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Book Review

Book Review

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Published by: novel_tin on Sep 15, 2010
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TITLE A. Author – David Franzoni B. Director – Antoine Fuqua SETTING Arthur is remembered in legend as a great Celtic leader who fought against the Saxon invaders of Britain in the Dark Ages. Britain flourished as a Celtic land for centuries in the first millennium BC, and shared with the other Celtic lands of Europe an extensive trade with the Mediterranean. The rise of Rome and its Empire saw the Celtic world subsumed, and Britain suffered first incursion by Caesar in 55BC, then invasion in AD49 and the foundation of Roman Britain. That transition was traumatic and deadly - the revolt of Boudica stands testament to this time - but once established provided four centuries of development to Britain as an integral province of the Empire. Trade, commerce and urbanised life became the way of life for the British in the empire. Towns and cities grew, and beyond them the villas where grain and cattle were managed. After centuries of dominance, the threat of invasion on the Empire was felt in Britain as it was elsewhere - particularly from Germanic tribes to the east and Pictish tribes to the north. Strong defences were prepared along the coast in the south and east, and Germanic foederati - hired forces - were employed in the defence of the province, but around AD410 Roman rule was withdrawn and the province was open to attack. Saxons from the north of Germany were ready to take Britain and make it their own, but an attack of deadly consequence also came from disease and in the fifth century the towns and cities of Britain became afflicted by an epidemic introduced from the Mediterranean around AD443-5 (Edens 2003) through trade routes and causing devastation in the towns such that "the majority of the towns had ceased to function by the middle of the fifth century". The defendable towns became death-traps and the Saxons invaded the south-east, with a pattern of occupation indicating the avoidance of the towns - and disease - and the destruction of the villas to deny supply: the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to the "worthlessness of the Britons and the excellence of their land". In the west lay a solution to the British dilemma the south east saw the abandonment of the Romano-British culture and Viroconium, at the western end of Watling Street, was refurbished. Iron Age hill forts were also refortified as strongholds, while many nearby towns left in a state of decay or desertion. The famous 'Cadbury Hill' in Somerset is an exemplar of a re-occupied hill-fort as highlighted by the excavations. These settlements remained defendable and provided a place to regroup and defend. In the west a new Celtic landscape was developed by the people of Britain. From here they readied themselves to retain what was theirs - their lands, their culture and their heritage - and defeat the advancing Saxons. Here, in the real chance of success, rose legendary Arthur.



a scout with just his hawk for company. Despite the fact that he cares about the other knights. and he's likely to leave the battlefield strewn with the blood of those he has mortally wounded and left to die a lingering.Arthur wasn't just a legend. 2. he changes accordingly and begins to take on the responsibility of a leader to his people. Arthur feels Roman. He knows that he is incredibly skillful with his swords. Because he is the youngest. he does show fear. he does start to grasp what Arthur is about and why he is committed to going on this final assignment. but as Rome changes and pulls out. he remains absolutely dedicated to Arthur. He has nurtured his dream of home in order to survive the hell of duty under the Roman boot. as his beliefs and faith are challenged. She’s a fighter.1. If Arthur is absorbed by his idealistic vision of how the world could be. 4. I also believe that he is honest. Lancelot fears no enemy. he was a real man: someone who sacrificed himself to become a leader and earned the right to be called King. A woman who is driven by an overwhelming ambition to liberate her people and will do just about anything to realize her goals. . Tristan . Lancelot is more grounded in the cold and filth of how the world truly is. Lancelot . 3. Galahad doesn't have the same sense of family. as much as any man – and she does have something to fight for. Because of his love for Arthur. Arthur . the fight always comes first. arrogant and cocky. for Tristan. the memory of his homeland is fresh in his heart. a sense of responsibility to intervene and make the world a fair place.they all recognize that there's something different about him and they can't help themselves from following him. Guinevere . Therefore. Some of the other knights find him a bit disturbing.is the youngest of the knights and the most enraged by his forced duty to Rome.they want to do their thing and move on but that's why Arthur is the leader . he is nearly led astray by Guinevere but. The knights. He is incredibly loyal. The women did fight on equal standing with the men. Killing is an art to Tristan.is equally adept atmanipulating Arthur to her cause as she is in the art of archery or the garrotte. Arthur is the one who feels a sense of unfairness. and he is incredibly disappointed and torn between his loyalty to Arthur and his freedom when they have to go on this last mission. he comes to identify with his British side more and more. Galahad . are much more like military machines . painful death. 5. or belonging to the group that the older men like Bors would have. he’s passionate and arrogant and cocky. Gleefully skillful with his two swords. He doesn't believe in any god. a warrior. He is driven by his dream of one day returning to his homeland. Passionate. Amongst the knights.Arthur’s right-hand man and deadly killer.is a lone wolf. as loyal as they are to him. Lancelot doesn’t know anything else except being trained to be a killer.

who is also the veteran of the pack: the oldest of the knights. When Gawain hits the battlefield he’s keen to take as many lives as possible and if he dies that’s all right too. IV. This is almost one thousand years before Machiavelli. Cerdic . short savage attack. it was pretty tough times. Cynric . He is not . B. 9. the Knights would be no better than a pack of vicious wolves. The actor was intrigued by Cerdic.the mysterious leader of the Woads who eventually joins forces with Arthur and his knights against a common enemy.D. a man for whom the end always justifies the means. 2. He and his men guard Hadrian's Wall against the Woads. Despite his mighty physique. Dagonet . He is down and dirty and all that fancy swordplay is really his thing. Merlin is a master of guerrilla warfare. One thing he does know is that when the fighting starts.is a traditionalist with a strong code of honor. Dagonet is a quiet observer of life. He likes getting in there but he is getting a bit old. 8.a fiercesome fighter. 7.6. Cerdic is intelligent. His specialty is hand-to-hand combat. He knows that they are reaching a major fulcrum in history but doesn't know what it is. As Joel Edgerton sees it. also known as Artorius Castus (Clive Owen). he is a Goliath on the battlefield. even if that could mean killing his own son. Dagonet most clearly sees that without Arthur as their leader.follows in the footsteps of his father Cerdic. a leader who has trained his fighters to melt into their natural environment after each. if you had any power and wanted to survive you had to be pretty ruthless. a lot like me and he hurts a lot more. Cynric depends upon bodyguards and a British scout to keep him alive and the closest he gets to direct combat usually involves giving commands and beating on his soldiers backs to get them to advance into battle. Bors has 5 children and 3 wives and could be kind of a big shot in his own town. PLOTS Arthur. led by the mysterious Merlin (Stephen Dillane). Merlin . ANTAGONIST 1. based on the historical Picts. with a strong sense of place and time. But at that time in the Dark Ages.the commander of the invading Saxon forces. Gawain – for Gawain there is no such dream of homeland. the son of a Roman father and a Celtic mother. He fights with his axe and his fists. Bors . is portrayed as a Roman cavalry officer. a Celtic people who resist Roman rule. He is slowing up a bit. the fearsome commander of the Saxon forces. but he is also very pragmatic and he is evil. who leads a military force of Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry in Britain at the close of the Roman occupation in 467 A. Gawain’s home is on the field of battle.

Arthur and his remaining knights Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd). Bors (Ray Winstone). However they first fight off an attack by the Woads on the Roman escort bringing their discharges. along with Marius' family. Along the route one dawn. Arthur explains his mission to Marius. Guinevere takes Arthur to meet with Merlin. according to the Bishop. Lucan. is the Pope's favorite godson and may be "destined to be Pope one day". Arthur soon discovers Marius has also immured pagans: a Woad. Arthur resets the fingers in Guinevere's hand. Marius is revealed to have oppressed his serfs on the pretense of speaking for God. Marius' son. Arthur advises that Marius does not speak for God. The knights are charged with this rescue because Rome is withdrawing from Britain. Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen). Excalibur. Arthur is further disillusioned when he learns that Bishop Pelagius. his ancestors have manned the Wall. Alecto. leading Sarmatian auxiliaries. At first. the leader of the Woads and her father. He frees the elder and tells them all that they were "free from their first breath".the first Arthur — for generations. Merlin suggests an alliance between the Woads and the Sarmatian knights. While being shown an elder who has been whipped and left tied up out in the elements for asking Marius for more food for the serfs. whose teachings about the equality of all . on the night they ought to receive their freedom. and his entry into service as a youth in 452 A. led by their chief Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgård) and his son Cynric (Til Schweiger). Along the journey. who becomes defensive and refuses to leave his grand home. Arthur frees them and decides to take everyone. and a small boy. as is Arthur. and Arthur is revealed to be half Celt (on his mother's side). Galahad (Hugh Dancy) and Dagonet (Ray Stevenson) are expecting discharge from the service of the Empire after faithfully serving for 15 years (Lancelot's voiceover is heard at the beginning and end of the film. Merlin says that he did not wish for Arthur's mother to die. taking the boy Lucan hostage. she was of their blood. his guards stand down and aid the knights in getting all the people to the wall. is depicted at the beginning). Marius forces a standoff with his own soldiers. It is revealed in flashback that Arthur's mother had died in a Woad attack when he was a boy.D. Arthur thinks Guinevere has betrayed him. Guinevere uses a bow to shoot Marius dead. Arthur's famous sword. Guinevere tells Arthur of the "fairy tales" she'd heard of him. Arthur pulled it from his father's burial mound in an effort to rescue his mother from a burning building. Struck by Rome leaving its subjects to the mercy of the Saxons. they are dispatched on a final and possibly suicidal mission by Bishop Germanus (Ivano Marescotti) in the freezing winter to rescue the important Roman family of Marius Honorius (Ken Stott) from impending capture by the invading Saxons. but Merlin has come in peace. now considered an indefensible outpost. Guinevere (Keira Knightley). As the film starts. back to Hadrian's Wall. However. At the remote estate. is also shown to be his father's. Gawain (Joel Edgerton). which marked his father's burial mound. One night.

Cynric shoots Lancelot with a Saxon crossbow. . against future invaders. and his remaining knights promise to lead the Britons. many Saxons are killed. and the Saxons are defeated. killing him. Dagonet and Tristan reincarnated as horses and roaming the lands freely. however. though the trebuchet was not re-introduced to Britain until the siege of Dover in 1216. Cynric disarms Guinevere before Lancelot intervenes and duels Cynric alone. The group soon encounter the Saxons at an ice-covered lake. Though there is evidence for the use of some form of crossbows by Romans (calling them manuballistae) and. reportedly used an early form of the trebuchet in their sieges. Arthur kills Cerdic. Similarly. and Hunnic designs. has been executed as a heretic by order of Bishop Germanus himself. The last scene shows Lancelot. Tristan returns from scouting the area and tells Arthur that a whole Saxon army is on the move. King Arthur. Though Arthur is victorious. Arthur and his remaining men forsake Roman citizenship and form an alliance with the Woads to fight the Saxons. After realizing that the Rome of his ideals exists only in his dreams.[citation needed] The Romans. Queen Guinevere. The knights stay behind to hold up the Saxons and allow the refugees to escape. the Picts. The Saxons historically used bows (to a limited extent) and spears instead of crossbows during the period. Turkish. In the climactic battle. the weapon was still not widely used in England until much later. Arthur also despairs over the deaths of his men. [citation needed] Roman soldiers displayed in the movie are depicted as legionnaires with 2nd century AD armour. some claim. Sarmatians were armored in the manner of cataphracts (full-length coats of scale armor). V. the Woads catapult flaming missiles at the Saxon army. The film ends with Arthur and Guinevere's marriage. at the cost of his life — however. While another Saxon captures Lancelot's attention for a moment. By AD 400. the battle is won when Dagonet runs to the middle of the ice and breaks it with an axe. the film's Sarmatians are armoured with a mishmash of pseudo-Roman. the Woads use a trebuchet-like weapon to hurl flaming missiles at the Saxons. Cerdic fights and kills Tristan before facing off with Arthur. Mongol. Arthur. the events of the film have led to the loss of his faith in Rome as a bastion of justice. while Lancelot speaks of the fact that their names will live forever in legend. CONFLICTS Military technology Historically. Lancelot dies with Guinevere at his side. Guinevere engages in combat with Cynric. Lancelot then throws his sword into Cynric. Meanwhile. Guinevere and the knights attempt to repel them with arrows. Greatly outnumbered. Merlin then proclaims him to be their king. In due course.men inspired the brotherhood of his Round Table. legionaries were no longer in use and comitatenses were the new replacements. the "Battle of Badon Hill" set just south of the now abandoned Hadrian's Wall. united with the defeat of the Saxons and retreat of the Romans. and when the hosts meet.

A trailer for the film claims that historians now agree that Arthur was a real person because of alleged "recent" archaeological findings. Matutong magpatawad gaya ng gianwa ni Arthur kay Merlin na sa kahit na siya ang taong nasa likod ng kamatayn ng kanyang mga magulang napatawad niya pa rin ito. .Religious inaccuracies The real Pelagius opposed Saint Augustine on the theological issue of the relationship between grace and free will. discovered in 1998 in securely dated 6th century contexts amongst the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. while he himself fasted. the so-called "Arthur stone"." The movie implies that the Pope (who in 467 was Pope Hilarius) was in control of the Western Roman Empire. the film confuses the issue of political freedoms and social choices (which were not issues in political debate in the 5th/6th centuries AD) with the principle of free will in relationship to God. although portrayed in the film as a cruel and pompous aristocrat. yet there is no consensus amongst historians on Arthur's historicity and no recent archaeological find proves Arthur's existence. although it was actually ruled by the Emperor and de facto controlled by the Magistri Militum and other regional governors. However. created a stir but has subsequently been of little use as evidence. Lagi mong ring dapat isipin ang kapakanan ng nakararami at iwasan ang maging makasarili kagaya ng ginawa ni dagonite na nagsakripisyo ng sarili niyang buhay para makatakas ang mga taong nililikas nila laban sa mga saxons. Promotion Elements of the film's promotion have likewise been criticized as historically unsound. Its tagline "The True Story Behind the Legend" has been criticized as false. so he didn't think he could either. washed the feet of the poor and served them with his own hands. likely of old age and was not burned at the stake by the ecclesiastical authorities. Archbishop Germanus' second (and last) mission to Britain was twenty years before (447 AD) and he died the following year. Germanus is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church and. The Pelagian heresy denied original sin with its doctrine of the bondage of the will. Believe in yourself. historically he "extended his hospitality to all sorts of persons. Nor was Pelagius executed for heresy in Rome as the film indicates. The Pope would not gain the political power to grant lands and other comparable privileges until centuries after the setting of the film. don't have such low self-esteem. LESSON The lesson that I learned gawin mo kung ano yung alam mong tama kahit na may ilang nagdidikta sayo na mas mataas sa’yo gaya ng ginawa ni arthur sa mga pinaparusahan ni Marius. Pelagius is believed to have died decades before 467 AD. VI. All the strong men couldn't pull Excalibur out of the stone. This is indicated by Arthur's asking him a question about free will. and the storyline of Arthur's break with the Catholic Church.


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