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12 March 1980 (UK)  »

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The Holy Grail, Gone Forever.
7 August 2011 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

There are some people whose opinions I respect who are deeply into Arthurian legends. I never knew why, so I undertook Malory's "Le Morte d'Artur" and didn't get through it. It was one battle after another, with little detail and little continuity. Everybody seemed to be slain sooner or later.

This episode is rather like that. King Arthur, if he ever existed, tried to lead the Keltics against the invading Angles and some other barbarian tribes in the period following the collapse of the Roman empire. Michael Wood, of the infectious smile, tries to track down places and things that are claimed to be relics of Arthur and his rule.

But, given the elusive, smoky quality of the original legend, it's hard to swallow it when someone presents Wood with a carefully secreted egg cup and claims that this is the Holy Grail.

Arthur was supposed to have been buried at Glastonbury. England, that is, not Connecticut. It's a magnificent ruined chapel with nothing remaining but a few jagged pieces of walls, like broken teeth, and pillars. It was a place where Catholicism was practiced so it was destroyed in the Reformation. King Arthur's bones were dug up and dispersed. "Gone forever," says Wood wistfully.

I found this to be a lesser entry in the generally superior series but I can imagine Arthurists getting a big bang out of it.


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