It was a long time ago now that I first had the idea to create a unique and definitive Arthurian Legends saga for our generation. As I have become a self-published author, learned the ropes of all this book writing business, I started to realize what kind of potential there was to such an endeavor. Those initial ideas have led to the formation of a multi-series saga, as of now led by four different authors. And this website is also the product of that endeavor. The following is a simple explanation of my thought processes that led to this initiative.
The Early Ideas
I actually had the first idea back in college, an undisclosed number of years ago. I was an English major, and I was enrolled in a British Literature class. This class covered British Literature from the Renaissance up to the present in broad strokes.
I distinctly remember not liking the teacher, and her assignments were hard and harshly graded. But there was something I got out of it. During that class I was introduced to Edmund Spencer’s Faerie Queene.
Now I won’t go into specific detail about what the Faerie Queene is about, or its history. All that will join the site in time in full detail, so I’ll wait. But I found it intrigued me. I had never read and Arthurian epic of such proportions that was lesser known. I also learned that, though Edmund Spencer had planned to write 12 volumes of his epic poem, he only managed to write six before he died.
Which got me thinking, what if someone finished the other six? They could include other, more well-known stories in the unfinished portions, and provide an extensive and complete saga, joining together the Faerie Queene with more traditional myths about King Arthur.
That thought led to another, which led to another, and eventually I realized that even 12 books was not enough to properly cover all of the Arthurian stories out there.
This idea stayed in my head for years, but never really got off the ground until much later when I discovered the magical realm of independent publishing. See, up to this point I had always wanted to publish a book, but never wanted to go through all the trouble of trying to do so traditionally. Not only did I hate the idea of dozens of rejection letters, but I wanted to maintain control over my work. That simply doesn’t happen in traditional publishing.
But then I discovered self-publishing, and all of that changed. I fell in love with it, and I published my first series within a year of learning about the industry. Then I turned my sights on some old ideas. What if I wrote this Faerie Queene series I’d planned before, maybe bring in other myths as I had planned?
This idea further stuck in my brain when I learned of a self-published author named Michael Anderle who was recruiting other authors to write in his highly successful universe. When I learned the success he was having with such a rapid release of fiction, I finally knew I wanted to do the same with the Arthurian saga.
So that’s when I started reaching out to other authors, gaging their interest, and believe it or not, they were! This website was the logical continuation of that initiative. Why have a definitive Arthurian saga without a definitive Arthurian website!
I choose the word “definitive” very carefully. I want this to be a saga that essentially updates the Arthurian mythos to our generation. There have been a number of more definitive works throughout the ages, the most well known of which is Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. The most recent of these is probably T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, but even that is over half a century old.
Of course, there’s no shortage of Arthurian fiction. But most of that fiction aims for a fresh spin on the mythos. I can’t tell you how many versions I’ve seen of Arthur being a woman, of Merlin being a woman, or attempts to make the Arthur myths realistic and historical, or ones that completely throw realism out the window, or even Arthurian legends told as science fiction. There’s a lot, so why write something that more or less sticks to the original source material as best it can?
Well I found this YouTube video that perfectly summed up why this was my approach. Basically, there are too many “fresh” spins on the saga. People retread these public domain properties in every way they can, and it has gotten old. Ironically, it’s the true-to-the-source material that is in shorter supply these days.
Though I am sure there will be people who think I, or other authors writing in the same universe, take too many creative liberties with our work, I do hope to try and always honor the originals for what they were, and what they brought into our modern mythology.
I like to think of it like the Lord of the Rings films. Those films made a lot of changes, but most people are okay with those changes because those films honor the heck out of their source material.
Creating the Plan
So eventually I began crafting my plan. A retelling of the original Faerie Queene was to be my first project. I would change a few things to make it fit for modern audiences, and to simply be a fun read, but overall it stays true to the general structure and plot of the original.
The current plan for the future is to finish retelling the original six volumes of the Faerie Queene, and working with other authors to create four other series that take place around the same time. But these will only be the beginning. Should these series be successful, there will be a great deal more, and they will cover the Arthurian saga in great detail from start to finish. There could be anywhere from 50-100 separate books in the series, with each knight getting his own series or at least a book or short story.
ArthurLegends.com is a way of not only presenting you with this enormous maxi-series, but I plan to make it the definitive source for all things Arthurian. From study guides, to memorabilia, to books, to YouTube videos, I plan to have a little something here for everybody. It will become the top resource for everything Arthurian.
I hope you enjoy as we embark on this journey together.
Jason is the editor-in-chief of ArthurLegends.com and the primary author of the Arthurian Shared Universe. He has a deep love of British history and mythology, especially relating to Celtic and Arthurian traditions (obviously). He spends most of his days in made-up worlds.