1. Arthur Pendragon
was a legendary British leader, who led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. Arthur’s story is fascinating; full of folklore and literary invention. The historical evidence that he existed is so sparse that modern historians seriously doubt his existence.
Britain was governed by the Roman Empire from 43 to 410 AD. The Romans ruled over almost all of England and Wales. After they left the situation got very unstable. This is why the Saxons were invited to assist in fighting the Picts and the Irish. These new arrivals started a series of wars that eventually led to the Saxon occupation of Britain in 600.
Everybody who is reading this has some picture of King Arthur in his head. If you want more details of the story, please consult the story of King Arthur in Wikipedia:
Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend vary, Geoffrey’s version of events often served as the starting point for later stories. Geoffrey depicted Arthur as a king of Britain who defeated the Saxons and established a vast empire. Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey’s Historia, including Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, the wizard Merlin, Arthur’s wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur’s conception at Tintagel, his battle against Mordred and final rest in Avalon.
The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story. He began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature. In these French stories, the narrative focus often shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table.
From the 12th to the early 19th century there was a break in King Arthur´s popularity.
Many books and stories exist about King Arthur and his reign. Tennyson started the revival with Idylls of the King. He reworked the narrative of Arthur’s life for the Victorian era. His book was published in 1859 and sold 10,000 copies within the first week: Arthur was depicted as a symbol of ideal manhood who ultimately failed, because of human weakness.
Tennyson’s works generated much interest in the legends of Arthur. It also invited a large number of imitators:
In the US Sidney Lanier’s The Boy´s King Arthur was very popular and an inspiration for Mark Twain´s satire: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur´s Court (1889).
Arthur´s story is still constantly reworked to fit modern times to include more equality and democracy. I enjoyed Marion Zimmer Bradley´s version: The mists of Avalon (1982) as a teenager.
There have been comic strips, films and plays. Some of you may know the Arthurian spoof Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).
Presently you can see on Netflix a series of a young Arthur called Merlin and a film called King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. In both magic has an important role. Arthur either fights outright against magic or uses it grudgingly and only in dire straits.
What all stories have in common
The battle is always good against bad. Arthur has to fight against evil magic and treason.
Wizards and their magic are not part of ordinary life in most Arthurian stories. They only exist on the fringe of society. This is because magic belongs in the Fairy Tale Dimension, of course.
2. Behind the scenes information on King Arthur
It is not relevant whether Arthur is a true historical figure or not. I know that he and his adventures are very real in the Fairy Tale Dimension:
Arthur and his knights live in a very elaborate fairy tale country that supports events and adventures in a setting that we would term the Dark Ages (476 – 800).
The landscape is divers
All kinds of terrain are negotiated in the adventures here. You can find high mountains, deep caves, lakes, rivers and the sea, islands, giant trees and dangerous bridges.
Dwellings in King Arthur´s fairy tale
People live in castles and in villages. You can find more than one Camelot: Ranging from giant citadels with intricate artwork and fine masonry to crude castles surrounded by moats and sporting drawbridges. Some have a small town nearby and others stand solitary on the tip of a mountain.
The people in this country fight against evil. There are swords and daggers, horses and dragons. A lot of energy is used to go on quests to obtain magic objects and slay evil monsters.
You don´t need much intellect for fighting so there are plenty of dumb brave knights.
Battle of the minds
But besides the physical fights there is also a battle of minds. In this fairy tale country the pros and cons of magic are debated. Great speech-battles about its values and virtues are held that are highly popular. A lot of spectators attend these events.
There are also battles where riddles have to be solved: A kind of Fairy Tale Dimension Quiz Show. Prominent stars of these contests are very much in demand as advisors.
Dragons and other magic creatures
A multitude of magical creatures play on the good as well as on the evil side. Including cat-monsters, boars, griffins and giants. Anything you can imagine and much more.
Do you remember Flitz? In October 2017 I introduced the small dragon Flitz, who is part of the communication and postal service in the Fairy Tale Dimension and belongs to a group of secret agents who work as messengers on dangerous missions.
Flitz´ Island of the Dragons
Flitz comes from a fairy tale country that supplies the FTD with fire spitting dragons. When a fairy tale country needs a dragon to watch over a treasure, to abduct virgins or as an adversary for brave knights they send an invitation and whoever wants the job leaves the island. Dragons can be wise consultants as well as ferocious fighters spitting fire that grills everybody in reach.
Many different kinds of people live there. I have met a surprising number of children. This is astonishing because most people arrive in the Fairy Tale Dimension as adults. The GrImporter´s job is to let you in and as an adult it is easier to fit right in.
My explanation is that a lot of inhabitants of our dimension have been fascinated by the Arthurian tales in their childhood and therefore want to be able to experience this as a youngster. Popular roles for children are pages and servants. They have their eyes and ears everywhere and accompany adults on quests as shield bearers or squires. Of course some stories are played exclusively by children.
People very much appreciate the diversity and many options the country offers. It is one of the most complex and intricate countries. Inhabitants can wallow in romance for example. There is much drinking, dancing and singing. Minnesingers offer their songs and sell magic poems that promise to induce love.
The inhabitants of the Fairy Tale Dimension don´t have a concept of going on holidays. But for the ones that are interested in visiting other fairy tale countries the country of King Arthur is on top of their list. There is so much to see and take part in.
There are all kinds of Arthurs and because gender equality is not an issue, there are also female Arthurs, dwarf Arthurs and giant Arthurs and tree Arthurs.
Historically metal armour was only worn from the 10th century on. That is why King Arthur and his men wear mostly leather and wool outfits. There are some players though, who don´t care about historical correctness and wear metal armour anyway, just because it is cool.
People love to use all kinds of tricks to win. This is very much encouraged because it is the natural way in the Fairy Tale Dimension. The most cunning person will be the star everybody will tell tales about.
In the Arthurian legends Merlin is a symbol for magic. You can find a lot of wizards in this country taking part in the action.
Some of them attend the magic school that is hidden at a secret place. Because there are many possibilities to test what they have learned almost every magician likes to spend some time in this country to hone his skills. It is very good for their career to have this experience in their CVs.
The sword Excalibur
Merlin is responsible for forging the magic sword Excalibur. It is the symbol of power and entitles the bearer to inherit the throne. In the legend Arthur proved his right to the British throne by pulling this sword from an anvil sitting atop a stone.
Besides a multitude of objects this sword is the most important magical object in the fairy tale country. There is one sword for each Arthur. The magician who is Merlin decides who is worthy of becoming the king.
So as an aspiring king or queen you better are on good terms with the magician in power and motivate him to make the magic of the sword available to you.
How do you like King Arthur´s country?
It sounds like a great way to spend time there to make up new versions of Arthur´s story. What is your favourite role? I want to be a dragon and a magician.
Whether you like adventures and fighting or are into magic and strategy. There is something for everybody.
© Inge Schumacher