1 LLT 180 Lecture 8 1 We're over on page 194. We had just gotten done. We had Wart saying clearly what we all knew and we beat it up that he much preferred the geese to the ant. And now finally we get rid of Uther. You know, Arthur has had all this education and so we're gonna have an opportunity for Arthur to do what we've been waiting for the whole book: the pull of the sword from the stone. King Pellinore has some uses. He does report that Uther is dead. And the curious thing -- and again, how are we tying this together, on the middle of page 195, is that Uther the Conqueror -- so he's not referred to as Uther Pendragon but Uther the Conqueror. So obviously we're supposed to be tying them together here with William the Conqueror, even by the dates. Ruled for a long time. He's a tough old guy. Ruled from 1066 to At least under old math that's a long time. He has no heirs, no heirs that people know of. Of course, Arthur is going to be an heir but people evidently don't really know Arthur exists. And Pullmer has more news. And generally the legend is that there is a sword in the stone, left there, but it says clearly in White's version that it appeared. And so Merlyn has caused this to happen. When we see the movie Excaliber, in Excaliber just before Uther is killed, he rams the sword into a stone because he doesn't want anybody else to have it. And so magically -- and then this gets altogether with this kind of life and earth and Mother Earth symbolism of that returning to the core of existence. Anyway, a sword has appeared. About two-thirds of the way down on 196, there's appeared a sword in the stone in sort of a church, whatever that is -- a sort of a church. And explains there's an anvil with the sword through and the sword is all the
2 LLT 180 Lecture 8 2 way through the anvil into the stone. He says clearly, on the bottom of 196, "The sword," said King Pellinore" -- who's always a little confused, so we expect it to take a page for him to get this straight,... "is stuck through an anvil which stands on a stone. It goes right through the anvil and into the stone. The anvil is stuck to the stone. The stone stands outside a church." And he takes another page to explain that there's stuff written on the sword in gold -- one of our good colors, of course, in folk material. And what does it say, about 20 lines from the bottom of 197, "Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Right-wise King Born of All England." Even hard to read. No one has done it so we're gonna have a great tournament in London to give people an opportunity not only to participate in this great tournament on New Year's Day but also to pull the sword from the stone. Kay, who's just gonna become a knight, desperately, desperately wants to go. And after he badgers his father, Hector says he'll go. But kind of interestingly, and we might've mentioned this before, this all is taking place in London and Sir Ector has never been to London. And so, you know, where is this? Again, we get back to our hero list that the hero returns and goes to their future kingdom. Well, Arthur, we assume, was born evidently in London, then spirited away by Merlyn to some remote places -- Stockton, Missouri -- no, just kidding. Just a joke, just a joke. I have good friends in Stockton. It was a cheap shot but I'm not above it.
3 LLT 180 Lecture 8 3 Anything for a laugh. Anyway, people from the boonies don't get into the big town, don't get into the big town. And so he returns to his future kingdom. Maybe not a good example. It's an important point that what: Wart misses this whole conversation. He's not in the room, so he doesn't know what's been said. He doesn't know about what's been written on the pommel of the sword, what the prediction is, and so he does all this in total ignorance. Later we're gonna make the point also that he doesn't read it. He just goes up and pulls it out. Well, not quite that simply. So it's after this conversation that Wart came in with Merlyn, and then Merlyn announces he's leaving. There's again prophetic stuff -- pretty much when Merlyn's around there's often prophetic stuff. We read about two-thirds of the way down on 199, "I have come to say Good-bye, Sir Ector," said the old magician. "Tomorrow mt pupil Kay will be knighted, and the next week my other pupil will go away as his squire. I have outlived my usefulness here, and it is time to go." "Now, now, don't say that," said Sir Ector. "I think you're a jolly useful chap whatever happens. You just stay and teach me, or be the librarian or something. Don't you leave an old man alone, after the children have flown." "We shall all meet again," said Merlyn. "There is no cause to be sad." So again, these comments. But Merlyn disappears. Kay, in Chapter 23, does become a knight and when does this take place? It says in the paragraph, the four-line paragraph toward the bottom of page 200, Perhaps, if you happen not to have lived in the Old England of the twelfth century, or whenever it was...
4 LLT 180 Lecture 8 4 This whole idea of whenever -- I don't know if I mentioned this before. A lot of this folk material, you know, really isn't necessarily tied to a time or place. You can set it in different times. You know, our library -- did I talk about the Hansel and Gretel tape we had? Dr. Holliday, who teaches in the English department, and I are both kind of interested in folklore. He does way more than I do. And he purchased a film some years ago -- it's so old it's on 16 millimeter -- but it's an Appalachian version of Hansel and Gretel. And what it is, it's Hansel and Gretel set in Appalachia in the 1960s. And it works wonderfully -- I mean, just the whole thing. Actually, you should go get this movie and watch in the library. Mainly, I guarantee you, if you have any knowledge of The Beatles, when you get to the part where the witch -- the old witch shows up, she looks just like John Lennon. I mean, I'm serious. It's just -- you know, I mean, if I don't forewarn anybody and you're watching this movie, and I say, "Does the witch look like anybody?" And people will look at you like you're nuts. And I said, "John Lennon?" And you see all these people like, "Hah. He does -- she does." So it's worth watching just to see the witch, John Lennon. Anyway, when does this take place? So we're not setting folk material in any necessarily particular time or place. It's repeated again and again and again, this whole idea of might is right is going to have to be fixed and that England at this time, socially, civilly, is without civilization. And so one of the things Arthur is gonna be the great champion of civilization. And, of course, this book is about education. Education by its nature enhances, encourages civilization, and also getting rid of chaos. London's full, as you'd expect it to be. The tilting grounds are beautiful. But
5 LLT 180 Lecture 8 5 somehow when they go that morning to the tilting grounds, Kay has forgotten Sword and he sends Wart/Heart for it. We're told at the bottom of 202 that again, consistent with this idea that these are lawless times, and so the inn is locked. And so Arthur can't get in to get the sword. They repeat -- or remember, he did not hear the prophecy. And on page 203, about 20 lines down maybe, he sees the sword. He needs a sword. He turned his mount and cantered off along the street. There was a quiet churchyard at the end of it, with a kind of square in front of the church door. In the middle of the square there was a heavy stone with an anvil on it, and a fine new sword was stuck through the anvil. And so this isn't some old sword but some sword evidently that has been specially manufactured for Art -- for Arthur. His first experience with the sword is what? When he takes hold of the sword he feels differently, and so the sword somehow changes who he is. Or maybe, you know, together with touching the sword it unifies his education, it makes him cognizant of the importance of everything. It says, about 15 lines from the bottom, "This is extraordinary," said the Wart. "I feel strange when I have hold of this sword, and I notice everything much more clearly." Sounds like a good characteristic to make him a good king. He does not read what's on the sword so he does this in naivete. And remember, one of the characteristics I said I would add to that list of twenty-two is the hero is only naive. One of the reasons the hero can accomplish what the hero accomplishes is because they are naive.
6 LLT 180 Lecture 8 6 We're reading at the top of 204: "People," cried the Wart, "I must take this sword. It is not for me, but for Kay. I will bring it back." There was still no answer, and Wart turned back to the anvil. He saw the golden letters, which he did not read, and the jewels on the pommel, flashing in the lovely light. Now, when we see Excaliber, what does Disney do: Does he just immediately pull the sword from the stone? It's been too long since I've seen that. [Inaudible student response.] When he touches it the second time, does he try to pull it more than one time or when he first tries to pull it? [Inaudible student response.] It's like he's been smoking weird stuff before he touches it or something? Okay. Here, you know, if you read this, it's a third try. And again, that's good folklore stuff. And we talked about this a little bit before. You can say this is part of the magic. But they emphasize the importance of education. But it's not just education. We kind of get three things coming together to help him pull it out, right? We have his friends, all his friends, all the things he's changed into, all the things he's encountered. His friends help him, his knowledge helped him -- helps him -- I can't speak today -- and love helps him. 'Cause they all come -- we read that longer paragraph toward the bottom of "on account of love." And so we get back to how Arthur interacts with everybody and everything as opposed to like Kay. So experience, knowledge come together to help him with his
7 LLT 180 Lecture 8 7 friends' encouragement and love. And so on the third try, you know, Wart pulls the sword on 205: The Wart walked up to the great sword for the third time. He put out his right hand softly [discrimination against us left-handers] and drew it out as gently as from a scabbard. I always complain at meetings on campus when they say, "All in favor raise their right hand," and I say -- you know, I always tend to be obnoxious in such things. I say, "Well, you know, I'm left-handed. I find that offensive." So people start saying, "Raise a hand if you're in favor," which just seems only fair to me. Anyway, he gives the sword to Kay so Arthur supposedly knows the significance of what he's done. Because he hasn't read it, he hasn't heard it. Kay knows the significance, though, and Kay is not an honorable knight. He is more like Sir Brussels Pite. He's not what we want to become. He's more representative of how things were. And he says, "Hey, look, Dad. I got the sword." His dad kind of knows what Kay's like, so they go back to where the sword came from and says -- oh, he says, "Oh, wow. I lied, Dad." He says, on 206, about line 13, 14: He said, "I am a liar. Wart pulled it out." As far as the Wart was concerned, there was a time after this in which Sir Ector kept telling him to put the sword back into the stone--which he did--and in which Sir Ector and Kay then vainly tried to take it out. And so Wart obviously can keep pulling it out and keep putting it back in, and nobody else can. Ector now admits that Wart is not his son. So he is now destined to be king. It
8 LLT 180 Lecture 8 8 says clearly, in Chapter 24, the people were sick of anarchy, they're sick of lawlessness, they're sick of Might as Right; they're sick of the world as it existed under Uther Pendragon. Merlyn, of course, knew all of this and reappears and says, "I just couldn't tell you." On the bottom of 208, "Well, Wart," said Merlyn, "here we are--or were--again." I read some of this and I start getting confused and have to reread the sentence. "How nice you look in your crown. I was not allowed to tell you before, or since, but your father was, or will be, King Uther Pendragon." So we get the truth. "... and it was I, myself" -- that is, Merlyn -- "disguised as a beggar, who first carried you to Sir Ector's castle, in your golden swaddling bands. I know all about your birth and parentage, and who gave you your real name. I know the sorrows before you, and the joys,..." blah-blah-blah. And so he, then, in this version is the first one who addresses him as King Arthur. Wart asks, "Will you stay with me for a long time?" asked the Wart, not understanding much of this. "Yes, Wart," said Merlyn. "Or rather, as I should say (or is it have said?), Yes, King Arthur." The question always arises what is the Latin at the end of the first book, and what it says is "Ends the First Book." That's all it is, just playing with you. So nothing
9 LLT 180 Lecture 8 9 significant. That's just the end. Questions? So now we have Arthur -- again, his accomplishments are a result of his education and a result of who he is. In his relationship with people and things, and we'll now see what kind of king he'll become. Actually, we're gonna talk about armor. We're gonna see the film on Knights in Armor and then Friday -- not next time; the time after that -- we'll do Arnold. So those of you who think you want to be Arnold and get on a full suit of armor, we'll probably have the time for at least a couple of people -- or we can at least put on parts of it, whichever kind of fun, to kind of feel what it's like.