Guy Ritchie, King Arthur, and the Great Conspiracy

Elliott, Andrew (2022) Guy Ritchie, King Arthur, and the Great Conspiracy. In: The Arthurian World. Routledge, New York and London. ISBN 9780367172701

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Elliott - Guy Ritchie Arthur and the Great Conspiracy Abstract and Bio.docx
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Elliott - Guy Ritchie Arthur and the Great Conspiracy Abstract and Bio.docx - Abstract

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Guy Ritchie’s recent reworking of the Arthurian legend, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was released to a barrage of both professional and amateur criticism. The usual complaints abounded, from laments over misused sources or confused plots, to casting choices or directorial decisions. However, in one small corner of the internet, self-styled political analyst, part-time historian and apparently award-winning filmmaker, Matt Taylor was calling for a boycott of Ritchie’s film for very different reasons.
According to Taylor, Ritchie (alongside Hunnum and Beckham) were no less than traitors to the nation and a tool of the New World Order. Taylor’s reasoning is less than clear. However, the main thrust of his argument is summarized in a meme prominently featured on his blog, which justifies the boycott on the grounds that the films are “not based on the real King Arthur’s [sic] they are based on French romantic crap [sic]”. On the strength of his use of French sources, Taylor continues, Ritchie and Beckham are not only traitors but agents in a giant cover up which, apparently, includes the Royal Family (as a “foreign German royal dynasty”).
For Arthurian scholars, of course, it is hard to take ideas like these very seriously; rather, they seem to confirm Umberto Eco’s famous line about the signs of a lunatic being that, sooner or later, they will bring up the Templars. However, peering beneath the surface, the logic and its online connections reveal a different story of national myth, nationalism and a complex question about who can really lay claim to ownership of the medieval past. This paper, accordingly, will explore how the online Arthur, and its cinematic equivalents, take their place in a complex parallel world of real, and contested, King Arthurs.

Keywords:medievalism, political medievalism, King Arthur, Arthurian studies, Conspiracy theories, Arthurian film
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P990 Mass Communications and Documentation not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:50219
Deposited On:22 Jul 2022 08:11

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