Some Legends Do Live Forever By Cheryl Carpinello
Some Legends Do Live Forever
By Cheryl Carpinello
Even in the 21st century where a click of the keyboard instantly connects us to anywhere in the world and with the ISS (International Space Station), the legend surrounding King Arthur lives on in books, movies, television, games, and most recently even in real life!
In just the last two years (2017-2018), an endless number of books were released, two movies King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) and Arthur & Merlin: The Fire of Balor (scheduled 2018), and one television series option exercised by Netflix based on the Cursed books by Frank Miller. Let’s not forget the one said to have started this whole craze in 1963, Disney’s adaption of T. H. White’s The Sword in the Stone or the hit Broadway production of the musical Camelot in 1967. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the popular adult off-shoot set in early Medieval times The Game of Thrones television show.
So what it is about Arthurian Legend that continually brings people back to it? I’ve broken the popularity into these five areas: Adventure, Magic & Mystery, Heroes, Strong Women, and the Boundaries many find lacking in their lives today.
1. Adventure—Everyone loves a good adventure. Arthurian Legend and the Medieval time period are packed with adventure. The tales of knights fighting knights, evil kings/queens/magicians, and dragons and other mythical characters abound. The infamous Quest presents characters and readers with exciting tales of righting wrongs and/or searching for magical life-saving objects. And every adventure worth it’s salt carries a love story inside.
2. Magic & Mystery—Children, teens, and even adults are fascinated by magic and the powers associated with magic. One only needs to look back at the Harry Potter phenomenon or The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to see how popular this subject is today. Everyone loves a story with magic and wizards who wields it, whether for good or evil.
3. Heroes—The Knights of the Round Table reflect the ideals of the perfect hero. Knights rescue ladies in distress, come to the aid of their kings, champion the weak and the poor, face death daily, and get up the next day to do it all again! The most popular video games for Xbox, Play Station 2 and other platforms all have not only games like King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame as well a host of others set in Medieval Times. Everyone wants to be a hero, and there are few safer outlets for this wish.
4. Strong Women—Women in Arthurian and Medieval stories today have moved pass the stereotype of the early Guinevere. They can be knights themselves— known as dames—coming to the rescue and going on adventures. They command dragons and rule kingdoms. Although some still try to use them as pawns in a quest for power, Medieval women portrayed today don’t sit idly by; they stand up and fight for what they want.
5. Boundaries—The qualities associated with King Arthur and Arthurian Legend such as courage, loyalty, hospitality, and generosity in knights, kings, and women can be traced back to the Germanic Heroic Code first found in literature from the early Middle Ages. But it goes much further back in time when tales were handed down orally. These qualities found today in the popular Medieval/Arthurian literature, movies, and video games fill a need in many lives, young and old. The Germanic Heroic Code components define boundaries and ideals often found lacking in many areas of our society.
Remember at the beginning of this post when I mentioned that the King Arthur Legend was present in real life today? Here’s what happened this summer:
On July 15, 2018, an 8-year-old girl pulled a rusted sword out of a lake in Sweden. News organizations throughout the world immediately dubbed her Queen of Sweden in reference to that part of the Legend that says Arthur was given the sword Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake.