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Fantomas
topic
02:10:56 AM Dec 24th 2011
The Holy Grail arguably falls into this category, and Terry Jones, a scholar with real in-depth knowledge of the Middle Ages, played with that idea in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". The point is that, in the original version of the myth (which, by the way, didn't appear until over 1,000 years after the death of Jesus Christ), the Grail itself is utterly useless, and the search for it is utterly pointless.

The story of the Round Table started out as a two-act drama. Act 1 - King Arthur unifies Britain, and assembles the best and bravest knights in his kingdom to act as an incorruptible force for good. Act 2 - Due to various human failings, the whole grand scheme falls apart and it ends with the dream in ruins and almost everybody dead. But the Holy Grail legend became popular shortly afterwards, and kind of got shoehorned into the existing story as the unnecessary middle act - you can see this happening in John Boorman's "Excalibur", where he has to shove that Grail business into the film somehow or other, and it all gets incredibly confusing.

Anyway, the original Grail story goes like this. King Arthur finally succeeds in assembling all 120 knights he needs to complete the Round Table roster, except one, because there is one special magic chair called the Siege Perilous, which strikes dead anybody who tries to sit in it, except the predestined occupant who will be the greatest and purest knight who ever lived. Galahad, illegitimate son of Lancelot, shows up and sits in it without being killed. At this moment, when King Arthur's Justice League of Camelot is finally complete, God suddenly manifests and tells them all to go and look for this stupid cup. Note that God hasn't lost it, because he's God, so he can't lose anything, can he? It's all completely pointless.

All the knights disperse around the world for the next 5 years, during which time about half of then die, and none of them accomplish anything the slightest bit useful. Meanwhile, King Arthur sits at home accomplishing nothing much either, because his entire police force are off looking for some stupid cup. Which, by the way, is sentient, and capable of putting in a teaser appearance and then flying away again just to keep the game interesting (or frustrating, depending on whether you're a knight or God).

The final result is that only 3 knights are pure enough to get anywhere near the Grail, and only Galahad can actually touch it, which was predestined from the beginning, so the other 119 were wasting their time all along. He then prays that his greatest wish - to drop dead at this, the moment of his supreme holy bliss - be granted, which it is. So Galahad finds the Grail, which wasn't lost, and dies. The Grail goes back to Heaven, Bedevere and Bors the other two nearly-pure knights, go back home to tell the story, and Arthur does his best to get back with the program after a 5-year interruption, during which his kingdom has descended into anarchy, and half his knights have died looking for something God knew in advance they couldn't find, but told them to anyway.

Some versions of the tale come blasphemously close to saying that Arthur might have succeeded in his noble aims if God hadn't sent his knights on a wild Grail chase, but this is glossed over by saying that it's ultimately Arthur's punishment for the sin of not only getting his half-sister pregnant, which was admittedly an accident, but trying to escape the consequences of a prophecy that the resultant child would destroy everything he'd tried to achieve by slaughtering all the babies born at a certain time (they tend to leave that bit out of the movies).

Anyway, the point is that the Grail is a sentient object which must be looked for because God said so, and you can't ignore that, but the consequences of the quest are overwhelmingly negative, and finding the Grail accomplishes absolutely nothing, except that the surviving knights can finally stop looking for the freakin' thing.

Now, is that an Artifact of Doom or isn't it?
Afrael
topic
03:40:08 AM Nov 20th 2010
Is the sentence "And on top of ruing just about everyone's lives" supposed to say ruining or ruling?
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