Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The True Ending of "Lancelot" or "The Knight of the Cart"

My Valiant Lords and Sweet Ladies of the Round Table,

I do not wish to disturb your tender hearts away from your peacetime reverie however a truth must be brought to light. A terrible lie has been fed to you. The ending of the good cleric Chrétien’s story was erased and rewritten by the wicked Godefroy of Lagny. Now, Godefroy himself acknowledged that he wrote the ending but said he had Chrétien’s approval. Not so! The gentle Chrétien passed from this life to the next believing that the true story of Lancelot’s love for me, his queen, would go down in history as the greatest love story ever told.

So, you ask, what really happened? Lancelot was indeed rescued from the tower by Meleagant's kind sister and (like most of the other women in the story) asked for Lancelot's love in return. However, Lancelot DID NOT respond by pledging his heart, body, aid, and possessions to her. Instead he promised to free her from Meleagant's tyranny (by causing his death) but that his love was only for his queen (the same answer given to all other women in the story). Lancelot returned to King Arthur's court and defeated the loathsome Meleagant. When I first saw that he was alive and well, my heart leapt and could not be contained in my body. Love indeed ruled me over Reason and I outwardly rejoiced. This was not at all taken as odd because of course he was there as my champion and Arthur himself was overjoyed by his return. After Lancelot slew the traitor Meleagant, Arthur gave Meleagant's sister to Lancelot as a wife believing that would please them both. For shame! Shame on such a day! Lancelot and I were heartbroken and intent again on killing ourselves out of love. In the end we decided to try to live honorably for each other and arrange more secret trysts whenever we could. It was bittersweet, but it was true love.

Why, you ask, would the vile Godefroy have changed this ending? He felt that the pure but tragic love between Lancelot and me was shameful and should not be recited to future generations. He changed it in an attempt to make Lancelot seem more honorable and less sinful. But is not a lie even more disgraceful? I hope to have shed some light onto why Chrétien's story ended so strangely and abruptly. Please do not judge Lancelot and me too harshly. We are both ruled by Love instead of Reason.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meleagant Has It Right!

This knight, Meleagant, is a true challenger. I myself have walked the dangerous path of challenging Arthur, with little result. I offer him a challenge- tell me what it is that women most desire, or die -and what does the coward do? He retreat's to his castle and broods until he summons the energy to have his knights do the work for him. His troops save him, and take my Inglewood forest from me. Repulsive! This lazy king will not even lift a finger to save his own life, let alone the life of his queen.

Now, with his queen taken, and his people enslaved, what is the great Arthur's response? He must accept this, because he cannot change it, and it grieves him. Awwww. I grieved when you gave my forest to Gawain, but I went out and challenged you head on. What do you do? Allow Kay to manipulate you into letting your wife get captured for the sake of his honor. Good job. Kay is possibly dead, and the queen is certainly missing. But hey, she made her own decision, right? WRONG! She was overheard muttering that she would rather not go with Kay. Not only have you lost your queen, Sir King, but you have forgotten the knowledge that saved you from me.

Hopefully, when your knights arrive at Meleagant's castle, he destroys all of them. It is YOU who should be after your queen. How can you sit by and let events pass like these without lifting your own sword? Get out of your throne room, go be a man. Face the challenge head on, not cowering behind your lines of loyal men who shield your frightened face from problems. DO THINGS YOURSELF!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I am not my own man.

It’s okay that Chretien doesn’t identify me at first. I’m used to it – I actually prefer it. Do you know how hard it is to get around and live a life with a name so popular as mine? I can never have just a simple joust; as soon as they hear my name, one of two things happen: either my opponent immediately backs down, or every man looking to make his name known shows up. Take that cretin Meleagant. Although he didn’t know who I was at first, he immediately set a vendetta against me in the fair name of my most beloved queen.

Never will a man besmirch my queen’s name and live to tell about it. Although I do hold honor in the highest regard, nothing compares to my adored queen. My heart is not mine; my eyes are not my own; my soul is not in my keeping. These are only a few of the possessions my dear lady holds in the palm of her hand.

Oh to live the life of a man whose name and heart were his own. Twas so long ago I can barely remember what I would be like. Don’t make the mistake that I wish I were back in those days. The only thing that I could wish for, the only thing that could make my life more whole, were if my lady were my own. But alas, tis not to be. I cannot even wish ill upon my king. Woe is me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Memoirs of a Giant

I’ve been silent too long waiting for Uther Pendragon to make his feelings known on the great glowing glass. King? You’re more like a queen! And where is your son with his misplaced sense of kinship and loyalty and chivalry? You’re son…More like a daughter! Ha! You’re kingdom will be left in ruins! Rome will conquer you, you invalid! You’re “men” have made me a delicious meal…with their bones!

Arthur…You have all your nephew’s work to do. You’re father taught you well to hinder the integrity of your own blood! Those tasks were to test the might of Cuhlwch, not you! Not you’re men! He is of no worth to make my daughter his wife. He does nothing. And you’re men were slaughtered by a boar! Hundreds of your armed knights were claimed by a wild animal. I eat boars for they are tasty. You’re knights are tastier. You may in the future humiliate me by shaving my beard and placing my head on a stick, but history will echo the shame of your bloodline. May all your nightmares greet you with a smile. My hunger for blood and lust for your women exceeds the might fathomed by all men in history. I am a giant and you are just a man. A mere insect of flesh. By the way, Heor’s wife was deeelish.

A King's Lament

I wanted to speak out on the incident of Queen Guinevere's betrayal of her lawful husband Arthur with his nephew Mordred. Having experienced this heartache myself with my wife Isolde and nephew Tristan, I can sympathize with my Lord Arthur's plight, yet I beg him to forgive and not to seek revenge against those who commit such treachery for they know not what they do to themselves or to the kingdom. Instead of battling Mordred, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, great men gone too soon to their graves, Arthur should have routed out his nephew and banished him into exile, along with the Queen, ne'er to return. While in some eyes this may be seen as foolish weakness, it is the only to satisfy honor and promote the public good, for the King and his people. So I have found in my own heart.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Layamon's Brut

How unfairly I am displayed in this poem! Being called wicked and crass! It's not like anyone has ever bothered to listen to my side of the story. All anyone ever wants to hear about is what Arthur did, and what Arthur's next plans are to defeat me, and about how great Arthur is.

Well, Arthur is the one who decided to murder an entire village and then torch it to the ground, but somehow I end up being the evil one? I think it is a great deed that I accomplished, taking over his lands. I would have done a great job ruling those lands. I would have been a great ruler doing the same things that I would have--may have--done in Winchester. They would have received their legal rights. So long as they do what I say, of course.

But no. I get criticized for trying to protect myself. My men were more than willing to die for me, and you would have known that if you had asked me for my side of the story. Even those villagers I overtook loved me! Just ask them! Oh wait. You can't. Because Arthur killed them all!

Anyway, they let me run. Really. I can't expect you to believe me of course, because who is going to believe me over the saintly King Arthur who never does anything wrong. Except slay and burn entire villages.

But whatever. Story of my life, I suppose.

What a tale! What a tale!

It is always a pleasure to recount the days by which my King Arthur was born into the world, and rose to his throne!  I, Valven, Walwain, Gawain, whichever name you wish to use, as one among his most favored knights know these stories much better than many, having spent so much time in conversation with His Majesty, and there are many things in this account that has not been included.  How amused Arthur would be if some of the things I knew were to come to light.

For example, did you know that the Once and Future King was one night sleeping in his tent during one of his many campaigns against the foul Saxons when two assassins of the enemy sneaked into his camp by cover of night, slew his loyal guards with great skill in utter silence, and entered the King's tent with weapons drawn, about to slit his throat?  My King heard them lift the folds of his tent and when he saw the bodies of his watchmen and the knives of the spies, he flew forward in a great rage, not stopping for a moment to draw his weapon, for it was not needed.  He grabbed one man about the neck with such strength, and released such a mighty howl as to wake the entire mass of his army and his enemy's from their slumber, and with the strength that only a man who can pull the Excalibur from the stone could posses, he crushed the man's neck in two like it was a blade of grass between a giant's fingers.  As his loyal soldiers, myself included woke and came rushing to the defense of our King with great shame and rage, for we let the enemy draw so close to him in our neglectful sleep, we saw Arthur holding the second assassin against the side of a wagon, while shouting:  "Why do you strike your own face, Saxon?  Why, cowardly Saxon spy, have you crept into my camp, and killed my guard just to strike yourself  before me with your own hands?"  And there was nothing that the Saxon could say, for Arthur was holding the man's wrists in his hands, and was in truth using the Saxon's own arms to pummel his face.

A great feature, Arthur had, was his faith in God to drive fear into his enemy, and as his words for the Saxon carried across the hills on the wind and into the ears of the Saxon watch, they believed Arthur to have unleashed some grand, powerful blessing from Our Lord that struck his enemies full of a desire for their own destruction, that did lead them to end their lives in his presence.  And in the morning, as Arthur King marched at the head of his mighty army to confront the Saxons, those who did not flee in an all-consuming terror for the man were slaughtered by the might of Briton and Arthur and God, and in this victory Arthur grew ever closer to being the legendary and Forever King that he became.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Geoffrey's Work of "Art"

Good day noble knights and warriors, fair and beautiful ladies! Tis I, Arthur, King of the Brittons. Now many of you may be under the impression that I may not have actuallly ever existed. But I bring into play the great chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain, which clearly states my existance and my importance in shaping the landscape of Great Britain and Europe. Sure, there are many detractors of Geoffrey's accounts (I'm looking at you Gerald of Wales!), who believe that these great tales were fabricated. I scoff at that notion!

My many great adventures and conquests across the country were all real! How else could you explain the fact that these stories still stand the test of time some 1500 years after they occured? I mean, I slayed the giant at St Michael's Mount, c'mon now, are you going to try and tell me that giants don't exist? And some of these other tales are nearly too crazy to be simply made up by an author who lived some 500 years after everything in my life transpired.

From battling Saxons and Romans, to marrying the fair Guinevere, to creating the order of the knighthood which would eventually be known as the Roundtable, the whole chronology is covered here. Heck, even when Mordred betrays me and I am mortally wounded and borne away to Avalon to heal, is noted in Geoffrey's accounts.

So maybe his dates and time frames don't exactly pan out. And sure, it may sound a little fishy that Geoffrey claims to be translating from a much fuller source, one "ancient book in the British language", of which no copy was ever produced. By I ask you this, if it were all false, would you all be studying about me and life story? Would you all have the passion that you do to put in so much thought and effort into the great tales of me and my merry followers? And would you not be so enthralled as to join me here, in this great blog of which you are now, all part of the noble Roundtable?

A Shave Too Close

Far too often now have the grooming rituals been overlooked. There is nothing more important than keeping yourself properly groomed, in both the eyes of fellow men and God himself. The fact that so many times there are knights who forget the most basic fundamentals of good and decent behavior, especially in the presence of good and honorable people. We see a many times throughout my lord's kingdom the grooming rituals being forsaken, but it was a relief to see that Ysbaddaden got the shave that he needed, even if it wasn't of the most favorable circumstances for him. The fact that it was the last one he recieved and that they took off a little more than he preferred is not lost on me, it's a fitting shave for the terrible behemoth. Though if I was Culhwch, I wouldn't have needed the assistance of Arthur to complete the quests that that insideous beast laid out before me. No, just a dedication to completing them would be all that I would need, though I could do without the prize he received. Inspite of Culhwch's inability to complete all the quests on his own without assistance from Arthur and his brave and talented men, his success and his triumph are glorious and may he be blessed for his victory.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lives of Pain and Struggle for Possession

So many have fallen to the rage of Ysbaddaden in their pretension to have me as their own. For years, I have loyally kept my pledge to my father for his sake that I will not leave his protection without his endorsement. I have neither encouraged nor discouraged of the many poor men that have taken the foolish task of attempting to win me from my father. Why these men attempt this, I cannot understand. I wonder why they do not go for some other easier catch so they may spare themselves the suffering of confronting Ysbaddaden or performing a task for a madman which is designed only to result in their failure. Perhaps I will never understand the absence of mind required to brave such obstacles only to win me. Does the prize they seek exist only in their mind or must I prove worthy of all their toils? I only wish to live without having to see anyone peril because of me. My pledge must be upheld though I am loyal to whatever man relieves me of this burden. I have never held hope for any man taking me as his wife without bloodshed.
My loyalty to my father is only by virtue of family. The arrogance of his abnormal stature and his selfish need to preserve himself and care for me has only caused me to be unhappy for a long time. The arrogance of whoever frees me of him mist rival that of his. If the rules of completion must be bent to the point where the man who attempts to win me has a legendary kind and his knights to aid him, so be it. I fear however that I am fated always to live in the shade of man's arrogance.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Concerning The Grail Quest

Youth, I know, is lost on the young. After the inexorable turning of the seasons, after many, many moons, once flesh has aged and clings pallid to the bone, then one might finally see. It seems to be the way of the world and the Will of the Lord Almighty.
I was blessed with a dream sent from Heaven on High - and so I know. The poorest man is he who, with avarice, guards the gold-hoard and regards his fellow man with suspicion and scorn. Charity by giving gold will not suffice; giving a gold piece to a leper, while loathing the sight of him, is not charity at all. Men are known to slay one another for far less than a gold piece. True charity comes from within he who delights in others, who fills the cups of his brothers and sisters even as he drinks from his own. The richest is the one who knows this - and his or her wealth is an everlasting summer of the soul, which no winter can wither.
And this is one of the Secrets of the Grail. Glorious deeds of arms will avail thee not in attaining the Sacred Vessel of Our Lord. Not the resources of earthly wealth nor a bloodline of noble bearing bring thee closer - these gain thee not a glimpse.
The Grail is everywhere - and yet it is nowhere. Those whose hands, hearts, and minds toil vainly beyond the Grace and Blessing of our Almighty Father in Heaven will seek fruitlessly until the days of their lives are spent utterly.
But those who see need not seek at all - and the fires in their hearths burn all the brighter, all the warmer in their halls, for, having taken joy of others, they have already partaken from His Heavenly Chalice - and know a happiness that outspans the sorrows and injustices of this world.

Tale of Love or Pride?

The story of Culhwch and his Olwen. This was a beautiful story, for the most part. The premise reminded me much of my own life. The young, beautiful Olwen and I had much in common. Fair beauties that where the cause of such calamity and malice. My husband was killed by a King who held such a passion for me which could never cease or nor be satisfied until we were together. This parallels with a young woman with beauty which drove men to risk their lives on many quests for only a chance at having her hand. In this comparison, this story replenishes me with memory. However, the days of my youth have long passed me and I am much reluctant of unbridled butchery so that aspect of the story itself may have been too much. Speaking from my new heart behind the cloistered walls, I see this as, rather than the love story it was destined to be, more of an amoral quest of self satisfaction. Instead of the premise being a man searching for his love, it became a heavy depiction of gore and masculine pride. I feel like there was no real love between any other the characters. The intentions of the quest were more for honor and glory than for the love of Olwen, though I no doubt praise the ultimate success of their lives together. Nevertheless I will close in a positive manner, and so express how remarkably proud I am to have such an honorable son. Though our distance has been great, every time his name glorified, I take pride. Not only is my son Arthur so praised as a warrior, but his bloodline is so exalted that even the young Culhwch was more admirable just for his relation. How honored I am.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blog Schedule

Below is the blog schedule for the semester.  Please read the instructions carefully.  Happy blogging!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010