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Interesting: John Dee engaged in a bit of research to justify Elizabeth's claims to the New World.

Amusing: His main argument ended up being that Arthur had conquered it, plus Iceland, Greenland, everything north of Russia, etc.

Fascinating: According to his sources, the North Pole is an inner sea surrounded by a ring of mountains, with a few passes through which strong one-way currents feed into it. On the inner side of that ring there's a number of cities founded or inhabited by the descendants of a group of people Arthur sent there. Apparently, one of their priests visited the court of the King of Norway during the XIIth century.

This has all sorts of resonances for me, including At the Mountains of Madness, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, and all the crazy ideas about Antarctic Nazi colonies (wrong pole in all cases, but that's minor). It feels like a fantastic setting for an AU. Just assume that the geography and history are approximately right, and that there's a post-Arthurian parallel society there that remained separate until, say, the late XIXth century. How might it have developed, absent external influences? What effect would its discovery had had in British culture and politics? Just imagine if Arthur sent a son with the expedition (or they claim or think he did) and suddenly you have a *descendant of Arthur himself* saying "hey, about that throne..." I bet they'd arrange some sort of marriage, there's a new addition to the British Empire, etc, etc. Does that change XXth century history, or not really? What if they have large oil reserves and you have a Saudi Arabia kind of Britain? What happens a century and a half later, when climate change starts making it prime real state? Do you move the capital there when London starts getting flooded too often for comfort?

Also note: The King in the North is a Games of Throne concept, but the King from the North is a biblical prophecy, and I quote:

Daniel 11:13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.

According to the prophecy, there's a war against the South that goes well at first, and then not so much. So: you do have oil-rich British Hyperborea as part of the Empire, but its King Arthur has been refused any claim to the throne. So it's 1914, the Germans are feeling nervous, but so are the Americans (Canada is closer to the rest of Empire here, remember), and it seems like WWI is going to happen here as well, just with a more powerful England.

And then we have the diplomatic upset of the century, British Hyperborea aligns with the Germans to "recover their rightful throne" (the Germans love that, and the Americans aren't sad about it), and before you know it we're in full prophecy mode. Note 1: the US will play less of a role, and maybe remain insular for longer. Note 2: none of the British care about the Middle East oil-wise, just to prevent the Muslim uprising the Germans had been fostering (one of my favorite surprising historical facts) -- no Israel later? or an Artic Jerusalem? Note 3: Speaking of Muslim uprisings, British Hyperborea might be rather old-fashioned Christian, surely they had their own religious changes, but it might have been towards, say, mystical settler Christianism rather than any sort of Protestantism, and they never even heard of Mohammed, so in this kind of war you can imagine India reluctant but committed to helping the South, as an Empire ruled by those other guys would go from condescending brutality to rather more divinely inspired brutality.

Note that none of this works without oil, except the dynastic shenanigans/British cultural freakout bits.

Link: John Dee, King Arthur, and the Conquest of the Arctic



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2016 10:23 pm (UTC)
That would be a pretty spectacular AU. The reasons for Britain vs The Ottoman Empire being changed up has so many implications for the sheer chaos that could come out of the confrontation.
Apr. 23rd, 2016 07:11 am (UTC)
I have no idea how that'd look, but it'd certainly be a (different) mess.

And I just realized it, and maybe it's just things spinning out of control, but Austria-Hungary was still extant then, with dynastic politics still somewhat relevant. What if we imagine a Hapsburg line so scared that it makes a dynastic alliance with the Arthurian line? That could very well be the diplomatic surprise that triggers WWI by terrifying the British Crown (who now has to contend with a pretender that a) has nearby and rich lands up North, b) has nearby and well-located lands down South (and is a bona fides Emperor now, thank you very much), and c) is a freaking descendant of King Arthur. The French aren't happy either. And the Russians... I hadn't realized this, but Russia has quite a bit *less* strategic depth if you come at it from the North Pole, and that puts a hole in their entire grand strategy. The Hyperboreans aren't the French or the German; for them the Russian winter is comparatively mild, and their supply lines wouldn't be as bad.

(Sorry, the more I poke at this, the more amusing it becomes *g*.)
Apr. 23rd, 2016 03:00 am (UTC)

Channelling Ken Hite a bit there. I like it. Now if only my friends were historically minded enough to be interested...

Apr. 23rd, 2016 07:11 am (UTC)
Apr. 23rd, 2016 04:14 am (UTC)
Apr. 23rd, 2016 07:16 am (UTC)
*g* I can't believe I hadn't heard about this before. John Dee, King Arthur conquering North America, lost manuscripts, a hidden society living across the mountains ringing the North Pole... It's like a candy bag of fun things to think about, and they are all (qua ideas, at least) very much historical!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


cass, can you not

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