Lev Grossman’s Arthurian Novel The Bright Sword Is in Development as a Series

The Bright Sword, the new novel from Magicians author Lev Grossman, isn’t out until next week—but it’s already on track to become a series. Deadline reports that Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment have picked up the rights to the novel, with a planned series to be produced by Grossman, Erwin Stoff, and a showrunner who has yet to be found.

The Bright Sword has the subtitle “A Novel of King Arthur,” but it begins in an unexpected place: After Arthur’s death. The book synopsis says:

A gifted young knight named Collum arrives at Camelot to compete for a spot on the Round Table, only to find that he’s too late. The king died two weeks ago at the Battle of Camlann, leaving no heir, and only a handful of the knights of the Round Table survive.

They aren’t the heroes of legend, like Lancelot or Gawain. They’re the oddballs of the Round Table, from the edges of the stories, like Sir Palomides, the Saracen Knight, and Sir Dagonet, Arthur’s fool, who was knighted as a joke. They’re joined by Nimue, who was Merlin’s apprentice until she turned on him and buried him under a hill. Together this ragtag fellowship will set out to rebuild Camelot in a world that has lost its balance.

But Arthur’s death has revealed Britain’s fault lines. God has abandoned it, and the fairies and monsters and old gods are returning, led by Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fay. Kingdoms are turning on each other, warlords lay siege to Camelot and rival factions are forming around the disgraced Lancelot and the fallen Queen Guinevere. It is up to Collum and his companions to reclaim Excalibur, solve the mysteries of this ruined world and make it whole again. But before they can restore Camelot they’ll have to learn the truth of why the lonely, brilliant King Arthur fell, and lay to rest the ghosts of his troubled family and of Britain’s dark past.

In a statement, Grossman said, “My ambition with The Bright Sword was to completely reimagine the legend of King Arthur—to make it fresh, relevant and diverse, while at the same time hanging onto all the classic elements that fans like me love.”

One hopes that that freshness extends to the adaptation. The Bright Sword has its share of fight scenes, but it is also, at times, really quite funny. What I am saying, basically, is that I dearly hope the adaptation doesn’t try to turn it into Game of Thrones: The Post-Arthur Years.

Producer Stoff has a long genre track record that spans everything from The Matrix to the cult series Kings to Blue Eye Samurai. Grossman, of course, has been through the adaptation process before with The Magicians, the Syfy series which adapted his trilogy of books into a very different but entirely outstanding series.

It’s going to be very interesting to see who gets brought on as showrunner for this one. icon-paragraph-end

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