July: King Arthur and Sir Gawain

I’m probably not the only film buff out there waiting patiently for The Green Knight to arrive in cinemas. It was one of my most anticipated movies of last year. Of course, due to covid, The Green Knight was pushed back over a year and finally will grace us with its presence at the end of July. 

To help pass the time I thought this would be a great opportunity to read a few Arthurian fantasies that have been collecting dust on my shelves. I keep meaning to read The Once & Future King but it’s kinda thick and intimidating.  

I think for most people who know about the legend of King Arthur, it’s just one of those stories that always has been. I remember watching Sword in the Stone when I was little and then rewatching it hundreds of times because my brother was obsessed. 

Other than the Disney cartoon, my knowledge comes mostly from the 1998 mini-series Merlin, starring Sam Neil as the titular character. That trippy series was such a fever dream I always wondered if that actually happened. 

I might have to revisit that one this month. 

TBR for the Month:

1 The Once & Future King – T. H. White 

I was between this and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and decided to go with White’s book, not just because it was sitting pretty on my shelf, but because I wanted to go with a more modern classic that shaped King Arthur literature. 

2 The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart

Another tough decision was made here. I wanted to read The Winter King but the novel felt more historical than fantasy, and I’m trying my best to bring the fantasy. The Crystal Cave also has really high praise and focuses on young Merlin, so hopefully I will get my fill of magic.

3 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Anonymous 

Here we go now! Before Lancelot became popular, Sir Gawain was Arthur’s best knight along with being his nephew (by way of Arthur’s half-sister). The green knight is a 14th century poem that was found buried in a manuscript 400 years after it was written (hence the anonymous status). That’s about all I know. Did I mention it was short? After Once and Future I’ll be ready for a short book. 

4 The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro

This one is a little left of center, as this book isn’t brought up as an Arthurian novel or tale. The story takes place in a ‘post-Arthur Britain’ about an elderly couple hit by an amnesia-inducing mist while on a journey to see their son. I wanted to read this because Sir Gaiwan is a character in the book and not just a quick cameo. This is also a newish book and I thought it would be a solid end to the month. 

I’m also planning on reviewing The Green Knight at the end of this journey! Excited for this whole lineup and hope you join me on this quest.

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