The story of King Arthur is truly the stuff of legends. Raised from birth by the sorcerer Merlin, he grew up to be the king that established the round table for his knights. This story has been retold numerous times and can be seen in cartoons, movies, books, and assorted literature.
Playlist of Arthurian Heroes
There are many heroes to be found in the story of King Arthur:
- King Arthur - The main hero of Arthurian legend is King Arthur himself. His father was Uther Pendragon and his mother was Igraine. He and his knights bravely fought beasts, rescued damsels in distress, and searched for the Holy Grail. They were known for their chivalry, high moral character, and loyalty.
- Merlin - With his magical skills and wisdom, Merlin was also a hero. He is credited for designing the round table and Camelot, as well as the ring at Stonehenge.
- Sir Gawain - One of King Arthur’s most admired and loyal knights was Sir Gawain. He strove to do the right thing and would follow the law implicitly. He was the epitome of honor, decency, and courtesy.
- Sir Lancelot - Sir Lancelot was the most trusted of the knights and was loved by Arthur. However, he gave into the charms of Guinevere and their affair not only broke Arthur’s heart but brought about the end of Camelot.
- Guinevere - Guinevere was considered the most beautiful woman in all the land. She and Arthur were happy for many years until the appearance of Lancelot. Some legends say she was a goddess and, after Camelot was no more, she returned to the realm of goddesses.
- Morgan Le Fey - Morgan Le Fey was Arthur’s half sister whose mother was Igraine and father was Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. She had an affair with Arthur’s nephew and Guinevere did not approve and told Arthur. Later on, Morgan told Arthur of the affair between Guinevere and Lancelot, so she had her revenge. Some versions of this legend show her to be kind, while others show her to be evil and dabbling in witchcraft. Some versions show her conspiring with her son to bring about the downfall of Arthur.
Story of King Arthur
To understand why these characters are all Arthurian heroes, it is important to understand the story of King Arthur:
- When Arthur was born, there was much trouble in the kingdom, so Merlin raised him in a secret place so no one would know his true identity.
- When Arthur’s father died, Merlin put a sword in a stone and told everyone that whoever pulled the sword out would be king. Arthur was merely searching for a sword to use when he pulled it out of the stone.
- King Arthur and his knights went on to stop the Saxon invasion. At Camelot, he built a mighty castle and built a round table where he and his knights would sit and no one was more important than the other. With the help of Merlin, he found Excalibur, a magical sword.
The story had bad elements as well:
- His beautiful queen, Guinevere, had an affair with Lancelot.
- Arthur’s half-sister was evil and her son, Mordred, were traitors to Arthur.
- Arthur and Mordred fought and both were mortally wounded.
- Arthur was sent to the Isle of Avalon where he was cared for by three maidens; but, he was never heard from again.