Monday, September 17, 2007

Morgan Le Fay, Time-Traveling Librarian

My son just finished reading Pirates Past Noon last night, and he was telling me about the ending (there be spoilers here, but I doubt we have a lot of 2nd graders reading the Wordhoard).

Apparently, at the end of the book, it turns out that the children were receiving anonymous help from "The Mysterious M," who as it turns out, was Morgan Le Fay disguised as a talking parrot. As part of the broader feminist attempt to rehabilitate Morgan, she's depicted as a "good guy" in this book; when one of the children says that she is a witch, she corrects them by saying she is an "enchantress," and that they should not believe everything they read.

So, what is Morgan doing helping children against pirates in a magic treehouse? In addition to being Arthur's sister (no mention is made of potential incest), she is also the Camelot librarian, and is traveling through time to collect books for the Camelot library.

This struck me as a rather abrupt eruption* of Arthuriana into a book about pirates. I think I'll encourage my son to see if his library has The Knight at Dawn from the same series, to see if it too is Arthuriana.

*Abrupt eruption = "abruption," a word I just made up. Now you owe me a nickel each time you use it.


  1. Ok, when I saw that post title, I thought you were going to write about the *blogger* (or rather, LiveJournaler) Morgan L. F., who has traveled to a land far away from her home to work at the World's Biggest Library for the summer.

    I'm going to have to e-mail her this post!

  2. Scott,

    My daughter and I have read the first 18 or so books in this series, and there's a definite Arthurian thread running through the books, if usually in the background. Morgan is a recurring character, as is Merlin in the later books. Jack and Annie (the two protagonists) actually visit Camelot in one or two of the books, though more often the Arthurian characters simply show up at the beginning and/or end of the book.

    The connection to traditional Arthurian stories is pretty weak (as you might expect), and the style of the books leaves a lot to be desired. They're remarkably formulaic, with two-dimensional characters and overly simplistic plots. In other words, perfect for a five-year-old.

    In my opinion, the most interesting medieval content in the series is in "Viking Ships at Sunrise," in which Jack and Annie visit a medieval Irish monastery and save a manuscript from invading Viking armies. Good stuff!

  3. I don't know, I'd totally be up for being a talking parrot!