The name King Arthur conjures mystical images and ideals that are still alive today. This is evident by his continued presence in popular culture since his inception. Why exactly have the Arthurian legends continued to be popular for so many centuries? To many, it is the allure of the timeless ideals of chivalry being upheld and embodied as literature, the mystical and magical elements throughout the legend, and the hope of the promised return of King Arthur.
Chivalry was an ancient, sacred code upheld by the knights of that time. These knights were considered to be chivalrous because they were generous, brave, loyal, and true gentlemen to their ladies. Knights abusing this code by breaking any of its requirements were considered to not only betray the King, but also God. Most of the knights of Arthur's round table displayed these qualities and lived by this code. Sir Lancelot, one of Arthur's most chivalrous knights, demonstrated this quality through his fighting skill and lack of fear in the movie First Knight. Richard Gere played a chivalrous knight who repeatedly showed that he wasn't afraid to die. Since the story reiterates the fact that no one is perfect through minor flaws, Lancelot had every quality of the ideal knight except for complete loyalty to the king as he fell in love with Arthur's fiancée. This one mistake ended up having a major impact on Lancelot as he was forced to an open court trial. .
This legend would not be as popular if it lacked the mystical and magical elements many readers crave. Stories in past medieval times often used the supernatural to bring excitement to the plot. Some legends used giant, fire-breathing dragons, talking animals, and intellectual colonies of ogres and monsters. Legends like The Sword in the Stone revealed a sense of fantasy as no one could pull the sword out of the stone except for the little boy, Arthur. Characters like the Lady of the Lake added a sense of supernatural mystery.