So the new King Arthur movie is GREAT. Like really great. I keep thinking about it and I want to see it again. It’s Guy Ritchie!! It’s ridiculously fun and not self-serious and yet perfectly serious at the same time!! Special effects!! Scenery!! The music!! Charlie Hunnam’s perfect face!!! All of it’s so good and that’s not even getting to the heart of the movie, which is why it has my heart-Arthur’s journey from reluctant hero to newly-crowned king. It isn’t really about him accepting his fate or shouldering his father’s burden or even becoming the man he was born to be. Or at least not entirely.
Ultimately it’s not about him at all. It’s about service. A king exists to serve his people and to protect them with everything he has, beginning and ending with his own life. When Arthur understands that, the idea of kingship stops being a terrifying prospect and becomes second nature to him. It’s beautiful because it’s NOT about power for him, or even all the things he can do or accomplish when he’s king. He finally accepts his destiny only when he sees that his life as king can be a natural extension of the life he already leads, a life where he protects everyone around him 100% of the time.
Vortigern represents what happens when you choose power over love (even if it breaks his heart, (gosh i love this movie, even the villain has layers!!)) and this is why Arthur refuses to accept his fate, because the model of kingship he’s had most of his life is cruelty and selfishness. But when he understands that being a king is nothing more than choosing love of others over love of self, over power, over everything and using all that you are to protect them so that they can flourish, he dives right in and never looks back.