The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone is a story of young King Arthur, also known as Wart. Wart is the servant to Sir Kay, who forces him to wash dishes and accompany him on hunting trips. Wart meets Merlin who acts as his guardian or “fairy godmother” by transforming him into different animals to teach him some of life’s most important lessons. At the end of the story, a great tournament is held to find a new king. Wart is at the tournament and sees the sword stuck in the stone. Without great effort, Wart is able to pull the sword from the stone naming him the new king. As a child I always loved this movie but I never considered it to be a “Cinderella” story until I took this class. Wart is a poor servant in the beginning of the movie who through the help of Merlin becomes the new king.



About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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2 Responses to The Sword in the Stone

  1. kellyncampbell says:

    Assuming that this is a “Cinderella” story, the idea that Merlin (the “fairy godmother”) takes a much more vested and active interest in Arthur, a.k.a. Wart, creates a more mentor-like relation between the two, like in “Ashpet”. However, Merlin’s existence comes as a surprise to Arthur, just like in more traditional versions of “Cinderella”. This story combines the two roles, supplying Arthur with both a surprise magical guide as well as a mentor to teach him life lessons, even after Arthur becomes king. The repeated presence of Merlin makes the hero more dependent on him than Cinderella was on her fairy godmother, but it also allows Arthur to move forward and act without a “prince” or other aid. In this story, Arthur discovers his own “glass slipper” when he pulls the sword out of the stone instead of having to be sought out by someone else. This creates a much less passive hero than Cinderella, despite Arthur’s clumsy and seemingly helpless character.

  2. ersatzme says:

    In the Disney version, Merlin abandons Wart for Bermuda when Wart chooses to be Kai’s squire. As such, couldn’t Archimedes be seen more as the “fairy godmother” who helps Wart through the tourney and then when Arthur pulls the sword from the stone?
    By birth, Arthur is royal, even though no one knows it, so he is merely being returned to his rightful throne when he pulls the sword from the stone. Sir Ector raise Wart much as the “wicked stepmother” does Cinderella, and Wart was given chores in the kitchen. Wart does not impersonate a person of higher status (lady presented to society vs. knight), and does not attend any “balls” seeking escape from his family.

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