Thursday, July 15, 2010

King Arthur -- The Journey Begins

Why would anyone want to set a King Arthur story in an alternative twelfth century – the High Middle Ages – when the popular approach these days is to set it in the fifth or sixth, the period in history in which Arthur is supposed to have lived?

When I first started The Dark Edge trilogy, I confess I chose the twelfth century because my images of King Arthur had always been influenced more by Lerner and Lowe and Prince Valiant than Mary Stewart and Marion Zimmer Bradley (as much as I love them both.) As a graduate student of Medieval Studies, it was the twelfth century that captured my imagination. After all, where else in history could you find real life characters as exciting and intriguing as Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Gottfried von Strassbourg and Wolfram von Eschenbach (and even Wolfram’s ambitious and side-shifting overlord Herman of Thuringen)?

Plus the twelfth century itself was a period of flowering and change. The climate was warming, which allowed previously marginal lands to flourish. Courtly love (in itself a myth), the spread of stone castles, the establishment of massive kingdoms (between them Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine controlled a vast empire from the Scottish boarder to the Mediterranean), the crusades, the spread of trade and luxury goods, the birth of the Gothic style of art and architecture, and totally new styles of literature, not to mention a couple of good heresies, as well. It was a colorful period I knew well.

Just in case my editor thought differently, though, I decided research the fifth and sixth centuries. I’d always known that the identity of the so-called King Arthur was hotly debated over. As I dug deeper, I discovered myths behind the King Arthur myth. Join me as I blog about my discoveries about the “true” Arthur and the period in which he was supposed to have lived.

1 comment:

  1. Writing a book is only half of it -- I'm one of those people who loves history and being able to bend the rules without breaking too many :]. Sounds like you're having fun!