Connections between T.H. White’s “The Once And Future King” and The X-Men Movies

Apart from being a grim reader, I am also an ultimate geek. I could not go on with this blog without including something from the wonderful world of comics. Recently I started a re-watch of all of the Marvel X-Men Films, and I thought that there was a lot of interesting material.

I will mainly focus on the second movie “X2”, in which “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White is mentioned, and visually present in the movie. The novel is extremely interesting and retraces the story of King Arthur and Co. and offers a plot which basically unites the ancient legend with Disney’s Cartoon’s story, I made it veeeeery short.

Anyway, we can see “The Once And Future King” in the first part of the movie, when Magneto is reading in his prison cell, and then in Professor X’s school, as he uses the novel as a teaching tool.

Indeed, there are many references and levels of interpretation between the movie and the novel. One of the common points is the love triangle among Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot which very much resembles Scott, Jean and Logan’s romantic path during the X-Men movies. Arthur is married to Guinevere, but she shares a passion with Lancelot, in the same way Scott and Jean are married, but it is kinda evident how much Jean and Logan want each other.

While researching I found out this very interesting opinion by user shadowy_blue in the KMC forum thread about this topic: “There also was this one part in “Once and Future King” where there was a certain man that for some reason lost his nose. All the children who sees him were always throwing stones at him while insulting and making fun of him. This is also an example of how the mutants are being shunned by humans just because they are different and doesn’t look normal. Now in this book, the man who lost his nose also lost his temper. He was sick of all the children chasing him and stuff. He grabbed one of the children and bit the child’s nose. Since that incident, the other children also made fun of the child and did all the exact same things that they did with the man before. Now this incident reminds me of what Magneto did with Senator Kelly in X1. Kelly was the number 1 guy who was against the mutants and did everything he could to get rid of them. Then Magneto abducted him and shared his fate with him. For awhile Senator Kelly became a mutant himself and realized how it felt to be shunned by others. He felt the fear that the mutants have felt just because they are different. He was scared that the crew in the hospital will “treat him like a mutant””.

Of course, Magneto plays a really important role in the subtext which involves our novel. Although Xavier himself affirmed, talking about the book, that he would take Merlyn’s role of guide more than hero, Magneto con be associated as a Arthur’s foil. Magneto represents the will of becoming the once and future king, detroying humans in a war of races which until now, in the movies, has not succeeded, whereas Arthur is Camelot’s king and his bad end implies his return, in which he will end his positive design about a wide and just kingdom. Furthermore Magneto’s idea reagarding the use of force is morally opposite to Arthur’s: the first wants to use the force of mutants to destroy humanity, and Arthur wants, on the other hand, use the force of his kinghts in order to help the weak and the poor, and this is just another exemple of how deep literature can permeate pop culture and this is only a small part of how its influence is so important, offering multiple interesting subtexts to look at.

Cheers, grim readers!

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