I am Sir Galahad, the bravest and best knight in all the land.  I have seen Monty Python’s vision of what the Quest for the Holy Grail is like.  Never in my noble, God-fearing life have I been so outraged.  He got my character completely wrong.  Let’s not forget the fact that he left out the most important part of my story, I sat in the Siege Perilous, and didn’t die or implode.  On top of that, not to put myself on a pedestal or anything, but I was the only one who pulled the sword out of that block.  I wonder who else in our history had done that.  Oh! That’s right, our very own King Arthur, who was also made a mockery of.  For Christ’s sake the peasant was talking back to royalty.  On what land does that happen.  The portrayal of Sir Robin though couldn’t have been more on point.  There was a reason he was left out of the stories.  Not only was it true that we was a coward, but that would have taken away from the nobility and reputation of our exclusive gathering of knights.  I don’t know why they compared his bravery to Sir Lancelot.  I mean, am I not the best, the bravest, the purest, and the most handsome knight to ever step foot in King Arthur’s Court?  That whole Holy Grail could not have been done without me.  I have seen the damn thing, and ascended into heaven.  In case you are wondering, yes, I did become the best angel’s in God’s Legion and rose up the ranks to become commander.  No big deal.  Monty Python didn’t think so either I suppose.  What was the deal with the rabbit?  We have slayed dragons, giant, trolls, giant dragons trolls, and crushed other armies that dare look at us sideways.  I actually catch rabbits, for my weekly rabbit stew dinner that I have at the round table when I take my seat at the Siege Perilous.  That was the worse piece of Arthurian anything that I have ever seen in my life.  My adventure was by far the worse.  I set out on the quest on my own, until I met up with Good Sir Bors and Sir Perceval, whom I save from twenty knights.  Let me say it again, TWENTY KNIGHTS.  Beat that father!  The Castle of Maidens was no joke either.  I don’t know where Monty, found those horses, but the women at the Castle of Maidens looked like angels.  Don’t tell the King, but they made Guinevere look like a troll.    But anyway, I have actually seen the Holy Grail, and if you read Morte D’Authur, no other knight had been able to see the Holy Grail.  I was brought in to redeem King Arthur for this quest since no other knight was fit to do so.  So you dare mock me, Monty Python?  I spit on your grave and bite my thumb at you sir.  Do not be caught in my cour or I will strike you where you stand.
    How could it be that there was a manner of magic so concealed from myself?!? The magic of science?! Who has ever heard such a thing! Ah to have been made a fool of time and time again and for but the one area in which my expertise was lacking. Is it my fault that his magic of science is the countersign to the great spirit who's name I dare not speak who dried the well? I think not!

     Had he but told me the nature of his magics we could have worked together as brothers in the robe for the good of all of Camelot but no. No, he desireth to make a mockery of I, the great and powerful Merlin by putting me in charge of the weather... How could I possibly fill this station when it is so vastly below my abilities? Tis, only natural that I should be bored with such an endeavor and as my mind wanders I make mistakes.

    Let me tell you of the time Aurthur and I rode together to retrieve for him the great sword Excalibur! Then you shall know of my greatness! ... What? You're all bored with that tale? Fie in you then.

My lord--what a day to both rejoice and be sorrowful. Even if we were not brothers by blood, you are still my brother by soul. When you pulled the sword from the stone, I knew you would do great things. I would serve you to my death. To die in your name... I can think of nothing more honorable.

Mordred is dead. You have saved your people, and I have not died in vain. My spirit is in Heaven now, and soon you will join me and your other fine knights. Gawain waits for you with open arms. We will all feast together, and rest well knowing such wicked has been smitten from this earth.

It is over. You are free to rest your soul, and no regrets should be held within you when you depart from this world. It is such a high honor for me to have ever been able to call you by brother.






As I Lay Dying

As I lay dying amidst this battlefield struck down by my own blood by my own sword Clarent, I wonder was my time as king just.  My round table lay in ruins. My knights have died all around me in these wars one after another. Kay, Bedivere, Lionel all loyal knights of my table... such loss.  Was I truly the right ruler for this kingdom?  God shows me dreams of events to unfold I am told I embody the dragon and burn asunder all that I touch. Be it land, wealth, knights, my people they all burn under my rule before my very eyes. Gawain to have lost you at such a time words cannot utter my grief at your loss.

They carry me and my mind wanders for what have I done. To lead these men to their demise my rage at their loss is folly. My kingdom lay in ruins spurned by my own blood. I fought and slain my own blood. My wife and her love stolen from me. I may finally rest but my soul will not staring towards the shrouded sky my mind flickers back to the events. They pass me my birth, my rite, my rule, my deeds.  The duel of dragon and bear, man and giant. Still so vivid within the annals of my memory delivering the mortal blow for Christians just as I had slain Lucius for Briton. Kay despite his wounds knelt before me, Lionel mutilated beyond recognition, Bedivere felled when driven through. Was Lucius's death worth so many knights. Gawain the good most beloved of all my vassals felled by Mordred as he felled me. I feel as if I had a hand in his death with Mordred bearing my blood. I am filled with regret as I recall the dream of great Kings of old who fell at the height of their power. "I led them to this fate" I draw my last breath filled with regret. Forgive me.
Hello Bears,
For your blog this week, you will comment on this post as your character about Gawain's speech on page 472. I will provide the quote and you will provide the comments

"And give my goodbye to your gentle, gracious lady
and that other one, her most honored confidante,
For they cunningly waylaid this warrior with their wiles.
But it's no great wonder whenever a woman outwits
A man and leads him away to mourning or to madness,
For Adam himself was led astray by a woman,
And Solomon by several, and so too was Samson
(Who was doomed by Delilah), not to mention David,
Who was blinded by Bathsheba and suffered a bitter fate.
These were all laid low by women's lies. What great luck
If a lord could simply love them and not believe them!"
    Oh woe is me! For such a treacherous and unjust fate to befall one such as myself is simply too much to bear. To be betrayed by my one true love in this world seems a fate fit for the worst of sinners and heretics and traitors, not for a man as good as myself.
    Was I not a good and godly man? I whom dutifully tended to Arthur from the day of his birth to make him the most kind and virtuous king ever to be known to the world! I do not deny that I wished to be loved by the beautiful Viviane but is that truly a just cause for my cruel murder? Were it my will it was certainly within my power to take my pleasure of the maiden's flesh but instead I endeavored to win her heart as she had won mine. For her I left my good king's side, for her I taught all of my craft, for her I built a home to be envied by even the old emperors of Rome or even the king of Babylon, and for her I took an oath whereupon I swore to never vex the young thing! An oath not even taken by husbands on their wedding nights for as you all must know husbands often do vex their wives. And somehow to that oath I did adhere faithfully and for it she told me she loved me! Alas! Is to be enamored by maidenhood so wrong? It is a fine a virtuous trait that any man should be proud should his wife be in possession of.
     And yet I was hated for it and for my birth. God saw fit to pardon me for my father's birth as did Uther and Arthur and all of whom I had known so why then did the object of my love have to be the one creature in all of creation who could not see fit to see my goodness rather than my taint? My actions have proven time and time and time again that I am no agent of the devil but always and forever a humble disciple of god! I wonder then, why has god denied me the one pleasure in this life which I sought? Ah, tis' not my place to question the great Lord's will but still as I lay here in this tomb occupied by two lovers whom I so envy for the love they shared I cannot help but lament at the fate which has been forced upon me. Perhaps in heaven the Lord will see fit to show my the pleasures so cruelly denied me for my entire life.
    Ah but what sacrilege I speak! No I have always and shall evermore be a servant of God, if this be his will for me then I  must humbly accept my fate. Better to lose my flesh than my soul I suppose. I lay here glad to know she was able to save Aurthur from his sister's treachery. Maybe this fate is my punishment for ever leaving Aurthur's side. I know he will live a great many more years and shall be the greatest king of history and this knowledge gives me contentment.
    If nothing else let my woeful tale be a cautionary tale to good, faithful, and loving men of the world. Let them know of the wickedness and cunning of women which is so powerful it could best even me, The great and all knowing Merlin! Though they may say they love you faithfully and smile in your presence these words may be poison upon which you gleefully drink. Until your fate is sealed as is mine and there is naught to do but wait alone to die. In many ways this is my own fault but I have but one life to give and now I must commend my soul to God. Farewell friends.

PictureIgraine by Julek Heller. Illustration from King Arthur and His Knights, 1990
I almost wish I had not read this work, and therefore still did not know the truth. Before I was ashamed and embarrassed. I did not know who the man was who came to me, disguised, the night my husband died. Now I know, and the sting of shame is joined by that of betrayal. 

How could Merlin, whose own mother suffered the shame of having a child whose father she could not name, have helped Uther to trick me so? What manner of man is he that he would use his gifts to aid in so dishonorable an enterprise? And then, to demand my infant son as payment for his sinful work? It is monstrous!

And my lord Uther. To think that he could have done something so base...I thought his behavior low when he first sought my love behind the back of my husband, his loyal vassal, but this, this is so much worse. I am so ashamed! After all I did to resist Uther, he succeeded in taking my honor. As my beloved husband lay dying at the hands of Uther's soldiers, dying for the sake of Uther's lust and wounded pride, I lay in bed beside him. And now, I am his wife, his to command and to do with as he pleases. I don not know if I can bear it, now I know the truth. My only consolation is the thought that my son, raised by strangers, may grow to be a better man than his deceitful father. 

Ah, what a truly marvelous day has been held today! Surely, it is a time for all men to be able to rejoice! Our ladies whom we all love with the entire passion of our hearts, have assured us such love is not misplaced. Earlier, a kind and generous man rode to our court, offering a mantle of great worth and beauty. A mantle any man would want to see their lady wear, I’m sure. And indeed, as fate would have it, every lady present today had to do just so! No man would have wanted it to be any differently.

The Queen was the first to have the honor of wearing such a mantle. But alas! It was not to be—what great joy that brought the King, you can imagine. Of course I, possessing a lady of high beauty and faithfulness, suspected it was only fit for her to be able to own something so rich.

The strangest thing began to happen, though—she began to tremble. I hadn’t had the faintest idea as to why, for it would be impossible for my lady to bring me nothing but honor. For some reason or another, however, the mantle did not shape her body well at all. What surprise that brought me! That I, a great knight, should be shamed in front of my fellow men as well as the King himself; that that shame came from my own lady love! She was certainly the loveliest of ladies now in my eyes, more so than she had been before this.

The ladies of the court joined her one by one. Oh, rejoice my lady! You now don’t have to suffer loneliness no longer. Look at all the lovely company you have. This court truly had the most beautiful women in the whole world, I discovered.

All women are this beautiful, I think. How lovely it is to break an oath; to be unfaithful. It must be men who are not beautiful. Why else would our ladies be unsatisfied? It is obviously natural for ladies to move on to a more handsome, newer man. It is a norm for women to be this way, and finding one that is truly chaste is a rare sight to behold. If our ladies are this way by nature, what can we men do? This will only cause us dishonor. It was only thanks to that mantle this fact could be known, and our honor lost. Ah, yes, today indeed was a day for all men to rejoice.

- Kay
I for one, will not rejoice this day.  The trickery of the mantle has caused much shame and embarrassment to the ladies of the court.  We have been publicly humiliated.  You men sit by and whine of your precious honor, while we have been lowered to the most base level.  This does not befit the dignity of a Queen.  The ladies of my court are good noble women and mockery has been made at there expense.  What lesson is to be taught by this trick?  What happiness and goodness has been brought to our kingdom by this mantle? None.  It would appear that we women must endure such reproach while the men of the court get off with little more than bruised egos.  Why is it that we women endure this humiliation?  How is it that this shamefulness was brought upon us?  We did not consent to try the mantle with the full knowledge of its magic and we did not lie down alone.

    With all my strength, I held back from showing my true feelings for Lancelot upon his return from imprisonment.  It was almost impossible to keep myself from going to him and embracing him.  Was it Love that I was trying to subdue? Perhaps that was a part of my feelings.  But it was more than that.  I was as grateful and as moved by his chivalry as I was by any feelings of love.  For it was he alone that overcame so many obstacles, so many trials and tribulations in my name.  He may have hesitated for just a moment before climbing into the cart, but now that I have the luxury of hindsight, it is clear to me that that was the only hesitation he has ever demonstrated on behalf of me, my welfare and my name.  Did he not follow me straight into the forest as soon as I was taken there?  My own husband stood idly by as I rode off with Kay, it had to be suggested by Gawain that someone should follow us at all.  If it was left to my husband, my safety and well being may still be unknown to this very day.  To what ends was I to go with Kay? To prove that I would have done anything to ensure my husbands happiness.  I now know that he was incapable of doing the same for me.  My heart has never know such sadness as this.  
     Lancelot on the other hand has done everything in his power to ensure my safe return and happiness.  He has sacrificed himself and almost gave up his own life in my name.  Lancelot has shown a complete and utter devotion to me, not just as a loyalty  to the King and his crown but to me in my own right.  And these things have provoked feelings in me that I had not experienced until the bravest of knights brought them out in me.  It is possible that some people call it love, but I would argue that is much more than love alone. My feelings for Lancelot go beyond mere romantic love that has the capacity to ebb and flow.  My feelings are a mirror of the unwavering devotion I have been shown.  It would have been cruel for me to hold back anything from a knight that has done more than expected of a mere mortal.  Our love and devotion for each other transcend the bonds of marriage.  But by controlling myself upon the return of my brave knight, I was able to make a sacrifice for him, I was able to endure my own pain for his benefit.  What good would come to either of us if our shared past was brought into the light? It would bring ruin to us both.   And so I reasoned that by keeping still now, we would one day be free to love again.
    And alas, it is my deepest wish that all in this kingdom can move beyond Lancelot's transgression in relation to the cart.  I would hold that he has done much more with his life than merely taken a ride in a cart.  He has proven himself a brave and gallant beyond measure.  I pray that these noble attributes become his new legacy. 

PictureSir Mordred by: H. J. Ford (Artist) from: The Book of Romance, 1902
      What did my uncle expect, when he left his court and his kingdom and his wife behind to fight his campaigns? Did he expect his kingdom  to  wait, frozen as a portrait, while he battled the might of Rome? Did he expect it of Wenhaver [Guinevere], his wife? Indeed,  had that messenger not come to Arthur with news of my 'betrayal,' Arthur would not have returned, perhaps for many years yet. He intended to go on with his warring, first in Burgundy and then on to Rome. He would have been away at least another season, likely more than that. Should we have waited for him at his doors, panting like his hounds with eagerness for his long-awaited return? We went on with our lives, Wenhaver [Guinevere] and I, and all of his people who accepted me as king in place of he who seemed with each passing season less likely to return.

What's more, I have done no more than Arthur's own father, Uther, did, when he went to the woman he loved while her husband was away at war. I, at least, came to Wenhaver [Guinevere] with my true face, rather than the guise of another. 

Yet now Arthur is on his way, with murder in his heart for me and for my Wenhaver [Guinevere]. The might he thought to bring against Rome he now means to turn against me, his nephew, the man he claims he most loves. But I will meet him blow for blow, with every ally I can gather at my side. I will defend my right to the land and the woman he abandoned for so long, and with the clashing of our swords we will learn which of us has the right of it.

-- Mordred