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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Matter of Britain

I think it's time to talk about my addiction. Well, one of them--I have many: potatoes, Tamora Pierce fandom, STAR WARS, Joss Whedon shows, sleeping.

But today is an Arthur day. Arthur Arthur Arthur.

No, DR SHE BLOGGO, I am not talking about your car.)

KING ARTHUR, PEOPLE. THE MAN HIMSELF. Maybe it's a sentimental attachment to the legends due to my grandmother, who bequeathed me her editions of The Once and Future King and The Book of Merlin, as well as three of Mary Stewart's Merlin books. I read the latter until they fell to pieces sometime in my fifteenth year (and recently replaced them with four first editions found at St. Petersburg's antiquarian book fair! Noice). Maybe it's a childhood love of the (really horrific) Disney version of The Sword and the Stone. Maybe it's my teenage protofeminist's love for The Mists of Avalon.

Whatever the root, I am a big, big, big fan of Arthur. As Missy Elliott would say. I've read every version I can get my sweaty paws on, including the romances (Tennyson, Malory, de Troyes), the "historical" (Whyte, Stewart, Cornwell), the children's/YA versions (Cooper, Barron, Alexander, Sutcliff, Yolen, Morris), the female-centric ones (Bradley, Miles, Woolley), the ones that defy description (Lawhead, Elliott)...I spent a good chunk of my youth reading everything I could find about King Arthur. I even read every damn book Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote AFTER The Mists of Avalon (even the really shitty recent ones by Diana Paxson "as" Bradley). I read nonfiction, too--anything about Roman Britain, anything that verified the existence of a historical Arthur. I tried to read The Mabinogion when I was about 13 and kept a book called The People Who Came Out of the Dark checked out of my high school library until it was overdue (it was about Celts).

And then there are the moving-picture adaptations. Ohhhh the 2001 made-for-TV version of Mists. It stands out for me as the best of the bunch, and I confess that Julianna Margulies is who I see when I envision Morgan le Fay. The awful 2004 film with Keira Knightley and Clive Owen, I saw just so I could smack my smarmy friend down about how historically inaccurate it was. First Knight, I was disgusted by even at age eleven. The Last Legion was turgid and dull despite its reasonably excellent cast. The TV series Merlin I have a few problems with; mostly I think it's boring (although, hai @Anthony Stewart Head!). And now--NOW--now I hear that the good folks who made my personal favorite Showtime porn, The Tudors, are helming a project called Camelot, with Eva Green as Morgan and that kid who's playing Grindelwald as the young Arthur.

ZOMG SO ON BOARD. The allure is incredible. I can't wait. Even if it's the opposite of my dreams.

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