Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #26: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
YOU GUYS. This book is CRAZEBALLS. I don’t even know where to start. First of all! It’s 876 pages long. That is the exact number TO THE PAGE, even though it sounds made up. But I didn’t make it up, I just now looked in the book. Scout’s honor. Only I was never a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout so just pretend it’s Scout’s honor like Scout Finch, OK? That is some genetically good honor, you know? Atticus, man. FUCKING ATTICUS.
But let’s get back to the crazier, more incestuous universe of The Mists of Avalon, shall we?
The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur, his knights of the round table, and all that chivalry crap, told from the point of view of the womenfolk. If you’re around my age, you may remember the miniseries that aired on TNT that starred Angelica Houston and a post-ER, pre-Good Wife Julianna Margulies. I’ve been meaning to read the book ever since I saw the mini-series and it only took me 11 years! Go me!
So let’s talk about the book, OK? Because it took me approximately 90 years to finish it. This contains slight spoilers but you might already know about them if you’ve ever heard/read anything about The Mists of Avalon before.
Morgaine (of the fairies!) is the daughter of Igraine and some duke nobody cares about, and is also the niece of Vivianne, Lady of the Lake (she has MAGICAL POWERS), and Morgause, the youngest of the three sisters and a total free spirit (this means she likes sex a lot and good for her!). Igraine ends up with Uther Pendragon BECAUSE IT WAS FORETOLD, and gives birth to Arthur, who is to be the king who brings peace to the land, if all goes according to plan.
Morgaine, who has THE SIGHT, is taken away by Vivianne when she’s quite young and when Arthur is still a baby. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Vivianne takes Morgaine to Avalon, where she is to be trained as a priestess. Once she’s grown, she takes part in a kingmaking ceremony, where the future king has to run with some deer (this is apparently very dangerous) and then have sex with a virgin priestess of Avalon. Lucky Morgaine, she is that virgin priestess. But not so lucky, because the king is totally Arthur, HER HALF-BROTHER. She is understandably upset, though she couldn’t have known it was Arthur, and runs away because DUH incest.
Lancelot Lancelet is busy falling in love with Guinevere Gwenhwyfar because of…reasons? I guess? She’s totally beautiful, but other than that, I’m pretty sure she has no redeeming qualities. Seriously, you guys, she is the worst. And not like Britta is the worst but THE ACTUAL WORST like I was wishing for her death most of the time.
There are a million other characters and they all have really similar names, so I definitely recommend reading this book with a cheat sheet or the Wikipedia page open or something, and even then, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to just start pretending Gawaine and Gareth are the same person, which, honestly, probably won’t affect your reading of the story all that much because you’ll be pretty focused on the whole incest thing. Oh! And also the threesome.
Long story short (HAHAHA), you should read this if you like really long retellings of familiar stories and fairies and mother earth and shit. Also incest.