The mention of Medieval Times brings about visions of Knights in Shining Armor, often saving a beautiful young Maiden from the flaming jaws of a great Dragon…Or possibly, a mentioning of the times brings about thoughts of beautiful Castles gleaming in the sun…while I just KNOW that in one of those tall towers dwells a Sleeping Princess..just waiting for the kiss of her true love to wake her. As the fairy tale would have it, the couple would then live “happily ever after” and the kingdom would flourish in the wake of such magical love and utter happiness.
Did I say “Fairy” tale? Oh YES! We dare NOT forget the Fairies of yore and folklore. There were Fairies of the forest who, I believe, were guardians of all things natural there. There were also Fairy Godmothers, or simply “good fairies”, who, on occasion, were called forth to help a deserving human..usually in matters of the heart once again. Let me not leave out the Wizards and Witches of olden days also. It was all about MAGIC!…(or was it simply slight-of-hand and a few herbal remedies?)
It seems that the Middle Ages held just the right combination of romance and scientific knowledge…or “LACK OF”.. to be a backdrop for the creatures of Imagination and Magic that we, today, have as treasures of legend and myth to keep forever.
Of course, many things that we assume are absolutely from the realm of fantasy, myth, or legend are based, some more loosely than others, on fact. Consider for a moment, the “dragon”. It is becoming known, through scientific discovery, that there may indeed have been dragon-like, winged creatures, at least in prehistoric times. It is known definitely that there were VERY large, swimming serpents. The question is: If certain species had been left to evolve, would they…could they… have been the flying, dinosaurs that, in our minds, are the Dragons of Medieval Fantasy?
Wise Authors knew how to dress up a story of Good vs. Evil based almost solely on Fantasy and Myth. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table for example. King Arthur himself is mainly a fictitious in Character…although a man named Arthur DID exist. Debating the good mans mere existence is something that still keeps historians quibbling. He was not a king, but may have actually been a chieftain living in Wales in the 6th Century.
No matter though, the stories thrived like a living thing..they grew and they changed per each Authors personal ideas. A look at King Arthur’s kingdom of Camelot might give us a hint as to why these legends are so popular, everlasting, and often accepted as truth. The many-towered Camelot, in it’s essence, stood for values that we all hold dear, and that is that GOOD should always fight EVIL. “Might for Right”, as described in one or the other of the stories. The Arthurian Tales of the Middle ages have been driven by romance and heartbreak, ongoing human conditions that we all can relate to.
The stories are woven together with just the right touches of…