The story of a peasant competing in the royal sport of jousting for a better way of life was my first glimpse of Heath Ledger.  It’s been airing on TV a few times lately and I always love watching it.  I didn’t catch it until a couple of years after its run in the theaters.  However, from the first time I saw “A Knight’s Tale,” I was a fan of both Ledger and the medieval-themed movie of jousting knights.

As a thatcher’s son, William (Ledger) faced a number of obstacles toward his dream of knighthood.  Most importantly, he has to mask his identity as someone of little wealth in order to enter a tournament showcasing knightly talents.  He proceeds to the event’s next location under a new name which includes the title of ‘Sir.’

Two friends, Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk) accompany the tournament-bound, pseudo-named Sir Ulrich and aid him in practicing his skills.  They cross paths with a man whose gift is writing, Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany); his own particular talents become an addition to William’s cover as a knight.

Once on tournament grounds, William / Sir Ulrich falls for a woman of royalty, Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon). He also encounters a fierce rival in Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell), who dons black armor in competition.  The rivalry for Jocelyn’s heart spills into the jousting, which leads Adhemar to blow the newcomer’s cover and evict him from tournament eligibility.

In that first joust after William has been knighted with his real name and Adhemar plays even dirtier to defeat him, the opponents make eye contact.  Sir William has this look of determination, realizing the serious means to which his rival tries to win.  As friends tend to Sir William, Adhemar rides up to them stating in his own way that he won’t be defeated.  To that, Sir William simply utters quietly, “Change your stars;” it’s one of my favorite movie quotes because it can easily be connected to real life.

Along with William’s never-give-up mindset, the overall cast and medieval story setting are also elements that keep “A Knight’s Tale” among my favorites.  The movie also stars Berenice Bejo as Christiana, James Purefoy as Colville and Laura Fraser as armor-welder Kate.

Back when I first saw “A Knight’s Tale,” I was struggling to finish my undergraduate studies.  The struggle wasn’t in terms of grades; it had to do with the financial side of continuing my education.  Sometimes it seemed as though I’d never reach that goal, but  I kept at it; in a way, it was like my life’s version of William’s “change your stars” belief.  Now that I have completed my undergraduate studies, I’d love to apply that to my grad school goals.