LitStack Recs: Light Years and The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of AvalonTHURS
Marion Zimmer Bradley

It’s March, and along with NCAA basketball, that means it’s Women’s History Month. While I’m not one who generally jumps on parade floats for any particular cause, as a woman and as the mother of a daughter who is blossoming into her own independent woman, I do have a vested interest in making sure that women have the recognition – and the opportunities – that they deserve. While I was mulling this over the other day, I started to think of books I had read that had given me a sense of a female centric ethos, that gave me examples of what it might be like to live amongst strong women who determined their own future. It’s not that my mother was not strong, and beautiful and amazing, but she did live in the shadow of my father – and that’s where she wanted to be and she thrived there (and he always treated her like an equal, to be honest). But just who were my affirming literary female role models?

The one book I kept coming back to was Marion Zimmer Bradley’s masterpiece, “The Mists of Avalon”. This retelling of the Arthurian legend through the eyes of women – specifically Morgaine (often known as Morgan le Fay) and Gwenhwyfar (the Welsh spelling of Guinevere) impressed me deeply when I read it way back in 1983. While the classic tale remains pretty much untouched, the feminine focus allows what is normally a story full of bluster and battle to become one where the conflict is fleshed out with respect for all sides, and humanizes the characters so as to make them far less archetypical, and therefore, more real and believable.

To recognize the role that women take in our great stories, and to see the world through their eyes, especially when told with such care and beauty as is done in the “Mists of Avalon”, is, in my mind, a wonderful way to celebrate our modern Women’s History Month.

Sharon Browning

1 thought on “LitStack Recs: Light Years and The Mists of Avalon

  1. I borrowed the audio book recordings of The Mists of Avalon from my library a few years ago…it came in 4 parts. I totally loved it and recommend to everyone. I’ve notice that most of the time when I’m checking out an audio book, at least one if not more of the parts is checked out so it is very popular here as well. I love the Arthurian legend and especially this one from the female POV. Highly recommend.

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