(urth) Castleview and Arthuriana

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Wed May 16 12:25:53 PDT 2007

I've read the book again.

Craig Brewer wrote:
>>I know there have been many questions in the past
about what exactly happens at the end of Castleview.
In the archives, the two most compelling versions were
that 1) the whole Arthurian “good vs. evil” turns out
to be just a pagan renewal of seasons (with King
Geimhreadh – Gaelic “winter” – killing the Green Man
“to die so that you and many another may live”)<<

Well, that is certainly part of it; snow immediately began to fall and,
after the battle, Wrangler/Arthur spoke to Lisa Solomon about how things
would be better in the spring. He then proposed that they be married in the
spring. Does that make the young Jewess a type of Guinevere? I doubt it. Why
the hell was the Green Man riding Odin's horse? What does the Green Man have
to do with the Wild Hunt?

>>or 2)
that it’s a mysterious battle between Faeries which
mortals don’t and can’t really understand (and a lot
of the confusion is therefore mortal confusion on
perceiving the “feckless” fey).<<

A lot of the confusion is due to Wolfe mixing mythologies. <g>


>>But as for the Arthur figure, is Shields really

Yes and no.

>> Or is he the Fisher King (who seems strikingly
absent from the book)? Or maybe (the idea I rather
like) he’s one of many Arthurs. (Further, his name is
“Sheilds,” not “swords,” and he never uses
Gawain is the only knight predominantly
associated with his shield.) Yes, Morgan says he’s her
brother. But Wrangler’s name is “Artie,” and, in the
car on the way back, Bob Richards suggests that
Wrangler should have been their champion, but he was
too hurt at the moment. Thus, Shields stood in his

Yes, Wrangler was weak from loss of blood -- it was autumn. But the brother
that Morgan spoke to Judy of (244), the one she kept trying to kill, was
Wrangler. (Lucie drawing out his blood in the Jeep; Hwan with a knife at the
hospital at Morgan's direction.)

Besides, the trouble at the camp started well before Shields came to town.
Wrangler was the general object of those attentions. The phantom castle had
been around for about a century before either man was born. Wrangler's
family had been involved one way or another with the castle for generations.

>> (“They asked us to pick out a champion,
remember? The best we had. So we sent Mr. Shields.
That cowboy’s still pretty weak; so’s Seth, and Seth’s
too young, anyhow
”). Further, Seth ends up with
Excalibur (or the “alien” sword).<<

Once the battle began, Seth tossed Excalibur to Wrangler. It's not clear
that Wrangler ever used it; he made more use of his brother's forty-four.
The battle ended almost as soon as it began. Back at the camp, Wrangler
stored the sword in the bottom of his brother's old trunk-- minus the

The Malory quote at the front of the book said that the scabbard was more
valuable than the sword because it was a specific against loss of blood. In
the epilogue, the empty scabbard hung above Shields' oceanic bed. The
scabbard had done (if Shields was truly the "dead" king Dr. vM spoke of),
and would do, neither man any good unless or until it was reunited with the

>>Does this make him
Sir Bedivere or, for that matter, the Lady of the
Lake? Or is he another Arthur? (Would that make Tom
Howard the Uther and Sally the Igraine? If so, then
Dr. vM by perhaps “marrying” Igraine at the end,
becomes King Lot King who will, with Igraine, give
birth to Gawain, Mordred, and two other G knights
after all, Seth does wonder “what his half
brothers and sisters might be like, if there were
any.” And, early in the legends, Lot is Arthur’s
enemy, although he’s later his ally.)<<

I don't think the analogy can be carried that far. I don't know why Sally
would have let the doctor into her bed, or why Seth was accepting of it,
particularly if he intended to pursue Shields' daughter. Merc couldn't have
thought well of the being who had killed her father.

And exactly what kind of being was the doctor? What sort of dog/wolf could
take the form of a man? And who or what was the large "wild-eyed, riderless
hunter" who followed the Green Man into the courtyard (273)? A favored hound
from the Huntsman's pack?

>>I’m always torn with this one whether to agree with
the idea that the “mysteriousness” is just part of
interacting with Faerie or whether there’s enough from
myth/folklore to piece together a bigger narrative.
But the clues never seem coherent enough as the Sun
books to piece together more than speculations.<<

The Arthurian material has been too distorted and tangled up with other
stuff. How did Lucie come to die and receive a Catholic funeral (224)? Was
she buried with a stake through her heart? Who found her body and where? Are
we to believe that a comatose Sancha killed her in fairyland? Lisa and
Wrangler seemed pleased at the end that the formerly dead Sancha had come
back to life. Were they in for future grief? Or was Sancha, though
apparently a real vampire (unlike wannabe Lucie?), on their side?

What has the ghost of a dead Jim Long to do with Morgan? How does Wrangler's
missing brother Bart fit into the Arthurian family?

The literal fall of Excalibur to Earth from a destroyed planet has no place
at all in Arthuriana (245). But Fee's true form seems to be that of an alien
(262). Messy.


More information about the Urth mailing list