It is a matter of fact French author Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) while making researches in the Royal Library for a History of Louis XIV he was going to write, stumbled by chance upon the Memoirs of Monsieur D’Artagnan.
They were printed, he tells us, as were most of the works of that period.
The same day that D’Artagnan had set forward on his journey, furnished with three paternal gifts consisting of fifteen crowns, an old horse, and a letter from his father for the head of The Musketeers in Paris M. de Treville, would become a red-letter day not only for him, but also for literature and its author,
None so much perhaps as those who today follow the adventures of The Musketeers, the simply splendid television series produced by BBC TV.
Alexander Dumas’ fabulous heroes, The Three Musketeers, plus their best pal D’Artagnan are all set to assault our TV Screens once more for Season Three and the fans, including me, have found it difficult to wait!
In his Memoirs D’Artagnan related that on his first visit to Captain de Treville, of the King’s Musketeeers, he met in the antechamber three young men, who serving in the illustrious corps into which he was soliciting the honour of being received.
They bore the names Aramis, Athos, and Porthos.
Dumas says in his prologue to his novel, that once he had read D’Artagnan’s memoir he then searched for a long time, endeavouring to find the three other names once again, in other works of the day.
It was a discouraging task until magically he happened upon the “Memoirs of the Comte de la Fere, Touching Some Events Which Passed in France Toward the End of the Reign of King Louis XIII and the Commencement of the Reign of King Louis XIV” and the three names, Aramis, Athos and Porthos were once again included.
Dumas then began to pen his story about all four men, because he could see that it was one that would appeal to everyone’s sense of swashbuckling adventure and romantic dalliances.
He was right; a fact testified to by the millions of movie and television buffs of this classic story, which has been told around the world now for over a century.
BBC One’s four heroes are actors Santiago Cabrera as Aramis, Luke Pasqualino as D’Artagnan, Tom Burke as Athos and Howard Charles as Porthos.
They are a ‘Dream Team’ and most certainly fit my criteria as the four heroes ‘All for One and One for All’.
With both dash and determination, they have swash and buckled their way through two series admirably and the fans are certainly glad that they will all be back, at least one more time. The swoon factor is huge!
I know I will, as they have coloured my perceptions of what a man is meant to be since I was a child. Endlessly loyal, of fit body and mind while captivating, caring, compassionate and, with the courage of his convictions.
France during Dumas’ lifetime was in a good place the French economy booming allowing him to spend lavishly like the hero of his other famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
Although unlike his hero his would come to a sticky end, sad and alone. He had been a capable ‘fencer’ too, so well understood the concept of swordmanship and its history from ancient times prior to the use of muskets.
They were the first weapon of choice for The King’s Musketeers; Musketeers of the military household of the King of France (Mousquetaires de la maison militaire du roi de France).
Established by Louis XIII in 1622 they became the most prestigious of military companies during the reign of the Ancien Régime.
It is recorded the following are some of the most notable.
- Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan (1611-1673), Historical basis of Dumas’s character d’Artagnan inThe Three Musketeers)
- Armand d’Athos (1615-1643) Historical basis of Dumas’s character Athos)
- Henri d’Aramitz (1620 – not known) Historical basis of Dumas’s character Aramis)
- Isaac de Porthau (1617-1712) Historical basis of Dumas’s character Porthos)
Muskets were developed to pierce armour and so the Musketeers were the first infantry to give up armour entirely. Without armour, musketeers were able to take cover behind walls or in sunken lanes and sometimes act as skirmishers.
Its limitation was that it only allowed one shot at a time, so often they had to resort back to swords.
Dumas was himself a larger than life character who was accorded the honour of being laid to rest among other French giants in the stunning building of the Panthéon at Paris.
By then his two most famous novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo had made him a household name in France as well as much of Europe, while the rest of the world had to wait until they were finally translated into English.
To end the story the producers will have to kill off both the ladies our men love – D’Artagnan’s beloved Constance Bonacieux (Tamla Kari) and Athos’s wicked wife, Milady de Winter (Maimie McCoy).
They will have to be sure they are finally done to contemplate that move.
In the meantime, we have enjoyed two villains to date. Peter Capaldi in Season One, delicious as Cardinal Richelieu and Marc Warren as a convincingly evil Rochefort in Season 2.
Now we have another new villain for Series Three a very promising start.
English actor Rupert Everett is playing the role of Philippe Achille, Marquis de Feron, the corrupt Governor of Paris, Head of the Red Guard and an illegitimate brother to Louis XIII, played so well by Ryan Gage alongside the very lovely Queen Anne (Alexandra Dowling).
Pre post marketing says the Marquis will go up against The Musketeers and bring chaos and sedition to the monarchy and to Paris!
Hilary Martin, head of BBC Drama North has been quoted as saying the “… third series of The Musketeers promises to be an ambitious and electric piece of drama. We are thrilled our lead writers Simon Ashford and Simon Allen’s fantastic scripts have attracted such exceptionally high calibre actors to join the Musketeers on their exciting journey through war-torn and politically turbulent seventeenth century Paris.”
And so say all of us.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016