Arthurian Legend

The elvish time travel story I’m working on has morphed, as stories are wont to do, into something entirely different. And so I find myself writing an Arthurian tale, kind of. Currently titled “The Last Blood of Camelot”, it is about a British twenty-something with no future getting pulled through the Dream-World into the land of Faery, or Logres, a place where time passes but does not go by.

There he is informed that he is the descendent of royalty, the Last Blood of Camelot, and in order to save both Logres and modern England he must go on a quest to find the Holy Grail and bring it back to modern England. Only by completing his quest for the Grail can he stave off the slow death of England, which has forgotten its mythology and is slowly dying under the weight of its forgotten history, and unite Faery again under its rightful King. I think, then, the implication is that this will be the beginning of the process where Logres and Britain are united again as one, as they were under Arthur, who will complete the union when he awakens from Avalon.

There’s only one catch: He is the descendent of Guinevere and Lancelot, not Arthur. So his claim to the throne is questionable at best.

The more I think of this idea, the more I like it. It’s epic in scale and has a wealth of tradition for me to draw on. The Arthurian legends are absolutely fascinating. I can see why people are drawn by them. They fall into a rare spectrum where they’re epic enough in stature to be mythological, even archetypal, and human enough to be relatable. That’s what makes the fall of Arthur such a compelling tragedy. It is the fall of an impossibly perfect Kingdom brought about by the weakness of the very human people of the Court. Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere are so enduring because we understand them.

And so this is a fun tale to write. I have high hopes for it, and not the slightest clue how long it will be. We shall see.

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6 Responses to Arthurian Legend

  1. Chad says:

    I’ll be interested to see where you go with it. There’s an instinctively built reaction to the sons of bastards and adultery that you can work with, of moving beyond the faults of ancestors. Also some good area to explore if he meets the descendant (s) of Arthur. If he is a lone descendant, are they the same or more prosperous? Do they receive him with open arms, or armed for conflict?

    God speed to you sir

    • Thank you.

      The idea is that he’s picked because he’s it. No descendents of Arthur left, just the last descendant of Guinevere.

      • Chad says:

        Hmmm, ok.

        Haha. I just had the thought of how a faerie world would react to the news that he’s the last one. Oh man, depending on how you set up any aristocracy of faerie you can really have a heyday with that.

        Sounds like a good outline. Go and play with words.

    • The chosen one is a trope that’s been done to death so many times I wanted to do something a little different with it. Frodo in “LotR” is fascinating because he’s NOT the chosen one. He’s a nothing, mentioned in no prophecies and with no destiny. This makes him just a little bit more heroic and adds a bit more uncertainty, because we don’t have an “either must die at the hand of the other” type thing going on with him. He can die easily at any point.

      So instead of making my hero the chosen one I wanted to try something a little bit different. Since my hero is not the blood of Arthur, there’s no guarantee he won’t fall. I think this ups the stakes.

  2. James Parliament says:

    Enjoying the chatter about story elements.

    Working on a story myself – who isn’t? – and much of this aligns with my choices and gives me more to think about.

    • “The Chosen One” trope is one I wanted to avoid because I see it so often nowadays, especially in young adult fiction. Eragon, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent…

      The funny thing is that “The Lord of the Rings” is often used as a textbook example of the Hero’s Journey, when it directly and explicitly avoids this trope.

      “Eragon” is a very interesting case of somebody trying to emulate “The Lord of the Rings” and picking all of the least relevant points to imitate.

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