April192013

Romance of the Battlefield

Things have been… interesting up in Boston today…  Yeah, we’ll go with that.  We’re on lockdown in our dorm  Lockdown was just lifted, so scratch that, I can leave my dorm now, at least according to the City of Boston.  So, that’s good?  

But while I was sheltered inside, I finished Daniel of the Blossoming Valley by Der Stricker and translated by Michael Resler and it didn’t exactly follow the pattern I was expecting, but it was probably the easiest read of the semester for the class.  

So, typically, Arthurian romances follow a particular pattern— Our hero arrives at King Arthur’s court, he departs on adventures, he’s proved heroic until he isn’t, then our hero has to prove himself again on a second set of adventures, which he obviously does, and then we have our happily ever after.  The end.  Boom.  Well, that’s the typical pattern anyways.  Also, there are other troupes that always show up, King Arthur as an old majestic king that is mostly retired from heroics, only one-on-one battles, and instant, overwhelming urges of love.  The number of times that has been made fun of, both in class and with snarky remarks in my head, is, well, innumerable. And he was filled with instant love for her.  If he did not have her, his love would overwhelm and destroy him. Etc, etc, etc…

Daniel on the other hand was different and not just because it isn’t based on some other French tale, also copying people is a thing that was encouraged.  So, it started off normally enough, minus the lack of source, with Daniel going off to court.  But boy does it depart from the pattern.  King Arthur is super involved in the tale and his part is a lot of motivation for Daniel’s original adventure.  Long story short, Daniel goes off and has lots of adventures, gets a magical and undefeatable sword then can kill everything (even giants and threatening boulders) and then goes and saves some others from a medusa-like head.  Then battles.  And more battling.  With battle swords.  On battlefields.  With lots of opportunity to show off battle prowess.  There were lots of battles.  Like big battles, with armies and King Arthur, it was weird.  I also got a little sick of all the battles, but it was different, which was good.  And then some other stuff happened and Daniel gained a kingdom and a wife. It was great, really.  It was just a lot.

So, Arthurian romances, they’re a thing and they’re old and cool.  So, everyone should try and read one at some point.  Or watch lots of Arthurian tv shows and movies that give you a general idea as to the stories.  I really like the stories.  I don’t know what else to say about it.  It was fine, but I wouldn’t have read it outside of class.  

Love,

Charlie

And I forgot to tag spoilers, for which I apologize, but the story is 800 years old, so…?

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