Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Am Mordred

Arthurian stories and shows have become my 2012 obsession. I've always been a fan of Morgan le Fay as was mentioned in my review of I Am Morgan le Fay and with my devouring of different books my friend mailed me a book by the same author: I Am Mordred.

So that I do not drown you all in endless Arhurian stories, I tried to break up my readings with other books (as you may or may not have noticed) before picking up this book. The glory of the two I Am books by Nancy Springer books is that neither are very long, they're quick reads and light to carry, and they are always a pleasant surprise. With both books I had expected them to be somewhat childish and the word choice to be simplistic. I'm sorry, I totally judge books by their covers. With the flashy coloring on the cover and the short length of the book I thought, surely they have to be childish. But with both books I have been wrong. I love both I Am books but my focus now is on I Am Mordred.

Mordred of Arthurian legend is an "evil" character much as Morgan le Fay is. Who mothered Mordred is up for debate, depending on what legend you have read, he could have either been mothered by Morgause or Morgan. Both are the half sister of Arthur, who is always depicted as Mordred's father. Fate decreed that Mordred would kill his father, Arthur, and upon Mordred's birth he was deemed evil for that fact alone. But are children born evil? Is fate that powerful?

This novel shows the lighter, feeling side of the character Mordred. We see him as an innocent boy who is forced into this premade character and his fight against fate. In I Am Morgan le Fay, Morgan was also fighting the fate that seemed to weigh so heavily on her and those around her; particularly the fate of others. But with Mordred it is more-so his personal fate. He loves and hates Arthur as he grows into a young man but in the end realizes that he loves his father. His one wish is to be called 'son' by his father rather than sharing cryptic phrases and glances between the two that underlines their relationship. But in the end, Mordred loves his father and king. He doesn't want to partake in the fate that was placed for him upon his birth and has no intention of killing Arthur.

He seems so devoted to staying away from the prophesy that even I, having read the very start of the book which states all of the Arthurian legend to have been true, wondered if maybe, just maybe, Springer found a way to trick us all and that Mordred wouldn't have killed Arthur. She nearly convinced me that it was impossible and wouldn't happen. That's a powerful trait for a writer to have.

Without getting too far into detail and spilling the metaphorical beans; fate cannot be changed. At least that seems to be the point of the I Am books. Despite everything Mordred tried to do to save himself and Arthur, it still was impossible.

Mordred was never a favored character for me. I think he's awfully cute in the BBC show Merlin (played by Asa Butterfield), so much so that I kind of like that particular portrayal, but I've never come across a Mordred in other books that I've liked. Well, not until I read Springer's book. I really felt for Mordred, my heart went out to him with each page and through each struggle.

The prologue and epilogue of the book was probably the most beautifully written and most moving (for me) but you'll have to read that to see what I mean. Also, the play on words tickled my fancy: a black crow would croak "More Dread" which ultimately lead to the repetitive cry of "Mordred." Oh, how I loved that!

Really, this book was just as amazing as Morgan le Fay and I am saddened that Springer has no other I Am books. While her books may be marketed towards preteens and young adults, I feel that there is a certain level of heaviness in the books; a darker side to the world is definitely not covered up with frills and happy things. Springer is honest and hints at the less appealing side to Camelot while not being grotesque. I just... cannot say enough good things about these books and may, in the future, do a comparison of the two. I went into reading I Am Mordred assuming that I wouldn't quite like it because Mordred, as I said, has never been a favored character for me. But I ended up loving his character and flying through the book.

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