You’ve heard the stories about King Arthur — now hear the truth.
Myrddin showed me the truth of many things. That people believe what they see and hear, be it truth or lie. That they prefer a good story to hold in their hearts and take out to polish it from time and time and see it shine, and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.
The truth of it was that Myrddin and I were liars, playing parts, extolling Arthur’s courage, his victories, his desire to unite all of Britain. Sometimes it seemed to me that there were two Arthurs: one, the hard man who ravaged the countryside and burned my master’s fortress and home, killing everyone he and his men could find, and the other, created by Myrddin in his stories, a hero touched with magic, bigger than life, who would unify Britain, bring peace, and keep her people safe.
Myrddin said he wasn’t an enchanter, but he changed Arthur from a bloody warlord to a hero who could bring peace to a land scarred by wars. And Arthur wasn’t the only one Myridden changed—he changed me from a ignorant, frightened servant girl to an orphaned boy, riding his own pony, one of the boys who traveled with Arthur and his men, learning the craft of war.
Everyone knows of Arthur, the King who was, and who will be again, and the wizard Merlin, who was never far from his side. Everyone knows the stories – but I know the truth. Disguised as a boy, I rode with Arthur and his men, up and down the world, and I was there at the roots and the beginnings of all the stories.
And now it’s time for me to tell my story, to tell of the Arthur who lived his life and died, no bigger or better or more heroic than any other man. You have heard the stories, now hear the truth.
This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian, and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.