Aliena as she appears in the TV series.
|Rank||Acting Countess of Shiring|
|Family||Earl Bartholomew of Shiring (Father)|
Richard of Kingsbridge (Brother)
Jack Jackson (Husband)
|Civil War Allegiance||Henry I|
|Novels Appeared||The Pillars of the Earth (POV)
World Without End (Mentioned)
|TV Series Potrayal||Hayley Atwell|-|
Aliena of Shiring is a major character that features in Pillars of the Earth and is mentioned in World Without End. She is the daughter of Earl Bartholomew, and sister of Richard. When she is seventeen, Aliena is raped by William Hamleigh, and dispossessed of her status. As a result she builds up a strong hatred for the man, and acts as his nemesis, although mostly through Richard. She falls in love with Jack Jackson, and this relationship forms one of the most important plots throughout the story, as they struggle to be with each other. With him, she has two children, Thomas, and Sally.
BackgroundEditAliena was the first child of Earl Bartholomew of Shiring. She grew up as a Lady, and became used to entitlement, although she was also seen as gracious, and popular among the smallfolk of Shiring. She was told by her father that, after the events that led to the death of his wife, Aliena's mother, that she would never have to marry anyone that she didn't want to. This promise led to the events of her refusal to marry William, and thus her eventual dispossession (although she does regain her titles in her brother's name.) She builds up a close bond with her brother, who calls her 'Allie'.
The Pillars of the EarthEdit
Part I Edit
Aliena is first mentioned by a herald who tells Tom Builder about how she broke off the marriage between her and William Hamleigh and as a result he is coming to stop them working.
She is first seen when William actually goes to see her, his true purpose of discovering what her Father, Earl Bartholomew plans with Maud, and he punishes Richard for his behaviour. He the talks to Aliena, asking for her to rethink her refusal but she gets angry with his persistence and tells him exactly why she didn't want to marry him, namely because of his selfishness and cruelty.
When she next appears it is through Jack Jackson's eyes, who instantly falls for her and starts talking to her. However Aliena is exceptionally rude, mocking him for not knowing how babies are made. She is later seen in the crowd of captured people when the Hamleigh's take over Shiring castle, although she plays no part in the battle.
Part II Edit
In Part II of The Pillars of the Earth, Aliena really comes into her own and it is at this time that she gains her own POV. At this time they are living in Earlscastle which has been abandoned. Aliena takes control of the situation with Mathew, her Steward, and Richard. During this time she shows her ability to lead as they live a strange lifestyle hoping for their Father to return and everything to go back to normal.
Unfortunetly, things don't go as they expect them to and instead Willaim Hamleigh arrives with his servant Walter. They mock her and make her serve them, eventually ending in Richard's ear being taken off and Matthew killed when they try atofight back. William forces himself on her, and she submits to save Richard. Aliena's raped and this effects her for sometime afterwards. She and Richard escape the castle after William and Walter fall asleep, first finding Father's secret stash which they use to arm themselves, Aliena with a dagger, Richard with a sword, before they head onto the road in an attempt to petition to the King for their Father's release.
First they are decieved by the King's verderer and the horse they took from William and Walter are taken. After this they come across two outlaws on the road. They attempt to rob the siblings, but Aliena, in fit of anger and determination, stabs one and orders Richard to deliver the coup de grace, which he does. The other outlaw runs from the pair.
The two siblings do finally arrive at Winchester, where they attempt to petition to the King, but find he is not in the city anymore. They sleep in the local monastery, where Aliena becomes uncomfortable with being stared at by many men. She is already consumed with guilt for what happened to her and resloves to kill William's child should she be pregnant.
They go to see the King in the morning, only to find he has left Winchester for his Easter court. Although dismayed, Aliena's spirits quickly rise when she discovers that her father is in the city jails. She and Richard attempt to talk to the guard on duty but he says that if they have no money, then they don't get to see their father. Aliena then tells Richard that they simply have to earn a penny, and they set off to find work. However, due to their birth, they are rejected from everywhere they try, as they are considered too soft, or wouldn't respond well to orders, having been born to issue them. A Jewish gold merchant tells them this. A women spots Aliena and tell her to follow, which the siblings do. There, Richard is given bread and ale while Aliena is taken up to the mistress. It turns out to be a brothel.
Eventually they return to the jail to beg entrance, but the guard, Odo, still refuses them. A women named Meg enters and takes pity on them, paying for their entrance and showing them some kindness. Aliena and Richard visit their father and Aliena vows to help Richard become the Earl of Shiring, a vow that she manages to keep, albeit after seventeen years.
After a failed attempt to gain sanctuary with Uncle Simon, Aliena and Richard end up in Kingsbridge where Aliena starts a wool selling business eventually becoming a wealthy merchent. During her time in Kingsbridge she is frequently flirted with by men but shows no interest until she befriends Jack Jackson whom she falls deeply in love with.
Appearance and PersonalityEditAliena is described as very beautiful. She is often said to be voluptuous by many of the characters with brown, curly hair. As she ages, her beauty fades a little, especially after childbirth, but most characters including Jack and William still find her extremely attactive. She gains weight throughout the book in accordance to her age, but as said, still remains very desirable. Aliena carries herself with a proud air, especially after she and Richard regain the Earldom. She treats the smallfolk with respect, yet she can be somewhat self-centred, such as when she doesn't recognise that Jack too is suffering as a result of Bishop Waleran's refusal to marry them. Other characters often describe her as imperious.
Ultimately her love for Jack is the most important thing in her life. On this she travels through Europe and spends nearly ten years waiting for an annulment. This struggle is heavily emphasised by the citizens of Kingsbridge, who are extremely pleased to be able to finally attend their wedding. They live happily togther after this marriage.
After her rape at William's hands she gains a fear of commitement, and this added to her natural independence leads to her turning down many potential suitors. However, this is finally broken when she falls in love with Jack and has sex with him for the first time. After this, when they are married, she becomes very sexually active with Jack and it frequently dominates her thoughts. They live a very happy and relaxed lifestyle.
A key part of the Aliena's personality is her dedication and amazing determination. Even after William ruins her wool making business, she starts again, and after that fails, she finds another way to suceed. Aliena hunts Jack over Christendom with a newly born baby Thomas, over several months, another testiment to her determination and ability to start from nothing. She is very resourceful.