Monday, May 22, 2017

The New Feminism: King Arthur Legend Of the Sword & Analysis Of Symbols

Why is his name "Arthur?" It's a rather unique name, it certainly applies to him (when we think of an "Arthur," we tend to think of "King Arthur" first), so, of all names (especially the choice of something more exotic, like "Uther" or "Vortigern") why is he named "Arthur?" Because "Arthur" was the "author" of his own free will and destiny. Arthur became the author of the new peace after the chaos, Arthur was the author of the deeds of Excalibur, Arthur was the author of  humility and chivalry and, therefore, masculinity, and it's because we need to be reminded of all these things that Guy Ritchie has made this film, told this tale and conjured to our minds--like the nightmares Arthur suffers--the history of why we have treasured the values we have, and chosen the decisions we did, and why we avoided so many different paths, those which were taken by Vortigern.
One of the easiest ways to begin an analysis of a film is to ask yourself what other films it reminds you of; what scenes invoked memories of films where you had seen such scenes previously, and then, once identified, ask yourself, why would the film makers "quote" those films within their own movie? For example, in Dracula Untold, there is the issue of a multitude of boys being sold into slavery from one kingdom into another, and we see the same in King Arthur; why? Children symbolize the future, and because men symbolize the active principle, men (young men and men of child-bearing age) tend to symbolize the (future of the) economy; these boys being sold into slavery, then, is the economy and the future of the economy being sold into slavery. How? The European Union, symbolized by the Vikings there to conduct trade with Vortigern. This is symbolized by Lucy who was beaten because women symbolize "the motherland," and especially since she was Arthur's adopted mother (with the other women) what the Viking does to Lucy, has--according to Ritchie--been done to England herself. At the end, when the Vikings face Arthur, Arthur says this: you face all of England, not just a single person or government official.
The story of Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone is for men what Cinderella trying on the glass slipper is for women: a coming of age, a sign of gender identity and collective wish fulfillment. So, we can say that there is an element which reminds us of Cinderella (Kenneth Branaugh) which was recently released, and juxtaposing the two stories, we see the similarities and how they have addressed issues of gender identity, traditional, gender identity.
On another vibe, we can also see Clint Eastwood's film Unforgiven being cited when a prostitute is beaten up (Lucy in King Arthur). Ritchie adds an important commentary with this scene, because Arthur handles the injuries in this film, whereas, in Unforgiven, the prostitutes (Strawberry Alice) hired men (i.e., prostituted the men to be assassins) and only got death, whereas they could have had wages to provide for themselves instead. Is Arthur acting like a trade union in going after the Viking and getting Lucy's wages? No, he's acting like a man who is grateful to the woman who helped raise him, and that's the huge difference Ritchie wants us to notice, because in standing up for Lucy, Arthur fulfills his duty as a man, that is, protecting those he cares for, because they, too, have cared for him. Ritchie, then, provides us with a radically different example of "exchange" than that the Left cites for Karl Marx and market exchange; this "exchange" is based on love, not on someone getting what they believe to be is their "fair share."
Then again, we also see Ursula and The Little Mermaid (which we discuss more fully below), but we can see this as an example of the prince having to choose between the the good woman (Ariel) and the bad woman (Ursula). With Vortigern, when we see him with a good woman, like his wife, he kills her for something bad (power), and with Maggie, he imprisons her because she has threatened his power, then he kills his daughter for even more power. The Viking who abused Lucy, of course, was a guest of Vortigern, so we see how abuse spreads through shady business deals (the selling of the young boys). The Prince in The Little Mermaid isn't just choosing the woman he'll marry, but how he is going to become for the rest of his life; Ariel, on the other hand, has chosen the prince to be the man she wants to give herself to, to make of herself an offering to make him be a better man than what he would be otherwise (more on this below with The Mage).
Another film I think Ritchie cites is Anthropoid, which you probably didn't see, but you should, It was excellent. Just as there is a betrayal in Anthropoid, so, too, does the blonde-headed Rubio betray where the cave is that the Resistance has made as their base, and everyone is killed. There might also, however, be another vague reference in Ritchie's cameo he makes. When Arthur and the others plot assassinating Vortigern, we see Ritchie dressed all in blue for a brief second, as a man who would support "assassinating the king" and so they could use his building for Goose Fat to shoot Vortigern. Because Anthropoid is also about an elaborate assassination, we can see the two films linked; however, because Vortigern is not assassinated, Ritchie might be providing commentary that the assassination in Anthropoid didn't bring out the best in the characters (remember, Anthropoid was more of a call to arms against Obama than a historical drama); in other words, Ritchie cites Anthropoid so he can say, we could have had Vortigern die as a result of a political assassination, but that would not have brought out the strenuous sacrifices and courage Arthur had to summon to overcome Voritgern.
We've seen a lot of octopuses lately, and to at least some degree, the "sea witches" or sea nymphs with their long legs, are certainly octopus-like; so why does Ritchie do this? Well, we just saw in Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2 how, at the start of the film, how the conservative, pro-capitalist audience is the octopus-like creature that is being destroyed at the start of the film (the one with a hide so tough, Drax is swallowed by it to try and kill it from the inside? Yea, that symbolizes the conservatives in America; please see Patricide: Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2 for more). But the octopus theme has been common in all of Marvel's film because it's the symbol for HYDRA, and, of course, the symbol for the terrorist organization in the James Bond film Spectre (and we will discuss the sea witch in greater depth below). So, by listing and connecting one film to other films you are reminded of as you watch it, a public dialogue and debate is created, with the film you are watching at the moment bridging issues concerning film makers which you have been smart enough to pick up on.
And now for something completely different. In the poster above, Arthur wears a jacket which we see him wearing two different times in the film. The first time we see him wear it, we've watched the montage of Arthur growing up and watching Lucy and the other women get beaten up by various "customers," and then, when Arthur watches, he gets beat up too, except for the last time, when a man goes to strike Arthur after beating up Lucy and Arthur stops the man's hand in mid-strike; Arthur wears this coat pictured above when he does that, and again after the scene when Vortigern's men have killed all the members of the Resistance in the cave. Why? Because Ritchie uses costume to tie-in these two scenes: the man beating the woman is like Vortigern beating England, and in both situations, it's Arthur who is there to stop it. Why? The jacket tells us.  There is sheep skin fur lining both the neck and wrists: sheep nearly always, not always, but nearly always, symbolize sacrifice (because that is the animal most often associated with sacrifice) and we know that the hands symbolize our honor (we shake hands to symbolize giving our word when we intend to honor something we have spoken) and arms symbolize our strength (not just physical strength, but strength of character, morals and values as well) and the wrists bring that together to make a unified man. The neck symbolizes that which leads us in life, like a leash. SO, what we have, is that Arthur can only stop the beating England is receiving once he agrees to be the sacrificial lamb and lay down his life for England, but in being willing to make that sacrifice--because he's willing to put England before himself, as well as the lives of others--and because he values others above himself, he has increased his strength and honor through humility. What about the leather of the jacket? When Uther carries little Arthur from the castle, Arthur is wrapped in a thick fur coat, then when he trains with George, we see Arthur wearing a fur vest; the fur symbolizes the animal appetites and passions (the living like an animal, rather than the son or daughter of God with an immortal soul to guard over) so Arthur slowly, through the tough lessons of life, overcomes those appetites and gains respect for himself. The leather, then, symbolizes Arthur's toughness, his durability and tough hide (like the tough hide of the octopus in Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2) to take a beating but not get beaten down. The way Arthur holds the sword means he has taken the honor of Excalibur, the duty and solemn duty it represents, to his heart and he not only cherishes that, but it's a part of him as well. 
What Guy Ritchie and company have successfully accomplished with this film is nothing short of complete political, spiritual and social manifestos of the past, present and future. Yes, it's that good, and it's that deep. Ritchie masters the art of the minimal brushstroke, yet there is nothing minimal about any of the scenes,characters or what their purpose is. So, if I'm right, why has the film received such bad reviews? All those critics are liberals, and they recognize that Ritchie has outlined a response to every single pathetic argument they have made over the last eight or nine years.  King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword is all ready the best film of 2017, and perhaps of Ritchie's career; the only way for him to top this,... is to make another film. As always, spoilers are everywhere in the post, so if you don't want to know, then don't read. We'll divide the film up into two parts: the political and the spiritual, but we'll begin with what the political and spiritual come from, and that which is Ritchie's main focus: power.
There is a legend in the Church dating from medieval times: when a bell is rung, it drives demons away; for Vortigern, when he rings the bell, it summons the demon. As I say several times throughout this post, women are the dominant power holders in this film, because women are the key to the mysteries of existence and power which men seek, if not because they desire power (like Vortigern) then because they must stop power (like Arthur). Ritchie makes it clear, then, that women are the chess players, and men the pawns, and yet, there is nothing traditionally feminist about any of these women in the film. As we know, feminists want to be equal to men and do everything that men do, while shunning everything women have done traditionally. Ritchie makes the argument--one with which I completely agree--that women are not men's equals, but are far superior (but there are still prostitutes, mind you). When women are at their best, they are like the Lady of the Lake (pictured at the bottom), but when women are at their worst, they are like the sea witches (pictured at the top). To invoke another metaphor, The Mage (center) is like a potter at the spinning wheel: sculpting and modeling the clay of Arthur's heart and soul, so that he becomes the man he's meant to become. This is the great mystery and duty of being a woman, but she cannot accomplish her mission if she herself has not been put on that same potter's wheel and subjected herself to being modeled as well. There is a common thread binding all three women in these images: authenticity. In this film, the Lady of the Lake is the standard of authenticity; why? Water. Water, as we know, symbolizes the first stage of reflection (and we will discuss this more below with the hand coming out of the muddy water) and the Lady of the Lake offers that as the step towards the authentic self Arthur has to find within. But, you point out dear reader, the sea witches are also in water; if water is a stage of reflection, why doesn't Vortigern "reflect" on what he's doing and be like Arthur? And that is a most excellent point. The water in which the sea witches swim does indeed symbolize the first stages of reflection, and if Vortigern were a "normal" human being, he would have realized, when he first killed his wife and floated her corpse on the water as a sacrifice to that Unholy Trinity, that what he did was morally outrageous to God; but he didn't, did he? The instrument of reflection was there (the water), but Vortigern is a man who abuses and perverts, so instead of using the water to reflect upon what he had done, he used the water to achieve what he wanted to do. In other words, Vortigern intentionally uses his free will to enslave himself to sin, whereas Arthur intentionally uses his free will to free himself from sin, and all of us, without exception, are one man or the other, and if we are not actively trying to free ourselves, we use our free will to allow sin to enslave us because we refuse to fight against it (and a post such as this is the "reflection" pointing out what you are doing or not doing, so you don't have an excuse). We can validate this interpretation when The Mage and the Resistance go to save Arthur from being beheaded publicly by Vortigern: The Mage can control the animals (more on this below) and she's able to agitate (for lack of a better word) Vortigern because he is mostly animal, not human, and he's allowed himself to become mostly animal because of sin eating away at his soul, which is what separates humans from animals.
The Mage is the one who shakes Arthur out of his spiritual slumber and directs him upon the path he should take, specifically, the path of the darklands when she insists he goes and confronts his darkest fears. The Mage is not equal to the Lady of the Lake, but The Mage is definitely on the path towards her personal self-fulfillment, which is why she's a good teacher for Arthur: what she has received, she freely gives to him, and that is exactly the kind of relationship God intended between man and woman, with man providing for woman's earthly existence, and woman preparing man for his heavenly existence.  
First of all, please remember: historical films are never, ever, never, ever, never, EVER NEVER EVER about history: they are ALWAYS about the here and the now. There are no exceptions. Even documentaries are about us today, using the vocabulary of by-gone events to describe that which we are going through now. To continue on with regularly scheduled broadcasting,... There are a couple of rules about power which Ritchie lays out for us. First, power comes from women. Second, the dark side of our humanity will be drawn to that power. Third, power is meant to be used. Let's start with the women.
The scene where the Lady of the Lake reaches out to Arthur from the mud (center image) is definitely my favorite in the film, and that's saying a lot, because Ritchie fills the narrative to brimming with fantastic visuals to illustrate his characters and events. The darklands basically show us Arthur's soul as it is in that particular moment in time: the wolves, the giant bat picking him up and flying him around (like the flying dinosaurs in Jurassic World, another film we are meant to consider) and Arthur walking through the landscape, all act as a miniature summary of all that has happened in the film, and all that is still yet to come. The wolves chasing Arthur are the Blackleg soldiers employed by Voritgern (after The Mage gives Arthur the snake venom, and he goes to the castle, he can see the soldiers with only their glowing eyes, meaning they have sold their souls) and the giant bats are first Vortigern when he's ready to behead Arthur publicly, then the Resistance steals Arthur from Vortigern, just as another bat steals Arthur from the one who first picked him up (I can't ready my notes for the rest of what happens in the montage, or I would go into more detail, sorry!). But what about the sirens in the trees (top image)? Their camouflaged appearance represents how Arthur doesn't know how to interpret the women he encounters during this story: Maggie the Maid (Annabelle Wallis), The Mage and even the Lady of the Lake (I think there were three tree sirens). Remember, when the Lady of the Lake first pulls Arthur under the water, he fights and resists her because he doesn't know what is happening. The reason Arthur has a difficult time trusting these women is because he has only known prostitutes his whole life, and Forests generally symbolize sin because forests are the opposite of a garden: a garden has been cultivated and the weeds have been pulled so specific fruits of the harvest can be gathered at the right time; in a forest, animals roam freely, nothing is cultivated, and everything grows wild, like sin and appetites in our souls. So when Arthur goes to the darklands, The Mage tells him he should be afraid because he's going to see the state of his soul, and that is nothing any of us want to see (unless we are saints).  But, looking into Arthur's own soul is a test: if Arthur can't look at what he himself has done with his sins, then he isn't going to be able to watch his father sacrifice his life for the sake of his son because Arthur isn't in a position to understand what love is, and this leads us to what happens with the Lady of the Lake.
Arthur throws Excalibur into the lake after his friend Back Lack dies and their assassination attempt on Vortigern fails. Why does Arthur want to get rid of Excalibur? In his heart, all he sees is that his best friend died and left his son an orphan because of Arthur, and Arthur rejects this; why? Again, because Arthur doesn't know what real love is (Arthur's soul is still weak) and because Arthur thinks Back Lack did it to protect Arthur, not for England (and in his love for his friend, sure, Back Lack was willing to sacrifice himself, but also for England as a part of the Resistance). In other words, Arthur only focuses on the burden of sacrifice, not the love prompting the sacrifice. This is why Arthur keeps looking away in his dreams when his father puts the sword in his back: the back symbolizes our burdens we take upon ourselves (whereas our shoulders symbolize the burdens placed upon us by others/the world in general), and that Uther puts the sword in his back demonstrates Uther's love for Arthur and for England. This is why Arthur wants to put the sword as far away from himself as possible: Arthur isn't capable (at this point) of the love required to make that kind of sacrifice for others (and no one is unless we go through the spiritual training, which Arthur is about to) and, unwittingly, Arthur throws Excalibur into the lake--not because he knows the Lady of the Lake will retrieve it--rather, because he's self-reflecting on what is going to be required of Arthur, and that he isn't sufficient for the task at hand. This is where the hand coming out of the muddy water is such a stroke of genius.
After Arthur throws Excalibur into the water, he runs; why? Because that is what Arthur has been doing the whole film: he's been running with no idea of where he is going. Then he falls in the mud. When a character falls, it's a sign of Original Sin catching up with them: their spirit is willing (or maybe not) but the flesh is weak and we can't do that which we know we ought to do (or sometimes we don't even know what we should do) but because of our fallen nature, we aren't capable of summoning the strength of character necessary to discipline ourselves to be able to carry out the task required of us. Arthur falls in the mud (center image) because he is weak; he is weak because he doesn't know Love. He doesn't know Love because he doesn't know God and he doesn't know God because he's not accepting the role, duty and purpose God has given Arthur to come to know, trust and depend upon God. This is where the Lady Of the Lake comes into the narrative.
Who is "The Lady Of the Lake?" As we said above, the lake is going to symbolize the "reflective" stage of our understanding; women, we know, symbolize the "motherland" because they give birth to us, but since there is no "land" for the Lady Of the Lake, we can say, rather, that she symbolizes the person we choose to become, because we think, we rationalize and examine our options in relation to our values, priorities and desires, and then, we reach a conclusion, we draw up for ourselves a course of action we are going to follow to turn us into the person we need and want to become; so, the Lady Of the Lake gives birth to us when we have used our free will to adopt a course of action for our lives and we are "reborn" of action and intent. Arthur throws Excalibur into the lake, she takes it as Arthur runs away, falls down in the mud, and then she takes Arthur's arm by reaching up from the mud in which Arthur has fallen; why? Because this is what God does. It's through the trials, but also the purpose which God designs for each and every single one of us that we overcome the mud, because the mud is the earth from which we are created, but we are destined for a spiritual home, which is why the Lady of the Lake pulls him through the mud into the clear, pure water, and where she can speak to him of his destiny. The passage from the mud to the clear water, then, is another metaphor Ritchie employs to illustrate for us the transforming grace Arthur experiences in the film, from being a soiled character to a divinely appointed king. He can't see her face, because even though she's revealing things about the future to him, the future is always a mystery and it can't be completely known, and neither can her identity (the face is the seat of our identity, which is why Arthur can't see her face).
So, what does she tell him? Exactly what he needed to hear: they didn't die for you, Arthur, they died for England, and if you fail England, you fail them. In a way, it takes pressure off of Arthur to know that Back Lack didn't die for him, because that would be survivor's guilt, however, Arthur is a fighter, and this is what she tells him: you are a fighter, so fight. Don't fight yourself, fight Vortigern. He takes the sword back up and yells, because these are birthing pains, he is going through the birthing process because when he pulled Excalibur from the stone, he wasn't a necessarily willing participant; but now, he knows what is at stake, what is required of him, what it's going to cost, and he has aligned his free will with the cause. That's why, the next scene, we see Wet Stick pouring water over Arthur: sure, he's washing up, but it's also a baptism, a washing of his free will so that Arthur will "go with the flow" of the events taking place, which are the riots spreading throughout the country George mentions. If Arthur hadn't have had that "break-down" in his heart of where he was going and why, Arthur would have made the wrong decisions. 
Power is a "trigger word" for all interpreting themselves today as minorities: those identifying as minorities firmly believe (or at least attempt to make everyone believe they believe) that white, heterosexual men (especially if they are of Christian, and of the middle or upper class) define, exert and, thereby, abuse power to protect themselves, their power base (such as their economic standing through business) and maintain the self-identified minorities in ignorance and poverty. We'll come back to this claim in a moment, because Ritchie deals with this in the film in the person of Vortigern; however, what's imminently more interesting is the way which Ritchie redefines power with an element that would NEVER be mentioned by the Left: sacrifice.
What do we make of The Mage? Let's start with some generalities. Generally speaking, the Mages (as a people) symbolize those in power in the Church (rather like the elves in The Hobbit and Lord Of the Rings) because they are spiritual beings who have first and foremost, "power over themselves" (we will discuss further down below Mordred and what happened to the relationship between Mages and Men). The Mage who comes to help Arthur has power over herself because she has disciplined herself. How do we know this? First, she has power over the animals, or someone (like Vortigern) who is becoming an animal because of being enslaved to sin (in other words, Vortigern in on the same level as dogs and birds). Secondly, she doesn't use the power she has for her own advancement, rather, she arrives to aide Arthur rid England of Vortigern, then blends into the background; in other words, restoring the Pendragons to the throne was her reward, nothing personal. So, she has mastered those appetites within her (and we also receive validation for this interpretation because she wants to take Arthur to the darklands, which means she has been through her own darklands: she knows why Arthur should be scared because she was scared). Then there is also the scene when The Mage and Resistance fighters have saved Arthur from beheading and, in an effort to win her trust and favor, Arthur turns around on his horse to look at her, and asks her if she is falling for him the way he's falling for her; she promptly causes the horse to buck and knock him to the ground; why? Because the horse symbolizes the Holy Spirit, which is a vehicle for the Will Of God: what God wants done and accomplished in the world, the Holy Spirit accomplishes (this is why the Lady of the Lake says, "Trust the Mage," because the Lady of the Lake is a spokesperson for the Holy Spirit, and in the center image, we see The Mage on a horse, because what she has done was the Will of God, and what she is going to go and do now is also the Will of God). Arthur was abusing the purpose of the horse by riding on it backwards, just as he was abusing the help of The Mage by insinuating that she was attracted to him when she was there to do the serious political work of overcoming Vortigern. Had The Mage been a lesser woman, she might have fallen for Arthur's pathetic flirtation, but, alas, she did not because of her wisdom (we often see her wearing a blue cape denoting wisdom) and her will power (developed through discipline).
What about her eyes changing colors? Ah, this is a good one, and a brilliant trick on Ritchie's part, certainly one I didn't anticipate. Her eyes take on the look of animal eyes because she has conquered her own animal instincts. The eyes are the windows of the soul, so that which we see in a person's eyes, we also can see as reflecting their souls (for example, after Vortigern kills Catia and floats her body in the water as an offering for more power, Vortigern's eyes turn white; why? White is the color of faith, innocence, purity; when a person is alive with these virtues, God lives within them; when a person is dead to these virtues, the person's soul is dead because God will not live in a temple that has banned God. Because a corpse turns white in death, we know can see that Vorigern's soul has died when he killed Catia; in other words, he didn't kill his daughter, Vortigern killed himself, because of his slavery to power and determination to rule). The Mage has conquered all animal appetites assaulting her soul; she's not without sin, but she isn't enslaved to sin and isn't weakened by her sin the way Arthur of the other characters are.
 So, what becomes of The Mage? The center image tells us. There is no sun. There is no buildings, nor people. There is no food nor water. It looks like a storm is coming. There is the faint outline of mountains in the background. Even though this isn't exactly a desert in the strictest of senses, it is compared to the scenes we have just witnessed at Camelot. In other words, she's retreating away from the world, back into the interior world of the self to continue perfecting her soul and gaining ever greater power over herself, so, when the next crisis happens, she will be an even greater help.
The bottom image, with The Mage standing on the stone bridge behind Arthur, is my second favorite shot of the whole film. Bridges act symbolically just as they act practically: to get a character from one place to another. In this scene, Excalibur in the foreground, Arthur isn't using its power, because he's blocking it. As The Mage walks across the bridge, her purpose, we can literally see, is to get Arthur from where he is, to where he needs to be, which is using Excalibur to its full potential. "Everybody looks away. But it's the duty of the king to not look away," she tells Arthur, knowing that something bothers him but he's intentionally blocking it; what? The sword in his father's back. Uther allowed the sword to fall into his back because Uther was the "living stone" spoken of in 1 Peter 2:5, that we must be fortified by our strength, courage, faith and hope in God, and Uther demonstrated all these things, which is why he was targeted by his brother to be taken out, because that is exactly what has happened in America over the past nine years now with the Left taking out everyone who stands against them. Arthur has to become this living stone like his father, so, when Arthur sees his father, and Arthur doesn't look away, and the sword starts to fall into Uther's back but Arthur stops it, it's because NOW, finally, Arthur understands: Uther is alive because of his sacrifice, not dead because of it, and if Arthur wants to be the man he was meant to be, Arthur will have to do the same. But because Excalibur is a phallic symbol, this applies to every man, not just the kings of a bygone era
For Ritchie, "power" does not exist without sacrifice," something you surely will not hear in any public political discourse today. Why not? Because the Left is certain that power is always attained so one doesn't have to make sacrifices; sacrifices are bad, suffering is bad (which is why Vortigern can't believe that Arthur "blossomed" growing up on the streets instead of shriveling up because he wasn't privileged) and who on the Left would want to make sacrifices? The Left would be willing to argue that they themselves have been "sacrificed" in not being allowed to achieve or hold power themselves, but as for making sacrifices for the good of others, are they are concerned about is themselves, which brings us to the problem Ritchie illustrates for us. The Left, like Vortigern, is perfectly willing to accept the sacrifices of others, and to sacrifice others, for their own gain, but not willing to make sacrifices in their own lives; why not?
They have no love.
They have no gratitude.
In the very top image is an illustration of Ursula, the Octopus witch who is likely the source of inspiration for the water nymph to whom Vortigern goes for power and favors; in the second image down from the top is Vortigern sending the murdered body of his daughter Catia into the water so he can have an increase in his powers; in the third image down is one of three faces we see of the water nymph granting Vortigern power and the fourth image down is the long,.... "eel"-like legs/arms of the water nymph greeting Vortigern as she comes to talk with him. The last image, very bottom, is Arthur being pulled into the water by the Lady of the Lake and her "garlands" (for lack of a better description) embracing him.
Let's discuss the Marxist angle of "the price" Vortigern is willing to pay for the power he wants (i.e. the power he believes he "needs"). First of all, this is, in base, monetary terms, an "exchange," the exchanging of the blood of a loved one for whatever it is you want, and on Vortigern's wish list, there is nothing but power (we'll discuss Vortigern and power below). Why would this siren want the blood of a loved one? Well, there is good reason to at least suspect that Ritchie is calling upon real life for this scene: anyone who knows anything about the Illuminati has at least heard of the blood sacrifice they require for a person to become super-famous and rich. Just type in "celebrities and blood sacrifices" and you will hit on a wealth of researched case histories at least suggesting that the occult references (like all the triangles and occult magic we see in Vortigern's tower) are, in fact, communicating to us about the very real ties of Hollywood to the occult and the links of power and domination of satanic influences (and even if you don't believe that, we cannot deny that there has an on-going and organized public effort by the Left to use satanic spells against Donald Trump, the same way we see Vortigern using spells against Uther and Arthur). So, in terms of "exchange" and what value does the blood of a loved one hold for a demon like this siren, we have our answer: when you are willing to kill someone you love for something you want more, then you give your soul to corruption and evil gains that power of you. As most everyone reading this post probably knows, a human never enters into satanic pact with a demon and maintains control over events: you give yourself to that demon. Just as Ursula in The Little Mermaid knows how to keep Ariel's soul forever because the prince really wants to hear the singing again, so the sea witch in King Arthur knows Vortigern There might be the illusion of power and control, however, that is fleeting, and this is why the sea witches have three faces, rather like Dante's Satan in the bottom-most circle of Inferno: the two attractive faces are the faces we want to see of power and wealth, but the ugly, old, bloated and evil face of the third woman who does the talking and granting the power is the truth behind the illusion. This brings us to our discussion about the water nymph demon pictured above. Now, in Excalibur (the 1981 film), Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur in that film, makes an exchange with Merlin that, if he can lay with Igrayne for one night (she's the wife of one of his barons) Uther agrees to give Merlin "the fruit" of that union (the infant Arthur). In 1981, what people in the US were selling their souls for--sex, and specifically, taboo sex (homosexuality), symbolized by Uther's adultery--was the plague bringing ruin and devastation to the country and it could be expressed in one word: AIDS (1981 was the first year HIV was clinically observed, and the film  Excalibur predicted some kind plague was coming). Today, however, Ritchie has traded in the desired sex for power and satanic activity, and given the revelations from WikiLeaks about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as former aides coming out and attesting that she is, in fact, a practicing witch who goes to monthly satanic meetings in Los Angeles, (and, when King Arthur Legend Of the Sword began production, everyone, especially in Hollywood, assumed Clinton would be the next president), we cannot help but think of Vortigern as a metaphor of Hillary Clinton. Why is this important? Because, as the leader goes, so goes the country, and leaders getting entangled with satanism means the country will, as well (just look at the public "binding spell" against Trump, and Hillary isn't even the leader; think how bad it would have gotten if she had made it into the White House). The problem is, a lot of people think they would never fall for Satanism, however, they also aren't actively working on being good Christians, either. If you aren't fighting the spiritual battle, you are losing the spiritual battle, which means the devil is winning. Ritchie provides us with the perfect visual to illustrate exactly why the spiritual battle is imperative: the "eel-like" arms of the sea-witches, vs. the garlands of the Lady of the Lake. Either we will be drawn into evil with those long, snake-ish arms, pressing us to the bosom of damnation, or we will be drawn into the mystery of ourselves for our eternal salvation and that of others as well.
When Arthur returns with a year's wages for Lucy, after she has been beaten by a Viking, what does Arthur say? "You have been taking care of me for much longer than what I have taken care of you," and it's clear that Arthur is grateful to them for what care they offered to him when he was orphaned; likewise, at the end, Arthur insures that his friends and members of the Resistance who aided him to rid England of Vortigern are knighted and rewarded even before he himself is knighted as king. Gratitude is the expression of love, and people who reveal themselves to have no gratitude, are people who have no love prompting them to express gratitude; that's why liberals are so selfish, they think only of themselves, and we see that in the character of Vortigern who will sacrifice anyone and everyone for what he wants. Sacrifice is such an important element to the philosophy of power that one of the most important "locations" of the film takes place at the alter of sacrifice itself (please see caption below for more on this topic).
Now, the women.
This is the most important place in the film, even more so than the place where Uther died and Arthur pulled the sword: the alter. This is where life begins, this is where life ends, when life is properly lived. In the darklands, Arthur has to take the sword to the alter to see what happened and, as we see in the top image, the runes on the sword light up; why? It's the Truth, the Light of Truth and it's infusing Arthur, compared to the bottom image and Vortigern shrouded in the darkness of lies and corruption. We have all ready discussed at least a little why it's so important that Arthur sees Uther and what Uther does with the sword, but there are at least two other reasons why this is important: first, it was an act of love, and it reveals to Arthur the incredible love his father had for his son, as well as the people placed in his care, his kingdom. Second, it provides Arthur with a role model, someone to whom Arthur can look up and model his actions after so Arthur in his turn can become a role model for all other men (which is where chivalry comes from).
The great irony about sacrifice, which Ritchie points out so wondrously, is what Christ said: "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet profits his soul?" (Matthew 16: 25-6). We see both Arthur and Vortigern at the alter of sacrifice, each man there with a completely different intent: Vortigern to gain control over the world, and Arthur to stop him. Excalibur, in the top image, lights up with the truth of the mystical words engraved upon it, just as the Truth is engraved upon our hearts. In the bottom image, we see Vortigern wanting to spread the same darkness throughout the world which has consumed his own soul, and bring death to all. What's the deciding factor in this struggle? Women. It's the Lady Of the Lake who directs Arthur in the right direction, and it's The Mage willing to sacrifice herself (letting the guard hold a knife to her throat in George's courtyard, then letting guards take her hostage to Vortigern's castle when Arthur has thrown Excalibur away).
On a slightly different note, the fireball we see Vortigern holding in this bottom image, as well as one we had seen him holding in the trailers, might be a reference to the 1994 Russian film Burnt By the Sun; why? The film takes place in 1936, the USSR, and a young man who had been recruited by the KGB (one way to interpret "recruited" is "forced") to go oversees and do their dirty spy work for them, leaving behind the woman he loved; in moves Sergey, a colonel who had his eye on the young woman (yes, it's very much like the story of David and Bathsheba, but it's taking place under Stalin). The young man returns to exact revenge on Sergey for turning him into a monster and stealing the woman he loved, and he does it with the same means that Sergey forced him into the KGB to begin with. The point is, at the start of the film, then at the end, there is this free-floating fireball, just like the one Vortigern holds, wandering around, a kind of symbol for Stalin himself and the Orwellian universe he created, but also a universe with no love, no equality, no justice, and absolutely no hope for anyone. Why would Ritchie (IF, this is, indeed, what he is doing) reference Burnt By the Sun?  Burnt By the Sun is obviously an anti-communist film, and Vortigern is a socialist/communist figure (at least he's representative of those in the US wanting to overhaul the republic and capitalist system we have had with a form of neo-communism), and Ritchie wants to warn those who have, perchance, seen Burnt By the Sun, that Voritgern is, indeed, an extension of Joseph Stalin. What about those who haven't seen Burnt By the Sun? Well, look down at the next caption, and therein lies your answer. 
No one in this film has power unless it comes to them from a woman. Who does Vortigern sacrifice to gain power? His wife, then his daughter. To whom does he make the sacrifice? The three sea witches (nymphs, whatever they are). Bad women turn men bad with raw, ruthless and bloodthirsty power, like Vortigern. The good women, however, turn men into being good men with strength and courage because good women teach the men how to sacrifice. Uther Pendragon gets the power of Excalibur from the Lady Of the Lake, who bound it to the Pendragon line, and who infuses Arthur with "clear sight" of what must be done (this is why Arthur's eyes burn blue and white with the sword, he can see clearly, whereas Vortigern's eyes turn white after he has killed his daughter because Vortigern has gone completely blind, and so when he turns into the demons, pictured above, the demon has no eyes at all). The Mage (never once referred to as "Guinevere,") is the ONLY PERSON who calls the sword Excalibur, and then only one time in the whole film; why? This is where Guy Ritchie and company are absolutely pure geniuses!
Again, we know the runes used in the film for Excalibur were invented just for the film; why would Ritchie incorporate a language into the film that no one, at any point in time in history, would be able to read? Because he wants to point out that there is another language we are choosing not to read, the language of the references, the symbols and the theories Ritchie employs to make his point (this doesn't apply to you and I, dear reader, because we are doing exactly what film makers like Ritchie hope we will do).  This might seem a bit backwards, however, the only time we see "Merlin" in the film (and he's a major player in the King Arthur universe, so that we never actually see his face is rather a big deal) is when, in the image above, he has engraved said runes upon the blade edge of the sword. What does this prove? Merlin is an unknowable entity at this point in the story, just as the runes are unknowable, so they have been "marginalized" because the average viewer won't know what to make of them; when we marginalize something, it's because we don't understand it, like a child who is learning to read skipping over a word they have not yet learned. The evidence of something like the runes points to the margins as places of legitimate discourse we might otherwise miss. Consider, for example, in Sherlock, when Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) has taken Watson (Martin Freeman) for a night of bar crawling, and they are totally drunk, but get called in on a case; Sherlock gets on hands and knees to look for evidence, but falls asleep, and Watson turns to the client and says, "He's cluing for looks,..." just as we have to reverse the words "cluing" and "looks" to make sense of the sentence, so we have to do the same interpretations in Sherlock to understand what the series is about, and so it is with the runes here.
Now, look, once more, at this amazing bottom image: the sword sets fire to itself, in this deep water. Why? The Lady of the Lake has taken hold of it; what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? She, as in female, has the spiritual power to cause the sword to both purge and damn. In other words, the symbolism of fire is that fire either cleanses and purges us of sin, or fire damns us because we refuse to be cleansed. The saying, "Fight fire with fire," means that you fight the fires of damnation with the fires of purgation, and at the end of the film, when Arthur says, "You created me, and for that, I bless you," this is exactly what Arthur is talking about: I would not have been purged and cleansed of my weaknesses, if you hadn't threatened to curse the whole land with your own damned soul, Vortigern, and so I am saved because I have seen how you have cursed yourself. But back to the Lady of the Lake: we know this is a sacramental scene because of the water. Water is the first stage of contemplation and self-reflection; heretofore, Arthur has been acting, but it isn't until Back Lack is killed, and Blue orphaned that Arthur reflects on what is really going on, and it's the "passive" power of the Lady of the Lake who imparts that to Arthur and sets his soul on fire. Without the sacramental nature of this scene, Arthur would just be a thug, a street boy trying to make a name for himself and get out of the gutter by slitting someone's throat. Because of this scene, Arthur is, in essence, being charged with doing God's justice on earth, just as Arthur charges his knights (in the written stories) with doing the King's Justice in the realm.
At least one reason why this is so important is because we see the same type of runes written on the face and body of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) for The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis. With both The Mummy and King Arthur, there is a canon, an established, written chronicle of what happened to who and why, but then, there are these two "unknowable" languages practically subverting that canon; why? In literary theory, the "canon" is seen as patriarchal, that is, of men, by men and for men. We will take this up in the caption below,...
Excalibur, like any other great sword, is a phallic symbol; what does that mean? A phallic symbol is meant to invoke the male penis, especially when erect. Why? I wish you hadn't have asked that, because this is where it gets difficult, but that's okay, we will get through this together. The answer depends upon who you ask, and because feminists and other minorities ("minority" being anyone identifying themselves as such, but specifically those who are not male, are not white, not Christian, are not heterosexual or part of the 1% economically) have dominated the discussion of phallic symbols now for decades, and has been completely colored in their own self-interest with no on challenging their self-absorbed, dramatic interpretations of the "white man's narcissism."
Until now,....
Why does the Left hate white men so much? As we have discussed before, it's because they are the dominant "power holders" in today's society; just as Jews were "power holders" in Hitler's Germany, the Left specializes in targeting an isolating "an enemy" then rallying their allies against that enemy and turning them into scapegoats. If you don't believe me, check out this story about the newest video game coming out, Far Cry, which has white, Christian men who eat red meat and read the Bible, as the villains of the game. Is the "power" which white men hold in Western European civilization the real threat to those who see themselves as minorities? No. The real threat which white, heterosexual men pose to the Left are their values. and anyone (male or female, white, black, red, yellow or mixed) can hold these same values (and many do) and fight for those values, but they are traditionally associated with white men because they are both distinctly European and Christian. What are those values? The basis of Chivalry, masculinity and the Christian faith. Just as these three things, inter-related, have built up European and American civilization, so they have kept order and brought peace and prosperity to all peaceably participating within that system. This is the very reason the Left hates it so much: the Christian society of masculine rule outlaws anything that will bring it down, which will corrode society and  its members. Miniorities, on the other hand, want these perversions, and so blame white Christians on "hatred" and "intolerance," "racism" and "greed" so they can unleash the devil through their sins and call it "social justice." Just as Vortigern unleashes evil in King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword, the Left wants to do the exact same thing.
How? The "false phallus."
In the images above, we first see Arthur with Excalibur, the "good phallus," the good ruler with his power he uses for the greatest good of society. It doesn't always work out that way, but this provides the most peace and the greatest benefits for the greatest number of people. Below King Arthur, we see Princess Ahmanet from The Mummy; what does she hold in her right hand? A knife, a jagged, nasty knife she uses to cut the throat of her father, the pharaoh, and then of anyone else who gets in her way. Below that is Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman; what's she doing? Pulling out a sword that is destined for a great warrior,.... or is she really re-writing history to make a woman seem like a better "King Arthur" than King Arthur? In the bottom image, we see Emma Cullen using her rifle (which, in this film, is a phallic symbol) to "take revenge" on the industrialist Bogue (symbolizing capitalism). We also just saw Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2 use a sword (phallic symbol) to kill a giant octopus symbolizing capitalism (please see Patricide: Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2 for more). It's possible we will be seeing something similar in Pirates Of the Caribbean 5 with the trident of Poseidon. What I am saying here, is that phallic symbols are going to be important for the next year, and if they are being "cut off" that is a clear case of castration.
Now, going back to the start of King Arthur, what is it that introduces us to Blue, the young boy? 'Rebel graffiti,' and what does it look like? The symbol for a woman, because Arthur is the "born king," and he was born of a woman, Arthur would not have been king had he been born a bastard of Uther's, it is through the legitimate birth of his mother that Arthur is the "born king," and that is why, when Vortigern overthrows his brother, Vortigern throws that awful spear right into the Queen's womb, because it was from that womb that the future (Arthur) will come to destroy Vortigern. So Ritchie argues that power isn't in the phallus, power is in the womb, and it always has been, so focus on the phallus is to miss the entire point of reality, which is the only thing Liberals seem to do well. 
The majority of the discussion takes place in this caption above, however, we have the issue of The Mage and her being only one of two people to say, "Excalibur."If Excalibur is a phallic symbol, and The Mage names it, then did she say a dirty word? No, she spoke a most powerful word, and it's because of who she is that she did say it. The Mage, the Lady Of the Lake and Merlin, are the only ones who understand what Excalibur is, so when they say the name they are saying the destiny of the sword because they understand and accept mystery (even though Merlin and Lady of the Lake don't, but hypothetically speaking); the can know the "essence" of power because they know their own essence and they have power over themselves (it's important to note, the only other person to say, "Excalibur" [I think] is Mercier, the Lord who taunts Arthur just before Arthur is going to be beheaded and wants Arthur to "Raise Excalibur and show people the power!" Mercier validates what I have just written, because--like his lord, Vortigern--Mercier has only a base and vulgar understanding of what power, and even "being" itself, is, which is why he sees Excalibur as a weapon of power; no one in the Resistance, for example, utters the name Excalibur because they respect it and accept that which is greater than themselves: the mystery of the sword. The acceptance of mystery is why feminists have (intentionally) ignored the most important attribute of femininity: passivity.
The scene of Arthur pulling the sword initially, and then using it when he and the other men are surrounded by Blacklegs is quite similar: it's meant to demonstrate how far Arthur has come. Whereas Arthur had to be saved by the Resistance when he pulled the sword (beheading), he was able to save his new friends because he learned how to wield Excalibur (or was learning). Please note that Arthur has to use both hands to pull out Excalibur; why? Because hands symbolize our strength and our honor, and it's going to take all of Arthur to be worthy of Excalibur. But it also has to be Arthur's will to pull out Excalibur: he can't fake this, if he's going to pull it out, he has to pull it out. In the scene where Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone, we see the cameo by David Beckham whose name is Trigger in the film; why? Because this scene "triggers" all the other events of the story; if it weren't for Arthur pulling the sword, there would be nothing remembered, nothing to tell, so Beckham provides more than just a cameo, rather, it's also a commentary on the moment of Arthur's life that he comes into his self and his power.
At Arthur's "beheading," why doesn't Arthur take Excalibur when Mercier eggs him on and mocks him? For at least two reasons. First, Arthur knows that Vortigern is right: Arthur doesn't know how to use the power and he could look like an idiot if he passes out again. Secondly, it's not Arthur's style. Arthur can be the "alpha male" with nothing but his wits and fists, and he would rather do that than be saved by something he hasn't earned, so we can call it "self-respect." This also strengthens the Christian theme in the film because Jesus Christ refused to summon power when being tried before Pilate and Herod. As we have discussed before, it's appropriate that Vortigern wanted to "behead" Arthur because the leader of a country (or group) is known as "the head of government," so Vortigern cutting off Arthur's head is Vortigern saying, "You are not the head of government, I am the head." This leads us to the third image down.
In the third image, the Black Legs are congregating outside of George's courtyard, ready to bust down the door. You may have to click on it to get a better look, but please note the statue there in the middle of them; it has no head. This isn't a careless detail, this is a brilliant commentary. Just as I said above about the "head of government," at this point, we can see that the Black Legs are on the side that doesn't have a "head of government," everyone all ready knows by this point that Vortigern has lost, and Arthur will win. So, why are they still fighting for Vortigern? That's where "Black Legs" comes into play. We know that "black" symbolizes death, and in this case, it's bad death: the Black Leg soldiers are dead to the spiritual life and the spiritual world, but alive to the world and worldly pleasures, or even alive to the call to serve evil. This is where David Beckham's cameo becomes so important (he's pictured below, in the middle image, if you don't recall his cameo). You may or may not recall his cameo in The Man From UNCLE: when Illya (Armie Hammer) and Oleg (his Russian handler) watch slides and read the report on Napoleon Solo, the man operating the slide machine gets a slide of Solo turned upside-down; we then see the slide operator saying, "Sorry, comrade, sorry," and that was David Beckham; so Beckham's cameo as a communist in the KGB is not paralleling his cameo as a communist Black Leg in King Arthur, because just as the slide operator was revealing who Solo was, so in King Arthur, his instructions on how to remove the sword reveal who the true king is.
This is a terribly important scene for The Mage, like the Black Legs' attack on the cave where the Resistance hide later in the film. The soldier in the bottom image, holding a knife to her neck is not threatening her; she's allowing him to do this because it's the only way to nudge Arthur to accept what Excalibur is and can do, that is, allow Excalibur to help Arthur win back the kingdom. The Mage has summoned all those birds flying at the top of the court yard, she is in no danger whatsoever, but the kingdom is in danger if Arthur doesn't accept his destiny and learn how to use Excalibur, so The Mage allows herself to be threatened so Arthur will be desperate. We saw something similar to this in the animated film Hotel Transylvania 2, when the little vampire, Dennis, hasn't gotten his fangs yet, and it's not until his little friend is threatened that he let's his fangs out and fights back. Then, later at the cave, The Mage also lets the Black Legs take her hostage because she knows the crisis Arthur goes through with tossing the sword into the lake, but to The Mage, Arthur tosses away the kingdom, so she forces a crisis, quite artfully. 
All people today, with the few exceptions of saints and saints-in-training, have failed to appreciate passivity. It's not the state of doing nothing, or doing little; passivity is the state of receiving, always receiving, and the receiving of the very greatest gifts. When the author of Psalm 46 wrote, "Be still and know that I am the Lord your God," he encouraged his reader to enter into this state of passivity, because, unless we know God, we can't know ourselves; if we don't know ourselves, we can't know others, and if we don't know others, we do not know how to give to them that which we have received, because we cannot give that which we have not first received and unless we have entered into a state of perfect passivity, we haven't received anything. Unless we give to others, we have not fulfilled our destiny, because it is in giving that we give God to others and simultaneously as well, receive Him again ourselves when we first perfected receiving Him in passivity. It's not a circular argument, rather, it's cyclical, and the spiral gets smaller and smaller the deeper one goes, because one always goes deeper into their soul which is the destination of us all; why?
Because that is where God is.
The image in the middle is the David Beckham cameo discussed in the caption above, sorry.
Who, historically, speaking, were the guards who would break in at night and tear people out of their rooms and take them off some place to die? The Nazis. Given that Ritchie's last film, The Man From UNCLE featured plenty of Nazis, this isn't a far stretch for us to make at all. So why does Ritchie mention these Nazi soldiers again in King Arthur, via the Black Legs? The image at the bottom. The mask goes flying off one of the Black Legs when Arthur hits him with Excalibur, and we see the empty mask. This is the mask we have seen a number of times over the years: the motorcycle helmets of the bad guys in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, or the other motorcycle guys in Zoolander 2, and the Storm Troopers in Star Wars, and the nasty bandaged and cut faces of the "nurses" in Silent Hill Revelation. The lack of identity. As we started this post off with the name of "Arthur," there are hardly more men's names which summon such epic proportions as that of "Arthur," and that's his individuality, his own being, his personhood and inheritance from God. And each one of us have it. The fight against socialism and communism is largely one of fighting to keep our identity and not be forced to become like everyone else (which is what Guardians Of the Galaxy wants to happen to you). Don't become a mask, become yourself and who God intended you to be, because the devil intends you to be his slave for eternity.
On a slightly different note, we know that the Blacklegs, including Mercier and Clarendon, are the wolves chasing Arthur when he goes into the Darklands; how do we know this? Because at the assassination scene, when Goose Fat Bill prepares the arrow for Vortigern, and shoots Mercier instead, Bill says, "Mercier is the head of the wolf pack," and where do we see a wolf pack? Chasing Arthur in his mystical visions as he tries to get the stone to the alter. Likewise, I think Rubio is probably the rat in that sequence, because Rubio "rats" on where the Resistance hide-out is located so Vortigern can kill them all and get The Mage and Blue to hold as hostages. 
This is why men are not favored when it comes to receiving, they are, by nature, active. Why? Because that is how God created them. They are of the earth and are meant to be active, and so that is why God created woman out of spirit, to supply the man with that which he did not have, and to "help" him get to heaven (feminism's despised "help mate"). Again, without woman, man can't get to heaven (which is why the serpent tempted Eve instead of tempting Adam) and without The Mage, Arthur can't realize who he is and what he's supposed to do. It's not that Arthur trades Excalibur for The Mage's release from Vortigern because The Mage has power that Arthur needs, rather, it's because she has the knowledge to guide him and convey to him what he is going to experience that he needs because Excalibur is nothing if the one yielding it can't see and isn't strong enough to control that power, and that power, comes from women, which leads us now, finally, to the political.
This is the part which had me desperate and worried, but Ritchie--as always--does an incredible job with it. There seem to be two animals The Mage is most associated with: the birds and snakes. The birds symbolize the Holy Spirit, because it was as a dove that the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ at His Baptism. The snake, and any cold-blooded reptile for that matter, always symbolizes Original Sin, including in King Arthur. Do you remember the film (or the book) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Two brothers and two sisters were transported to Narnia, and one brother, Edmond, betrayed his brother and sisters to the White Witch, but was saved by the lion Aslan. In another adventure, Prince Caspian, the siblings are desperate to contact Aslan for help but can't, so the eldest, Peter, begins summoning the White Witch to help him, and it's Edmond who steps in and saves Peter from making that terrible mistake; why? Because Edmond had "tasted" the venom of the White Witch and knew she was nothing but poison. Even though Peter, Susan and Lucy had not fallen to her spell, because Edmond had experience with her, he was wiser than his siblings and knew better; the same is true with The Mage. Because she has overcome the venom of Original Sin within her soul (we could call her a saint) she is able to give that (in a mysterious way) to Arthur to protect him. We know the neck symbolizes that which leads and guides us (like a leash around us) so that the snake bites Arthur's neck means that nothing evil is going to lead/guide Arthur, because he can "see" the evil which most of us are blind to (by a special gift of The Mage). For example, when Arthur goes to Vortigern's castle, he can see the evil in the soldiers because they have given themselves to evil. Saints can do this, us mere mortals can't because evil is still too much a part of our own nature, we haven't been able to sufficiently overcome it within so that we can recognize it outside of ourselves. When The Mage takes on the form of that big snake which Vortigern chops in half with Excalibur, and gets the sword stuck in the wood column, that was awesome: we could say The Mage "speaks" to Excalibur, and the ringing noise of the sword when it's within the wood is the sword "speaking back" to her. In essence, what The Mage says to Excalibur is, I am the embodiment of Original Sin (the snake) and you are the sword of Truth, which is my enemy," and the sword acts accordingly. Does The Mage lie to the sword? No, just as she and Arthur know that once Vortigern gets the sword stuck in the wood, so The Mage also knows the sword will guide Vortigern to kill the snake (the sword doesn't have a soul or can think on its own, but it is a power that is compelled by the nature of power itself to act accordingly). What about the wood column? That's interesting because, historically speaking--even though this isn't specifically a historical film--in the medieval ages, there would not have been wood columns, especially at the throne of a king; it would have been marble, or maybe some other stone, if for no other reason than the architectural necessity of the stone strong enough to uphold the weight of the rest of the building. So, the wood of the column was chosen for some other reason,... but what? The Cross. The Cross is the "altar" of sacrifice par excellence, and it was where it was decreed that evil was dead and God had triumphed, so it is, too, with Excalibur, Arthur and Vortigern. 
At the start of the film, when we see Uther and The Mages in peace, before Mordred grabbed all power for himself, and used it against others, we can see a balance between political rulers--symbolized by Uther--and the Church (the "power" of The Mages). The balance has been gravely upset because of greed on both sides of the balance in today's world. Again, films coming out this year (2017-2018) were expecting that Hillary Clinton would be president because that's what the Left told us: so the usurper, Vortigern, who has destroyed the peace, degraded the crown and killed for power, can easily be taken as either Obama or Hillary (I know I believed there was a good chance Obama wouldn't leave office). Likewise, the Left, gravitating towards the occult (openly) with the public staging of the satanic curse to "bind" Trump, clearly has sided with Vortigern, that the ends justify the means, even though it means losing their soul,... But that leaves us with a last lesson from Arthur.
The three top images are from the opening scene of the film. The pyramid, with the satanic ritual taking place inside, invokes the Illuminati and the New World Order. The second image down is of Mordred. Now, here comes the begging question: wasn't Mordred the son of Arthur and his half-sister Morgana? Yes, but it's possible that--IF the series goes on--Morgana will name Mordred after THIS Mordred in the opening scene. The "head dress" Mordred wears in this scene invokes the same kind of pagan/satanic ritual that takes place in A Cure For Wellness (which I haven't see yet, but did see this clip, and that film takes place largely in the hospital where Hitler recovered form his wounds of World War I; that was just a joke, Hitler never recovered from those wounds),
What about those massive elephants being used? We know that elephants are not native to Britain, where the story takes place, they are, however, native to Africa; what has come to Britain, out of Africa, that has grown unnaturally large and is wrecking destruction on Britain? Immigrants. Now, when we see the eyes of the elephants, we know they are being possessed by Mordred, because once Uther kills Mordred, the eyes are calmed and the power over them ceases, so they are not inherently bad, but they are being controlled by people who are inherently bad, and are using them specifically so destroy Britain; sound familiar?
The bottom image is of Vortigern after he has floated Catia's dead body on the water in sacrifice to the sea witches for increased powers to destroy Arthur. Two words about Catia. First, I think her name is meant to invoke Katia (Hannah Ware) from Hitman: Agent 47. Katia is an advanced agent and has taken care of herself since she was just a child, whereas Catia is like one of the little birds in a cage surrounding her in her bedroom: she is totally helpless and irresponsible, as well as not being disciplined (when she's still young, Vortigern tells her to put a bird back inside it's cage and she doesn't; she doesn't respect him, why should she?). But this is our second point: Catia, in not being able to do anything, is as helpless as one of those little birds in a cage, i.e., someone raised in a socialist system, because they can't provide for themselves, and they can't make it on their own, whereas Katia (Hitman Agent 47) has survived on the streets since she was a child. Why, when Vortigern gets ready to kill BackLack, and he has been listening to Blue's lies, does Vortigern say, he always wished he had a boy? Because Vortigern is disillusioned. Vortigern thinks it would have been nice to have a son, but Vortigern couldn't even manage his daughter, (remember, men symbolize the economy, but women symbolize the mother land and its culture) so because Vortigern is a socialist/communist figure--remember those sleazy deals he makes with the Vikings?--he can't have a son because Vortigern wants to control the motherland, he doesn't want an active economy; The Mage, however, when she appears as a snake and causes Vortigern to realize that he isn't powerful enough to defeat Arthur, demonstrates that he can't even handle a real woman. 
Just before Vortigern dies, Arthur blesses him and demonstrates his appreciation, that the terrible threat Vortigern posed to England summoned Arthur from the streets and brothel to the forefront of the struggle; likewise, should we be grateful that the evil revealing itself has caused us to unite, dig deeper into our faith, and stand firmly against such advances. Let us never forget, however, what has happened, and how it became so successful. I could NOT be happier with King Arthur Legend Of the Sword and I absolutely can't wait to watch it again. There is a ton of stuff I didn't cover (please check links below, because I have written more posts on this film than on anything else in the history of this blog) so please don't think I am not addressing your concern, there was just an over-abundance of incredible material, as usual with Ritchie.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

I have been writing about King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword since the first trailer dropped; here are the other discussions which includes analysis you might be interested in, which I have not copied into this post:
Symbols In King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword
Symbol Analysis Of King Arthur Legend Of the Sword Teaser Trailer
Vortigern and 7 Details Of King Arthur Legend Of the Sword
2 New Spots: King Arthur Legend Of the Sword