I wish I hadn't watched that god-awful TV miniseries of this book first. I wish I had read this book and really been able to experience everything as they happened, and be shocked and scandalized and saddened. As it stands, I was just waiting for everything to happen based on the story line in the miniseries and so I wasn't as satisfied with this reading experience. I did, however, think that the book was so much better than the miniseries. That thing should not have been made, or at least it should have been extended to include more of the actual plot and the cast should have been actors who could at least have accurately carried off a British accent (I'm looking at you, Julianna Marguiles).
The novel was an interesting perspective on the Arthurian legend. I liked how Marion Zimmer Bradley took all of the familiar characters and adjusted their storylines to fit together so well. I liked that Morgaine and Arthur are half-siblings and that so much happened by female involvement, that the males weren't the only ones calling all the shots. It made me want to be living in Britain at a time when (if it truly existed) Avalon was still in power and women weren't property of their husbands, fathers, and brothers.
I'm glad that Morgause wasn't just some evil wench (in the miniseries, the only explanation for her evil-ness was that she had one day "decided" to hate Gwenhwyfar). I know that she's supposedly the most vain of the women and that comes through when you realize just how wicked she is at the end, while all the other women have many redeeming qualities. I think the only thing that really humanized Morgause in my perspective was that she truly loved Morgaine as her own daughter or younger sister. Otherwise she was just a ho with a brain.
I wish we had seen more of a close relationship between Arthur and Morgaine, because it seemed like they spent most of their time at Camelot avoiding each other. I wish that Lancelet wasn't such an indecisive, whiny little bitch, but I did find it interesting that it's possible he was just as much in love with Arthur as he was with Gwenhwyfar. And can I just say that the entire time I was reading this, I kept reading her name as "Gwen-heifer"? I know, I know...it's pronounced "Gwen-e-veer", but that's what my head kept turning it into. There was just so much story here and it was all really interesting and I'm glad I read it. Though I wish I had read it first. Excellent story, makes me want to go and read the other Avalon books.