Literature / Avalon High

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Avalon High is a 2005 novel by Meg Cabot.

The plot follows Elaine 'Ellie' Harrison, the daughter of two professors who specialize in medieval and Arthurian studies. The family moves to Annapolis, Maryland for a year long sabbatical and Ellie begins High School at Avalon High. There she meets some of the students like Lance the jock, Jennifer the cheerleader and Will Wagner, the Big Man on Campus. Ellie begins to bond with Will and gets a crush on him despite him dating Jennifer. Slowly Ellie begins to notice major similarities between the situations at Avalon High to King Arthur legend. Will is Arthur, Jennifer is Guinevere, Lance is Lancelot and Ellie herself is believed to be Elaine, the Lady of Shalott, a woman who committed suicide after falling in love with Lancelot. She is not the only one to know this as it is revealed her teacher Mr. Morton (aka Merlin) and Will's evil step-brother Marco (who is Mordred) are also clued into the legend. Now Ellie must try to help save Will from Marco and the powers of darkness but how can she if she is just the Lady of Shalott?

A sequel came out as 3 part Manga titled Avalon High: Coronation.

Despite being based on the Legend of King Arthur, the series isn't altogether faithful to its source. Many things had to be Bowdlerized or taken out to fit the story in the American high school setting.

Disney Channel has put out a Made-for-TV Movie version.

Not to be confused with Josh Phillips's 1999 webcomic Avalon.


This work provides examples of:

  • The Chooser of The One: What Ellie's role ends up being. Really, the main point of the story is all about the Chooser realizing their destiny and in turn, fulfilling their role by helping The Chosen One realize their destiny. In the first story, it is her giving Will the sword and allowing Arthur to finally triumph over Mordred. In the sequel, it's Ellie helping Will finally believe that he is Arthur and accepting it.
  • Comforting the Widow: Will's dad to Will's step-mom, after she conceived their child. Gets worse when you realize that he also pulled a Uriah Gambit and that the affair had been going for years.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Ellie's parents are Arthurian scholars and their daughter happens to be the modern counterpart of the Lady of the Lake who is dating the new King Arthur. One could argue that the coincidence is fate (the lifetime knowledge of Arthurian lore is what allows Ellie to fulfill her destiny) but it's still quite the coincidence.
  • Cool Sword: Double Subversion; The sword being studied by Ellie's father is just a boring old sword. And it's not Excalibur, but it still ends up being pretty cool.
  • Designated Villain: In-universe Ellie and Will think that it's ridiculous to assume that Marco is "evil" merely because he got a worse deal out of life. As he puts it, his step-father killed his father via Uriah Gambit, married his mother, and keeps comparing him to Will, who is The Ace. Will makes it clear that he sees Marco as his brother regardless of his father being a Jerkass.
  • Dumb Jock: Lance
  • Embarrassing First Name: Ellie's opinion of Elaine. Part of why Will goes by his middle name.
  • Expy: The whole point. Will is Arthur, Ellie is The Lady of the Lake, Marco is Mordred, Mr. Morton is Merlin, Lance is Lancelot, Jennifer is Guinevere, etc.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foreshadowing: Ellie's love of floating and her backyard swimming pool. Also, she's from Minnesota, "The land of a thousand lakes".
  • High School
  • High School A.U.
  • King Arthur: Avalon High and its manga sequels are a rehashing of the King Arthur legend in modern times, placing all the reincarnations of the famous mythological figures in high school.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Jennifer
  • Lovable Jock: Will and Lance
  • Love Triangle: Between Jennifer, Will, and Lance.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Will's Step-Mom reveals that she is in fact his biological mom. Marco does not take it well.
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone.
    • Somewhat subverted by Ellie and Will. Ellie is a Red Herring, since she's not Elaine of Shalott as everyone thought and William is Will's nickname.
  • Mr. Exposition: Mr. Morton
  • New Transfer Student: Ellie
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Double Subverted. There's nothing special about the sword, but in Will's hands, it becomes special. Also, in order to work, Ellie/The Lady of the Lake had to give him the sword.
  • Pair the Spares: Mr. Morton attempts this with Ellie and Lance. It ends up happening with Will/Ellie and Lance/Jennifer
  • Red Herring: Ellie being named Elaine.
  • Reincarnation: Again, the whole point
    • Not exactly. In the book, according to Mr. Morton, the legend repeats every generation with the students corresponding to the characters of the tales. Though the sequel manga seems to contradict this. In the film the characters are Reincarnations according to an old prophecy.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mr. Morton for his Ship Mates, Will/Jennifer and Lance/Ellie.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Ellie arrives and is immediately attracted to Big Man on Campus, Will.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ellie herself. Mr Morton aka Merlin is trying to Puppet Master everyone to a more correct version of 'destiny', Marco is trying to torpedo it. As the Expy of Elaine, the Lady of Shalott, Mr Morton sees her as a chance to subvert the Guinevere and Lancelot issue, and Marco simply sees her as a random chick of no importance. But because they both ignore her, Ellie is able to do an end-run around both of them to fulfill her duties as Lady of the Lake, at first unwittingly, and then purposefully; during the climax, her main obstacles come from the (possibly supernaturally) storm, and Will's own stubbornness. None of the players see her as a threat to their endgame until it's too late.
  • Those Two Guys: Ellie's friends Stacy and Liz
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Ellie
  • The Uriah Gambit: Will's father apparently pulled this so he could begin Comforting the Widow.

The movie provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: After Allie turns the prop sword she was holding into Excalibur, it becomes an exceedingly sharp blade.
  • Action Girl: Allie
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole : Making Ellie 'Arthur'. Traditionally Arthur was at least attracted to Guinevere, even if he didn't love her. Shouldn't Ellie have a crush on Jennifer?
  • Adaptational Heroism: Marco (who was the reincarnation of Mordred in the books) is now a member of the Order of the Bear, and thus loyal to King Arthur.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Whereas Mr. Moore (who was called Mr. Morton and was the reincarnation of Merlin in the books), is Mordred.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The security guard finds the idea that a teenager could sneak an actual antic broadsword into a school a bit ridiculous. Thankfully Excalibur turned back into a normal prop sword at just the right moment.
  • Artistic License Sports: You can not run a blocked extra point back for a touchdown.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Wouldn't be a King Arthur story without one, and Allie's crowning in front of her knights certainly counts.
  • Black Best Friend: Lance is black and the best friend of the idealized Will.
  • Blessed with Suck: Now that he's around the other reincarnations, Miles' visions get stronger, and also feel like "getting hit in the head with a brick".
  • Cool Sword: Excalibur which can be summoned and sent away in an instant by it's master.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Miles
    Miles: (to Marco) When I'm at Yale and you're in jail, I'll be sure to tell everyone how cool you are.
  • Good All Along: Marco
  • Heroes Want Redheads: In the movie Jennifer is portrayed by a redhead.
  • Hope Spot: After Marco decks Mordred it looks like it's all over and everyone is safe, wrong! Mordred proceeds to get his Villainous Second Wind.
  • Instant Armor: The reincarnations can revert to their original forms, which for most of them includes full plate armor.
  • Obviously Evil: If his introduction bullying Miles wasn't enough, Marco comes across as very sinister, wears all black, and has a habit of sneaking around and threatening people. It's intentional, and he gets much less threatening after The Reveal.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The actor who played Will in the movie is from England. His accent shows through quite a bit.
  • Meaningful Name: Allie Pennington... sounds a lot like Arthur Penndragon
  • Pimped-Out Cape: Seems very popular amongst the characters.
  • Prophecy Twist: Arthur was reborn in the modern world, but as a young girl. Surprise!
  • Red Herring: Will in the movie, as it's Ellie/Allie who's Arthur, not him.
  • Reincarnation: Unlike the book, the characters in the film appear to be direct reincarnations of there past counterparts.
    • Allie Pennington = King Arthur
    • Miles = Merlin
    • Lance = Lancelot
    • Jeniffer = Guinevere
    • Mr. Moore = Mordred
    • And in a twist, Will is implied to be Sir Bedivere, Arthur's marshall and the only knight entrusted with Excalibur.
  • Reverse Mole: Marco, in the movie.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Miles to Allie... and everyone else.
  • Seers: Miles has been experiencing random glimpses of the future for while before he meets Allie. It's an obvious sign that he's Merlin's reincarnation.
  • She Is the King: Mr. Moore thought she might have been the lady of the lake, but didn't really consider that she might be King Authur. And yet, here we are.

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