What Ho Wee Readers, and let us all welcome the second to the last post in this blog series. Remember if you want to see the very last knight of the Arthurian round table of Media – remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List before the 31st of May.
Quest for Camelot
Thinking honestly this was really my true introduction to the idea of King Arthur. Because it was the first film I ever saw in the cinema, or at least according to my parents. However, staring as it does a young farm girl, a blind hermit, and a two headed dragon as they try to recover a stolen Excalibur from the clutches of a deranged Gary Oldman – it’s not your traditional King Arthur story. Still I’d recommend it if for nothing else but for the sheer joy of seeing a two headed fire breather argue themselves into stagnation.
Let,s pull those swords out of those stones for the fifth knight of Arthurian Media
Sword in the Stone (Disney)
What I love about his film, although it’s quite a famous piece of Arthurian Media is it actually has very little do with a lot of the extra stuff we consider important in the great king’s mythology. There are no knights of the round table, no Lancelot, no Morgan Le Fey and her shenanigans. There is a Sword in the Stone, but despite it being the title of the film it really doesn’t play a part in the majority of the plot – which is primary focused on Merlin changing the young Arthur into various different animals to teach him lessons.
Which I think just goes to show that sometimes to have a good Arthurian story all you need is just…Arthur himself.
What Ho Wee Readers, let’s raise our goblets and welcome our fourth knight to the round table.
King Arthur (2004)
Hey do you love the fantastical world of King Arthur and his knights of the round table? Well what if that was a lie, and the truth was both much more boring, and much more depressing. What if Arthur wasn’t a king at all but a Roman General, and his faithful knights were basically indentured against their will to serve him? And as for Merlin…okay he’s still pretty cool, but I think my point still stands. You wouldn’t think this was anything you’d pay good money to watch but to the film’s credit it still manages to produce a fun and entertaining story, with a cast filled with faces you might find ever so slightly familiar.
I would recommend it if nothing else than for the fun of seeing Hannibal, Uncle Owen, and Mister Fantastic as knights of the round table.
Well, here we are again and onto our Third Knight of our Media round table.
Merlin (Sam Neil miniseries)
I will admit, even to my my mind this a bit of a weird choice. It’s not that it’s overtly bad per say, in every aspect at least. It has an incredible cast – counting such greats as Martin Short and James Earl Jones, not even to mention Sam Neil as Merlin amongst its players. But I will admit I watched this as a very small child and it did stay with me – which was why I was so excited to include it on this list – but a lot of it hasn’t really aged that well.
The CGI is terrible, there’s a small speckling of blink and you’ll miss it racism at the beginning, Martin Short’s character’s romance with Morgan LeFay is made kind of icky by the fact that he’s an immortal gnome who first met her when she was a child. Honestly, that they could have easily fixed that by just not having them first meet when she’s a child, seriously it adds nothing to the story. And while this may seem a bit of a lesser crime next to everything else I’ve complained about, but Merlin is kind of a dick whose hard to root for.
So, you might be asking yourself – if this thing was so terrible, and she hated it so much, why has she included it in this blog series at all? I didn’t hate it, Martin Short is always funny and I do admire that it took chances. That it dared to mess around with the source material, that it dared to make Merlin a bit of a dick – while still keeping him competent. It’s part of why I wanted to do this list, to highlight works of Arthurian lore that are different, or maybe not as well know or thought of as some of the more classic examples. I may have not kept true to this idea for the entire list, but for this entry at least, this was my thought process.
Let’s pull our swords out of our stones, for the second knight or rather knights (since I couldn’t really make a choice on this one) of this round table of ours….
Shrek the Third
Perhaps this might seem a strange thing to include on a list such of this, especially considering some of the contenders that just didn’t make it onto the list at all.
However I like to think that showing up as a bunch of high school students in a animated comedy focusing on the weird and bizarre adventures of an ogre doing a very poor impression of a Scottish accents – speaks to the true malubility of Arthurian lore. They are no longer stuck in the grand adventures, and high fantasy tales that the creator of Lancelot tried to force them into.
And now for the next “second” knight of the media round table…
And speaking of unconventional adaptations of Arthurian lore. Based simultaneously off the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and heavily parodying the musical Camelot, Monty Python’s Spamalot is weird. Not bad weird, very, very good weird – but weird none the less. Featuring the King himself (played by Tim Curry on the original cast recording), a gay Lancelot , Sir Robin the not quite as Brave as Lancelot, and who can forget the ever loveable Sir Not Appearing in this play. This musical is a fun, satirical look at figures that sometimes can take themselves a little too seriously, which only serves to make it all the funnier.
What Ho Wee Readers and welcome to my third consecutive blog series. As previously revealed in my newsletter this new blog series will feature words based in the world, and featuring the main players of Arthurian lore.
But enough of lengthy introductions and the like, you all know how this goes now – so just sit back, grab your holy grails, and let’s begin with the first knight in our Arthurian media round table.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
I did not enjoy this book, in fact I hated it so much I didn’t even finish it – but why hear me beat that horse dead why not have a glance down at a review I posted on my GoodReads page.
“I was first introduced to the myth of King Arthur by Mary Stewart’s Merlin Series – check it out, it’s fantastic – thus Merlin is a character that’s fairly close to my heart. In fact, he’s my favorite Arthurian character, second only to Mordred and Morgouse. And this is not the book for fans of Merlin; full disclosure, I couldn’t even finish it. In fact, by the time “Hank” blows up Merlin’s tower I was so angry by the treatment of my magical favorite that I was kind of glad I was listening to an audiobook instead of a hard copy, so I wouldn’t be tempted to throw it in the fire. However, if you don’t mind seeing Merlin turned into a butt monkey and the rest of the court made to look like idiots, you will find a well written book, with at least a mildly interesting plot. I hated it, but I will freely admit that I am a very biased party.”
You might think it rather strange of me to choose a piece of Arthurian literature that I couldn’t even finish to start off my little list here, but to that I say that to truly appreciate the highs that this legend can achieve we must first first delve into its depths. Truthfully it’s not a bad book by any accounts, I admit in my review that I’m a very bias party in regards to its quality. If you can get past the blatant Merlin bashing, then you should find a very well written book, with a unique premise. However I admit I would shudder at the idea of this particular book being anyone’s introduction to the Arthurian Mythos.
What Ho, Wee Readers and may your Coronation Day be bearable – it’s 2023, that’s all we can really ask of our monarch’s now. Anyway, because today is the first coronation we’ve had since sometime in the 50’s, I would like to break tradition and upload this post from the Wee Mailing List, announcing my next blog series, far sooner than expected.
And my next blog series shall be about…
Yes the next Wee Writing Blog Series shall be about the mythical king of Britain himself, or at least adaptions of him. With each post naming a different Arthurian work of fiction I have read/ watched or listened to over the course. Since there are so many out there, we’ll keep it short this time and stick to just seven of them – listed in order of enjoyment, with the final one being released as a mailing list post.
Although just a heads up for anyone that might have been expecting it to appear on this list of mine – the one piece of Arthurian Media that absolutely won’t be appearing is…
Merlin the BBC Series
Nothing against the show it’s self, I just could never get into it – thus I’ve only watched a couple of episodes. While I will have at least one entry I didn’t really enjoy or finish, I feel like I’ve just not consumed enough of this one to have any kind of opinion of it. Sorry internet who has become obsessed with this show, this one just wasn’t for me.
What Ho Wee Readers, and welcome back to another installment of The Wee Archive. If you cast your mind over my past blog posts you’ll know that I’ve done three posts about my good friend, and fellow author Ailish Sinclair. Unfortunately only two of those posts had a Mailing List attached to them, which is a bit of a shame but what can you do? Anyway, the one you are about to read is a Mailing List Post Connected to my post “7 Intrusive Questions for Ailish Sinclair“. Enjoy.
The Eighth Question
What Ho Wee Subscribers, and welcome to the eighth intrusive question for Ailish Sinclair. Now if you’ve been following my blog closely you may already be acquainted with the first seven intrusive questions I asked my good friend Ailish Sinclair – if not, check it out here, it’s good fun for all involved. Read it, and subsequently were inspired to go buy her new book ‘Fireflies and Chocolate’ for sale at both American and British Amazons, as well as Waterstones? Excellent, now we can move on to the mystery of the eighth question. Why was it not put up with the rest of the questions on the original post? What is it about this intrusive question that made it unable, or indeed unsuitable to be published on an online blog? Is it rude, have I crossed the threshold from intrusive to indecent? No, no I have not, but admit it for once brief second you thought I had – which means the mystery of the eighth question has got you in its claws. So, now’s the time, onto the eighth question, and I should warn you Wee Subscribers there will be spoilers ahead.
8. So Ailish, one last question and then I’ll let you go (Ha!) – during the course of the book Elizabeth meets with many real historical people. So, in your opinion, what would you say were the three real historical people (that we haven’t discussed yet), that had the most impact on your character’s story? Perhaps they influenced her the most, maybe they caused her to have a revelation or were involved in a traumatic event; in other words, what were the three historical persons that had the most impact on ‘Fireflies and Chocolate’ and why?
Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father and the most famous of the real characters in the book, provides the chocolate of the title from his printing shop in Philadelphia. He also asks pertinent questions of Elizabeth at times which make both her and the reader think more deeply about certain issues and, perhaps, draw new conclusions about everything that is going on.
Benjamin Lay (Benjamin being a popular name at the time!), an anti-slavery campaigner, introduces Elizabeth to new ideas about how people live and how they treat other living beings. He lives in a cottage that resembles a cave and our wee lassie (not you Wee Writing Lassie) is lucky enough to spend a night there.
A young girl was found dead in First Mate Alexander Young’s bunk during the voyage from Aberdeen to America. History has not recorded her name so I called her Maggie, and her death has a deep impact on Elizabeth in several ways. It causes her terrible grief, informs her opinions of what ‘fine gentlemen’ can actually be and provides a specific awareness of how much danger she and other women and girls are in at times.
Wow, awesome. Oh, don’t worry this isn’t going on the blog – I’m going to put it in my newsletter. This cake is so good, can I take it home with me? Yeah, I mean the whole cake, I’ve got a bag for it.
Sighs Go for it Wee Lassie.
If you’ve enjoyed the eighth intrusive question for Ailish Sinclair don’t forget to check out the original post, and the follow mine and Ailish’s wee blogs if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads and why not donate to my Ko-fi account. And if you were interested in Ailish’s reply don’t forget to check her out on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Ko-fi and Goodreads as well. Until next time Wee subscribers, stay safe, stay aware, and have a very bonny day. Oh, and just to remind you again. Ailish Sinclair’s new book ‘Fireflies and Chocolate’ as well as her previous book ‘The Mermaid and the Bear’ are both available at Amazon (both British and American) and Waterstones (both in store and online); so seriously check that out, you won’t regret it.
Ailish is currently working on a contemporary series of erotic romance books, set in the diabolical world of professional ballet. Why not pop over to her blog to find out more about it. And if you’re interested in seeing more work like this why not sign up to the Wee Mailing List. Sign up by the 28th of April, and you’ll find out exactly what my next blog series will be about first. So until next time Wee Readers, keep safe and have a very Bonny day.
Welcome to the next instalment of The Wee Archive – remember to see more content like this all the earlier sign up to the Wee Mailing List.
5. Lily Tucker-Pritchett
I find Lily really funny, in fact she’s one of the funniest characters in the show, and I think she’s really under rated as a a character in that regards. Granted it’s a very dry, sometime mean sense of humour, but in a show that gradually let its characters become monsters all for a sake of a good laugh, that shouldn’t put people off.
4. Early Gloria Pritchett
I really liked early seasons Gloria, she was warm, understanding, and loving, as well as being strong and determined. She was also funny – Modern Family is a comedy show after all – but her strongest elements as a character was what would have made her likeable as a person. Which in a sitcom is surprisingly rare. I could sit here and talk (or write) for hours why I don’t like later Seasons Gloria Pritchett, or how she gradually lost anything that made her a decent person and just became well…not that.
3. Pepper Saltzman
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Nathan Lane, what else is there to say.
2. Cameron Tucker
God, Cameron Tucker was the second best person in the show. Funny and sweet in the earlier seasons, and while he did get progressively meaner with each passing season, unlike Gloria his particular brand of meanness never felt too far off from his original character. And if you’ve read the original post, than you should be able to guess who my the person in the show was.
1. Dylan Marshall
Yep, that’s right – it’s Dylan. And for those of you who don’t understand why, check out the original post here and you soon will.
What Ho, Wee Readers, and welcome to another rant… I mean well thought out think piece. If you’ve been here before, you should know how this goes by now – so let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Speaking of ride, you know what book I’ve just finished…The Great Gatsby. I know those two things aren’t related but I had no segway into this part of the post, and I didn’t want to wait around and think of a proper one.
Anyway, getting back on topic ; The Great Gatsby is a book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, first published in 1925. It is considered, I am told, as one of the great classics of American Literature. And held up in many an English course, as a master of the literary device. I will ruin what should have been the conclusion of my post, by stating here, that it is not a very good book.
Yes, shocking isn’t it – this great “masterpiece” is in actuality a boring, highly convoluted story of the death of a criminal. Full of boring, very shallowly written characters.
But please, let me explain before you raise your pitchforks.
Part the First: Pretty Pros, Do Not a Good Story Make
I’m not denying that in certain ways, the Great Gatsby is a very well written book. It’s pros after all are beautiful, having an almost hypnotic quality to them when listened to in audio form.
However I would ask my Wee readers to look past that, past the gentle rhythm of those phrases, to what they’re actually saying. What is the story of the Great Gatsby? Aplogies for any spoilers ahead.
Our Narrator Nick, moves into a small cottage right beside the mansion of the “mysterious” Jay Gatsby, who throws wild parties every single night. I mean he sounds like the worst kind of neighbor to me, but like I don’t think Nick seems to mind. He’s much too busy congratulating himself over his own “honesty” and “virtue” to really hear the din anyway. These partieas are apparently so wild that you can just turn up and you’ll be let in, no invitation needed. In fact most if not all the guest weren’t invited, only Nick, at his little cabin, recives an invitation.
I’m going to speed past this bit as quickly as I can, as that’s how bored I am now right now. So bear with me. Turns out Gatsby is in love with Nick’s cousin Daisy, who lives across the lake with her rich husband and child, and all the parties he’s thrown have been to catch her attention. Nick agrees to basically set up a date with the two of them, and they begin an affair.
But don’t worry, before you start to think that something morally questionable is going on , let me assure you, Daisy’s husband is a racist arsehole. Of course this is a book published in 1925, about elite American society, so basically all the characters are that. But it’s somehow supposed to be different with him.
He’s also having an affair with a mechanic’s wife, which is viewed as a bad thing he’s doing – which to be fair, it is – but it’s fine when Daisy does it apparently. Anyway a lot of confusing faffing around in each other’s cars later, Daisy accidentally runs over Tom’s mistress but because of some car swapping shinaggings, everyone thinks it’s Gatsby instead. So the mistress’s husband shoots him and most people don’t even bother to show up to his funeral.
And that’s it, stripped of all its pretty prose and liquistic tricks, that is the story of the great Gatsby. A sad, convoluted tale of a criminal’s pointless murder. Okay, I’ve throughly depressed myself, onto the next part.
Part the Second: The Green Light and the Literary Device
But wait, I hear you say – isn’t The Great Gatsby famous for its ingenious use of literary devices? The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, symbolically embodying Jay Gatsby’s undying love, desperation, and inability to fully achieve the American dream? Yes, I will give you that, it’s an ingenious use of a literarily device – for if we’re too busy staring into that startlingly green light, we don’t see anything it’s hiding. We don’t examine whether that love is more a reflection of Gatsby’s yearning for wealth and position than it is any real affection for Daisy. We don’t look at the depths that desperation has led him too, or how skewd this version of the American dream really is.
If we’re looking too hard into the light, into the deeper meaning behind it, and patting ourselves on the back for how clever we are for spotting it, we don’t see that the author has twisted himself up so hard trying to make Gatsby’s death a tragedy, that he’s accidentally made it a contrived aubserdity. Really it’s a work of genius on Fitzgerald’s part, it’s a pity he didn’t use any of that genius to write a better book in the first place.
Part the Third: The (2013) Adaptation, and it’s Genius
So if we were to look for a good adaptation of this book, this literary classic what we should really be looking for is not one that keeps strictly to every wobbly plot point of the original. No what we need is one that keeps to the spirit of the book. To the showmanship and illusion of the green light and the elegant pros of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.
To me, ignorant pion that I am, that film will always be the 2013 adaption, staring Leonardo Decapreo. But wait I hear the snobs in the back of the room cry, isn’t that a bad adaption? Isn’t it too flashy and over stylised, saturated with modern music and a casting more concerned with big names than actually capability? Well, I can’t say you’re wrong on all accounts – though as for Gatsby I’d argue stunt casting or a big name of some kind was the only way to make the character work to a modern audience – that’s not my argument here. No my point is that like the book before it, this film uses it bright colours, it’s stylised editing, it’s banging soundtrack and let’s face it , it’s big named casting to hide that it’s still telling the same kind of bland, convoluted story of a man getting killed because he was in the wrong car at the wrong time, that the book left behind.
I mean it works, arguably even better than the book’s tricks – I really enjoyed this film. The song “Young and Beutiful” makes Gatsby’s and Daisy’s affair seem deep and meaningful, even though honestly it’s anything but on either side.
Though if you’re still determined to watch a more honest interpretation of The Great Gatsby, might I recommend The Family Guy Adaption?
So that’s my take on The Great Gatsby, a strange and convoluted story, ending in a strange and covulted death. Hidden under layers of tricks and bright green lights. But maybe you saw more to it than I did, if so tell me down below in the comments – it’s why I have them in the first place.