In two parallel stories, King Ludwig of Bavaria and James Avery, in their two separate times, come to grips with their sexuality. Both deal with an obsession over swans and difficult mothers. James has sexual relationships with both men, like Henry Lee Stafford, and women, like Sally Mortimer. Likewise, Ludwig ends up having sex with his fitness instructor, Helmut, but ends up picking a princess who has a hunchback but shares his love of opera. In the end, both deal with concepts of beauty and of sexuality. The two stories also intersect when James and Henry, now soldiers in World War II, stumble upon Ludwig’s castle.