teazzle asked:

sorry if you've answered this before, but what would you recommend for someone to read if they wanted to know more and get into arthuriana?

Thomas Malory’s Le Mort d’Arthur is probably the definitive original source when it comes to Arthurian legend; Malory takes the French Lancelot-Grail cycle and the English folk legends and weaves them together, crafting a cohesive whole. He touches on the Sword in the Stone, the Lady of the Lake, the Holy Grail, Mordred, Lancelot & Guinevere….his is the standard Arthurian retelling.

I also recommend Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which in addition to being a fun read (there’s a girdle, and beheading, and kissing, it’s a very silly poem) models the arc of many of the French Romances, where a knight has to go on a quest that tests his quality.

If you really want to get into it, Chretien de Troyes is the one who basically invented courtly love, and his stories of Percival and Lancelot are very funny and beautiful, if you’re into medieval romances.

For any  more involved bits of Arthuriana (and there are a lot, the French went overboard on the supporting cast) I generally have to check wikipedia to keep everybody straight, and remember who was doing what in each romance.

As for modern fiction:

  • The Once and Future King, by TH White. This fucking book, I swear to god, I am still not over it, never over it—how White managed to so beautifully transcribe, and yet humanize, make gentle and beautiful Arthurian myths? I don’t know. But heartbreaking.
  • I wouldn’t normally recommend Tennyson’s Idylls of the King unless you’re already into Arthurian stuff, but it’s gorgeous if you are, and does a lot of Malory-esque stitching together of stories.
  • Gerald Morris’ The Squire’s Tales, which are aimed at the YA crowd, but they’re delightful retellings of Arthuriana mixed with original storylines. Morris gets the feel of Arthuriana, but updates the language and the stories for a modern audience.
  • TA Barron did a cycle of Merlin books (The Lost Years of Merlin) that I adored as a teenager, but they’re more fantasy than Arthurian retelling.
  • I remember liking The Idylls of the Queen, it was one of the few books that was self-contained, and it worked as a mystery, solved by Sir Kay—I forget how it ended, but I remember liking it.
  • Ooh, Here Lies Arthur was pretty good, I remember liking that one—I liked any book where a girl had to disguise herself as a boy.

Honestly, there are lots of Arthurian legend novels, depending on whose perspective you want to take–every five years or so there’s a redemption for Guinevere or Mordred, Elaine or Merlin, I suggest looking into whoever interests you.