So, after Joan sent the English packing from Orleans she got down to the business of getting Charles the Wuss to Reims to finally get crowned the official King of France. She takes her army and continues her blitzkrieg, taking town after town and winning a bunch of victories that never get talked about really or even shown in any cool movies. That’s a shame because some of them were quite impressive. So, she had to leave a part of her army to defend Orleans, then she had to reconquer some towns that were on the way to Reims. Some of these were Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency…don’t ask me how to pronounce those. So, after a brief recruitment campaign that probably went something like this, “Join the French Army and be led by the Maid of Lorraine! She’s invincible and so are you!” The commercials probably didn’t mention that Joan forbade any cursing, prostitutes and looting, the three main reasons to join the army back in that day. I hope their arming of troops went better than our modern arms procurment program. Can you imagine a medieval version of hastily made “up-armored” humvees?
“Sure, just use those tin cans and make some armor.”
“Will it protect us?”
“Not really, but it’ll make you feel better.”
At this point, Joan had many famous and experienced French knights following her every word. If she had been crazy, stupid or worthless, people would have known by now. Also, Charles the Lame’s father was out of his mind and Chucky would have known a crazy person if he had seen one. So, she led the plucky band of killer knights on to Reims in what must have gone down even in Medieval chronicles as a great Montage with rock music playing in the background. They finally get to the cathedral and crown Charles as king. (Charles the VII) After this, Charles leaves her out to dry. He disbands most of her army and pretty much ignores her and wished she’d go away. At least he was grateful. A rude Frenchman. I know you’re as shocked as I am. So, she gathers what forces she could and continues to wage war against the English. But, then another surprise happened, the French betrayed her! I should have told you to sit down first. They let the Burgundians, the French lands that sided with the English…sort of, capture Joan and sell her to the English.
Now, this is where Joan really shows what she’s made of. I’ll give you a quote that was written down at the time of her trial.
“If I were under sentence and saw the fire before me, or even in the flames themselves, I would not say other than what I have said at these trials and I will abide by my testimony until I die….
The world can use these words, I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing and yet they give their lives for that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it and then it’s gone. But to surrender what you are and live without belief is more terrible than dying- even more terrible than dying young.”
She didn’t just say it, she freaking meant it and she proved it by burning at the stake rather than denying what she believed. She more than proved that she had intestinal fortitude and a courage few others come close to. If a French, teenage, peasant girl can change the course of a nation, what are we capable of?