My Favorite Modern Interpretations of King Arthur

Posted January 12, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 8 Comments

Howdy, folks! As you know, King Arthur is our January Book of the Month, and I’m loving every minute of working on it. I didn’t pick one specific book version of the Arthurian legends, partially because there are so many…and also partially because I don’t know which is my favorite! I love that there are so many versions of the story. To me, our continued cultural draw to these legends is proof of just how timelessly awesome they are. But which modern versions are the best? In no particular order, here is my completely subjective list of favorite King Arthur retellings:

  1. Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell. I loved this book as a kid and reread it as part of my Goodreads reading challenge last  year. It’s a beautiful, lyrical interpretation of the Arthurian legends, retold from the POV of a young Elaine (the Lady of Shallot). It’s a great stepping stone for middle grade readers who like the Arthur stories but who aren’t quite ready for the reading difficulty of the older versions like Le Morte D’Arthur.Merlin: The Complete Series
  2. Merlin, 2008 BBC TV Series. No Arthurian retelling list is complete without it. At the request of a friend, I started watching it this month as a way to keep me in the Arthur mindset, and I’m loving it so far. Some of the special effects and scenery aren’t great (it’s clear they were on a budget), but I love the engaging plot and the actors’ interpretations of the characters. I also really like that many of the classic characters are re-cast in new roles. I’m not sure I’d like that in a book, but I think it works in a TV show, since surprises are a little more necessary to keep people watching.
  3. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the classics. Plus, Mark Twain is brilliant. SPOILER (can you have a spoiler for a book published 126 years ago?): I love how Hank is a modern man in an ancient time, but his role is reversed by the end of the book.Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Edition)
  4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975 Film (also Spamalot). If I’ve made a menu for it here on the site, you can bet I love it, and my Monty Python menu is one of my favorites. In fact, I was just pointing out to the Mister the other day that Monty Python includes more faithful references to the authentic Arthur legends (the Battle of Badon Hill, a cowardly knight being scared off by a three-headed giant, etc.) than some of the more serious interpretations I’ve seen.


What’s YOUR favorite version of the King Arthur legends?

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8 responses to “My Favorite Modern Interpretations of King Arthur


    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. (*blushes*) But I really do. It never fails to make me laugh until I cry, over and over and over again. I can also quote lines from it. Then again, what fan of Monty Python & The Holy Grail doesn’t know parts from it by heart? 😀

    • Just the other day I was trying to do some frustrating computer work and vented my feelings by yelling, “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” I realized immediately afterward that it would have been REALLY hard to explain my outburst if anyone had been around to hear it! XD

  2. ladyelasa

    My two favorite are a toss up between Merlin and Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis. I love the show Merlin. They get more of a budget as it goes on. The first season is the rockiest, but I love the quirky characters and it’s nice seeing Uther included, because many a time he isn’t. Dragons in Our Midst reimagines the story to Merlin as a prophet instead of a wizard and Arthur being a protector of dragons. Also Disney’s Sword in the Stone is good too! I love Archimedes. XD

    • Ooo! I’ll have to give Dragons in our Midst a try. It sounds really good!

      I was happy to see Uther included in Merlin too. Though I’m curious to see if they’ll reveal the circumstances of Arthur’s birth before the end of the series. I just finished Season 3, and they hinted at it a little bit there. But then they just sort of dropped it. I was actually surprised they brought it up at all, since it’s a really family friendly show, and circumstances surrounding his birth in the legends are so…not family friendly.

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