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Headscratchers / King Arthur

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  • Fanra: Arthur. So determined to bring about this new Rule of Law idea that he lets himself be used by evil people in the guise of upholding the law. Ok, so you tend to see that Arthur isn't very bright. In fact, he seems Too Dumb to Live sometimes. He thinks that because he is good, that everyone is. His son will love him if he just is nice to him. Really, you think he should show up on Jerry Springer with, "Parents who let their children walk all over them".

  • But the worst is when Guinevere and Lancelot were "caught". Now, one wonders why they can't just say he was visiting her but nothing happened, as no one saw them actually having sex. But assuming that for some weird reason they are forced to testify under oath and they won't break said oath...Arthur is the king, PARDON THEM! That upholds the Rule of Law and avoids having to kill them.
    • Really, the whole thing is a major plot problem, as you wonder exactly who is bringing charges against them anyway. I mean Rule of Law means a court system, judges, prosecutors, etc. Yet, some evil members of his court accuse them of this and suddenly they are guilty and must be executed? Where's the judge and prosecutor that you would assume Arthur appointed deciding not to charge them with a crime or acquit them because Arthur doesn't want it. It would certainly require a judge, jury and prosecutor to all decide that what Arthur wants doesn't matter. While it is possible that they could decide that it was a crime against God (marriage is sacred, etc.) they would have to be awfully sure of themselves before deciding to convict the Queen when the King doesn't want them to.
    • Not really, when you consider the more traditional manner in which they were caught—- a.k.a. Lance was completely naked when Mordred and Agrivain barged into the Queen's rooms, and had to kill Agrivain bare-handed and steal his sword to get through the rest of them to skip town. He wasn't available, Guinevere couldn't really explain the naked guy in her room, and at least in modern adaptations, Arthur refused to put himself and his queen above the law. Pretty clear-cut case, from where I'm standing.
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    • Also, the crime that Guenevere and Lancelot are guilty of is not so much adultery as it is high treason. Which is a pretty big deal.
      • In the parlance of the time, "naked" meant "unarmed". Not every version of the story has Lancelot and the Queen being adulterous, but being set up to appear as if they were.
      • Well, if she was willing to condemn Lancelot to death and slander him as something far worse than someone who would sleep with a married woman, she could explain him being naked in her room as him having evil intentions. Not that this troper is advocating such a thing, just pointing out that that would be one way to explain his naked presence, his murder of Agrivain, and his skipping of town while keeping herself blameless.
    • Who says he has the legal power to pardon them?
    • Arthur believes that The Law should apply to all people equally, regardless of their station. He builds the Round Table on that principle. If he's shown to play favorites, then he abandons the principle that he's trying to uphold. Of course, the smart thing would be to hold a trial and offer Lancelot and Guinevere the chance to confess their crimes against him and beg for his mercy. Arthur can then demonstrate his magnanimity by, for example, only exiling them instead of killing them.
      • If Lancelot hadn't killed Agrivaine, that might have worked. However, Agrivaine happened to be the brother of four other Knights of the Round Table, including Gawain, Mister Second-Only-To-Lancelot. If it looks like Arthur's coming down soft on Lancelot and Guenivere, he's risking those guys going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
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    • In The Once and Future King at least, Arthur was shown to be very naive and innocent as a result of having a fairly happy and sheltered upbringing by Sir Ector. Thus, he starts off the concept of the Round Table optimistically but fails to see the shortcomings that might happen (for example, it probably never would have occurred to him that his wife would cheat on him with his best friend). It was fairly common knowledge that Arthur wanted to hold everyone equal under the law, which was why everyone tried their hardest to ignore what was going on between the Queen and Lancelot. If it was acknowledged, they knew Arthur would have no choice but to kill them.
    • This whole trouble can be solved by simply pointing out that it's a mix-up of multiple legends, with people adding to the whole what in their era was popular. But if we do this in-universe, it's still easy by simply checking who they historically would have been: Arthur is a Romanized Briton (evident by his specific realm being named Logres, a name derived from the Welsh name for Romanized Britain), who needs the rule of the law to rule above his main (and militarily stronger) subjects; Guinevere is of Roman descent but raised by a non-Romanized Britons, and thus a symbol of union between the two rival nations Arthur ruled over; and Lancelot is a Romanized Gaul who serves Arthur in exchange for him freeing his people from Frankish rule. No matter if Lancelot and Guinevere had an affair or Gwenhwyfach simply set them up, the thing is that Lancelot was caught alone in the private rooms of a married woman either disarmed (something that implied extreme familiarity and that he wasn't there for his job) or outright naked (something that proves adultery) and killed at least one of the guys who caught him and got away with it, and no matter what he thought about it Arthur, being Guinevere's husband (and thus in a conflict of interests), had to let things in the hands of a judge to let Guinevere being tried for adultery... That in the case of the queen and symbol of union between the two nations was also high treason.
  • If King Arthur was to return, would he also come to the aid of all english people around the world, would he save Australia as well? or the Falkland islands
    • For that matter, would he defend everyone who lives in Great Britain now, or just the ones descended from the Britons of his own era? Would he attack modern descendants of Normans, Saxons, and so forth as "foreign invaders"?
      • In The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis, Merlin is in fact upset to learn that this realm he's come back to defend is all full of Saxons.
      • Given the mess done by his immediate successors and the last was so bad it was removed by a coalition of Britons, Saxons and Vandals (who lived in Spain. That's how bad that one was), I'd say he would only care for a just king.
    • And what about former colonies? Would he show up at the U.S. or Canada?
      • Pretty much all descendants of the Saxons and Normans are also descendants of the ancient Britons, thanks to a 1000 years of intermarriage. Since King Arthur is good and noble, he should show up to protect any country which is, or could be, in the commonwealth, under the English crown, which hasn't got some other volunteer to do the job. That would include the U.S, unless Washington and Lincoln are sleeping in their tombs, awaiting the call.
      • I would pay in BLOOD to see that in a movie!!
      • While Lincoln and Washington might come back the real defender of the US is Teddy Roosevelt. After all he's only staying dead voluntarily, and could return to life any time he wants.
    • For that matter, how is a guy who left back when battles were fought with swords and spears and countries were ruled by monarchies supposed to help defend or lead a modern nation when he returns? I read on WMG that he could be Winston Churchill or the Duke of Wellington, but in that case how would he learn all the stuff he needs to know to be a great leader of a different age?
      • I think the point is more about his leadership qualities than his specific knowledge of relevant military methods or the like. Churchill was not, in all honesty, a terrifically fantastic military mind but he was an extraordinary leader. The ability to rally people to the cause is probably the major part of King Arthur's power.
      • There's a saying online that if Optimus Prime appeared and marched down the streets of any city in America calling for people to come to war with him, practically every male (and many females) between a certain age range would march out and start grabbing rifles. Arthur's legend is considerably wider-spread, older, and with even broader appeal.
  • Related to the above, how useful would a really old dead king be if he were to return, anyways?
    • Besides, I didn't vote for him.
    • No need to worry. When he came back for the World War I and declared himself, they put him in a straitjacket faster than you could sneeze.
    • How useful would a really old dead king would be? Aside for his value as a rallying point, well... This is what he did to Cthulhu and the wizard that summoned it.
  • I'd be more worried about Merlin. Cooped up in that cave for so long, who knows what that level of cabin fever could do to a guy that powerful??
    • Sex-bots.
  • Ok, bringing everyone back to serious-town for a moment, can someone explain to me just why the Knights were hunting for the grail? I have some vague recollection of a wounded/comatose king, and Lancelot getting sleep-boinked to conceive Galahad for the purpose of the quest, but was there ever a solid concrete explanation for the quest?
  • The holy grail is a French pun. In Old French, Holy Grail is "San Greal" and Blood of Kings is "Sang Real" The quest for the holy grail was actually a quest for the blood of kings. Pulling the sword from the stone is an analogy of finding the Roman spirit that was diluted by the Pagan influence - it was likened to a sword in a dripping cave. The mineral deposits would cover the sword in stone, and separating the sword from that stone was like separating the Roman spirit from the Briton's influence.
    • God told them to do it.
    • A vision of the Grail appeared in Arthur's court one day, the knights liked what they saw and decided they must have it.
    • In T.H. White's "The Once and Future King", the Grail Quest is used by Arthur to try to divert the violent nature of his knights for something spiritual. In Camelot, they were getting restless and increasingly vengeance obsessed.
    • In Tennyson's "Idylls of the King", on the other hand, Arthur is horrified by the Grail's apparition, as he knows it will tear apart the Table. It is Galahad's quest, but the vision with which the task manifested sparked a zeal (or feigned zeal for fashion's sake) from the other knights.
    • To add my French 2 cents, with a Doylist attitude: The Grail appeared and was developped in stories from the late 12th-13th centuries; this is the period when, seeing that Arthur's legends were insanely popular with Knights while not really all that "catholic" (what with all the violent, dumb, flirtatious, adultery Knights of the Round Table behaving in a world filled with magical being), authors started christianizing the Arthurian world. So, as for an "explanation for the quest", a fair "out of story" explanation would be "because that way, they are all unambiguously Christians".
  • Meta-question. Is there any actual mythological basis for the association of Arthur and Excalibur with the element of wind? Because I do seem to run into that a lot. To give a few examples: In Fate/stay night, which features a gender-flipped Arthur, Excalibur is blessed by a spirit of wind, hiding the blade behind storms so the enemy cannot discern its true identity or exact size, also useable as a storm-based attack. In Sonic S And The Black Knight, Sonic, revealed to be the "true" King Arthur in the end, is dubbed the Knight of the Wind. And in Fire Emblem, it's a recurring thing to have wind spells named after the blade, most notably the Excalibur spell, though there's also Aircalibur and Rexcalibur. I do realize the latter are just bad puns, but still. So, anyone?
    • As far as I know, no that seems to be a recent thing. In medieval literature Excalibur is associated with light or fire because it's a bright shining blade. It's said to be as bright as 30 torches in Morte D'Arthur. It appears to be wreathed in fire in The Dream of Rhonabwy in the Mabinogion, as its hilt has a design of two serpents whose mouths project flames.
    • My guess is that the association came from the historical basis for Arthur being either Roman or a Romanized Briton and Roman armies of the time moving faster than their opponents (what with them having larger light and heavy cavalry components than their predecessors) and having brought Up to Eleven their ancestors' fascination for raining pointy death on their enemies.


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