King Arthur

If things go well as we move, I hope to be here on Sunday night. I imagine I can catch a repeat if it doesn’t work out.

My new friends don’t know about my King Arthur obsession. One of my unfinished early forays into website design was a King Arthur index — characters, places, etc. I hate to sound all boastful, but I usually don’t learn anything new anymore when I watch programs like the one the History Channel will be showing, but I watch them anyway. So yeah, I will be here on July 7 or shortly thereafter, too.

I digression before I move on — it ticks me off that you have to subscribe to Britannia’s History Club in order to look at anything. Sigh. Didn’t used to be the case.

Anyway, these are my King Arthur recommendations:

Books

  • My favorite King Arthur book, hands down, is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Besides being comprehensive enough to cover most of the Arthur legends, it puts by far the most refreshing twist on the King Arthur story. No one since, in my opinion, has topped her.
  • Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory has been the definitive work for over 500 years. Period. Even if it is not the original source for the legend, it is still required reading for anyone who wants to acquaint themselves with the legends.
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth introduced the world to King Arthur in his History of the Kings of Britain. There are some great stories in this book.
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s romanticized poems in Idylls of the King are essential.
  • Read the collection of legends and romances in The Mabinogion are the earliest stories of King Arthur. These stories predate Geoffrey of Monmouth.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is probably my favorite of the Arthurian romances.
  • Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg was my introduction to the story of Tristan and Isolde, and it’s a good one.

Movies

  • While not as faithful an adaptation as I’d have liked, the movie version of The Mists of Avalon is still a great movie.
  • Excalibur remains a faithful rendering of the legends.
  • If you’re going to deviate from the Arthur story, the key is to change perspective and tell it from another viewpoint so Arthurian scholars nuts like me don’t get their panties in a twist. Merlin accomplished that. Great film; visually stunning.
  • Terry Jones of Monty Python is actually a medieval scholar of some renown. That is why Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of the better and more faithful renderings of the stories.

Web Sites

Artwork (I’m partial the the pre-Raphaelite vision of the Middle Ages)

That said, my absolute, personal favorites:

  • Knight — Sir Gawain
  • Story — The Lady of Shalott
  • Peripheral Arthurian Romance — Tristan and Isolde
  • Book — The Mists of Avalon
  • Movie — Merlin (at least, today it is)
  • Female character — Morgan Le Faye
  • Painting — Currently The Beguiling of Merlin, but that changes.

3 thoughts on “King Arthur

  1. Look at all these wonderful links. As soon as I depart from your kind presence, I'll be wandering about – enjoying all there is to visit.

    I love obsessions, don't you? I'm always looking for a new and worthy one…

    King Arthur is a wonderful one to have. Indeed.

  2. Ooooooh, I can't wait to scope out the links. I love, love, love the pre-Raphaelites. 🙂

  3. How fun…and interesting. I love the artwork – especially the Death of King Arthur and the Last Sleep one. I have to agree with Vicki – "obsessions" are so good. It's so refreshing to read about someone who is truly and totally interested in something…anything. And, you and Steve seem to be faithful to quite a few interests; I've always been envious.

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