If Nennius established Arthur as a British hero, Geoffrey of Monmouth brought him to life. Born around 1090, possibly in Wales, and educated in Paris and Oxford, Geoffrey was ensconced as a bishop in Britain in the mid-1100s when he wrote, in Latin, perhaps the most influential book ever about Arthur. Like Nennius, Geoffrey had a political agenda: to show the superiority of the Celtic-speaking Britons, and by extension, the Welsh, who spoke the same language. “There were a lot of criticisms of the Welsh as being savages, barbarians,” says Morris. “Geoffrey invents a noble history for them, going back a hundred kings before Arthur.” A cipher in Nennius’ history, Arthur now became a Celtic-speaking warrior-king within a richly imagined narrative.
Lagom translates as “just the right amount.” It means knowing when enough is enough, and trying to find balance and moderation rather than constantly grasping for more. Lagom is that feeling of contentment we all get when we have all that we need to make us comfortable. It’s neither a millionaire’s splurge in Vegas, nor a pauper’s cold winter night. It means having a roof over your head, food in your belly, friends at your back, and money — just enough money — in your pockets. If Goldilocks had a catchphrase, it would be “let’s lagom this bear house.”