Lancelot

Here’s the real deal on Lancelot:  In the Welsh tales, he doesn’t exist.  The only adultery that may or may not have occurred is between Gwenhwyfar and Modred and not by Gwenhywfar’s choice. The French made him up.  There.  I said it. “Sir Lancelot first appears in Arthurian legend in ‘Le Chevalier de la Charrette’, one of a set of five Arthurian romances written by the French poet Chrétien de Troyes (completed by Godefroy de Lagny) as a large collection of verses, c.1180 to 1240. Lancelot is characterised alongside other Read More…

The Sidhe

The Sidhe (pronounced shee), are the god-like beings of Celtic society.  Sometimes conflated with the Tuatha de Danaan, this site (http://www.shee-eire.com/magic&mythology/fairylore/Sidhe/page%201.htm) posits that they were a real people that were descended from the Tuatha de Danann.  “The people known as “The Sidhe” or people of the mounds, or “The Lordly Ones” or “The Good People” were descended from the “Tuatha de Danann” who settled in Ireland millennia ago .”  “Clearly the belief in the sidhe is part of the pre-Christian religion which survived for thousands of years and which has Read More…

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi is a compliation of Welsh mythological tales found in the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest, both dating to the middle of the fourteenth century.   The stories however, are older, the specific versions dating to around 1100 AD, and thus before the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth.  Parker writes:  “The Four Branches also relay aspects of a deeply pagan thought-world, which ultimately draws on traditions and beliefs from the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of prehistoric Britain, as well as Read More…

Myth and Religion in the Dark Ages

While many fictional accounts of the Dark Ages describe conflict between pagan religions and Christianity, that seems to be a product of the medieval mind, rather than an accurate analysis of Dark Age religion.  For there to be conflict there must be a power relationship as well as organization, and for both the pagans and the Christians in Wales in 655 AD, there were neither. When the Romans conquered Wales in 43 AD, although Rome was not Christian at the time (Emperor Constantine didn’t  convert until 311 AD), the legions systematically Read More…

Writing Historical Fantasy: A Magical Balance

Today, Anna Elliott, the author of the wonderful Twilight of Avalon (Touchstone:  May 2009) is here to talk about blending history and fantasy when writing historical fiction.  Welcome, Anna! —— Ever since I wrote Twilight of Avalon, based on the Trystan and Isolde legend in the larger cycle of Arthurian tales, I’ve often been asked for thoughts on the enduring appeal of the King Arthur story. Why should that legend, perhaps more than any other in Western culture, have captured our imaginations for more than a millennium, have engendered countless retellings Read More…