The Mists of Avalon Paperback – May 12 1987
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Even readers who don't normally enjoy Arthurian legends will love this version, a retelling from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Morgaine (more commonly known as Morgan Le Fay) and Gwenhwyfar (a Welsh spelling of Guinevere) struggle for power, using Arthur as a way to score points and promote their respective worldviews. The Mists of Avalon's Camelot politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the island-nation of Britain; Christianity vs. Faery, and God vs. Goddess are dominant themes.
Young and old alike will enjoy this magical Arthurian reinvention by science fiction and fantasy veteran Marion Zimmer Bradley. --Bonnie Bouman
"[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends . . . Reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience. . . . An impressive achievement."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Marion Zimmer Bradley has brilliantly and innovatively turned the myth inside out. . . . add[ing] a whole new dimension to our mythic history."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"Gripping . . . Superbly realized . . . A worthy addition to almost a thousand years of Arthurian tradition."
--The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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Top Customer Reviews
A life-long enjoyment of Arthuriana will teach you one very clear thing: there is no definitive story or Arthur, and therefore all interpretations are as valid as the next. The existence of Arthur can barely be proven, and his identity is certainly up for debate. The stories of Camelot, the Round Table, and certainly of Lancelot and Guinevere are all Norman-French additions to a tale set hundreds of years prior in the Dark Ages. Arthur is an enduring legend but, as we know him, mostly a legend nonetheless.
Bradley's story, then, of the tale of Arthur through the women who knew him, is no less valid an interpretation than any of the rest, and certainly a unique one. Rich with its own legends and myths, "The Mists of Avalon" begins with Igraine, and goes forward through the eyes of Viviane, Morgaine, Morgause, and Gwenhwyfar, each with their own perspective on what truly were momentous times in the history of Britain. As Arthurian myth, it stands on its own two feet as well as any other, with its tales of war, love, religion, loyalty and betrayal spread across and repeated through several generations, closing with the end of an era and the beginning of Saxon rule over the island.
It is also, however, a tale of one human woman, Morgaine, and her life: her beginnings, her path, her faith, her love, her choices, her mistakes, and ultimately, her will to survive.Read more ›
It was a little slow to start, but it is ending very well. The theme of the book is a little unusual. It proposes to re-tell the legend of King Arthur but from the women's point of view. It is more, Arthur from Avalon's point of view.I have read at least a dozen different versions of this legend, so I know all of the major elements that are usually found in it. They are all here, in this book, but I have never seen them so well addressed and so well integrated to the story.
There are many, new, differences. For instance, there is no "sword in the stone"; that is just superstitious peasant gossip. Morgan Le Fey is usually portrayed as a twisted and villainous Evil Sorceress. In this book, she is the most sympathetic, most loved and most respected heroine. She calls her Morgaine of the Fairies. But, we can understand very well how she could be seen as the Evil Sorceress. It is as if the legend had always been told from the perspective of the Christian church. The Victor writes History.
The author also throws in all kinds of other things. She even brings in Tristan and Isolde, though she calls them Durstan and Isotte. She gives a scathing account of St. Patrick, whom she calls Bishop Patricius. We have always been told that St. Patrick rid the isle of Ireland of its snakes. I always had a problem with this. How many snakes could possibly have lived in Ireland? But, Morgaine explains that Patricius was not at all referring to reptiles. He meant the Celtic Druids. These are the "snakes" he eliminated in Ireland.
I think I will remember this book as the best account of the King Arthur legend that I have ever read. It certainly makes a lot more sense than any of the others
By the way.. if you're thinking of reading any of the "Song of Ice & Fire" books by George R. R. Martin.. rethink yourself and read this series instead.. it is MUCH better and more worth your time!!!
Most recent customer reviews
I first read this book years ago, and the sister books, but I re-read this one just about every year.
I have just bought a couple of new copies to give as gifts.
GREAT BOOK FOR THOSE WHO ENJOY FANTASY. A CUT ABOVE IN WRITING TALENT.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is a wonderfully enchanting tale of the Arthurian legends. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Haidji