A Lurid Tale of Sex, Murder, and Betrayal

Actually I was going to write about my visit to the dentist; but when I saw that nobody at all had visited this blog so far today, I panicked and wrote the above headline to boost readership.

But to be perfectly truthful, I am currently reading a tale of sex, murder, and betrayal–The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Written in 1934 or thereabouts, but never finished, and finally published 40 years after the author’s death  (By Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, New York: 2013), this epic poem tells the story of King Arthur and the destruction of his kingdom–by sex, murder, and betrayal.

I’ll get into an actual book review later. For now, we might want to ask why King Arthur matters. After all, these things happened some 1,500 years ago, and historians can’t even agree that Arthur ever existed.

It matters because the story of Arthur demonstrates how utterly dependent we are on God’s grace and how little we can accomplish without it. King Arthur was the bravest and noblest of kings, he had the most beautiful woman as his queen, and the strongest and best knights in the world–and it all went down in a shambles. God only knows how many times this story has been told in fifteen hundred years. Tolkien’s poem is the latest version, but it won’t be the last. We may never find out what really happened to King Arthur, but we’ll surely keep on trying.

2 comments on “A Lurid Tale of Sex, Murder, and Betrayal

Leave a Reply