Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurus

terry as arthurBack in March I posted about the love affair Brent and I had with John Boorman’s Excalibur. This past weekend came the news that Nigel Terry, King Arthur himself, passed away at the age of 69 due to complications from emphysema. We were, Brent and I, huge fans of Terry’s work, not only of his turn as Arthur, but his roles in movies such as The Lion in Winter, or the criminally underrated television series Covington Cross as well. But, it was Terry’s Arthur that drew us in.

Brent had an affinity for Arthurian Legend, perhaps surpassing even my own. It was Brent who turned me on to Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon and Paxson’s Hallowed Isle series. I returned the favor by leading him to Stewart’s Merlin series, as well as Gil Kane and John Jakes’ take on Excalibur.

I remember vividly when he returned from his first trip to London with a stack of esoterica he’d picked up at Watkins Books, all Merlin related. He was excited to show off these items, none of which were available here in the US, at least not in our little corner of it. He also had purchased a beautiful Celtic Cross and a fistful of magically charged gem stones, crystals, and river rocks.

Brent relished in that mythical Christian Paganism of legendary Britain. That merger of the Old Gods of the Celts and the Picts with the New Gods of Christ, the Saints, and the Martyrs.

brent2It was a tremendous influence on him, especially in our early teens and into our mid-twenties. It was Arthurian symbolism he would recount during meditations and regressions and upon coming out of the deprivation tank. And years later, not so long ago now, when he was troubled and he and I would sit alone by a fire, it was these symbols and icons that I conjured for him to give him strength and guidance. When he spoke of visions and voices, I recounted the lessons of Merlin and he took them to heart.

It was that Old Conjurer, that half-demon, who had forged a Christian King, arming him with an enchanted sword and leading his knights to quest for the cup that held Christ’s Blood. These were powerful symbols, healing symbols, and whereas they once delighted and inspired my friend in his youth, in middle age they helped draw him up out of darkness.

That’s the sort of thing he and I did for one another. Darkness finds all of us at one time or another. Sometimes it takes someone who is willing to die for you to pull you out of it.

He would have died for me, and I for him.

We played out these roles in our younger lives, wore the masks of Merlin and Arthur, Lancelot and Percival, and more, and their legends were mirrored in our actions and we in turn became legends ourselves in many ways. Our exploits still linger as whispers within a mist woven by magic as ancient as the universe itself, a dragon’s breath drifting through the waking world and transforming it into a dream.

It’s all a dream, the fabric of which is comprised of our fears and aspirations.

Brent dreamed for all of us and every terrible thing, every dark dragon rising up from fire and ash, was turned back by the warmth and love that forged a sword unbreakable.

You cannot miss a thing that has not truly gone.


“You brought me back. Your love brought me back.
Back to where you are now. In the land of dreams.”
— Merlin the Enchanter


One Response to “Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurus”

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    A bittersweet remembrance.

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