King Arthur in various media: Wikis

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King Arthur at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1895

The Matter of Britain stories, focussing on King Arthur, are one of the most popular literary subjects of all time, and have been adapted numerous times in every form of media.

Contents

Modern literature

  • Attanasio, A. A.: The Dragon and the Unicorn, The Eagle and the Sword, and The Wolf and the Crown.
  • Benz, Derek and J. S. Lewis: The Revenge of the Shadow King reveals an alternate history of Arthur who was betrayed and murdered by his half-sister Morgan le Fay, who is portrayed as an evil immortal being known as the Black Witch, for possession of a sacred book which had been passed down father-to-son for thousands of years. In this case, Arthur was betrayed when he refused to pass the book on to his illegitimate son. The book was passed to Arthur's true son, and from Arthur's son came the Knights Templar.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Mists of Avalon is the classic of modern reinterpretations of the Arthurian legend through the points of view of powerful women behind Camelot, namely Morgaine, Gwenhwyfar, and Morgause.
  • Gillian Bradshaw: The Down the Long Wind trilogy Hawk of May, Kingdom of Summer and In Winter's Shadow looks at the King Arthur legend through the eyes of a classical scholar.
  • James Herbert Brennan: GrailQuest gamebooks centre on the kingdom of King Arthur.
  • Bryher set her historical novel Ruan in Britain immediately after Arthur's death.
  • Mark Chadbourn: The Age of Misrule, The Dark Age and Kingdom of the Serpent trilogies take a modern twist of Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology, using them as a basis for a dark series of novels set in modern Britain, in which the Celtic gods return to take back the land.
  • Christian, Catherine, The Pendragon tells the story from a 5th century Sir Bedivere.
  • Susan Cooper: five volume saga, The Dark is Rising.
  • Davis, Bryan: Dragons in Our Midst series
  • Bernard Cornwell: The Warlord Chronicles consist of three novels, Winter King, Enemy of God, and Excalibur, and reintroduce many old characters into the tale. Told by Derfel after Arthur's death they are very realistic in nature even though they do have Merlin and Lancelot and magic. "There is a sword and there is a stone, but one is not in the other", is Cornwell's own summary. These three books are Bernard Cornwell's personal favorites of all his own works.
  • Kevin Crossley-Holland: The Seeing-Stone, At the Crossing-Places and King of the Middle-March..
  • Peter David's Knight trilogy depicts Arthur reappearing in the modern-day world. In the first novel, Knight Life (David's first novel), Arthur emerges from his thousand-year convalescence (that followed the wound he sustained from Mordred) to run for mayor of New York City. In Knight Life, he faces another epic hero for possession of the Holy Grail. In Fall of Knight, the villain encounters is a person from actual history, who possesses the Spear of Destiny, and wants to use it to destroy the Earth.
  • David Drake: Dragon Lord, a somewhat unconventional story involving a "King Arthur" who is more great military general than quasi-enchanted king, which takes place shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire and long before the Age of Chivalry.
  • Janice Elliot: The King Awakes a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel for young teens. Arthur awakens and maintains a presence as a sub-plot, leading to a fantastic finale complete with re-born Knights of the Round Table. An interesting re-interpretation of Celtic myth in a post-nuclear war milieu.
  • Gidlow, Christopher: The Reign of Arthur: From History to Legend
  • Godwin, Parke: Firelord and Beloved Exile
  • The several books by Norma Lorre Goodrich are very popular, but are based on a poorly received analysis of Arthurian legend and medieval history. She asserts he was a borderlands king whose activity centred around the Roman walls and wall forts.
  • Helen Hollick: Pendragon's Banner trilogy.
  • Phyllis Ann Karr: The Idylls of the Queen.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay: The Fionavar Tapestry is the continuation of the Camelot story in the framework of a wider epic.
  • Stephen King: The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah reveals that the hero of King's spaghetti-western/fantasy/sci-fi magnum opus adventure series, Roland, is one of only two of King Arthur's surviving descendants. The version of Arthur in Roland's world is known as Arthur Eld, and was the founder of the order of Gunslingers, knightly warriors who wield revolver pistols in the name of justice; Eld's own guns were reportedly forged from the metal of Excalibur itself.
  • James Knowles, The Legends of King Arthur and his Knights
  • Sidney Lanier: The Boy's King Arthur is a work based on Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, written in such a way to appeal to the boys of the 19th century.
  • Stephen R. Lawhead: The Pendragon Cycle, a more thorough examination of the myths, especially concerning Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, and the Grail.
  • C.S. Lewis makes reference to Arthur and aspects of Arthurian legend, albeit with his own twist, in the final installment of his Space Trilogy, That Hideous Strength.
  • Andrew Massie: Arthur The King, a darker version of the classic tale.
  • John Masefield cycle of poetry concerning the Arthurian legend.
  • Rosalind Miles Guenevere Trilogy is a fictional trilogy that follows Guenevere and King Arthur through their reign as High King and Queen.
  • Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark depicts an eternal King Arthur reincarnated to participate in the Siege of Vienna.
  • Howard Pyle, King Arthur and His Knights of The Round Table
  • Nacy Springer: I am Mordred and I am Morgan le Fay are two young adult novels about the two often misunderstood characters of Camelot.
  • John Steinbeck: The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is a traditional take in modern language. Steinbeck also compared the adventures of the paisanos in his early novel Tortilla Flat to the exploits of Arthur's knights.
  • Mary Stewart Merlin books: The Crystal Cave sets up the background for the Arthurian legend. The Hollow Hills encompasses most of Arthur's lifespan, including his childhood with Merlin as his tutor. The Last Enchantment deals with Merlin's later life, against the continued background of Arthur's rule. A later book, The Wicked Day, was written from the point of view of Mordred in the latter period of Arthur's rule, and provides an interesting counterpoint to the original three novels.
  • Alfred Tennyson: Idylls of the King
  • Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
  • Jacob Wenzel: Le Morte d'Arthur, an Epic Limerick is a retelling of Malory in limerick verse
  • T.H. White: The Once and Future King cycle
  • Jack Whyte: The Camulod Chronicles, a series of books containing more historical fiction than fantasy beginning with Roman Britain and leading through Arthur's reign.
  • Persia Woolley: Child of the Northern Spring, Queen of the Summer Stars, and Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn.
  • Heiser, Fred, Things Fall Apart... tells a variation of the story set in a post nuclear war southern California.
  • Nancy McKenzie: "Queen of Camelot" where Guinevere gives a first-hand account of her life, and "Grail Prince", set directly after Arthur's death at Camlann.
  • Kurtis Reid: "Percival" "(part of the Decendent Series)" a novel about King Arthur's son in the modern world. Set release in 2010.
  • Philip Reeve: Here Lies Arthur tells of a more tyrannical Arthur in the time of the Dark Ages.

Theatre

Opera

Film

Television

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TV movies and miniseries

  • The 1998 television movie Merlin showing a tale of Arthur and his knights.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon was made into a miniseries by TNT in 2001.
  • BBC Series The Legend of King Arthur 1979 directed by Rodney Bennett Released BBC Video 1985 BBCV 9024
  • The British television drama series, Merlin, released in 2008.

Special Presentations

The 2004 History Channel special Quest for King Arthur, hosted by Patrick Stewart, with an introduction by Ioan Gruffudd, highlights several historical figures who may have contributed to Arthurian legend. It was shown on the History Channel just prior to the release of the film King Arthur (2004), which featured Gruffudd as the character Lancelot and doing a voice-over introduction. The obvious tie-in was to assert the historical accuracy of the film.

Series

  • The 1950s British television series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, based around the knight's exploits, featured Arthur and many other characters from the legends. This was the first British television series ever to be made in colour.
  • The 1970s British television series, Arthur of the Britons, starring Oliver Tobias, sought to create a more "realistic" portrait of the period and to explain the origins of some of the myths about the Celtic leader.
  • The French series Kaamelott features a humorous take on the legend.
  • The 2008 BBC series Merlin is a reimagining of the legend in which the future King Arthur and Merlin are young contemporaries.

Animation

  • The late 1960s Australian animated cartoon series Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table was a typically wacky take on Arthurian legend.
  • King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (Entaku no Kishi Monogatari: Moero Arthur), a Japanese anime series produced by Toei Animation in 1979, followed by King Arthur: Prince on White Horse (Moero Arthur: Hakuba no Oji) in 1980
  • The animated series The Legend of Prince Valiant followed the adventures of three young warriors training to become Knights of the Round Table. Originally aired in the early 1990s, it featured Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, and Gawain in its main cast and several other Arthurian characters in recurring roles.
  • The animated series King Arthur & the Knights of Justice premiering in 1992 featured an American Football team called the Knights led by quarterback Arthur King. When the "real" Knights of the Round Table are captured, Merlin magically transports the Knights football team to Camelot to defend the kingdom and rescue the captured knights. The show was cancelled in 1993.
  • The British animated cartoon series King Arthur's Disasters in 2005.
  • In the Japanese anime adaption of the visual novel Fate/stay night , Arthur is portrayed as having been a woman (named Arturia) whose spirit is resurrected to serve a mage in the modern day with history recording her as a man for political correctness.
  • Blazing Dragons is the title of a popular British cartoon series.

References in other series

  • The animated series Gargoyles featured several tales of Arthur (who was prematurely awakened in a time of need) and the magic and fairies of Avalon. A proposed spin-off, named "Pendragon", for the character never materialized.
  • The 100th episode of the television show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Once Upon A Future King, featured a young Arthur sent back in time by Merlin to learn from Hercules.
  • Arthurian legend is central to the plot during the 9th and 10th seasons of the science-fiction series Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007). The idea was that, like other mythologies present in the show, the legends were influenced by the interference of powerful alien beings--in this case Merlin and Morgan le Fay--with the people of Earth. Other notable elements of Arthurian legend used in the show include Avalon (the place where Merlin showed Arthur how to ascend to a "higher plane of existence") and the Sangraal (Holy Grail), actually a powerful weapon created by Merlin, capable of destroying ascended beings. It was hidden by Morgan le Fay, who set up a series of tests to prevent the weapon from falling into the wrong hands.
  • King Arthur appears in the Babylon 5 Episode "A Late Delivery from Avalon." See Babylon 5 influences for more discussion on the King Arthur myths evident in Babylon 5.
  • In the seventh season of MacGyver, the two part episode "Good Knight MacGyver" has MacGyver apparently transported to the court of Camelot after a blow to the head.
  • In the sixth season of the supernatural drama Charmed, King Arthur is reincarnated in Wyatt Halliwell, Piper (a Charmed One) and Leo's (a powerful whitelighter) first-born, a twice-blessed child believed to be the future leader of the magical community, as prophesied by an apothecary from the 1700s.
  • The Doctor Who serial "Battlefield" is based on the Arthurian legends, featuring Mordred and Morgaine as warlords from another dimension, as well as the Seventh Doctor discovering that he will apparently become their version of Merlin in his future. The earlier serial The Stones of Blood indicated that Morgaine was based on an alien posing as a Celtic goddess. The later BBC Past Doctor Adventures novel Wolfsbane features the amnesic Eighth Doctor working with a young man from Arthur's era who has been awakened in 1936, having been imprisoned by a dryad after discovering the Holy Grail, to defeat a woman who believes herself to be the reincarnation of Morgaine le Fay, the story concluding with a briefly-described trip made by the Fourth Doctor- unaware of the presence of his future self- to take the young man back to his own time.
  • Into the Labyrinth TV series, the last episode had an appearance by King Arthur.
  • The animated series Thundercats episode, Excalibur, featured the villain Mumra disguising himself as King Arthur in order to obtain the sword Excalibur to destroy the Sword of Omens.
  • The Pokémon episode "A Crowning Achievement!" is a subtle parody of King Arthur. In the episode, all the Slowpoke want to become Slowking, but only one, named Arthur, succeeds.
  • In the 27th episode of The Time Tunnel (1967), Merlin presses the time travelers into service to help preserve the life of young Arthur Pendragon so that he may become king in his future.
  • In an episode of the Nickelodeon television series Fairly Odd Parents, Timmy wishes himself back to the time of King Arthur and Excalibur.
  • The TV Anime Code Geass Features many mecha, battleships, locations, and people named after various characters from King Arthur's Story.

Comics

  • In 1937, a newspaper comic strip by Hal Foster, Prince Valiant was first published, with the byline "In the Days of King Arthur". Since the death of Foster in 1982, John Cullen Murphy has continued producing this comic strip.
  • DC Comics uses Arthur's Camelot as a recurring piece of its fictional history, and there have been "several Arthurs," including a pagan general in Roman Britain, and a medieval Christian mystic. The various Arthurs were served by various versions of the character Shining Knight while The Demon, under the control of Merlin, defended Camelot during its final days.
  • The original version of the Marvel Comics character Black Knight was also at Arthur's court.
  • In Marvel Comic's New Excalibur series, King Arthur and his entire court is depicted when the team of mutants travels back in time to aid Black Knight during his years as a member of Arthur's Court. During the mission, Peter Wisdom advertently causes Guinevere and Lancelot into committing their affair behind Aurthur's back.
  • Several comic book titles have explored the "Once and Future King" aspect of the legend by bringing Arthur and his knights back from the dead at the time of Britain's greatest need. Arthur and company re-emerge to battle an alien menace in AD 3000 in Camelot 3000.
  • The heroes of Knights of Pendragon likewise assemble in the spirit of Arthur's Round Table.
  • Simon Bisley's Treasure of Britain starring the character Sláine, features Arthurian characters and themes.
  • The comic book Dracula vs King Arthur from Silent Devil Productions takes Arthur as he begins his quest for the Grail and pits him against a time-crossing Dracula, who creates a vampire army to take on The Knights of the Round Table.
  • King Arthur makes several appearances throughout De Rode Ridder (The Red Knight), a Flemish comic book series.
  • The webcomic Arthur, King of Time and Space retells the legend in real time, in several settings.
  • The Caliber comics Legends of Camelot series began to cover stories from the Arthurian tradition.
  • The French comic book Arthur, by David Chauvel and Jérôme Lereculey, draws inspiration from early medieval Welsh legends, such as the Mabinogion.
  • In Hellboy, Hellboy is descended from King Arthur through his son, Mordred, by a daughter who was hidden away.

Games

Board games

Role-playing games

  • The role-playing game Pendragon details how to run adventure games set in the time of the Round Table. Its setting integrates Malory with post-Roman Britain, Celtic myth and English Folklore.
  • In the role-playing game Rifts The main story of Britain revolves around the future equivalent of King Arthur and his knights, it should be taken to note that this is not the original King Arthur awoken from Avalon and he has many different characteristics and strengths, not the least of which is his new blade, Calibur-X a vibrating gun blade with magical proporties.
  • The King Arthur Supplement for the GURPS role-playing game gives 3 different Arthurian settings, a historical setting based upon post-Roman Britain, a legendary setting based upon Malory and a cinematic setting based upon modern stories.

Video games

Music

Anthem of Cornwall

  • Bro Goth Agan Tasow ("Dear Land of Our Fathers"), the official anthem of Cornwall, includes the words: "Kingdom of King Arthur, ancient saints and the Grail/No other land is more beloved."

See also


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