Music to Write Realmgard to: Mists of Avalon

In the mists of Avalon
The Lady of Lake is dancing.

Not to be confused with well-known Metal band that plays guitars really fast DragonForce (who, incidentally, performed in their early days as DragonHeart), the Brazilian Metal band known as Dragonheart doesn’t have much of an online presence, though they do have a Facebook page and have attained at least enough notability to have a TV Tropes article.

The band has apparently been around since 1997 and put out 7 albums (their most recent was a single in 2021), and I’ve known about them since high school. Though it happened entirely by accident.

My first experience with them was Mists of Avalon, though only because some of my friends had just introduced me to DragonForce and when I happened across Mists of Avalon, it was incorrectly attributed to DragonForce.

The song Mists of Avalon refers, of course, to the weather conditions in Eastern Newfoundland.

That was a joke.

It’s about King Arthur.

Edward Burne-Jones' painting "The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon."
The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon: Edward Burne-Jones.
Image via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Now, while The Mists of Avalon (I’m not going to link to that; certain fairly disturbing allegations have come to light against the author that I don’t want you to stumble upon accidentally) is a fairly well-known Fantasy series, I’ve never read it, so I can’t speak to how closely the song does or doesn’t cleave to the books.

But, like, King Arthur, so there’ inevitable going to be some overlap just because of the shared inspiration…

With the caveat that mythology, by nature, is inconsistent and contradictory, the song hits most of the familiar beats: Excalibur, Merlin, the Lady of the Lake, Mordred ruining everything, King Arthur dying and being brought to Avalon with the promise to return in Britain’s time of need.

“In the mists of Avalon
The Lady of the Lake is dancing.”

Not a bad way to sum up all of Arthurian Romance into one sentence, really…

Though, FYI, most of those familiar beats are fairly recent in the development of the Matter of Britain — which, ironically, largely influenced by French writers. Though, for what it’s worth, French was the language of the English nobility through the Middle Ages.

I could (and, back in school, I’m pretty sure I did) write an essay about the development of the Arthurian mythos and that would be a post unto itself. But to give a brief sense of how the mythology changed, the earliest reference to Mordred is in the Welsh Annals merely notes “The strife of Camlann [in 537], in which Arthur and Medraut fell”, with not indication that Mordred was Arthur’s enemy, and other early references seem to speak of Mordred positively as a heroic figure.

Mordred as a traitorous figure seems to originate in Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s History of the Kings of Britain, which only deals with Arthur fairly briefly relative to the overall length of the work. Whereas, in the 12th century, he rarely appeared at all, and by the 13th century, he was pretty much consolidated into a bad guy.

Also, the original Celtic antecedent for the Holy Grail is, like, a pot and even after it’s established as explicitly something to do with Jesus and the Last Supper, in the earliest versions, it’s a dish, not a cup.

Admittedly, Dragonheart’s grasp of English is not great. There are clear mispronunciations of words and the lyrics themselves are fairly awkward. It’s noticeable and potentially distracting, but I’m not going to hold it too much against them.

Plenty of the other bands I like whose first language isn’t English have their own examples of clumsy English. And, like, it’s not like I could write or perform a song in Brazilian Portuguese.

And, honestly, in my time, I’ve seen people whose first language is English write worse than this.

It can be hard to follow some of the lyrics, and I could only figure out what he’s saying by reading along with lyrics at some places, but at least the most sing-alongable parts are pretty clear.

You can take a listen (and judge the grammatical merits) for yourself here:

With that, the official Music to Write Realmgard to Playlist has been updated to include this latest song. You can give it a listen here:

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