3. William Hamleigh
William Hamleigh could be named as the main antagonist of The Pillars of the Earth. He acts against Aliena, Jack and Philip and he wants to own the Shiring domain. He is son of Percy Hamleigh, a small Lord and he is waiting to marry the daughter of an Earl, but when his plans are ruined he decides to revenge and fights Richard of Kingsbridge to take control over Shiring Earldom. He finally dies hanged after becoming a sheriff and people find out about his involvement in the murder of Thomas Becket./formatp]
William is son of Percy and Regan Hamleigh and he is married to Elizabeth. At first he is an Earl and then he becomes Sheriff of Shiring. He changes his allies as Waleran commands.
He first comes up when Tom Builder was building his house and cancels the construction because his marriage intentions failed. When Tom asks for some money as contracted, he gets angry and claims he will hang the builder but finally pays when Tom curses him to rest in the Hell. So … he fears something … the underworld.
His own POV (Point of View)
Seen later in Kingsbridge cathedral where he goes together with his parents for a service. He is interested in Aliena and tries to get in touch with her, but he can’t. Waleran tells Percy about Bartholomew’s treachery. After the family debates the theory, he leaves to Earlcastle to find out the truth. He needs to see Aliena for this and he is more than interested in catching her attention and affectivity, but when he gets there he finds the girl and her brother, Richard playing a game. Although Richard tries to cheat and leave the way, William gets him and leaves him crying. Still, Aliena tries to have a decent chat with him, but William starts talking about Bartholomew’s suspected facts, so she starts yelling at him. Although he is humiliated, he got the information needed so he can capture one of Bartholomew’s men. He does it and then tortures the messenger so he finds out about Bartholomew’s plan to join Maud.
He is an evil character, cruel and sadistic and his only compassion heads for his family. He is also cruel to women and his love for Aliena is more like a “property-type”. He acts very cruel to women in his life, especially Elizabeth, his wife, because she reminds him of Aliena.
Still, he is a brave man, especially when it comes to accomplishing his purposes. He tries to avoid the dangerous situations most of the time, but he is a good fighter when needed. He is more of a fighter than a thinker so he lets himself lead by Waleran. As a surprising feature, he is really afraid of Hell.
2. Jack Jackson
Jack Jackson is a main character and also a POV in The Pillars of The Earth. His role is not revealed from the beginnings but as the story goes by, his role is more and more important. He is the child of Jack Shareburg and Ellen. When he grows up, he is a great worker and sculptor, learning all the skills from Tom Builder, his step father. One of the center plots of the novel is centered on his love for Aliena and after Alfred, his step brother dies, he gets married to her and they give birth to two children. At one moment in the story he travels to France and Spain where his working skills develop even more. He is a great narrator, a skill earned from his natural father that he never knew, but he is very interested in./formatp]
Jack’s father dies in a conspiracy and he gets to be raised by his mother, Ellen, as good as she could, in the forests. This is one of the reasons she decides to enter Tom’s family. He is pictured meeting Tom, then he only appears later in the story when he runs to tell his mother he found a baby in the forest, but when they all arrive at the spot, the kid is gone, taken by Francis. When he enters Tom’s family he is beaten several times by his step brother Alfred, but he tries to learn from these experiences. He is also fond of Tom’s words about the stone work. He has a good relation with his step sister, Martha.
When they get to Earlscastle, Jack is both amazed by the building he sees, but also falls for Aliena as soon as he sees her.
Finally ends up in Kingsbridge where Tom can’t find work. Fearing this is the end of their family, Jack sneaks into the cathedral and burns it. He manages to leave the place in time and he confesses to Martha who agrees to keep this as a secret. So Tom manages to hire as a builder for the cathedral and Jack starts spending his time with Tom and doing jobs for the monks. He leaves with his mother back in the forests because people find out that Ellen and Tom are not married. They return one year later and he spots Aliena again, after she got to Kingsbridge after she was disinherited.
He begins working again for Tom and from now on he is kind of the main character of the book. His love story with Aliena also begins here. He is a very clever person, a good character but can become very angry when he believes strongly in something. He is also very rebellious, just like his mother.
His true love is Aliena. After watching her from the distance for some years, their relationship finally begins and till the end they get married and give birth to two children.
1. Aliena of Shiring
Aliena of Shiring is one of the main characters of Pillars of the Earth and she is also mentioned in the follow up – World Without End. She is the first daughter of Earl Bartholomew and sister of Richard. While she was seventeen, she was raped by William Hamleigh that she now hates with all her strength. She falls in love with Jack Jackson and the story of them two is one of the important plots of the novel. Although they struggle for years to be together, they finally get married and have two kids: Thomas and Sally. Daughter of an Earl, she grew up as a Lady and she is loved by people in Shiring. After her mother died, her father told her she doesn’t have to marry any man unless she wishes to. So she refuses William. She is very careful with her smaller brother Richard and she helps him in all her possible ways. She is seen when talking to William while he was asking her to rethink her refuse to marry him, but she also tries to figure out her father’s plans to sustain Maud. She gets angry with him and starts yelling at him./formatp]
Jack falls in love with her ever since he first sees her. Still she is rude to him at first.
Leading the Castle
Then she is shown again leading her castle together with Richard and then William comes up again and rapes her after cutting a piece of Richard’s ear. She manages to escape, both with Richard and they try to reach the King. Even if they don’t get to talk to him, they find out their father is in the local prison and they go to see him. They have to pay to see him so they try to get some work to make some money. They can’t so they return to the prison where a woman has mercy and pays for them.
After that they get to live in Kingsbridge where Aliena starts a wool business and she becomes really wealthy. Here she gets to be friends with Jack and fall for him, too.
She is pictured as a very beautiful woman. She is a proud lady, but still respectful to people. She can sometimes be self centered. But finally, the most important thing in her life is Jack and her love for him. She travels through Europe to find him and after they finally get married, they live happily ever after.