This is really my sort of thing.
Leelee, are you familiar with the early Arthur portrayed in The Mabinogion? Quite another thing, and it totally smacks of ancient firesides. This is way before the Normans came across the Channel and made everything a little French... and Christian.
I haven't read it again for a many years, sadly it hasn't fallen into my hands. But my memory of it is clear and passionate, and especially precious to me was the restoration of Cei: later rendered as Kay, in pretty poor colors.
In Mabinogion Arthur is a giant, a huge hero, a fierce warrior and a powerful magician or wizard; Cei is his brother, a man of enormous power himself second only to his King, yet besting him in that his heart knows compassion and mercy. There is no Merlin, no Guinivere, no Round Table... but there is Excalibur, I believe maybe with a slightly different name.
Have I whetted your appetite? Hope so!
If you already know The Mabinogion, I'm glad and let's share. Blessings to all, namarië.
At another forum, David Doughan noted...
In fact there are a couple of very brief extracts in Carpenter's biography. First, Mordred's lust for Guinever (sic):
His bed was barren; there black phantoms
of desire unsated and savage fury
in his brain had brooded till bleak morning.
And about Guinever :
.... lady ruthless
fair as fay-woman and fell-minded,
in the world walking for the woe of men
- which is reminiscent of the traditional Welsh rhyme:
Gwenhwyfar ferch Ogrfan gawr
ddrwg yn fechan, waeth yn fawr.
(Guinever daughter of Ogvran the Giant, bad when little, worse when big).
Oh aye Marghana, and Lady Charlotte Guest will be forever loved by me for having those Cymru treasures published in English. I love them so much it almost makes me forget to take in one breath upon another even daydreaming about the stories. Wondrous. I have a deep love of Cymru lore and writings, and there are too many, thousands falling apart in dusty corners. I wish they would all be collected by some kind university and digitally preserved and then translated as people can and are willing. For a couple of years belonged to an Oxford Uni club devoted entirely to all things Aurthurian and such and was close to one of the professors, teaching at two uni's in France who devoted his life to researching such things and writing great books. So, yes honestly this is truly my cup of tea. You seem , just by your descriptions to be in the perilous world of Faerie with me at least some of the time. So this Elf bows in courtesy to you and hopes we shall meet in our wanderings.