George-Michael Bernard Pendragon is the son of King Arthur, from Arthurian Legends.
Knowing that Britain’s failure to defend against foreign invaders is often due to internal conflict, Bernard is above everything a pacifist. Although he’s all for the knights going off fighting dragons and saving maidens and getting grails, his goal as King is to make sure everyone is happy and content and friends with everyone! How else is he supposed to run a great powerful kingdom if the thing that leads to his downfall is being betrayed by those dear to him?
In a phrase, Bernard is best described as an “aggressive pacifist”.
He’s paranoid. He’s stressed. Bernard knows the ins and outs of his tale. He knows the major variations, he knows the major players. He knows which the little embellishments and editions some authors have added, and he knows how his story has shifted over time. Bernard is a King Arthur who is acutely aware that he’s a little pawn in the grand scheme of things. He is acutely aware that the Romances sing of all the betrayals he’s meant to suffer, and he’s very much aware of his own death. (Morte D’Author. God, now that’s a spoiler from the title itself.)
Because of how knowledgeable he thinks he is about his destiny, Bernard genuinely believes that his fate is divine-given. He’s convinced that he will be a great King Arthur, he’s convinced that the spirits of the previous King Arthurs live in him. When people say, King Arthur will return, he’s 100% certain that they’re talking about him. Bernard, he tells himself, you’re the King meant to save Britain from ruin. And Bernard loves his country. He loves his people, his culture, his history. Without a doubt, he wants to be a good King -- it’s the highest of honours.
The two things combine, and what you get is a neurotic teenager. Bernard knows exactly how King Arthur fails in his goals, and how Britain and the knights can fall to ruin. In Bernard’s mind, he can prevent that. He can save Britain. He can… not fail, and actually succeed! And that failure, he believes, is caused by one thing alone: lack of civility.
So, above everything Bernard holds lofty ideals. Civility, obviously. Kindness. True chivalry. Honesty, integrity, being loyal and faithful. Break any of these ideals, he thinks, you're breaking the true meaning of knighthood. As King Arthur, Bernard thinks by preserving and reinforcing these beliefs, he’s going to have the greatest Court of Camelot of all time.
Therefore, he’s very stubborn. In fact, he can get outright hostile if someone isn’t playing fair, or if someone talks back to him. Sometimes, he will straight up force people to get along, and often suggests “icebreakers” and “bonding activities”. He’s also very loud, firey and worked up - often jumpy and scattered from place to place, and has never learnt what an “inside voice” is.
Bernard is a great believer of “mindfulness” and “self-care”. He often prints out colouring pages and buys facemasks for his knights, and gets them to sit in a room with him and just meditate. He talks/shouts a lot about self-reflection and “being good people”. If someone brags to him about the dragon they captured or how many people they’ve bested in a tourney, sure, he’s congratulate them, but not without asking, “okay, but were you a good person today? Did you say hi and smile to people? Did you take some time to rest for yourself?”.
Although kind and stubborn in his kindness, Bernard is still prone to being a giant pushover. He’s very certain about a few things - his role as King Arthur, for instance, and his divine-given duty to fulfill that. He’s less certain about other things - for instance, how kind he actually is. Is he truly being wholesome and virtuous and good? Is he doing well in this King Arthur business? So when he’s questioned on his goodness, or when someone asks him for a favour, he really struggles to refuse and say no. That does mean he’s prone to stress and burnout.
Another thing Bernard thinks about being King Arthur: he’s a role for the background. Sure, perhaps earlier traditions had King Arthur has a leading, saviour figure. Bernard loves that. But what Bernard also loves is Arthur in the later Romantic traditions. That’s an Arthur that’s more of a background Arthur - a king on his throne while all his fancy knights are off doing fancy knight things. What Bernard really does like utilising his ideal of kindness for is supporting his knights! He’s fond of making care-packages, or making baked goods. Even when he’s not able to sit down for a self-care (k)night with them, he hopes that they still think well of him and his inherent desire to “be kind”.
Often, with all this care that he lavishes, he jokes that he’s a sort of “grandma friend”. However, Bernard also gets easily upset when his efforts of bringing in baked goods or forcing his knights to partake in friendly bonding activities are met with passivity or even outright animosity. This upset can get to the point of being too paranoid that his knights secretly hate him, which he expresses in really passive-aggressive ways (which, unfortunately, drives the cycle). From then, he’s desperate to do more good, be more kind… and more overbearing.
In short, Bernard is earnest in his love. His love of being King Arthur, his love of his country and story and his knights. It’s a love, that when he expresses is, becomes almost suffocating, for both him and the people around him.
This is a boy acutely aware of his tale.
Knowledge is power, they say. And power corrupts.
Bernard is a English youth. He’s lanky, with red hair and fair skin. He’s not too fond of his face, thinking it rather plain or even ugly, and often jokes that “alas, the curse of being European royalty!” then adds “could be worse, though, cough cough Mordred”. That said, he’s got an upturned nose and a thin mouth (neither feature is ‘bad’, he’s just not big on his face).
Often, Bernard likes to don sleepwear or casual clothes - his standard outfit includes a dressing gown and sweatpants. Although he has been met with some criticism for his unorthodox decisions, who can question the son of King Arthur himself?
Bernard's height is revealed to be 6'. The reasoning behind this is simple: "it explains his audacity".
Interests, Hobbies, and Skills
Relaxing and Reading
There’s really nothing Bernard loves more than being curled up in a good book with some coffee or hot cocoa. Sometimes, speaking a lot and rallying knights gets really tiring, especially when they don’t seem to be responding positively to your efforts at “initiating closer friendship!”.
Things that Bernard really enjoys reading is… surprise, surprise, the medieval romanz tradition. He’s hugely fond of the stories about Charlemagne, or Godfrey the king of Jerusalem. He knows the Song of Roland more intimately than he knew any of his exes, and can recite large chunks of it off by heart. Basically, Bernard knows his genre. He’s living in it.
And of course, Bernard is always down for self-care nights. Facemasks, foot scrubs, everything. Sometimes, he really just wants to invite all his friends over for a sleepover, where they can gossip and make fun of each others’ crushes. He would bring baked goods, and it’s all fun and chill and they can just learn about each other and understand their perspectives and why people behave as they do. He even hopes, maybe, he can even invite some future villains along, where they can both drink tea (literally) and spill tea (figuratively).
Crosswords and Riddles
He’s not just a voracious reader - Bernard really likes puzzles! He thinks that they’re really stress-relieving and a lot of fun.
Because of a fondness for riddles, Bernard is also really into hearing prophecies and trying to interpret him. He hasn’t gotten too far in this little hobby of his, but he’s trying!
The sport of his childhood... in fact, the only sports that Bernard really cares about.
Forget jousting. Forget fencing. There's only one physical activity that makes him happy. Give him a wicket, give him a bat, and give him a cricket ball. That's it, that's all.
Bernard truly believes that he’s a God-sent King, and as any good King, he has to learn diplomacy. A given, really, since he values civility and kindness so much that diplomacy is just that but political.
- Bernard is not spelltacular at sword-fighting. Like, he’s been trained well and can do it, but would never cite it as a hobby or interest of his.
- In fact, he's so solidly mediocre/below-average that there is no a single knight on the Round Table that can't kick his ass.
- I'm honestly surprised that someone hasn't skewered him already.
- Likes to practise "mindfulness" and "active listening".
Legend: The Arthurian Romance Tradition
How It Goes
Sword in stone, becoming king, getting a sword known as Excalibur from a lake, fighting, conquering, fighting, magic, witches, death, round tables, being cheated, dying, being killed by son-nephews, Holy Grails and weird funky knights, the fae, lots of fun stuff-- basically, you’re in for a ride.
How Bernard comes into this
Bernard is the son of King Arthur, and the wife of an enemy Duke, and conceived in the same way Arthurs have always been - their father magic to disguise himself as the husband of the lady they wanted to seduce. Who Bernard’s mother “Igerna” was, I still haven’t decided, but either way, Bernard was conceived at Tintagel.
It's implied that he may or may not have an older half-sister. He definitely has older siblings, that Bernard expects to meet during his misadventures.
As his father was off completing the rest of whatever Legends was assigned to him, Bernard was sent off the countryside to be raised. He was not completely ignorant of his destiny - context clues told him exactly who he was meant to be.
His suspicions were confirmed when at 14, he received a letter stating his acceptance into Ever After High.
Opinion on Destiny
Oh, he adores it. In fact, his entire personality section is basically his opinion on destiny.
(DEEP BREATHE IN)
Right, so Bernard is my little love letter to Arthurian Legends. Not just the Legends, but the tradition of story-telling about King Arthur. From Monmouth’s pseudo-history to little satirical adaptations… all of it. I won’t be able to capture all the parallels I draw, but I will note the major ones.
- Bernard wears sleepwear. In many traditions, when Arthur is sent to Avalon, there’s the hexpectation that he will “return”. In some interpretations, it’s believed that Arthur isn’t dead, he’s sleeping.
- He prefers to take on a background role because in the Romance tradition, King Arthur isn’t really a major player, as people much prefer stories about other knights.
- The reason why Bernard focuses so much on internal civility is because Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote the History of British Kings in a time of civil war, with the implication that the reason why Britain lost to foreign invaders was not because there was too much internal conflict for them to unite. Bernard encompasses/voices that message in human character form.
- He has red hair in reference to William II, or Rufus, the second king of (Norman/Saxon) England. And yes, I do realise that the Saxons were exactly what King Arthur was fighting against, but many later English kings did end up adopting elements of Arthurian Legend for their own inspiration, such as…
- Ed I and Ed III. Some elements of Bernard’s dress was based around the way the House of Plantagenet dressed.
- and also how the House of Hannover dressed. Something about four Georges, something about conquering the known world, something something losing the colonies?
- Ed I and Ed III. Some elements of Bernard’s dress was based around the way the House of Plantagenet dressed.
- Small things that Bernard does/says are nods to other takes on Arthurian Legend. Most prominently, in his infobox bio, you can see pretty significant references to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- Bernard is an absolute romantic. The Arthurian Legends is part of the romanz or "Romance" tradition. While the words for emotional romantic and romanz Romance mean different things, I still wanted to play with the pun.
- George-Michael is a nod to the stained glass of King Arthur in Rochester Cathedral, where he’s flanked by two patron saints of England, St George and St Michael.
- Bernard means ‘bear’. Arthur means ‘bear’. Pretty straightforward.
- Pendragon is the second name taken by King Arthur’s father, Uther, which Uther chose after seeing a vision of a firey comet-like dragon in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the British Kings.
- A potential faceclaim for him would be Ruairi O'Connor, specifically in his role as King Henry in "The Spanish Princess".
- He was raised in Kent, England, although he was concieved (and perhaps born) at Tintagel in Cornwall.
- However, Bernard firmly regards Kent as "home" and Cornwall as his "ancestral home".
- Bernard also speaks in a Kentish accent.
- His favourite scent is of roses.