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merlyn

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  1. I agree that it seems less suited to "Pendragon", with its carefully designed maps, in contrast to the movie "Excalibur" where the geography is far more vague.
  2. "Child" could be interpreted as "childe", meaning a noble youth who has not yet been knighted, rather than as a child in the modern sense. But I agree that this change to the chronology works better. The Great Pendragon Campaign does stretch Arthur's reign out; in the Annales Cambriae, only twenty-one years separate the battles of Badon and Camlann, a timeline that Geoffrey of Monmouth apparently adheres to when he divides the period between the two battles as twelve years of peace and nine years campaigning in Gaul. On the other hand, the Mort du Roi Artu, as I recall, describes Arthur
  3. There's also the infamous Triad telling how Tristram looked after King Mark's pigs while the regular swineherd was delivering a message to Iseult, and stopped Arthur, Kay, and Bedivere from stealing them (though I can't see this incident as taking place in a conventional "Pendragon" campaign; an "Arthur dux bellorum" one, on the other hand....). Most of the experts have held that Tristram's incorporation into the Arthurian legend weakened his story (all the more because it included a lot of knight-errantry that distracted from the love story that was the focus of the original tale) - apar
  4. The most likely explanation for that is that the Grail Quest is not a conventional quest to find Carbonek; the goal is to understand the spiritual significance of the Holy Grail, which can only be done by wandering about in the wilderness, facing a series of tests and challenges. As Phyllis Ann Karr pointed out in her Arthurian Companion, it's more like a vision quest or a walkabout. Also, Galahad has a number of missions to fulfill first, such as delivering the Castle of Maidens from its masters, ending the burning tomb and the boiling fountain, achieving the Shield Adventurous, etc.
  5. Railroading seems inevitable for a role-playing game campaign set in a familiar legend; you can't tamper too much with the original story without taking away the point of using it for a backdrop.
  6. I agree that the Vulgate/Malory version of the Grail Quest is really Lancelot-centered. Its chief goal is to show how Lancelot's affair with Queen Guinevere (and maybe his pride, as well) cost him the Holy Grail, with Galahad as really a sort of "how Lancelot would have fared on the Grail Quest if he hadn't fallen into sin". The earlier, Percival versions work much better if you want to move the story away from "the Lancelotian legend" - if with the challenge that the Grail Quest is here designed for Percival. (Indeed, Gawain is generally the only other knight of the Round Table to par
  7. I look forward to seeing it; I have my own thoughts on adjusting it, but will save those for the Grail thread.
  8. My own take on Agravain and his confederates is that they're tired of constantly getting unhorsed by Lancelot in tournaments and of Lancelot winning all the glory, and that the exposure of his affair with Guinevere is designed to secure his disgrace and banishment (or execution), after which they might have better hopes of achieving more renown. With the possible exception of Mordred, I doubt that any of them had intended it to turn into an actual war between Arthur and Lancelot - though they ought to have anticipated that possibility in light of how many enthusiastic followers Lancelot had.
  9. As I mentioned above, that gives the chronicle version one advantage over the romance version (as found in the Vulgate Cycle and Malory), despite the romance version having greater pathos. In the romance version, when Mordred's treachery takes place, the kingdom is already doomed by the war between Arthur and Lancelot; it's like kicking down an already tottering building. (One could blame Mordred for the civil war, since he was one of the conspirators who exposed Lancelot and Guinevere's affair, but the evidence in both Malory and the Vulgate indicates that Agravain was the leader of the con
  10. In Geoffrey's version, the Roman War begins just after Arthur's returned to Britain after nine years away conquering Gaul (his conquest of Gaul, incidentally, is one of the causes of the Roman War; Rome demands, not just tribute from Arthur, but that he face trial for seizing Gaul from the Roman Empire); he's just been home for a short while, and heads off for fresh conquests. It's tempting to imagine Mordred offering himself as a king who will stay home and rule over Britain, rather than a constant absentee ruler who might even have aspirations to stay in Rome as its emperor and treat Britai
  11. I think that Tennyson deserves the credit for the matching that you mention (for the adultery, that is, not the incest, which he omitted); his "Idylls of the King" definitely give the Love Triangle the role of destroying Arthur's kingdom - with the further touch that it's here the Love Triangle itself, rather than its mere exposure, which dooms Camelot. In Malory and the Vulgate, it's the exposure of the Affair that ends Arthur's reign; as long as it was kept secret, the kingdom flourished, and only when Agravain and Mordred brought it into the open did the civil wars erupt. In Tennyson, the
  12. Given how often the story of Lancelot and Guinevere and their tragic love affair has resonated in the public imagination, I suspect that a version which downplays that element might not go down that well with many. But I can see some appeal to returning to the older approach. For a start, the familiar Love Affair as portrayed in Malory revolves more around Lancelot than around Arthur and his kingdom; it's a tragedy more because of how it wrecks Lancelot's private life than because it destroys the kingdom. Until the exposure of the lovers, most of the stories about Lancelot and Guinevere
  13. It's tempting to wonder whether Pellam was simply ignorant of Garlon's true nature (that gift of invisibility would certainly make it handy to cover up his guilt in murdering or wounding his many victims), though as other posters here have said, even if he knew what Garlon was really like, he'd still have Love (family) and Hospitality to motivate him. Maybe a bigger question is how the Holy Graiil could tolerate Garlon's presence at Carbonek, something which, as best I can tell, Malory and his predecessors never addressed. Certainly he seems to have been an utter disgrace to the Grail Fa
  14. Just give me instructions on how to send you the text of the annotations for the 1937-38 period, and I'll e-mail it to you. The hardcover Fantagraphics Books edition is the best, from what I've seen of the different reprints. They're up to Volume Twenty-one (1977-78), which is almost the end of the Foster era. The next volume, covering 1979-80, will see the end of the Foster era; I don't know if it'll be the last volume in the reprint, though.
  15. Thanks. Please give me directions for sending you the notes to Volume One (1937-38).
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