Kingdom of Heaven Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 film, a free presentation of the story of the crusader Balian II Ibelin, who participated in the war between the Ayyubids and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and also defended Jerusalem during the siege of Saladin. Director Ridley Scott did not set out to accurately recreate the history of the events that preceded the III Crusade, this is more of a fan fiction. So, the biography of the main character in the film borrowed facts from the life of another crusader – Baldwin de Ibelin (this is the brother of Balian II Ibelin). There are very few battle scenes and fights in the film. One of Scott’s most underrated movies that flopped at the box office.

What is Kingdom of Heaven movie about?

The young blacksmith Balian buries his son and wife, who committed suicide. Baron Gottfried Ibelinsky arrives in the village and tells Balian that he is his father, offering to go with him to Israel. The blacksmith refuses, but after he has killed the man, he catches up with his father and his knights, deciding to atone for the sin of his woman and his sin. On the way, he remains the only survivor of a shipwreck, finds himself a servant of Imad. In Jerusalem, Balian meets the people of Baron Gottfried and the leper king of Israel, and at the same time falls in love with Queen Sibylla. The Queen reciprocates.

In the holy land, everything is restless now. The kings of Egypt and Israel, Salah ad-Din and Baldwin the Leper keep the peace with great difficulty, there are constant provocations from religious fanatics who are ready to kill Muslims on the orders of the pope. The gangs of provocateurs are led by the knights Renaud de Chatillon and Guy de Lusignan (who is the husband of Queen Sibylla).

Balian becomes heir to his father’s possessions in Palestine. The blacksmith turned out to be a rather skillful ruler, he built an irrigation system and turned the estate into a prosperous region.

His peaceful life ends on the day when the Templars rob the caravan of the Saracens, and Salah ad-Din in response sends a whole army of Muslims to Renaud de Chatillon. Balian confronts the Saracens, loses many of his knights during the battle.

Salah ad-Din and the king of Israel make peace, Chatillon goes to prison, Baldwin dies. After some time, Guy de Lusignan becomes the king of Israel, who frees his friend Chatillon from prison and again begins the persecution of Muslims, during which Saladdin’s sister dies. Lusignan executes the ambassador, after which a new war begins.

During the Battle of Hattin, almost the entire Christian army perishes, Guy de Lusignan is captured, and Chatillon is executed.

Salah ad-Din sends his troops to Jerusalem. Balian distributes knighthoods to the townspeople and squires and prepares for the battle for Jerusalem. The city managed to resist, but during the negotiations, Balian surrenders Jerusalem to Egypt on the condition that Saladdin save the lives of the knights and ordinary citizens.

Queen Sibylla renounces the crown and goes with Balian to his homeland. King Richard the Lionheart offers Balian to go on a campaign against Saladdin, but he refuses, saying that he is just a blacksmith.

Meaning of Kingdom of Heaven

The whole film shows us not a knight, but an ordinary blacksmith with the features of a knight. We are not shown the formation of the main character and his transformation into a warrior, but throughout the film we see a practical and down to earth person.

Yes, and the plot of the film is largely built on the opposition of the materialism of Balian, a man of the people who is focused on practical use, and the idealism of the knights and kings with whom he has to communicate. In the end, he remains a blacksmith, having exchanged the whole world of knights and castles for simple happiness. Perhaps this is a hint that each person will be happy only in his own place: you don’t need to chase after prestige, fashion and victory if you feel good in your village and in your forge.

Shown in the film are the contradictions in the world of kings. Belief in God is in no way compatible with the struggle for God’s lands, and the struggle for power is contrary to respect for authority. Perhaps it was from this that Queen Sibylla fled to the forge.

A different attitude to faith, one’s own and someone else’s, is also shown. So, at the very beginning of the film, Balian kills a priest when he sees a cross taken from the body of his deceased wife.

At the same time, the Muslim Saladdin raises the cross that the knights dropped, which shows respect for someone else’s faith. Apparently, it is more important to carry God in the soul. And it doesn’t matter what you call it.

The meaning of the film’s ending

In the finale, Balian refuses to go on a crusade against Saladdin. He realized that his place is here, next to a new love. At the end of the film, he drives past his wife’s grave and realizes that he has atoned for his sin and let go of this tragedy. And the kingdom of heaven is only in our soul.

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