Mythical Monday: Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

The legendary Lady of the Lake appears in many of the tales of King Arthur. Also known as Dame de Lac in French, she was a woman of great magical power.

There seemed to be several “Lady of the Lake”. The most important was Niniane (also known as Viviane, Vivien or Nimue). Other names she had been referrred to include Nymue, Nimueh, Vivien, Vivienne, Ninianne, Nivian, Nyneve, or Evienne.

Niniane later became the guardian of the sword, especially when the dying Arthur returned Excalibur to the lake.

 

Where Did She Live?

The River Brue, Glastonbury
At the time of King Arthur the Brue formed a lake just south of the hilly ground on which Glastonbury stands. According to legend this lake is one of the locations suggested by Arthurian legend as the home of the Lady of the Lake.

According to legend, she lived in a castle beneath a lake that surrounded a mystical island called Avalon.

A great enchantment was cast upon her castle to hide her land from intruders, also believed to be a Celtic Otherworld.

Glastonbury is believed by many to be Avalon, though there are a number of locations in Great Britain that are traditionally associated with the Lady of the Lake.

Other possible locations include Martin Mere, Dozmary Pool, Llyn Llydaw, Llyn Ogwen, Llyn y Fanc Fach, The Loe, Pomparles Bridge, Loch Arthur.

It is now generally believed that the Lady of the Lake, including her connection to Arthur’s sword Excalibur, is of Breton origin. The Lady of the Lake is generally said to live in the forest of Brittany. 

Lancelot

It was said she was the foster mother of Lancelot and raised him beneath the waters of her lake after the death of his father, King Ban of Benoic.

Lady Lake MerlinMerlin Loved Her

Merlin is said to have fallen madly in love with the Lady of the Lake.

According to the Lancelot-Grail cycle (also known as the Vulgate cycle), Viviane refused to give Merlin her love until he taught her all his secrets. Once she had learned his magic, she then used her power to trap him. In some stories, she trapped him in the trunk of a tree, in others, he is beneath a stone.

Merlin even had the power of foresight to know what was going to happen, but he was unable to stop himself. He continued to teach her his secrets until she finally entraps him. 

Why Did She Entrap Him?

In early versions of the story, she entraps Merlin because of her hatred for him.

Later versions, as in Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur she does so because Merlin would not leave her alone. He was in love with her, though she did not love him back. She tired of his sexual advances, and was also so afraid of his power that she felt that she had no other choice. She traps him so he cannot escape.

Lady Lake ExcaliburExcalibur

In the Post-Vulgate cycle, the Lady of the Lake is called Ninianne. Here is where the story of the sword Excalibur was first bestowed upon Arthur.

When Arthur and Merlin first meet the Lady of the Lake, she holds the sword Excalibur out of the water. She offers it to Arthur so long as he promises to fulfill a request from her later, which of course, he agrees.

Sir Balin

Later, the Lady of the Lake comes to Arthur’s court to receive her end of the bargain. She asks for the head of Sir Balin. She blames Sir Balin for her brother’s death. Balin, in turn blames her for the death of his mother. Arthur refused this request, and Balin beheads her instead, much to Arthur’s distress.

Lady Lake PelliasSir Pelleas

When Sir Pelleas was rejected by Ettard–the woman he loved– the Lady of the Lake took care of him. She and Pelleas fell in love and were married. She became the mother to his son, Guivret.

According to Malory, she acted as an obedient wife, and also as an advisor to the court by subtly helping sway the court in the right direction. She was also a compassionate, clever, strong-willed, and sympathetic character. She is pragmatic, unflappable and knowledgeable.

Return of Excalibur

After the Battle of Camlann, the final battle of King Arthur, the Lady of the Lake reclaimed Excalibur. 

Arthur commanded Bevidere to throw Excalibur into the lake to fulfill the prophecy written on the blade. The sword was so magnificent, he couldn’t do it. He hid it behind a tree believing Arthur wouldn’t know what he had done.

When he returned to the king, Arthur asked him what he saw when he threw the sword in the lake. Bevidere said he saw nothing, and Arthur knew immediately he was lying. He ordered him once more and again, Bevidere disobeyed by throwing his own sword into the lake. 

Bevidere once again, told Arthur he saw nothing. Arthur orders him a third time to throw Excalibur into the lake.

Finally, he threw Excalibur into the middle of the lake. An arm rose out of the water, right up to the elbow, and caught the sword. It brandished the blade three times before disappearing into the lake. 

Nimue arrived not long after Bevidere returned the sword to the lake, along with Morgan le Fay, the Queen of Northgales and Queen of the Waste lands. They took took Arthur, wounded and near death, to Avalon for healing.

Lady Lake Excalibur2

 

Thanks for reading!

Jo-Ann

Glove Love: Lost and Found

This is not a Valentine’s day post. This story is about a lost glove.

Ya Gotta Have Good Gloves

Living  in an area with crazy winters, it’s always important to have a good pair of gloves. For years, I always had to have had a nice pair of leather gloves. I’d get them in the fall, or as a Christmas gift, and by February the left glove would be gone. Always the left. Why the left?

The only reason I could think of is it would fall out of my pocket when I was getting in and out of the car.

My Favourite Gloves

I got smart a few years back, and bought two pairs of inexpensive, but nice gloves at Costco. Two pairs, so if I lost one, I’d have a backup. I have had the same gloves for about four years running now. They were my warmest, comfiest, most favourite gloves I’ve ever had. I was feeling pretty proud of myself , too that I still had both sets of gloves.

Until this year.

One Missing Left

When I unpacked the winter clothes, there was a left glove missing. I was down to 1.5 gloves. I thought it would show up eventually. It didn’t. I still had a backup pair, though, so I was okay.

Until Friday two weeks ago.

Two Missing Lefts

I lost another left glove. I was down to two rights. I’d made quite a few stops all over town that day. It could have been anywhere. Honestly, I figured it was gone. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. I could only hope that it would turn up eventually!

Well! You can imagine my surprise when I found it at the dog park! Trapped in the ice.

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It was hard to capture in a photo just how deep in the ice my poor glove was stuck. I tried tugging on it and there was no way it was moving. It was solid. It didn’t help that the glove itself was filled with ice, either. It was filled up like a glove balloon.

I planned on coming back the next day with tools.

The next day was freezing rain. I skipped my walk and forgot about my glove.

But the day after, Wednesday was mild and rainy. I thought for sure I’d be able to rescue my glove.

IMG_5780We were closer, but Burger said no way. I was able to pull two fingers up, but he rest was still solidly in the ice.

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By Friday, everything was frozen solid again. You can see where I got the last two fingers to stick up. I tried chipping some of the loose ice around it, but it was still in there good.

 

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Saturday, I brought help with me. It was time to excavate the glove.

 

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I recruited my husband and son to retrieve the sword from the stone…er, the glove from the ice. We brought a flat bar, a hammer and pliers.

 

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Digging away.

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Getting closer!

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Finally! My poor, frozen solid glove! Rescued! Thanks to my knights in shining armour!

Mythical Monday: Who was Uther Pendragon?

Uther Pendragon(c.AD 410-495) is the legendary father of King Arthur.

But what do we know really know about him and where did he come from?

One of the most famous accounts of Uther is from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain”.

Victim of Treason

Last Monday, I discussed how Vortigern manipulated the Picts and was indirectly responsible for the death of Uther’s father, King Constantine. Constantine was killed by a Pictish assassin.

Uther’s eldest brother Constans was still quite young, and in addition, had been given to the church to serve as a monk. The kingdom was in chaos over who was to take over kingship. Vortigern insisted that Constans be put on the throne. This served him well, because as Constans’ advisor, he had full power and control over the kingdom.

Sadly, young Constans was assassinated as well, and Vortigern usurped the throne, taking over as High King of Britain.

Escape to Safety

Constantine’s two youngest children, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther, the true heirs to the throne, were taken out of the country for their own protection. They were taken to Brittany, where they were raised at the court of their uncle, King Budic of Brittany.

Revenge and Return to the Throne

 

When they were old enough, Uther and Ambrosius returned to Britain. They took caerdoward5their revenge against Vortigern, attacking him in his castle called Genoreu on the hill known as Cloartius (Little Doward). The castle burned down and Vortigern perished in the flames.

Ambrosius was crowned high king of Britain, with Uther as his brother’s staunchest ally.

Even after the death of Vortigern, the Saxons continued to be a source of problems for the Britons. Ambrosius, Uther and their men continued to drive them back.

Stealing from Ireland

Merlin proposed a memorial the British victims of the “Treachery of the Long Knives“, a brutal massacre by the Saxons in purported peace ceremony during the time of Vortigern. According to Merlin, a suitable memorial would involve retrieving the stones from Giant’s Ring at Mount Killaraus in Ireland.

Aurelius sends Merlin, Uther and fifteen thousand troops to bring the stones back to Britain. Merlin moves the stones with his amazing skills and has them shipped over and across land to Mount Ambrius (Amesbury) and had them erected around the cemetery.

Quite understandably, King Gillomanius of Ireland was quite peeved at them stealing a part of his heritage. He attacked, but did not succeed in defeating Uther’s men.

Poisoning a King

In then meantime, a Saxon by the name of Eopa managed to disguise himself as a Christian and a doctor and enters the camp of the Britons. He poisons Aurelius at Winchester.

Paschent and Gillomanius

Paschent, Vortigern’s son fled to Germany to raise an army of Saxons. They invaded Britain.With Aurelius ill, Uther fought back, defeating them and forcing their escape to Ireland.

In Ireland, of course, Paschent and his Saxon army gain the support of King Gillomanius, still sore at Uther for stealing the Giant’s Ring and defeating him in battle. The Irish invade Wales with Paschent, landing near Menevia (St. Davids). Uther rushed to meet their army as Aurelius was still too ill to command forces in the field.

The Comet that brought the Pendragon name

On the way to the battle, Uther sees a dragon shaped comet in the night sky. Merlin interprets it as a prediction of both Aurelius’ death and Uther’s glorious future.

Uther wins the battle and takes the name “Pendragon”. With the death of his brother, he becomes king and orders the construction of two gold dragons, one of which he uses as his standard that is carried around with his army, the other was given to the cathedral church in Winchester.

Uther and Gorlois

After crushing the Saxons in the last battle, Uther held a celebration in London and invited all his allies. Among them was Gorlois, the duke of Cornwall. It was Gorlois’ strategy that had ultimately defeated the Saxons.

Gorlois brought his wife, Igraine. She was young and beautiful, and Uther fell instantly in love with her. In fact, his love for her was so obvious that Gorlois and his men packed up early and headed back for Cornwall. Uther was offended by his leaving early, and threatened the duke with war.tintagel2-bov

Gorlois sends Igraine to Tintagel Castle for protection. The castle is almost impossible to penetrate as it is surrounded by the sea on all sides. The only way into it is via a narrow, rocky passage–and there, three armed warriors forbid all entry.

In the meantime, Gorlois is in a town called Dimilioc (Tregeare Rounds). Here, he is besieged by Uther.

Merlin, Magic and Seduction

Uther consults with Merlin who transforms him to look exactly like Igraine’s husband. So while Gorlois was busy defending his castle against Uther’s men, Uther entered Tintagel as Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall.

He seduced Igraine, and it is on that night that Arthur is conceived. It is the next morning when it is discovered that Gorlois had been killed in battle.

The men of Cornwall had no choice but to surrender to Uther who later married Igraine and the future King Arthur was born.

Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur” claims that the price for this deception was that Uther’s son Arthur had to be given to Merlin to be brought up as he saw fit.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Igraine also bore him a daughter Anna, sometimes referred to as Morgan in other sources. However, in Robert de Boron’s Merlin, Morgan le Fay is the daughter of Igraine and Gorlois, thereby making her half-sister to Arthur.

As a sidenote, Robert de Boron says Uther was responsible for the founding of the Order of the Round Table. Other stories state that Merlin made the Round Table for him and Uther gave it to King Leodegrance of Cameliard.

Pendragon Castle

Legend records that romantic Pendragon Castle at Mallerstang Dale in Cumbria was founded by Uther Pendragon. There is however, no archaeological evidence to suggest Dark Age settlement at the site, apart from the discovery of a Roman coin.

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The castle was not called ‘Pendragon’ until 1309, and before that date , was known as Mallerstang Castle.

According to legend, Uther tried to re-route the River Eden to fill the deep ditch which surrounds the castle to create a moat, but failed, which is alluded to in the local rhyme:-

“Let Uther Pendragon do what he can, Eden will run where Eden ran.”

Saxons and More Poison

Most of Uther’s reign was taken up with campaigning against Saxon and Irish invaders in the North of Britain.

In his old age, the sick and aging Uther later was drawn once again into war with the Northern Angles. He went north to aid King Lot of Lothian in battle and insists on leading his army himself. In some versions of the story, he is so unwell that he goes into battle on a litter. In others, he is propped up on his horse.

He defeats Hengist’s son Octa at Verulamium (St Albans), despite the Saxons calling him the “Half-Dead King.” However, the Saxons poison the spring that they drink from and Uther, along with many of his men died in the days that followed.

He was buried beside his brother Aurelius.

Arthur, who had just turned fifteen, became king of Britain.

Early References

 Though the History of the Kings of Britain was written in the 12th century, it’s interesting to know that it’s not Uther’s first appearance in legends and stories. He also appeared several times in earlier Welsh tradition.

A poem in the Book of Taliesin (some of which may date back to the 6th century) mentions Arthur and is named after Uther himself as Marvnat Uthyr Pen.

In the 10th century poem, Pa Gur (“Who is the Porter?”), one of Arthur’s companions is given as “Mabon ap Mydron, servant of Uthir Pen Dragon”.

Uther also appears in several early Triads of the Island of Britain and the personal name is known from other pre-Galfridian sources.

Ymiddiddan Arthur a’r Eryr (“The Colloquy of Arthur and the Eagle”), a poem contemporary with Geoffrey yet showing a primitive tradition independent of him, identifies the eagle as Eliwlat mab Madawc mab Uthyr and a nephew of Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pendragon Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROW80: Round 1 Week 6 Sunday

ROW80

WHAT IS ROW80?
A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.
Set challenges for yourself, write them up and post updates every Sunday and Wednesday. Add your link to the ROW80 Facebook page or the Linky here.

So here’s the skinny:

  • We have 4 rounds a year, each running 80 days.
  • Your goal can be anything you like as long as it is measurable (e.g. number of words/pages, specified amount of time to spend on writing per day/week, number of pages edited, etc.
  • Once you have settled on a goal, you write it up on your blog and link to it on the Goals Post at the beginning of each Round.
  • If your goal changes before the end of the 80 days, simply write up a new goals post and link to it on the latest check-in day post here on our blog or in our Facebook Group.
  • Check-ins are twice a week on Wednesday and Sundays. Write up a blog post of your progress and link to it on that day’s Post.
  • On Twitter we use a hashtag of #ROW80 if you wanna come hang out; feel free to host sprints, share links. See the next point…
  • If you happen to find us after a round has begun, just write up your goals post and hop on in whenever. We’re a friendly bunch.
  • Be sure to grab the ROW80 badge from the sidebar on the ROW80 Blog (right click, save image location, then chuck it in your blog’s image widget or grab some basic image html and use a text widget).

 

Writing:

I got lots of work in on my short story this week. I wrote and rewrote the same story three times!

In the first, I realized it needed more ‘story’. There wasn’t enough background.

In the second, I added more story, but it made the characters kind of unlikeable. Not my intention! This is supposed to be a humorous story!

The third rewrite came out much better. It seems to have more ‘flow’ to it and the characters more likeable. I got some good feedback from my husband and The Geeky Book Lady.

Now, I’m waiting on more feedback from my friends in my Writers Group. We are working on an anthology of humorous short stories, with the proceeds going to support the library where we meet.

I also got some novel edits in, 500 words or so. I changed a few things in the edits I had already made in the same chapter, and I was much happier with how it flowed.

Painting:

I got a couple of hours of painting in on Friday. It’s a start, at least!

Work in Progress
Work in Progress

Here’s the reference photo, as you can see, I still have a fair bit of work to do.

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Yoga

Yoga:

I made it to one yoga class this week. Considering that I’d missed class for two weeks in a row, I am going to pat myself on the back for that!

 

 

 

 

I switched my blog over from being self-hosted to WordPress.com. It wasn’t too challenging, moving my followers over had to be done by the Happiness Experts at WordPress, but other than that it went pretty well.

I have a bit of work to do to get a few more features back up and running, but for the most part it seems to be working well. Phew!

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

Review and TGIF: Dark Beneath the Moon by Sherry D. Ramsey

Dark Beneath the MoonLuta Paixon has plenty of trouble on the Tane Ikai, with relationships in flux and the sticky problem of two captains on one ship. But when an alien artifact, the remnant of a long-ago war, shows up on the other side of a newly-discovered wormhole, the crew also find themselves pressed into the service of the Nearspace Protectorate. The Tane Ikai‘s task: covertly deliver an alien historian to the site to decipher its meaning—and possible threat.

Jahelia Sord is a woman with a grudge against the world, and against Luta Paixon and her family in particular. She has her own secrets to guard, and an alliance with the notorious PrimeCorp—one she’ll keep only as long as it suits her own hunt for vengeance.

When a mysterious attack leaves them stranded in an uncharted new system, Luta, her crew, and Jahelia must try to put their differences aside and decide who to trust, while they uncover a shocking truth about the Chron war and what their old enemies are so afraid of…

 

The crew of the Tane Ikai is back for more mystery and adventure. This second novel in the Nearspace series is full of intriguing mysteries, covert operations and action.

The characters are more in-depth and developed. Rei, especially is one of my favourite characters, and I love that we get to learn more about her.

 

The Chron is an alien race that viciously attacked and almost wiped out Nearspace generations before. As quickly and mysteriously as they had appeared, they disappeared without a trace. There were references to them in the first book, this time we get to learn a whole lot more.

The Protectorate has discovered a new wormhole with ancient alien artefacts. They are believed to be of Chron origin and secrecy is of utmost importance. Luta’s brother, an Admiral in the Protectorate has asked her to deliver an alien historian through the wormhole to assist them.

They go through measures to make sure they are not being followed. Unfortunately,  Jahelia Sord manages to follow them through the wormhole. She is a whole new character on the scene with her own agenda in mind.

Jahelia’s motivations are certainly questionable. Working for PrimeCorp, she has her own grudge against Luta and her mother.

Parts of the story are told through her POV. She certainly has her own unique voice and she is not a very likeable character because of her attitude and issues, though she certainly is entertaining!

Luta and her crew along with Jahelia find themselves under attack and in trouble. They reluctantly work together to find a solution to get back home.

In the meantime, Luta has her own set of problems when her health declines. It’s a race to escape the Chron, try to find their way back Nearspace and find her mother before its too late.

Once again Sherry had done an amazing job growing Nearspace and beyond, as well as adding new alien species and technology.

I thoroughly enjoyed Book 2 in the Sherry Ramsey’s Nearspace series and can’t wait to start reading the third book in the series Beyond the Sentinel Stars. 

For more information about Book 1, One’s Aspect to the Sun, you can check it out on Goodreads here or see my review here.

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Blurb from Goodread:  Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

As soon as I found this book on another blog and read the premise, I knew I had to get my hand on it!

Aislynn, her mother and her grandmother were all born with the Sight. That means that they see faeries. Everywhere.

The average human is oblivious to their existence and the tricks that they play. 

These are not the cute, magical, Tinkerbell fairies that sprinkle dust to give good luck. These faeries are dark and mischievous. They can be glamorous or frightening. They are not creatures that you want to have hanging around.

Aislynn must pretend that she cannot see the faeries. If they become aware they she can see them, she risks being killed or at the very least, blinded.

The Summer King has chosen to court Aislynn. Most girls who are courted by him fall head over heels, but Aislynn sees through his glamour, and her fear of faeries demands that she stay as far away from him as possible.

She is unwillingly pulled into the Faery world, conflicting with her friendship and the beginnings of romance with Seth. Aislynn was a strong character who stands up for herself even when she is afraid to.

I absolutely loved the way the relationship between Seth and Aislynn grew. Aislynn fought any romance with him for fear of jeopardizing their amazing friendship. It developed as a slow burn that I found it touching and warm.

I would liked to have seen more background on Aislynn’s mother and her role in the story. It was a great start, but then the reader was left hanging about what happened, her connection with the Summer King and why she died.

I enjoyed the writing, though it was a bit confusing at times and I had to go back and reread. I did like the way it was written with multiple POVs. I enjoy getting into the heads of the other characters.

I was completely captivated by the story and wouldn’t put the book down until I found out how it ended. What was going to happen to Aislynn? To Seth and the Summer King? 

I enjoyed the ending, but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more interesting if it things hadn’t worked out quite so perfectly.

 

 

 

Review: Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

Blurb from Goodreads: Zylia looks like your typical teenager, with one small exception…she’s disappearing. Everyone has felt unnoticed or unseen, but for Zylia it’s very real. In her search for answers, she uncovers an old family mystery. Zylia must discover the truth before she vanishes from this world forever.

I was excited to be a lucky winner of this book! My thanks go out to the author, Misty Mount for the opportunity to win this exceptional book! As soon as I read the blurb, I was hooked!

The Shadow Girl is a Young Adult novel with Zylia as the main character. She is a lovely girl, thoughtful, compassionate and kindhearted. She struggles with being noticed, or for that matter being seen at all. With the exception of very few people, she feels invisible. 

The surprise of the story is they actually do not see her. She gets passed over at meals when she’s home and quizzes when she’s at school. She gets bumped into and trampled on. To make matters worse, the only time she does get noticed is at the most awkward, worst possible times. If you are an introvert, you get it, right?

Zylia wonders and worries that she is quite literally disappearing.

I was drawn into her character and there were times when my heart broke for her.

When her grandmother who has dementia takes a strange interest in her, we realize there is more going on here than a teen who simply feels down and alone. Her grandmother begins calling her by her sister’s name, Angelica. She becomes agitated and attacks her. It is interesting to note that Angelica had disappeared many years ago, when she was about the same age as Zylia.

Zylia appeals to her new friend Terra to help her solve the mystery of her grandmother’s long lost sister and she learns that she and her great-aunt have more in common than their looks.

The Shadow Girl is a very unique and fascinating read. On a whole it is written beautifully, with lovely imagery. At times, particularly in the beginning, I found the story was a bit slow moving. The author’s writing style makes up for that however. This book is a pleasure to read and shares a beautiful message that we should all strive to live by.

What are your thoughts? Is this a book that you would like to read?

Thanks for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

 

 

 

Mythical Mondays: The Rise and Fall of Vortigern

Legend of the Sword

In the movie, King Arthur Legend of the Sword, Jude Law portrays Vortigern. He is Arthur’s uncle, the brother of his father, Uther Pendragon. Vortigern murders Uther and usurps the throne. By sacrificing his wife and daughter, he is able to transform into a demon knight.

First of all, I’d like to say I freaking LOVED this movie! It was a different and unusual portrayal of the legend of King Arthur, and I’m okay with that. Change is good! I enjoy seeing different versions being told. It add the element of surprise and the unexpected.

The Real Vortigern–Well Before Arthur’s Time

Stories and legends about Vortigern have been circulating for the last millennia or so. Like the movie Vortigern has never really been held in high regard but unlike the movie, he wasn’t even in the picture by the time Arthur came into being.

My favourite account of Vortigern is by Nennius. In his History of Britain, he presents Vortigern as a villain who was proud, anti-Christian, incestuous, and sold his country out to the Saxons.

Britain invaded by Picts and Scots

By the 5th century, Rome had withdrawn its legions from Britain, leaving them unprotected and floundering from invasions from the north. The Picts and Scots were relentless in their attacks.

Vortigern is believed by some to have risen to power because his wife, Severa. She was the daughter of Magnus Maximus, a much loved Roman Emperor and the predecessor to Constantine. This gave Vortigern quite a bit of drag in the court.

Vortigern, acting as an advisor to King Constantine III, bargained with the Picts for peace in the country. Unfortunately, he offered them more than Constantine could possibly give.

When the Picts come looking for payment, Vortigern made his King out to be the bad guy who wouldn’t fulfill his end of the bargain. In return, Constantine was murdered by a Pictish assassin.

Murder and Betrayal

Constantine III had three sons, Constans the oldest, Ambrosius Aurelianus and Uther. Constans was barely a teenager at the time of his father’s death, and had planned to go live a life of quiet reflection in a monastery. His brothers were barely toddlers at the time.

With Constans so young king, Vortigern took on the role of advisor once again, this time having full control of the kingdom. That still wasn’t good good enough for Vortigern, however so he had Constans murdered. Vortigern usurped the throne, taking full control of the kindom. Aurelius and Uther were whisked off to safety in Brittany where they lived with their uncle Budic I of Brittany.

The Saxons

Vortigern now had free reign of the kingdom as high king or, “superbus tyrannus” as Nennius referred to him. But what was he going to do about the Picts? They still wanted their due, and expected Vortigern to deliver.

Enter the Saxons. Vortigern made a deal with the Saxons to help drive off the Picts. He would give them the Isle of Thanet in exchange for the deed. When Hengist and his brother Horsa arrived with their troops they did not bring enough men or supplies. They begin taking from the neighboring villages which becomes a huge problem. Vortigern begins to worry that they are a worse problem than the Picts and asks them to leave.

By now, Vortigern’s wife Sevira has died in childbirth. Without her, he has lost much of the influence he carried over many of the rulers of Britain. He is losing support as leader.


Rowena, Vortigern’s Downfall

Hengist negotiates with Vortigern. He left and returned to Britain with sixteen vessels as well as his daughter Rowena,(also known in some sources as Ronwen).

When they arrive, the Saxons throw a huge party. They invite Vortigern, got him completely drunk on wine and ale and he falls foolishly and madly in love with Rowena.

He promised Hengist anything he wanted, if only he could marry her. Hengist agrees. His price? The province of Kent. Needless to say, Guoyrancgonus who reigned in Kent at the time, was not happy at all with this arrangement.

Vortimer, Son of Vortigern

 

Once Vortigern and Hengist have become related by marriage, Hengist demands more and more. Vortigern is more than willing to keep the peace but Vortigern’s oldest son Vortimer is disgusted with his behavior.

Vortimer raised his own army and declared himself a rival leader. For a short time, he managed to hold the Saxons back. He became wounded in battle, however, and was somehow poisoned by his step-mother Rowena.

Saxon Rebellion

As the Saxons demanded more food and clothing to supply their increased numbers. Vortigern refused them. There were just too many of them. The Saxons did not like being refused and rebelled, tearing through the land, leaving devastation wherever they went.

Many were killed during the ensuing battles. Horsa’s son was killed as well as another son of Vortigern, Catigern.

Peace Conference Gone Wrong

Hengist eventually called for a peace conference on Salisbury Plain. When British arrived, they were treacherously cut down where they stood.

Vortigern was saved with the requirement to hand over Essex and Sussex as a ransom. This betrayal resulted in several generations of war between the Saxons and Britons.

Weak-Willed and Manipulated

Many accounts by early historians, especially Nennius, suggest that Vortigern was simply too weak-willed to compete with the Saxon king Hengist. He allowed himself to be manipulated, and let the Saxons dominate the Britons.

The Tower That Wouldn’t Be Built

Under threat from the Saxons, Vortigern flees to Dinas Emrys in north Wales where he tries to have a tower built. There are major problems with its construction. No matter how skilled the masons are, the building falls over. Every morning they wake to the previous days work in ruins.

Vortigern’s magicians tell him that he must sacrifice a youth who has no father and sprinkle the blood on the foundation for the tower to rise.

Merlin, just a boy at the time, is chosen as the sacrifice but he has the smarts to question the magicians.  He then tells them that if they dismantle the tower, they will find a pool beneath it which is causing the problem.

I’m impressed that they actually take him seriously! They take the tower down, and there is a pool underneath, just as Merlin predicted.

Red Dragon, White Dragon

He then tells Vortigern to drain the pool and he will find two hollow stones with two dragons asleep inside.

The king then has the pool drained and finds the stones and dragons, one white and the other red.

The two dragons are locked in mortal combat. The red dragon eventually won. Merlin explained that the White dragon represented the Saxons, the Red Dragon the people of Briton.

Woe unto the Red Dragon, for his extermination draweth nigh; and his caverns shall be occupied of the White Dragon that betokeneth the Saxons whom thou hast invited hither. But the Red signifieth the race of Britain that shall be oppressed of the White. Therefore shall the mountains and the valleys thereof be made level plain and the streams of the valleys shall flow with blood. The rites of religion shall be done away and the ruin of churches be made manifest. At the last, she that is oppressed shall prevail and resist the cruelty of them that come from without. For the Boar of Cornwall shall bring succour and shall trample their necks beneath his feet. (VII, 3)

Although the Saxons were defeating and taking over the Britons right now, the Boar of Cornwall is coming and is going to trample them. Who is the Boar of Cornwall? No doubt, King Arthur!

The Rightful Heir Returns

By now, Ambrosius Aurelianus was on the scene, ready to take back the throne that was rightfully his. Vortigern had previously had no fear of the child but by now he and Uther had grown into a burly young men.

Ambrosius pursued Vortigern driving him south to a wooden castle on the old hillfort of Caer-Guorthigirn (Little Doward). Here, the castle was miraculously struck by lightning and Vortigern burned to death.

It was now up to Ambrosius Aurelianus to put a stop to the Saxons. That’s a story for another day!

More information about Vortigern

Geneology of the King of Powys

The Eliseg Pillar traces the lineage of Eliseg, a Welsh ruler, on a monument that is more than 1100 years old. The Latin inscription, though illegible in areas, traces his lineage back to Vortigern. And this can be used to place Vortigen at around 400 CE

It stands on a middle bronze age burial cairn and was at one time topped with a large stone cross.

The pillar states that Vortigern was married to Sevira, daughter of Magnus Maximus and gives a line of descent leading to the royal family of Powys.

There are 31 lines inscribed in Latin and also mentions his sons.

 

 

Historians Who Wrote about Vortigern

Gildas c. 500-570 CE, who first refers to him as “superbus tyrannus”, a usurper to the throne and blames him for the Saxon invasion.

Bede 672-735 CE, who first calls him ‘Vortigern’.

Nennius is a 9th century Welsh monk presents him as weak-willed and foolish in The History of Britain.

William of Malmesbury c. 1095 – c. 1143 CE, who claims he was a slave to his desires and easily manipulated.

Geoffrey of Monmouth c. 1100 – c. 1155 CE, gives the fullest description of him as a villain

French poet Wace 1110-1174 CE, who follows the lead of Nennius and Geoffrey

 

 

 

It’s Friday: One’s Aspect to the Sun by Sherry D. Ramsey

One's Aspect

Blurb from Goodreads: Captain Luta Paixon of the far trader Tane Ikai needs to know why she looks like a woman in her thirties–even though she’s actually eighty-four. She isn’t the only one desperate for that information.

 

The explanation might lie with her geneticist mother, who disappeared over sixty years ago, but even if her mother is still alive, it’s proving to be no small task to track her down in the vast, wormhole-ridden expanse of Nearspace. With the ruthless PrimeCorp bent on obtaining Luta’s DNA at any cost, her ninety-year-old husband asking for one last favor, and her estranged daughter locking horns with her at every turn, Luta’s search for answers will take her to the furthest reaches of space–and deep inside her own heart.

View on Goodreads

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Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

 

 

“Luta, we’re about an hour from Earth. It looks good if the Captain’s on the bridge when we dock.” Rei’s cheerful voice woke me over the Tane Ikai’s comm circuit. The dream faded slowly, fragments lingering in my mind like wisps of nebulae. It’s always the same dream, when we near a planet.

The Book Beginning was actually from the prologue. Nice setup, don’t you think?

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s the blurb from Page 56:

I twisted around to try to get a look at the intruder, but his black biosuit concealed him from head to toe. He bent over me swiftly and something cold and sharp pierced the flesh of my upper arm, right through my sleepsuit. I swore, jerking and rolling away from the pain, still gasping for breath. The intruder moved away, back toward the hatchway, although all of this happened in a fraction of the time it takes to tell it.

To find out more about Sherry and her writing, go to sherrydramsey.com

Hmmmmm!  Never a dull moment in this book! What do you think?

Thanks for reading and Happy Weekend!

Jo-Ann

 

Review: One’s Aspect to the Sun by Sherry Ramsey

One's Aspect

One's AspectBlurb from Amazon: Captain Luta Paixon of the far trader Tane Ikai needs to know why she looks like a woman in her thirties-even though she’s actually eighty-four. She isn’t the only one desperate for that information. The explanation might lie with her geneticist mother, who disappeared over sixty years ago, but even if her mother is still alive, it’s proving to be no small task to track her down in the vast, wormhole-ridden expanse of Nearspace. With the ruthless PrimeCorp bent on obtaining Luta’s DNA at any cost, her ninety-year-old husband asking for one last favor, and her estranged daughter locking horns with her at every turn, Luta’s search for answers will take her to the furthest reaches of space-and deep inside her own heart.

View on Amazon  View on Goodreads

One’s Aspect to the Sun is the first book in Sherry D. Ramsey’s Nearspace Trilogy. It is based on a future where space travel is routine and the science to make immortality a reality is big business.

Science fiction or speculative fiction is not my first choice of reads, but I found this well written story completely captivating and hard to put down. Not only is the world building phenomenal, it is filled with mystery and family secrets.

The characters all had their own interesting backgrounds and stories, whether they were the ship’s crew or her own family members, even other species that exist in this universe.

I was thoroughly drawn into Ramsey’s world, a universe that is extensively detailed and captivating with planets, wormholes leading to other galaxies and pinholes.

The main character, Luta Paixon is the captain of an intergalactic cargo trader. She is a very real, believable character who prefers jeans and a t-shirt to a biosuit. We come to learn of her struggles as a mother, a daughter and a wife, all made more complicated by the fact that she does not look her age.

Luta does her best to evade PrimeCorp, a mega corporation that wants her DNA. In the meantime, she desperately continues the search for her mother in the hopes of finding answers.

When she finally gets a major lead to her mother’s whereabouts she must dodge PrimeCorp. To complicate things, her husband is dying, and his last wish is to make one final trip into space. He does not expect to come back.

Wonderfully written, I give One’s Aspect to the Sun five stars.

Next week I will follow up with a review of the second book in the Nearspace series, Dark Beneath the Moon. Read about it on Amazon here.

Now is the perfect time to get your hands on these books. Sherry has just released the third book in the series, Beyond the Sentinel Stars.

Sherry D. Ramsey is a speculative fiction writer, editor, publisher, creativity addict and self-confessed Internet geek. When she’s not writing, she makes jewelry, gardens, hones her creative procrastination skills on social media, and consumes far more coffee and chocolate than is likely good for her.

Her books include One’s Aspect to the Sun (named Speculative Fiction Book of the Year for 2014 by the Book Publishers’ Association of Alberta); a sequel, Dark Beneath the Moon; a new middle grade fantasy, The Seventh Crow; the urban fantasy The Murder Prophet; and To Unimagined Shores—Collected Stories. With her partners at Third Person Press, she has co-edited five anthologies of regional short fiction to date. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Writer’s Council, Sherry is also a past Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of SF Canada, Canada’s national association for Speculative Fiction Professionals.

Sherry lives in Nova Scotia with her husband, children, and dogs. You can visit her online at www.sherrydramsey.com, find her on Facebook, and keep up with her much more pithy musings on Twitter @sdramsey.