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YMMV / The Mists of Avalon

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Das Sporking makes a good case that rather than Gwen being The Fundamentalist, her reactions throughout the story make sense in the context of someone suffering from what appears to be severe agoraphobia, and the condescending attitudes towards her from everyone who has anything to do with Avalon.
  • Anvilicious: Religious extremism and intolerance are bad, inclusive spirituality and freedom of religion are good. Of course, Protagonist-Centered Morality winds up breaking this Aesop...
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  • Damsel Scrappy: Gwenhwyfar can be annoying. Although it's probably intentional, given what a Strawman Christian she is and the narration leaning toward Real Women Don't Wear Dresses.
  • Designated Hero: Viviane wants to save Avalon, but the methods she uses are highly unorthodox. In fact, they're so unorthodox and self-serving that Das Sporking considers her a straight-up villain.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The revelation that Bradley's daughter had been molested by both her parents makes the dynamic between Viviane and Morgaine (especially regarding the Beltane ritual) so much creepier.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Morgaine may have been rather manipulative and shady at times, however it's really hard not to feel bad for her, considering that her entire life is a Trauma Conga Line- thanks to Viviane; she loses her father, is taken away from her mother, separated from her beloved young half-brother Arthur (whom she is then tricked into having sex with), her child is then taken by evil Morgause and turned against her and Arthur, she doesn't end up with the man that she loves, and eventually her whole culture is lost to Christianity.
    • Gwenhwyfar may have been a Christian bigot- especially towards the Faerie folk, however it's hard not to feel bad for her either since she was never able to have children of her own, let alone produce an heir to the throne of Camelot since her womb was cursed by the evil Morgause. This was what led her to a downward spiral to the point of even committing adultery.
  • Les Yay: Morgaine with half the women she encounters:
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    • Morgaine and Raven (it's implied that these two actually do have some sort of physical relationship)
      • Not even implied (once you spot it, that is), that's just how Marion Zimmer Bradley writes these things.
    • Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar (doubles as Foe Yay).
    • Morgaine and one of The Fair Folk.
  • Narm:
    • At one point Morgaine laments the fact that all the men she's fallen in love with have been closely related to her. It's meant to be sad, but comes off less as "Fate has treated me cruelly" and more as "Why can't I stop falling in love with my relatives?"
    • She's also upset with Lancelet, for daring to give her gentle foreplay before making love, instead of just taking her immediately.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: In 2014, Bradley's daughter went public with the fact that she had been molested by both her parents during her childhood, and she was far from the only one, suddenly putting Bradley in the same company as Roman Polanski and Woody Allen regarding the debate over how much of an artist's own life should impact the judgement of their work.
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  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: In regards to feminist treatment of the Arthurian legend. Nowadays, there are a fair amount of retellings from a female perspective (such as Gwenhwyfar and I am Morgan Le Fay), many of which take a less heavy-handed approach than The Mists of Avalon. It's easy to forget how groundbreaking TMoA was, in spite of its flaws.
  • Squick:
    • In the book, while Morgaine is preparing to greet the Horned King, she sees that the little girl who scattered blood on the fields is being raped by a sinewy old hunter. And Morgaine is apparently cool with this? Oh, and about a page later she realizes she's had sex with her own brother.
    • Lampshaded when Nimue needs to pass water and is afraid to do it in public. Morgaine is puzzled as to why would anyone want to spy on someone passing water.
    • As if Meleagar's rape of Gwenhwyfar wasn't horrific enough, it's never proved that he wasn't her half-brother after all.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The reader is supposed to sympathize with Avalon for its culture being overwhelmed by Christianity, but it's hard to feel sorry for them when they demand respect from other cultures while simultaneously belittling them constantly for being “backward” (and note that Avalon is just as superstitious as the cultures being mocked) and consider the rape of a child by an adult as perfectly natural and "holy."
  • What an Idiot!: Despite Avalon supposedly being having a closer understanding of the Faerie, Morgaine disappears for six years into the Faerie realm after pretty much ignoring every classic sign she's meeting a Faerie and being seduced by them into staying.

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