Sunday, September 1, 2013

Memorable Worlds: the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France

Today I present two more worlds that have had an ENORMOUS influence on me and my writing.  The worlds of Arthurian Legend, also known as the Matter of Britain, and the Song of Roland, which is part of the larger body of literature known as the Matter of France.

My introduction to it:
When I was little, we had a set of childrens' encyclopedias that I loved looking at and reading.  I don't remember how old I was when I first read an entry on King Arthur, but Mom and I think I would have been about 7.  Whenever it was, the tales of chivalry and adventure from the Court of Arthur fired my imagination.  That fire has only grown hotter through the years.

I think it was when I was about 9 or 10, that in those same encyclopedias the story of Charlemagne's Paladin Roland and his betrayal at the pass of Roncesvalles caught my attention.  I've spent years wanting an Olifant horn.  (And I've wondered if it was perhaps an inspiration to Tolkien for Boromir's horn and to C. S. Lewis for Susan's horn?)


My favorite things about each world:
The world of Arthurian legend is amazingly diverse.  The sheer volume of legends and tales is fairly staggering.  It is a rich legacy of writing from the Middle and Dark Ages and it ranges from comedy to tragedy and everything in-between.

Lancelot, Galahad, Tristan and Percival are my favorite knights, and I've spent hours and hours analyzing the Lancelot/Guenivere/Arthur and Tristan/Isolde/Mark triangles.  

The swords!!!!!!!  I love the swords in Arthurian Legend.  Nearly every character has their own sword, with its own unique properties that help or hinder them, depending on what they are doing.

The Song of Roland is another historical tale in the 'chivalrous heroes' style.  Though it ends tragically, I was thrilled to discover, a few years ago, that other stories had been written about the paladins (Orlando Furioso, Orlando Innamorato).

Roland and Oliver are my favorite characters (no surprise there :D), closely followed by female knight, Bradamante.  Again, the swords in this are fascinating, as well as the horses and Roland's horn Olifant.  And I was always very glad at the poetic justice Ganelon received.  :)


How they have influenced my writing:
Both have been a fascinating study in the art of medieval storytelling.

Arthurian legend taught me that dozens of people can take the same basic story and do something completely different with it.  Also that, no matter how many people had done it before, there was still room and material for another story about it.  I love how, although in most cases the basic legend of Arthur's parentage, raising, and how he ascended the throne is the same; beyond that, there is practically unlimited scope for imagination.

The Matter of France has some beautiful character relationships and loyalty.


And, if you want to know more about how these two worlds have made their way into my writing, go HERE to read more about my Three Kyngdoms story.


Miss Melody Muffin

3 comments:

  1. I have plans to write my own version of the legends of Arthur and Merlin, and have been looking for books which tell about some of the original legends. Now I know of some 8-D

    Both sound wonderful!!! And reading your post only made me want to read your book even more.

    In reply to your comment, yes, I have kind of made friends with some of the Pixie Elves, but it is a complex friendship. Everytime they get board they flick acorns at me...

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  2. "Arthurian legend taught me that dozens of people can take the same basic story and do something completely different with it. Also that, no matter how many people had done it before, there was still room and material for another story about it." Very true. Absobloominglutely love this. Why is it that all things medieval-Arthur-swords-kingdoms-knights-etc. is so enthralling?!

    Oh, and before I lose myself in the tantalizing fog of legends, I must inform you that I have awarded you. http://liannetaimenlore.blogspot.com/2013/09/when-life-hands-you-award.html

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  3. Jack,
    I look forward to your take on the legends.

    Kiri Liz,
    Hmm, maybe they are so enthralling because they take us to a world so different from ours- and more attractive much of the time? That is my personal theory.

    Thanks for the award!!

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