If anyone else is thinking of holding a book club blog – let me know in the comments so I can follow along.
Treatment of Love
There are certainly other things to analyze when talking about this novel, but the treatment of love and ‘fated’ love never fails to capture my attention. Why is it, I wonder, that stories are more poignant when we are assured of true love, but in the end it never works out. Maybe it adds to the drama. Maybe it keeps us turning pages because, really, what’s more boring than ‘happily ever after’? Well, it’s not so boring if you get to live it, but maybe it’s more fun to watch the chase... or maybe, being faulty humans, we always want what we can’t have – but then, that would make these cases less about true love and more about pride and vanity, wouldn’t it?
Well, then, I suppose I’m digressing. In The Mists of Avalon we see fated love in many different facets. Of course there is the love triangle between King Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, and Lancelot. In this telling, Arthur seems to love his wife but there is always the underlying duty of it – it is his wife, though not by choice. Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot share a deeper love, one that can’t be denied, even though duty commands it.
Then we have Ingraine and Uther... and in one passage we find that this, apparent fated love was connived... while we believed that Uther and Ingraine shared a life before as King and Queen of Atlantis, in fact it was Viviane’s past life, her soul mate, “...And in a searing moment, Viviane knew why no man had ever been more to her than duty, or a path to power, or a night’s pleasure...”(p.194)
Maybe you all have a different sensibility here than I do. Does duty bear a higher responsibility than love? If not, why do we find it so fascinating when characters choose to forego happiness to retain honor? Maybe women see this differently, too. My sensibility tells me that true love is not replaceable. That foregoing the chance to be with a fated love is throwing away the greatest gift and one that will not come again. It also tells me that if you can walk away from this type of love, for any reason, it wasn’t really all that you imagined in your mind. I think the real thing would be worth any consequence... but maybe that’s naive.
It seems to me that the male sensibility is that all loves are replaceable. Maybe I’m wrong here, but that’s how it seems... So how about you? What was your take on the depiction of love, fated or otherwise in this telling?