King Arthur the movie, which was filmed in 2004 depicts a heroic knight who was able to consolidate and unite other renegade knights roaming around Britain, to form a strong cavalry against the invading forces of Saxons. This film is touted by many as fiction but records of history reveal that the story resembles a legendary war hero who fought in the British Isles 1600 years ago.
In this movie, Arthur, a devoted Christian, was torn between two major decisions as leader of the knights. He had to decide whether to achieve his personal desire to go to Rome, his origin, in service to his faith, or remain in Britain to serve his people as loyalty to the English land. He knew too well that if he chose the first one, he will be free from the responsibilities of leading a group of stray civilians living in an impoverished community as well as with native warriors. But he is also bothered by the fact that if he leaves them, they will all be extinguished by the coming Saxons without mercy. Arthur was also after the complete freedom of his comrades; Lancelot, Galahad, Tristan, Gawain, Bors and Dagonet, which will only be granted by Rome if they can work out a successful plan to save a prominent Roman boy from his captors.
Finally, Arthur decided first to regain freedom for his knights by taking the Roman boy from a notorious English group. Just in time, he was also able to save some prisoners on the verge of death, including a woman named Guinevere who is leader of a local renegade group under Shaman. This led to a good relationship between the knights and the rebel fighters. But when their scrolls of freedom were granted, Arthur was bothered by his conscience to leave his people dying mercilessly in the hands of Saxons.
After meditating to his God, he firmly rose up and persuaded his knights to fight against the enemies. However, they did not agree knowing beforehand that thousands were coming and it would be foolish to fight them. So, he decided to stay alone in the fortress to defend the land against the invaders who were coming closer by then. He sent all his people away en route to safer grounds escorted by other knights.
He used tricks to evade the Saxons while he was alone, he used the hit and hide tactic in fighting. Eventually, his comrades came back and joined him in the fortress and they fought gallantly inside while the native warriors were outside using their bows and hitting plenty of enemies with their arrows. Their joint forces used strategies to fight the Saxons even if they were outnumbered, and their final plan to execute an ingenious means which caused the frozen lake to break where the enemies stood, became a success and the number of Saxon fighters were greatly reduced. This was then followed by a man-to-man fight which eventually defeated the Saxons.
Due to his heroic deeds in defending his people, he was unanimously declared as King of England after his marriage to Guinevere.
WHY I CHOSE KING ARTHUR
I have chosen this kind of film to work on because of its great appeal in terms of personal sacrifice of the main character, Arthur in favor of many. The unparalleled transformation of the knights from hard core profile in merciless killings to resiliency and softness in dealing with ordinary folks with great concern deserves full recognition. Arthur’s style of leadership portrayed a man of honor, firm decisions and most important of all, his frequent conversations to his God for enlightenment on the right actions for him to undertake. This is what true leaders must have – a sensitive conscience backed up by strong faith.
In that era of war, it was not common to see the likes of Arthur who was gallant and powerful, yet he was also considerate and sensitive to others’ welfare. He was deeply concerned with his knights and his people in favor of his personal intentions. Chapter 2 of Northouse shows that he had all the major traits of a true leader: flexibility, high energy, dominance, self-confidence, intelligence and sensitivity to others. I have noticed his respect to human beings whatever they are especially to women, when he can do what he wanted to do to abuse them since he was in power. He listened and respected the decisions of his knights to leave him behind and travel to Rome when in fact; he could have simply ordered them to stay. Instead of doing that, he initiated a good example by defending the land alone which made them followed eventually.
He had a great flexibility in dealing with his comrades. He treated them not as subordinates to follow but as brothers that’s why he gained their respect as well as his people. Chapter 4 of Northouse’s Leadership indicated that it is prescriptive and tells the leader what to do once he has classified subordinates’ behaviors. It emphasizes leadership flexibility and reminds the leader to treat subordinates as individuals.
I have noticed also that he was a true gentleman. He showed ethics toward women and did not take advantage of his high position in the Roman forces to abuse and humiliate them. Even with prisoners, he treated them fairly with utmost consideration. In Chapter 12 of Northouse, the aspect of leadership means impacting on followers’ lives. It is therefore important to be ethical. It is stated that there is a need for moral leadership in order to be a real leader.
A man like Arthur has special qualities which not all men possess. This made him different from others which truly qualify him as a good leader. He was well-behaved anywhere he goes even to the taverns with women and wine. If Arthur is alive today, I can say that he can still fit in as a King even if his exposure was more of wars than peace. With his innate flexibility, he can always perform as a leader in whatever situation that he is put into. He can match the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi in their quest for freedom thru peaceful means.
1. What really made Arthur changed his mind in favor of heroism, is it his conscience and conversation with his God at the time he was confused? Is it the love affair that was blossoming between him and Guinevere? Or is it his inherent concern to mankind as a true leader to serve his people in favor of personal desires?
2. What are the special traits of Arthur that made him as an effective leader?
3. When Arthur remained alone in the fortress to secure the land, how was he able to receive contingency from his men?
4. As a Roman officer, he killed many people including renegade English warriors, in service to his homeland, Rome, which was renowned for wanton invasion of lands. Why should he be considered a hero and eventually a King despite of this?
5. Do you think it’s sane for him to defend the fortress alone or was he committing suicide with a thousand of Saxons coming?
6. Do you think it was right to declare Arthur as a King of England and as a traitor to his homeland? Why?
7. If Arthur is living today, do you think he would still make a good leader given his records of personal participation in wars instead of the common norms of peace sought by famed leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?
1. You will notice that Arthur was already steadfast in going back to Rome before he prayed to his God. He was also firm when he had a love affair with Guinevere and he didn’t care too much about the welfare of the people he will leave soon because his goal was to serve his spiritual faith in Rome as a Roman officer. However, his decision changed after sensing that he was just being used by Roman authorities to execute vicious plans without real concern on his welfare. This was aggravated when he saw that the Roman citizens they were supposed to save in the hands of their English captors were actually enjoying life and implementing abuses with the group including the incarceration of merciful natives. This led to his final decision to stay in the land after meditation. Therefore, his courses of actions were caused by his strong faith, love with Guinevere whom he had already an intimate affair and his natural concern for human beings. These factors overwhelmed all his personal interests. Chapter 4 of Northouse’s Leadership: Theory and Practice emphasizes leadership flexibility in major decisions and this what Arthur did.
2. Arthur is an effective leader considering that he possessed the major traits mentioned in Chapter 2 of Northouse’s Leadership: Theory and Practice, which are – dominance, high energy, self-confidence, intelligence, sensitivity to others and flexibility. He was with superior knights but he dominated them in a diplomatic way where they had to follow orders. He showed high-energy during battles moving from one enemy to the other. He had self-confidence when he decided to remain in the fortress alone to fight with the Saxons. His intelligence is unquestionable that’s why he is the leader of the knights. His strategies were successful that defeated the Saxons even if they were outnumbered. His sensitivity to others’ welfare was shown in many episodes of the film. He freed the natives from incarceration and did not allow his people to die in the hands of the enemies, to name a few. He had a great flexibility when he decided to change his decision to leave in favor of helping his people.
3. Chapter 5 of Northouse Leadership states that Contingency are assessed on the leader-member relations, the degree of structure the task has, and position power especially on crisis. Arthur had a good relationship with his men. He didn’t treat them as subordinates but as brothers. He made contingencies to them by way of seeking their freedom from Rome. In return, they returned as contingency when he was alone in the fortress. With the joint forces and strategies that they have in mind, he knew very well that they will win the battle.