Sydney Lynne (sydney_lynne) wrote in hp_avalon,
Sydney Lynne

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*pokes community*

Posting a topic in case anyone decides to join...
Introduce yourself, then tell me about your favorite characters in Arthurian legend and your personal favorite movie and/or novel adaptations of the mythology (and why).

Example: I'm Sydney Lynne, 23 year old PhD student studying biochem (for now) in the Northeastern United States. Arthur is my favorite character because, hello, none of the legends would exist without him, plus I have the impression that he's this very golden, perfect, kingly personage who just inspires awe and devotion (at least when he's young). My favorite Arthurian novel is The Mists of Avalon because the intricacy of the writing is awesome and I love the idea of the priestesses of Avalon, even I don't totally agree with the interpretation of the characters. I tend to hate most Camelot movies becauase they're so incongrous with how I imagine the legends, especially the ones with old!Arthur and young!Guinevere, because that's just a lazy and false "reason" for Guinevere to fawn over Lancelot. *rolls eyes*

So, anyone out there?
*listens to crickets chirp*
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Hi Sydney, I'm Athena. It's a pleasure. I've been interested in Arthurian legends since I was 8 or so. Which is a heck of a long time. I read the original "Le Morte d'Arthur" and the Penguin Classics, "The Knights of the Round Tablet". My favourite character is - gasp - Guinevere. It's because my first real encounter happened when I read this picture book when I was younger. The pictures in that book are gorgeous (so gorgeous that picture!Arthur is hot) and I got hooked. I'm not for the movies either since I have a very personal and insular intrepretations of the book. I don't like Mists of Avalon, and it's not because Guinevere is an idiot in it. But I've read a lot of adaptions, even one of the Uther books (ugh). I can't really say I have a favourite. It's interesting to read how different authors take on the myths, since unlike most mythology, authors only have the words of a few select tests (Speaking of which I'm trying to read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight these days... just being random). But no one ever comes close to my perfect views of characters. Also, I'm anti-old!Arthur. I'm actually completely indifferent to who Guinevere ends up with, I've seen adaptions where she's completely fine with both.
*Hugs Athena for joining*

[Shallow]My interpretation of Arthur is that he's hot, too, which may be another reason why he's my favorite character. Blond, blue-eyed, and British. :) [/Shallow] Plus I have a soft spot for the way he was portrayed as this cute little kid in the Disney version of the The Sword in the Stone, which was my first exposure to the myths. Are you talking about the Jack Whyte Uther books? I always see them in the library and am curious to pick up the "Uther" volume except it looks huge. One of my favorite aspects of the mythology is that authors can pick and choose what texts to incorporate, and not just another retread of "Le Morte d'Arthur," it's really a lot like fanfic, you can sift through for favorable interpretations of your favorite characters and ships, depending on which aspects of the legend are being incoporated.

As for Guinevere, I think I'm all traumatized by reading Rosalind Miles' Queen of the Summer Country, in which she was the supposed heroine and yet annoyed me to no end that I couldn't get through reading the rest of that trilogy. Probably has something to do with the romance novel tone of the writing. I have the constant urge to hurl when I see "Oh, my love" or "the woman of the dream," and in other interpretations she's idiotic or evil!Eve. I'm always looking for novels that show her as a decent non-annoying character because I like to believe that she can't be that annoying if she's Arthur's Queen and also has Lancelot all devoted to her. I don't like Lancelot though, partially because I think he's completely fictional, whereas there's at least a tiny bit of historical suggestion that Arthur and Guinevere may have existed, and the A/G/L triangle is completely contrived and borrowed from the Tristan/Isolde/Mark story, which also has greater "historical basis." Plus, I think my first impression of Lancelot may have been seeing Richard Gere in "First Knight," which pretty much ruined his character forever for me. Can you say "Guh"?

Always a pleasure to have discussions with you. :)
Sydney, you read Queen of the Summer Country? I read that, I don't remember if I finished it though. I read it the same summer I read this Guinevere triology; I found this article posted at my library of Guinevere books (odd, yes). Most of the books with Guinevere as a central character is quite romance-novel like. I concur with your assessment of Miles' work though. I really don't like portrayals of Guinevere as the new!Eve or this romance novel female lead. I understand where people take that, it's from the an older time and it was written in the Middle Ages, where chivalry and damsels are regarded. But I like my Guineveres capable and smart, and realistic about her romances. Even when she does have an affair with Lancelot, i can't stand all the "My eternal beloved love" crap either. It makes her more passionate than conflicted, and I like Guinevere when she's conflicted since in my world, if she did cheat on Arthur, it'd have to be a helluva reason in the love department. Yes, I am talking about the giant Uther books, I read most of/skimmed one of them. It only tells me that Uther Pendragon is such a huge asshole. He is portrayed as such in most adaptions, but yeesh, those novels really take things to a whole new level. I always find this mythology interesting in the pick and choose way, since it's largely a mythology of written delivery rather than oratory like most mythologies are. Also, I really don't like Escalibur, a lot of people praise it. But it is so 80s, but in all, that movie really bothered me. It was so many things. I like how you see Arthur as Blond and Blue eyed since technically he probably was more Roman/Saxon looking, way too early for enough Slavic influence. Which moves onto physical attributes. I've read a few adaptions where Guinevere is red-headed, which always suited her to my mind. Maybe that's why I'm sort of biased towards Ginny... anyway. That would make Guinevere somewhat Pict, which makes complete sense. Now I'm taking history nonsense.

That's the sad thing about these myths and adaptions, once we get an impression of them at an early age, it's hard to break away from that. I'm glad my impressions of Lancelot and Arthur aren't distinct enough for me to totally be bias toward one. It's wrong that I found Guinevere in an appealing adaption so early, now I can't get rid of my insular views on her character.
Your line about the giant Uther books has for some reason sent me to uncontrollable giggles. I'm curious about them because I'm really very interested in the Igraine/Uther romance and there just isn't as much stuff written about them. But anyway, I've always seen Guinevere as a blonde and an annoying character too absorbed in her romantic woes and her barrenness, which is too bad because she should be a strong character. I'm willing to give redheaded Gwen a chance though, that's why I'm so intrigued by the idea of reading Dawnflight, she's supposedly a fiesty Pict redhead Guinevere that may be sort of Ginny-ish.

I like Guinevere when she's conflicted since in my world, if she did cheat on Arthur, it'd have to be a helluva reason in the love department.
Ah yes, I concur. I always have trouble understanding why Guinevere would cheat on Arthur, even though I know the logistics of his being enchanted to cheat on her to produce Mordred and Gwen's being barren. But he's still the king, her husband, and he's also really hot. *G* There are some interpretations where theirs is a political marriage, but I've just always had the impression that Arthur was really devoted to her. I just really don't like Lancelot and think his obsession with her is just scary. I've always really felt for the women who keep falling in love with Lancelot and seem way more interesting than Guinevere, especially the lady of Shalot and also the Elaine who actually married him. But Lancelot's just a dolt and ignores them. Again, that's a character view I've had since the beginning and it's impossible to change my mind now at this advanced age. I don't know that I'll be able to watch the King Arthur movie and not be all flipped out that Arthur's not blond. That's just rather radical for me. :) Although at least he's not Sean Connery old. Guh.

Listening. I am woefully clueless about much of the Arthurian legend-y stuff, in part because I tend to pick up retellings that are so bad I have to run away. I think I'll just watch. And learn. ;)
Hey no problem. I've only read a few interpretations to their conclusions because frequently they are so scary that I have to run away too. It's just fun to pick everyone's brains and learn, and also find new, actually good stories to read.
I am Christina, a 22 year old English major in the Northeastern US as well. My favorite character is Arthur because of the cute Disney movie, and because in any of the legends/myths that I have heard, he always does sound like a cutie/sweetheart. I am a sap, what can I say. As for my favorite movie...don't have one where Arthur is old enough to know Guinevere, meaning Sword in the Stone is my favorite. Have not been traumatized by First Knight.

My favorite Arthur novels are The Forever King, The Broken Sword, and Third Magic by Molly Cochran because it follows the reincarnation of Arthur. Basically it plays on the whole legend of Arthur being the once and future king, so now we follow Arthur Blessing as he discovers he is Arthur. It was a different spin on the whole Arthur thing, being in the future and all. There's three books and I don't want to bore you all with the summaries, but they are all wonderful, very well researched as well, and extremely engrossing. I also love Kim Headelee's Dawnflight because it shows Guinevere and Arthur's love story in it's truest form...or what I think is it's truest form at least. Arthur and Guinevere are soul can't make me think otherwise. ^_^ Although, she's seems to be doing a whole series now instead of that one novel, so we'll see if she goes into the whole sordid A/G/L triangle. I hope not.
*high fives fellow Sword in the Stone fan* Isn't young Arthur such a w00blet? I tend to like the stories that focus on young Arthur as well, up until his marriage to Guinevere. The YA book by Jane Yolen Sword of the Rightful King I like because the interpretation of Arthur is just how I see him, very smart, idealistic, and just such a good person that it's obvious he's a great king. And he's blond. :) I guess I just tend to be more idealistic myself and imagine a happily ever after ending for Arthur and Gwen that stops with their marriage and honeymoon, because they are the perfect golden couple. I really hate those retellings of the story where Arthur basically goes insane and orders all the children murdered to try to eliminate Mordred. It just makes me scream OOC because I just cannot see him being such a raging lunatic, and I bet that bit is totally borrowed from the Old Testament too. So I choose not to read those stories. Denial is a happy fun land to be in. :) *Waves Arthur/Guinevere flag*
I guess I just tend to be more idealistic myself and imagine a happily ever after ending for Arthur and Gwen that stops with their marriage and honeymoon, because they are the perfect golden couple.

Agrees totally. I am a huge idealist, and am in denial about the whole triangle deal. I have been in Medeival Lit this semester and we read Chretien de Troyes, and we had to read the Lancelot portion...and basically Chretien wrote the story as an anti-Tristan, which gives me hope about Arthur and Guinevere.

You know, now that I think about it, I don't know when I was introduced to the whole Arthur/Guinever?Lancelot thing...but I do know it was before I read T.H. White's Once and Future King. But the whole triangle never sat well with me. *shrugs* The ideal of a young girl.

The only good novel that I've read so far that goes a bit beyond the whole marriage and honeymoon thing is much interested in how she continues the story.

In the trilogy I mentioned by Molly Cochran Arthur is smart and idealistic as well...almost trusting and wise at the same time. However, she writes him as a sort of strawberry blond I think, which I find totally adorable.
Oooh, I'm all jealous you're taking Medieval Lit, although not that jealous over having to read about Lancelot. :) What do mean the story is written as an anti-Tristan? *is dumb* That he doesn't approve of what Tristan did with Isolde so he put Lancelot in Tristan's role to convey how that would have ruined everything?

I'm all intrigued by the Dawnflight website with the excerpts from the sequels. I guess we don't really know anything but it seems to me like there isn't really a romantic vibe between Guinevere and Lancelot there--he just wants to earn her approval--or at least that's how I'm hoping the author will write it. ^_^
Ooops, thinking of Cliges, which is the anti-Tristan section of Chretien. But if Chretien is so set against the whole Tristan thing, you know it took a lot for him to write the Lancelot portion of his text. He basically said he wrote Lancelot because of his benefactress. Sorry I got it so totally confused. *slaps self* But yes, Chretien did not like the whole Tristan/Isolde/Mark thing...which leads me to believe he wouldn't be to keen about the triangle between Lance, Gwen and Arthur. He doesn't give the Lance story a very happy ending either. Serves the man right for stealing the King's woman. ^_^

As for Dawnflight I too am intrigued about Gwen and Lance. It does sound like he only wants her approval...he messed up by not saving Gwen's son, poor man. I almost feel sorry for him! The horror! ^_~
Yes, the only good thing about the creation of Lancelot in the legend is that at least Guinevere and Lancelot don't end up together and have to repent for the rest of their lives. But really, I'd rather he not exist at all. :)
I'd rather he not exist at all. :)

Poor Lance! We're so bashing him...almost feel bad for the guy...but then I remember what he did. Evil man. Why is he even there? Why does Arthur's life turn out so bad after all that promise? I blame Lance! It's irrational, I know...but it's so satisfying. Am evil!
I'm chowerseet, a high school senior majoring in art and history.
My favorite character is Morgan, probably because the first arthurian adaptation I read was Mists of Avalon. which is coincidently my favorite.
I like her basically for being controversial, for being independent, not following the norms that society and fate decided to thrust upon her, yes a bit dramatic. Why did I like Moa specifically? well mostly because it goes beyond "this character is bad and thats final". Everything happens for a reason, the characters are people you can identify with. And I really like the way that MZB weaves the celtic culture and matriarchal society into the story...

I read the Guinevere trilogy as well, yes it was a bit on the romantic novel side. Though as I was reading it I mostly concentrated on comparing it constantly to MoA. It's the first book defect, I keep comparing it all to it.
:) I read the Rosalind Miles Guinevere trilogy (okay, the first book and a half because I couldn't take the romance novel approach for very long) after Mists of Avalon as well, and just the comparison between the two makes the Guinevere books so much worse. I have mixed feelings about Morgan, since I remember as a little kid all these cartoons featuring the evil Morgan and Mordred always plotting against Arthur, so reading MOA was very refreshing in seeing the Arthurian myths portrayed from another point of view. Maybe it's just me, but I kind of wanted Lancelet and Morgaine to hook up in that book. If Viviane had just picked Lancelet instead of Arthur for that Beltane business....*sigh* I guess the heartwrenching thing about tragedy is that there was always an opportunity for things to turn out a better way, except they don't.
I *know*! all through the book, even though you know whats going to happen, you keep wishing that in some miraculous way it is going to change and turn out all right. I kept wishing morgan and lancelot would end up together as well, it would have solved so many problems. the thing about arthurian mythology is that no matter how many versions you read of it, even if it looks like the character you like is going to come out all right, you know that the country will eventually be attacked by the saxons and all will be lost.
actually thats the reason I like morgan, because she's not always a good character. though what I've learned, and eventually come to term with, is that in every different version of the story I wont like the characters the same way...they can totally turn their personality around. just for example take Uther in the merlin trilogy and in the Guinevere trilogy. or Guinevere herself in MoA or the Guinevere trilogy. all this does make it hard to have a favorite character in the first place.
I agree with the inevitability of events in Arthurian novels - there's a traditional tragic plotline writers must stick by - but I think this further tests the author's skills with characterization and plot weaving: where success would result in invoking anguish in the reader.

Personally, MoA was my very first introduction to the wonderful world of Arthurian literature, thus I was feeling naively hopeful throughout (most of) its 800-something pages. But to reread it or read it knowing full well the plot might be painful. I have yet to pick up that tome again after I laid it to rest two years ago.

Hello Sydney. Wow, for the longest time I've felt I was the only one who obssesses about Arthur and can't STAND all the current books blowing up Gwen and Lance and shoving Arthur off into some dusty closet :). I liked MoA, though Arthur was a bit on the weak and watered down side more than I would like.

So, I hope to see more discussions in the community.

Hello to you, I'm Hanna from Sweden. (that's all you need to know) My favourite character is Sir Pellias. I really don't know why, because he's not very important or anything. But maybe that's why I love him so much, the fact that he's not one of the most famous knights makes him... I don't know. If you have to know, I think he's very cute too. *sheepish grin* And, he's with Nymue, whom I adore.
Well, I've only read Howard Pyle's books, though I will read more, when I get the time.
And I so agree with you on the old!Arthur and young!Guinevere. :)