Talk to me about mentally/emotionally abused Arthur.
Talk to me about the Arthur who doesn’t bat an eye at being thrown into the dungeon by his father, indicating that it happens often enough that he’s used to it. Talk to me about the Arthur whose first big mission was to take down a Druid camp, and about Uther teaching a young teenage boy a lesson by making him watch as his own men slaughtered innocent women and children. Tell me how a boy barely into his twenties can genuinely be the greatest warrior in the kingdom without having been pushed to his limits from an age far too young.
Talk to me about the Arthur who only received a nod from Uther while Morgana wrangled smiles, Arthur whose ideas got shut down before they were out of his mouth while Morgana got to argue with Uther and come out on top. Tell me about the Arthur who has such severe issues with being lied to that they couldn’t have been built in a day, and about the Arthur who doesn’t feel deserving of the crown even though it’s his birthright, because his father made him feel unworthy of being King. Tell me about the Arthur who wants nothing more than Uther’s approval and almost never gets it.
Tell me why Arthur never thinks he’s good enough.
Talk to me about Arthur who blames himself for his mother’s death, and talk to me about how that kind of thinking doesn’t develop on its own. A kid doesn’t decide by himself that he killed his own mother when he was a baby. It takes years of a father not being able to look at him and wearing black on his birthday, the kingdom in mourning, whispers in corners that were never shut down, for someone to arrive at a conclusion like that.
In fact, talk to me about why Arthur shoulders the blame for everything that’s gone even slightly wrong in his life, why he thinks he deserves every bad thing that happens to him, that it’s his job alone to save everyone.
Tell me how Arthur learned not to push the king.
Because we can’t pretend that Uther, for all his love for Arthur (because he did love Arthur, however he chose to show it), wasn’t a harsh disciplinarian. We can’t pretend that Uther wasn’t the kind of man who saw weakness in fear and uncertainty and made sure to stomp it out before it could grow, that he wouldn’t be an advocate of exposure therapy, that he didn’t attempt to brainwash Arthur to believe everything he believes, that he didn’t blame Arthur for things that weren’t his fault, that he didn’t give him impossible responsibilities, that he didn’t make Arthur doubt his love, that he gave any leeway to even the Crown Prince, that he didn’t always put his kingdom and hatred of magic before his only son.
Tell me about the Arthur who watched children his own age burn at his father’s command.
And tell me about the Arthur who grew up kind and brave and trusting and loyal despite it all.