King Arthur, the great British king. Or is this just how he’s portrayed due to the massive influx of popularity this mythical man commanded when the English-speaking Victorians ran with the earliest of ideas of making Celtic culture Anglo-British?
Now I’m certainly in no way whatsoever attempting to say that this archaic monarch was not a brilliant man. My point lies in the fact that history teaches us this mighty king was in fact a Cornishman. He had Celtic followers from across the Island of the Mighty (Prydain / Britain) and even his trusty sidekick, Merlin (or Myrddin) was a Welshman – note CaerFYRDDIN >; Merlin’s Fort.
Through re-reading the Mabinogion I gained no pleasure in comparing Arthur’s acts as a Celtic-British king with the contemporary view on him. It now seems that Arthur himself was as English as they come…. Difficult in my eyes to think this when England was, in Arthur’s time, only just establishing her foothold on this isle. Have all ancient Welsh stories lost their way in the deep and diluting waters of capitalism and elitism? Even Shakespeare years before found many a ‘stolen’ inspiration from Celtic / Welsh stories and events such as Y Brenin Llŷr (King Lear), Owain Glyndŵr (Owen Glendower) and Harri’r Seithfed (Henry the Seventh). Definitely no calls for a smiley face here…. Therefore I’m not finished!
As far as philosophical inspiration goes, Family Guy has never been one to spur my deepest thoughts on the world. I understand (the majority of) its jokes and notice the more subtle humour in its programing – but I find it hard to fathom what Pythagoras, Socrates or John Robert Jones would have made of it all.
Family Guy to the many holds a special place in the funny side of peoples’ hearts. Its view on the world linking the serious with the surreal is a great example of how minds think these days. Fantastic! So what if I told you that the ancient and previously well respected art, of Celto-Welsh storytelling lives on through this most unlikely of sources? I guess you’d probably think I was a neo-Victorian-hater…. Right?
Well I’m not. Let’s look slightly deeper….
The Mabinogion is littered with ‘triawdau‘ (triads). These are, in literary terms, an aphoristic form used in medieval Welsh and Irish literature describing events in threes – usually to help the oral storyteller to remember his direction with his or her tale, or to aid the listeners in remembering the stories once told. As with many modern jokes, the series of three is massively important. “An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar….” par example! Family Guy too utilises this idea throughout its shows. Let’s take Peter’s opposition upon setting up his ‘Church of the Fonz.’ Three newly formed religions come and take all Mr Griffin’s followers leaving him with nothing but a hind-sight ridden post-thought accompanied by thoughtful background music.
How about Quagmire? Many would, and should, see this man as an all-round arse. But taking aside his character – and as Shakespeare himself put it – “what’s in a name?”
‘Quagmire’, according to thefreedictionary.com is described as:
- Land with a soft muddy surface.
- A difficult or precarious situation; a predicament.
So what, huh? Well when you think of all the characters of the Mabinogi, all their names derive from either topographical features of their birth, or to a physical or emotional trait that lends itself solely to the person. A Welsh idea! I think it’s fair to say Quagmire often finds himself in precarious situations, shall we say? Oh, and his first name is Glenn…. and that’s Welsh, right?
I’m not saying that Seth McFarlane’s mind revolves around the fact he’s a secret Welsh-inspiring activist working for the FWA charged with reforming subtle Welsh independence ideology…. but his ever-successful show can shed light on the finer and simpler traits of (Celtic) storytelling – just in a modern way.
Now that deserves three smiley faces 🙂 🙂 🙂