Monday, August 3, 2015

5 Arthurian things I would rather see on screen than a "streetwise" Arthur

Images from Guy Ritchie's six-movie (!!!) epic of King Arthur surfaced this week, and threw me into a complete storyteller meltdown. Here is the blurb:


"The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King."

Just... why?!

In order to deal with the pile of horrible ideas this film is shaping up to be (David Beckham? Really?! What, are the Spice Girls going to be the Ladies of the Lake?), I made a list of Arthurian things I would rather see on the big screen.
Because, you know, there are actual stories in there. Good ones.

Gorlagon
A werewolf knight in King Arthur's court. How is this not a movie yet?

Gwendydd
Merlin had a sister. They have a story. Just sayin'.

Taliesin
In some Welsh legends, the bard is tied to King Arthur's court. His is quite the epic story to tell, from stealing the world's knowledge from a witch, through a magical chase to rebirth, being found in a river and raised, and then using bardic magic to save his father from prison... Come on.

Dame Ragnell
"The thing all women in the world desire the most is to be able to decide their own destiny." A great tale to tell, and would make a kickass movie too. Bonus points for feminism.

Culhwch and Olwen
A Welsh classic, and also a great story. Shows a very early form of King Arthur's "gang" (God I hate that word in the blurb). It is also a version of tale type 513, Extraordinary Helpers, which means it features a team of heroes solving a series of tasks together. Love, adventure, giant-killing, the works. Roundtable Assemble, or something.

Go ahead, take a pick, any pick.
Or maybe ask a freaking storyteller.

14 comments:

  1. Dame Ragnell sounds like a great story to be told. I don't think we'll ever see the end of Arthur being retold in good and bad ways.

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  2. Gorlagon: as soon as you write the YA novel, and add a romance, you can option the film rights and be set for life.

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    1. I might just do that XD In the meantime, I am wishing someone would do a series from Gerald Morris' Squire's Tale.

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  3. I love the Ragnell story. <3

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  4. You should do a post about your favorite Arthurian interpretations.

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    1. I might :) There are a few of them. I don't hate the idea of adaptations, I just hate the idea of BAD adaptations :D And I'm picky about certain characters, and certain points in the story.

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  5. Well, I'm a fan of Arthurian legends and I've always enjoy seeing (and reading) new interpretation of the myth... but I have to say that I too don't feel any attraction to the blurb you reported :-(

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    1. To me it reads like someone vomited buzzwords on a page.

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  6. Hollywood is going to make what they feel is most marketable. We just have to deal with it.

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    1. True. I just feel like their idea of what is marketable is very limited. :D

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    2. I understand. It's how I feel every time I see them cycle through the same 10 or so European fairy tales again and again (Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc). Or every time Fox makes an X-Men movie with Wolverine at the center (there are other interesting X-Men. Ask any comics reader).

      I think in Hollywood the general attitude toward the Arthurian legends is that Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin and Lancelot are the stars and who they're always going to focus on. So, the other characters are out of luck. Sorry, Galahad. Tough luck, Gawain. Better luck next time, Perceval. (You catch my drift).

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    3. I always picture the disappointment of readers who then actually take a look at the arthurian epics of the middle age just to find out Arthur is mostly staying at home and not the center of attention. :D

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    4. I am with you on the fairy tale thing. Also with you on the X-men (they are my favorite from Marvel, and Fox needs to just stop trying).
      And yes, we need more Arthurian characters to take the spotlight. Gawain, and also his brothers. Or, you know... any other knights that are not Lancelot. :D

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    5. One of the issues with the other characters, particularly the knights is that a lot of them seem kind of the same. However, with Lancelot, people have Mallory's whole "forbidden romance" to latch onto. What they'd need to do is focus on a few knights and differentiate them as characters. For example, I always liked how the Monty Python film made Bedivere the most logical/scientific one even if the science was bunk. There are seeds of it to work from. For example, Lancelot always seemed to be the most skilled at arms, while his son Galahad was the most religiously devout. Gawain and his brothers are likely the most courteous and devoted to the king (seeing as he's their uncle). And Perceval, going back to the romances, kind of comes across as the foolish country boy who made good. And, of course, Modred is the traitor.

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