Connor leaves Castle Faelain behind with a garrison of SOLDIERS to guard Faelain and the other occupants and rides with Dierdre for his Castle Emain. During the journey, Dierdre is slowly attracted to this interesting man, and sees beyond his armor and shaggy beard. During an attempted horseback escape, both of them end up laughing in a river. She opens his senses to sounds of nature, instead of the clatter of camp. Although she still loves Ardan, Dierdre realizes that this marriage will bring needed peace to the people of Ireland. Dierdre’s dismay at arriving at the forbidding Castle Emain is countered by the warm greeting of Connor’s SUBJECTS. Madalyn, who was ordered to return to her father, has disobeyed and secretly watches her rival arrive. The reality of her new position–an abandoned mistress—increases her desire for revenge. Even Brianan is impressed with Dierdre’s beauty and he is increasingly reluctant to join his mother in treason against Connor. Also watching is Connor’s disapproving mother NESS, 60, who sees her son as less of a man than his father and blames the birth of Connor for the loss of her own beauty and figure. Ness’ jealousy increases when she notices that her son is attracted to Dierdre as a person and not just to the power that the marriage brings. Despite the visible acceptance of Connor’s subjects, Dierdre finds the castle confining, dark and gloomy, so Connor promises to take her home within a few days.
Ardan and a small band of knights return to the mainland and escape Connor’s patrols, but are forced to kill former comrades, whose fealty now belongs to Connor. Ardan has become an outlaw. However, his love for Dierdre is so strong that he is unable to abandon plans to rescue her. They sneak into Faelain Castle and are surprised to learn from Faelain that Dierdre and Connor are gone–and Faelain is dismayed at the deaths of several GUARDS, which may condemn Faelain to death if Connor thinks that Faelain conspired in the rescue attempt. One of Faelain’s men reminds Faelain that he supported their raids on Connor’s lands, how can he abandon them now? Faelain is a realist, they are all lucky to be alive and he urges Ardan to forget about Dierdre and save himself and his men. Ardan will not be deterred; he will rescue Dierdre no matter where she is. However, the longer he searches, the more harm he does and he is no closer to his goal. Meanwhile, Connor and Dierdre host a gathering of NOBLES at Castle Emain and announce they are united for peace and harmony: One Isle! One Law! One King! They both feel Dierdre’s promise being fulfilled.
Connor keeps his promise and he and Dierdre with a group of RETAINERS leave for Faelain Castle. Their mutual attraction grows and Dierdre finally agrees to the marriage. As expected Connor is not happy to learn that Faelain Castle was breached and several guards killed. It is agreed that only their wedding will promote harmony and so a small, simple ceremony is planned for the next day. The wedding takes place on a sunny day in a scenic meadow. The couple honeymoon in a lavish tent, and Connor’s ever-present GUARDS are moved to more distant postings to provide the newlyweds with more privacy. The next morning, Ardan and his band make a surprise attack, kidnapping an unconscious Dierdre and leaving Connor for dead. Dierdre is horrified when she regains her senses and confronts the unrepentant Ardan with the fact that his actions will bring wars and destruction on Ireland. But he refuses to return her to Connor. Even as Connor’s wounds are bandaged, word comes of insurrection at Castle Emain and elsewhere. In the confusion, Connor believes Dierdre was glad to leave and she believes him dead. Connor ignores orders to convalesce and questions Faelain and Rose about his attackers. Ardan is named as well as where he and his knights can be found. Brianan arrives with a force to fight his father and instead joins him against their common enemy: Ardan. Connor wins the battle, but his original wounds are fatal. Brianan promises to protect Dierdre. Connor bequeaths his titles and property to his only son, and dies in the loving arms of Dierdre. He is now free. Ardan is forced into exile, but Dierdre refuses to go with him. She still hopes to save Ireland.
This is a colorful and historic time period in which to set this dramatic and action-filled story: a time when both Christianity and the ancient practices of the druids co-existed and the illiterate common people often retained earlier “pagan” practices and even melded them into the teachings of Christianity. This is also less than 100 years after Ireland emerged from a Dark Age and adjacent Britain was adjusted to the withdrawal of the Roman legions. This power vacuum resulted in a complete absence of central authority. Politically, each region centered on population centers near “ring forts” led by individual rulers. These rulers sought land and power, each pursuing supremacy via warfare or peaceful alliances via negotiated treaties or through marriage.
Although the plot unfolds within a short time span, Dierdre’s evolution from a headstrong girl into a thoughtful young woman who accepts the burden of her birth prophecy is believable. She continues to acknowledge that she loves Ardan, but has learned to love Connor. This is a careful decision that will benefit a united population rather than pursuing her desire to be with her true love. It is also a practical one, based on the wisdom of her longtime attendant Rose. Some of her practicality may have been inherited from her father Faelain, who created some of the problems she is forced to deal with (he reneged on his promise of the marriage to Connor). However, Faelain is not a willful, power-hungry despot, he recognizes his mistakes and quickly changes gears, so that he and his subjects can survive Connor’s wrath. The romance between Connor and Dierdre is increasingly believable. As they fall in love, the audience learns more about his character and his past history. Connor’s ambitions are in tune with the times and are undoubtedly propelled further because of the rejection of his mother and the negative comparisons to his father. Connor displays his honesty and lack of deceit in his treatment of his longtime mistress; he never promised her marriage, yet never abandoned her for another woman—his choice is to put his kingdom first, instead of his own desires. This reinforces the culture of the times: nobility did not marry for love, their marriages were politically motivated. In addition, Connor has obviously treated his illegitimate son fairly: acknowledging him, raising him within his own household, and training him to be a warrior. He has even tolerated his mother—entrusting her to the stewardship of his castle. Connor admits that he is a warrior—also normal for the time period—and is believably surprised by his feelings for Dierdre. This arranged marriage may not be so bad for either one of them. Even Ardan is believable as the youthful, reckless lover, who is willing to die for his dreams, even when his dream girl finally rejects him. His behavior and ability to inspire his family members and his group of knights is built not only on their loyalty to him, but their desire to overthrow Connor, whom they believe to be a despotic ruler.
Woven throughout the storyline is colorful action. It begins with the siege of Faelain Castle, following by skirmishes between Ardan and Connor’s search parties. There is even violence during the initial festivities at Faelain Castle. The film ends with the attack by Ardan, followed by the counter-attack by Connor and Brianan against Ardan’s forces.
This project combines the drama of a love triangle with the internal politics of two families, plus some colorful action scenes that should not cost millions to film. With the continuing success of such television series as Vikings (History Channel) and The Last Kingdom (BBC America) and Thor & its sequels on the big screen (a series of films based on Scandinavian myths via Marvel Comics), plus a new version of the Arthurian myth (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) for Warner Bros, this project is recommended for development.