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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,618,442  

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Question of the Week: 51 - 7/23/2001

What Did You Think of 'The Mists of Avalon"?

What did you think of the TNT mini-series, 'The Mists of Avalon'? How well did it compare with the book? Were you happy or disappointed with the interpretation? Even if you have not read the book nor seen the movie, what do you think about the Arthurian Legends? Why are they so enduring? Which Arthurian Legend character most speaks to you and why? Do you think that there is a real-life historical basis for the Legends?

 Reponses:   There are 44 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Well "the Mists Of Avalon" Was A Very Pleasent Surprise, I Expected... Jul 23rd. at 1:52:20 pm EDT

andrew blocher (highland springs, Virginia US) Age: 17 - Email

well "The mists of avalon" was a very pleasent surprise, i expected a good movie i found a work of art. i haven't read the book (but i really want to espically now) such a wonderful movie i have seen many movies that deal with "witches and magic" like practical magic, the craft, witchhunt, warlock etc. and they are good movies but these are just like a single gold coin compared to the mountains ofgold, silver, and gems that is "the mists of avalon"
the arthurian legends i think are a very important part of pagan culture. in more ways than one.

I Was Rather Disappointed In The Mists Of Avalon On Television. I... Jul 23rd. at 4:12:50 pm EDT

Irydesa Rose (Charlotte, North Carolina US) Age: 38

I was rather disappointed in the Mists of Avalon on television. I realized so much material is hard to cover in 4 hours (more like 2 1/2 or 3 with commercials), but I feel many major points were missed and/or changed. With the on-going narrative by Morgaine, the plot could have been more fleshed and closer to the book. The mini series did provide a lot of nice Òeye candyÓ in the scenery and some of the costumes, but most of it was so unnecessary to the plot. What I really wish is that someone had been assigned to keep the crescent tattoo on Vivaine in the same place on her forehead for the entire movie!

I Liked The Miniseries In General. I Really Enjoyed The Actors, And... Jul 23rd. at 4:52:44 pm EDT

Bethy (Staten Island, New York US) Age: 34 - Email

I liked the miniseries in general. I really enjoyed the actors, and even though they had to leave out a lot that probably should have been kept, I was entertained, and that was what I hoped for. I really liked the scenery, especially how Avalon looked, and the gorgeous dresses!

The book I find inspirational. Whenever I feel the need to renew myself or kick-start meditation, I'll read it. I don't think of it as literal or historical truth, but the feel of it rings true to me. It's enjoyable fiction that has helped me get through rough times spiritually.

The Arthurian Legend character that speaks to me most is the Lady of the Lake. It is my favorite card in the Matthews' Hallowquest Tarot deck, and I always look upon her as being the epitome of dedication to the Goddess and the God. That is what I strive for spiritually. Someday, I hope to know enough to be able to help others on their quests, just as she does.

Bright blessings and hugs!

I Hadn't Read The Book Before I Saw The Miniseries, So I... Jul 23rd. at 8:24:53 pm EDT

Sarah Packard (Ypsilanti, Michigan US) Age: 22 - Email

I hadn't read the book before I saw the miniseries, so I had nothing to compare it to, and I loved it!! A very exciting, positive kinda portrayal of Goddess spirituality and such, and Julianna Margulies was surprisingly perfect - Joan Allen and Anjelica Huston were brilliant as they always are. Anyway, obviously not eveyrthing from the book could be fit into the movie, but they did a decent job. And, seeing the movie inspired me to FINALLY go buy a copy of the book and read it, I've been meaning to do so for years, it's seems like everyone I know had read it except for me. I am halfway through it now, and loving it even more than the movie! It's obviously more in-depth and longer and less, I dunno, Hollywood-ized? But the movie seems to have been faithful to the spirit of the story and characters anyway, so far at least...I've always enjoyed Arthurian myths so it's wonderful for me to finally hear them told from a female perspective. I can really relate to Morgaine in the book especially, because she is strong (and smart) yet also vulnerable and longs for love and sometimes feels like people don't see her as beautiful because she isn't dainty and pretty like the ditzier Gwenhwyfar. (I relate to her a lot more than I ever did to Guinevere in the more traditional tellings of the myths.) I think, or at least I like to think, or hope, that the legends do indeed have some historical basis. In fact, as a child I assumed they were completely factual! Even if they are not exactly "factual" they are *true* in that they speak truth about humanity and magic and all sorts of things and they are a story that feels real to us and is a part of our culture, history, and lore.

I Knew The Tv Adaptation Of Mists Of Avalon Would Have To... Jul 23rd. at 11:13:05 pm EDT

Barbara (New York, New York US) Age: 44

I knew the TV adaptation of Mists of Avalon would have to omit huge chunks of the book to fit in the time required and I accept that. I do object to major plot changes that affect the structure of what happens afterwards. (For those of you who have both read the book and seen the movie, I refer to things like the aftermath of the Great Marriage and the end of Viviane's life. And we won't even discuss the end.) I will allow that the movie did present a positive portrayal of paganism, and the one scene where Uther and Igraine spoke of past lives was one I didn't think was going to get in. Someone in my stitching group mentioned that this was the first version of the Arthurian cycle that filled in the details and tied things together in a logical manner.

I can't say what specifically drew me to the Arthurian legends in the first place. But something about "the once and future king" definitely made an impression, on me as well as many other people. How many stories have been written about the return of Arthur? We need him to be real! As a history student in college, I know there was a real Arthur somewhere back in the so-called Dark Ages. For him to have transcended time implies that the real man made an impression on somebody. And that somebody passed it on to somebody else, and so on. Arthur became a magnet for other legends, so there had to be somthing solid to attach them to him.

I Haven't Read The Book But I Have Been Planning To. It's... Jul 23rd. at 11:26:47 pm EDT

Angie McMullen (Montoursville, Pennsylvania US) Age: 22 - Email

I haven't read the book but I have been planning to. It's been recomended to me several times. Personally, I thought the movie was richly done. It made Pagans look like the life affirming people that we are. I liked how they mentioned the Goddess and also unlike other interpretations, Morgaine was portrayed as a normal, decent person instead of evil. But we've got to remember that this movie has been based upon Marion Zimmer-Bradley's book and thus her perspective of the Arthurian myths. And that's what it is: a fictional story. Something to be enjoyed but not taken as reality or to be put down because it doesn't meet up to one's personal belief system. It should be taken as the gift that it is: A wonderful tale and a new take on the Arthurian legends. Wonderful, positive pr for pagans. And something to watch or read for entertainment.

Being A Big Fan Of The Three Ladies Involved, I Anxiously Awaited... Jul 24th. at 6:25:34 am EDT

Kim (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania US) Age: 33 - Email

Being a big fan of the three ladies involved, I anxiously awaited this movie. I spent my waiting time reading and falling under the spell off Marion Bradley's book. Part one was was far better that I expected from Hollywood. Part two went of track and never came back. Overall it was a good film, but I will read the book again before I watch the movie a second time. I look forward to the day when we can see a really accurate portrayal of paganism in the media.
I think that there is a real-life basis for the legends. Every legend started somewhere with a grain of truth.
Blessed Be,

I Thought The Movie Was Great. I Have Read The Book Several... Jul 24th. at 9:25:17 am EDT

Jeff Kincaid (Forest, Virginia US) Age: 38 - Email

I thought the movie was great. I have read the book several times over the years and was looking forward to the movie with great anticipation. I was a little sad at the omissions from the book, given that this was a "mini-series" I felt that more could have been included. I was also thrilled to see Paganism presented in a positive light as a religion, not as a way for teenage girls to change their hair color and cast love spells on the high school quarterback (ala "The Craft"). I would hope that this would open the way to more realistic portrayals of our path

I Am Just Glad That Tnt Didn't Portray Morgan As An Evil... Jul 24th. at 12:08:33 pm EDT

Artos Blackwolf (Vernon, Alabama US) Age: 23 - Email

I am just glad that TNT didn't portray Morgan as an evil troublemaker like every other movie or TV show does

The Mists Of Something -- But Not Avalon I Have Wondered Since I... Jul 24th. at 12:40:35 pm EDT

Heather Lynn Fairfield (Canton, Massachusetts US) Age: 28 - Email

The Mists of Something -- but not Avalon

I have wondered since I first read ÒThe Mists of AvalonÓ how this story would translate if and when it was eventually made into a movie. I confess that when I heard that TNT had finally decided to go ahead with the endeavor, I awaited the results with mingled excitement and trepidation. I was excited because Hollywood was finally planning to make a movie out of the novel, but fearful that it would not come close to doing the story justice. It seems that I was justified in feeling both ways.

First of all, let me state that the made-for-TV movie was not a bad movie at all ... IF youÕve never read the book. If you, like me, are a die-hard fan of the novel, however, then steel yourselves for a major disappointment. About the only things that I found that were consistent with the plotline were the names of the characters, and the basic relationships between them. (And when I say basic relationships, I mean BASIC, as in who is related to whom. Not much more than that was accurate.) Whoever wrote the screenplay for this did not care one whit about the interpersonal relationships between people as shown in the book, with the result that the plotline was skewed, and actions and reactions on the part of major characters were either wildly distorted or never explained at all. IÕm honestly not sure which was worse, in this case. As hard as I try, it is impossible to ignore that certain key characters often acted in ways completely alien to how their personalities were described in the book. Knowing that the story had to be told in such a short amount of time, however, I can understand why the writers felt compelled to NOT go too into detail on this level.

I find it much harder to forgive the fact that at least 1/2 of the TV movie is completely made up by whoever wrote the screenplay. By this, I mean that almost half of the scenes and/or character relationships NEVER took place in the book, or took place so differently that the movie version may as well have been made up completely. To be fair, I do understand how ambitious a project it is for anyone to try and make such an involved book into a movie. I honestly think that TNTÕs main problem was a lack of sufficient funding to present this story the way they should have. If that was the case, they should not, in my opinion, have attempted it at all. The costumes and sets were brilliant, the casting was good, and the acting was decent -- given what they had to work with as a script. I have no real complaint with any of these things. However, a story this complex should, by rights, have been presented as a 5-part miniseries, not a one-night, 2 hour hodgepodge of whatever the writers could stitch together to make a semi-coherent plotline. Again, they came out with a decent product (I guess), but one that was based on the book in such a loose fashion that it could arguably be a completely different story with the same name. Most fans of any book made into a movie -- and this one is no exception -- would expect that at the very least, the basic plotline would be followed ... not largely made up from scratch.

As a pretty nice 2-hour made-for-TV movie about King Arthur, with a few basic similarities to a great book I once read, I give this movie a B.

As an actual adaptation of the book ÒThe Mists of AvalonÓ by Marion Zimmer Bradley, I do not hesitate one nanosecond in giving this movie a D.

I will continue to keep my fingers crossed that eventually someone with enough skill and a good budget will give a screen-adaptation of this novel the consistency and plot quality that it deserves. This could have been a really spectacular movie/miniseries if it had been handled the right way. It saddens and frustrates me that it wasnÕt, because fans have been looking forward to it for so long.

-- Heather Lynn Fairfield

I Had Only Read Part Of The Prequel, "lady Of Avalon" When... Jul 24th. at 3:21:20 pm EDT

Disa Airefaye (New Washington, Indiana US) Age: 17 - Email

I had only read part of the prequel, "Lady of Avalon" when I saw the movie. I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially the portrayal of the service of the Goddess. The plot, although I understand it is far more involved in the book, was good and seemed solid to one who has never read the book. Now that I am finishing up "Lady of Avalon" (which is a beautiful book that I recommend highly) I plan on picking up "Mists of Avalon".
I think that there were rulers and chieftains in the past to whom some of the events in Arthurian legend may have occured. Storytellers probably took theses events and centered them around one king, with the characters we have now become familiar with, some fictional, some not. Arthurian legend speaks to us of our religion, our ethics, and our humanity.

The Screenwriters Who Wrote The Made For Tv Movie Had Quite A... Jul 24th. at 5:30:39 pm EDT

Jennifer Blossom (Kansas City, Kansas US) Age: 31 - Email

The screenwriters who wrote the made for TV movie had quite a job to perform. They were asked (or took it upon themselves) to take a 900 page book, and tell the heart of the story in 3 hours of film time. Now, granted, a picture tells a thousand words (or so they say), but much of the storyline was necessarily lost in the paring down process. On top of that, I would venture to guess that the screenwriters weren't Pagan (even MZB wasn't Pagan, she was Episcopalian), and didn't have a concept of what magick really is all about.

So, with those things in perspective, I feel that they did a fabulous job. Could it have been better? Sure, easily. But, as it was presented, I am pleased that they kept to the core issue of the struggle between the old ways and the new, and that they presented the old ways in the positive light that was intended in the novel.

However, I feel that this squabbling over details is causing us to miss the larger picture here. It wasn't that many years ago that film makers were turning out The Ten Commandments and such stories as high entertainment. The culture at that time supported these efforts. What do you think would happen during this day and age if someone were to produce such a film? It would most likely flop. But, when they produce a film (even though it was a TV mini-series, not the big screen)that represents Paganism in a positive light and Christianity in a rather negative light, this represents a landmark for us Heathens. Not only that, but for the nations imagination to be caught by a myth of the Mother Goddess Religion, is an extremely important detail not to be missed. Remember that change always begins with the heart, not the head, and the quickest route to the heart is through our hopes, fantasies, and imagination. It is events like this that will help fulfill the hope of the Old Ones, that the old ways and the new ways should exist peacefully side by side. So mote it be.

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