I've been thinking about Arthur Eld, and wondering at what may be obvious, but I wanted some other opinions. Is Arthur Eld just a new version of the King Arthur legend exclusive of the others, or was he the return of the Arthur of Medieval legend (the "once and future king," do ye kennit), as was promised in some versions?
I love reading different versions of the Arthur stories! Le Mort d'Arthur was tough to get through, but a rewarding read. The "Once and Future King" is my favorite version and I love the Bernard Cornwell telling for his unusual take on the story (and amazing writing ability). King Arthur and Roland of Gilead are locked in perpetual battle in my in-mind for best character of all-time.
...I think this "character" is a blend of Arthurian mythos/legend with a dollop of Kingwardian genius...in other words, yeah-that writer dude gave a tip of the cowboy hat to the legendary sword slinger...
The return of Arthur? That's an interesting thought...but I think it's more of a parallel situation. Roland's world mimics our world in many way (I am something thinking they are actually the same world separated by time, but that's another matter). We have our King Arthur stories, which are an echo of Roland's Arthur Eld stories. I think the concept of Arthur is very important on many levels of the tower, in whatever form he appears in...certainly Maerlyn is important. I do wonder though, even though Maerlyn is certainly real (if he is what he is claimed to be), if Arthur Eld actually lived? After all, there are many people who claim to be descended for King Arthur these days.