
Cervantes frequently reminds us throughout the bood that Don Quixote's apparent delusional malady is confined to chivalric custom, that otherwise, he is clear-headed, lucid, even brilliant. Because his commitment to living in the world of romantic adventure overrides his senses, he cannot help but see adventure where others do not. Im this frame of mind, is it unreasonable to mistake an Inn for a castle? No young imaginative person would do less and most of us are aware of similar mistakes made everyday by adults, often with heavy consequence. For Quixote's purpose, it is a caslte and that is the end of it. Later, when his squire, Sancho Panza, argues to him that the giant he sees is a windmill, Quixote correctly informs Sancho with impeccable judgment that he, and not Sancho, is qualified to make such determinations. When Quixote prevails upon the innkeeper to do him the honor of dubbing him a knight so he may legitimately engage in combat with his knighted peers, the Innkeeper is smart enough to understand that, as the governor of the castle of Quixote's imagination, he can do no less for him. The Inkeeper's knows that his own identity is as much a fiction as the watered wine he sells, having escaped the clutches of the law in years past. What is the difference?
The innkeeper takes the course of least resistance to make whatever money he can from his foolish guest and when Don Quixote tells him that money is not part of the chivalric tradition, the governor of the castle explains that authors do not write about many matters as commonly understood as sanitation, but this does not change the fact, an idea Quixote cannot disagree about and he resolves to return home as soon as he has been properly dubbed and set forth properly provisioned for his work in errantry.
Word by word, second by second, the night at the Inn goes from peaceful rest to chaotic mayhem. Don Quixote, having placed his armor on a trough in the courtyard, there to stand watch over it as tradition demands, nearly kills two mule drivers who come to water their mules at the trough. The innkeeper, unwilling to confront the mad man, instead tells him that the injured Mule Drivers are evidence he has satisfied tradition. Anxious to get rid of him before anyone is killed, he performs the dubbing ceremony. Refusing Quixote's offer to return to pay him, he begs the knight to accept his hospitality as a gift and go forth to assist the world of those in far greater need.
On leaving the inn, Quixote comes to the rescue of a boy who is receiving a beating from his employer for the negligent loss of sheep the boy was watching. Quixote demands that the farmer promise to treat his employee with kindness, which the sadistic farmer is happy to do and Quixote then leaves the boy in the clutches of the sadistic farmer who redoubles the beating when Don Quixote has left, while Quixote trots off on Rocinante, self-satisfied at his first success.
Continuing, Quixote comes upon a caravan of silk merchants on their way to market in Toledo. Mistaking them for an entourage of knights, he demands they swear to the unparalleled beauty of Dulcinea. One of the merchants asks for proof of the lady's charms. Enraged, Quixote lowers his lance and charges. Fortunately for the merchant, Rocinante stumbles, tumbling Quixote into a ditch. Unable to move in his heavy armor, he suffers the pain and humiliation of a merciless flogging as one of the mule drivers breaks Quixote's lance and beats him with it until, exhausted and bored with it, they move on. Though thoroughly beaten, Quixote feels triumphant for he has defended his pledge to Dulcinea, and proved his valor if not his strength, and it was Rocinante's fault. The horse, meanwhile, having had enough of the day has gone home without him.
Fortunately, a neighbor, Pedro Alonzo, passing along the road on his way home hears Quixote's moaning and finds the knight lying in a ditch by the side of the road. He is a simple man and shocked when the knight turns out to be his neighbor who is known as Don Quejano. He lays the knight in his armor across the back of his mule, and in this manner, bruised but undeterred, Quixote returns to his home after his first sally.
For more information, please see:
Draft Script for Pilot Episode
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