When I was younger, reading poetry was not my first choice in picking up a book. Listening to poetry: fine. Reading by my lonesome: confusion!~ When I bought Song of the Sparrow at a Scholastic book fair, I had no idea it was a poem. The cover was pretty. And it dealt with Elaine from King Arthur. Best. Things. Ever!
Song of the Sparrow was my first introduction to epic poetry. As I read it, all I thought was that the author wrote different. Even with my lack of knowledge of the medium I was reading, I zoomed through the book, and immediately read it again.
Protagonist Elaine, of the poem Lady of Shallot, lives in the encampment of Arthur with her father and brothers. She mingles with the soldiers as though she’s one of them, having grown up under all their wings. Her skills in healing, taught to her by Arthur’s older sister Morgan, help the outpost a lot.
True to her legend, she is in love with Lancelot–in this version, a young man who befriended her when she first arrived for refuge in the camp, and listened to every childish request to play even when he was busy. She’s only 16 in this retelling, also.
When Arthur’s father is poisoned and Arthur becomes the leader, the camp is divided. Because of his youth, many leave. This event snowballs into others, including an alliance formed on the arranged marriage of one Gwynivere.
All puzzle pieces start coming together, and the story goes on!
What stuck out in this Arthurian tale? The friendships! Everyone is in friendship, and it’s so genuine and loving. Over the story, Elaine grows into friendship with the cat-eyed Tristan. A friend her age who was disowned by his father and is cursed to love someone he shouldn’t love. They terrorize Gwynivere when she arrives. Her childhood friendship in Lancelot evolves into a childish crush, though it is wrought with heartbreak. Gentle Arthur always listens to her counsel. Even when Elaine and Gwynivere start off on the wrong foot, overcoming their adversaries blossoms their friendship.
If you’re into retold Arthurian Legends, pick up this book!
What is your favorite redone Arthurian Legend? I’ve love to hear your recommendations!