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The Matter of Britain

Yoruba Crocodile MaskI was doing some research for one of my McCracken books the other day, which involved reading the myth of a crocodile god called Ombure.  It’s a Nigerian myth called “The Crocodile and His Son,” and I found it in an anthology called Folklore, Myths, and Legends: A World Perspective, which is actually a splendid and very entertaining book.  (to the left is an image of a Yoruba crocodile mask.)

Now, here’s the thing I noticed.  In the introduction to the story I was reading, the editor of the anthology, a highly respected mythographer called Donna Rosenberg, writes that the story “provides a window into the life of people before they become technologically advanced enough to have some control over their environments.  This is the period in every culture when powerful myths come into being” (page 44).

Now, my objection to this point of view is that technology doesn’t

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted on the concept of sacred violence in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur.  Naturally, there’s a little more to say on it than what I said then, and in fact I think there’s something to be said for the community’s redemption from sacred violence, as we see it expressed in Lancelot and Guenevere at the end of Malory’s “whoole book.”  So, here goes.

The Morte begins with anarchy, with a mighty duke who “helde warre ageynst [Uther Pendragon] long tyme” (I.1).  Uther doesn’t do much better than the Duke of Tintagel.  In fact, as soon as peace is declared, he tries to seduce his wife, which leads to another period of anarchy.  And when Uther finally dies, Malory observes that “Thenne stood the reame in grete jeopardy long whyle, for every lord that was myghty of men maade hym stronge, and many wende to have ben kyng” (I.5).  This is the very situation Girard describes in the first chapter of Violence and the Sacred: the unending cycle of revenge that threatens to destroy the community.  Girard goes on to explain that communities typically adopt three strategies to limit the effects of this escalating violence: “(1) preventive measures in which sacrificial rites divert the spirit of revenge into other channels; (2) the harnessing or hobbling of vengeance by means of compensatory measures, trials by combat, etc., whose curative effects remain precarious; (3) the establishment of a judicial system—the most efficient of all curative procedures” (Violence and the Sacred, 20-21).

Girard’s theory is that violence is initially channeled towards an innocent victim, whose death satisfies both parties.  This can occur because both parties choose to believe a fiction about the victim’s culpability.  Once the victim is killed or expelled, both parties are satisfied and the community is restored.  The problem is that the culpability of the victim is in fact always a fiction, that it is known to be a fiction by all parties, but that the admission of its fictitiousness will lead to the ineffectiveness of the sacrificial system as a means of controlling violence.  If the victim is innocent, his death will not lead to peace and reconciliation, but to more violence.

Arthur’s initial response to the problem of violence is to channel violence, as in Girard’s theory, towards another object.  The problem is that Arthur lives in a Christian society, in which the innocent victim has already been sacrificed, revealing the fictitious nature of the charges against him.  Sacrificial violence has been broken, for Arthur’s community.  Thus, though Arthur casts around for a victim towards whom he can channel the violence of his knights, he cannot allow his knights to participate in the fiction of the victim’s guilt: the victim must really be guilty.  The result is the quest.  The problem is that many of the knights don’t really understand what’s going on: Gawain, for example, who continues to use misdirected violence throughout his quests in the Morte, culminating in a horrendous misunderstanding of the nature of the quest for the Sangrail.

The Sangrail, of course, is part of the problem.  Only the knights who are non-violent can achieve the Sangrail.  This means that the knights who actually understand the function of the quest—the elimination of violence—can achieve the Sangrail.  But they will be translated by the quest to another plane of existence—heaven.  Thus, the only knights who remain after the quest for the Sangrail are those who never really understood the purpose of the quest in the first place.  It’s time for Arthur to try another solution.

More to come.

excaliburlakeFor me, one of the great puzzles in Arthurian literature is why Mordred destroys the Round Table.  If his motive is to become king, all he has to do is wait—Arthur will in time die, and Mordred will succeed him as king.  I think there’s a deeper reason for his otherwise inexplicable behaviour, and I think the secret lies in Rene Girard’s masterful exploration of violence and sacrifice, Violence and the Sacred.  According to Girard, sacred violence is designed to place limits upon unsanctioned violence.  That is, violence in a community gets out of hand as acts of vengeance escalate, until it threatens to extinguish the community.  Sacred or ritualistic violence, or sacrifice, redirects this violence onto a victim that will satisfy both parties in a dispute and so puts an end to unsanctioned violence—at least, temporarily.

Again, according to Girard, the origin of violence is mimetic envy.  The story of Cain and Abel is illustrative of this.  Abel had something, God’s blessing, that Cain did not have.  Cain wanted to imitate Abel’s receiving favour from God, so Cain killed Abel in the prototypical act of violence.  Cain is not very subtle about this act—he just leads Abel out into a field and kills him.  He answers to no one other than God.

But imagine what would have happened if Cain and Abel had lived in a community, rather than alone.  In a larger setting, Cain could not have acted peremptorily, as he does.  Killing Abel would have occasioned the sanction of society, so he would first have tried to justify his act by turning others against Abel.  This is what Girard calls mimetic contagion, a kind of mob rule in which the number of people grouping together to inflict violence upon the victim increases.

In addition, Cain cannot give the other members of his mob the true reason for his wishing to kill Abel, since that makes him look bad in their eyes.  So he must invent a reason that everyone would need to kill Abel.  Abel possesses what Girard calls structural innocence, that is, he is not technically guilty of the charge Cain actually levels against him.  The mob partakes in a fiction, which they know to be a fiction, and that fiction enables them to justify killing Abel.

At this point, Abel had become a scapegoat.

Neither Cain nor the rest of the mob can ever mention the true reason for wanting to kill Abel, because if the scapegoat mechanism were ever revealed as a fiction, it would cease working.  It depends utterly on pretending that Abel had it coming.

The killing of Abel leads to a moment of temporary euphoria, a celebration of the fact that, at long last, the community is healed.  But of course the euphoria doesn’t last.  Before too long, mimetic envy grows once more and the remorseless scapegoat mechanism begins to turn again.

This is the very mechanism we see in action at the beginning of Sir Thomas Malory’s last episode, the tale of “The Death of King Arthur,” Caxton’s Book XX, Chapter 1.

We know from the outset the kind of story we are reading, because the opening sentence takes us from the flourishing and burgeoning May to the winter of death and destruction; “and all,” says Malory, “was longe uppon two unhappy knyghtis whych were named sir Aggravayne and sir Mordred.”

These knights “had ever a prevy hate unto the quene, dame Gwenyver, and to sir Launcelot,” adds Malory.  I think it’s important, right away, to note that this hatred is “prevy,” or private.  This is not something that can come out into the open.  It would reflect poorly on Agravain and Mordred.  But we do hear a couple of explanations.  First, Agravain says, “I mervayle that we all be nat ashamed bthe to se and to know how sir Launcelot lyeth dayly and nyghtly by the quene.”  This is what we might call the fictional or respectable reason for hating Lancelot and Guenevere; but Gawain senses another motive, a “prevy” motive for their hatred: “the beste of us all had bene full colde at the harte-roote had nat sir Launcelot bene bettir than we.”  In other words, Mordred and Agravain envy Lancelot’s prowess as a knight, an ability that impacts them more forcefully because they have themselves been rescued by him: “in lyke wyse sir Launcelot rescowed you bothe,” Gawain concludes, urging them to remember Lancelot’s kindness.  Agravain does not argue—his cover has been blown, as it were, as an enactor of unsanctioned violence.  The perpetrator can never defend himself with reason, because envy is an emotional need.  All he can really do is rationalize that need.  Exposing the truth about his real motive would reveal the violent act to be unsanctioned, whereas Agravain wants to be considered an enactor of sacred violence.  So he does not argue, but bluntly asserts, “Do ye as ye lyste . . . for I woll layne hit no lenger.”

Now it will be objected right away, of course, that Lancelot and Guenevere are not structurally innocent.  Lancelot actually does lie daily and nightly with the queen.  But they certainly do have structural innocence in the sense that Agravain will not admit his real reason for hating them, which is to say, jealousy.  Nevertheless, the fact that they are guilty of adultery and, therefore, treason, complicates the matter considerably.  The fact is that no human being, and therefore no human sacrifice or scapegoat, is ever totally innocent.  Everyone has sinned.  This is what gives the scapegoat mechanism its apparent legitimacy.  What we see from this episode is that human fallibility exposes them to scapegoating; and when those individuals are crucial to the survival of the community, and Lancelot and, to a lesser extent, Guenever are, then that community must perish with them.  This is why their affair remains as a kind of open secret among the Round Table knights—everyone knows it is happening, but everyone also keeps quiet about it, so as not to initiate the destruction of the Round Table.

Another factor that complicates the issue is that of justice.  Girard argues that sacred violence does not quit a culture when it ceases to be “primitive.”  The justice system is simply sacred violence in another form—witness all the ritual that attends legal proceedings, the mysterious language, the fact that its business is conducted behind closed doors, in a kind of mystery and awe.  And Arthur has always prided himself on his impartial justice.  In the episode of the poisoned apple, Malory had pointed out that “such custom was used in tho dayes: for favoure, love, nother affinité there sholde be none other but ryghtuous jugemente, as well uppon a kynge as uppon a knyght, and as well uppon a quene as uppon another poure lady” (XVIII.6).  But here, unsanctioned violence, masquerading as sacred violence, has gotten out of hand and threatens the whole community.  Thus, Arthur, cuckolded and betrayed as a husband, is nevertheless willing to remain quiet about their trangressions: “For, as the Freynshe booke seyth, the kynge was full lothe that such a noyse shulde be uppon sir Launcelot and his quene; for the kynge had a demyng of hit, but he wold nat here thereoff, for sir Launcelot had done so much for hym and for the quene so many tymes that wyte you well the kynge loved hym passyngly well” (XX.2).

Arthur thinks that if he sacrifices Lancelot and Guenevere on the altar of sacrificial justice, the cycle of violence will come to an end.  Thus, he sanctions Mordred and Agravain ambushing Lancelot and Guenevere, and then, when Lancelot escapes, burning Guenevere at the stake and guarding her against rescue by Lancelot.

The ambush of Lancelot and Guenevere, incidentally, is an example of mimetic contagion.  Mordred and Agravain find another twelve disaffected knights to take part in trapping the lovers.  But Lancelot escapes, killing the twelve knights and Agravain in the process; and, when he rescues Guenevere from the stake, his killing of Gareth brings all of Arthur’s efforts to naught by unleashing yet another cycle of unsanctioned violence in the form of Gawain’s revenge.  So in the end, it is unsanctioned violence that tears apart the Round Table.

Tomorrow evening, I begin a book group at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Lander, Wyoming. The topic is J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I’m working with two other experts—Tami Kozinski, who has an MA in English and encyclopedic knowledge of Tolkien, and Frank Milligan, a student at Wyoming Catholic College, who’s read The Lord of the Rings almost thirty times. Really. Both of my colleagues know way more than I do, but what I’m contributing to tomorrow’s meeting is a quick analysis of Tolkien’s scholarship.

Here’s the thing. Most people who read LOTR for the first time think, “Wow! That was great. I want to read some more.” Then they hurry off to the local Barnes and Noble and buy another fantasy novel.

Now, I’m not knocking that. I think you should all hurry off and buy The Hawk and the Wolf at once. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve already bought it—you can’t have enough copies of The Hawk and the Wolf. But there is a problem.

I don’t think any other fantasy novel is really as satisfying as LOTR. I don’t know anybody who’s read even a good fantasy novel—say, T. H. White’s The Once and Future King—twenty-seven times, like Frank has. Why do we keep on going back to it?

The first answer is, I think, Truth. LOTR presents us with Truth far more comprehensively than any other fantasy novel ever written—better than any other novel in the twentieth or, so far, twenty-first century. This is largely because Tolkien didn’t buy into the materialistic mishmash that masquerades as a philosophy of life for most people in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. And if you don’t have a guiding philosophy for your fiction, it really won’t endure. Great authors present their worldviews unapologetically, and don’t try to satisfy the masses with vague political correctness or postmodernism or whatever happens to be the philosophy du jour.

The other answer is that no other fantasy writer has ever steeped himself so completely in his subject matter. Tolkien lived in Middle earth. It happened to be located in Oxford, particularly in the garage of his house, where he did all his writing. But the real world—he would have called it the primary world—didn’t have such a real existence to Tolkien as his invented world—what he would have called his secondary world—of Middle earth.

When we write a novel, whether we know it or not, we’re creating a world. Most of us make notes on that world as we’re writing our novels, so that we don’t have our characters do anything inconsistent. But Tolkien invented the world first, and then situated his stories in it. No wonder it’s more convincing than other fantasy worlds, like the Star Wars universe. In fact, Middle earth is sometimes more convincing to me than, say, America in the early twenty-first century. It certainly makes more sense. And it’s a whole lot more attractive.

From his earliest days, Tolkien was working on Middle earth, and what he created arose out of his studies and, ultimately, his teaching. That is to say, his scholarship. This is the mistake that fantasy-readers make, I think. Having finished LOTR, they shouldn’t go off and read The Sword of Shannara. They ought to go off and read what Tolkien read.

The odd thing is that the feeling you get from reading LOTR is very similar to the feeling you get from reading Tolkien’s favourite stories—Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Sir Orfeo.

Tolkien was a professor of medieval literature, specifically of Old and Middle English. Old English is the language spoken and written in England from the fifth century through to the eleventh; Middle English was spoken and written between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. (And, no, Shakespeare did not write in Old English. It might be old to you, but he actually wrote Early Modern English, which everybody spoke until the beginning of the nineteenth century.)

Tolkien made a special study of these three poems. In the 1930s, he wrote an article on Beowulf called “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” Previous scholars had plundered the poem to discover more about Anglo-Saxon culture. By reading Beowulf, they argued, you could find out a lot about Anglo-Saxon burial rituals, armour, feasting customs, and gift-giving, for example. Such critics seemed to be just a little embarrassed by the fact that the main action of Beowulf was about a man killing monsters—Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon. Tolkien reversed the tables on such critics, pointing out that the monsters were actually central to the poem, which should be read as a work of art in its own right, and not just as a quarry for archaeological details. He then tackled the question of whether the poet was a Christian or a pagan, a historically vexed question in Beowulf studies. His conclusion was that the poet was a Christian, but that he was writing about pagan times—in other words, the Beowulf-poet was a historically conscious writer. His article really marks the beginning of the modern study of Beowulf.

Another point that he makes in this article is about the poet’s digressions. The Beowulf-poet can’t stick to his topic. He keeps stopping the action so that he can describe something that happened in the remote past, the near future, or in legend. Tolkien’s point about these digressions was that they helped to flesh out the world Beowulf moved through, make it more convincing. Of course, Tolkien was himself busy writing such digressions for his own masterwork at the time. He had been working on what would become known as The Silmarillion since 1917. He knew what it was like to create history and traditions for a fictional world, and when he saw it in Beowulf, he recognized it. And, of course, Beowulf undoubtedly inspired him to do more in the creation of Middle earth.

The other article Tolkien wrote in the 1930s was entitled “On Fairy Stories.” The two main ideas that he described in this article are those of subcreation and eucatastrophe.

Subcreation is the act of world-building in which all creators of stories participate. It’s not creation. The primary world, the physical and spiritual world in which we live, was created by God. The world in which the events of our stories take place is not the primary world, but a secondary world that has been subcreated by an author. The author stands in relation to his subcreated world as God stands to the primary world. There is, of course, one big difference: characters in the primary world have free will, whereas characters in the secondary world do not. Even here, you can be nit-picky. Every author will attest that, sometimes, characters take on lives of their own and assert a kind of freedom over events in the secondary world. Whatever the psychological origin of such a phenomenon, it happens, and really attests to the divine nature of subcreation.

The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that reading poetry involved the reader in “the willing suspense of disbelief.” The reader has to make a conscious agreement to believe in the secondary world created by the poet. Tolkien was a little harsher. If the author was doing a good job, he reasoned, the reader shouldn’t need to suspend his disbelief. He wouldn’t even realize that he was in a fictional world until he reached the end of the tale and had to close the book. Anyone who has read all afternoon and not noticed the passage of time knows exactly what Tolkien was talking about!

Tolkien was writing The Hobbit at the time, and clearly, his analysis of fairy story was at the same time an analysis of what he was doing in his own fairy story. The Hobbit isn’t a great deal like LOTR. The elves are not so much the figures of veneration as they are in LOTR—they’re more frivolous, more childlike. You can make what excuses you like—we’re only seeing an aspect of their nature in The Hobbit, perhaps—but the fact is that they’re written to satisfy the same mind that finds wonder in fairy story.

The eucatastrophe is the sudden and unexpected happy ending in a story. Against all expectations, things turn out right. The hero was thought to be dead, but is not. All is better than could really have been imagined before. The Resurrection is the prime historical example of eucatastrophe, of course, and there are numerous examples in literature, including most notably the destruction of the Ring of Power at the end of LOTR.

The final aspect of Tolkien’s scholarly work I want to look at here is his work with the translation of some Middle English poems. The most important of these is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an artistically very sophisticated narrative poem written in an obscure dialect of English in about 1400. Tolkien translated the poem, but he also edited it, and his edition is still the standard one used by scholars all over the world. If you buy Tolkien’s translation of SGGK nowadays, it comes in a volume with two other Middle English poems he translated, Sir Orfeo and Pearl. Sir Orfeo is a medieval retelling of the Orpheus myth, with a happy ending. It’s a story that take the reader (or the listener—most medieval literature was oral) right into the heart of Faerie, the perilous realm Tolkien described in “On Fairy Stories.” Pearl is the account of a dream, in which the dreamer meets the soul of his dead daughter, and receives her consolation for his loss. The intensely pious poem was probably written by the same poet who wrote SGGK.

The world of Faerie is the world into which Tolkien draws us in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and LOTR. It is closely modeled on the worlds of SGGK and Sir Orfeo. The terrible nature of the fairies in Sir Orfeo, for example, who abduct Orfeo’s wife just because she falls asleep under a grafted tree, is amply mirrored in the elves who seduce the dwarves and the hobbit away from the path through Mirkwood in The Hobbit. And Gawain, the titular hero of SGGK, is mighty similar to Aragorn, unswerving in his adherence to goodness and beauty, implacable in his opposition to evil. Gawain has a flaw, of course—his sense of self-preservation leads him into an act of deception—but like Aragorn he has high ideals and holds his own behaviour to the highest of standards.

So, where do we go when we’ve read and enjoyed LOTR? Not forward into the realms of modern fantasy novels, but back—back to the wonderful realm of medieval literature, to Beowulf, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to Sir Orfeo, and Pearl. And this is a journey that never leaves us wanting, and can last for the rest of our lives.

I just wanted to point out how much I enjoy watching Errol Flynn movies. We watched The Sea Hawk last week, and Captain Blood this morning; and, of course, we all know The Adventures of Robin Hood by heart.

I’ve always had a theory that you don’t really need to watch children’s movies with your children. They’re mostly fairly patronizing anyway, except for the Pixar movies and some rare exceptions like Time Bandits. But you’re fairly safe watching movies with fairly small kids if the movies are fairly old—say, released before about 1965. If Errol Flynn is in it, or John Wayne, or Carey Grant, or Jimmy Stewart, or Tony Curtis, or Alec Guinness, then not only is it probably safe to watch, but it’s likely to be entertaining, and it will probably stretch their imaginations and their vocabulary a bit. Consider Flynn’s line on seeing Port Royal for the first time: “It’s a truly royal clemency we’re granted, my friends—one well worthy of King James. He spares us the mercifully quick extinction of the hangman’s rope, and gives us the slow death of slavery. He grants us our lives in exchange for living death. Faith, it’s an uncertain world entirely.” Or when Captain Blood is considering using a French standard to disguise his ship: “When an English lion creeps up on a nest of French foxes he does well to wear a bushy tail.” How about when Prince John says to Robin Hood, “What’s the matter. Have you no stomach for honest meat?” and Robin replies, “For honest meat, yes, but I’ve no stomach for traitors.” They don’t write ’em like that any more!

Other suggestions: Gregory Peck and David Niven in The Guns of Navarone, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, and Janet Leigh in The Vikings, Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor in Ivanhoe, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot, Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets, Jimmy Stewart in Harvey, John Wayne in The Alamo, True Grit, The Searchers or North to Alaska.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing a novel set in the Middle Ages?  Researching the physical stuff about the past is easy—you can read books and find images on the Internet about costumes, castles, etc.  I think the most difficult thing about researching the past is understanding the way they used to think back then.


I’ve been pondering this for several days now, as I’ve been re-reading The Romance of the Rose by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun (trans. Frances Horgan, Oxford UP, 1994).  There are a few books you just have to read if you want to understand the medieval mind: Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, St. Augustine’s Confessions, William Langland’s Piers Plowman.  The shortcut is to read C. S. Lewis’ summary of them all, The Discarded Image.  But I think The Romance of the Rose too.  It’s very . . . different.


For one thing, The Romance of the Rose is a dream vision.  Chaucer wrote several of those, and they were very popular in the Middle Ages, but nobody writes them very much any more. And secondly, it’s an allegory, and few authors write allegorically any more.  Animal Farm is an allegory, but it can be read as fantasy too.  You can’t read The Romance of the Rose as a fantasy—it’s too obviously an allegory.


The narrator goes to sleep, and dreams that he sees a walled garden.  On the walls of the garden are the images of various frightening figures.  I thought at first they were the Seven Deadly Sins, but they’re not: Hate, Covetousness, Avarice (apparently different from Covetousness), Envy, Sorrow, Old Age, Religious Hypocrisy and Poverty.  The dreamer walks around until he finds a gate, and knocks on it.  It is answered by a beautiful woman called Idleness, who lets him in.  This is the garden of Pleasure, who dances with his friends there all the time.  The dreamer finds a spring—the spring where, according to the classical story, Narcissus died.  Looking into the water, the dreamer sees reflected a hedge, beyond which is a rose bush.  One rose in particular catches his attention and, as he stands there gazing at it, the God of Love shoots him with five arrows.  He immediately pledges his undying allegiance to the God of Love.


That’s as far as I’ve got.  I’ve read it before, ages and ages hence, and loved it, but it’s been a long time since I’ve read medieval literature for pleasure, and I’m struck by how alien it seems now.  The pictures on the outside of the wall, for example.  Why are they so like the Seven Deadly Sins that at first you think that’s what you’re reading?  But in the end, there’s eight pictures, not seven, and they don’t much resemble the Seven Deadly Sins anyway.  And why would Pleasure paint such horrid pictures on the outside of his garden’s wall?  And why should the gate be opened by Idleness?  The dreamer says that “To excite the desire of the featherbrained she had sweetly scented breath” (page 10).


Then there’s the God of Love.  This is not Venus, because it’s a man.  And he’s not Cupid, since he’s not blind—in fact, he shoots the dreamer very deliberately.  The whole point of Cupid (if you’ll pardon the expression) is that, because he’s blind, he shoots people at random.  The dreamer pledges his allegiance to the God of Love with a kiss, very clearly described as being on the mouth.  And he says, “I was very proud when his mouth kissed mine: it was this that gave me the greatest joy” (page 30).  I’m wondering if it’s just my modern mind that gives this scene its homoerotic overtones.  Guys kissing guys is not erotic in the Middle Ages—look at how Gawain kisses Bertilak in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for example.  And Russians and Frenchmen kiss each other all the time—it’s just a form of greeting.  But this is the God of Love.  It’s just a case of my having been xeno’d—a surprise caused by the fact that I don’t know the medieval mind as intimately as I used to.  I need to read more medieval literature.  Literature, not criticism.  I need to get back into it.  All the time I’ve been in Missouri, all I’ve been doing is preparing classes.  I haven’t been learning that much.  So now I’m going to read more of the good stuff: Guillaume de Lorris, Dante, Chaucer, St. Augustine.  I think it’s going to be fun.

Welcome to my blog.

I’m Mark Adderley, author of the new Arthurian novel, “The Hawk and the Wolf.”

“The Hawk and the Wolf” is about Emrys, young prince of Cambria, who discovers that it is his destiny to search for the legendary lost sword, Excalibur, that will enable his people to drive out the invaders who have swarmed across his land.

“The Hawk and the Wolf” is the first in a series of twelve books, collectively entitled the Matter of Britain series. Learn more about the matter of Britain right here!