Dec 30, 2016

A "historical" Arthur in SWORD AT SUNSET

The only book I had ever read of Rosemary Sutcliff's before this one was Outcast (just remembering the plot now thanks to Wikipedia), which I must have picked up at a school book fair once upon a time. I hadn't realized how prolific and well-known a children's author (particularly on Roman Britain) she was until I read several mentions of her on other blogs/pages dedicated to historical fiction. But I did remember being captivated by her book when I read it as a child, so when I saw she had written an "adult" novel on King Arthur, I just had to check it out! 😁

Sword at Sunset is Rosemary Sutcliff's telling of the Arthurian legend, under the premise that he was a historical figure and imagining how that could have been. She places the tale a generation or so after the Roman Legions have left Britain, and with the Saxon invasions increasing in number and strength. In an interview with author Raymond Thompson in 1986 she said something which reflects how I feel on the matter:
"I always believed very strongly that there could be no smoke without a fire. A legendary hero almost always has a basis in a real person, around whom bits of legend and bits of other people's stories gather and collect, rather like amber collecting little bits of paper. I was convinced that there was a real man in the middle somewhere."
So who is her King Arthur?

Well, to start out his name is Artos, and he is NOT a king! At least not until the very end. He is still Uther's illegitimate child (not even a pretense of him marrying the mother after), but in this version he was acknowledged by his father and raised at court by his uncle Ambrosius the High King after his father died (unlike Uther's other illegitimate child Ygerna whom he left with the mother because she was a girl and thus of no interest).

May 13, 2016

Deaths of King Arthur and Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time

It's funny how despite not sharing much screen time during this show, both Robin Hood and King Arthur managed to join the lists of the tragic dead in the same episode!

If you don't want to know how it happened... Stay away from the spoilers below! ;o)

Jan 2, 2016

Robin Hood and King Arthur sharing screen time on Once Upon a Time!

Woohoo! My two favorite legendary characters are finally on-screen together! :o)

Robin Hood
King Arthur

Although they don't interact almost at all, they do share the screen in a couple of scenes during the first half of Once Upon a Time's fifth season.

Dec 31, 2015

Tragic Merlin on Once Upon a Time

Every version of the Arthurian Legend has its own version of each of the legendary figures, and Once Upon a Time is no different. After several episodes in which we've gotten to know these versions of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, in episodes 505 & 507 we finally learn Merlin's story.

Warning: Spoilers for Season 5 of Once Upon a Time from here on out!

Dec 29, 2015

Camelot meets Storybrooke in Season 5a of Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time started out based on the characters in the fairy tale of Snow White, then episode by episode expanded the cast to include other stories, sometimes even letting us visit those other lands. But through the first four seasons to only reference to Camelot was in passing, a land of legend mentioned by an exiled Lancelot when he meets Snow White and Prince Charming in the Enchanted Forest. That ends now as a magical twister drops Grannie's dinner and our heroes in the Kingdom of Camelot!

WARNING! Spoilers ahead for season 5a of Once Upon a Time.

The first half of season 5 of OUAT takes place between Camelot and Storybrooke, with the Camelot stories taking place 6 weeks before the "present time" in Storybrooke. I won't go into all the story details of each episode, since the point of this blog isn't OUAT. We'll just look into our favorite Arthurian characters and see what they're like in their fairytale world, and how they adapt to our modern world.

In Camelot

First off, this Camelot is definitely a fairytale-medieval version of Camelot! Gorgeous castle with turrets and pennants etc, you can definitely see the Disney influence. They of course throw a gorgeous ball (to welcome our heroes to their land, and to celebrate Merlin's prophesied imminent release from the tree).

Nov 8, 2015

Lancelot returns to Once Upon a Time!

We met Lancelot in the s2 episode "Lady of the Lake". A knight who exiled himself from Camelot for the love of a woman, and who helped out Snow and Charming in the past, and who was apparently killed by Cora (Regina's very evil mother, the Queen of Hearts). Episode 503 "The Siege Perilous" references this when Arthur and Charming talk of the Round Table.
"This is the Siege Perilous, reserved for the knight with the purest heart. The one destined to carry out the most sacred quests. It belonged to a man I trusted more than a brother, but he betrayed me. It's been vacant since."
When Charming tells Arthur that he and Snow met him once, Arthur seems genuinely happy to hear of him and asks how he is. And truly downcast when Charming tells him that he died.
"Lancelot failed to resits temptation but he was a good knight. He tortured himself for his sins more than I would have done and I wished him happy, just not with my wife."

But Snow sees Lancelot at the end of the episode! He warns Snow that the Dark One is not the only villain in Camelot.
"There is a terrible villain in Camelot. (...) Arthur. Trust me, Camelot is not the place it seems."
And with that cryptic beginning, Lancelot is BACK! And definitely not dead. ;o)

Nov 2, 2015

Once Upon a Time meets the world of Arthurian Legend in the Season 5 premiere

"Don't. (...) One day you will have the opportunity to remove Excalibur from its stone. And you mustn't. Leave the sword alone."
Says a mysterious cinema usher to a very young Emma Swan. It's Minneapolis 1989. Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" is playing in a theatre. How does this usher know her name? Why does he tell her not to take the sword from the stone? He says if you do something you're not supposed to do, even if you do it for a good reason, bad things will happen. A young terrified Emma watches young Wart pull Excalibur from the stone as our screen fades to black and then to 3 knights galloping across the land: it's King Arthur, Lancelot and another knight! Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone... an incomplete Excalibur which is missing the tip.

Zoom in on the Dark One's dagger with Emma Swan's name on it, and you realize that dagger looks an awful lot like the missing piece of Excalibur...

Sep 20, 2015

Maid Marian arrives in Storybrooke

Aside from a brief glimpse of a pregnant and ill Marian when we first met Robin Hood in the season 2 episode "Lacey", the only mentions of her in Once Upon a Time have been Robin Hood reminiscing about her, his regrets that her death was his fault. But no mention of how she died, or when. Until the season 3 double episode finale "Snow Drifts" and "There's No Place Like Home", when a portal set in motion by Zelena sends Emma and Hook to the Enchanted Forest, but back in time. To the moment Snow and Charming first met...

Warning, from here on out spoilers abound for the season 3 finale!

Sep 19, 2015

Robin Hood comes to Storybrooke

WARNING! Contains plenty of spoilers for Season 3B of Once Upon a Time which splits the action between Storybrooke (a year after the action in episode 3.11) and the Enchanted Forest (immediately after episode 3.11). In it we get to more of Robin Hood in the Enchanted Forest, and find out how he (and the Merry Men) ends up in Storybrooke and what his life is like there.

Sep 4, 2015

Outlaw by Angus Donald

When young Alan Dale barely escapes from the Sheriff of Nottingham's men after being caught stealing (and almost loses his hand as punishment!), his mother takes him to the Lord of the Wood for Sanctuary, to Robin Hood. Robin takes him in and Alan's life is forever changed. Serving a violent man, in a violent period of history, Alan will learn to follow Robin's rules and fight to survive.

Aug 29, 2015

The Outlaw Chronicles by Angus Donald

The Outlaw Chronicles is a series of historical fiction novels (and a few e-novellas) in which author Angus Donald shares his version of Robin Hood. They bring to life a Robin somewhat different from the traditional "noble thief" figure. This is a violent and ruthless man (think mafia don), who lived in violent times. Seen through the memory of one of Robin's most trusted lieutenants, Alan Dale (framed as if were writing his memoirs in his old age), we travel through England, the Holy Land (on Crusade), Germany (searching for a captive King Richard), Normandy (fighting the French) and more.

This is the Middle Ages, the Crusades, the battles between English and French kings over Plantagenet lands in France, sibling rivalries which threaten to topple a monarch, baronial rebellions against tyrannical kings. A very violent period of history, and very vividly brought to life in these tales.

Apr 22, 2015

Birth of Robin "Hood" on Once Upon A Time

"Heart of Gold", Episode 18 of Once Upon a Time's Season 4 is a Robin-centric episode that delves into his past and presents us with this series' version of how Robin of Locksley came to be known as Robin Hood, as well as the origin of his particular code of thievery, and a little wink at how it is he's such an amazing archer! 

Warning, spoilers aplenty below!

Feb 1, 2015

The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper

Ever since I first read these books as a child (or teenager? Don't remember!), these lines have been engrained in my memory:
"When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the Circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five shall return, and one go alone. 
Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;
Wood from the burning, stone out of song;
Fire on the candle ring, water from the thaw;
Six Signs the circle and the grail gone before. 
Fire from the mountains shall find the harp of gold
Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;
Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;
All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree."

Sep 17, 2014

Robot of Sherwood

I have a confession to make. Before last weekend (when I started watching Capaldi's first season), I had only ever seen one episode of Doctor Who! Shameful I know. It wasn't that I had no idea what Doctor Who was or what it represented, I did. And being the geeky sci-fi fan that I am, I knew an incredible amount about a series I'd never seen! Of course some people understand when I tell them it was the first episode of "modern Who" with Christopher Eccleston, then they tell me to try again with David Tennant or Matt Smith. And I always said "sure, one of these days". How many years has it been?

What finally got me to give it another go (other than the fact that I LOVED Capaldi as Richelieu in the BBC's Musketeers last year), was the title of this episode and the obvious subject matter. "Robot of Sherwood"?! Was the time-travelling Doctor going to visit one of my favourite swashbuckling heroes?! How could I not watch this?! (of course to be rigorous I did start with the previous two "season 8" episodes... and will definitely continue watching from here on out)

Mar 21, 2014

Will Scarlet is in Wonderland!

So, after Once Upon a Time introduced Robin Hood into their tale of mythical / legendary / fairy tale characters, its Wonderland spin-off has decided to join in the game and brings us one of Robin Hood's Merry Men!!! In the third episode "Forget Me Not" we finally get a little bit of back story for Alice's #1 ally the Knave of Hearts. Before this all we knew about him was his willingness to help Alice, his first name Will, and the fact that his past holds a tale of heartbreak involving a woman named Anastasia! Three guesses as to what he has to do with Robin Hood?...