meganbmoore: (first knight: guenevere)
Guinevere in adaptations! (snowdropsandtigers @ tumblr)

I have a suspicion that this was meant to get me to talk about Angel Coulby’s Guinevere in Merlin, but alas, I’ve never seen a single episode of it. If I ever do, though, that’s who it’ll be for. (In the past I would have said for Guinevere and Morgan, but I…can’t say I’ve been impressed with Katie McGrath’s acting in the few things I’ve seen her in. Unpopular opinion, I know…)

As far as adaptations go, my favorite Guineveres were probably from the movies First Knight (which may not be a particularly good movie or popular as Arthuriana, but Julia Ormond was amazing) and Camelot, and Kim Headlee’s Dawnflight. I thought Phyllis Ann Karr’s depiction of Guinevere in Idylls of the Queen was very interesting, but there we more get a perspective of her through other characters more than she’s actually on page as a character herself.

There’s always been a Madonna/whore complex in approaches to Guenevere in fiction, with Guenevere serving both roles, but the “whore” side of the equation getting an unfair share of the blame for Camelot’s downfall. A lot of Arthuriana fen-hardcore or supercasual-in my general age group having a pretty strong anti-Guenevere stance for some time due to The Mists of Avalon being so anti-Guenevere (because you can’t redeem the reputation and focus on one major female character without also tearing down another?), though that seems to have died down in recent years. While I grew up with Arthuriana adaptations going in and out of my life quite a bit, I didn’t make it to MZB until my late 20s and, well, we’ll say I don’t respect her as a person at all thanks to things that have come up over the years in regards to her and her husband, but do respect how her books brought more focus and depth to female characters in most adaptations in the last 30-odd years, but her stuff wasn’t for me, and leave it at that.

That said, I think most adaptations still don’t really “get” Guinevere, and probably don’t have much interest in doing so, even when they’re sympathetic to her, unless she actually is a central focus.. I’ll give Starz’s Camelot series a nod for trying, even if (through no fault of the actress’s) they didn’t really do a good job with her overall, but the only thing I can truly give that show good credit for is casting Eva Green and Claire Forlani as Morgan and Ygraine, and being the only adaptation I’ve encountered, outside of MZB, to bother to develop and explore Ygraine as a character and her motivations, even if it let me down in the end there to, in regards to her final fate.
meganbmoore: (mists: morgaine)
A Lyric's vid of Heather Dale's Mordred's Lullaby, written from Morgan's POV and using the tradition of Morguase as his mother and Arthur and Merlin killing hundreds of babies and toddlers and not managing to get the one they were after in the first place.

It is an earworm. Such an earworm.
meganbmoore: (mists: morgaine)

Rarewomen is live!

I wrote The Benefits of Conmen (as you can see, titles are not my strong suit) a Cindy-centric White Collar fic forzvi.

And I received an excellent Ygraine centric Arthuriana fic (Mallory based),  The Monstrous Crying of Wind.  (Clearly,  my gifter is better at titles than me.)
meganbmoore: (camelot 1967)
This is an Arthuriana retelling from the POV of Mordred, called Medraut here. It's a book I really really liked, and then I really really didn't.

This is based on earlier celtic versions of the story, and focuses on the relationship between Medraut and his legitimate half-siblings, Lleu and Goewin, and his frustrations regarding his parentage and inability to inherit. His voice is outwardly calm, but inwardly seething and rather fascinating. Goewin appears to be loosely based on Morguase, save that she's largely a good person (of course, she also didn't have the crappy childhood) and is a far better candidate to rule than anyone else in the book, including her father. Lleu is somewhat sympathetic due to a sickly childhood, but he's also spiteful and well on his way to being a vindictive bully. I somehow ended up accidentally shipping Goewin/Medraut, and suspect Medraut would have had an easier time dealing with his issues if she was the heir.

I liked the first 3/4 a lot and thought Wein did an excellent job with the world and characters, despite my dislike for Lleu, and my only real issue was how Morguase was "Evil Evil EEEEEEVIL and abusive in every way!" and given no character or motivation or background beyond that. And then I got to the last 1/4 where Goewin is literally sent away so that the climax could be "All the world's ills will be solved if men just admit they love each other and embrace their manly bonds and are freed from EEEEEVIL women!"

I have the other two books in the series and will at least read the next book because it's about Goewin and because I really liked it until it went south for me very quickly in every possible way (I'd say "except for rape," but there was a bit that was basically "maybe I should rape you to prove my power!" and the themes of dubious consent in the backstory.) but I'm very sad it didn't live up to my expectations.
meganbmoore: (camelot 1967)
The Knights' Tales is completely unrelated to Morris's The Squire's Tales series, despite natural character overlap as both are based on Arthurian legend. Despite the overlap and sharing an author, the characterization of the shared characters, while having a similar base, is very different in the two series. TKT is aimed at a much younger audience than TST (the books are about 100 pages long with large print and illustrations-they take about 30-40 minutes each to read) and are basically entertaining (if less involving) farces that try to cram as many legends as they can in without really digging deeply into them.

The first book The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great is funny but a bit lackluster. It's entertaining, but you can tell Morris is switching gears and hasn't really found his footing yet. The Adventures of Sir Givret the Short actually focuses largely on the story of Erec and Enid, and is closest in tone and format to the TST books. Which is probably why it's my favorite. The Adventures of Gawain the True, though, is probably the solidest in terms of voice, and Morris seems to have decided that he will play the role of Parsifal in these books. "But WHY are all the knights who don't live in a castle evil and/or bandits? But WHY would you lop a guy's head off in the banquet hall even if he asked you too and everyone was restless? But WHY are they all always the most beautiful maiden, and WHY does that matter? But WHY are men charging at each other with sticks? But WHY are you always charging off on a quest? WHYWHYWHY? is there really logic to all this stuff?"

Morris's TST series is, IMO, pretty easily the better of the two, but these are an entertaining way to spend and afternoon (or a few breaks and lunches at work, if you're me) and would definitely be a decent intro to Arthuriana for kids. Though, it does include some of the gory bits. like lopping off heads and then the headless person picking up their head, plopping it back on, and being all "Okey dokey! Be back for yours in a year!"
meganbmoore: (camelot 1967)
There are I think 2 books in the series that I haven't read yet because they're not out in paperback. Morris's Squire's Tales series is a usually-lighthearted, frequently-cynical (that's the default, actually) MG retelling of various Arthurian legends, usually avoiding the best known parts save as subplots. (Also, I can't remember if Merlin was ever even mentioned.) Mallory is frequently Morris's base, though he also alsoincorporates De Troyes and the older Welsh stuff.

The first two books-The Squire's Tale and The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady-are Gawain-centric, retelling a variety of Gawain stories and a few extras through the eyes of his squire, Terrence. Terrence will remain Gawain's squire forever because it's more fun that way. The third book is Lynnette and Gareth's story, The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf, told almost entirely through Lynnette's POV. Book four is Parsifal's Page, told through the POV of Piers, a blacksmith's son. The Ballad of Sir Dinadan is the first (and only, so far) book told through the knight's POV and incorporates "Tristan and Isolde," as well as other The Princess, The Crone, and the Dung Cart Knight is the one most centrally based on De Troyes and is told through the POV of Sarah, another OC central character. The Lioness and Her Knight retells Ywain and Laudine's tale through the POV of Laudine's companion, Luneta, made Gaheris and Lynnette's daughter for the purposes of the series. The Quest for the Fair Unknown is about the French tale of Beaufils and the Grail Quest.

I read these largely as I acquired them as opposed to in chronological order, but they stand alone very well. It's a shared universe with characters that show up frequently (Gawain and Terrence most notably, but Morgan and Lancelot have a habit of suddenly popping up and Kay has a habit of tagging along-sometimes to laugh and point-and/or have practical if grumpy opinions, and generally be secretly smarter and wiser-and more crotchety-than anyone else once he's matured a bit) but the books are largely self-contained and offer few spoilers on other books, though some characters have interesting growth throughout the series. (It actually made me interested in how Lancelot grew and changed throughout, if mostly off screen, and that's rather unprecedented.)

As mentioned before, the books are rather cynical and Morris is prone to portraying many more famous figures as rather ridiculous and/or overdramatic, and frequently foolish. In early books, many of then tend to remain that way throughout, though eventually more and more characters grow wiser throughout the course of the story. TBH, The Ballad of Sir Dinadan went so far into the cynicism that I think Morris didn't have nearly as much left for the rest of the books. The cynicism in that one was a but much for me but it's probably my favorite of the ones that didn't have a female POV (the three with female POVs aren't my favorites just because they have a female protagonist-though I'm not about to try denying that that's likely a factor- but they also tend to have more character growth, particularly for the lead and the lead's self-awareness, and have ome of the more interesting main plots.) if only for Dinadan, Kay and Bedivere going around shaking their heads in hooror at idealistic fools, and for having the whole "epic romance that spans years" thing ending with the lovers mutually being all "If I were to get married, I'd marry you, but really, I prefer just being single..."

The books vary in quality, as most series do, though I don't think there are any thatwould qualify as bad. Though, due to the nature of the various legends and their having plot similarities, some plots draw inescapable comparisons to others. For example, Parsifal's Page and The Quest of the Fair Unknown deal with a young man who's only exposure to human society is his mother entering the wide world with no clue how people think and operate, and who makes endless "social blunders" and has a habit of asking questions non-stop. I prefer Beaufils to Parsifal as a character (though, like Lancelot, I find this Parsifal much more interesting than I usually find the character) and think The Quest of the Fair Unknown is a better book than Parsifal's Page, but there's no escaping the feeling of rehashing familiar ground a lot of the time.

Regardless, while not perfect, the books are very fun and have some interesting commentary on various legends and the behaviors of mythic figures, and there's a heavy trend of stories reshaping themselves and growing with every retelling, which is a narrative trope I have a bit of a thing for.
meganbmoore: (kuch kuch hota hai: you did not!)

Remember that 90s Merlin miniseries that I (re)watched a while back/  The other that was fun and had possibly the most bearable version of Merlin, but also had some really iffy gender stuff?

I RETRACT ALL MY CRITICISMS (ok they're still there but so much less...ragey) COMPARED TO THE SEQUEL, IT IS A MASTERPIECE!  (Uhm...both in terms of good entertainment and Fail.)

So, to start with, they ditch the ending of the miniseries, retcon Nimue out of existence, and make The Lady of the Lake (aka, the only good female representative of magic) evil.  


spoilers )

I shall now bleach this from my mind so that I can still mostly like the first miniseries.


meganbmoore: (vd: you suck)

You know, if the point of the last 2 episodes was to show what an incredibly horrible person Arthur is and how he makes a terrible king and how he and Merlin are incredibly sexist and have serious spikes of hypocrisy, I could understand these two episodes. As it is, I'm pretty sure we were supposed to see Arthur as strong and brave and a great leader, and Melin as Tragic.

sigh )

So, still only worth watching for Eva Green and Claire Forlani as Morgan and Ygraine, and for the general takes on them (with loads of Fail in the execution) and for the fact that it has Gawain and Kay, and kinda...not worth it otherwise. (Guenevere I like/sympathize with but not the way I want to, and the writing of her story just makes me feel bad for Tamsin Egerton, who deserves better material.)

I should find me some Claire Forlani movies to watch now.

meganbmoore: (yvaine)

Ok, first of all, this is Amazon's description of Phyllis Ann Karr's The Gallows in the GreenwoodEveryone knows the Robin Hood legend, but for this retelling, Phyllis Ann Karr has found a historical precident to create a female Sheriff of Nottingham and suddenly the whole myth explodes, taking on new meanings that resonate deep within contemporary culture.

OMG how do I interpret this? Is Marian the sheriff? (!!!) Is SOMEONE ELSE the sheriff and we get Marian AND a female sheriff? (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Is Marian replaced by a new character who is the sheriff? (I ARBITRARILY BUT JUSTIFIABLY IN MY MIND REJECT YOU!)

The possibilities! the lack of information!

Anyway, possibly noteworthy books I got at WisCon:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young (upcoming post-apocalyptic YA)
Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett (YA about Sive, the shapeshifting first wife of Finn mac Cumhail)
From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine's Journey Through Myth and Legend by Valeries Frankel (non-fiction, self-explanatory title)
Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky (YA about Marian and Robin Hood-but mostly Marian-as adolescents and presumably onward)
<em>Slayed</em>by Amanda Marrone (it simultaneously sounds interesting and like "Help! I am an emo teen vampire slayer in love with a hot vampire!"...I suspect I'm just susceptible to "descent of Van Helsing" stories)
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (New Martha Wells!)
The Gossamer Years (I now have all the Heian diaries! I think. Are there more than 4?)
Sleeping Beauty, Indeed (Anthology of lesbian fairy tales. Read at the con. pretty good.)
God's War by Kameron Hurley (Post-Apocalyptic SF-not familiar with the author but from what I can gather, the leads are black and the main character is a female assassin turned headhunter)
The Water of Possibility by Hiromi Goto (ehh...basically just the Hiromi Goto book I found after a panel she was on)


Kingdom of Summer by Gillian Bradshaw (Gawain book, but apparently the middle of a trilogy. Woes!)
The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True by Gerald Morris (Part of the Squire's Tales series? I need to figure out how important coninuity is there.)
Song of the Sword by Edward Willett (Modern descendant of The Lady of the Lake looks for pieces of Excalibur because Merlin is evil and wants them for himself. Lady of the Lake! Potential anti-Merlin-ness!)
Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley (First book in a Guenevere trilogy originally published in the 80s. Description is a cringe-ily close to "only tomboys are cool girls" but given other 20+ year old portrayals of Guenevere...)
The Blind Knight by Gail Van Asten (Apparently an "Arthur Reborn" story using the Henry II/Rosamund affair as its base, with Rosamund a descendant of Merlin.)
The Child Queen by Nancy McKenzie (Guenevere book that seems well liked by some listies.)
On Artguran Women: Essays in Memory of Maureen Fries (Non-fiction, self-explanatory)

I swear I also got a book about one of Pellinor's sons, but can't find it.

This was...about 40% of the books I got? Maybe a bit more?
meganbmoore: (camelot: paging t h white)

I see what you did there re: Uther-Ygraine-Merlin-Morgan-Uther.

I’ll let you know what I think of it after we see how it plays out.

So, basically, this episode was about how Claire Forlani is hot and a fabulous actress, and how the show should be about Morgan and Ygraine.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (camelot: paging t h white)

Wow, some of this was actually almost good. Though, if they kill Ygraine at the end of the season (which I suspect they’re leading up to) I’m probably gone. While Morgan is unsurprisingly my favorite, I’m judging the show more harshly when it comes to Ygraine, and having her still be around for the main story and not just disappearing after giving birth and having her child(ren, given that a lot of versions have Morgan and Morguase being sent away with Merlin urging Uther to kill Morgan because she'll be trouble) stolen is pretty much my main incentive to watch.

Also, Gawaine, Kay and Leontes can stay, but please, feel free to get rid of the rest of the men. Actually, I'd prefer it if you would.

Spoilers are long winded. Like an English major. )
meganbmoore: (camelot 1967)
So, when someone titles something The Idylls of the Queen and subtitles it “A Tale of Queen Guenevere,” I, uhm, expect the focus to be on Guenevere, not on Kay? Though, unlike the last time this happened to me, it was not all icky and traumatizing and was quite good! Also, uhm, I like Kay, and most authors these days either forget he exists, or have him show up for 30 seconds/2 pages and be a bully and/or drunken lout.

Based on both the older Celtic versions and Mallory (and framed more through Mallory) The Idylls of the Queen is a murder mystery that uses the mystery to frame a criticism of some of the chivalric interpretations of heroism, and the treatment of various characters (especially women) in the medieval myths. The plot, in essence, is that a knight is poisoned at Guenevere’s dinner table, and it’s believed that Gawain was the intended target. Guenevere is cast as the prime suspect, and it’s assumed that any knight who was at the dinner would also become a suspect if he put himself forth as her champion, and so several knights set out to find Lancelot, who is off gallivanting around, having adventures and seeking glory. The questers we follow are Kay (our POV character, who is not a bully, drunk or lout, but is quite sharp tongued) and Mordred. The groundwork is laid for Mordred’s future actions, and while he isn’t quite a sympathetic character, his situation is sympathetic, and his approach to it is very honest and pragmatic.

The book is actually very critical of Lancelot (though tempered by being filtered through Kay’s dislike of him in this version) in a way I appreciate. But then, I’ve never been big on the whole “perfect adventurous heroic knight who just happens to stumble across heroic deeds in the nick of time” thing. And, uhm, may sometimes sulk at Kay and Gawain getting shouldered aside for him. I think I’ve mentioned that in other recent Arthuriana I’ve posted on. At the same time, it uses the same mentality to have various cameo appearances by minor female characters and have them voice their own (not always favorable) interpretations of chivalric actions. Guenevere is an adulteress, but for once we’re actively discouraged from judging her for it, or viewing her as weak, though she is also cast in the traditional idealized Lady role, a combination we don’t often get. There’s also this utterly fabulous bit where Morgan ruthlessly dissects all the typical arguments about her being jealous of Guenevere, and the more negative interpretations of her, while still maintaining her role as antagonist. Oh, and it remembers that there were multiple Gueneveres, which most don’t.

The book doesn’t quite reach the level of a full on deconstruction of medieval ideals of chivalric heroism as applied to Athurian myth, but it comes close, and is a very good read.
meganbmoore: (isolde: water)
19 x Camelot (1967)
48 x First Knight
23 x Guinevere (1994)
33 x Knights of the Round Table
13 x Lancelot du Lac
75 x Merlin (1998)
59 x Mists of Avalon
38 x Tristan & Isolde (2006)


icons @ my lj

meganbmoore: (isolde: water)
So, would you believe that not only have I never seen the 1967 Camelot but have actually never heard a single song from the musical?

Anyway, the movie is fun. It’s basically Mallory stripped back to nothing but the Lancelot/Guenevere/Arthur triangle, with Arthur creating the round table at the beginning, and Mordred showing up to cause trouble near the end. With lots of songs. I kept expecting dancing and technicolor, and was said that they never manifested.

I normally dislike this interpretation of Guenevere-frivolous and not caring much about weighty matters until they start affecting her-but the narrative doesn’t expect us to judge her, and does expect us to like her, so I mind less than usual. Though, this is one of those versions where I just do not get why Guenevere would want to throw over Arthur for Lancelot. But! This Lancelot (unlike any other in the movies I’ve been watching) is actually from France and has a French accent! And, uhm, is way better cast than some of the others. Granted, it’s possible that between Richard Gere, Michael Vartan and Noah Wylie, my standards have lowered, but I don’t think so.

Though, I’ve realized in these movies that I simply Do Not Care about Lancelot. Not actually dislike, though. I think it’s actually bitterness that Gawain got downgraded to make room for France’s late-addition self-insert, and Guenevere’s legend was reduced to “can’t have kids and cheats on Arthur with Lancelot.”

Meanwhile, I think I am out of movies! Unless I rewatch The Sword in the Stone though I think I watched that one enough as a kid. (And named a stuffed owl Archimedes because of it.) I still need to watch Arthur of the Britons but will have to clear out hard drive space for it. Now for (more) books!
meganbmoore: (mists: morgaine)

Actually, First Knight is a pretty decent movie, if you like this sort of thing, aside from the incredibly silly casting of Lancelot.  Not brilliant, but not awful either.  The movie, that is.  Really, I’m not sure if it’s the writing of Lancelot's character, or just the fact that I don’t like Richard Gere. I mean, I don’t remember who was big in 1995, but surely there was someone around more dashing and likable, or at least less smug and smarmy. But in the first half of the movie, it’s like they’re going out of their way to make him unlikable, and only tolerable when he’s being devoted to Guenevere. He does improve in the second half, though. Also, he has quality emo hair. Or 90s hair. I’m not sure there’s a difference. I may have a thing for emo hair.

Going into the movie, I basically remembered:

-That I loved loved loved Guenevere, and that this had been the first time I encountered something that that not only featured her prominently (I’d encountered a couple other things that were sympathetic to her, but she wasn’t really there) but also attempted her POV.
-That it was an Abducted Guenevere plot, and while it used the medieval versions, it was more de Troyes than Mallory. And, well, I prefer de Troyes to Mallory.
-That Melwas/Meleagant was the villain, and most forget he even ever existed.
-It was very very pretty. (But then, aren’t most historical movies?)

The movie is at it’s best when it’s focusing more on the Courtly Love aspect (or at least as close as modern cinema gets to the medieval ideal of Courtly Love) and less on the “Our Love is Forbidden! Forbidden! So Forbidden that she told him to get lost a lot and he didn’t listen!” (Lancelot in the first half falls into the “You like me! You know you do! Admit it!” mold, hence my not liking him.*) But the plot as presented is a kind of plot that I tend to be susceptible to, though exclusively in quasi-fantasy medieval settings.

But mostly, Guenevere. I knew that Julia Ormond was basically my definitive Guenevere and that, between this and Sabrina, I had a huge crush on her in the 90s, but rewatching it, I realized that she was basically my definitive Lady, in that any time I encounter historical or fantasy fiction with a Lady character, this is what I expect. Lately, I’ve realized that while I like many of the traits associated with “tomboys” in fiction-strong-willed to the point of stubbornness and even bullheadedness, always speaks their mind exactly, not afraid to get dirty/tear her clothes if the situation calls for it, etc, but particularly the stubbornness and forthright speech-are all traits that I like, but I tend to get frustrated by “rascally tomboys.” Or rather, not by the tomboys themselves, but by the narratives acting like these personality traits are just a phase she’s going through that she’ll outgrow, as opposed to her actual personality. Anyway, Guenevere here has many of the personality traits typically associated with tomboys, while beings 100% a Lady. (I’ve started rereading Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain books and a lot of the same is true of Eilonwy, though she and Guenevere are completely different characters. I‘m not sure when I first read the Prydain and Westmark books, but I know I was very young at the time.)

But really, Guenevere:

*You know, I think the only Lancelot I’ve actually liked in these movies I’ve been watching is the one in Knights of the Round Table.

ETA:  BTW, i think my favorite bit may be when Lancelot is all "Here, let me tell you about the manpain that is why I am basically a vagrant swordsman." and her response is "You poor thing, that is an awful experience.  But you really should do something productive with your manpain."  Actually, no.  My favorite bit is when she outsmarts an attacker and throws him out of a moving carriage.
meganbmoore: (Default)

Sword of the Rightful King is an Arthurian retelling that doesn’t so much retell as reinvent in a quasi-realistic way. Kind of like King Arthur if it were a lot better and still had some magic.

Set in post-Roman Britain, this starts after Arthur has already been king for several years, but has not yet been fully accepted. Among his chief opponents is Morguase, known as the “North Witch,” who sends her sons to Arthur’s court in Cadbury, using at least one as a spy. A lot of the plot revolves around Merlin concocting a plot to use the “Sword in the Stone” gimmick after Arthur is king to give him more validity and increase his popularity, and certain things are left to the reader’s imagination as far as whether or not they were magic or cleverness.

The narrative switches up POV characters quite a bit, but I found the narrative shifts easy to follow, and the bulk of the POV is split between Gawain and Gawen, a boy who holds a grudge against Gawain, and who Merlin takes under his wing.

It’s not exactly a purist’s dream, but it has some pretty interesting takes on the various characters and standards of the legend, and it takes a few more obscure things combined with modern takes and runs with them. Also, I, uhm, may love it forever for its take on Guinevere.

Note: I’m writing this up without the book beside me. A few of the names are different and I couldn’t remember the exact spelling, so I went with a more standard one.
meganbmoore: (falcon)

Today’s adventure into Arthuriana on film was Lovespell, a Tristan and Isolde movie from 1979 featuring Richard Burton as Mark. Which would probably explain why it sometimes felt more like a Mark movie.

It tries to be low scale and mythic at the same time, with mixed results. In particular, the low scale aspect makes some of the more melodramatic bits seem a bit out of place. Of the various Arthuriana adaptations I’ve been watching, though, this one may be the one that comes closest being faithful to the myth it’s based on, though it still takes liberties.

Researching it when I was trying to find any other Tristan and Isolde movie besides the one with James Franco and Sophia Miles (actually, there are several, I just can‘t watch any more of them unless I want to watch a German one without subs), I learned that a lot of people apparently find this to be something of a confusing jumble, though I didn’t really. But then, my fiction is rather prone to people dying of love, flinging themselves from cliffs because the sails were the wrong color, drinking love potions, and randomly ending up getting nursed by someone who just happens to have the same name as the person they were exiled for having an affair with.

Ok, I did raise my eyebrows a lot bit when, after Mark learns about the affair and throws Tristan in a cell, Isolde runs off to join a leper colony. Then Tristan escapes and comes to get her and she’s all “We can never be together and can never touch again because I may be a leper now!” Then he says they should run away together so she grabs his hand and off they go and it’s never mentioned again.

Yeah. I dunno.

Also, Wikipedia says the Franco and Miles version is based on this and I…do not see that at all and am assuming that someone who assumes that anything based on the same story something else is based on is based on the other adaptation and not the original story. They do both feature Isolde as the strongest willed-character and romantic aggressor and a more sympathetic Mark (Burton less consistently than Sewell, but still) but that’s about it. Oh, and Tristan has emo curls.

Incidentally, this is the extent of Tristan’s facial expressions:




Mostly the first.  Just add a half-smile sometimes, and that’s about it. Not that I had anything against him before, but it made me appreciate Franco a bit more! (I wonder if he had more expressions as Lancelot? I ditched Excalibur before he showed up. TBH, dude wasn't bad, just...there-ish?)
meganbmoore: (falcon)
Recently, I watched the 50s series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, which is essentially an adventurous romp that played up the romanticized ideas about knights and chivalry. For 50s TV, the sets and costuming are actually pretty good, and the Lancelot was probably the most likable one I’ve encountered. (Well, that really isn’t hard. So far, most of them have been a bit bland and/or silly in the things I‘ve been watching.) Like so many of these “let’s try to retell all this mythology through one character” shows, large chunks of Arthuriana are covered in a way that makes them barely recognizable as they’re warped to fit around one character. A significant chunk of my teen years were spent watching Hercules and Xena, so it wasn’t exactly a difficult adjustment. Early on, it seems to play around with the Guinevere/Lancelot affair eventually happening, but that doesn’t last long. Unfortunately, when they decide not to go that route, Guinevere starts showing up a bit less, which made me frowny.

Really, though, it’s a pretty fun show if you like adventure shows, and a pretty good way to spend some time.

Then there’s the 1970’s French movie Lancelot du Lac, which is…very minimalist. There’s practically no soundtrack whatsoever resulting in almost every scene having the sound of clanking armor in the background, the filmography is simple, there are few sets, and while Guinevere, Arthur and the knights are all wearing period-appropriate clothing, the clothing on others looks significantly more modern. The plot revolves around the knights unsuccessfully returning from the Grail Quest*, Lancelot deciding whether or not to continue his affair with Guinevere (and Guinevere being annoyed at her life being controlled by men), and Mordred plotting to expose the affair to weaken Arthur. There’s virtually no romanticism or chivalry involved (there’s a bit where Lancelot kisses the hem of Guinevere’s gown, and that’s, like, the only real nod to that stuff) and it’s rather…bare bones and direct. The end result is very interesting, but also slow paced, and Guinevere and Gawain ended up the only really likable characters. (Their brief interactions were also more interesting, IMO, than Guinevere and Lancelot’s, but that may just be me reacting to Guinevere getting to interact with someone besides Lancelot or Arthur.)

Oh, I also tried watching Excalibur uhm…a week or so ago, but was bored and quit fairly early on. (We were about to get to the sword pulling. Really early, yes, but I remember not liking it a lot as a teen anyway, so…) But I want to mention that, for some reason, Gorlois thought it’d be a good idea to order Igraine to do a sexy dance while wearing a see-through gown to impress the guy who he was at war with 5 minutes earlier.
meganbmoore: (white dress and window)
Last week (or maybe the week before) I tried reading Rosalind Miles’s Isolde trilogy. I made it about 40 pages before I was overwhelmed by how all other women were lesser being than Isolde and how her mother hated her forever and was eternally jealous of Isolde’s youth and beauty. Oh, and Isolde was Christian, and so far better and more progressive and virtuous than those pagan hussies with their icky rituals. (It was like a reverse of the Guinevere issue in the Mists of Avalon,/em> mini, save that it showed up immediately and there wasn’t a lot of pre-existing redeeming value.)

So, that was a bust. Hopefully her Guinevere trilogy is better. Because I have all of it.

Anyway, I have these other Isolde books, and am wondering if people have Thoughts about them.

The White Raven by Diana L. Paxson: Then one sounds like a Lets Try To Present It As Real History Would Have Been version.

Prince of Dreams by Nancy McKenzie: This one looks like it goes straight for adapting the Epic Myth aspect.

Iseult by Dee Morrison Meaney: Sounds like it focuses more on the romantic aspect than anything else.


meganbmoore: (Default)

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