easy girl, i know it hurts (nidalina) wrote in gs_books,
easy girl, i know it hurts
nidalina
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Title: Mists of Avalon
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: 912 pages
Summary: Arthur sits on the throne of Britain, and it is his task to maintain the uneasy balance between the old ways and the new. But although the knights of Camelot owe their first allegiance to Arthur, the king himself is held in the sway of several powerful women, each of whom is determined to bend his authority toward her own ends. In The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley spins a familiar tale, but lends it a refreshing quality... for it is not the story of Gawaine, Arthur, or Launcelot. Instead, it is the story of Gwenhwyfar, Viviane and Morgaine - the women relegated to the shadows by legend and history, but who ply their invisible influence nevertheless.

Questions:
1. The Mists of Avalon revolves around a number of dualities: male/female, Christianity/druidism, duty/desire. How are these dualities represented in the book? Can you think of others that were presented?

2. How does the book strive to challenge common stereotypes? How does it reinforce them?

3. Is Gwenhwyfar a sympathetic character? In your opinion, does Marion Zimmer Bradley treat physical beauty in a positive, negative, or neutral manner? Explain.

4. It seemed in several instances that Morgaine disappeared when she was most needed. Was she ultimately successful in representing the Goddess? Would you say that she was a victim to her fate or that she ultimately rose to meet it? What parallels can you draw between Morgaine's life and Igraine's? Between Morgaine and Viviane?

5. The Merlin seems to play an ambiguous role in the story. Do you agree with this statement? In your opinion, was he motivated more by his faith, or by pride and ambition?

6. Throughout history, did the spread of Christianity really lead to a diminishing of tolerance? Does the Goddess have a place in today's world? Do you think that Christianity ever held woman as the principal of evil?

7. At the end of Mists, did you feel that the Goddess had truly been absorbed into Christianity?

8. How has Mists changed your perception or understanding of the Arthurian legend? How has it changed your perception of women's roles in the making (and telling) of history?
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Ahh luv, I'm still working my way through this book. Taking for-frickin'-ever, but I'm getting there! I love it thus far. Workingworking....
just a couple on answers...

6. Throughout history, did the spread of Christianity really lead to a diminishing of tolerance? Does the Goddess have a place in today's world? Do you think that Christianity ever held woman as the principal of evil?

i believe it does. as christianity spread, it began pushing out other religions, other faiths, calling them heretic or pagan, clearly making a path of 'us and them' as it did so. TMOA illustrates this repeatedly, with morgaine being separated from arthur after he embraces the religion, with the church and the abbey replacing avalon, with Gwenhwyfar's repeated contempt for morgaine and her ways.

does the goddess have a place in today's world? i think it should. the idea of duality and balance would, in my mind, go farther in supporting tolerance and equality.

as for the last question - UM YEAH! hello - big huge chunk of the creation story blaming eve for biting the apple. but in less sarcastic ways, i believe that was perpetuated with double standards in social settings. while men were encouraged or allowed to have mistresses and affairs, or even to take advantage of women, yet still be considered respectable, women like morgaine were looked down upon. repeatedly, Gwenhwyfar kept trying to find her a husband, to give her a 'place' and a 'status' that wasn't earned by morgaine herself. women were seen as weak, needing to be sheltered, or, if they were independently-minded, wicked and immoral.


7. At the end of Mists, did you feel that the Goddess had truly been absorbed into Christianity?

This is gonna be a weird-ass answer. considering that, at the time of Arthur, christianity was pretty much catholicism, i think the goddess did find a way to be absorbed into christianity. while its not completely recognizable, catholicism's need to revere mary, the mother of christ, can be seen as the christian equal to the goddess. in christianity, mary is the bringer of life to jesus, who represents life, rebirth, growth, peace, forgiveness, and a whole slew of other traits. she serves as the connection to the femininity required to bring life to the world. whereas before in religion, only eve had been really discussed, and that in the context of the bringer of sin into humanity, mary represents life, abundance, and a balance in the world, similar traits shared by the goddess.