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Ludwig the Second, born Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm von Wittelsbach was king of Bavaria from 1863 to 1885, and the last king to rule it as an indpendent state. He was famously eccentric and built many of the most beautiful castles in Bavaria, the most famous of which is Neuschwanstein. He enjoyed myths and legends and Wagnerian opera, which earned him the nickname "Märchenkönig" ("fairy-tale king"). However, the king's well-known eccentricity also brought him the less flattering nicknames "the crazy king" or "Mad King Ludwig".
It was largely Ludwig's patronage that allowed Richard Wagner to create his famous operas detached from financial concerns.
Works that feature Ludwig II of Bavaria:
- Ludwig II (1922)
- Ludwig by Luschino Visconti (1972)
- Ludwig - Requiem for a Virgin King, another 1972 film
- Ludwig 1881 (1993)
- Ludwig der Zweite, König von Bayern (1993)
- Ludwig II: Glanz und Ende eines Königs ("Splendor and End of a King") (1995)
- Ludwig II by You Higuri.
- Ludwig II
- Ludwig2: The New Musical
- My Letters from Ludwig: A Novel about King Ludwig II of Bavaria
Tropes frequently associated with King Ludwig:
- Ambiguously Gay: There are theories.
- Born in the Wrong Century: He built castles in the Late 1800's. Thought he was the reincarnation of Parsifal, Lohengrin, and the Last 4 Louis's of France.
- Break the Cutie: He started out well loved and eager to be king. Dirty Political Dealings happen He ended up exiled under a mental health watch and "drowned".
- The Chains of Commanding: He didn't like politics and he didn't like war, but it was his inheritance.
- Cryptic Conversation: His most famous quote was "I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and others."
- Cloudcuckoolander: As his cousin Elizabeth of Austria said: "The King was not mad; he was just an eccentric living in a world of dreams."
- Escapist Character: Not himself, but he liked to Cosplay as his favorite Opera heroes
- Everyone Is Related: His Mom was a Prussian Princess and his cousin was Empress of Austria. The Seven Weeks War was uncomfortable for him.
- The Exile: At the end of his life, he was sent to a homely castle on an island, never to return.
- Fan Nickname: "Da Kini" ("the King").
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: His father took the King's job so seriously that he worked to death.
- I Kiss Your Hand: The only romantic relation he had with his engagement partner Sophie
- Ideal Hero: What he wanted to be/Thought he was
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: He found most other nobles boring, and only liked Richard Wagner. After Wagner died, it he shut himself in completely.
- Intergenerational Friendship: When they met he was 18 and Wagner was in his fifties. They were the best of friends.
- Loners Are Freaks: The Bavarian public did not think well of his solitary get aways.
- Mad Dreamer: He was the Dream King, after all.
- Misery Builds Character: His dad ordered that his children should never be fed until sated.
- Mood Swinger: Especially in his love life
- Mr. Imagination
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: His last night with Wagner, before Wagner died, was all annoyances and arguments
- No Social Skills
- Not Good with People: Type 1- He liked horses better
- Not Helping Your Case: Much Political change was happening, he was building Castles.
- The Perfectionist: Everything, Castles to Opera, had to be just so for the magic to work.
- Properly Paranoid: Incurably Paranoid was one of the things the doctors found to exile him for. He "drowned" three days later.
- Shrouded in Myth: Some people see him this way.
- Silly Walk: He developed one later in his life, while trying to imitate Louis the Fourteenth.
- Team Switzerland: He would flee to Switzerland, so that he did not have to deal with his country's wars.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: After being relieved of his position, he "drowned" in Starnberg Lake, together with his personal doctor (who had previously co-conspired with the scheming statesmen). The Guglmänner, a Brotherhood of Funny Hats and an ancient Bavarian Royalist/Loyalist Sect are the main defenders of this trope. And well yes, there are some pieces that do not fit together, making their concern maybe just a tat realistic. Just take a look at them on the Conspiracy Theories page.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Politicians at the time thought this of Wagner.
- Ubermensch: He had his own ideas about this
- While Rome Burns: He had a tendency to go fantasize in his castle in the country, while his nation was in various wars
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: When he began his reign.
- The Woobie: He was this towards the end of his life
- ↑ Pronounced (roughly) "duh keeney".
- ↑ Here is the whole original article: "There is a quite popular (and also quite comprehensible) theory of the
accidentmurder of Ludwig II of Bavaria, who mysteriously drownedwas shot to death in Lake Starnberg, after being retired. By his own government. Crash Course: Ludwig and his doctor, Bernhard von Gudden (one of the conspirators; the very one who officially declared Ludwig to be nuts and let him sign his own abdication), take an afternoon stroll through the royal gardens of the Castle Berg (Schloss Berg) on the 13th of June 1886, at the banks of Lake Starnberg, where Ludwig is held captive by a group of apostate Ministers. This was the last time both men were seen alive. Only in the late evening, and after an extensive search of the grounds, Ludwig's and von Gudden's bodies were found drifting in the lake. Official sources state that both men started a fight, after Ludwig tried to flee by wading out into the lake (in a very very cold June). Well, there's something wrong with this theory; the facts and the coincidences: Ludwig's and von Gudden's bodies was found in a shallow reed water, so it must have been drifting there the whole time. The problem is, it is very difficult for a nearly 2-meter tall man like Ludwig to drown in shallow water. There also wasn't any water present in Ludwig's lungs (Granted, he could have died of hypothermia instead.) Both von Gudden and Ludwig carried Pocket watches. Pocket watches work for app. another 30 seconds after placed in water. But von Gudden's watch came to a halt a whole hour after Ludwig's. Both watches could not have made contact with the lake within the same hour. If there really was a struggle between Ludwig and von Gudden, then it was hard to stay unnoticed in the promenade-like terrain. At the time, three gendarmes patrolled the royal gardens (which ran along the lake, was about 1.1 km long, and only 300 m wide as seen on 47°57'55.86"N 11°20'58.74"E; the whole stretch of woodland alongside the lake are the royal gardens, the big house in the upper area is Schloss Berg). One guard patrolled the border of the gardens, one patrolled the main path, and one was actually sent after Ludwig and von Gudden eleven min. or so later, just to be extra super-safe, that nothing happened. Perhaps a clear case of The Guards Must Be Crazy. After Ludwig's body was found, it was laid out in one of the various boathouses by the search party. This boathouse was demolished shortly afterwards. There were dozens of witnesses on that day, either among the Castle personnel, the search parties, or other groups. Over an incredibly short period of time, this group of people dispersed; some emigrated to America, some moved away, some were promoted into different corners of the earth, some received generous gifts of money, and one of the gendarmes was found in his hut, with a very deep head wound (again, official sources talk about suicide). A relative of the doctor in charge of the autopsy of Ludwig, wrote into her memoirs, that the doctor told her on his death bed, that he found two bullet entrance holes in Ludwig's back, and that he was forced to sign a document of secrecy. How reliable this source is, though, is debatable. Fact is, that the renegade politicians had a bunch of good reasons, to forcefully hinder Ludwig from escaping, if necessary also with death. Ludwig indeed was, to a certain extent, insane, had a Foreign Culture Fetish (ranging from French Baroque to Oriental stuff), and was a Cloudcuckoolander, which enabled him to spend state funds on building Fairytale Castles, like Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee (only later it was revealed, that Otto Von Bismarck financed Ludwig with Prussian funds, in order to convince him to join a military pact with Prussia). And he was immensely popular with his people. The first attempt to overthrow Ludwig ended with the conspirators (including von Gudden) being awaited by gendarmes and a mob with torches and pitchforks. So they had to overthrow him quickly and unnoticed. So they abducted the depressive monarch from Neuschwanstein, and kept him detained in his childhood residence, Berg Castle, until an adequate successor could be found to take over his throne (Prince Regent Luitpold was chosen later on). If Ludwig would have ever gained some control over the people, to inform them of his current situation, the government itself could have been overrun in a coup' d' état by loyalists. He therefore had to be kept away from everyone, just like Napoleon on St. Helena. A more popular theory says, that Ludwig conspired with Berg Castle's head of fishing (a remaining loyalist) to pick him up with a boat, and row him onto the other side of the lake, where he would be exiled into Austria by his Childhood Cousin Sweetheart, Elizabeth (informally "Sissi"). But the plan went horribly wrong, as gendarmes caught up with Ludwig while he waded out into the lake to his master of fishing's boat, and shot him in the back repeatedly. The master of fishing is said to have witnessed it all. To silence him, authorities made him the mayor of the town shortly after, and gave him a gift of money (several million Euros by today's standards) And that is even factual, too. And too much of a coincidence..."