No basis for a system of government
September 4, 2017 4:26 PM   Subscribe

A seven-year-old girl found a four-foot sword in Cornwall, England, in "the same lake where King Arthur's Excalibur was said to have been hurled."
posted by mbrubeck (81 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
“Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”
posted by Fizz at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2017 [67 favorites]


I don't know if we could import this system to America, but I'm on Team "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords" 2020. Can't be worse than the electoral college.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:31 PM on September 4, 2017 [176 favorites]


Let the record show that the one chosen to lead the kingdom back from the brink is a seven-year-old girl.
posted by mhoye at 4:36 PM on September 4, 2017 [129 favorites]


No basis for a system of government

Honestly couldn't be much worse than the current fuckery of failure.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on September 4, 2017 [23 favorites]


It's inevitably the fascists who get the swords
posted by jeffburdges at 4:37 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


(Would be nice if either the place I was from or the place I live wasn't desperately calling for overthrow by middle reader plot.)
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I don't know if we could import this system to America...

And the boy pried the Glock from the cold, dead hand sticking out of the water, and the people backed away slowly while keeping their hands in plain view and said: "Uh, yeah, king, whatever, don't shoot."
posted by Behemoth at 4:39 PM on September 4, 2017 [27 favorites]


(That sword looks like it has a legitimate shot at actually being Excalibur for real though.)
posted by mhoye at 4:41 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I fully support this child being the new leader of the world.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:44 PM on September 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


And Matilda's dad reckoned the sword was probably only about 30 years old.

"I don't think it's particularly old," he said. "It's probably an old film prop."


Must've been a sword guy.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2017 [38 favorites]


Let the record show that the one chosen to lead the kingdom back from the brink is a seven-year-old girl.

THE QUEEN IN THE NORTH
posted by curious nu at 4:48 PM on September 4, 2017 [45 favorites]


Straightforward from here.
posted by officer_fred at 4:49 PM on September 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Arthur and Merlin.
posted by quaking fajita at 4:51 PM on September 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


This happened on Bodmin Moor, where previously a fourteen-year-old boy discovered a skull with large fangs.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:56 PM on September 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


The pool, in the parish of Altarnun, was said to be bottomless until droughts in 1859 and 1976 dried it out completely and revealed it as a shallow pond.

As much as we're all desperate for a hero this doesn't bode well for any kind of significance coming out of this. I'm gonna go all the way grump and say it was a dad prank gone completely out of hand.
posted by bleep at 4:57 PM on September 4, 2017 [17 favorites]


To me that looks like a Federschwert, a practice longsword. He's probably right that it's a homemade one or a film prop; the forward-curved quillons aren't like any of the mass-produced ones I've seen online. If the maker is out there, doubtless they'll come forward.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:58 PM on September 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


Sorry, Prince Harry, now you're down to seventh in line. Rough day for you. On the plus side, you can now get married without a say-so from the Queen, so there's that.
posted by clawsoon at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


We need a George R.R. Martin ruins everything meme: Arthur got his magic sword from a rock and/or a swimming chick. Elves hand out magic swords in Lord of the Rings. They cost some XP to make in D&D. But a Song of Ice and Fire goes frigging dark.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


If it starts singing ditch it.
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised to find out there were any number of prop swords at the bottom of that lake, for the same reason that tourists can't seem to cross Abbey Road without taking their shoes off for a picture.

I hadn't known that the Lady of the Lake was identified with an actual lake. That one seems so, well, small, and evanescent. I always pictured some frightful deep like Loch Ness, with islands in it. Maybe I was thinking of Avalon.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:10 PM on September 4, 2017 [15 favorites]


That one seems so, well, small, and evanescent.

It's more like a large pond.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:16 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Looks like Peter Morwood figured the source out already. Spoiler alert: not actually Arthur's cutlery.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 5:19 PM on September 4, 2017 [11 favorites]


aw bless, she got a sword from a mall ninja catalog. That's pretty awesome for her. I totally wanted a sword from one of those kinds of catalogs when I was her age.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:27 PM on September 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


From my perspective the fact that it's only 20 years old or whatever doesn't make the whole thing less great. She found a sword! In a pond!
posted by quaking fajita at 5:36 PM on September 4, 2017 [50 favorites]


From my perspective the fact that it's only 20 years old or whatever doesn't make the whole thing less great. She found a sword! In a pond!

Agreed. This is basically all I ever wanted out of childhood.
posted by thivaia at 5:40 PM on September 4, 2017 [65 favorites]


Yeah, I love how we're all like "Meh, prob'ly not Excalibur. Whatevs."
posted by nickmark at 5:40 PM on September 4, 2017 [30 favorites]


No, I am all "Sheesh, you can wait a minute and allow someone else to post it." I just sent the Twitter moment to my friend in IM 2 minutes ago.
posted by Samizdata at 5:42 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I love how we're all like "Meh, prob'ly not Excalibur. Whatevs."

I'm a little ashamed of myself actually. I don't know where my sense of genuine wonder and delight has got to lately.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 5:47 PM on September 4, 2017 [11 favorites]


Could at least let her negotiate Brexit. Would probably be an improvement.
posted by ckape at 6:04 PM on September 4, 2017 [51 favorites]


I'm a little ashamed of myself actually. I don't know where my sense of genuine wonder and delight has got to lately.

Probably into the Gorge of Eternal Peril.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:08 PM on September 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


Of course it's not the real Excalibur, that's just a prop they found on short notice to make you THINK she's not the legit leader of the British Isles now.

She probably knows of the existence of the Laundry and the Checquy now and everything. They're just keeping it quiet until this all blows over!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:11 PM on September 4, 2017 [24 favorites]


Just because it's a 20 year old replica doesn't mean it *can't* be Excalibur. Tsk, it's like you lot don't know anything at all about magic.
posted by Artw at 6:14 PM on September 4, 2017 [66 favorites]


Having just finished a production of Camelot, I was waaay too excited about this.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:28 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


That is my favorite pic of 2017, by a damn mile
posted by Caxton1476 at 6:30 PM on September 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ave Matilda Regina!
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:36 PM on September 4, 2017 [16 favorites]


It's only a model.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2017 [29 favorites]


Does this mean she's destined to end up with a Sword Guy?
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:58 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Everyone else is laughing, kid, but I'm on-board. Where can I pledge my oath of fealty?

(Honestly, if, in 20 years, I'm about to be burned to a crisp by a dragon or marching hordes of the undead approach my cardboard box shelter to add me to their mindless masses because the sword is in fact magic and she's become an evil overlord: life, on balance, will have been worthwhile. A lot less gloomy a picture than bankruptcy and Trump.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:03 PM on September 4, 2017 [12 favorites]


2017 is the death of subtlety in metaphor.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:12 PM on September 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


Hey how do we know the sword wasn't a murder weapon someone threw away? We need to pull up unsolved sword-murders that we can pin on this little girl.
posted by um at 7:27 PM on September 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hmm...that's quite a coincidence--he had just finished telling her the King Arthur story, then soon after they decide to go swimming in the very lake where the the sword was given to King Arthur. Was it a carefully planned setup for the girl?

I propose that it is not a coincidence at all, that...the Lady of the Lake sensed her knowledge of legend and deemed her a worthy successor. Of course it was a newer sword--the Lady of the Lake isn't going to give her some crusty old sword.
posted by eye of newt at 7:51 PM on September 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


> Could at least let her negotiate Brexit. Would probably be an improvement.
Exactly. Queen Matilda* leading the people will be much better than the following Arthurian negotiation strategy currently in full display:

* [not to be confused with Matilda of Normandy, Holy Roman Empress]
BEDEVERE: Well, now, uh, Lancelot, Galahad, and I, wait until nightfall, and then leap out of the rabbit, taking the French by surprise -- not only by surprise, but totally unarmed!

ARTHUR: Who leaps out?

BEDEVERE: Uh, Lancelot, Galahad, and I. Uh, leap out of the rabbit, uh and uh...

ARTHUR: Oh.

BEDEVERE: Oh... Um, l-look, if we built this large wooden badger...
posted by runcifex at 7:59 PM on September 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Hats off to this dad, really. This is exactly the kind of thing I like to pull over on my kids.

Here in the PNW, I'm an expert on "discovering" Sasquatch tracks.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:10 PM on September 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


I like that she's even wearing a bunny shirt. Although it's not clear if it's a killer bunny or not.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 9:42 PM on September 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Just because it's a 20 year old replica doesn't mean it *can't* be Excalibur.

Millennial Swords Are Killing the Traditional Monarchy
posted by condour75 at 10:00 PM on September 4, 2017 [27 favorites]


Fan art by my2k
posted by mbrubeck at 10:18 PM on September 4, 2017 [12 favorites]


this is the best comment today
posted by mbo at 10:46 PM on September 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


Compare this to Jeremiah Heaton's claim of Bir Tawil so that his seven-year-old daughter could be a princess.

Would we be more inclined to support this seven-year-old's claims, should she make any?

Are there more seven-year-old girls out there looking for a short cut to some throne?
posted by fredludd at 11:21 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


This happened on Bodmin Moor, where previously a fourteen-year-old boy discovered a skull with large fangs.

The pool, in the parish of Altarnun, was said to be bottomless until droughts in 1859 and 1976 dried it out completely and revealed it as a shallow pond.


The pond is a portal.
posted by hat_eater at 11:36 PM on September 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Every time I attend a LARP event in some camping lot, I wonder what the scouts who usually camp there will make of the stuff left behind. Ritual circles in the forest, lost leather bags full of rune stones, the odd foam head arrow...
posted by pseudocode at 3:10 AM on September 5, 2017 [8 favorites]


Are there more seven-year-old girls out there looking for a short cut to some throne?

You haven't met any seven-year-olds ever, have you?
posted by Etrigan at 3:21 AM on September 5, 2017 [15 favorites]


I always pictured some frightful deep like Loch Ness, with islands in it.

Deep lakes don't tend to have islands, though. You're setting a high bar.
posted by Devonian at 4:24 AM on September 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I could probably get the 7 year olds at my library to clean out the storage closet if I told them there was a sword buried in there just itching to make them all royalty. Or ponies.
posted by Biblio at 4:24 AM on September 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


For truly she is the Kwisatz Haderach.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:23 AM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


One 'truth' being offered in the article comments:

I believe that might be my sword from years past... It's called a Flambard sword... I offered it to Dozmary Pool because I wanted to give back to the pool what It gave to King Arthur... It was around a time I was very spiritual and I traveled around Cornwall offering weapons to the sea, lakes, marshlands, and sacred sites... I'm so happy for her to find it as it might offer her strength for the future knowing it came from a legendary pool where Excaliber came from :)
posted by HycoSpeed at 5:31 AM on September 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


ckape: "Could at least let her negotiate Brexit. Would probably be an improvement."

BREXCALIBUR!
posted by chavenet at 6:07 AM on September 5, 2017 [18 favorites]


This is probably the best post-credits twist GoT have done so far
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our new estrogenical reign of girls with swords. Forward with the matriarchy!
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:50 AM on September 5, 2017


best post-credits twist GoT

I know -- who expected a BSG crossover after all this time?
posted by Zonker at 7:51 AM on September 5, 2017


We need a George R.R. Martin ruins everything meme: Arthur got his magic sword from a rock and/or a swimming chick. Elves hand out magic swords in Lord of the Rings. They cost some XP to make in D&D. But a Song of Ice and Fire goes frigging dark.

Lightbringer. Man.

I've been thinking about a fantasy story for rapidly approaching twenty years now, since I was a teenager. A sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer type story, only set on a fantasy Earth without a masquerade. Like, I suspect, most cis het white America males who likes fantasy fiction, I think named swords are cool, and wanted one in this story, whenever I got around to writing it, and for years I intended to call it Light Bringer.

But I was never super happy with that name. It felt pat, easy. I felt like I could do better. So I also sort of waffled about it for years, until one day I was in an old mall and walked by a Tilt, and heard an arcade game talking about the sword Light Bringer. (This game was apparently obscure enough that I can't figure out what it is now, I really don't think it was Dungeon Magic, this was much more recently than one might expect to find Dungeon Magic in a Tilt.) At that point, I knew I couldn't use the same name for my sword as some off-brand arcade mess in a Tilt. I resolved to find a better name.

Turns out the world's biggest fantasy author not only didn't think he could do better, but he'd already used the dang name for a sword in a published book by the time I was first dreaming the idea up. And of course it's a sword that required the forger to murder his wife to make it right. That's so GRR. So it's just as well I decided to go with something else.
posted by Caduceus at 7:57 AM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Lightbringer in Latin is Lucifer. So there's that.
posted by biogeo at 8:45 AM on September 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


A sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer type story, only set on a fantasy Earth without a masquerade.

This is pretty much the premise of Sunshine by Robin McKinley, minus the sword. Just in case you needed your dream destroyed some more.

It's a good book, though.
posted by suetanvil at 9:18 AM on September 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


in light of Art's wise words above, I feel it's only fair to point out that I dumpstered a foam cosplay sword in my neighborhood earlier this year.
posted by mwhybark at 10:11 AM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


If I win the lotto, I'm tossing prop weaponry into every swimming hole I find.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:53 AM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


The pool, in the parish of Altarnun, was said to be bottomless until droughts in 1859 and 1976 dried it out completely and revealed it as a shallow pond.
This kind of supports the "less than forty years old" theory.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:55 AM on September 5, 2017


I'm not saying anything against the good people of the locale, but there are other ways to differentiate between a shallow pond and a bottomless lake than waiting for drought.

Also, you can barely take a leak in many parts of the UK without micturating on some lump, bump, hollow or pile associated with Arthur.

Arthurian Britain. It is a silly place.
posted by Devonian at 11:18 AM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Pulling up tree-throttling webs of English ivy on the UC Berkeley campus gets you a sword or two a year. More bike frames, empty wallets, etc., but deffo swords.

More impressively, I thought, the empty syringes had the needles reversed and put inside. "The harm reduction people taught that," said one of the police there, "and it seems to have stuck, maybe just in Berkeley."
posted by clew at 11:22 AM on September 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


Does this mean she's destined to end up with a Sword Guy?

Why would being a Sword Lady mean you have to end up with a Sword Guy?
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:03 PM on September 5, 2017


Just remembered there's a new series of Detectorists coming this year. *does the special gold dance*
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


Who cares if it's a fake sword? Arthur is a fake story! We make this stuff up as we go along!

If she found a sword in a lake, she's King Arthur, just in the same way that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, Britain falls! Bullshit or not, them's the rules.
posted by maxsparber at 12:27 PM on September 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


Does this mean she's destined to end up with a Sword Guy?

I thought the consensus was that most sword guys are merely of ex-calibre.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:36 PM on September 5, 2017 [14 favorites]


But time flows like a river
And history repeats.

Everything I know tells me this kid's about to go on a hell of a quest.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 2:15 PM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]




I mean, I found some nunchucks in a storm drain once. Doesn't mean I'm the reincarnation of Bruce Lee.
posted by um at 12:43 AM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


fanart of rightful heir to the throne kid.

I am reading the exchange with @SeanOksana while lying in my daughter's room at 3:45 a.m. because she's teething and now we're both crying.
posted by Etrigan at 12:47 AM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Doesn't mean I'm the reincarnation of Bruce Lee

There is literally no way to know whether or not this is true except by battling Chuck Norris at the coliseum.
posted by maxsparber at 5:21 AM on September 6, 2017 [4 favorites]


I fully support this child being the new leader of the world.

...said America (November, 2016)
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:32 AM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


If she found a sword in a lake, she's King Arthur, just in the same way that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, Britain falls! Bullshit or not, them's the rules.

I'm pretty sure the Brexiteers are trying to get those ravens deported.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:17 AM on September 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Just because it's a 20 year old replica doesn't mean it *can't* be Excalibur.

You know, that's actually a really good point. If, like Merlin, Excalibur aged backwards, then you'd expect it to be only about 20 years old now, right?

That's good enough for me!
posted by nickmark at 6:30 PM on September 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


jeffburdges: "Elves hand out magic swords in Lord of the Rings."

They don't, really. Narsil was forged by a dwarf. Glamdring, Orcrist, and Sting are all Elvish, but were all found in a troll hoard (and that's in the Hobbit, anyway). And the swords the hobbits found in the barrow were all of Mannish make.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:05 PM on September 6, 2017




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