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The Strength of King Arthur’s legend

18 May 2021 | Celtic, Personal View

It’s really difficult to start talking about King Arthur, so I will do it gradually by explaining first how his story hit me.

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Back in the 80’s, when I was born, I watched a movie that would change everything to me. There were knights, magic, prophecies and a legendary sword, crafted by the gods and destined to be wield by the true king of the Brittons. 

I’m not here to talk – only – about the movie, but about the passion it brought to my life. Excalibur was released in 1981 and tells the story of King Arthur, beginning with how his father, Uther Pendragon, mated with Igrane, his mom, and the quest for the holy grail carried by his knights to save the land.

By that time, I was really young and had already heard something about the mythical king, his personal counsellor, the wizard Merlin, and the sword of power that, for me, was only a long iron stick nailed in a random stone in the middle of the forest, but even though I was curious about it. 

I remember the first time I saw Merlin saying his mysterious Charm of Making: “Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha“. An Old Irish charm to change things with the breath of the Dragon, an omnipresent serpent. Nor I could forget the epic speech he gave to the knights while King Uther wield Excalibur:

“Behold Excalibur! The sword of power! Forged when birds and beasts and flowers were one with Man, and death was but a dream!”

I was fascinated and massively hooked. 

That was the first story I’ve ever loved. The boy who took the sword of power from the stone and became the king that one day would hold all the best values that any man to come should bear.

I had the opportunity to see part of my idol’s land and history by visiting Tintagel’s Castle where, if real, the King was supposedly conceived. All the atmosphere around King Arthur is magical and has a taste of nobility. 

The accounts of King Arthur date back from the 5th century AD, when the Romans decided to retreat from Britain for good and leave the Britons to their fate in the hands of the Saxons, a people native from Northern Germany. The Saxons were ruthless just as their Norse gods.

We do not know for sure how the legend of Arthur came to be. Maybe he was only a soldier, just as the movie of 2004 showed, a Roman general trying to avoid a massacre. Maybe he was a real Britton king, defending his land with all he’s got.

The earlier stories I could find about our beloved king didn’t have anything to do with Lancelot or the Holy Grail. His name is first mentioned in Historia Brittonum, written by the Welsh monk of the 9th century, Nennius. Nennius was followed by Geoffrey of Monmouth, in the 11th century, in his Historia Regum Britanniae and found its final format in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, where we can finally find his quest for the holy relic.

I understand that

Arthur, whatever the version, had to overcome brutal enemies and came across pain, loss and victory. He and his Knights of the Round Table would be forever associated with the ideals of the knighthood and also would be the base for the chivalry in the centuries to come, inspiring people until this day. I am one of them. 

I see him as the one person that would fight with no rest to give his people peace, prosperity and justice. Fair to the very core and prepared to sacrifice himself without hesitation. To me it was very easy to decide to follow his path as much as I could, because I saw these same values and strengths in my first – and still – great hero, my own father. I couldn’t be more inspired to always be my finest version every day.

The great King, historical or not, will always be in my mind pushing me to always do and be my best. King Arthur opened my eyes to many things and to all the things that I love and inspired me and my wife to start this company. We will keep being curious and inspired and hoping we help you do the same.

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