Le Morte d’Arthur

First Lines: King Uther Pendragon, ruler of all Britain, had been at war for many years with the Duke of Tintagil in Cornwall where he was told of the beauty of Lady Igraine, the duke’s wife.

If there are two legends that exist that I am a huge fan of, they are King Arthur and Robin Hood.  Hello, who doesn’t find something awesome inside each legend?  Two years ago, I read one of the Robin Hood stories from the 1800s, so I thought it was time that I finally read the origin of King Arthur.  And boy, did I have to choke this down like cough medicine.

It wasn’t that it was bad, necessarily, but classic books are always much harder to read than current ones.  There were some things I had issues with in the book, I’m not going to hide that.  But it was entertaining and I felt really smart to be carrying around a classic for a week and a half.

I thought I knew at least a good majority of the legend of Arthur.  I mean, I’ve seen Spamalot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail and I watch Merlin frequently.  But they were all so far from what this story actually told.  There are very few characters that are actually what you’d want to call a role model or a hero.  Even Lancelot was sort of a jerk.  Granted, I realize no one is perfect, but Arthur is usually held up to these really virtuous standards and that just wasn’t him in the story.  Lots of fighting, lots of death and murder.  And lots of rape/stealing maidens and wives.

I’m glad I finally know the origin of the legend.  And I hear that this is the version that is the most…how do I put it…”normal” for us to read.  No ‘thou’ and ‘doth’ in this version.  It reads pretty well, but be warned that the translator wanted to stay close to original spellings, so ‘Lancelot’ is spelled ‘Launcelot’ and such.  Took me a while to figure out some of the names of characters as we know them now.


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