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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for the "Pendragon" ramble, Greg.

This is, of course, an episode that I'm very fond of because of my being an Arthurian buff. I've been therefore eagerly awaiting your ramble on it for a long time, and I'm glad that the wait is finally over.

I hadn't expected Arthur and Griff to team up before this episode, but I very much liked the concept. I still think that it's a pity that the "Pendragon" spin-off never got made to show us their adventures. (It's still my personal favorite of the projected spin-offs in the Master Plan.)

Although you don't mention it, there's an echo here of the first Arthur-related episode in "Gargoyles", "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time", with Macbeth again as the antagonist and Banquo and Fleance as his assistants. And again Macbeth is going after an Arthurian artifact.

A couple of bits about Macbeth in this episode still stand out to me. One is the fact that Banquo and Fleance know that he's *the* Macbeth; that got my attention at once. The other is that Macbeth, after drawing the fake-Excalibur from the statue, describes himself as "Macbeth, son of Findlaech". I very much enjoyed the little reference to his father, who thus gains a certain posthumous presence in the series long after "City of Stone Part One" (I find myself also recalling his cameo in "Avalon Part Two", when the Archmages are spying on Macbeth in 1020). Even when characters are dead, they're not forgotten.

I was initially a bit taken aback by the Stone of Destiny being the stone from the Sword in the Stone legend, since the Stone of Destiny was in either Ireland or Scotland at the time rather than in London (where the Sword in the Stone was set up), but I've since grown to accept it. It certainly makes sense; I've read a couple of commentaries on the Sword in the Stone legend which connected it to the Stone of Destiny, so equating them is certainly feasible. (I hadn't even considered the possibility of the Stone actually speaking those words to the assembled British nobles and knights until you mentioned it, I might add.)

I very much like the concept of Arthur's role being somewhere beyond Britain, even if it does take a different course from the traditional legends about his future return. (Arthur becoming ruler of Britain again would have made the Gargoyles Universe too different from the real world, of course, which gives an additional good reason to go in the direction that you chose.)

I hadn't even noted the parallel between Macbeth and King Pellinor, but I really like it. Thanks for sharing it with us. (I always was fond of Pellinor, from the time that I first met him in T. H. White's "The Sword in the Stone".) I certainly get a kick out of Arthur and Macbeth as allies - two of the most famous legendary kings of all time, if with dramatically different reputations. A real crossover concept, in fact.

Maybe the one weak point about the Gargoyles take on Arthur is that he seems a little too influenced by T. H. White - in the sense that he doesn't seem "uniquely Gargoyles Universe" enough. Other characters from traditional legend who cropped up in "Gargoyles" in major roles did so in a way that felt true to their originals, and yet in such a way that you could still, when meeting them, say "This is the Gargoyles Universe version of the character" at once. Macbeth was definitely this way, as is Puck, and so are the Weird Sisters, Oberon, and Titania. But Arthur feels maybe a bit too "conventional Arthur" in his appearances. Although I assume that, if you'd gotten to make the "Pendragon" spin-off, you'd have found ways of making him stand out a bit more from other writers' take on Arthur.

The bit about the fake Excalibur (which Arthur recognizes at once to be a fake) reminds me of a story in Malory where Morgan le Fay stole Excalibur from Arthur and replaced it with a worthless duplicate, while then giving the real Excalibur to one of her knights whom she then manipulated into attacking Arthur - obviously Arthur isn't going to be taken in by the lookalike ploy this time around.

And I certainly liked the concept of a different take on "the sword in the stone".

I can't help wondering a little what Leo and Una must have thought about Griff going off with Arthur so soon after he'd rejoined them, though I doubt that it was quite as bad this time around. For one thing, I get the impression that a major point behind it was that they didn't know for certain what had happened to Griff in "M.I.A.", and whether he was dead or not, which wouldn't happen this time around (since I recall that you mentioned that Griff called them up from New York long-distance). Also, there was the "buried guilt" issue over the fact that they knew, deep down inside, that they should have gone with him - and since now, after "M.I.A.", they've returned to being protectors, that isn't an issue any longer either.

At the end, I was eager to see Arthur and Griff go on their quest for Merlin, and thought it a pity that that story wasn't continued. (This will touch slightly on "Sentinel", but I'm saving my comments on that for when you ramble on it.) At least we get to see Arthur knighting Griff, which I thought was a great scene. And a fine way to begin a new set of adventures.... (Here's hoping that someday you'll get to tell them.)

Greg responds...

I've got my fingers crossed certainly.

Response recorded on August 31, 2006