“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”
~ Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
This quote struck me because as I researched for my novel, I recognized that the only “facts” we knew were what was written down and not destroyed. So I decided to reach into the realm of fiction to tell a possible tale of what might have taken place way back when.
There are fort ruins in and around Glastonbury and South Cadbury (towns which are 18 miles apart; a day’s ride by horse). In fact, the Tor shows signs of fortified occupation over many hundreds of years, from earthen dwellings to Roman forts. And though the origin of the name “Glastonbury” is unclear, it could originate from the 7th century name “Glestingaburg”. The “burg” part in the name is Anglo-Saxon meaning a stronghold, fort, castle, or fortified elevation.
Given several rumors and hypotheses that Avalon resided in or near Glastonbury (more on this in an upcoming blog), these ruins gave me a plausible hypothesis to place Camelot in Glastonbury. As Morgaine states in her conversation with Guy,
“We keep Camelot a secret for it would only bring war down upon this realm. We have no army behind us. Besides, we can let people claim Cadbury as Camelot. For, surely, Arthur had Cadbury built as the Saxons were rumored to be gathering strength before they invaded. This place, Uther had built for Igraine so that she could be closer to Avalon and her sister Viviane. After Uther was killed, Arthur ruled from here. As far as we can tell, he left this smaller home for a grander one with a more strategic view. It made sense. It was rumored that Arthur gave this castle to Morgaine, my ancestor, as her place, as it had been originally given to their mother, Igraine. Given that women couldn’t and still can’t own property, it was in holding with one of Arthur’s cousins, Morgause, and Lot’s eldest surviving son.”
And where is that round table so spoken of in the Arthurian legends? It’s not in Cadbury Castle. But if the ruins in Glastonbury were in fact a 6th century castle and the original Camelot, then when the castle was destroyed, so was the table. Still, it and Camelot live on in our stories.
They walked down a short corridor that opened up into a round room with a very large, wooden, round table taking up the majority of the room. Guy stopped short taking in what his eyes were seeing, but that his brain was telling him he could not be seeing. He whistled, recognizing he had found himself in the middle of a legend. Morgaine let go of his hand and sauntered to the table. Caressing the wood, she eyed him with a glint of mischief in her eyes.
“This is…,” Guy wrapped his brain around what he was actually seeing. He walked to the table, touching and caressing it. “This is King Arthur’s round table.” His mind reeled, “Then this is Camelot!”
There are so many holes in history and so we fill them up with our stories, our hypotheses, our dreams.
This is Hearken to Avalon!