King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail, Excalibur - There aren't many myths surviving today which can claim the kind of widespread appeal that the Round Table crew enjoy.
Just The Facts
- Arthurian Legends last longer than a thing that lasts a really long time.
- If the Once and Future King returns, we're in for a century without broadband.
- Guinevere was a total hysteromanic.
Arthurian Legends - Break it Down, punk.
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail, Excalibur - There aren't many myths surviving today which can claim the kind of widespread appeal that the Round Table crew enjoy. Well, not now clearly, but back in the day I bet they scored major maiden tail. Or they totally would have if it weren't for that pesky chivalry code. Arthur Stupid-dragon is more like it, am I right?
Well, to be fair to Arthur, there's not actually anything specific in the Chivalric code that demands abstinence, but come on: honour, honesty, valour and loyalty? Does that sound like anyone floating around the dating pool these days?
Of course we're not talking about the here and now, what we are concerned with here is a time long ago, a time of legends and myths and fantastical beasts. A time that has utterly captured the hearts and minds of audiences across the world, so much so that hairy people trek to Glastonbury and Shropshire and green places like that to search for clues; little snippets of truth in the chaos, a sign from above that the Once and Future King did exist, and will turn up again one day to falcon punch politicians and restore England to medieval glory. (Probably. It's possibly not kingly to falcon punch people, more than likely he has a servant who does such things for him.)
Arthurian Legend has spawned countless movies, books and television shows. Most recently being a British series about Camelot capers centred on Merlin rather than the Once and Future King, called - err - well, 'Merlin'. It is set in Uthur Pendragon's Camelot (Uthur here portrayed by Anthony Stuart Head and thus dubbed King Giles hereafter), where magic is about as welcome as a fart in a phone box. Let's just say that Potter and the Weasley's would have been enthusiastically executed on the spot.
King Arthur is often referred to as the Once and Future King, suggesting that immortality is something we've always been obsessed with, only instead of botox in the 1500's they just sort-of-kind-of hinted at zombie kings. No, that can't be right. Perhaps they just meant he'd come back to life again. Like a ZOMBIE. No. Maybe he'll just pop back into being - you know, like Jesus. Perhaps Arthurian Legends are all some kind of elaborate and vague Christ metaphor. I asked my Grandmother her opinion on this; she fixed me with a rheumy, terrifying stare and said: "Everything is about Jesus." Of course, she subsequently asked me to pass her the shoehorn while pointing at the TV remote, so who knows?
I wondered what other people thought on this whole 'Once and Future King' business, so I did what anyone would do and consulted Google Answers on the matter, since it's common knowledge that our generations great minds hide there. I quickly found that someone else had already asked this poignant question and received a very conclusive answer:
So, that settles it. He seems to know what he's talking about.
Looking at Camelot through jaded, 21st century eyes, suggests the whole thing was slightly misogynistic, what with women clanking around in chastity belts and swooning a lot, but who cares, because they make damn good Indiana Jones movies.
In fact, all Arthurian Legends should be edited to feature Indiana Jones. Arguably, not Indiana Jones as he is now, a kind of bumbling, cantankerous old codger who runs around after his bastard children. (I think. I fell asleep halfway through Crystal Skull. Oh - Spoiler alert. Whatever.) Clearly some kind of cloning process would have to be perfected, and we'd have to wait thirty years for the Harrison Ford Mark 2 to mature, after which the chaps in Hollywood could go on and make Indiana Jones and the Glowy Sword or some such thing.
Then you've got Guinevere doing a kind of Hokey-Pokey Yo-yo dance between two blokes. "Arthur. No, Lancelot. Wait, Arthur! Lancelot, I choose you." What, is that not right? Where do you think I'm getting this shit from, the original Camelot records? Blame Hollywood, you. Though, even a small bit of research turns up a whole soap-opera's worth of intrigue surrounding Gwen, who apparently sired two of Mordred's sons, one of Arthur's and possibly one of Lancelot's to make the unholy trinity of infidelity. Forget what I was saying about chastity belts, because clearly that shit wasn't working.