The Fisher King (1991)

The Fisher King (1991) Trailer

The Fisher King (1991) is a fascinating and amusing story about how a proud man (Jack Lucas) fell from fame due to his insensitivity, and his attempts to redeem himself by helping a homeless (Parry) who was not in his right mind.

Jack wanted nothing to do with such a company, however he decided otherwise when he learned the reason behind why Parry was driven mad: Parry witnessed the murder of his wife which was indirectly caused by Jack himself (Jack gave some ‘advice’ which triggered a man to commit mass murder in a restaurant). In order to feel better of himself, Jack figured that he should help Parry in any way he can so he could pay off the ‘dept’ which he felt responsible for.

Notice that Jack’s motive to help Parry was neither out of “the goodness of his heart” nor sympathy but his own selfish desire to feel better for himself, as he had been burdened with the unfortunate incident for the past few years.

Another thing to take note of is how Jack found Parry’s mission to retrieve the Holy Grail to be an impossible and fruitless attempt. In the same way, the audience could see very well that Jack was on his own “impossible and fruitless attempt” to redeem himself by trying to pay back what he has done, even in terms of monetary value! As we know, what has happened in the past cannot be changed with any sum of money in the world. Therefore, I consider the act of giving money to redeem oneself as an irresponsible and cowardly way to solve such a problem.

The last thing which caught my attention was the story of the Fisher King as told by Parry in the film.  The story somehow reminded me of a scene in Happy Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) where Harry Potter asked Professor Dumbledore how he came to posses the Sorcerer’s Stone, which could grant riches and eternal life. Professor Dumbledore told Harry that the stone could only be found by “those who seek it, but not use it”. Similarly, as in the case of the Fisher King, the fool ‘found’ the Holy Grail because he was seeking it to quench the thirst of the King, without any selfish thoughts of the riches and glory that comes with it, whereas the King seek to gain all these for himself.

Moral of the sotry?

!~Good things come to those who are pure~!

The Story of the Fisher King

It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king.

Now while he is spending the night alone he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy,

“You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.”

But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty.

And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God,
… so he reached into the fire to take the grail,
… and the grail vanished,
… leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded.

Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper.

Until one day, life for him lost its reason. … He had no faith in any man, not even himself.
… He couldn’t love or feel loved.
… He was sick with experience.
He began to die.

One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king,

“What ails you friend?”

The king replied,

“I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”.

So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king.

As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement,

“How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?”

And the fool replied,

“I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”


A clip from the film of Parry telling the story of the Fisher King

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