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Saturday, August 23, 2014

King Arthur's Final Days

The Fall of ArthurThe Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

poem by JRR Tolkien that is about the last part of King arthur's life and his battle against Mordered. THe poem itself is an abandoned work that Tolkien started and never finished. Christopher Tolkien, the great author's son searched his father's notes and found it. The present edition also contains research on King Arthur and how it influenced Tolkien's development of the Simarrillion.

The poem using anglo saxon norse technique starts off with King Arthur away on a campaign in Europe.apparently he is battling Germanic tribes in Northern England. During his campaign Arthur finds out that Mordered his nephew in this version of things has usurped the the throne and is about to force Guenivere into a marriage. Mordered was assigned the task of watching the kingdom while Arthur was gone fighting. Guenivere flees into Wales and Mordered's men cannot find her. Arthur makes his way back by ship and realizes that it will be a tough fight and wishes Lancelot were back. Sir Gawain helps Arthur secure landing in a bloody battle which cost Gawan his life and injures Mordered in the head. Lancelot makes his way back to help King Arthur.  As the king lands on the beach it leaves off with him facing steep cliffs about to face Mordered.

Research takes us into the works of Geoffrey Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain and Vita Merlini. In these works Lancelot is not mentioned at all. This was based on earlier retelling of the King Arthur myth. Many scholars have posited that the tale of King Arthur is the greatewsst work of fiction and that there is no way he is real as nothing he has done is ever recorded in History. In these works we are told that King Arthur went to Europe to challenge pop Lucien who charged Arthur with not paying tithes to the Catholic Church and for conquering lands that were loyal to Rome. This version has King Arthur conquering Rome and killing the pope. In Mnmouth's version of things Lancelot was not even mentioned. In later retelling Lancel.ot was mentioned but he was a minor character. It was after Chretian Le Choi that catapulted Lancelot into strdom.

 Post history has Arthur fighting the last battle against Mordered despite being advised by Gawain that he should wait a month. Arthur does'nt. In battle he dies andf Sir Bedivere throw thee sword into the lake or the ocean and it is received by a hand. Arthur is whisked away to Avylon to be healed by Morgan his sister. Guenivere goes to a monastery and Lancelot becomes a priest. Bedivere the last surviving knight becomes a monk.

As Christopher explored his father's notes A final ending has Lancelot sailing into the West and never returning. This connects to the Simarillion in which Valinor is in the west and cannot be reached by Mortals. Earendel went to find it but never succeeded. Earendel is like Lancelot. Numenor and Toll Erresea, mythical islands in Tolkiens Mythopeia are inspired by the Isle Of Aveulon. Wingelot was Gawain'sship in the tale it is the name of teh vessel that takes Aelfwynne to Tol Erressa. Mirkwood is mentioned in this tale.  Both in this and Lord of the Rings these are haunted forests that are not safe for people.

A great read for those interested in King Arthur. The original story is so much diferent that the one we are used to hearing.

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.