Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Knights of Fairy Tales

Dialogue taken from King Arthur (2005)...

"My father told me great tales of you," Guinevere said, by way of making conversation.

"Really?" Arthur asked, interested in spite of himself. "And what did you hear?"

"Fairy tales," Guinevere answered. "The kind you hear about people so brave, so selfless, that they can't be real." She gave a mocking smile.

"Arthur and his knights."

She had a thing for knights. Not the modern day kind, where all you had to do was do something great for the world and Queen E would grant you a knighthood. Where you had the title "Sir" in front of your name but had no royal blood lineage in you at all. Where your occupation was not to defend the kingdom but to play music or act in films.

She loved the old knights of Arthur's time.

Her fascination with Arthur started when she watched King Arthur. It started with a disclaimer where people never knew who Arthur truly was, but that later historians found Arthur to be based on a Roman Centurion called Arthorius Castus, or Arthur.

Then Merlin came about, and it was all she could do to stop herself from jumping in excitement. The swordfights excited her, and the magical moments, Morgana's moments especially, fired her blood up. It didn't hurt that she was always fascinated by swordfighting as a kid.

There would always be one truth: She believed in knights, so much so that she wanted to be one. Everything could change, but this one thing will not. She loved the fact that knights were chivalrous (a dying practice in this modern times); she loved that they stood for all that was right (unlike the corruption taking place throughout the world); she loved the way a sword would feel in her hands, strong steel that could cut through anything - she would give a world just for a chance to touch one.

Guns were alright, she guessed; like any other hot-blooded teenager, she liked guns. They were fast, deadly, and brilliant. But sometimes a part of her bemoaned the fact that guns lacked the finesse swordfighting did. Guns detached one from the real scene; anyone could pick up a piece, pull the trigger and walk off, unaffected. But it took guts to pick up a sword, fend iff your opponent, parry him off, use your head to turn the situation against him, with a large possibility that you were going to get your hands dirty with blood. Guns ended things too quick; she wanted to feel the snag of resistance, wanted to see how people would fight for their lives. She wanted to hear the hum of the blade as it swung in the air, feel a sense of satisfaction when it hit another blade with a resounding clang.

Like most things, the art of swordfighting was lost.

But she missed the knights the most.

She liked the Ancient times. At least back then, the only way you died in battle was by a sword, knife, axe or arrow. Nowadays, as the crime preventing tech gets more effective, people are looking for more deviant ways to kill. Truth be told, she preferred it old school. If it were against any medieval weapon, you could always fight back. But how could you possibly resist sodium penthothal (truth serum) or fight back against nuclear bombs and stuff like that?

Knights were her heroes. King Arthur was her favourite fairy tale. Because while other stories like Snow White, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty focuses on a young prince on a white horse that arrived at the end of the day to sweep the credit and the young maiden into his arms (how unrealistic that people could fall in love at first sight and marry the next day- they should make one where, after marrying the prince, Cinderella files for a divorce), Arthur and his knights had to prove themselves able to defend the kingdom. Arthur had many choices to make, difficult ones that had a specific outcome, but that made him all the more humane.

He worked hard to get where he is now: a great king of a great kingdom that forms a legend that will never be forgotten, however fictional he might be.

And instead of hoping for princes to sweep us off our feet, shouldn't we charge forth and do the right thing?

"Sometimes you've gotta do what you think is right, damn the consequences." ~ Morgana to Arthur in Merlin, episode 4 : The Poisoned Chalice.

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