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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Merlin's Quest--first 13

   
Author Topic: Merlin's Quest--first 13
Meredith
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This is just a fragment. The idea needs more development before I'm ready to really dig in to writing this.

quote:
Merlin alit, talons clutching the weathered rocks of the windswept tor. He snapped his wide, leathery wings to his back and tilted his head to offer his neck in submission to the true queen of Britain.

The great golden queen raised her head and looked down her long muzzle at one of the youngest of her subjects. "Well, Merlin, you've been among the humans for five years. What is your report? How do my human descendants fare?"

Merlin kept his head twisted to one side. The queen was not going to like what he had to say. "The Romans have withdrawn their legions. High King Vortigern plays a dangerous game."


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Grumpy old guy
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G'day Meredith. The first and third paragraphs appear to be first person, Merlin, while the second paragraph is third person. Is this intentional?

My biggest problem on the 'first sight' read was that the moment I hit the word 'alit' I went, "Huh!?" Yes, I know it's a proper word, or at least I think it is the verb of alight, but I could be mistaken.

I also gather that this is the 'historical' version of Merlin and King Arthur -- can't remember his Romanised name at the mo. My only concern with that would be all the 'less enlightened' people who have never heard of King Arthur, circa 800 AD.

The other thing that occurred as soon as you mentioned that Merlin and the 'true queen of Britain' are dragons was the phrase "summoned the dragons breath" from the movie 'Excalibur'. Which had the best damn Merlin I've ever seen, and Helen Mirren played the sexiest Morgana imaginable.

Hope this is of some use, but doubt it.

Phil

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Meredith
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It's actually in the nature of a secret history. [Smile]

I haven't even thought of "Excalibur" in years. Not my favorite version of the Arthur cycle.

There are nearly always dragons in the Arthur story, btw, even if only on the flags. The Welsh Red Dragon for Uther PenDRAGON, and the white dragon for either Vortigern or Hengist and Horsa.

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Grumpy old guy
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I haven't delved that deeply into Arthurian legend personally. Nor have I seen a lot of Arthurian movies, but I loved the acerbic quality of Merlin in the film Excalibur.

But what I really wanted to see was how anyone could portray a Merlin who is living time in reverse. Do you know of any versions of the story that do that little bit of legerdemain justice?

Phil.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:

But what I really wanted to see was how anyone could portray a Merlin who is living time in reverse. Do you know of any versions of the story that do that little bit of legerdemain justice?

Phil.

AFIK that was an invention of T. H. White in THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING. It's not actually part of the original legends/stories.

The only movies I can think of that dealt with it at all did so only by reference, like CAMELOT.

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Jed Anderson
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I think you may need to clarify in the first paragraph what Merlin is. By the end of the third paragraph I still thought he was a bird of some type.

Excalibur had the best Merlin, and his dragon was simply the world around him. It was the was incorporeal presence of magic.

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extrinsic
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The earliest written accounts of the Arthurian legend were composed by Geoffrey of Monmouth, entitled Historia Regum Britanniae, "The History of the Kings of Britain," twelfth century. The accounts about Arthur tell of his ancestry that supports his ordained right to rule Britain, tracking back to heroes of ancient Greece and Rome and Homer's Iliad depicting the Trojan War, notably Trojan hero Aeneas. Also depicted in Virgil's Aenid, and notable figure in founding Rome.

Like Homer's and Virgil's epic poems, the original version of Monmouth's history was written as an epic poem yet in Old English. Rhyme schemes and rhythm were lost in translations to Middle English and, subsequently, Modern English. Pronunciation changes largely altered the poetry of the original; however, other language qualities were also lost: idiom, idiosyncracy, and figurative language qualities.

Monmouth drew inspiration for the Arthurian legend from Welsh oral traditions. He embellished the legends extensively. Subsequently, during the Middle Ages, other writers embellished the legends, adding central characters, dramatic events, and fantastical motifs, like dragons, which were symbolism conventions of Continental Renaissance romance literature. Merlin has been part of the manifold Arthurian legends since its oral origins. Lancelot, Guinivere, and the Grail are later embellishments.

Arthurian legends languished during the Colonial era, enjoying popular resurgence and new embellishments mid nineteenth century and into the present.

The Arthurian legend has evolved and adapted and adopted to cultural eras over its history. I'd say anything goes, as has been the legend's history, however, "Success in circuit lies" {"Tell All the Truth" Dickinson, Emily). Subtle, figurative, relevant, timely, and meaningful embellishments relevant to their culture eras' times have stood up over time. Superficial embellishments have not.

I'm partial to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon.

[ January 27, 2013, 01:18 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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