Guest Editorial: Shining Knight and Arthurian Knights
In The Modern Day.
(Guest editorial by Reecey.)
So you’re getting an editorial instead.
An editorial about King Arthur! Again!
Right, so if you follow me on tumblr (which I don’t recommend), you may have seen me complain about fanfiction writers calling the DC superhero Shining Knight ‘English’.
For those of you who are not familiar with the superhero Shining Knight, he was a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory along with Green Arrow, Speedy, Vigilante and a couple of others with equally daft names.
|Also, this kid named Wing, apparently? I ... look how old this art style is,|
I worry for him.
I know him primarily from the cartoon series Justice League Unlimited, where he hangs out with Vigilante and is incredibly slashy with the guy. He also gets beaten up by a douchey American, so, that’s a thing.
So, this is the thrust of today’s editorial, a brief history lesson on why calling any member of King Arthur’s court English is foolish. It’s also a cheat sheet on how to adapt Arthurian legend into your own writing projects!
Okay, so, quick reminder from the old ‘Americans are crap with folk heroes’ (and here's part two) posts from way back: King Arthur is a Celtic folk hero.
This means that he is a member of the dominant ethnic group in Great Britain prior to the invasion and… colonisation? I don’t think that’s technically the right word but we’ll roll with it, of the Germanic peoples who we now call the Anglo-Saxons. He’s also Romano-British, meaning that this is the period after the withdrawal of Roman forces and political structures of the Roman Empire.
|Which wasn't a terrible angle for this film to concentrate on,|
even if this film is pretty terrible.
The withdrawal of these forces are part of why Great Britain was so vulnerable to Anglo-Saxon forces in the first place: You can’t just remove a fully functional societal structure from a place and expect that place to be perfectly fine, even if that societal structure is about as natural and beneficial to the place as styrofoam is to a pond.
So, in order to vaguely conform with the actual history of who Arthurian legend was devised by and for, this means that Sir Justin (great name by the way, totally not anachronistic) here has to be a Celt. It also means that he has to predate the existence of what we would call ‘English society’ by several hundred years, even if we ignore the fact that said society has been profoundly influenced by the Norman conquests.
I’m no expert on the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and looking at Wing up there makes me desperately not want to be because old timey racism makes me cringe so hard I risk folding in on myself and becoming a black hole that will devour all of space and time, but I do have the sneaking suspicion that Shining Knight does not take being called ‘English’ as hard as he actually would.
See, a ‘real’ Arthurian knight would not like being called English. It would be calling them by, not only the name of the wrong ethnic group, but by the name of an oppressive and possibly genocidal force.
He’d also probably not be cool with hanging out with a pair of guys modelling themselves after Robin Hood and Will Scarlet, who are folk heroes of said oppressive and possibly genocidal force.
(You’d also think he’d see the irony of having a problem with that, but hanging out with a cowboy. But if there is one thing that life has taught me, it’s that no one ever knows any better.)
You’d have an excuse to keep them in America, though, since Britain (particularly England) would be a very sore point for them.
Yes, this would be one of the few times that a figure from myth and legend likely would not want to be in their homeland and instead hang around in a foreign country with no legitimate cultural connection to them and the people that they fought for, Rick Riordan.
Although, this isn’t a suggestion, mitts off you thieving git.
This is an aspect that I would suggest that you explore if you want one of these ‘Arthurian types out of time’ characters, as it’s a take that would help distinguish them from other characters of this type, and prevent them from just ending up as another functionally American white guy.
Unless you went with Sir Morien, in which case this would prevent him from ending up as just another functionally American black guy. Which is a grand total of two percent better.