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Shared and amplified since the 9th century, the legends of King Arthur, the sorcerer Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table keep being developed today in the whole world, especially in fantasy rewritings and adaptations. From T.H. White’s educational novel The Sword in the Stone (1938), to the surprising anime version King Arthur (1979-1980), from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s feminist rewriting The Mists of Avalon (1983), to the Celtic reading established by Jean-Luc Istin and Eric Lambert in their comics Cycle initiatique de Merlin (2003-2018), fantasy regularly draws from the different aspects of the Arthurian legends, as a way to question their permanence and their relevance today. The great number of characters and mythological creatures, the importance of universal themes such as friendship, betrayal, and power, all these allow the Arthurian legends to be adapted to every historical and geographical context – and to every atmosphere, from historic fantasy like Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles (1995-1997) to the light fantasy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) or Shrek the Third (2007). Adding new characters to the environment of the royal court, like young Ana in Fabien Clavel’s L’Apprentie de Merlin (2010-2013), is a traditional way of shifting the narrative but remaining faithful to a familiar setting – enjoyed by the readers.
Related keywords: Arthurian romances