So I’ve been researching and reading King Arthur books and ballads for my future King Arthur book. (My King Arthur book will star a modern age girl who gets sucked into the past when the REAL Arthur runs off with a shepherdess, leaving Britian King-less.) I’ve come to the conclusion that the King Arthur ballads were the first soap operas.
In the stories I’ve read so far there have been 1) Brothers who unknowingly fought each other (hard to tell who you’re fighting with all that gear) and ended up killing each other 2) Several odd cases in which a knight spawns a son who seems to grow up in a matter of months before he joins is father in Camelot. 3) love affairs and 4) Girls who die of broken hearts. There is a lot angst to be had in the King Arthur tales.
I really want to smite Lancelot and Guinevere. I am not the type to go for the whole “courtly love,” thing, nor do I believe the lame “they both love Arthur which is why they are perfect for each other” argument. Normally most of my anger would boil on Guinevere, not because she deserves more of the blame but because she is the one who is actually cheating. However… Guinevere is a very bland character. Not much is mentioned about her besides her beauty, parentage, and the fact that Arthur fell in love with her. Let’s face it, compared to Marian (who has a spine, served as a spy, and also, according to one ballad, beat up Robin Hood when they crossed swords and were both in disguise) Guinevere is faceless and unimportant. Everyone says HER betrayal is what ruined Arthur’s reign, but really it was losing Lancelot that did Arthur in.
Lancelot is Arthur’s most trusted knight. After Merlin left, Lancelot was Arthur’s go-to guy. Their relationship is mentioned in many ballads and stories. Essentially, Lancelot was Arthur’s Little John. (A more gallant, charming, and handsome version of Little John) Lancelot is NOT the flat character Guinevere is. He is Arthur’s best friend, and HE is the one I really dislike for his betrayal. (YES, YES I know in some of the ballads Arthur acts like a clueless idiot regarding Guinevere and Lancelot, and he did a few stupid things over Guinevere, but one could never doubt he deeply loved his queen and treasured his friendship with Lancelot.)
Here’s where the fun comes in: In my story Brit Arthurs takes Arthur’s place in becoming King of England, as she is able to pull the sword from the stone. Brit Arthurs is NOT going to be heartbroken about Guinevere’s so called betrayal. I must have my revenge and make Lancelot miserable for at least part of the book. The question is… should I just make him sad and break his heart a bit, or should I be downright nasty and tar and feather that sonofva… Ahem. well you get the point. So, my dear champions, help me decide. Leave a comment below or use the form in the contact page to share your thoughts!