Members Only 29 – King Arthur Part One

Ok, so this is going to be a bit of a controversial series because people have very strong
feelings on Arthur. I think, actually, that this will be more controversial than my thing on
the early life of St. Patrick. The attachment that people feel to the once and future king
is pretty impressive. We have books, movies, video games, comic books, plays, songs, paintings, interpretive dance… our obsession with Arthur stretches into virtually every medium available.

And to complicate matters, there isn’t just one Arthur. Even if we are just looking at the myths, there isn’t a single unified image of Arthur. The writers all have their own take on him and as the centuries pass the stories become more fantastical and elaborate, but also divergent. Even the issue of acquiring Excalibur isn’t universally agreed upon. Hell, Thomas Mallory has Arthur getting Excalibur twice. Which is rather strange, if you ask me. Though maybe he had two blades and was dual wielding them like a Ranger in D&D. But that’s pretty unlikely.

And if we really want to kick this into high gear and make it even more troublesome, lets take on the issue of the historical record. After all, this is a history show. The closest record we have to the time of Arthur would be Gildas. And yet he doesn’t talk about him. At all. Don’t you think that’s a little strange? The King of the Britons, who defeated the Saxons at Badon Hill, the king with a magical sword (not to mention his magical companion, Merlin)… and he’s nowhere in Gildas’ account. Instead, we hear about Ambrosius, and the decades later we hear about Arthur’s most
famous battle but no mention of who commanded that battle.

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