Arthur Pendragon, King of Far Far Away
King of Far Far Away
|“||"If there's something you want to do, or someone you really want to be, then the only one standing in your way... is you."||”|
King Arthur "Artie" Pendragon is the current King of Far Far Away.
These aspects are emphasized when Shrek announces to him that he is the next in line to the throne, and Artie begins to panic, believing that he is unsuitable for the job. However, Artie is noble, brave, and kind-hearted, and in the end, he courageously accepts the responsibilities of being King.
He is based off of the fabled King Arthur, a legendary king of England from the 5th and 6th centuries.
At the beginning of Shrek the Third, King Harold falls ill as a frog and his ogre son-in-law Shrek and daughter Princess Fiona are next in line to be King and Queen of Far Far Away. Shrek declines, insisting that an ogre as king is a bad idea and that there has to be someone else for the job. With his final few breaths, the king tells Shrek that there is one other heir who can become the new King of Far Far Away: his nephew, Arthur Pendragon. After a mournful funeral, Shrek sets out on a quest to bring back the new king, along with Donkey and Puss in Boots.
The trio's journey soon leads them to Worcestershire Academy, an elite boarding school across the sea, where they discover that Arthur ("Artie", as he prefers to be called) is a scrawny 15-year old underachiever picked on by virtually everyone, from the cool kids down to the retainer wearing Dungeons and Dragons geeks. Far removed from the courageous legend his name evokes, Artie stands literally at the bottom of the high school food chain. He is constantly showered with insults, used as a punching bag by the school Jousting Team, led by the obnoxious Sir Lancelot, and cruelly scorned by Guinevere, the school "Queen Bee."
At the school pep rally, Shrek announces to the shock and horror of the entire student body that Artie, the so called "Mayor-of-Loserville", is the new King of Far Far Away. Encouraged by his new title, Artie then delivers a heartfelt speech, berating all the high school students who were so cruel to him over the years (particularly Lancelot and the jocks), and professing his undying love to Guinevere, but Shrek stops him, stating, "You just overdid it."
Later, on board Shrek's ship, Artie is only too excited to be on his way to the throne, until Donkey and Puss inadvertently scare him by talking about the grave responsibilities of being king. Terrified, Artie balks, and begins to steer the ship back. Shrek tries to convince him to stop, but the ensuing argument they have causes their ship to crash onto an island. They continue to argue, and Artie runs into his old magic teacher, Merlin's hut. The wizard agrees to help them, but only after taking the "Journey to the Souls", since he and Artie have only recently been in a "self-destructive rage spat".
Artie, upon looking into the soul mist, sees a father bird leaving a chick in its nest. The chick tries and fails to fly, falling. He quickly comprehends that the bird is his father, who left him. Shrek and he have a heart-to-heart talk, where both explain the distance they had with their fathers (Artie having never known his, Shrek having been the near-victim of his dad's murderous attempts). They form an uneasy, understanding friendship, and Artie begins to accept who he is as a person, rather than who he is as other people judge him to be. Next morning, however, they are attacked by evil trees, and their leader, Captain Hook, announces that "King Charming" is managing the kingdom, and that Princess Fiona is in trouble. Artie, in an attempt at heartbroken youth, manages to convince Merlin to send them back to Far Far Away.
Once they arrive in the city, they are almost immediately set upon by guards, who Artie manages to convince that Shrek is a star (of the play, featuring Charming performing Shrek's demise). They infiltrate Charming's quarters, and Charming, anticipating their moves, sends for guards and holds Artie hostage. Shrek demands that he be let go, and (unbeknownst to Artie) lies to Artie, saying that he only brought him back because he "needed some fool to replace me, and you fit the bill, kid". Artie angrily shrugs off his captors and leaves. However, Puss and Donkey later explain that Shrek only said those things to protect him, and in doing so saved his life.
Artie returns at the climax of the play, and convinces Hook and the other villains to give up their evil ways by saying what Shrek told him: Just because you may be treated like a loser, or a villain, it doesn't mean you are one. He helps Shrek defeat Charming, and once the tower is knocked on top of the prince, he takes the crown that falls, after Shrek gives him the choice to do so or not. Artie puts the crown on his head, and begins his reign as King.
Arthur is neither seen or mentioned once in the film, for unknown reasons. In Rumpelstiltskin's new world of Far Far Away, he does not appear because in the alternate universe, he was never proclaimed king by Shrek. After the curse was broken, Arthur presumably took his place as rightful king of Far Far Away.
After Shrek Forever After was released, Mike Myers stated Artie was in the film, but the scene was deleted. When the DVD was released, only a deleted scene called When Fairly Tale Creatures Attack, Gingy's Cookie Fight, and a hand-drawn scene of When Fairy Tale Creatures Attack were featured. Artie did not appear.
Note: Artie was not written out, as they would give an explanation to why he was not in the film. His voice actor, Justin Timberlake, was unavailable to provide the voice as he was on tour. To focus on Shrek, Artie was not fitted to the plot.
The deleted scene(s) he was in was:
Deleted Scene 1:
Artie is running the kingdom as Shrek invites him to the party. Though, he declines, saying that he cannot hang around ogres any longer (including his cousin, Fiona). He manages to chuck Shrek out and banish them to the Happy Apple, where they will have their party.
Deleted Scene 2:
When Shrek is in the alternate universe, he travels back to Worcestershire to find Artie. He is indeed no longer the King but is his previous school-life self, being bullied and picked on. Shrek explains that Artie is the king of Far Far Away, but Artie, having no clue of who Shrek is, runs off (like he did in the third film) and in the assembly, he is hung by his shirt onto the scaffolding. Shrek is declined entry to the Assembly hall by the guard after failing to remember what Puss and Donkey did to him, such as kicking him in the hip and groin. Shrek then leaves.
Deleted Scene 3:
After Shrek returns to the real world, Artie enters claiming that he was wrong about Shrek and hereby grants all Ogres to live in Far Far Away as citizens, no longer as neglected monsters.
Like Shrek, one of Artie's greatest fears is inadequacy, as they both mention having had difficulty in their relationships with their respective fathers. "dumped me at the school the first chance he got, and... I never saw him again"- Arthur on his Father
While at the Worcestershire Academy, Artie was not the most popular kid in school and was constantly picked on and bullied by his more athletic and popular peers, even as far as the entire student body, including his principal, urging Shrek to eat him.
However, Artie is revealed to be superb sword fighter and capable of showing bravery when necessary, as he helps Shrek and his friends fend off The Evil Trees, and later, assists Shrek when Prince Charming treacherously tries to take over the kingdom and murder him.