Ladies of Merlin BBC 5x05: The Disir
Disir: You have made your decision. Sealed your fate. And that of your kingdom. Farewell… Arthur Pendragon.
Artist: Rich Kelly
This would make a fantastic tattoo.
Julie Andrews and Richard Burton in Camelot of Broadway
Ok, so it’s a little bit late to be doing this but still, I thought I’d have a go. From this challenge: http://fuckyeaharthuriana.tumblr.com/post/29190411622/30-days-of-arthurian-characters
Day One- King Arthur
Why you like or don’t like the character:
To be honest, I have no real issues with Arthur. It has always annoyed me that, after his marriage to Guenevere usually, he is superseded by other figures. The reason I (kind of) like him, or at least find him an interesting character, is that in a way, he’s very real, and yet he really isn’t at the same time. I think his personality in the mediaeval text is quite realistic in those few moments when we see him, but at the same time he has a dual personality in his position as the “wise king” that he has to deal with. Mostly that’s when he’s a young man, so you expect him to be rash, hot-headed and bad at decision-making, but even when he gets a bit older, you see that he’s still quite stubborn and eager to fight, in those few moments when he isn’t hampered by being the wise and gracious figurehead for the legend. In other words, Arthur as a person is, perhaps not very nice all the time, but undoubtedly real, but Arthur the king is very different, and the contrast between them is what intrigues me- is it an act or what?
Your favourite characterisation in novels:
I haven’t read many modern Arthurian texts, but I’d say that, from what I’ve read, the Arthur who best fits the above description is the one from Mary Stewart’s “The Hollow Hills”. However, as interesting as I find that side of Arthur in a mediaeval context, I think my favourite characterisation of him in a novel has to be from Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur”.
Your favourite characterisation in movies/ tv shows:
Again, “Merlin“‘s Arthur probably fits the initial mould better, but I really like Richard Harris’ Arthur in the musical film version of “Camelot”. Having not read T.H. White’s books (I know, I’m sorry, don’t kill me, as I say I don’t read a lot of the modern stuff, just what I happen to come across) I don’t know how similar the two are, but certainly the way he is portrayed in the musical (and Richard Harris does an especially good job of this) as an outwardly cheerful, yet somewhat melancholic idealist does appeal to my modern sensibilities.
Your favourite art/illustration about the character:
Erm, I’m not sure- anything where he isn’t portrayed as being absolutely ancient? Ok so it’s medieval again, but I am very fond of his portrayal in that thirteenth-century miniature that’s kicking around (I had to search its name on google because I wasn’t sure where it was from- “Flores Historiarum”?). It just reminds me a lot of historical mediaeval monarchs, and that Arthur isn’t much different in reality- less capable in some cases if anything.
The actor/actress you wish he/she could play this character:
Well, as I said above, one of the best Arthurs I’ve seen was Richard Harris in Camelot. But to be closer my initial image of a brave but headstrong, stubborn and even sometimes callous Arthur? I actually don’t know. I think Joe Armstrong would be able to pull it off, as long as there wasn’t (quite) as much testosterone flying around as when he played Hotspur. But that’s just my personal opinion- Arthur’s so hard to cast, especially as he has so many different personas, so you could have anyone from Kenneth Branagh to Scarlett Johansson (I think she’d be amazing at pretending to stride around determined to do Important Stuff without other people’s help, if the legend was gender-bent). So yeah, I don’t know :(
One headcanon about the character:
I mentioned this theory briefly above:
King Arthur is an act. Arthur had trouble during the early part of his reign- he was good at fighting wars, but not good at politics. Determined to do his own thing, for fear of people thinking that he was a puppet, he attempted once or twice to make important decisions without listening to Merlin or Kay and ballsed it up fantastically. One of these was marrying Guenevere, but, while prophecy-wise it was an unwise move, she was much more politically intelligent than him and advised him to adopt the gentler, Wise King Arthur persona in public, as it meant he’d gain more respect than being ruled by his temper. They’re both actors in that sense.
Together we’re going to build CELTIC AVALON… a big King-Arthur-themed touring show & concert DVD, and youth educational program!
Any fans of Heather Dale out there? I love her music and this sounds like a really cool project. You guys should check it out and maybe donate.
Reblogging again :D
Morgana leaving Gawain and a Nymph for some reason.