So there is a trailer for the new Guy Ritchie King Arthur film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, starring Charlie Hunnam and all sorts of other people (including David Beckham? Did I read that right?).
And it looks like … well, it looks like Guy Ritchie directing a King Arthur film, really:
So naturally, as a lover of medieval literature, I am outraged, right? Well … not really.
Look, don’t get me wrong: I’m sure this is going to do a lot of things that grate on me when I watch it: heaven knows Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes did, and I care way less about Victorian stuff than medieval stuff. But the thing is …
… the thing is …
.. that this is the tradition, right? Like, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote a load of fantasy guff about giants and whatnot and had Arthur acting like a medieval knight. He was familiar with stories of Arthur, I suppose, but he worked them into the literary tradition of his age. Same goes for Malory, same goes for T. H. White, whose schoolboy heroes are, while not un-medieval, very much of their time. People bring Arthur into their cultural traditions and tell stories that are contemporary and set in a nonspecific historical fantasy milieu. That’s what happens in Camelot, that’s what happens in Excalibur, and that’s what’s happening here.
Now, obviously, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good, but it does mean that this isn’t some kind of weird deviation from the Arthurian tradition. This is what the Arthurian tradition is.
Maybe there are some limits.