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* AuthorFilibuster: Artos makes a point of mentioning that he'd rather YaoiGuys Gault and Levin form a stable Battle Couple, [[AncientGreece à la Theban Band]], than have his Companions fight over women or divide their loyalties with their wives (a point eventually exemplified by his situation with Bedwyr and Guenhumara). The book was published during the debate on decriminalising gay sex in the UK.

to:

* AuthorFilibuster: Artos makes a point of mentioning that he'd rather YaoiGuys Gault and Levin form a stable Battle Couple, [[AncientGreece [[UsefulNotes/AncientGreece à la Theban Band]], than have his Companions fight over women or divide their loyalties with their wives (a point eventually exemplified by his situation with Bedwyr and Guenhumara). The book was published during the debate on decriminalising gay sex in the UK.


* AllHallowsEve: Bedwyr and Guenhumara meet for the first time on Samhain, and then she asks for news of her recently dead acquaintance Gault. In other words, the omens are not favourable.


Added DiffLines:

* HalloweenEpisode: Bedwyr and Guenhumara meet for the first time on Samhain, and then she asks for news of her recently dead acquaintance Gault. In other words, the omens are not favourable.


''Sword at Sunset'' is a HistoricalFiction novel by Creator/RosemarySutcliff published in 1963, one of the first modern novels to [[{{Demythtification}} Demythtify]] KingArthur. A generation after the departure of UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire, Artos, bastard nephew of the High King Ambrosius Aurelianus of Britain, forms a Company of three hundred cavalrymen to spearhead a united British front against the invading UsefulNotes/AngloSaxons.

to:

''Sword at Sunset'' is a HistoricalFiction novel by Creator/RosemarySutcliff published in 1963, one of the first modern novels to [[{{Demythtification}} Demythtify]] KingArthur.Myth/KingArthur. A generation after the departure of UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire, Artos, bastard nephew of the High King Ambrosius Aurelianus of Britain, forms a Company of three hundred cavalrymen to spearhead a united British front against the invading UsefulNotes/AngloSaxons.



* SlaveRevolt: The citizens of Eburacum enslaved by Octa's Saxons conspire to open the gates during Artos's attack, resulting in the recapture of the city.

to:

* SlaveRevolt: SlaveLiberation: The citizens of Eburacum enslaved by Octa's Saxons conspire to open the gates during Artos's attack, resulting in the recapture of the city.


* AuthorFilibuster: Artos makes a point of mentioning that he'd rather YaoiGuys Gault and Levin form a stable Battle Couple, [[AncientGreece a la Theban Band]], than have his Companions fight over women or divide their loyalties with their wives (a point eventually exemplified by his situation with Bedwyr and Guenhumara). The book was published during the debate on decriminalising gay sex in the UK.

to:

* AuthorFilibuster: Artos makes a point of mentioning that he'd rather YaoiGuys Gault and Levin form a stable Battle Couple, [[AncientGreece a à la Theban Band]], than have his Companions fight over women or divide their loyalties with their wives (a point eventually exemplified by his situation with Bedwyr and Guenhumara). The book was published during the debate on decriminalising gay sex in the UK.



* BastardBastard: Medraut, Artos's son by his insane sister, herself a BastardBastard, has been raised to hate and undermine him, and engineers Guenhumara's downfall as well as giving Artos his mortal wound. He can pose as a loyal follower, however, because illegitimacy per se isn't the issue – Artos himself is a HeroicBastard.

to:

* BastardBastard: Medraut, Artos's son by his insane sister, herself a BastardBastard, has been raised to hate and undermine him, and engineers Guenhumara's downfall as well as giving Artos his mortal wound. He can pose as a loyal follower, however, because illegitimacy per se ''per se'' isn't the issue – Artos himself is a HeroicBastard.



-->"After I’d written Sword at Sunset, I did an edited version for children, and they made me cut certain things – details of the battles, because they were too violent; and the fact that two of the soldiers were homosexuals, which was in fact a most natural thing to happen, and part of being a warrior. I discovered later that lots of children had been reading the adult version and loving it!"

to:

-->"After I’d written Sword ''Sword at Sunset, Sunset'', I did an edited version for children, and they made me cut certain things – details of the battles, because they were too violent; and the fact that two of the soldiers were homosexuals, which was in fact a most natural thing to happen, and part of being a warrior. I discovered later that lots of children had been reading the adult version and loving it!"


An interview with Rosemary Sutcliff about the writing of ''Sword at Sunset'' can be read [[http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/interview-with-rosemary-sutcliff here]].

to:

An interview with Rosemary Sutcliff about the writing of ''Sword at Sunset'' can be read Read [[http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/interview-with-rosemary-sutcliff here]].the Camelot Project's interview with Rosemary Sutcliff]] about the writing of ''Sword at Sunset''.



* {{Bowdlerize}}: Sutcliff produced an edition AbridgedForChildren shortly after the original book's publication.
-->"After I’d written Sword at Sunset, I did an edited version for children, and they made me cut certain things – details of the battles, because they were too violent; and the fact that two of the soldiers were homosexuals, which was in fact a most natural thing to happen, and part of being a warrior. I discovered later that lots of children had been reading the adult version and loving it!"
-->'''– Sutcliff interviewed in ''The Pied Pipers: Interviews with the influential creators of children's literature'' (ed. Wintle & Fisher, 1974)'''



* CompositeCharacter: Bedwyr represents both Bedivere and Lancelot. As Bedwyr, Bedivere was present in the early Celtic form of the Arthurian mythos along with Kay (Cei) and Gawain (Gwalchmai),while Lancelot was added to the mythos later through {{Chivalric Romance}}s. This started a trend in modern Arthurian fiction (see below).
* ContinuityNod: Guenhumara tells Artos that the Damnonii's horses are descended from Roman cavalry mounts captured from a legion destroyed in Valentia, i.e. the Ninth Hispana of ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth''.
* CoolHorse: The first part of the story is taken up with the difficulty of aquiring enough horses large enough to carry Artos's heavy cavalry, which are critical for the mobile force he intends to deploy, and he meets Bedwyr because he's the only person who can control a prize stud horse called the Black One. Artos's WhiteStallion Signus is the Black One's son, and he fights the greatest victory of his career in the White Horse Vale and is crowned on the White Horse itself. The Saxons, meanwhile, also fight under the banner of a white horse, and one of them tells Artos that their ancestors served in the Second Legion, whose badge was the winged horse {{Pegasus}}.

to:

* CompositeCharacter: Bedwyr represents both Bedivere and Lancelot. As Bedwyr, Bedivere was present in the early Celtic form of the Arthurian mythos along with Kay (Cei) and Gawain (Gwalchmai),while Lancelot was added to the mythos later through {{Chivalric Romance}}s. This started a trend in modern Arthurian fiction (see TropeMaker below).
-->"I think I had more the feeling I was getting back to the historical roots. There is very little that Bedwyr ever does in Arthurian legend, but there he is, one of the three oldest of the companions. I felt that if he is as unimportant as he appears to be, how come he is one of the three oldest companions? I wanted somebody to play the Lancelot role, and it seemed natural somehow that he should take it on."
-->'''– Sutcliff interviewed by the Camelot Project (1986)'''
* ContinuityNod: ContinuityNod:
**
Guenhumara tells Artos that the Damnonii's horses are descended from Roman cavalry mounts captured from a legion destroyed in Valentia, i.e. the Ninth Hispana of ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth''.
** Literature/TheDolphinRing:
-->"I remember looking across the fire to where the Minnow sat half asleep and propped against his father’s knee, and saw how Flavian’s hand with the great flawed emerald rested on the young man’s dusty shoulder. The last man to wear that ring had died in my service twenty years ago; in all likelihood Flavian would be dying with me in a few days from now. Three were too many to take in direct succession from one man’s line."
* CoolHorse: The first part of the story is taken up with the difficulty of aquiring acquiring enough horses large enough to carry Artos's heavy cavalry, which are critical for the mobile force he intends to deploy, and he meets Bedwyr because he's the only person who can control a prize stud horse called the Black One. Artos's WhiteStallion Signus is the Black One's son, and he fights the greatest victory of his career in the White Horse Vale and is crowned on the White Horse itself. The Saxons, meanwhile, also fight under the banner of a white horse, and one of them tells Artos that their ancestors served in the Second Legion, whose badge was the winged horse {{Pegasus}}.



-->"I write mostly about men in a man's world, fighting men; and the homosexual relationship, or at any rate very deep friendship between men, tends very much to occur in this kind of society." '''— Sutcliff in 1977'''

to:

-->"I write mostly about men in a man's world, fighting men; and the homosexual relationship, or at any rate very deep friendship between men, tends very much to occur in this kind of society." '''— "
-->'''–
Sutcliff interviewed in 1977'''''The Pied Pipers'' (ed. Wintle & Fisher, 1974)'''



-->'''– Nicole Dentzien, ''The Openess of Myth: The Arthurian Tradition in the Middle Ages and Today'''''

to:

-->'''– Nicole Dentzien, ''The Openess of Myth: The Arthurian Tradition in the Middle Ages and Today'''''Today'' (2004)'''


''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in Literature/TheDolphinRing sequence, and the only entry in the series written primarily for adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''

to:

''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in Literature/TheDolphinRing sequence, and the only entry in the series written primarily for adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''Literature/TheShiningCompany.''


''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in Literature/TheDolphinRing sequence, and the only entry in the series aimed primarily at adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''

to:

''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in Literature/TheDolphinRing sequence, and the only entry in the series aimed written primarily at for adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''



** Final battle: Merdaut and Cerdic of Wessex

to:

** Final battle: Merdaut Medraut and Cerdic of Wessex



* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: Guenhumara and Bedwyr sleep together just once, after months of opportunity and restraint. Naturally, Medraut catches them.

to:

* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: Guenhumara and Bedwyr sleep together just once, after months of opportunity and restraint.opportunity. Naturally, Medraut catches them.



** GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Averted. The problem isn't explicitly described, but Artos and Guenhumara's sex life is. . .lacking.
** GladToBeAliveSex: Except that one time. An inversion, because they think they're about to die of scurvy in a snowbound fortress.

to:

** GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Averted. The problem isn't explicitly described, but Artos and Guenhumara's sex life is. . . lacking.
** GladToBeAliveSex: PreClimaxClimax: Except that one time. An inversion, time, because they think they're about to die of scurvy in a snowbound fortress.



* ElCidPloy: Artos refuses to have his imminent death officially proclaimed for reasons of morale, but lets it be known that he is injured. The only person who will be definitely informed is be his successor Constantine, whom he leaves in charge "until his return”.

to:

* ElCidPloy: Artos refuses to have his imminent death demise officially proclaimed for reasons of morale, but lets it be known that he is injured. The only person who will be definitely informed of his death is be his successor Constantine, whom he leaves in charge "until his return”.



* LonelyAtTheTop: Invoked. Artos never wished to become king because he dreads loneliness, and he gets it after Bedwyr and Guenhumara leave him.

to:

* LonelyAtTheTop: Invoked. Artos never wished to become king because he dreads loneliness, and he gets it after Bedwyr and Guenhumara leave him.him.
-->'''Artos:''' I was thankful that I should never be High King. Not for me that unbearable peak above the snow line.



** A platonic, filial version in which Medraut is jealous of Artos's regard for Cerdic son of Vortigern, their enemy kinsman whom Artos would have liked to have as a son.



* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The Battle of Badon is associated with King Arthur and Ambrosius, a HistoricalDomainCharacter, but no one knows the true details.

to:

* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The Battle of Badon is associated with King Arthur and Ambrosius, a HistoricalDomainCharacter, but no one knows the true details.details are lost to history.



** and
-->'''Artos:''' You would take this stain [of murder] on your soul?
-->'''Bedwyr:''' Yes. But you must say the word.



* YouHaveWaitedLongEnough: Guenhumara's father Maglaunus had allowed her five years to get over the death of her beloved fiancé in her teens. When Artos arrives, the five years are up, and Maglaunus publicly throws her at Artos's head, to their mutual horror.

to:

* YouHaveWaitedLongEnough: Guenhumara's father Maglaunus had allowed her five years to get over the death of her beloved fiancé in her teens. When Artos arrives, the five years are up, and Maglaunus publicly throws her at Artos's head, Artos, to their mutual horror.

Added DiffLines:

* CompositeCharacter: Bedwyr represents both Bedivere and Lancelot. As Bedwyr, Bedivere was present in the early Celtic form of the Arthurian mythos along with Kay (Cei) and Gawain (Gwalchmai),while Lancelot was added to the mythos later through {{Chivalric Romance}}s. This started a trend in modern Arthurian fiction (see below).


* ContinuityNod: Guenhumara tells Artos that the Damnonii's horses are descended from Roman cavalry mounts captured from a legion destroyed in Valentia, i.e. the Ninth Hispana of ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth''.



* ShoutOut: Guenhumara tells Artos that the Damnonii's horses are descended from Roman cavalry mounts captured from a legion destroyed in Valentia, i.e. the Ninth Hispana of ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth''.

Added DiffLines:

* HowWeGotHere: The book is narrated by Artos after his final battle.


* TakingTheVeil: Guenhumara retires into a nunnery when Bedwyr rejoins Artos. She had hated being confined in one for a single campaign season during her marriage to Artos.

to:

* TakingTheVeil: Guenhumara retires into a nunnery when Bedwyr rejoins Artos. She Artos who is dismayed to hear it as she had hated being confined in one for a single campaign season during early in their marriage. Bedwyr can only reply that it was her marriage to Artos.own idea and she went willingly.


''Sword at Sunset'' strips out the magical and courtly tropes of medieval Arthuriana, drawing instead from sub-Roman archaeology; older written sources like ''Literature/TheMabinogion'', the pseudo-historical ''Literature/HistoriaBrittonum'' and ''Literature/HistoriaRegumBritanniae''; and Victorian anthropological treatise ''The Golden Bough''. The core of Arthurian tradition is present in the figures of Artos’s Companions Bedwyr, Cei, and Gwalchmai; his troubled marriage to the chieftain’s daughter Guenhumara; and the vendetta of his mad sister Ygerna and her corrupted son Medraut. But the Knights in Shining Armour are Roman cavalrymen in captured chainmail; the independent British princelings cannot be united round a table; and the Quest for the Holy Grail is the endless struggle to supply food, men, and mounts to a Dark Age army; to hold together, for a few years longer, the cut-off, broken-down remnant of a vanished empire.

to:

''Sword at Sunset'' strips out the magical and courtly tropes of medieval Arthuriana, drawing instead from sub-Roman archaeology; older written sources like ''Literature/TheMabinogion'', the pseudo-historical ''Literature/HistoriaBrittonum'' and ''Literature/HistoriaRegumBritanniae''; and Victorian anthropological treatise ''The Golden Bough''. The core of Arthurian tradition is present in the figures of Artos’s Companions Bedwyr, Cei, and Gwalchmai; his troubled marriage to the chieftain’s daughter Guenhumara; and the vendetta of his mad sister Ygerna and her corrupted son Medraut. But the Knights knights in Shining Armour shining armour are Roman cavalrymen in captured chainmail; the independent British princelings cannot be united round a table; and the Quest for the Holy Grail is the endless struggle to supply food, men, and mounts to a Dark Age army; to hold together, for a few years longer, the cut-off, broken-down remnant of a vanished empire.



* AllFirstPersonNarratorsWriteLikeNovelists: Artos manages to compose a doorstopper in several days while writhing in agony on his deathbed.
* AllHallowsEve: Bedwyr and Guenhumara meet for the first time on Samhain, and then she asks for news of her recently dead acquaintance Gault. In other words, the omens are not favourable.
* AllPartOfTheShow: Invoked by Hengest when the Saxons use to cover of Beltane Eve celebrations to mask their signal fires. Unfortunately for them, Artos and Company notice while hanging out drinking on the battlements of Deva that some of the bonfires are in entirely the wrong direction.



* AntagonisticOffspring: Medraut, obviously. His mama didn't raise him right.
* ArcVillain: The forty years of Artos's reminiscences covers several campaigns in different parts of Britain against various other warlords.
** Battle of Deva: Hengest
** March to Eburacum: Octa Hengestson
** Northern campaign: Huil Son of Caw
** Battle of Badon: Aelle of Sussex
** Peacetime: Medraut
** Final battle: Merdaut and Cerdic of Wessex



* BandOfBrothels: The Company are forbidden to have wives and families, but they do inevitably attract camp followers who can live rough and provide the extra service of nursing the wounded. One of the ringleaders of the Eburacum slave revolt is a madam named Helen.



* BigBadassBattleSequence: Various, but most especially the Battle of Badon Hill, the action that breaks the united Saxons under Aelle of Sussex for the remainder of Artos's reign.



* CanineCompanion: Artos's second dog named Cabal is an Irish wolfhound left behind at Guenhumara's dun by a dead raider. Artos's desperation to adopt him is juxtaposed rather hilariously with his desperation to avoid becoming engaged to Guenhumara.

to:

* CanineCompanion: Artos's second dog named Cabal is an Irish wolfhound left behind at Guenhumara's dun by a dead raider. Artos's desperation eagerness to adopt him is juxtaposed rather hilariously with his desperation to avoid becoming engaged to Guenhumara.



* FounderOfTheKingdom: Several of Artos's Saxon opponents: Hengest of Kent, Aelle of Sussex, Cerdic of Wessex.



-->'''Huil:''' Maybe because, like you, I would be free, but for me, freedom is a different thing.

to:

-->'''Huil:''' Maybe because, like Like you, I would be free, but for me, freedom is a different thing.thing.
* TheGoodKing: Ambrosius and Artos.



* HeroicBastard: Artos, though the obvious choice for Ambrosius's heir by virtue of talent and being effectively his adopted son, cannot technically inherit because he is illegitimate, an objection that comes mainly from the Church rather than any political rival.



* TheMarvelousDeer: A "king stag", i.e. a many-pointed buck, sighted in the Forest of Spinaii allows Ambrosius to engineer a HuntingAccident for himself, committing suicide in a manner both unsuspicious and worthy of a king.



* TheResenter: Ygerna hates Artos, whom she'd never met, for two reasons: a) she's insane and b) their father's family came back for him because he was a boy.



* SlaveRevolt: The citizens of Eburacum enslaved by Octa's Saxons conspire to open the gates during Artos's attack, resulting in the recapture of the city.

to:

* SlaveRevolt: The citizens of Eburacum enslaved by Octa's Saxons conspire to open ShoutOut: Guenhumara tells Artos that the gates during Artos's attack, resulting Damnonii's horses are descended from Roman cavalry mounts captured from a legion destroyed in Valentia, i.e. the recapture Ninth Hispana of the city.''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth''.



* SlaveRevolt: The citizens of Eburacum enslaved by Octa's Saxons conspire to open the gates during Artos's attack, resulting in the recapture of the city.



* TropeCodifier: According to one scholar, the UrExample of the Bedwyr-Lancelot CompositeCharacter

to:

* TropeCodifier: TropeMaker: According to one scholar, the UrExample of the Bedwyr-Lancelot CompositeCharacterBedivere-Lancelot CompositeCharacter:



* TurbulentPriest: Artos clashes with the Church throughout his career over the issue of whether they ought to pony up supplies for protecting their property or whether he ought to defend God for free. Despite this fraught relationship, the Archbishop of Venta is the deciding vote in allowing him to become the war leader and effective king of Britain.



* WhyAreYouNotMySon: Artos's estimation of the relative merits of his enemy Cerdic and his son Medraut are all too apparent.

to:

* WhyAreYouNotMySon: Artos's estimation of the relative merits of his enemy Cerdic and his son Medraut are is all too apparent.



* YourCheatingHeart: Artos says that he'd always resolved not to object if Guenhumara had a lover, because he's impotent. It's the fact that ''she and Bedwyr'' cheated on him that he can't bear.

to:

* YouHaveWaitedLongEnough: Guenhumara's father Maglaunus had allowed her five years to get over the death of her beloved fiancé in her teens. When Artos arrives, the five years are up, and Maglaunus publicly throws her at Artos's head, to their mutual horror.
* YourCheatingHeart: Artos says that he'd always resolved not to object if Guenhumara had a lover, because he's impotent. It's the fact that ''she and Bedwyr'' cheated on him that he can't bear.bear.
----


''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in a GenerationalSaga that begins with ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth'', and the only entry in the series aimed primarily at adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''

to:

''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in a GenerationalSaga that begins with ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth'', Literature/TheDolphinRing sequence, and the only entry in the series aimed primarily at adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''


''Sword at Sunset'' is a HistoricalFiction novel by Creator/RosemarySutcliff published in 1963, one of the first modern novels to [[{{Demythtification}} Demythtify]] KingArthur. A generation after the departure of TheRomanEmpire, Artos, bastard nephew of the High King Ambrosius Aurelianus of Britain, forms a Company of three hundred cavalrymen to spearhead a united British front against the invading AngloSaxons.

to:

''Sword at Sunset'' is a HistoricalFiction novel by Creator/RosemarySutcliff published in 1963, one of the first modern novels to [[{{Demythtification}} Demythtify]] KingArthur. A generation after the departure of TheRomanEmpire, UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire, Artos, bastard nephew of the High King Ambrosius Aurelianus of Britain, forms a Company of three hundred cavalrymen to spearhead a united British front against the invading AngloSaxons.
UsefulNotes/AngloSaxons.

Added DiffLines:

[[quoteright:317:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sutcliff_sword_at_sunset_6252.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:317:[[DarkAgeEurope It's gonna be a long night.]]]]

''Sword at Sunset'' is a HistoricalFiction novel by Creator/RosemarySutcliff published in 1963, one of the first modern novels to [[{{Demythtification}} Demythtify]] KingArthur. A generation after the departure of TheRomanEmpire, Artos, bastard nephew of the High King Ambrosius Aurelianus of Britain, forms a Company of three hundred cavalrymen to spearhead a united British front against the invading AngloSaxons.

''Sword at Sunset'' strips out the magical and courtly tropes of medieval Arthuriana, drawing instead from sub-Roman archaeology; older written sources like ''Literature/TheMabinogion'', the pseudo-historical ''Literature/HistoriaBrittonum'' and ''Literature/HistoriaRegumBritanniae''; and Victorian anthropological treatise ''The Golden Bough''. The core of Arthurian tradition is present in the figures of Artos’s Companions Bedwyr, Cei, and Gwalchmai; his troubled marriage to the chieftain’s daughter Guenhumara; and the vendetta of his mad sister Ygerna and her corrupted son Medraut. But the Knights in Shining Armour are Roman cavalrymen in captured chainmail; the independent British princelings cannot be united round a table; and the Quest for the Holy Grail is the endless struggle to supply food, men, and mounts to a Dark Age army; to hold together, for a few years longer, the cut-off, broken-down remnant of a vanished empire.

''Sword at Sunset'' is the fifth novel in a GenerationalSaga that begins with ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth'', and the only entry in the series aimed primarily at adults. It is immediately preceded by ''The Lantern Bearers'', and has distant sequels in ''Dawn Wind'' and ''The Shining Company.''

An interview with Rosemary Sutcliff about the writing of ''Sword at Sunset'' can be read [[http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/interview-with-rosemary-sutcliff here]].
----
!!''Sword at Sunset'' contains examples of:
* AnyoneCanDie: Pretty much everyone does, because the story covers forty years of warfare and Dark Age medical expertise.
* AuthorFilibuster: Artos makes a point of mentioning that he'd rather YaoiGuys Gault and Levin form a stable Battle Couple, [[AncientGreece a la Theban Band]], than have his Companions fight over women or divide their loyalties with their wives (a point eventually exemplified by his situation with Bedwyr and Guenhumara). The book was published during the debate on decriminalising gay sex in the UK.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: Artos is spontaneously acclaimed the Emperor of the West at the White Horse of Uffington using the rituals of all the allied British war host after the Battle of Badon Hill.
* BandOfBrothers: Artos's Company, or Brotherhood, of three hundred cavalrymen. Their unity eventually weakens and a youthful faction follows Medraut into the last battle.
* BastardBastard: Medraut, Artos's son by his insane sister, herself a BastardBastard, has been raised to hate and undermine him, and engineers Guenhumara's downfall as well as giving Artos his mortal wound. He can pose as a loyal follower, however, because illegitimacy per se isn't the issue – Artos himself is a HeroicBastard.
* BattleCouple: Gault and Levin, [[ThoseTwoGuys two of Artos's warband]] who tried out SituationalSexuality and never looked back. They become a captain and second of a squadron and the subject of a [[BringHelpBack heroic subplot]].
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: Artos never does much to avert the evil he anticipates from Medraut, like kill him, because he's convinced that he and Medraut are meant to make an end of each other as his punishment for committing incest.
* BringHelpBack: Levin disappears from starving, snowbound Trimontium in an apparent (but unconvincing because he's a DeathSeeker) ScrewThisImOuttaHere, but actually travels cross-country in the dead of winter to summon the supply train back weeks early with desperately-needed food, dying in the process.
* CanineCompanion: Artos's second dog named Cabal is an Irish wolfhound left behind at Guenhumara's dun by a dead raider. Artos's desperation to adopt him is juxtaposed rather hilariously with his desperation to avoid becoming engaged to Guenhumara.
* CannibalismSuperpower: Invoked. The Little Dark People believe that eating their dead's hearts gives them their strength. Noni Heron's Feather reproaches Artos for not eating Cabal's after he dies at the battle of Badon.
* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: Guenhumara and Bedwyr sleep together just once, after months of opportunity and restraint. Naturally, Medraut catches them.
* ChangingOfTheGuard: Almost the only direct sequel Sutcliff ever wrote, ''Sword at Sunset'' takes up where ''The Lantern Bearers'' leaves off, with Artos as the point of view character. Aquila, Ambrosius, Flavian, and various others remain secondary characters in ''Sword''.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: In ''The Lantern Bearers'', Artos is a cheerful and charismatic secondary character. In his own narration in ''Sword at Sunset'', he's a joyless martyr to duty and his crippling psychological issues.
* CelibateHero: Artos's [[SurpriseIncest long-lost half-sister]] Ygerna [[RapeAsBackstory tricks him into sleeping with her]], and he's [[ParalyzingFearOfSexuality so traumatised]] he loses interest in sex. He doesn't realise he's impotent until he marries Guenhumara ten years later, and their difficulty in conceiving strains the marriage. Ambrosius the High King is also celibate, claiming that he’s MarriedToTheJob.
** GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Averted. The problem isn't explicitly described, but Artos and Guenhumara's sex life is. . .lacking.
** GladToBeAliveSex: Except that one time. An inversion, because they think they're about to die of scurvy in a snowbound fortress.
* CoolHorse: The first part of the story is taken up with the difficulty of aquiring enough horses large enough to carry Artos's heavy cavalry, which are critical for the mobile force he intends to deploy, and he meets Bedwyr because he's the only person who can control a prize stud horse called the Black One. Artos's WhiteStallion Signus is the Black One's son, and he fights the greatest victory of his career in the White Horse Vale and is crowned on the White Horse itself. The Saxons, meanwhile, also fight under the banner of a white horse, and one of them tells Artos that their ancestors served in the Second Legion, whose badge was the winged horse {{Pegasus}}.
* CrownOfHorns: Maglaunus the chieftain dons an antlered mask to preside as the Horned God over the Lammas feast. Hengest is said to be a "Royal Stag", and the High King Ambrosius commits SuicideByCop by going on foot to kill a king stag.
* DarkIsEvil: The Saxon conquest and the doom of the Roman British civilisation is metaphorically described as night falling on Britain, to be forestalled as long as possible in the hope of saving more of their culture from the dark. The title ''Sword at Sunset'' points to this metaphor, as do the prequel and sequel ''The Lantern Bearers'' and ''Dawn Wind''.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Sword at Sunset'' is the only book in the Dolphin Ring sequence written for adults. Besides the sexual content, it's more pessimistic and depressing, which is saying something.
* DeathSeeker: Levin, after Gault's death. Artos also observes that Ygerna reveals her EvilPlan partly because she wouldn't mind if he just killed her.
* DefiledForever: Artos after Ygerna. Also, Guenhumara begs Artos to marry her because if he rejects her father's very public offer, everyone will think he'd already slept with her...and not found her worth marrying.
* {{Demythtification}}: No Merlin, no Round Table, no shining armour, no magic.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: It's implied after the final scene, in which Bedwyr holds the dying Artos.
* DividedWeFall: Persuading local rulers to support a united front (led by him) against the invaders rather than protecting their own territories is the ongoing struggle of Artos's life. Artos points out that it's not the treachery of the conquered Saxons but of his own son, Companions, and Welsh countrymen that leads to the final battle.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: A stranger named Ygerna, in whose house Artos takes shelter one night, withholds the fairly important fact that they're half-siblings, drugs his meal, and seduces him, then reveals that she wanted to screw him over because their dead dad took care of him but not her (and she's a nutter.) Both the BedTrick and the SlippingAMickey are rape by modern standards, but Artos doesn’t refer to it that way, though he feels DefiledForever by the SurpriseIncest.
* DueToTheDead: After taking Trimontium, the Companions find the body of a Little Dark Woman who had been gang-raped. Artos solves their concerns about her ghost by burying her with honour in the fortress that night under nine dead warhorses.
* ElCidPloy: Artos refuses to have his imminent death officially proclaimed for reasons of morale, but lets it be known that he is injured. The only person who will be definitely informed is be his successor Constantine, whom he leaves in charge "until his return”.
* EvilDetectingDog: They hate Medraut.
* FiveManBand: Artos's closest companions fit the roles, though Guenhumara isn't a member of the Company: Artos is TheHero; Bedwyr is TheLancer; boisterous Cei is TheBigGuy; TheMedic Gwalchmai is TheSmartGuy; Guenhumara is TheChick.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect: Guenhumara and Artos don’t fall in love when she nurses him through the wound fever he got while defending her dun. But ten years later, her friendship with Bedwyr turns to something else while she nurses him after the wound he took at Badon.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Early and often.
* GambitRoulette: Ygerna's epic scheme to get {{Revenge}} on her (dead) absentee father is to have a one night stand with her long-lost half-brother when he wanders unknowingly and at random into her clutches, [[ChildByRape get pregnant,]] have a son, raise that son to hate his father, and unleash him on Artos, but only after she dies. Justified in that she's quite mad.
* GiveMeLibertyOrGiveMeDeath: Various British chieftains, notably Huil Son of Caw, the Pict rebel leader, would rather do anything, including ally with the Saxons or the Irish, than be subject to the High King.
-->'''Huil:''' Maybe because, like you, I would be free, but for me, freedom is a different thing.
* GreenEyedEpiphany: Artos marries Guenhumara, though he likes her, for her dowry of cavalry. He realises he loves her after LovableSexManiac Cei jokes about seducing her.
* HandicappedBadass: Gwalchmai, the Hawk of May, a clubfooted infirmarian brother who abandons the monastery to become a cavalryman and battlefield surgeon.
* HeroicSacrifice: A major theme of the novel is the belief that a king must sacrifice himself for the good of his people, in both a practical and a mystical sense. The Little Dark People believe that "victory must be bought with deliberate and willing sacrifice." Ambrosius orchestrates his own death in order to leave his kingdom to its best successor, Artos, but does it in a manner reminiscent of HumanSacrifice, killed by a deer linked symbolically to the Horned God of prosperity. Artos refuses to make Medraut his heir because he knows Medraut has no comprehension of the king's duty to his people, and sacrifices his life to prevent Medraut from taking power.
-->'''Artos:''' ''[on Ambrosius's death]'' I saw it for the face of the King Sacrifice; older than either Christos or Mithras, reaching back and forward into all time until the two met and the circle was complete. Always the god, the king, the hero, who must die for the people when the call comes.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Artos and Bedwyr, until Bedwyr falls in love with Guenhumara.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Also Artos and Bedwyr.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. Artos and Guenhumara have one child, Hylin, whose early death drives a permanent wedge between them. Guenhumara also explains to Artos that the Company's camp followers have indeed borne children – they just practice infanticide.
* ItHasBeenAnHonor:
-->'''Bedwyr:''' I have always been one to choose with care the company I die in...I never saw a place more to my mind, nor a company.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Well over a hundred named characters, many of them mere extras, for an average of more than one every five pages. There are four {{Red Shirt}}s introduced in the last chapter alone.
* LonelyAtTheTop: Invoked. Artos never wished to become king because he dreads loneliness, and he gets it after Bedwyr and Guenhumara leave him.
* LookalikeLovers: Gault and Levin, because they represent a partnership of perfect equality and unity of purpose in Artos's mind (as contrasted with civilian wives.) As members of the Brotherhood, it also gives them a faint zest of IncestSubtext.
-->'''Artos:''' Seeing them there with the lantern spilling its pool of dim yellow radiance on the two wild-barley-coloured heads, I realised as I had never quite done before, how alike they were. It was as though the link between them was so potent that even in their outward seeming they could have nothing apart from each other.
* LuredIntoATrap: Artos finally defeats the Saxon conqueror Hengest, having received advance notice of Hengest's surprise attack, by digging a series of concealed trenches across the approaches to Deva to break the Saxon infantry charge. At the final battle, the remnants of the Company draw out Medraut's squadron in order to lead him away from his superior forces and kill him before his Welsh reinforcements arrive.
* MagneticHero: Artos, of course, draws a few new Companions to his following everywhere he goes, most notably Bedwyr and Gwalchmai, though he doesn't exactly imagine he's the stuff of legends:
-->'''Artos:''' ''[on Huil Son of Caw]'' The man before me was not a Great One in the way of Hengest, but he was a man whom other men follow; I am such a one myself, and I recognised the kind.
* MixedAncestry: Artos's father is a Romano-Briton and his unknown mother is a Welsh Celt, which he believes gives him a feeling for both cultures. Meanwhile, Cerdic is the son of a Welsh father and Saxon mother, and has some claim to the British throne despite identifying with his Saxon family.
-->'''Artos:''' At the worst, it might be to be torn between the tree and the stallion. At the least, it is to be always a little in exile.
* MyBelovedSmother: Artos believes Medraut had a creepy, stifling relationship with Ygerna, who figuratively "devoured" him.
-->'''Artos:''' He is a stranger in the world, and at odds with it, because his mother never truly gave him birth until her own death tore him from her. He wants to get back to the warm darkness of his mother's womb; and failing to escape from it, he will be revenged on the world if he can.
* OurFairiesAreDifferent: The Little Dark People, secretive subterranean-dwelling aboriginal Britons whom Artos befriends by paying one the respect DueToTheDead, who become his scouts and messengers. Guenhumara is convinced that they steal Hylin's life after she is forced to give birth in one of their villages.
* PlainJane: Bedwyr's face is noticeably asymmetrical and fantastically ugly, and by middle age he's almost TheGrotesque. Guenhumara is unremarkable looking aside from her blond hair. Ironically the member of the love triangle described as beautiful is Artos, as are Ygerna and Medraut.
* SecretStabWound: Gault dies of blood loss after leading his patrol home with an arrow in his ribs, unbeknownst to them.
* SelfSacrificeScheme: Ambrosius, who is SecretlyDying of cancer, arranges a HuntingAccident to make himself a HumanSacrifice.
* ShadowArchetype: Medraut to Artos. Medraut looks uncannily like Artos and has his skill as a soldier, but none of his morals.
* SlaveRevolt: The citizens of Eburacum enslaved by Octa's Saxons conspire to open the gates during Artos's attack, resulting in the recapture of the city.
* SituationalSexuality: Discussed.
-->"I write mostly about men in a man's world, fighting men; and the homosexual relationship, or at any rate very deep friendship between men, tends very much to occur in this kind of society." '''— Sutcliff in 1977'''
* AStormIsComing: Invoked. The night before Ambrosius's death there is a massive display of the northern lights. The eve of the final battle has a flaming sunset.
* SuccessionCrisis: Ambrosius deliberately creates one, because he needs to leave Britain to Artos but can't do it legally. So he kills himself without naming an heir and leaves Artos to reluctantly seize power.
* TakingTheVeil: Guenhumara retires into a nunnery when Bedwyr rejoins Artos. She had hated being confined in one for a single campaign season during her marriage to Artos.
* TangledFamilyTree: Artos is distantly related to his favourite enemy Cerdic. Cerdic's father Vortigern was a Welsh prince, like Artos and Ambrosius, whose first wife was Ambrosius's aunt.
* ThreesomeSubtext: Artos, Guenhumara, and Bedwyr.
* ThreeSuccessfulGenerations: Aquila, Ambrosius's cavalry commander and the hero of prequel ''The Lantern Bearers'', here has his adult son Flavian, one of Artos's squadron captains, and Flavian's teenage son the Minnow. [[spoiler: Aquila dies at Badon Hill, while Flavian falls in the last battle, which Artos sends the Minnow away from with the family ring.]] Artos's own line is a subversion, since Artos loves and succeeds his uncle and foster-father Ambrosius, but his own son Medraut is his enemy.
* TriangRelations: Artos and Guenhumara enter into an ArrangedMarriage, to his best friend Bedwyr's dismay. Artos falls in love with Guenhumara, but his sexual dysfunction hurts their marriage and Guenhumara blames him for the death of their only child. Years later Guenhumara and Bedwyr fall in love, and Artos repudiates them both. Years later still, Bedwyr leaves Guenhumara behind to rejoin Artos.
** A platonic, filial version in which Medraut is jealous of Artos's regard for Cerdic son of Vortigern, their enemy kinsman whom Artos would have liked to have as a son.
* TropeCodifier: According to one scholar, the UrExample of the Bedwyr-Lancelot CompositeCharacter
-->"Another interesting feature of ''Sword at Sunset'' is the fact that, if compared to other contemporary novels, it also shows the emergence of a new Arthurian tradition: Sutcliff’s elimination of Launcelot, whom she replaces with Bedwyr as the queen’s lover, has been accepted by Creator/MaryStewart, Joan Wolf, Gillian Bradshaw, and others and has thus been included in the recognized catalogue of adaptable features."
-->'''– Nicole Dentzien, ''The Openess of Myth: The Arthurian Tradition in the Middle Ages and Today'''''
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The Battle of Badon is associated with King Arthur and Ambrosius, a HistoricalDomainCharacter, but no one knows the true details.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Medraut, possibly, but Artos is too suspicious of him to respond to it.
* WhyAreYouNotMySon: Artos's estimation of the relative merits of his enemy Cerdic and his son Medraut are all too apparent.
* YouAreWorthHell:
-->'''Bedwyr:''' You fool, Artos! Don't you know that if you were deservedly frying in your Christian's Hell for every sin from broken faith to sodomy, you could count on my buckler to shield your face from the flames?
-->'''Artos:''' I believe I could. You are almost as great a fool as I.
** and
-->'''Artos:''' You would take this stain [of murder] on your soul?
-->'''Bedwyr:''' Yes. But you must say the word.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Although Artos receives word of the outcome of the final battle, Cerdic's personal fate is never mentioned.
* WorthyOpponent: Most of them that Artos meets personally, including Cerdic, Huil Son of Caw, and the Anglian negotiator, but especially the Jutish warlord and nation-builder Hengest.
-->'''Artos:''' He was a Royal Stag. Thank God he is dead.
* YourCheatingHeart: Artos says that he'd always resolved not to object if Guenhumara had a lover, because he's impotent. It's the fact that ''she and Bedwyr'' cheated on him that he can't bear.

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