I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m going to mention it again. If you haven’t clued in yet, I’m a history nut, and Britain is prime hunting territory for me. Coming from Australia, where nothing is much over sixty seconds old, Britain was like Christmas and Valentine’s Day rolled into one for me. My friends, who barely read books, let alone history books, couldn’t understand my wide-eyed wonder over old buildings, even older dusty and mouldy books and antiques and when we actually drove through Sherwood Forrest, they didn’t understand why I couldn’t sit still. Nottingham and York were like boxes of candy for me.
I could give you a very long list of towns and cities and locations in Britain that just reek with historical significance. Europe is stuffed full of them, too. The further east you move, especially as you head south into the Mediterranean basin, the older the history gets and the more fascinating it all becomes.
But I’m just concentrating on Britain today, because it’s been an obsession of mine for years. I’m not actually an Anglophile. I like my British history pre-Anglo-Saxon if I can help it, although I’ll take Norman England every now and again, because those feuding Plantagenets are irresistable.
But King Arthur…
What is it about King Arthur that we just can’t seem to leave alone? Every ten or fifteen years, the myth of King Arthur re-emerges on the big screen or small, or in books, in bigger and better life, in a new shape or interpretation, and we obsess over Arthur all over again.
Is it the fact that the story is a tragedy? That you watch this magnificent, quixotic life and know it was all for naught?
Sometimes, I think we’re all caught up in the glory and spectacle of it, but there are versions of Arthur that aren’t at all glorious. They’re far more closer to what Arthur would have been in fact, and they’re plain, humble, hard struggles for survival, and despite that those retellings are still un-put-down-able.
I would like to think that Arthur is simply, in the end, a role model we would all like to emulate. He insisted on doing what he thought was the right thing even though it was against the most overwhelming odds, and the most bitter opposition, and for a small moment in time, he managed to hold his own. His reward, although he doesn’t know it, is that fifteen centuries later, we still remember him for it.
What do you like most about King Arthur, if anything?
Like King Arthur?
Then you’d probably enjoy Diana by the Moon,
set in Arthurian/Roman Britain.