The Mists of Avalon

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The Mists of Avalon

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Random House Publishing Group | May 12, 1987 | Trade Paperback

4.8163 out of 5 rating. 49 Reviews
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A Literary Guild Featured Alternate
Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come....

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 912 pages, 3.65 × 2.39 × 0.64 in

Published: May 12, 1987

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345350499

ISBN - 13: 9780345350497

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– More About This Product –

The Mists of Avalon

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 912 pages, 3.65 × 2.39 × 0.64 in

Published: May 12, 1987

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345350499

ISBN - 13: 9780345350497

Read from the Book

Even in high summer, Tintagel was a haunted place; Igraine, Lady of Duke Gorlois, looked out over the sea from the headland. As she stared into the fogs and mists, she wondered how she would ever know when the night and day were of equal length, so that she could keep the Feast of the New Year. This year the spring storms had been unusually violent; night and day the crash of the sea had resounded over the castle until no man or woman within could sleep, and even the hounds whimpered mournfully. Tintagel . . . there were still those who believed the castle had been raised, on the crags at the far end of the long causeway into the sea, by the magic of the ancient folk of Ys. Duke Gorlois laughed at this and said that if he had any of their magic, he would have used it to keep the sea from encroaching, year by year, upon the shoreline. In the four years since she had come here as Gorlois''s bride, Igraine had seen land, good land, crumble into the Cornish sea. Long arms of black rock, sharp and craggy, extended into the ocean from the coast. When the sun shone, it could be fair and brilliant, the sky and water as brilliant as the jewels Gorlois had heaped on her on the day when she told him she bore his first child. But Igraine had never liked wearing them. The jewel which hung now at her throat had been given her in Avalon: a moonstone which sometimes reflected the blue brilliance of sky and sea; but in the fog, today, even the jewel looked shadowed. In the fog, sounds carried
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From the Publisher

A Literary Guild Featured Alternate
Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come....

From the Jacket

A Literary Guild Featured Alternate
Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come....

About the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley began her distinguished book publishing career in 1961 with her first novel, The Door Through Space. The following year she wrote the first book in her hugely popular Darkover series, Sword of Aldones, which soon became a Hugo Award nominee. Bradley''s novel The Forbidden Tower was also nominated for a Hugo, and The Heritage of Hastur was nominated for an esteemed Nebula Award.

The Mists of Avalon was the single most successful novel of Bradley''s career. It won the 1984 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and has been among the top five trade paperback books on Locus''s bestseller list for years.

Ms. Bradley died in 1999.


From the Hardcover edition.

From Our Editors

Arthur sits on the throne of Britain, and it is his task to maintain the uneasy balance between the old ways and the new. But although the knights of Camelot owe their first allegiance to Arthur, the king himself is held in the sway of several powerful women, each of whom is determined to bend his authority toward her own ends. In The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley spins a familiar tale, but lends it a refreshing quality... for it is not the story of Gawaine, Arthur, or Launcelot. Instead, it is the story of Gwenhwyfar, Viviane and Morgaine - the women relegated to the shadows by legend and history, but who ply their invisible influence nevertheless.

Editorial Reviews

"[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends . . . Reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience. . . . An impressive achievement."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Marion Zimmer Bradley has brilliantly and innovatively turned the myth inside out. . . . add[ing] a whole new dimension to our mythic history."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Gripping . . . Superbly realized . . . A worthy addition to almost a thousand years of Arthurian tradition."
--The Cleveland Plain Dealer


From the Hardcover edition.

Bookclub Guide

1. Reading Group Questions and Topics for Discussion


  The Mists of Avalon revolves around a number of dualities: male/ female, Christianity/druidism, duty/desire. How are these duali-
ties represented in the book? Can you think of others that were
presented?

 

2.  How does the book strive to challenge common stereotypes? How does it reinforce them?

 

3.  Is Gwenhwyfar a sympathetic character? In your opinion, does Marion Zimmer Bradley treat physical beauty in a positive, negative, or neutral manner? Explain.

 

4.  How responsible is Arthur for allowing the spread of Christianity and ultimate disappearance of Avalon? Was he simply being an honorable husband to Gwenhwyfar? Did you find the Arthur, Lancelet, Gwenhwyfar tryst disturbing? Although Arthur was an indisputably potent leader, can he, in the end, be deemed an effective one?

 

5.  It seemed in several instances that Morgaine disappeared when
she was most needed. Was she ultimately successful in represent-
ing the Goddess? Would you say that she was a victim to her fate or that she ultimately rose to meet it? What parallels can you draw between Morgaine's life and Igraine's? Between Morgaine and Viviane?

 

6.  The Merlin seems to play an ambiguous role in the story. Do you agree with this statement? In your opinion, was he motivated more by his faith, or by pride and ambition?

 

7.  Throughout history, did the spread of Christianity really lead to a diminishing of tolerance? Does the Goddess have a place in today's world? Do you think that Christianity ever held woman as the principal of evil?

 

8.  What symbolism, if any, would you apply to the dragon slain by Lancelet? What is the symbolism behind Excalibur? The Grail? The Holy Thorn?
 

9.  At the end of Mists, did you feel that the Goddess had truly been absorbed into Christianity?

10.  How has Mists changed your perception or understanding of the Arthurian legend? How has it changed your perception of women's roles in the making (and telling) of history?

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