Arthurian Legend – a small thought
Arthurian Legend. I mean I am not an expert, I’ve met experts so I know I ain’t one here, but I have some familiarity from being obsessed with it as a kid and from co-creating The Once and Future Queen, you know? And I have some Arthur thoughts I need to get out today.
They’ve been on my mind a while now.
Because I feel like a lot of people seem to identify Arthur as a story about how what we need is a strong leader to unify under and … for me … that misses the actual point of the story.
Arthurian stuff is not about A STRONG LEADER coming to save all of us.
It’s about how any one of us, regardless of social class or anything else, can BECOME that leader. That we have to step up and save ourselves, and with that, inspire others to do the same.
Further – just stepping up will never be quite enough. The road ahead, from that point, just gets harder and you need to have people to help and share the burden and work with you. even then, humans will human and shit can go wrong, but the ideal is still a shining hill to fight for.
At best we can come together and fight toward that hill.
At worst we will eat ourselves alive and give the next generation a chance.
That’s the push and pull of Arthur. The tale is one of them, ultimately, losing, or at least the original (a term that is a problem since it was oral tradition until Mallory wrote his version of it so… original is…messy here) was. But that doesn’t have to be the story, and can’t be, in full.
But entropy always creeps in, you need to have a support system because no one can be vigilant 24/7/forever all alone.
So yeah, Arthurian stuff occupies a very special place n my heart because it is the eternal struggle, but one with a built in system of “anyone can step up” – Arthur isn’t special because the dude got a sword throw at him. He was special because he knew what the cost could be, he knew how the system he would need to fix was rigged against him, and he didn’t just throw the sword right back in the lake.
That’s the leader we will always need. The person who knows the burden of the job, who understands it can’t be a solo job, who sees how things are rigged – and who ultimately takes the job on because, like it or not, they’re the ones holding the ball that day.
(also I would be remiss if I didn’t link you to a place you could buy a copy of The Once and future Queen so here you go: https://www.amazon.com/Once-Future-Queen-Adam-Knave/dp/1506702503