Lately, I’ve run across complaints that modern depictions of the Knights of the Round Table are too “anime” – giving them all sorts of goofy powers, and sending them on weird, over-the-top adventures.
Allow me to point out that the following are all actual things that appear in the older tales about the Knights:
- Sir Kay is said to have had the power to grow to giant size, hold his breath for nine days, and radiate supernatural heat from his hands.
- Sir Bedivere openly practiced sorcery, and suffered from an accordingly sinister reputation; on more than one occasion, he was saved from being hanged as a witch only by King Arthur’s testimonly to his good character.
- Sir Galahad possessed supernatural strength and speed by virtue of his moral and sexual purity – making him a rare example of a male character with virginity-fueled super powers.
- Sir Balin once wielded the Lance of Longinus, and blew up an entire kingdom with a single blow. He also fought an evil knight with the power of invisibility.
- Sir Marrock was a freaking werewolf.
Conclusion: modern depctions of the Knights of the Round Table aren’t anime enough.
I made this post two years ago, and while it’s never really taken off, it’s still getting a small burst of additional notes every couple of months. I wonder how folks keep finding it?
Anyway, the original post is hardly exhaustive – here are a few more fun examples:
- Sir Gawain (you know, the guy involved in that whole mess with the Green Knight) is described as literally solar-powered in some tales, being three times as strong at high noon as he is at daybreak.
- Sir Owain’s best friend and partner in battle is a talking lion. While his tales do include a sort of “origin story” explaining how he met the lion, the fact that it can talk isn’t remarked upon – it’s just a thing.
- Sir Gwrhyr is able to speak every language, including those of animals, and in some versions can transform into various animals as well.
- Though Lancelot isn’t usually described as having any specific supernatural powers or tools, he’s constantly described as “perfect” by everyone who sees him – you can practically see the bishie sparkles.
(Speaking of Lancelot, it’s interesting to note that in the earlier stories, his illicit romance with Guinevere is actually part of a love triangle involving another knight named Galehaut – and the focus of that love triangle isn’t Guinevere, but Lancelot himself! Galehaut has been quietly edited out of more modern retellings for sadly obvious reasons.)
whats up nerds i found a novelized historical slash fic about lancelot and galehaut written by two medieval scholars here it is youre welcome
sorry are you telling me that the Lancelot from Spamalot! is arguably one of the more accurate interpretations in modern times.
Terry Jones of Monty Python is actually a well-respected medievalist who has written such books as Chaucer’s Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary and the Emmy award-nominated series Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives which is a social history of medieval Britain. So… yes.