Here Lies Arthur Seminar

What attitude towards war comes through in Here Lies Arthur? Is it what you expect from a text retelling Arthurian legend?

How are stories depicted in the text? Why are they believed and what effects do they have on people? What happens to stories once they have been told? Are stories seen as positive? Consider Gwyna as a storyteller from first story she spins (p40) to how she is at the conclusion of the text.

What overall message about truth comes through in the text? What kind of history are we presented with? Is history reliable or is representation problematic?

Consider the representations of gender in the text. What limitations for and restrictions on women are there ? What does it mean that Gwyna can easily pass for a boy, even convincing herself? What different emotions and experiences does she have as a boy, being inside the all-male world? Which does she prefer? Why does she decide to become the gender she does at the end of the text?

How do Reeve’s Arthur, Myrddin, Cei, Bedwyr, Pelinor and Gwynhwyfar compare to your existing images of these characters from other literary or popular media versions ?

What is the importance of language to Myrddin? What symbolism does he employ and how does he control the meanings interpreted? How does Gwyna compare as a storyteller?

Gwyna’s home is the house of her master as she is a slave. What different types of slavery are present by the text and how are they critiqued? What long term effects does it have on Gwyna?

What different models of the family are offered by Here Lies Arthur? Why are there reminders of the Roman conquest of Britain e.g. archaeological remains ?

Why does Myrddin spin tales of Arthur?

What different attitudes to religion and gods are present within the text? How does Gwyna feel about Myrddins lack of faith?

What criticisms of the adult/child relationship does Reeve present e.g. p.21 ‘It was my lot to do as my elders told me, even if I didn’t understand’ ? Do you think the relationship between Myrddin and Gwyna is positive? How does it change throughout the story and why?

What is the child’s relationship with the landscape in Here Lies Arthur? How does it compare with the other texts? What is ‘Dark-Age’ Britain like?

Consider the types of imagery in the text. What ideas are portrayed by the use of animal imagery throughout, for example e.g. Arthur the bear, Gwyna the mouse/cub/fish/dog/snake, Myrddin the hawk/spider ? What other imagery is used?


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