Two Brothers Fight for Their Right to the Crown in ‘God Save the King’

Ideologies clash when two princes, Marcus (Steven Bartle) and Edmund (Joshua Gould) vie for their right to their late father’s place on the throne. God Save the King tells the story of two different men with opposing belief systems, and how a desire to wear the crown can turn them against each other in a battle for the right to rule the kingdom.

Marcus is a warrior. Out on the battlefield he leads with an iron fist, his thoughts only on conquering the world in the name of God. He hopes his brother, Edmund, will see the light and join him in his crusade, despite calling him a coward. Marcus is brutal to all around him. Men cower in his presence. His squire is fearful of him to the point of tears. Marcus kills without mercy. When he learns of the King’s passing, he realizes he has a new enemy. It is his own brother.

Edmund is more peaceful. He treats his staff with respect. He does not share his brother’s faith. However, he does he think Marcus will accept the idea of having them both work together ruling the country. His loyal guard and friend, Luther (Basil Marples) is not so confident, but Edmund will not listen. Luther is fearful for Edmund’s life, but the prince is assured that his brother will not dare let greed and power get in the way of their relationship.

The princes’ lifestyles reflect their belief systems. Marcus’ large tent is adorned with shields and flags of his family’s crest. A chess set on the table reflects his life at that given moment. After he learns of his father’s passing, the camera shows the king laying near the chessboard. Meanwhile, back at the castle, Edmund’s chamber contains the bare necessities: a small bed covered in furs to keep warm and a single chair to sit in. He too has a shield, but only one with a few books lying beneath it, the simple things that a follower of Eastern Philosophy would need. Neither brother accepts the other’s faith. Marcus rejects Edmund’s ideologies just as much as his brother criticizes his own faith in heaven and hell.

The Princes reunite as brothers, but Luther’s suspicions ring out in Edmund’s mind, and rightly so. Marcus wants the throne and will do whatever it takes, but Edmund tries to convince him that there is another way. Both brothers are set in their ways, unable to back down. Marcus the warrior sees only one way to end the conflict, while Edmund tries to use reason to resolve the issue.

This is the true battle, not of blood and knives, but of wills. One brother has the wisdom and the other the courage, and Edmund believes that one cannot rule alone. However, with all his humility he does not say who should wear the crown, only that one should and the other will help. The problem is neither one will be satisfied as the helper. No Prince wants to be in the shadow of the King when they could be wearing the crown themselves.

The film ends with a surprising twist. One victor remains, but how he gets there is the crowning achievement. Did he deserve it? Did the best man win?

This film shows us just how far one would go to achieve power and who will get stepped on or harmed along the way. It also touches upon the idea that we are not all as innocent as we would like to believe, and that deep down we all have the potential to crave power. It’s how one achieves it that makes the difference.

God Save the King was a semi-finalist at Los Angeles CineFest, and a winner at the 2016 Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards. It was an official selection at the Indie Wise Film Festival and the 2016 Pensacon Short Film Festival.

Director George Moore, co-wrote the film with Alice Instone-Brewer. Moore is currently working on his first feature titled The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, which he had initially created as a short film in 2014, starring Basil Marples. Aside from screenplays, Alice Instone-Brewer is also a novelist and a script editor. She is writing her first feature film called Burston.

Monica Sztybel

Monica majored in English at Muhlenberg College. After graducation she worked at CBS for two years and on the films The Stoned Age and Leprechaun 2. These days she's writing blogs, scripts and novels, as well as chatting about film production to anyone willing to listen.