We are very pleased to announce A Princess Out of Place: Guinevere in BBC’s Merlin And Dark Fantastic Dreaming, a talk by Dr. Ebony Thomas, to be held on Friday, April 28th at 3:30 PM in CLA 1.302E. We have included a description of the talk, below:
Few recent fandom and social media reactions have equaled the objection to Angel Coulby being cast as Gwen, the servant girl who would grow up to become Queen Guinevere, on the BBC’s most recent televised adaptation of Arthuriana, Merlin. The presence of a Black woman as the eventual love interest of the main character was a source of continual controversy throughout the entire run of the series. Just as with other Black female characters in adapted and transmediated youth literature, such as Bonnie of The Vampire Diaries, and Rue in The Hunger Games, viewers had a very difficult time suspending their disbelief. This audience difficulty, created through lifetimes of reading and viewing narratives of the fantastic where the Dark Other is locked into place, was complicated because unlike most other Black female characters, Gwen does not die, but outlives her king and husband. In my book manuscript in progress, I have theorized the dark fantastic cycle that occurs as the Dark Other shows up in speculative fiction. What, then, happens if a diverse character does not go through the full cycle of spectacle, hesitation, violence, and haunting? How does its interruption complicate the narrative? How might it confuse – and frustrate – audiences?
We hope to see you there.