King Arthur. Brave knights. Wonderful and strange adventures. Welcome to the world of chivalry!
I will reserve a synopsis of the King Arthur legend until I review a classic version; suffice it to say that Knights of the Round Table covers six of the legends: The Sword in the Stone, The Knighting of Lancelot, Morgan Le Fay, Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnell, The Coming of Sir Gareth, and The Last Battle.
It had been several years since I last read a version of the King Arthur legend. I was surprised to be reminded of all of the magic and wizardry involved in the story. I remembered that the knights often rode in adventures that involved magic, but I did not remember Merlin’s presence being so strong. Merlin is described as “the most powerful wizard in the world” who “used his powers for good.” [pg. 8] He pops in and out of the first few stories as helpfully as a deity until he is finally led away by a fairy to fall into a long sleep. Each story involves some degree of magic or enchantment.
In one scene, a man’s head is chopped off, but due to magic, he picks it back up and places it on his shoulders. He is unharmed.
A woman is described as being “a monster. Her skin was wrinkled and yellow. Her hands were like claws. She had only a few jagged teeth and a patch over one eye.” [pgs. 67-68] It is later shown that her appearance was thus because she was under a spell.
In one story, we learn that what women most want is ‘to have their own way’. (Um, doesn’t everybody want that?) Sir Gawain is praised for allowing his wife to have her own way. Admittedly, it was a case in which that was the kindest thing to do.
The story ends with the typical ‘King Arthur will return to fight a final battle against evil’ bit.
Conclusion. Due to all of the magic involved, I would not recommend the King Arthur legend for Knights of the Round Table’s reading level. However, other than the magic, there was little amiss with this book.
Review © 2012 Laura Verret