Friday, November 15, 2013

Knights, Dragons and Magic Oh My!

Some of my favorite stories originate from history and legends of the British Isles: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Guinevere, Merlin, Tristan & Iseult, Robin Hood, Richard III, dragons, sorcerers, The Lady of the Lake and so many others. One of my favorite books is my 1939 copy of The Boy's King Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory's History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. This beautiful book is full of stories and illustrations of Arthur, Launcelot, Tristan, the Fair Maid of Astolat, the Holy Grail and many of Arthur's other Knights.

Growing up my son also enjoyed many of these stories, his favorites were tales of Robin Hood, the Sword in the Stone and anything with dragons in it. As more and more movies and TV series were made retelling these stories, special effects evolved so much that when you see a dragon on film it's hard to believe that the creatures never existed.

Some of our favorite film and TV adaptions of these mythical stories include:

  • The early 1980's TV series Robin of Sherwood (a cult classic, my son and I have the series on DVD and have watched each episode many times. Still the best version in my opinion)
  • The 1981 film Excalibur (another cult classic with a who's who of before they became famous actors including Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson)
  • The 1996 movie Dragonheart (my son watched this movie over and over when it was released. Dennis Quaid valiantly tries to save the last dragon from a young King who becomes evil. The dragon's voice is Sean Connery)
  • The 2004 film King Arthur (Clive Owen as Arthur and Keira Knightly as Guinevere)
  • The 2006 Ridley Scott produced film Tristan & Isolde (James Franco and Sophia Myles as the tragic lovers)
I've watched a few episodes of the TV series Robin Hood on Netflix that ran from 2006-2009 on the BBC. It's a fun and more modern interpretation of Robin Hood and not nearly as dark as the 80's TV show Robin of Sherwood. Another series that I've begun on Netflix is Merlin which ran from 2008-2012 on the BBC. This series is fantastic and while it completely mixes up the legends, the adventures of Arthur and Merlin while they are young men is irresistible. If you are a lover of legends and myths you can't go wrong with watching some of the better interpretations of the stories on TV and film. 

No comments: