Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Jamila SanGreal

It remains a constant source of amazement amongst the Templars (especially Percival) how on earth someone like Arthur married someone like Jamila.
Born and brought up on the borders of Afghanistan Jamila saw a lot of war as a child. Daughter of a local teacher she spent most of her childhood amongst the refugee camps on the Pakistani-Afghani border. It was perhaps there she decided her vocation, to be a doctor.
Soon after qualifying she joined a NGO (non-government organization) that provided medical services to some of the most dangerous places in the world, helping civilians in war zones and disaster areas. Arthur joked Jamila had more scars than he did.
She spent the early 1990s in places like Somalia, Gaza, Bosnia, Iraq and Chechnya. She worked as a doctor for Medicine Sans Frontiers and the Red Crescent, one day offering advice on chest colds the next pulling out shrapnel from children's bodies.
In the mid-90's she came to London, working in a charity hoping to raise funds for one of the NGOs. It was meant to be a temporary gig before she headed out into some new war but there she met Arthur. He was like many of the war-wounded she'd helped over the years, mentally broken and terribly damaged emotionally. It was about this time he met Gwaine, and was being recruited inot the Knights Templar.
It was after a botched ghul encounter he was brought, mauled and near death, to her. She stitched him up and saved his life. That night Jamila entered the world of the Bataille Tenebreuse. Over the next few months she became close of Arthur, tending the wounds of the other knights, learning of their world, and becoming good friends with Elaine.
I think Arthur realises how lucky he was that someone like Jamila fell in love with him. Deep down he still feels he didn't deserve her, and perhaps that's why, following her death, he couldn't stop blaming himself. She'd tried to get him to leave the order, knights weren't meant to marry let alone have children, but he always thought he'd just do the next mission, then quit.
No-one in the SanGreal Chronicles casts as long as a shadow as Jamila. Arthur and Billi are defined by her. Their relationship is mirrored by Arthur's feelings of failure and by the void Billi feels by not having known her mother.

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