Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Genre Character of the Week: Morgaine

As I mentioned last Friday, I’m currently reading the 1983 fantasy novel, The Mists of Avalon, and as I’m nearing the end of that story, I’m happy to say I’ve found this week’s genre character, Morgaine.

The premise of the book is pretty simple – tell the story of King Arthur from the point of view of the women in the legend; His Mother Igraine, Half-Sister Morgaine, and his Wife, Gwenhwyfar. The interesting thing about the book is the many levels it works on; showing a human side to an epic legend, showing the opposing world views of paganism and Christianity, and looking at the legend while specifically keeping in mind the rules and responsabilities that women held at the time.

The majority of the story comes from Morgaine’s point of view, and she is portrayed as a tragic character; starting as a young woman abandoned by her parents and feeling as if the world is using her poorly throughout. The appeal for me is how complex the character is shown as well as having a really interesting character arc.

The story does hit all the major beats of the legend (Arthur, Merlin, Round Table, Camelot, Lancelot, Mordred, The Quest for the Grail and others), but shown from Morgaine’s point of view, the events take a new light and show a world order being overwhelmed by something new.

The book is really big (my copy runs at 876 pages) and I’ve been reading it for over a week now, but in the end it is definitely worth checking out.

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