Tuesday, October 14, 2008


And in the realm of "every character is someone's favorite" I spent several hours talking King Arthur with a guy who said Tristan was his favorite knight.

But we bonded over hating that asshole Lancelot.


  1. I veer more toward Gawain, myself. He was the original go-to knight in Arthur's saga before Lancelot got shoehorned into the cycle.

    I love a good Arthurian chat.

  2. Well, Tristan was pretty cool in Camelot 3000, anyway. And it's kind of neat the way 13th-century writers managed to insert his earlier saga into Arthurian legend. It's nice to have hearty companionship around the Round Table when you've been living in iseultation so long.

  3. You don't really see Lancelot As The Dick until you read Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy...

  4. I remember being intrigued by the notion of Cornwell writing Arthurian fiction. Is it any good?

  5. Lancelot was played by Michael Vartan , he of the punchable face, in the adaptation of Mists of Avalon (starring Julianna Margulies!). I never could look at Lancelot the same way again.

  6. I'm a big fan of Cornwall's take, that of showing Arthur as the last unifying leader holding back the Saxons. Much of the magic in the book is also more about Merlin and other druids just being smarter and better educated. Maybe. Other things I like in the series would be the pagan/Christian political conflicts, their version of Mordred, Lancelot as moving from romantic idiot to selfish prick, the versions of Merlin, Morgan and Nimue and even the Tristan/Isolode bit (which made me want to punch Arthur in the face)...

  7. I rather like Bedivere myself. But it's true that Lancelot is a tool.

  8. Gawain's my favorite. He always seemed to me to be like the Hal Jordan of the medeival period - he's such an ass, but you can't help but like him. (Also, he tends to have the worst luck in the universe.) That, at least, was the impression I got from reading "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight",but I was always taught that the poem's kind of supposed to be funny. Lancelot, meanwhile, is, indeed, an irritating pretty boy, and I've yet to see or read any versions of "Tristan and Iseult" that didn't leave me wanting to slap them both.

  9. "Other things I like in the series would be the pagan/Christian political conflicts"

    Were there even any pagan/Christian political conflicts by the year 450? The Roman Empire had officially been Christian for like 80 years at that point, and if there were any conflicts between Christians and pagans, the pagans in question weren't likely to have belonged to the Roman Empire.

    Incidentally, "The Mists of Avalon" makes little to no sense once you factor in the four hundred years of Roman rule that separated the "purely Celtic" and "Christianized" phases of Britain. I'm just saying, is all.

  10. Let's see: Paragon in every way, except for a horrific character flaw that drives him to madness over and over but which he's never, ever able to actually conquer, until at the end he kind of redeems himself by being a total badass? Oh, yeah, sign me up. That's a character! He's not really a dick, he just..y'know...can't help it, and he's pretty awesome otherwise. He's kinda the Bill Clinton of the Round Table. Well. Bill Clinton pre-2008.

    ...Uh. But actually, I don't see how someone could pick Tristan as his favorite and hate Lancelot, when, you know, they have pretty much the same story.

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  12. Fitting that an Arthurian thread were get spam.

  13. I'll take Parzival for $500, please!