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From King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, photo courtesy Warner Bros.
From King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, photo courtesy Warner Bros.

A Black Faith Indeed

Even though Vortigern seems to want to kill off all Britain’s mages, it’s not right to see him as the film’s avatar for cultural or religious intolerance. We learn (big spoiler here) he actually was in league with Mordred back in the day—a partnership to claim power. The guy simply wants the throne, and he’ll do anything to get it.

Down a secret set of stairs, Vortigern communes with horrific entity (called a Syren in the credits): It’s mostly tentacles, but parts of the creature are made from women—and not, it turns out, just any women. Some, in fact, may be the bodies of sacrifices made to earn the creature’s favor—and thus earn a boon of terrible black magic. Vortigern knows the demon well: He deals with the beast, sacrificing someone he loves to temporarily earn great and terrible power.

Ancient druids in Britain allegedly participated in human sacrifice and cannibalism, as did plenty of other ancient religions. Back in biblical times, it seems like it was fairly common.

But God doesn’t like human sacrifices. Never did. When God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, this wasn’t just a pop quiz on Abraham’s loyalty. I think it was a message to the rest of His people: “Don’t do this.” And throughout the rest of the Bible, God repeatedly calls the practice “abominable.”

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