Le Morte D’Arthur- Part I

Published July 21, 2012 by myliteraryleanings

Review of Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory

Overview: The story of King Arthur and his reign. There are also many side adventures of his knights-errant.

My Review:

First off, the biggest disappointment in reading this book was when I got to the end of this book and read “End of Vol. I.” The whole time I was reading this thing I had no idea that this was only one part. It makes me wonder just how many “parts” there are. Any readers out there who know please enlighten me.

Going into this thing, I’ll admit I didn’t know much about this book at all. I remember that we read an excerpt of it in high school and I was always curious what was in the rest of the book. With that thought in mind, I download a free e-book version of this hoping to find out. It was one of those Google preserved books but nowhere in the download description did I see the words: “This is only Volume I.” If I had, I might not have bother with it.

Why? Because this “part” was 334 pages which at the time did seem light for a medieval epic adventure story but then again, I didn’t have a lot of experience reading these kinds of books so I thought I might have been wrong about that. It turns out that I wasn’t.

Anyway, those four words at the end of the book explain a lot of things that I didn’t understand before. The primary problem being that the book seems to talk more about King Arthur’s knights than King Arthur himself.

We do meet Merlin. We do hear the story of how Arthur pulled the Sword from the Stone and became the king of Camelot and later Great Britain at large. But after that we seem to digress into the stories of Arthur’s knights and those who opposed them, beginning with Sir Kay, Arthur’s foster brother.

The following is the Disney version of the sword pulling incident, which by the way, is fairly accurate if this book is to be believed.

Some of the knights I liked, others I didn’t. For one thing, we have a Sir Tristam mentioned who doesn’t seem particularly chivalrous to me though he does seem to be a favorite of nearly everyone. He escapes attempted poisoning by his stepmother only to have to deal with the hatred of his uncle, King Mark.

The most interesting thing about this entire book was learning more about medieval customs and speech. I got the gist of most of what was being said but sometimes I really had to focus to figure it out. Of course, it doesn’t help that some letters are missing or changed. Google warns the reader about this in the beginning but I wasn’t entirely sure which strange words were the results of missing or changed letters and which were Medieval English.

Then there is the obvious problem that the average medieval person seemed to have a different idea of what is chivalrous behavior. Even in the author’s judgment some knights were anything but chivalrous.

I am not entirely sorry I read this one but I can’t say that I will be rushing off to read Vol. II any time soon. This one took me longer than usual as it was. If I do decided to try it, not only will it be at a much later date, but I will first try to find out exactly how many parts there are and how many pages are in each part. I will post the review when I do read them as well.

To close, here is another version of the pulling of the Sword from the Stone, this time from the television show Merlin,  but not as close to the version in this book.

Contains: violence and some sexual situations.

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