John Stanley is also a hero.
He is driven by an uncompromising ethic. He grew up under the guidance of his father, who emphasised that the upkeep of the family name meant that John was honour bound to perform to his very best in any task entrusted to him.
Concepts of chivalry and chivalrous values were explained to John.
Therefore in addition to obeying his father, he must also obey his Lord, his King and God. Within this framework, he must respect women and always help a woman in distress.
At the start of our story he has never so much as laid a hand on a woman.
It has never occurred to him that there may be more than one ruler he has to consider, even less that there may be more than one God.
When these alternatives are presented to him it creates a major challenge to his underlying beliefs.
He first learns of Ximene’s existance when she is described as “the most dangerous woman in the world
He readily accepts the culture of the Cathar faith because it brings him closer to Ximene but when he learns that the Cathar culture inevitably leads to multiple partners he finds that difficult to accept.
John is naturally monogamous and in the society, he finds himself in, that that is not a virtue but a problem.
In order to fulfil the basic requirement to perform well, John learns to be sociable and outgoing.
At the same time, he is sensitive to the actions of those he believes might be working against him and takes some time to make new friends.
Even as an adult, John has an ongoing need to be integrated into society and accepted by those who are in authority.
He considers himself born to serve and must have a good understanding of what is required of him, before trying his utmost to deliver.
He is generous and considerate, which leads him to go beyond what is specified to help colleagues and protect those who are threatened. He welcomes army life and progresses rapidly through the lower ranks of the army.
The biggest challenge of his life is when those around him start looking to him for leadership and advice. He continues to be surprised by this development and only slowly accepts his developing role