My new research project, with my older daughter, is going to be Arthurian stuff. Specifically: what’s up with The Nine Morgens? That’s a lot of Morgens, kicking around in Avalon! (How ‘bout them apples!) Don’t seem to be so many stories about them. So I’ve ordered this book [amazon], and Zoe is going to read this book, and I figure I should probably reread Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mists of Avalon. So that’s my first question for you, readers. Good books about the women of Avalon?
Zoe: How can there be nine Morgens? I thought Morgan was one person.
Daddy: Apparently ‘morgen’ might be a term for a water spirit. Or a great goddess, or queen. There’s Morgan Le Fey. And there’s Nimue, I think. And there’s Madison Morgen, and McKenzie and Dakota, and Harley Morgen, the crazy one, and Lindsay Morgen, the sassy one, and the computer nerd – can’t remember her name – and the mopey goth, who’s kind of just an Emily the Strange marketing-type Morgen. And there’s Maple Syrup Morgen, their annoying niece, who appears in the later seasons. Basically, Arthur is like Commissioner Gordon. He’s ok, but mostly he and his men can’t handle the sorts of magical threats Britain faces. Hence the need for the Morgens. Who never get any credit.
[It turns out I was wrong! Nimue isn’t one of the Morgens, technically. Even though she’s clearly related somehow. So score it: Nine-and-a-half Morgens in Avalon.]
Zoe: Why don’t the stories make more sense?
Daddy: Well remember The Seven Soldiers of Victory? How there were actually, sort of eight?
Zoe: But that’s because it was stupid.
Daddy: True! But you know how we like reading all those Comics Everybody! comics? Myths are like that. A bunch of different people tell the story over and over, and it kind of adds up, but mostly it doesn’t quite add up, and if it’s still good, despite not adding up, then eventually it really doesn’t add up, and you get this big, delicious, sludgy mess. Batman is better for the fact that you have the gritty, dark version but also the whimsical Silver Age version. The most appealing characters are those that exist in various forms. In fact, if you use too much story logic, trying to jury-rig all the parts so they fit somehow, it only get worse. You look like you are trying too hard. Anyway, having lots of stories that can’t be part of one big story, that just sort of overlay, inconsistently, gives the whole thing a feeling of thickness that would be hard to replicate in any one story that actually made sense. So Arthur is Batman. And the Morgens are like Fiona and Cake. You wish there was more, but that only makes it better. It’s fanfic waiting for you to write it.
And speaking of such matters: it’s too bad that the Alien franchise is going the ‘try too hard to make it all make sense’ route, chasing vainly after continuity with Prometheus. I remember listening to an interview with Ridley Scott, way back when, when someone asked where the alien comes from. And he said something like: it’s better not to know. (Am I misremembering that he once said that?) Audiences like the aliens, and all these different directors and writers have tried their hands, with varying degrees of success. Let the continuity go, since it’s obviously in tatters, and tell a good story. Amazon has what they are now calling The Alien Anthology – the first four films, but none of that Predator stuff – on sale cheap! Blu-Ray, 6-discs.
Twenty bucks. [sorry, you missed it.]