Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Charm of Making from Excalibur

" Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha."

The things we can learn on the internet. Old mysteries from childhood, that have been with us until adult age. I am refering to the Charm of Making of the movie Excalibur. It is pronounced at many different times in the movie, in fact it seems to be the only magic spell ever known by Merlin and Morgana, a magic formula that does everything: bring a fog on which you can ride on, change one's appearance, imprison a powerful half-demon like Merlin into thick ice, save a wounded Lancelot from a deep wound. I was so impressed by it that after I first watched the movie, when I was about 6, I was pronouncing it in front of old logs, hoping to raise a fog. It didn't work.

Now, I thought about it recently, and decided to discover what it meant after all, if it meant anything. And it does. You can find the answer here: "Serpent's breath, charm of death and life, thy omen of making." It is all mumbo jumbo really, like the film itself I am afraid. I used to think it was the best movie ever, until I discovered years later that medievalist thought poorly of it. I understand why now, but since it brought me to the Arthurian legend, I cannot help but love it. Sure, the symbolism is a bit thick and it is often a messed up, chaotic movie, with a plot so wide it becomes as confused as it is confusing, but it is still a beautiful movie, full of atmosphere and such a pleasure to the eyes. And it has some very powerful scenes, such as the one when we first hear the Charm of Making, when Merlin is plotting with Uter the conception of Arthur. I uploaded it here for you to enjoy. Tell me if it is only me, or if it is indeed great fun.

8 comments:

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Guillaume, I would watch this movie. Fantastical and fun. I see what you mean.

PJ said...

Drôle de coïncidence, mais hier au bar Mavericks en avant duquel est mon arrêt d'autobus pour rentrer chez moi, il y avait ce groupe en spectacle, selon l'affiche. En voyant le nom, j'ai tout de suite su d'où ils l'avaient pris, et j'ai marmonné le charme suprême, parce que ça te donne envie de le faire quand tu le vois.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The form in which you first encounter the Arthurian legends always seems extra magical, no matter how many other versions you subsequently see. That's the power of the Arthurian myths.

Guillaume said...

@Gwen-I am glad I got you in the mood.
@PJ-J'ai entendu parler du groupe, en fait c'est un mot sur Facebook à propos d'eux qui m'a fait penser au sujet de ce billet.
@Debra-It is a bit because Excalibur was my first "Arthurian" movie. That said, the original stories are much, much better. It is a movie that has its flaws.

Unknown said...

I also have always loved the movie and recently remembered the charm of making and could say it from memory. I was trying to find out if it had any basis in anything real or historical?

Rico said...

Love this movie. I was 11. Been with me ever since.

Ptolemy1 said...

Thanks so much for this. I'm a little late to the this but wanted to say I've been fascinated by this "spell" (really what is referred to as a "pseudo spell") for years. I've had it memorized every since seeing the film when it first came out in theaters. For one, is SOUNDS so real, as though it would work and the translation of it makes it seem even more authentic. It does make me wonder where the hell Boorman got it. Regardless I do love reciting it every once in a while for my own pleasure. I was also VERY pleasantly surprised to see it show up as yet another gamer-nerd-pop reference in "Ready Player One", where it is used in a very clever way....

Guillaume said...

Hey thanks for commenting on my blog! I had forgotten that post.