The season finale for season one, which ties together a number of elements from previous episodes and raises some new questions.
I am pushing to get this done before I’m out of town for a week, so there are things I know I want to come back to. (Also in my plans: a list of book recommendations made in the commentary and footnotes, so they’re all in one place, and some digressive commentary on Arthurian legend in its various forms, since that is relevant.)
(Also, this is more spoilery in discussion than most of these posts.)
One of the things that’s interesting about this episode is the question of serendipity, synchronicity, and coincidence.
I’ve had conversations with people whose method of research is to walk into a library, find roughly the right area of the stacks, and reach for the book that feels right.
(When I was told this, I’m pretty sure that person thought I’d be horrified, but really my take is ‘that is not the most efficient method of research, but there’s things it actually can sort of work for, and if you don’t care about efficiency, well, anything that has people exploring books is a good thing.”)
My point is that this episode is a lot about how those things work in our lives to create opportunities on the one hand, and closed doors on the other hand, and that that’s a lot of how research goes, really. Sometimes you know just the right thing to go straight to what you want, other times you have to go round about, through several parallel universes and a lot of confusion.
Obviously, adjust settings appropriately for ‘this is a TV show’ and the season finale, but still. I think chance and small choices have a much bigger bearing on research and learning than we realise a lot of the time.
Old Kingdom, which covers about 500 years from 2686 BCE to 2181 BCE, and the Third through Fifth dynasty (some people also count the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth dynasties). New Kingdom, 1550 to 1077 BCE and Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties. (There is also a Middle Kingdom, 2055-1650 BCE, and the Eleventh and Twelfth dynasties.)
Mut. Mummies would take essays in themselves. (Book rec: The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead by Heather Pringle. There are new advances since then, but there’s a lot of really fascinating stuff in here, and not just about Egypt.)
That appears to be a warp-weighted loom, and they go back to the Neolithic.
Camelot. The Fall of Camelot is a complicated bit of story (and as the producers have said, don’t assume you know which version they’re playing with.) More Arthurian annotation separately at some point, I think.
Goths. (The relevant Goths here, rather.)
Myths about weaving. I want to note here that the story of Elaine of Astolat is a weaving myth. Odic force. Telepathy. (I am not finding anything on a Clevenger field, and suspect it’s a reference I’m missing.)
Lancelot. And yes, Galahad, his son. There is so much political history analysis I sort of want to do of that sword fight, but I think I need to do some background reading first. (Also a history of the theories of free will and self-determination.)