Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dense Fog in the "Mists of Avalon"

I bought this book at The Bodi Tree, which was a magical bookstore on Melrose in West Hollywood. A cozy shop where you could sip on chai tea and browse through every metaphysical title out there. The Mists of Avalon sat on my shelf for twenty-two years before I blew off the dust and opened it. Eight-hundred and seventy six pages later, I can now claim, I've read this high fantasy novel. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a retelling of The Tales of King Arthur from a feminine perspective.
High fantasy is not my normal read, so it took me awhile, sorting the names. When you have a Morgaine and a Morgause in the first chapter and a Balin and a Balan who are step brothers, etc. I found myself re-reading parts to remember who's who.
Things I found Interesting: Emphasis on the Goddess and the importance of birthing a female heir as opposed to a male. The oppression of the Christianity during this time. How Christianity adopted many Pagan ways.Teachings of  Avalon on having more than one lifetime. Various expressions of sexuality.
Disappointment: The female characters. They all ended up being self-serving, jealous, scheming, greedy, power hungry and murderous. It would have been nice if  just one became enlightened on her journey. Morgaine at the end was far from it, claiming she was not a failure by justifying her deplorable actions by saying, "it was the work of the Goddess." Which is as good as "The Devil Made me Do It." Take responsibility for Goddess sake!! ; )
Loved/Hated:  Loved Kevin the Harper who became the Merlin, who embraced change and foresaw a way to integrate the new and the old. Wise and humble, he was the only enlightened one. I hated that he wasn't a female character. Loved  how conflicted Gwenhwfar was. Hated that she bailed on Lancelot. Loved the Lancelot character-multi-faceted, but hated that he became a priest.
Favorite Moments: Morgaine passing the Holy Grail (was unexpected)

I did enjoy reading this book, though I felt a hundred pages could have been cut out. I loved the descriptions of the various settings from Tintagel to Avalon to Camelot, and I have high regard for the language she used and all the research she did.
Unfortunately the dense fog surrounded her feminine perspective. Now is the time of the human perspective. Know thy self. The balance of the the male/female, Yin/Yang, God/Goddess within us all. If you decide to read this book, I highly recommend you finish it before googling the author, Marion Zimmer Bradley.

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