Yeah, so…I just wanted to list the different Arthurian characters and my different thoughts and opinions about them. Why? I don’t know. I thought it would be fun. I’m not going to cover all the characters here at all, only a couple of the most well-known ones, because otherwise that would be loong.
So, in order of popularity (sort of):
- Probably the one character I don’t have super strong opinions about, to be honest.
- I don’t really care how you play him, so long as he’s not boring.
- I do personally happen to like stories that include the ‘he tried to murder his infant son and failed’ aspect, though, because ANGST.
- I guess I kind of like stories that portray Arthur as a more complex character? One that makes a lot of mistakes, even though he may still be a noble man. I don’t like stories that portray him as perfect, and I don’t like stories that railroad his character for the sake of it. That’s me and every Arthuriana character, though.
- I honestly have no idea what that whole ‘he ordered that Guinevere be burned at the stake when he found out she committed adultery’ thing was about. Like. It doesn’t make sense from a logical perspective? Of course Lancelot is going to try to rescue her and that’s going to make the whole political situation worse. I don’t get why Arthur did it. Were the noblemen demanding it?
- I love this character.
- So, while I don’t have anything personal against retellings that portray Guinevere as some type of warrior queen, I still don’t really like it. Guinevere can have power in a political way and not on the battlefield! Honestly, I could be wrong, but it seems like I don’t run into a lot of stories that have a girl be a competent political leader. I’m just…a liiittle bit tired of warrior girls. I love warrior queens, until that becomes all people are willing to write.
- I just love Chretien’s portrayal of Guinevere as someone people listen to and respect. That was kind of amazing.
- I’m okay with someone writing villainous!Guinevere, but it seems like people never do it in ways I can get behind. The few times I’ve seen it done, she’s just a stereotypical, unpleasant, meddling woman rather than a respected enemy. Can some people not write villainous powerful women without tripping into a bunch of stereotypes?
- While we’re on this topic, my Arthurian OTP is Mordred/Guinevere. I love the ship so much. I’ve yet to come across a (remotely good) novel that’s about this relationship, and the ship has…maybe six fanfics on AO3? Why are all my favorite ships so obscure?
- Guinevere just has so much potential as a character. She’s been portrayed so many different ways, from medieval literature to today, and she’s such a flexible and enigmatic character. I love her, but she’s also really freaking hard for me to write
- She’s just such a powerful character when she’s written well.
- Anyway, if anyone knows of any good Mordred/Guinevere fanfics or novels, let me know.
- I will admit, I have NO idea why Merlin is as popular as he is. He assisted in a rape and just screwed everyone over. I get a fairly unhealthy vibe from his relationship with Arthur, which is only cemented by the fact that Merlin convinced him to attempt to murder Arthur’s own infant son. Why do people stan?
- He’s a disaster bi and no one can make me change my mind
- I took a quiz once for ‘which Arthurian character are you’ and I got Lancelot. I guess it makes sense. I’m also a disaster over-achiever who is probably going to end up accidentally betraying king and country one of these days. (I am, however, much less good at time management than Lancelot apparently is, so I am not very good at fighting things or other useful talents.) I think I’m more like Gawain, tho
- I think almost everybody interprets Lancelot as a Type A over-achiever and I like it.
- One thing I wish more people would explore is Lancelot’s relationship with the Lady of the Lake. Didn’t she raise him?
- You know, Lancelot and Guinevere is okay, sure, but you know what’s better? Lancelot in basically any slash ship. Lancelot/Galehaut is AMAZING, okay? (Galehaut is not at ALL to be confused with Galahad. Galehaut, if you don’t know, is some guy who waged a war against Arthur until he found out that Lancelot was super cute and called it off. That really happened.) And I love Lancelot/Gawain possibly even more, because apparently there was a scene in some medieval story–I think it was in the Vulgate Cycle–where Gawain told Lancelot that he wished that he were a beautiful girl, under the condition that Lancelot would love him more than any other. ADORABLE.
- Basically, literally everyone in Camelot is wildly in love with Lancelot, and that’s not my opinion, that’s fact.
- Some Arthuriana fans tend to hate/strongly dislike Lancelot for some reason, but I don’t. He’s definitely done a lot of bad things, some of which don’t get called out because of the genre conventions or the social outlooks of the time, but I think he also has potential to be a really, really morally complex and interesting and noble character. Just because not everyone writes the character well doesn’t mean that he’s a bad character.
- We love and support Lancelot in this house (along with Guinevere, and Mordred, and Gawain, and pretty much everyone except Pelleas he can choke)
- MY BOY. The character who got me into Arthurian legends. Just.
- I am completely not interested in Pure Evil versions of this character, outside of the actual legends of course. You’ve been given so much tragic villain potential and you are NOT going to waste this. I just think Mordred works so much better as a tragic villain.
- Morded is kind of…an inverse chosen one. Yes, he’s the center of some important prophecy, but the prophecy is that he’s going to destroy a kingdom. (Anakin, basically. He’s Anakin.) And I highkey love that twist on the trope.
- I think I’m just drawn to characters like this, I’m sorry. I love Loki, Anakin, Seonho, and Mordred. I definitely have a Type.
- You’d kind of expect Mordred to have a bigger role in Le Morte D’Arthur, but from what I remember, he’s kind of a background character until the end. It’s kind of an odd structure.
- I find Mordred’s friendship with his brother Agravaine kind of cute, and I think any retelling from Mordred’s point of view is obligated to feature this.
- In fact, I just love all the Orkney brothers. They are all collectively my favorite and no one can change my mind.
- Anyway, I just love characters who plot with queens and topple dynasties
- Like Lancelot, Gawain is also a disaster bi! Aside from that whole bit with Lancelot I talked about up there, Gawain also has this whole long poem that’s all about the story of how he got to make out with the Green Knight. And also about how he learned the true meaning of honor I guess, but we all know what the important part of the poem is. I haven’t read Gawain and the Green Knight yet, but I want to.
- My sister, who has actually read the poem, claims that the important part of the poem is how he learned the true meaning of honor but I think she’s lying
- He also has a really cute marriage with this woman named Ragnelle, and I swear I’ll cover that eventually in its own post because it’s an amazing story (no seriously I almost have the post written up I just need to finish it).
- I think Gawain is the sort of person who loves animals, which is confirmed by the fact that he once tried to kill a man for mistreating a dog.
- Doesn’t he also love his horse Gringolet? Gawain’s just adorable okay
- He also stuck up for Guinevere when she was accused of adultery.
- YES he may be an idiot who kills people but a) so is Lancelot and ninety percent of the rest of Camelot and b) aside from that, he’s really nice! Stop being mean to him, French authors
- In all seriousness, though, I think I might be the only person who is fine with both more redneck/slightly trashy portrayals of Gawain and the paragon of knighthood portrayals of Gawain. I like both, okay? I’m not down for anything that completely makes Gawain into a jerk, but I’m okay with Gawain screwing up and being an idiot occasionally.
- There’s this whole segment in one of Chretien’s stories where Gawain makes out with this girl only to find out that I think he killed her father or something and the girl’s fine with it, but her brother tries to kill him and then Gawain and the lady end up having to fight their way out with a chess set. This is the idiot content I subscribed for.
- I love Gawain. So much. He and Lancelot are both such lovable idiots and I ship them. I don’t really want to pick a favorite Arthurian character, but if I had to, I’d say it tends to shift between Gawain, Guinevere, and Mordred?
So please do tell me your Arthurian headcanons, favorite ships, favorite retellings/fanfics, etc., and I’m sorry for making you sit through all this. I’m still writing it and posting it anyway. 😉 I may make a part two of this, but I already feel cringy enough posting this one post. I do want to cover the rest of the Orkney brothers, though. So I guess we’ll see.