Madam, want to talk about author Mary Stewart? discussion

The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)
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Mary's Arthurian Series > The Wicked Day - Epilogue and Spoilerland

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message 1: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽, Moderator (new)

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 1048 comments Remember to unclick "Add to my Update Feed" when discussing spoilers.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 271 comments Finished & a couple of things confused me. Like, how long was Mordred in exile. His child seemed to be at least 4. Or did I miss something?

The book seemed to get more misogynistic in tone as it went on. I still loved it.

I will say, this book isn't really part of a series. Clearly written as a standalone.


message 3: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Carol ꧁꧂ wrote: "Finished & a couple of things confused me. Like, how long was Mordred in exile. His child seemed to be at least 4. Or did I miss something?

The book seemed to get more misogynistic in tone as it w..."


I think he was only there a few months. The boy was from before he left with Morgause; there are a couple of references to his sexual activity on the island. Mordred was stepfather to the other 3, who were younger than his son.

I see why Mordred had to become enamoured of Guinevere, plot-wise, but that was the one thing I didn't buy into. He went from gratitude that she treated him kindly when he first went to Camelot to feeling a kind of hopeless - and then hopeful - passion for her as time wore on. But it didn't ring true to me, unless we think of Mordred as a power-mad villain determined to step into his father's shoes (as some of the legends state). And, although the ambition to rule did grow, there's no indication that he became a megalomaniac!

But other than that, this was a rattling good read that had me galloping through the last bits!


debbicat *made of stardust* (cr8zycat) | 425 comments Karlyne wrote: "Carol ꧁꧂ wrote: "Finished & a couple of things confused me. Like, how long was Mordred in exile. His child seemed to be at least 4. Or did I miss something?

The book seemed to get more misogynisti..."


Same! I didn’t like the part where he was trying to insert himself with the queen, etc...didn’t work all that great for me. Tho, I do understand why it is there. What an ending! I had to catch my breath!


Bobbie | 180 comments I loved this book but what a different retelling of the Arthur and Mordred story. As the author's notes say, even with such absurdities in the accidental final battle and the almost comedy of errors between the main characters and their motives, I was still hoping against hope for the peaceful reunion and ending which of course could not be. I am too much of a romantic, I know. Now I plan to watch the movie, Camelot, again and cry at the end as I always do.


debbicat *made of stardust* (cr8zycat) | 425 comments I am going to have to google the legend. Was Mordred really believed to have killed Arthur. I am confused as to what it is I think I know about it...or previously knew. There seem to be so many re-tellings. Mary of one of my favorite authors so I would likely have trouble finding fault with anything she did.


debbicat *made of stardust* (cr8zycat) | 425 comments Bobbie wrote: "I loved this book but what a different retelling of the Arthur and Mordred story. As the author's notes say, even with such absurdities in the accidental final battle and the almost comedy of error..."

Does Mordred kill Arthur in the movie/film?


message 8: by Bobbie (last edited Aug 19, 2018 06:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bobbie | 180 comments The movie leaves things up in the air and ends just as the battle begins. But Mordred is definitely a villain in the movie.


message 9: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Yes! I remember Mordred as being sneaky and sly and thoroughly the villain.


debbicat *made of stardust* (cr8zycat) | 425 comments Bobbie wrote: "The movie leaves things up in the air and ends just as the battle begins. But Mordred is definitely a villian in the movie."

wow, really? He was not portrayed as a villian in Mary's version.


message 11: by Hana (last edited Aug 19, 2018 03:56PM) (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments There were multiple versions of the legends--and all the character names and their fates were terribly mixed up over the many, many years. Mary Stewart discusses several of the sources in the notes in all of the four Arthurian books.

I really prefer MS's setting in post-Roman Britain to the various romances that put Arthur in Medieval times (and I'm including in that the lovely version of Camelot that was such a hit on Broadway and even The Once and Future King), T.H. White's trilogy.)


message 12: by Hana (last edited Aug 19, 2018 03:44PM) (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments One of the things that Mary Stewart did really brilliantly was to suggest the gradual transition of Britain--and Brittany--from a tribal Celtic form of Paganism and regional tribal Kingdoms (with leftover Roman traditions) towards a more centralized Christian form of worship and a High King proto-Parlementary form of governance.

The eastern Saxon outposts can still be traced in British DNA analysis and fits well with her maps--they never did totally integrate with the rest of emerging Britain. The Orkney Islands and other far north points of the UK were another place where language and genetics diverged from the rest of Britain--there is a very distinct genetic contribution from the Vikings in those Northern parts of of the British Isles and a slightly different variant DNA pattern in the Saxon regions of eastern England.


debbicat *made of stardust* (cr8zycat) | 425 comments Hana wrote: "One of the things that Mary Stewart did really brilliantly was to suggest the gradual transition of Britain--and Brittany--from a tribal Celtic form of Paganism and regional tribal Kingdoms (with l..."

wow! That is fascinating. I admit I have a lot to learn regarding this part of history. Thanks for adding this info Hana.


message 14: by Hana (last edited Aug 19, 2018 03:47PM) (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments Anyone who wants to learn more about the genetic map of Britain and its early history should check out Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland.


message 15: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments Was that the movie with, I think it was Vanessa Redgrave? [wrong, wrong wrong casting], in a remake of the Broadway show? I saw the original stage version with Julie Andrews and it was awesome!


message 16: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments I think that's one of the ways she beats the other re-tellings; although I enjoyed Camelot (got to see a Broadway touring cast perform it a couple of decades ago and it was superb) and The Once and Future King is fun, by giving her story Roman overtones and history, it all becomes terribly believable and, weirdly enough, sort of timely!

And I'll be checking out that DNA map, Hana!!


message 17: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments I loved The Sword in the Stone, the first of T.H. White's Arthurian tales--I may be repeating myself but my fellow hawk and falcon enthusiasts all cite this book as one of the influences that got them started watching, hunting with, and rescuing raptors. On an aside I spotted a Peregrine Falcon this morning on my way to catch the trolley! They are so fast but those swept-back aerodynamic wings are unmistakable.


message 18: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Hana wrote: "Was that the movie with, I think it was Vanessa Redgrave? [wrong, wrong wrong casting], in a remake of the Broadway show? I saw the original stage version with Julie Andrews and it was awesome!"

Yes, and when I googled it to see if Roddy McDowell played Mordred, because he's who I was seeing in my mind, I found out he played him on Broadway, but NOT in the movie. I have no idea where I saw him! But he still sticks in my mind as the perfectly villainous Mordred.


message 19: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments This is the only clip I could find with Julie Andrews playing Guenevere with Richard Burton (in the days when he was rather hot!) If we both remember the Ed Sullivan Show I guess that dates us pretty well :D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjIVS...


message 20: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments As far as I remember, we never missed an Ed Sullivan! I wonder if that's where I saw Roddy McDowell?! Julie Andrews and Richard Burton definitely looked familiar in that clip. As far as the movie, I did see it once, but haven't ever revisited it. Which is telling, because musicals are my family's forte!


Bobbie | 180 comments Hana, I love that clip with Richard Burton and already have it saved on youtube. I wish I could have see that in person. I did see a later smaller production in Houston with Robert Goulet as Arthur, but no comparison. I think Goulet was Lancelot on Broadway. The movie Camelot was of that production and both were from The Once and Future King. I rewatched it last night and was rather disappointed in the first half but enjoyed the last half after these many years and as usual cried near the end.
I always loved that version but now I think I prefer Mary Stewart's take on Mordred.


message 22: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments Goulet did play Arthur in the later road-show. I don't think he could match Burton's emotional range. Even though he's a lot older here than in the original production you can see in this clip how poignantly he changes his tone and facial expression as he sings the theme song from Camelot at the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h7E5...


message 23: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments Bobbie, I agree with you about Mary Stewart's take on Mordred--and actually on the whole Arthurian story. I think she drew better rounded and more complex characters.

TH White was writing his own magical Medieval legend but Stewart grounded her tale in deeply grounded historical sense with a kind of mysticism and poetical love of the land which moved me so much.


message 24: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments It's the difference between a fun fantasy and a passionate history. And I haven't read The Once and Future King in years, so I might have to dig it out soon!


message 25: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments I was so wishing you all were with me this morning as I passed a Merlin sitting on a fence post!


message 26: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments Wow! I've never seen a Merlin, though I did spot a Peregrine falcon zipping through an alley way just near my apartment two days ago. The two falcons are closely related and it's not entirely clear how much the US species overlap with the European falcons that were used in Medieval times.

Much to my joy Peregrines and Red Tailed Hawks have adapted really well to urban environments like the Boston area.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/P...

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/M...


Bobbie | 180 comments Oh, that blue Merlin is beautiful. I would love to see one of those.


message 28: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Ours is the prairie merlin. I really, really hope I get to see him close up again!


message 29: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana | 316 comments The only thing that occasionally tempts me to get an iPhone is the possibility of capturing moments like this....but then I come to my senses :)


message 30: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments I can't even get TO my regular phone camera in time to catch bird pictures. Unless an iPhone can do retroactive photos, I'll pass, too.


debbicat *made of stardust* (cr8zycat) | 425 comments oh I have an iPhone. ANd I love it. Sigh....I wouldn’t have any other kind. Don’t have the newest. They do take stunning photos.


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