As Enlighten has been out for a bit, so I can finally discuss the plot! This post will have spoilers, so if you haven’t read the story yet, you’ve been warned!
Obviously a huge portion of Enlightened is my own content–the legendary King Arthur was male and the only rightful King of England, not a place-holder, like Britt. However, the story of Sir Damas kidnapping Arthur to fight for him against his brother, Sir Ontzlake, is part of the King Arthur legends. Additionally, both Sir James Knowles–author of King Arthur and His Knights–and Howard Pyle–author of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights–include this legend in their books–and it is worth noting that these men are the authors of the “classic” King Arthur books as we know them.
In the original legend, King Arthur is riding with a knight named Sir Accalon and the two happen upon a empty castle with a feast. Because they’ve never heard of Stranger Danger, they sit down, eat the food, and fall asleep. When Arthur awakens he finds himself captive in Sir Damas’ dungeon with a bunch of knights who have refused to fight for the evil man. The stories differ based on the author, but both men agree that Morgan le Fay plays a treacherous role in the story and either sets Arthur up with the banquet, or swipes Excalibur’s scabbard–which, remember, has the power to keep all wounds from bleeding.
Sir Accalon ends up acting as Sir Ontzlake’s champion because Ontzlake was injured in a tournament, and Morgan le Fay gives him Excalibur and its scabbard before his fight against Arthur. (It’s worth mentioning that, due to the armor, neither man knows who they are fighting.) Sir Accalon gravely injures Arthur and, quite frankly, is a total jerk during the match. In one version of the story he gets the best of Arthur and almost kills him–as everyone watching shouts at him to have mercy–and in another version he actively plots against Arthur as he considers Morgan le Fay his lady. Sir Accalon gets his comeuppance, though, when Arthur retrieves Excalibur and pounds the snot out of him. Arthur then wins the match and reveals who he is. Sir Accalon is horrified, and begs for forgiveness, which Arthur grants him before the knight dies of his wounds. Arthur then gives all of Sir Damas’ possessions and lands to Sir Ontzlake and returns to Camelot.
To me, this is one of the first sad legends of King Arthur. Arthur is betrayed by his half sister–Morgan le Fay–nearly killed by one of his own knights, and was forced to mortally wound his knight to survive. Even Sir Ontzlake–who is supposedly a good knight–comes off sketchy and not nearly as good as Arthur’s other companions, like King Pellinore. It is important to note that in the original legends, this story takes place directly after Merlin has left Arthur forever, which might explain Arthur’s sudden run of bad luck.
Arthur’s actions–mortally wounding his knight–wouldn’t sit well with Britt, so I knew I needed to adjust the ending, but the idea of wounding Britt without any of her usual entourage around appealed to me as it would be the perfect way for her men to accidentally find out her gender without resorting to throwing her in a river–which I frequently did with Robyn of Robyn Hood. Once I figured that out, the rest of the adjustments came readily.
I didn’t particularly like Ontzlake as he was the brother constantly asking for the matches, so I wasn’t hot to trot to give him all of Sir Damas’ things. Instead I invented their little sister and gave her the inheritance. As my Morgan le Fay is alined with her earlier roles in the King Arthur legends–a good magic user–I tossed out her side of the story and instead used her as Britt’s first aid kit. It was just as well–Britt would never be stupid enough to sit down and eat at a full banquet table in an otherwise abandoned castle. I didn’t want to bring Sir Accalon into the story just to kill him off–and I would have enough drama with the rest of the Round Table Knights after their enlightenment–so I decided to exclude him from the story and used Lancelot to attack Britt.
It was a fun story to adapt! Some of the lines and details were unbelievable (all the knights in Damas’ dungeons might be the funniest part of Sir James Knowles’ story) and it was a delight to drive a streak of Lancelot’s darker side into the open. This post is getting lengthy, so I’m going to cut it off here. Thank you for reading, Champions!
I love the new twist on the king Arthur legends. Britt is a strong character that has the same values as king Arthur but still has her own personality. I also love the conniving Merlin with his meticulous planning. He’s so focused on his goal that he doesn’t realize a slight problem with them (revealed in book four.) Kay is also a great redo. I never liked the way he treated Arthur in the legends and wished he was different.
Hey Hailey, I’m glad you like my takes on classical characters! (I always thought poor Kay was unfairly given a bad rap. He’s brother to the King of England, that would be a hard pill to swallow!) If you would like the King Arthurs extra use the contact me tab and send me an email–I’ll get it to you sometime this weekend. 🙂
Hi, kitty great post, I can’t believe you got a book out of one legend, that’s why your awesome!!! Jajaja,
I would like to know why did Ywain reacted so exaggerated to Britt gender reveal! I know he was hurt, because he thinks the sun set and rises on Britt but… It doesn’t explain his temper!
And Belvidere (sorry don’t remember the right spelling) he also reacts way out of control, at least Ywain is a teenager but Belvidere is supposed to be Britts age, so he’s a little more mature!! I mean look at King Pellinore, his reaction it’s a normal, rational one. Could you please clear a little of the character reactions?
Another thing I hope Lancelot’s punishment is somewhere in the near future, I hope Britt’s doesn’t allow herself to be charm by him only because of the help he gave her at the round table.
Ywain’s reaction might have seemed a little hot-headed because…he is. Being with Britt has curbed a lot of his impulsive nature, but in both my version and the legend, Ywain is known for being explosive. If you go back to Enthroned, you can see it in his impulsive plan to escape/kidnap King Ban, and the angry way he initially reacts to Britt’s attempts to win him over. That being said, if the knights had decided to throw Britt out, after a week he most certainly would have changed his mind and gone charging after her. He is deeply loyal, but his emotions can get the best of him.
As for Bedivere, yes, he is older–by older I mean he’s Britt’s age, in his twenties–but he is also the ONLY knight who directly served under Britt (As marshal he works with Kay, Merlin, Ulfius, etc) and had no clue that she was a girl. Moreover, out of all the knights who were swayed by Morgause’s enchantment, he was the only one who sought Britt out afterwards to apologize for his conduct. He was ashamed by his actions because trust is important to Bedivere. Realizing she had been lying to him the entire time made him question their relationship. He essentially saw the last two years crumble before his eyes as the sovereign he swore to serve isn’t who he thought at all. Given his gentler nature, it’s natural that he would take the revelation badly.
Finally, you also have to remember the times. Ancient England was not a place where females had tons of power, so this revelation that their King, whom they adored, was female wouldn’t just be surprising, it would be mind-blowing as it went against their culture. Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion!
Hannah Hill says
I’m kind of surprised that Lancelot got off so easily after stabbing Arthur in the back (practically). They were off the field and the fight was over, so it was practically a cold-blooded assault. I guess he got overlooked in the ensuing drama of her newly-revealed gender, but it’s a shame he didn’t get SOME consequences!
And I can’t figure out why he stuck up for her at the Round Table scene. My guess is that he saw her being on the throne as a woman as an opportunity that he wanted to exploit, so he was working to set her up.
You’re right, he got off rather easy…for now, anyway. 😉
It seems that a lot of people have a hard time judging Lancelot, so I’m planning to do a post that takes a look at his character, but I will say that the biggest thing to remember about him is that he is astoundingly self-centered.
please send me the extra for enlightened. I love your extras, so glad you can’t leave well enough alone 🙂 thanks Cynthia
Hi Cynthia, I just need you to email me so I can get your email address. 🙂 (You can use the contact me tab or the form in the top post that is hidden by the “continue reading” shortcut.)
kettlebell beachbabe says
That was interesting. I actually didn’t know that. Poor Arthur.
Yeah, I have mixed feelings on the legends. A lot of the King Arthur stories were written as part of different cycles. The earlier ones make him a hero-king, but a lot of the “newer” ones treat him pretty shabbily. 🙁
kettlebell beachbabe says
You are my favourite author lol it’s awesome how you spoil us. Xx
Haha, I could say the same about you Champions. 😉