MISTS OF AVALON Group Read discussion Thread
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The Mists of Avalon is actually a series of 7(?) books related to the Arthurian tales-the Mistress of Magic being the first in the series.
The Avalon series retells the Matter of Britain from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Through a set of stories that spans several centuries, it tells of how the mystic isle of Avalon was created, its history, life in Britain under Roman authority, and how Avalon and its ancient traditions faded from the world because of a new religion, Christianity. All stories are told by women who were powerful during their lifetime, such as Eilan, High Priestess of the Forest House, Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and Morgaine, High Priestess of Avalon (later remembered as the sorceress Morgan le Fay).
The series explores the King Arthur story and related legends through a feminist lens, as well as incorporating historical figures and events, elements of Celtic paganism, and contemporary neo-pagan traditions. The ideological conflict of the pagan and Christian characters, as well as the belief that there is wisdom to be found in both traditions, are frequent themes of the series.
The novels are connected via Avalon itself and the implication (strongly hinted at, though rarely outright stated) that several characters throughout the series are the same souls reincarnated.
I'm trying to find out in what order the books would be chronologically but I'm still a bit confused from what I've found.
Also, with all respect for Dianna L. Paxson, and grateful as I am that she is carrying on some of MZB's legacy, she isn't MZB.
I'm curious to hear the discussion, though, and maybe get pushed to revisit it. Sorry for my mini-rant!
Whose still reading?
I don't seem to have cared enough to review or comment on it. The rest of the series, it's been a while, but there are other things I want to reread more.
The book is told from the viewpoints of the women, and none of them is particularly interested in the men as people. MZB is capable of depicting men, but in general her women are stronger and more rounded than most of the men. This doesn't really bother me, because I find it easier to identify with women, and I read enough male authors that it evens out.
I don't think the men are jokes, or even really 'objects' as I wrote above, but simply that their culture split the world into male and female parts, and this time it is the female part that is being depicted. At that, the men are depicted with more sympathy than the women in a lot of books about the male side of life.
In the end, the men have gone out and 'done', the women have stayed home and 'been', but both find that their lives have been mostly futile.
I read this book years ago, and am genuinely enjoying the reread! Every time I open a book, I hope for a little more equality among how the sexes are portrayed. Most frequently, however, I find that, as in Mists, writers seem to favor one sex or the other, to the detriment of the story.