Catching up with Merlin, King Arthur

Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 10:24 p.m.
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Jedidiah Roe will play King Arthur in this year's Hoggetowne Medieval Faire.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun


Faire lasts 2 weekends

What: Gainesville's premier wintertime festival, the 19th annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, features more than 140 artisans and craftsmen, rides, jousting, medieval battles and food.
When: Saturday and Sunday; also next Friday through Sunday, Feb. 4-6. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday.
Where: Alachua County Fairgrounds, 2900 NE 39th Ave.
Admission: $10 adults, $5 ages 5-17; discount admission to teachers and students on Feb. 4.

Even in medieval times, celebrities relied on good management. King Arthur was no exception: The Colonel to his Elvis was Merlin the wizard, played by cardiovascular technician Pete Roe. Roe's son Jedidiah, a Santa Fe Community College student, plays King Arthur.
With the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire reveling in "The Sword and the Stone" starting this weekend, The Sun caught up with Merlin and Arthur preparing for the mighty battle ahead.
The Sun: So, Merlin, what's appealing to you about spending two weekends in the 21st century?
Merlin: Well, for me, it's been there, done that. I actually grow backward through time: I come from the future into the past. That's how I can foresee the future. But I think you'll find that we're not visiting you, you're visiting us. It's you who steps back in time.
The Sun: So I guess we should familiarize ourselves with medieval customs. What's the dating scene like? How do you meet people?
Merlin: Merlin doesn't go there. Arthur, however, has many admirers.
Arthur: Don't let Guinevere hear you say that. Guinevere and I are betrothed. She's quite, ah, spirited.
The Sun: How's the food in medieval times?
Merlin: Most of us eat a lot of wild game. I'm kind of a medieval vegetarian, but that's unusual. The vast majority enjoy a good roast.
Arthur: My personal favorite is the turkey leg.
The Sun: Arthur, how has fame affected you? You went from being a nobody to being king in pretty short order.
Arthur: It's quite difficult growing up expecting to be a squire and, in an instant, learning that you're going to be the ruler of all Britain. I'm still getting used to the idea of all these people bowing to me.
Merlin: We had the hardest time with that. For the longest time, when someone would bow, Arthur would bow back. They'd try to get lower, and he'd try to get lower, and before you knew it they'd be laying on the floor looking at each other.
The Sun: And now you have to fend off the medieval paparazzi?
Merlin: They're easy to avoid, really. When they start to draw our picture, we just run away before they can finish their sketch.
The Sun: Tell me something about yourselves that would be surprising to the peasants.
Merlin: Merlin doesn't like crowds.
The Sun: Merlin does like referring to himself in the third person.
Merlin: Yes, that's true. Good point. Also, I have an evil half that most people are not aware of.
The Sun: An evil half?
Merlin: That's right. His name is Taliesen. I don't think a lot of people know about that - and I'd like to keep it that way - but that's not going to happen. You'll see: It's all coming down to a great battle.
The Sun: But you already know how that's going to go, having lived through the future.
Merlin: Shhhh! We've got to build this up.
The Sun: Right. So, this Taliesen - is he one of the bad guys we should watch out for in Hoggetowne?
Merlin: Oh, yes. He's the most evil wizard out there. But he'll be easily spotted.
The Sun: How's that?
Arthur: The bad guys wear black.
The Sun: Convenient! So, coming from a simpler time, do you find any of our modern customs perplexing?
Arthur: You talk to yourselves a lot.
The Sun: We do?
Arthur: Yes, while holding little metal boxes up to your ears.
Merlin: Ah, yes, the cell phone. I'll explain that later, Arthur.

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