Some of the first “real” books–by which I mean not children’s books–I remember reading were Arthurian legends. My mother has always had a penchant for tales of Camelot and of Avalon, and she eagerly passed that down to me, along with The Once and Future King and The Mists of Avalon, and several viewings of Disney’s The Sword and the Stone. Since reading those books as a pre-teen, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for new versions of the Arthurian tale, and in the intervening years there have been many movies, books, and even television series (some better than others, in all categories).
Many aspects of the legend contribute to its undying popularity: there is the pastoral setting of Camelot, with knights and princesses and chivalry; the peasant boy growing up to be a king; the society of magical and influential women of Avalon; wars and suits of armor and conquests; religious quests for the holy grail and holy wars in faraway lands; family feuds and power struggles; romance, both scandalous and regal; and even a wizard or two. There are so many facets of the tale to be explored that it never gets old.
TH White’s classic and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s masterpiece are still my favorites, but I still read every Arthurian legend I come across. I suspect I always will.