La Hire

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La Hire and Xaintrailles depicted in a 15th-century illuminated book.
Coat of arms of Étienne de Vignolles
Portrait of La Hire imagined by Louis-Félix Amiel in 1835.

Étienne de Vignolles (French pronunciation: ​[etjɛn də viɲɔlə]), called La Hire (French: [la iʁ]; Préchacq-les-Bains, Landes, 1390 – 11 January 1443 in Montauban), was a French military commander during the Hundred Years' War.


One explanation for his nickname of La Hire would be that the English had nicknamed him "the Hire-God" (Ira Dei: the wrath of God). Alternatively, his name may simply come from the French "hedgehog" ("hérisson") because he had a prickly disposition.[1]

Military career[edit]

La Hire joined Charles VII in 1418, when the English army invaded France, although not a noble, La Hire was regarded a very capable military leader as well as an accomplished rider.[2] Three years later, in 1421 he fought at the Battle of Baugé. Along with Jean de Dunois, La Hire was involved in scouting and skirmishing in the countryside as far north as Paris;[3] in 1427, both La Hire and Dunois relieved the siege of Montargis.[4] He was a close comrade of Joan of Arc, he was one of the few military leaders who believed in her and the inspiration she brought,[5] and he fought alongside her at Orleans.[6] At the Battle of Patay, La Hire commanded the vanguard and won a great victory for France.[7] La Hire was also known for praying before going into battle, something that could be attributed to Joan's influence;[8] in 1430, La Hire captured the English held fortification of Chateau-Gaillard.[9] He was imprisoned in Dourdan in the spring of 1431, he won the Battle of Gerbevoy in 1435 and was made Captain General of Normandy in 1438. His last two major military engagements occurred in 1440 at Pontoise where he assisted Dunois to capture it from the English; and in 1442 he assisted Charles of Orleans in capturing La Reole.[10] He died at Montauban on 11 January 1443, of an unknown illness.


He held the titles of Lord of Montmorillon and chatelain of Longueville.

In popular culture[edit]

La Hire is commemorated as the face of the Jack of Hearts in French playing cards, his name remains a byword for a choleric disposition.[citation needed]


La Hire is a minor figure in the "Catherine" novels of Juliette Benzoni.

Film, theatre and TV[edit]

In 1999, two films concerning Joan of Arc were released; in Joan of Arc, a television mini-series, la Hire was played by Peter Strauss. La Hire also appeared in the feature film The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, portrayed by actor Richard Ridings. La Hire was also played by veteran John Ford "stock company" member Ward Bond in the classic 1948 Technicolor film Joan of Arc, starring Ingrid Bergman and directed by Victor Fleming.

In the Czech Republic musical Johanna z Arku [2003], La Hire was portrayed by Petr Kolar, and in the two part French film Jeanne la Pucelle [1994], by Stephane Boucher.

In Otto Preminger's 1957 version of Saint Joan, La Hire was portrayed by Patrick Barr.

Further back in time, in Cecil B. DeMille's version of the story, called Joan the Woman, La Hire was played by Hobart Bosworth. In 1929, in the French film La Merveilleuse Vie de Jeanne d'Arc, he was played by Fernand Mailly.

On British television, in the BBC's Play of the Month (1968) version of Saint Joan, La Hire was portrayed by Jack Watson; in the USA, Hallmark Hall of Fame did two versions of the story - The Lark (1957), La Hire being played by Bruce Gordon, and Saint Joan (1967), in which the character was played by Dana Elcar.

Game of Thrones warrior-lord Jorah 'the Andal' Mormont is based on La Hire Montmorillon. Just as La Hire, he's responsible for the military and tactical support of the young Joan of Arc-like crusader Daenerys Targaryen.

Computer games[edit]

In the game Wars and Warriors: Joan of Arc, La Hire is a playable character who is portrayed as a giant with stunning strength, he fights with a massive club.

La Hire appears in Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings in the Joan of Arc campaign. A powerful "Champion"-class infantry unit, he is portrayed as an Incredible Hulk-like brute that refers to himself in the third person, his remarks include "La Hire wishes to kill something", "The blood on La Hire's sword is almost dry", and "La Hire's sword is not bloody enough!".

More recently, La Hire is featured as a character in the tactical roleplaying video game Jeanne D'Arc. In the game, La Hire is depicted as an axe-wielding lion beastman warrior and mercenary, known for his overwhelming strength and a fiery temperament.

La Hire is also a character in Koei's video game Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War.

In Armored Core for Answer, one of the featured mechs is designated TYPE-LAHIRE, although it is contracted into one word.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nicolle, David (2001). Orléans 1429. Botley, Oxford: Osprey. p. 14. ISBN 1-84176-232-6. 
  2. ^ DeVries, Kelly. Joan of Arc: A Military Leader Bath, England: Sutton Publishing, 1999, p. 55.
  3. ^ Perroy, Edouard. The Hundred Years' War London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1951, p. 290.
  4. ^ DeVries, p.65.
  5. ^ DeVries, p. 30
  6. ^ Warner, Marina. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000, p. 65.
  7. ^ DeVries, p. 121.
  8. ^ Scott, W.S. Jeanne D'Arc: Her Life, Her Death, and the Myth London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., 1974, p. 46.
  9. ^ DeVries, p. 188.
  10. ^ DeVries, p. 188.

External links[edit]