novangla  asked:

Hi! So somehow Bedivere is kind of a gap in my Arthurian knowledge -- I know some basics (that he is friends with Kay and takes care of Excalibur at The End), but beyond that I feel like I never run into him. What do you think are his key distinguishing traits, and do you have any recommended Bedivere-centric/Bedivere-heavy stories I should read up on? Thanks!!

Hi! Thank you for this question because I really love Bedivere! I think the problem with Bedivere is that he is in fact a not very present knight around and for some reason many authors (in modern times) decided to use him as a Lancelot, so his character tends to become mixed up with Lancelot’s.

In many modern books I’ve read Bedivere is actually some sort of poet or musician? But I don’t know why so many authors decided to write him like that, maybe they managed to influence each others. In many other modern novels he is made Kay’s cousin or a friend of Arthur who grew up with him.

I think his key distinguishing trait is loyalty. Mostly because he is Arthur’s marshal (and Kay is Arthur’s seneschal, but Kay was also Arthur’s foster brother and I’d say it’s easier to trust a brother who grew up with you) and so he has to be trustworthy. And he is the one who stand with Arthur at his end and who gives up Excalibur’s power. I think that means a lot, because Bedivere could have kept the sword for himself while on the other hand he feels the temptation but I think it is more the hope of seeing Arthur rising again or using the sword to continue what Arthur had started. And because Excalibur is really a superb object.
Plus, Wace writes that Bedivere was one of Arthur’s most trustworhy advisors. And he has a brother: Lucan.
Also, he is without an arm.

About wonderful books with Bedivere (and where Bedivere is not confused with Lancelot… I put those kind of books under the Lancelot’s category) are (in order of how heavily Bedivere is in the book):

  1. The Pendragon (Catherine Christian): This is the book about Bedivere. Here Bedivere is the main POV and the protagonist ad his best friend is Palamedes. This book is actually one of my favourite arthurian books ever.
  2. Attanasio’s arthurian series (especially The serpent and the grail, The Perilous order): Bedivere is one of Arthur’s knights and he is a character of some relevance and a gay character. Sadly, I don’t consider these books good ones, I am extremely bored by them and the gay-bashing (not from the author but other characters) is very annoying (I still hope it’ll got better in the last one that I have still to read), but the first ones in the series are quite good.
  3. Gerald Morris’s series: I don’t remember in which books Bedivere appears, but he is one of the main recurring characters. And this series is amazing.
  4. Excalibur’s series by Bernard Cornwell: The protagonist may be seen as Bedivere. He is not Bedivere but he is inspired by Bedivere.
  5. Queen of Camelot (Nancy McKanzie): Bedivere is a minor side character and mostly associated with Kay.
  6. The winter prince (Elizabeth Wein): Bedivere is the one who teaches Medraut how to fight (and to Lleu too). He is a minor character.

novangla  asked:

Hi! As I think you know, I'm working on a post-apocalyptic genderbent retelling of Arthurian legend. Obviously there is a TON of "original" material to draw from and a million spinoff stories. What, in your personal attention as a fan/reader, would you consider the essential can't-leave out elements? ALSO: Somehow Bedivere is kind of a gap in my Arthurian knowledge -- what do you think are his key distinguishing traits, and any recommended Bedivere-centric stories I should read up on?

Yesss, I do know that, and you have no idea how exciting I find it! Like, if you ever want to talk about that project, I could totally give you my skype name, just saying.

Wow, this is a really big question, so I hope I can answer it decently. I kind of want to say that there are no hard and fast can’t-leave-out elements, because completely different stories can be equally arthurian, but then there are some stories that feel like they’re kind of missing a crucial little bit of…arthurian-ness. I don’t know if I could necessarily put my finger on what most of those things are, but I guess I’d just say that it has to have flawed people trying their hardest to stay true to themselves and to do what’s right. That’s always the most drawing and heart-wrenching thing for me: watching characters struggle so earnestly to make Camelot a good place, and then ultimately tragically die. (what kind of person am I oops). I think the concept of people trying to achieve an impossibly perfect dream and failing because of human nature is one of the only core themes that occurs in most retellings. I’m kind of rambling I think so I’ll stop now >.>

As for Bedivere, I’m eternally disappointed that he gets overlooked so often, because he’s one of my favourites and I have so much headcanon about him. I think he’s often excluded because of Lancelot, which is silly, since there’s no reason the two characters shouldn’t both have important roles within the same story.

The most well known aspects of Bedivere’s story are probably his close friendship (or more than a friendship wink wonk) with Kay and his role of throwing Excalibur back to the lake, and I think that those two things really define what the modern image of Bedivere is. A lot of people envision him as having been Arthur’s friend since childhood (which makes a lot of sense when you consider that Bedivere is also such close friends with Kay), or at least since the beginning of Arthur’s reign; and it’s thematically wonderful to think that Bedivere was with Arthur from the beginning and stayed with him until the very end. That loyalty to Arthur is something I see as a defining character trait (although some people choose to view the not-immediately-throwing-the-sword-back-thing as a kind of betrayal—I don’t really put much weight in that personally).

A defining part of the Welsh canon was his close relationship with Kay, and I think that’s a huge part of what defines him. Also in Welsh canon*: people thought Bedivere was a dark sorcerer but Arthur always vouched for him, which is a really cool thing that I’ve never seen come up in modern retellings. I think it’d be super interesting to write him as a sorcerer, or at least to play on the idea that many people at Camelot were somehow prejudiced against him. And of course, again, that strong bond and loyalty between Arthur and Bedivere is present.

Basically I view Arthur, Bedivere, and Kay as being a tight knit little family whose trust in each other never falters and it’s a beautiful thing.

As for recs, oh gosh, I really don’t know. I’ve barely read any books where Bedivere was a main character, and it’s been such a while since I have. I don’t want to rec anything I read more than a couple of years ago, because I know I won’t remember it accurately at all. You should try asking lucrezianoin, though; she always has good recs. (Also I’m reading a book right now where Bedivere is the protagonist, so I can tell you what I think of it when I finish, if you’d like).

Thank you so much for asking my arthurian opinions and having patience with my wordy reply!

*please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m by no means an expert and this is just from my own very limited understanding

novangla  asked:

I've seen a lot of questions/comments about retellings recently, and I happen to be starting work on one! It's set in the future rather than the past - post-apocalyptic to retain a "dark ages" and low-tech setting - and features a female Arthur (and female Gawain, and male Morgan). My question for you and anyone else is: what do you look for in an Arthurian re-telling? What things turn you off from one? What favorite or essential features need to be retained from the tradition?

Ohh it seems very interesting! Publish it so that anyone can answer you!

Well, I think everyone has the fundamental traits of arthurian characters that can help to identify the character (one of the reasons why sometimes for some books and tv shows it just looks like random characters with arthurian names). I think I am particularly in love with the idea of idealistic Arthur, an Arthur still able to make his mistakes (as he does in different versions) but that is moved by the need to pursuit justice. I don’t consider fundamental the love story Guinevere/Lancelot but usually I like some form of relationship (be it friendship or love) between them.
Complex!Mordred with daddy issues (and son of Arthur) is one of my must. Also all the idea of the round table and the fight to protect the weak. For the other characters I think I have, as anyone, some fundamental traits I can’t ignore/I need to see (like Galahad as the gentle and kind, Percival as the naive, Bors as the pure and righteous, Kay as the harsh and sassy, Morgana as mysterious, Nimue as the good character against Merlin etc.)

About things that turn me off… I think I have a personal irritation at Morgana as Mordred’s mother if not done well or at Morgana and Morgause being the same character. Plus bastardization of characters that are not usually considered evil in legends (like the bastardization of Guinevere, Kay, Lancelot etc. that I’ve read in some novels).

About essential features that need (in my opinion) to be retained I’d say Arthur’s idealism and the family relations (because I am so no objective: they are my favourite things of arthuriana).

novangla said: oh no! I hope if I ever do this you feel comfortable sending me a message. I think I’m pretty good at hearing and inwardly digesting criticism, as well as disagreeing civilly. Plus sometimes people don’t realize that whatever would be upsetting!

cleromancy said: if it’s ever me who does that please feel free to bring it up with me, if you feel able to do so, but if not that’s cool too, but tthen ofc if you want me to unfollow you back i’d like it if you told me? fuh

whimsyville said: same, friend

ahhh, you folks are great, this is actually helping me feel less nervous about the whole ‘talking to people when they post upsetting things’ thing :)

I’d like to think that all the lovely people I follow really don’t mean to post anything shitty, so I am trying to get better at actually sending people a message instead of unfollowing them ^^’ It’s especially hard sometimes because I want my tumblr dash to be a little sanctuary where never an oppressive or disturbing(to me) word is spoken, ahahh, so it’s just like I want to bring my dash back to a non-upsetting state as quickly as possible, if that makes sense?

But like, if we mutually follow each other and have spoken before, I will definitely say something! I value my tumblr friends and acquaintances a lot and I won’t just mysteriously unfollow you.

novangla replied to your post

wowwwww. take more detail shots!!

Thanks!! Upload detail shots? With pleasure! :)

This is the hilt of Agravaine’s sword (kind of inspired by Theoden’s in LOTR)…

And this is the pommel of Mordred’s longsword (I thought it was fitting for the Raven Knight)…

There’s really never any description of Agravaine’s and Mordred’s swords in Arthurian literature, so I decided I had free range. In my books, the brothers are nicknamed “the Wolf and the Raven”–Agravaine, the Wolf, is strong and fierce, but also incredibly loyal to his “pack,” while Mordred, the Raven, is cunning and inquisitive, but tends to use his mind to avoid direct confrontation. (And, just like the wolf and the raven in nature, the brothers work together.) I tried to make their swords reflect that…

so I have a question for all my fellow Arthurian enthusiasts

I’ve decided to try to read a lot more contemporary Arthurian novels, but there are so many it’s hard to get started

so what are some of your favorite Arthurian novels? what books do you think I HAVE to read? (preferably with little to no rape, if you please)

tagging: lucrezianoin, scribblingface, novangla, writers-cube, badlybehavedbookworm, and anyone else interested in passing on a few suggestions

obligatory question mark?