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There has been considerable interest on Facebook in [livejournal.com profile] ladyofastolat's booklet made for the 1993 Arthurian Pilgrimage. I cut said booklet up and incorporated it into my photo album, so some pictures of the album seemed appropriate for Throwback Thursday.

A couple more shots under the cut )
purplecat: (books)
In the name of full disclosure I should point out that, to the extent that I have ill-gotten gains from the writing of fiction, these have come via the editorial largesse of Philip Purser-Hallard writer of The Pendragon Protocol.

NB. Also Spoilers )

I would definitely recommend this to people interested in Arthurian Legend, and in how Arthurian retellings can be integrated into the modern genre of urban fantasy. I find it harder to judge how it might work for people with less of an interest in the core myths.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Liz Heffner is an old university friend of mine who moved to the US a few years back in order to get married and start a family. She's been embroidering as long as I've known her, but with the move to the US, and unable to afford to get her nursing qualifications updated to allow her to practice over there, she's been trying to turn her hobby into a business by producing prints of embroidery on Arthurian and Tolkien themes.

You can buy prints of her work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/LizHeffner. Shipping outside the US by reliable carrier is a real bug-bear for her and the shipping costs are high, but she can fit up to four prints in a package and will refund additional postage costs.

At the moment all her capital is tied up in prints of existing work which means she's unable to afford to make prints of her latest piece, Smaug:

Smaug under the Cut )

However she is attempting to gauge serious interest in buying prints of Smaug, and is currently haggling with her printer about getting them made at a reasonable price (Smaug is, apparently, quite large so he's going to have to be shrunk somehow or prints will cost around $130). If someone out there would be seriously interested in buying a print of him feel free to let me know (and at roughly what price) and I'll be happy to pass the message along.
purplecat: (arthuriana)
It must be true the Magic Tree House Books tell us so!

B. is busy formulating a theory about the effectiveness of libraries in holding back Saxon hordes.

Merlin 1.0

Sep. 21st, 2008 09:15 am
purplecat: (arthuriana)
The stated concept behind this series had me rolling my eyes. I've long out-grown any desire to see teen-angst meets King Arthur. The set dressing didn't exactly help my opinion and I regret the decision to make magic appear more as something mechanical than something mystical. All that said, somewhere along the way, this first episode won me over.

I think, for a start, that the set dressing, jarring as it appeared at first, reminds me rather powerfully of the illustrations in the Ladybird Fairytale books I grew up with. The sparklingly clean, brightly lit, castle; its denizens elegantly dressed in a loose mix of medieval fantasy and taffeta confections and the determined effort to reject anything that smacked of realism was actually rather nostalgic. I was reminded of a speaker at the Arthurian Society, whose name I have long forgotten, who posited that the essential theme of nearly all the Arthurian retellings is the attempt to build a utopia and its ultimate failure and that each retelling is fundamentally about a contemporary conception of utopia. In that light this bizarrely rose-tinted vision, marred only by Uther's hard line on magic, makes a certain thematic sense. Merlin, Morgana and Guinevere speak like modern liberal idealists who will educate and shape a modern fairytale utopia via their interactions with Arthur and already we see the the hints of the tangled love-lives of the four that may ultimately bring that utopia crashing down. Of course the jury is yet out on whether that is the thematic course this series intends to steer.

Katie McGrath didn't entirely convince me as Morgana but then she had really very little air time in this first episode. Angel Coulby, Bradley James and Colin Morgan were all fine and succeeded in making the teenage shenanigans amusing without being irritating, even if none of them quite had the breadth to make you totally invest in their character in this first episode. Anthony Head and Richard Wilson carried their parts with conviction as did Eve Myles who was, I thought, better here than in Torchwood or The Unquiet Dead.

Whether the series will manage to create a cohesive world out of its santised fantasy setting and build some real depth into its characters and themes remains to be seen but I came away from the first episode considerably better disposed towards it than I expected to be.

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