Arthur keeps having to pull the sword out of the stone in front of everyone (because “ther were many lordes wroth”). Arthur is now under guard by trusted knights and the coronation is put off until Pentecost. Again, the sword is a metonymy for the state.
Arthur is tested to pull the sword out again – succeeds (much to everyone’s dismay and jealousy). His parentage is revealed. Sir Kay is made steward (“senceall”) to Arthur (not as King as he thought there for a moment).
Arthur pulls the sword out, not because he was trying to test his legitimacy. but because his brother, Sir Kaynus (Kay), needed the sword. Kay assumes since he now has the sword that he should be king. Not so fast, buddy.
Sword in the stone mentioned – it’s an analog of the right to rule the state, only the legitimate heir can pull the sword out. This motif of pulling swords from sheaths for will be seen again. A tournament is arranged for all the knights to try their luck at the sword.
Uther leads a victor, looses his speech, confirms Arthur to be the next king, dies. The nobles fight for control of the realm.
Uther confesses the deception, so Igrayne is at least relieved the child is legitimate. Arthur is born and taken to Sir Ector to be raised in secret. Uther “felle seke of a grete maladye”.
Uther marries Igrayne, however she was raped by him, yet she keeps it a secret for the sake of the kingdom. Nygromancye are the black arts, something we’ll see plenty of in the book.
Merlin suggests transformation and wants Uther’s first born. Myth analog is 3 days to sire Hercules, 3 hours to complete siring Arthur.
002: Ulfius seeks out Merlin, Merlin agrees. Merlin has been living as a beggar.
Uther wants Igrayne, wife of Tyntagil. He says NOPE, they flee. Myth analog here is with the siring of Hercules by Zeus in disguise. Woman as political capital introduced as a running theme on the very first page.
All in all, the War of the Roses seems to be brought about by weak leadership that allowed rivals to splinter and fight with each other. They even went beyond wanting the King’s favor to wanting to be King themselves – far cry from the semi-divine nature of the King as born, not bought as it seemed in a world of bastard-feudalism where you could indulge your way to influence.
As for the War of the Roses, Henry VI seems a lot like Trump is some ways in that his ear is easily bent by whomever is bending it at the time. He also seemed quite weak in utilizing his resources to their best ability to maintain control of the nobles. War with France was not going well, his wife (French) had her own ideas about how to run things, and his actions were worse than inactions
I wonder how much of this book he wrote just to entertain himself while in prison off and on for years and years? He had access to great source material (French) and plenty of time to write about an ideal time he would have preferred to live in, as opposed to his own troubled time. Yet the title (corpse, death) and all the infighting of the characters points to a pessimism in his world view
Mallory in an interesting figure. He had ambition to be a knight (unlike his father), and he does become one, but he can never square away any decent patronage and is only supported by people in his family circle. The political situation at the time also makes it difficult to know if he really was such a bastard criminal (attempted murder, rape), or if the charges were trumped up.