Ken Follett on the Young Cast and Their Story Arcs in The Pillars of the Earth
Jonathan—or 'Brother Jonathan' as he proudly styles himself even at the age of 8—is, like Jack's Phoenix ring, a connection to someone lost. When Tom's wife Agnes died in childbirth deep in the winter woods, there was no way to feed her newborn son, and Tom abandoned the baby to quick death by exposure rather than slow death by starvation. His act of ruthless kindness brought about redemption for the bandit known as Johnny Eightpence, whose earlier theft of Tom's pig, the only source of food for the family, led in a roundabout way to Agnes's death. Seizing this chance to do something good, Johnny becomes a monk and fosters the child at Kingsbridge Priory. It's Jonathan's presence that makes Tom want to stay, without either work or pay. Brother Jonathan is played wonderfully by young Sydney Johnston.
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