Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 14

I got it posted yes! I’ve not been doing very well on the getting things done part lately, maybe because of my anxiety (my novel is getting ready to hunt me down with pitchforks and torches if I don’t get to work on it soon), but I’ve at least been consistent about this so far. *pumps fist*

By then King Ban came into the field, as fierce as a lion, with bands of green and thereupon gold. [So I guess they’re talking about his coat-of-arms thing?][‘Coat-of-arms thing’, I’m so educated lol] ‘Ah,’ said King Lot, ‘We must be discomfited, for yonder I see the most valiant knight in the world, and the man of the most reknown, for there are no two such brothers as King Ban and Bors who are living, wherefore we must retreat or die. And unless we retreat manfully and wisely, there is but death.’

When King Ban came into the battle, he came in so fiercely that the strokes echoed again from the wood and the water. But through the great force of King Ban, they made both the Northern battles that were departed hurtled together for great dread, and the three kings and their knights slew on ever so it was a pity to behold the multitude of people that fled. [Uh…Yeah! Yeah, I know what that means!][And yeah, this is why I usually mess with the wording. Because if left as is, I have a freaking hard time reading it. But in this case? I have noo idea what they’re saying, so I’m not going to hazard a guess.] But King Lot, the King of the Hundred Knights, and King Morganore gathered the people together and did great prowess of arms, and held the battle all that day like hard.

When the King of the Hundred Knights beheld the great damage that King Ban did, he thrust unto him with his horse and smote him high upon the helm, a great stroke, and stunned him sore. Then King Ban was wroth with him and followed on him fiercely. The other saw that and cast up his shield and spurred his horse forward. But the stroke of King Ban fell down and carved a corner off the shield, and the sword slid down by the back of his hauberk and cut through the horse’s steel armour, and the horse even in two pieces, so the sword felt the earth. [Noo save the horsies][It’s a lost cause nvm I give up]

Then the King of the Hundred Knights jumped lightly off the horse, and with his sword he speared King Ban’s horse through and through. [of course] With that, King Ban jumped lightly from the dead horse, and then King Ban smote at the other so eagerly and smote him on the helm so he fell to the earth. Also in that violent battle he killed King Morganore, and there was great slaughter of good knights and many people. [And horses]

By then King Arthur came into the press and found King Ban standing among dead men and dead horses, fighting on foot like a fierce lion, so no one came near him as far as he might reach with his sword, but he caught a grievous blow, whereof King Arthur had great pity. And as Arthur looked about him, he saw a knight that was passingly well horsed, and right then Arthur ran to him and smote him on the helm so his sword went unto his teeth, and the knight sank down to the earth dead. And anon Arthur took the horse by the reins and led him unto King Ban, and said, ‘fair brother, have this horse, for you have great need of it and I repent sorely of your great damage.’ [Oh my gosh, I love the way they talk]

‘It shall soon be revenged,’ said King Ban, ‘for I trust in God my ire is not such but some of them may sore repent this.’

‘I do not doubt it,’ said Arthur, ‘for I see you are willing to follow through on your words. Nevertheless, I may not come to you at that time.’

But when King Ban was mounted on horseback, then the battle began anew, the which was sore and hard, and there was a passing great slaughter. And so through great force, King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors made their knights withdraw a little. [I assume that refers to the eleven kings’ knights?] But always the eleven kings in their chivalry never turned back, and so they withdrew to a little wood and so over a little river, and there they rested them, for at night they might have no rest on the field. And then the eleven kings and knights put themselves in a group all together as men adread and out of all comfort, but there was no man that might pass them; they held them so hard together, both behind and before, that King Arthur had marvel of their deeds of arms and was passing wroth. [Heh heh. I love how frustrated he’s getting.]

‘Ah, Sir Arthur,’ said King Ban and King Bors, ‘blame them not. For they do as good men ought to do.’ [I remember reading that sentence the first time and REELING because what the heck this isn’t a fairy tale’s black and white take on morality what is this alternate universe]

‘For by my faith,’ said King Ban, ‘they are the best fighting men and knights that I ever saw or heard of. And the eleven kings are men of great worship. And if they were loyal unto you, there would be no king under the heavens that had such eleven knights of such worship.’ [Not saying this isn’t a powerful moment, it is, but I’m going to ruin it by asking where they find the time to philosophize like this during a battle?]

‘I may not love them,’ said Arthur. ‘They would destroy me.’ [Pragmatic teenager misses the point, again]

‘That we know well,’ said King Ban and King Bors, ‘for they are your mortal enemies, and that has been proved aforehand. And this day they have done their part, and it is a great pity for their willfulness.’

Then all the eleven kings drew together. And then King Lot said, ‘Lords, you must do otherwise than you do, or else the great loss is still to come. You may see what people we have lost and what good men we lose, because we wait always on these infantrymen, and ever in saving on of the infantrymen, we lose ten horsemen for him. For the noble Arthur will not tarry on the infantrymen, for they may save themselves, the wood is nearby. And as we horsemen be together, let each of you kings make an ordinance that none of us shall break upon pain of death. And whoever sees any man make to flee, he should slay him immediately, for better that we should slay a coward than through a coward we all be slain. What say you?’ asked King Lot. [Tell me I’m not the only person who thinks of Aragorn every time I see some variation of that sentence] ‘Answer me, all ye kings.’

‘It is well said,’ quoth King Nentres; so said the King of the Hundred Knights; the same said King Carados and King Uriens; so did King Idres and King Brandegoris; and so did King Cradelment and the Duke of Cambenet; and the same said King Clarience and King Anguisant, and they swore they would never fail each other, neither for life nor for death. [yaaay long lists of names] And whosoever fled should be slain. Then they amended their harnesses and righted their shields and took new spears and set them against their thighs, and they stood as still as a group of trees.


This battle scene is looong but I’m not complaining. 🙂 Although I will say my favorite part of the legends is all the stupid drama. I live for stupid drama.

Advertisements

Bran and the Bear–a Snow White and Rose Red short story

Once again, Arielle from Fairy Tale Central came through this month with another awesome prompt! I’ve been really enjoying doing them!

The prompt can be found here if you want to come up with a story for it! I tweaked the prompt a little, as I usually do. And the fairy tale (along with truly amazing commentary) can be found here.

I have no idea where this is set and if it’s a fantasy world or if it’s historical fantasy, but you know what? Let’s just call this historical UK. Now, where is it in the UK? Is it in Scotland? England? What time period is it? I don’t know! I’m professional!

I tried to give Snow selective mutism, and I hope everything was accurate. *fingers crossed*

And I made a Pinterest board, of course. I also found this board that I did not make, but that inspired me while coming up with this story.

And as always: No plagiarism, do not steal. I’m sure that I don’t have to say this and that everyone who reads this is a lovely person, but it can happen occasionally, so. 😀

Snow rested atop the boulder, her tattered red cloak covered in snowflakes. She sat very still, as usual. She sat so still that she looked as if she were waiting for someone or something, and she stared intently out into the distance past the cliff’s edge where the thick, roiling grey clouds coated the earth beneath, and if Rose hadn’t known her, she would have thought she were doing something very important. But she was not. She was simply thinking about something, and Rose didn’t know what. Rose was never privy to those particular thoughts.

Rose snuck up behind her, the snow crunching loudly under her feet, and she ruffled Snow’s white-blond hair, accidentally tugging some of it out of her braid. It wouldn’t have worked on anyone but Snow. Rose was horrible at sneaking.

Snow jumped and turned around to see her. Her eyes narrowed, and she turned away. “Don’t do that,” she said, placing a hand to her hair.

“Sorry,” Rose said with a grin, brushing Snow’s cloak off, because she’d never do it herself. She sat down on the boulder with her back to Snow. She bit her lip, a million things she wanted to say and the words for none of them. But she had to tell someone, because the words tightened in her chest until they wanted to burst, and she should have said these things to her family by now anyway. “We’ve been growing older, haven’t we?” Her voice was soft and a bit hollow, but Snow didn’t notice.

“Obviously,” Snow said dryly. “Did you think we would be sixteen forever?” Rose shut her eyes. That hadn’t come out right at all.

“What I meant was…” She licked her lips. “Not physically. But I feel older.” She thought for a moment about leaving the subject there and saying something else. “You’ve made a friend, and I’ve…” And Rose didn’t fit in with her old friends anymore, and she looked at them now and she felt ancient and apart. “And I’ve been feeling positively antiquated,” she said frankly. Snow didn’t say anything.

Snow’s friend was—he was a man enchanted to be a bear, and Rose was never quite certain about the details, or if Snow had ever remembered to tell their mother about him. He’d come in late one winter’s night when their mother was away, covered in snow and soft whispers, and Rose had fled under the table, her hands over her head and waiting for the sharp teeth to pull her out. But Snow stood there in the doorway for a moment, watching him with her serious eyes, and then she stepped aside and let him in. Rose hadn’t been able to believe her eyes for a moment. Snow would probably have shut the door to a person. Rose thought that she must have gone mad.

But the bear hadn’t eaten them, and he began to talk to Snow, softly. Rose could not hear what he said, and she was too out of it to try to listen. Snow said nothing—she never said anything to strangers—but she nodded, shut the door, and began to stoke the fireplace, gesturing at Rose to come out. And he had stayed there for the night, and Snow rested her head against his back and went to sleep.

He’d come to their house a few more times, never when anyone besides them were there, and Snow had even begun to talk to him sometimes. Rose couldn’t begin to say how much of a relief that was to her, despite the fact that he was—well, enchanted to be a bear. Snow never talked to anyone who could talk back, besides her family. Rose had no idea what their prior relationship was, or how he had been enchanted, and sometimes the fact that she was left out of so much in this family rubbed in her throat, but she never said that.

“Antiquated how?” Snow asked. Rose jumped. She’d been silent for so long Rose hadn’t expected her to answer.

“I—” She waved her hand. “I…” Because the woods had gotten a little too deep into her and sung her their wild uncanny ways and– “I fell in love,” she said, changing the subject. “I think.”

She did not turn to see Snow roll her eyes, but Rose was fairly certain she was. Or maybe Rose was being paranoid. “With whom?” Snow asked, and her voice was not sarcastic.

“With…With…I met him during a dance.” She felt Snow nod her head against hers. “And I danced with him a lot, and he…” She swallowed. Her voice was a little higher-pitched than usual. “He wanted me to stay there forever with him,” she said slowly. “But I would not, because I still loved this place, and I loved my friends, and I love you and Mother.” Her hands trembled. She had never, ever said this aloud, not to him nor to anyone else. She had never even whispered it, but the thought kept coming to her in the dark of night until she felt certain that it would eat her. “But I don’t want this anymore.” She was whispering. “I want to be there with him—”

“Who—” There was a dangerous edge to Snow’s voice—“Is him?”

“His—his name is Bran,” she said. “You wouldn’t have met him.” Her hands twisted in her lap. They felt frozen, even with gloves on.

“What is he, then.” It was not a question. Rose thought of trying to lie, but there wasn’t much point.

“He’s fey,” she whispered even softer, “and I’ve never seen his true form, but he always appears to me as either a beautiful man or a wild antlered thing from the woods. But he is…” She swallowed. Holy. Sublime. She could not say that without sounding utterly ridiculous.

“Oh, good heavens,” Snow said, and her voice could not have been more dry. Trust Snow to react that way. “Why couldn’t you have fallen in love with a human like an ordinary girl, Sister?”

That stung a bit. “Says the girl who is falling in love with a bear,” she snapped back. Snow did not say anything for a moment, and Rose was not sure if she were hurt or surprised; but when she turned to apologize, Snow was only looking thoughtfully past the cliff’s edge, her lips parted slightly. Rose found she did not know what to say.

Snow shook her head sharply, breaking out of the reverie. “Don’t make our relationship sound stranger than it is,” she said, her voice gentle. “Have you told Mother?”

Rose bit her lip. “No. Have you ever told her about the bear?” It was a question she’d wanted to ask for a while.

Snow paused. “No.” Her voice was a little different. “We had probably…better do that soon, shouldn’t we?”

Rose sighed, her breath turning to mist in the cold air. “Yes, we probably should. So let’s go and do it, because we’ve waited an embarrassingly long time. Poor Mother.” She got up, dusting the snow off her dress, and held her hand out to Snow.

Snow looked at it for a moment and took it with a wry smile. “Poor Mother,” she agreed. “Yes, let’s.” And they walked off together, Rose not entirely sure what she was going to say when she got home.

I like the idea of Bran a lot, and I might reuse that idea for another story, honestly. The same goes for Snow. I’m probably not going to do anything more with this story in particular–at least probably not, though there’s always a possibility with me–but my little sister did give me the idea of doing a Snow White and Rose Red retelling set in Alaska, and just…Excuse me, let me go add that to my queue of stories I want to write. (Has anyone else done Snow White and Rose Red with Eskimo characters yet? And can you rec it to me if they have?)

This story’s working title was ‘Awkward boyfriends’ and if that doesn’t sum up this story I don’t know what does. My mom helped me come up with the actual title, and can I just say…Thank you?? That title is perfect??

Also, in case you’re wondering…I most certainly named Bran after the character from one of my very favorite Irish poems.

Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 13

So I was almost late posting this, because I perform stunningly on deadlines, especially self-imposed ones, but I got it all done in time! Yay!

Also, Jenelle solved my conundrum on whether or not to make myself a little banner by sitting down and making me one. Thank you. It’s beautiful.

Then Lucan saw King Anguisant who had lately slain Moris de la Roche, and Lucan ran to him with a great, short spear and gave him such a fall that the horse fell down to the earth. [Is it just me, or are there a lot of people getting hit with spears and surviving? Or is plate armor just that good?] And Lucan found Bloias de la Flandres and Sir Gwinas there on foot, two hardy knights. And in the wood that Lucan was in, he slew two knights and horsed Bloias and Gwinas again. Then waxed the battle passing hard on both parties, but Arthur was glad his knights were horsed again.

And then they fought together and the noise rang out by the water and  the wood, wherefore King Ban and Bors made themselves ready and dressed their shields and harnesses. And they were so courageous that many knights shook and trembled for eagerness. […I have never shook or trembled for eagerness unless it was, I don’t know, about ice cream or something, but okay.][War is like ice cream to these people]

All the while, Lucan, Gwinas, Briant, and Bellias of Flanders [*squints* That’s not the same Bloias de la Flandres, is it? They’re spelling it in a different way?] held strong against six kings, King Lot, King Nentres, King Brandegoris, King Uriens, and King Anguisant. So with the help of Sir Kay and of Sir Griflet, they held these six kings hard, so they barely had any power to defend themselves. [Okay, so…‘them’ refers to the kings. Got it.] But when Arthur saw that the battle would not be ended by no manner, he became angry as a lion, and steered his horse here and there on the right hand and on the left hand, and he stinted not till he had slain twenty knights. Also he wounded King Lot sore on the shoulder and made him to leave that area, for Sir Kay and Griflet with King Arthur did great deeds of arms.

Then Ulfius, Brastias, and Sir Ector fought against the Duke Eustace, King Cradelment, King Clariance of Northumberland, King Carados, and the King with the Hundred Knights. [I am panting after having to type out so many names] So these knights fought with these kings and made the kings avoid the place.

Then King Lot made great dole for his damages and his fellows, and said unto the ten kings, ‘Unless you do as I devise, we shall be slain and destroyed. Let me have the King with the Hundred Knights, [Lmao is that just how everyone refers to him] King Anguisant, King Idres, and the Duke of Cambenet, and we five kings will have fifteen thousand men of arms with us, and we will go apart while you six kings hold battle with twelve thousand men. And when we see that you have fought long with them, then will we come on fiercely, and unless we do this we shall never match them.’ [Is it actually possible to just…sneak off with a large part of your army during a battle without the other side noticing? Or am I misunderstanding something?] So they departed as they here devised, and six kings made their party strong against Arthur and made great war for a long time.

In the meanwhile the ambushment of King Ban and Bors broke out, and Lionses and Phariance had the vanguard, and the two knights met with King Idres and his fellowship. And there began a great medley of breaking of spears and smiting of swords, with slaying of men and horses. And King Idres was near at discomfiture. King Anguisant saw that and put Lionses and Phariance at the point of death; and the Duke of Cambenet came on immediately with a great fellowship. So these two knights were in great danger of their lives so they were fain to return, but always they rescued themselves and their fellowship marvelously. [Fain: ‘Glad or content under adverse circumstances (to be able to pursue a certain course of action).’ (Thank God for Middle English dictionary.)]

When King Bors saw those knights put aback it grieved him sore; then he came on so fast that his fellowship seemed as dark as indigo. [I wouldn’t necessarily associate fast motion with the color indigo, but okay, whatever]

When King Lot saw King Bors, he knew him well. Then he said, ‘O Jesus defend us from death and horrible maims, [I think that’s a good prayer we should all say from time to time] for I see yonder a king, one of the most worshipful men and one of the best knights of the world, is inclined unto his fellowship.’ [So I don’t…exactly know what that sentence means. Yay for reading comprehension!]

‘Who is he?’ said the King with the Hundred Knights.

‘It is,’ said King Lot, ‘King Bors of Gaul. I marvel that they came into this country without us knowing at all.’

‘It was by Merlin’s advice,’ said a knight.

‘As for him, said King Carados, ‘I will fight with King Bors, and you will rescue me when I need it.’

‘Go on,’ they all said, ‘we will do all that we may.’ Then King Carados and his host rode on at a slow pace till they came as close to King Bors as a bow-shot; then both parties let their horses run as fast as they might. And Bleoberis, who was godson unto King Bors, and bore his chief standard, was a passing good knight. [What was the point of bringing this guy up? He’s not doing anything at the moment?]

‘Now we shall see,’ said King Bors, ‘how these northern Britons can bear arms.’ And King Bors encountered with a knight and smote him through with a spear so he fell dead unto the earth, and afterwards drew his sword and did marvelous deeds of arms that all parties had great wonder of, and his knights failed not, but did their part; and King Carados was smitten to the earth. With that came the King with the Hundred Knights and rescued King Carados mightily by force of arms, and he was a passing good knight of a king, and but a young man.

This is completely, 100% off-topic, but a spider built a gigantic web in front of our driveway. I think he was trying to trap our car or something. It was vaguely threatening. I tried to move the spider, because I had a feeling that would not go as well for him as he thought it would, but apparently he keeps trying to build it back. For an animal that has a reputation for cunning, they can be pretty dumb sometimes.

The Cruel Prince; a review, in which I try not to rant my head off and fail

This book has everything I like in a story. Fairies? Court intrigue? A spicy enemies-to-lovers romance?! ANTIHEROINES?! It’s like someone had a book idea marketed personally to me!

That being said…

*sighs* *lets book fall to floor* *starts stabbing book viciously with spear*

Yeah, as you may have guessed, we didn’t work out. I feel cheated. The book probably felt pretty mad at me, too, after I chucked it in the trash along with a spider that had died on the cover. Maybe the spider read the book and decided to give up the ghost then and there. But anyway, that’s why I’m reviewing with a library copy now. Just in case you were wondering.

To clarify a few things: Firstly, I read this book about a year ago, and I am absolutely not REreading this book, so, although my memory on this book is pretty clear, it’s obviously not going to be as sharp as when I first finished it. Secondly, even though the book and I really didn’t get along and it was a pretty tough breakup, I’m going to try my hardest not to let this devolve into a rant. Not because I have anything against rant reviews–they’re pretty fun to read, and I totally get wanting to let your feelings out when a book made you mad–but because I have dreams of getting published someday, and I know a rant review would hurt to read as an author. Not that the author would ever find this review, but do unto others, as they say.

*Reads my entire first three paragraphs* Whoops. Apparently it’s too late. Anyway, I will try to talk about this in an evenhanded tone, but I make no promises, because this book made me really mad.

It made me mad for several reasons, including the badly written court intrigue (NOTHING HAPPENED UNTIL OVER HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK), but at a point, the plot was the least of my problems. No, my problems start with Jude and end with Cardan. They. Were. Awful.

When they told me I was getting a cruel prince, I expected someone like this:

Yes that is an opium pipe she’s handing him

Oh, or how about this:

Is it cow blood? Is it a fetus? Who knows.

Okay, technically I didn’t expect full-on Yi Heon, because I hadn’t watched that drama yet when I read this book, but I expected a character like this. Absolutely insane, completely paranoid, murdering everyone he’s paranoid of, maybe even a drug addiction that negatively impacts his life, a tense and emotionally fraught relationship with the heroine, he loves the heroine in an utterly twisted way but it’s still really sad (up to a certain point in the drama ahem), but please cut the rapey parts if you’re going to make him a first lead, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. (Yi Heon was not a first lead. We are good.) Instead, taking it piece by piece, a) we didn’t get much insanity from Cardan–probably a good thing, to be honest, because I don’t have faith in YA’s ability to handle a mentally ill villain, b) there may have been some sort of fairyland equivalent of LSD, but neither that nor the alcohol addiction seemed to affect Cardan’s life in anyway–oh please no, YA, alcoholism destroys lives, and c) it wasn’t as much a tense and emotionally fraught relationship so much as Cardan being a jackass 24/7. Oh, and finally, d) YOU FORGOT TO CUT THE RAPEY PARTS, HOLLY BLACK.

Just posting Crowned Clown gifs to get me through this review
Also, this gif is everything I wanted from Cardan and Jude that I did not get

Here’s the big problem I have with this book: all of Cardan and Jude’s interactions are sexualized, but all of Cardan and Jude’s interactions are focused on Cardan humiliating Jude. And on first read, I thought the sexualization was much subtler and (most of) it was just a thing that I personally saw, but skimming through it now, I’m not so sure:

“Oh, so you’ll do what I say for her sake?” Cardan’s gaze is hungry, devouring. “Does that feel noble?” He pauses, and in that silence all I hear is Taryn’s hitched breath. “Does it?”

^ You see my point? ‘Hungry, devouring’ are two adjectives that are used a) for two characters who are lovers, or b) for someone getting off on another person’s discomfort. Considering he’s the hero, I don’t like this very much. It left a bad taste in my mouth, and you may call me a wimp if you like. But no, it doesn’t stop there.

Cardan walks behind me. “You are docile today. Did your sister admonish you? She desires our approval very much.” One of his booted feet toes the clover-covered ground, kicking up a clod. “I imagine that if I asked, she’d roll with me right here until we turned her white gown green and then thank me for the honor of my favor.” He smiles, going in for the kill, leaning toward me as if confiding a secret. “Not that I’d be the first to green-gown her.”

Okay, first of all, ewww that sounds like something a badly written Harlequin romance novel hero would say ewwwww, and secondly, when I first saw this, I thought he was threatening to rape Taryn (the sister), and I am not entirely sure Cardan didn’t mean Jude to take it that way, too. As I read on, he wasn’t…technically saying this (fairies can’t lie in this world), because Taryn does in fact sleep around with a lot of guys and is kind of a social climber, so…Um…I guess Taryn would probably have consented, as in, she’d have actually wanted to do it, but if she didn’t, I mean, how much of a choice would she still have had in that situation, and…IT WAS A BAD BOOK, OKAY? And for some context as to why I would call it rape, Taryn is human and Cardan is a fairy prince, which means she is much, much lower on the social scale than Cardan and no one else in this world would likely take her side if she told Cardan no. She is also incredibly passive, and would probably not say no even if she really did not want to. And at the beginning of the book, we are given no context to point to Taryn wanting to, and Cardan KNOWS Jude thinks her sister wouldn’t want to. That’s…getting into that territory, Cardan.

Also, any book that makes me say, “WHEW! The hero wasn’t threatening to rape the heroine’s sister! He was just slut-shaming the heroine’s sister! YAY!” Um…it’s probably leaving something to be desired.

One Crowned Clown gif for each time this book makes me want to jump off a cliff

Okay, and now I want all of you to hold hands with me and chant: “A MAGICAL ROOFIE IS STILL A ROOFIE. JUST BECAUSE IT IS PLACED IN A FANTASY CONTEXT DOES NOT MAKE IT NOT A ROOFIE.” So, uh…No one raped Jude, which is the most I can say for this book, but Cardan’s friends force-fed her a magical fruit that, basically, acts like a roofie, and then they proceeded to sexually harass her, making her take her clothes off, etc. Uh…this situation makes Cardan slightly uncomfortable, but he doesn’t do much to stop them, and, lo and behold, he even joins in a little. And yes, I went through the pain of rereading that scene just for you guys. I hope you appreciate it, because that took a lot out of me.

But it’s totally okay, guys! He’s being abused! Cardan isn’t responsible for the things he’s done or anything! (like, you know…the sexual harassment.) LOVE THE PUPPY.

How I felt while reading this book

And this book has a whole host of other problems, number one being that the plot didn’t start till over halfway through the book, and number two being that Jude threw herself into dangerous situations with no plan, like all my favorite YA heroines, but you know what, I don’t want to finish this review. Forget it. Not even Crowned Clown gifs can pull me through this. Although, I will say one thing regarding Madoc: he was actually the one aspect of this book I found interesting. I totally get how Jude loved him as a father figure, in a twisted way; even though he killed her parents, he’s also the only one who’s been able to protect her in a harsh, unforgiving world. Stockholm syndrome, basically. I actually really loved Madoc–he gave me Marak from The Hollow Kingdom vibes, and The Hollow Kingdom is one of my favorite books ever–and I would have 1000% preferred the story narrated by him rather than Jude. We might have actually gotten some political intrigue, for one. But no. The book focuses on the boring dumbass teenagers, as usual.

One last thing: I absolutely do not blame anyone for liking this book, heaven knows I’ve liked things that other people hated. This just didn’t work for me personally, but if it worked for you, that is WONDERFUL. Also, wow getting out my feelings in this review felt really good. I see why people like writing rant reviews now.

Mothling out. Go watch Crowned Clown, the court intrigue is interesting and the characters are about 1000 times more likable.

Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 12

A part of me cannot believe that I am already on part twelve. I guess I’ve been doing this for longer than I thought.

Also, I really need to make myself a little banner rather than constantly using ~~~ to separate out sections. But on the other hand, I kind of like ~~~. But if I were to make myself a little banner, I’d like for it to be blue and have something to do with moths. I don’t know.

This introduction has literally nothing to do with the post, but then, when is my blog ever on topic? I’d like to think I make being off-topic a theme.

~~~

Then King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors, with their good and trusted knights, set on the eleven kings so fiercely that they made them overthrow their pavilions on their heads [no idea what that sentence means, but okay I’m probably just a bad reader][You know what, I won’t even going to try to decipher that one], but the eleven kings by manly prowess of arms took a fair champain, [I know that sounds like the drink, but it’s not, it means an open field or a battlefield, and I think they’re saying that they managed to get good terrain][Also, ‘manly prowess of arms’, my goodness this book] but there lay slain that morrow ten thousand good men. And so they had before them a strong passage yet were they fifty thousand hardy men. [Okay, so it’s clearly referring to Arthur’s men here (I think?), but I wish this book would start using people’s names more often rather than saying ‘them’. Because sometimes I legitimately do not have a clue as to who this book is referring to.]

Then it drew toward day. ‘Now you shall listen to my advice,’ said Merlin to the three kings. ‘King Ban and Bors, with their fellowship of ten thousand men, should be put in the wood beside here in an ambushment and stay there secretly, and they should go there before the light of the day comes. [I changed a few of the words + sentence structure to make it actually legible to me, as I usually do. Was that the correct definition for the words? I am pretty sure that was the correct definition for the words. #professional]  And they should not stir until you and your knights [Wait he’s talking to Arthur?] have fought with the eleven kings for a long while. And when it is daylight position your troops exactly before the northern host and the passage that they may see all your host. For then they will be more bold when they see about you but twenty thousand men, and they will be the gladder to suffer you and your host to come over the passage.’

The three kings and all the barons said that Merlin said passingly well, and it was done soon as Merlin devised. So on the morn, when both armies saw each other, the army of the north was well comforted. Then to Ulfius and Brastias were delivered three thousand men of arms [What does that mean], and they set on them fiercely in the passage and slew so many on the right hand and the left hand that it was a wonder to tell.

When the eleven kings saw that so small a fellowship did such great deeds of arms, they were ashamed and set on them fiercely again, and Sir Ulfius’ horse was slain under him, but he did marvelously well on foot. [Don’t care about Sir Ulfius, but the poor horse. RIP.] But the Duke Eustace of Cambenet and King Clariance of Northumberland were always grievous on Ulfius. [‘Grievous.’ I kind of like it and I’m too unimaginative to think up a modern equivalent. So I shall refrain from butchering the text for now.] Then Brastias saw his fellow fare so, and he smote the duke with a spear so that horse and man fell down. King Clariance saw that and returned the same unto Brastias, and both smote the other so that horse and man went down to the earth, and so they lay stunned for a long while, and the hard bones of their horses’ knees were broken. [RIP horses number two and three #thehorsesdeservedbetter #therealcasualtiesofthisbattle]

Then came Sir Kay the Seneschal with six fellows accompanying him, and they did passing well. [This was back when Kay was cool and not a useful plot device to make all the other young heroes look better by comparison, so back then he could actually win the occasional fight, you see.] With that the eleven kings came, and both Griflet and Lucan the butler were put to the earth, horse and man, by King Brandegoris, King Idres, and King Anguisant. [I hope I have consistent spelling on all these names, because each and every one of these characters’ names has like ten spellings. I am not entirely sure that I have consistent spelling on all these names.] Then waxed the battle passing hard on both parties.

When Sir Kay saw Griflet on foot, he rode unto King Nentres and smote him down, and led his horse unto Sir Griflet and horsed him again. Also Sir Kay with the same spear smote down King Lot and hurt him passing sore. [Wait, seriously? Kay took on King Lot and won? Maybe Kay just got old later on and that’s why he stopped winning fights.] The king with the Hundred Knights saw that and ran unto Sir Kay and smote him down and took his horse, and gave the horse to King Lot, whereof King Lot thanked him.

When Sir Griflet saw Sir Kay and Lucan the butler on foot, he took a sharp spear great and square [idk what that means, but whatever ‘square’ is, it’s not the shape so], and rode to Pinel, a good man of arms, and smote horse and man down. And then he took his horse and gave it to Sir Kay.

Then King Lot saw King Nentres on foot. He ran unto Melot de la Roche and [guess what they’re going to say] smote him down horse and man, [YOU GUESSED IT! It was really hard, wasn’t it?] and gave King Nentres the horse and horsed him again. Also the King of the Hundred Knights saw King Idres on foot and ran unto [*deep breath* Hoo boy, let’s see if I can spell this] Gwiniart de Bloi, and smote him down horse and man, and gave King Idres the horse and horsed him again; and King Lot smote down Clariance de la Forest Savage, and gave the horse unto Duke Eustace. [So, according to this book, medieval warfare is all about falling off your horse and then having to get back on a horse? Is that accurate to real life? It makes sense, though] And so when the eleven kings were horsed again, they drew together and said they would be avenged of the damage they had taken that day.

The meanwhile came in Sir Ector with an eager countenance, and found Ulfius and Brastias on foot, in great peril of death, that were foul defoiled under horse-feet. [I don’t know what that means, I’m not going to look up the words, that is the most perfect sentence ever and I will not spoil the joy with a meaning.] Then Arthur, like a lion, ran unto King Cradelment of North Wales and smote him through the left side so that the horse and the king fell down. And he took the horse by the reins and led him to Ulfius, and said, ‘have this horse, my old friend, for you have great need of it.’

‘Thank you,’ said Ulfius. Then King Arthur did so marvelously in arms that all men had wonder.

When the King with The Hundred Knights saw King Cradelment on foot, he ran unto Sir Ector who was well-horsed, Sir Kay’s father, […we knew that] and smote horse and man down and gave the horse to the king and horsed him again. [I’ll admit I legit thought King Cradelment had died. I guess he just got wounded?] [It’s just a flesh wound!] And when King Arthur saw the king ride on Sir Ector’s horse, he was wroth and smote the king on the helm with his sword, so a quarter of the helm and shield fell down, and the sword carved down onto the horse’s neck. [So much horsey violence smh the horses deserved none of this] And so the king and the horse fell down to the ground.

Then Sir Kay came unto Sir Morganore, seneschal to the King of the Hundred Knights and smote him down horse and man, and led the horse unto his father Sir Ector. Then Sir Ector ran unto a knight named Lardans and smote horse and man down, [This, ladies and gentlemen, is what you refer to as a crutch phrase] and led the horse to Sir Brastias, who had great need of a horse and was greatly defoiled. [Nope. Still not looking up what defoiled means.]

Brastias beheld Lucan the butler, who lay like a dead man under the horses’ feet, [I will assume ‘under the horses’ feet’ to be metaphorical or else he’d be needing better medical care than you could find at the time] and ever Sir Griflet did marvelously to rescue him, but there were always fourteen knights on Sir Lucan. So then Brastias smote one of them on the helm that it went to the teeth, [ow] and he rode to another and smote him so the arm flew into the field. [*has to physically restrain self from making the ‘flesh wound’ joke twice in one chapter*] Then he went to the third and smote him on the shoulder so his shoulder and arm flew into the field. [No] [No I won’t make the joke]

And when Griflet saw the rescue, he smote a knight on the temples so head and helm went to the earth. And Griflet took the horse of that knight and led him to Sir Lucan, and bade him mount the horse and avenge his hurts. For Brastias had slain a knight before and horsed Griflet. [I always find Griflet’s name so hilarious for some reason. I mean. Griflet. It’s just the way it sounds.]

~~~

And that was chapter twelve, and I kind of can’t believe I’ve come this far 🙂 I’m enjoying this book, a lot!

My Thoughts On Cliches

Firstly, I am in no place at all to give writing advice. I don’t think I’ve ever even finished a novel. (I’ve finished a few very long stories. But not novels.) But I still love writing, and I write a lot, and I think about writing a lot, so! I’d say I’m qualified!

Seriously, I have no idea what I’m talking about and all my ideas are probably going to change in a week. Because they always do. Also, this post is likely to be all over the place, but you know what, I don’t care. Because I am dedicated to quality on this blog.

Anyway, let’s talk about cliches. They’re a bit of a pet peeve for me, both when they show up in a novel and clearly have no thought put into them at all, and when writers talk about them like they’re pure evil and the bane of all good writing. Just…picture me sighing loudly, okay? (But if you’ve ever talked about cliches like they’re pure evil and the bane of all good writing, that’s totally fine. I have, too. And if you’ve ever had a cliche show up in one of your novels with clearly no thought put into it at all, then that’s also fine. I have, too. 😉 )

Cliches are not always bad. Sometimes I can find them actually incredibly fun in the right context, especially if they’re milked for nostalgia. And a novel can still be terrible and have not a cliche on the page. A novel can feel soulless and cliched, sure, but a novel can also feel soulless and subvert every cliche out there. Sometimes you can leave in a cliche and not kill the story. Sometimes stories are killed if an author gets too edgy and breaks every cliche in existence. Seriously. (Because you know what, both cliches and breaking cliches can get formulaic.)

And sometimes a cliche can make you want to put on a cloak, head to the mountains, and ask a wise-woman to heal your soul, because a YA book just killed it. There are stories and characters that were not thought out. The author never stopped to ask, ‘what qualities does my handsome, tanned quarterback have beyond being handsome, tanned, and a quarterback? What qualities does my self-loathing and shy teenage heroine have beyond the product description? Do I need an overused, predictable plot structure, or would it better fit the story’s themes and characters to break out into something new? Are parts of the (already overused) trope I’m using kind of problematic if I think about it for three seconds?’ And the story ends up grating on the poor, frayed, already well-worn nerves of our inner critic.

But if you’re raising your eyebrows at the idea that cliches could ever be okay in a story, then I present to you: Star Wars. The plots are cliched and hackneyed. (Unless they’re the prequels, in which case they’re just weird, but I digress.) The characters can sometimes be a liittle bit similar to character tropes hugely popular at the moment *coughcoughKylo Rencoughcough* But does everyone, probably including you, love them? Yes! Because they have a lot of heart, even if it’s sometimes really hapless and just plain weird heart (the prequels). And heart is a really big thing that sets a good cliched story apart from a bad uncliched one.

^^All that talk about heart felt kind of cliched in itself, but whatever, let’s not go meta

Anyway…think about the story. Think about your characters, think about whether your book needs a more unusual plot or if your characters are perfectly fine with the tried and true hero’s journey, and finally, read a lot. Read a ton, and read critically, and figure out what you like and dislike, and what you just plain want to see done differently. (Broke my own advice oops) (I’m on a reading slump)

And if you really, really like a story you read and want to create a story just like it, do analyze what you like about the story. You probably don’t actually like Twilight’s plot. You probably loved the incredibly strong emotions, Edward’s stage presence–yes, I know it’s a novel, but he still had stage presence–and Bella’s dry sense of humor. Similarly? You probably don’t want to copy Lord of the Ring’s world-building. You want to accomplish the sense of depth and intricacy his world had, along with the sense of hope and the good old-fashioned cuteness the story had. (But seriously, if you want to copy Lord of the Rings, just go read some mythology and history, because that’s what Tolkien himself copied off of. I’m serious, read Livy, Beowulf, Arthurian legends, The Iliad, fairy tales–and read classics and fairy tales from non-European cultures, too. You’ll probably end up with a similarly nice result, but much different from Tolkien.) (Also, did people actually want to copy Twilight, or just the big sales? I will be nice and assume they wanted to copy Twilight.)

I’ve written a few cliched characters before, and I think the reason they slip in, for me, is just plain carelessness. Either I’ll go, ‘bah! I don’t need to develop her! She’s a minor character!’ and end up with the most stereotypical annoying younger sister of ever, or I’ll go, ‘bah! I’m a good writer! I don’t need to, like…work and stuff.’ And, similarly, I ended up with badly done cliches. Even if you’re a good writer, younger self…you still have to work. You can also end up with cliches if you don’t do your research and learn what people want to see in fiction vs. what they’re tired of seeing. And obviously, if you’re going to write a character of a different race or religion or something like that, definitely definitely look up the stereotypes associated with that group and avoid all of those as much as you can. Because they can and will slip in to your story. Anyway. That concludes our Ted Talk.

Anyway, those were all my reeeally rambly and probably incoherent thoughts on cliches. While writing this, I actually ended up with a whole other post about cliches that irritate me, so I might post that sometime in the future. ‘Cause, you know, no one has ever posted about that before in the history of blogging. I’m totally original.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this, it’s that you can slap any cliche you want to in your novel and I will cheer you on as I do the same. Just make sure it’s thought out, and make sure it isn’t a harmful stereotype about a real world group of people. But if you want love triangles? Then throw in those love triangles. Because I actually LOVE love triangles.

Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, parts 10 and 11

In which Le Morte D’Arthur gets its Iliad moment! Not by having a fight scene, but by having a long list of everyone involved in the fight!

Okay, so in all fairness, this list is not nearly as long as the Iliad’s, but I HAD TRAUMATIC FLASHBACKS, OKAY? But you know what? There’s no Ulfius in this chapter. Le Morte D’Arthur, we’re still good.

Oh, and also someone had a vision and a few battle plans got made.

~~~

And so within a short time the three kings came to the Castle of Bedegraine, and found there a passing fair fellowship that was well-equipped, whereof they had great joy, and food they wanted none.

This was the cause of the northern host: they were reared for the insult and rebuke the six kings had at Caerleon. [I like how the book describes that. Like some seventeen-year-old insults them so they’re just going to go and GET TOGETHER AN ARMY.] And these six kings, by their means, gat unto them five other kings, and thus they began to gather their people.

And they swore that, for weal nor woe, they should not leave each other till they had destroyed Arthur, and then they made an oath. The first that began the oath was the Duke of Cambenet, and he said he would bring with him five thousand men of arms, the which were ready on horseback. [Of course we needed a long, drawn-out list. I thought I was free of this curse after I finished the Iliad.] Then swore King Brandegoris of Stranggore that he would bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. Then swore King Clariance of Northumberland that he would bring three thousand men of arms. Then swore the King of the Hundred Knights, who was a passing good man and young, that he would bring four thousand men of arms on horseback. [Okay, why does he have that nickname? That’s such a weird title to have. Like, they could have called him, ‘The King of the Four Thousand Men of Arms’ and it would have made about as much sense.][New theory: whoever came up with that did it just to annoy his scribe by giving him a long and hard name to write out.] Then swore King Lot, a passing good knight and Sir Gawain’s father [Gawain yay!], that he would bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. Also swore King Urience, who was Sir Ywain’s father, of the land of Gore, that he would bring six thousand men of arms on horseback. Also swore King Idres of Cornwall that he would bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. [I SWEAR THE SIZE OF THIS BOOK COULD HAVE BEEN CUT IN HALF.] Also swore King Cradelmas to bring five thousand men on horseback. Also swore King Anguisant of Ireland to bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. [Wait, is that like Iseult’s dad][You know what, I think it is!] Also swore King Nentres to bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. Also swore King Carados to bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. [THE LIST IS FINALLY OVEER.]

So their whole host was of fifty thousand men of arms on horseback, and ten thousand men on foot. Then they were soon ready and mounted upon their horses, and they sent forth their scouts, for these eleven kings in their ways laid a siege upon the castle of Bedegraine. And so they departed and drew toward Arthur, and left few to abide at the siege, for the castle of Bedegraine belonged to King Arthur, and the men that were therein were Arthur’s. [‘Abide’ means something else in modern English, but Middle English Dictionary gives the meaning as ‘to delay; to tarry’. I guess? Is that the correct meaning in this context?]

~~~

So by Merlin’s advice they sent out scouts to patrol the countryside, and they met with the scouts of the north, and King Arthur’s scouts made them to tell which way the host came, and then they told it to Arthur. And King Ban and Bors counseled that they let burn and destroy all the country afore them where they should ride. [So, I guess they’re saying Arthur had a scorched earth policy? Probably? That’s what they’re saying, right?]

The King of the Hundred Knights had a wondrous dream two nights before the battle, that there blew a great wind and blew down their castles and their towns, and after that came a flood and bore it all away. All the kings that heard of the vision said it was a token of a great battle. […I cannot see how it could have been a clearer sign that they were going to lose. Do you need God to SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU OR SOMETHING.] Then by Merlin’s council, when they knew where the kings would ride and lodge that night, at midnight they set upon them as they were in their pavilions. But the guard for the northern host cried, ‘lords, at arms, for here be your enemies at your hand!’

~~~

Annnd that was the chapter! I love this book. :’-)