Devotion, Love, Despair and Betrayal
The Mists of Avalon throws the throbbing pulse of femininity into the reader's face. It expels a truth which can be felt through every sentence, paragraph and chapter. It is a grouping of heartwarming characters, horrifying plot twists and several tragedies surrounding many different themes. The Mists of Avalon becomes a legend seen through new eyes, with details, majestic language, and haunting foreshadowing that hold the reader through its more than 800 pages. It is a story of another time and place. It's the legendary saga of King Arthur and his companions at Camelot. Their battles, love, and devotion are told this time from the perspective of the women involved.
Women are what bring this story to such cavernous depths. We are not brought into the perspective of the men, we are, however, told about how they are loved, hurt, and manipulated by the women. There is a scale of personality among the ladies which ranges from the pious uncertainty of Gwenyfar to the essence of strength from Morgaine. We are first enthralled with Igraine's love, repulsed by the sinister Morgause, respectful to the lady Igraine, enchanted by Morgaine's wisdom and angered by Gwenyfar's ignorance. The qualities possessed by these woman can be both glorious and destructive.
The Mists of Avalon's politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the island-nation of Britain; Christianity vs. Faery, and God vs. Goddess are dominant themes. Marion Zimmer Bradley lets her opinion on Christianity show through with shocking statements such as: "Then (Morgaine) sighed and said, I think it is a sin to believe that God can be cruel or vindictive, and you would make him meaner than the worst of his priests." The ancient druid religions are presented as kinder and gentler while Christianity is raging through Europe. The Mists of Avalon is laced with religious philosophy that adds to the atmosphere of this...
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