arthurian literature

Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur Book 13 – Grail 1

We had a busy start to the month here, and now it’s already half over. I haven’t had much time to write posts, so we are returning again to the Arthurian story, now entering its penultimate phase. I’m not super-fond of the Grail story as a story, but it does have a lot of interesting stuff, even if some of it plays oddly against all of the previous books.

We start with a throwback to the first part of the collection, the feast of Pentecost. All the knights have gathered per Arthur’s tradition, and a mysterious damsel arrives looking for Lancelot. He goes off with her to a nunnery, where a couple of his cousins are staying, and is introduced to Galahad, who is so beautiful that all of the nuns cry. Galahad gets knighted but doesn’t go back to Camelot with his relatives just yet; there’s some stage-setting to be done before he can make his entrance.

Continue reading “Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur Book 13 – Grail 1”

arthurian literature

Malory’s Le Morte D’Athur Book 12 – Oh You Thought Tristram Was Done?

In an effort to get these out of my draft queue, I’ll start posting these again every week or so. In case you lost track, we left off with Galahad back in June.

Lancelot wanders around out of his wits for several years, has some encounters, is treated well by some people and badly by others, fights some animals, and eventually ends up back at Elaine’s father’s castle, where someone finally recognizes him. As with the last chapter, he is restored by the magic of the Grail. A deeply depressed Lancelot decides that he may as well stay here; he certainly can’t return to Arthur’s court after all of this. He takes a new name (Le Chevaler Mal Fet, the Knight Who Has Trespassed), and once a day looks sadly in the direction of his love.

Continue reading “Malory’s Le Morte D’Athur Book 12 – Oh You Thought Tristram Was Done?”

arthurian literature

Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 11 – Galahad, or WTAF?

To celebrate getting the book out, let’s check in with Malory again, shall we?

Now we leave Sir Tristram de Liones final-fucking-ly. After several hundred pages of digression, we are back with the Round Table. After loads and loads of tournaments, we are back in a world of mysterious magics. The court gets a visit from a holy hermit who wants to know what’s the deal with the Siege Perilous? Whoever sits there will be destroyed, Arthur explains, except for one man. The hermit prophesies that said man will be conceived this year, and will win the Grail.

Camera shifts to Lancelot, off looking for adventure. He finds one in the form of a woman who, having annoyed Morgan and one of her enchantress friends, has been perpetually boiled alive for years.


Continue reading “Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 11 – Galahad, or WTAF?”

arthurian literature

Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 10 – Still More Tristram

Picking up where we left off last year ….

Tristram is finally admitted to the Round Table–getting Marhaus’ old place, ironically enough. That would have been a good place to end this interminable piece of the story, but no. Instead, we focus on his evil uncle Sir Mark, who has followed his nephew to Arthur’s lands in order to kill him. Mark falls into the company of better knights than himself and behaves like the cowardly murderer he is. He gets beaten up and made fun of a lot.

Continue reading “Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 10 – Still More Tristram”

arthurian literature

Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 9 – Tristram, and Others

Have not updated lately, I know. I have been in a writing slump, a reading slump, a generally bleh kind of place mentally. Things are better pandemic-wise (locally), but not enough better that I feel I can actually relax. The weather has been miserable, alternating heat waves and rainy spells that are just as effective at keeping everyone indoors as lockdown was last summer. I have been doing a lot of yoga this week and trying to get back into creative projects.

In five weeks it will be the end of the first year of the three-year plan I wrote up last summer, and that’s taking up a fair amount of mental space, as well. And now, back to Malory.

Although this book eventually gets back to Tristram, it starts with a whole new character, a fellow who goes by the name La Cote Male Taile. (Spelling was even more haphazard for French than English at the time.) There are echoes in this book of Gareth’s story, the young man who comes to Arthur’s court in search of adventure and hooks up with a shrewish damsel who turns out to be nicer than she seems.

There are a lot of differences, though. Gareth is part of the Lothian clan, while this one (his given name is Breunor, not to be confused with the evil king Tristram killed in book 8) is no one in particular. Gareth is mocked for having beautiful hands, Breunor for wearing an ill-fitting, slashed up coat–the coat his father was wearing when he WAS MURDERED, thankyouverymuch. Lamorak and Gaheris both approve Breunor’s knighting, and so Arthur goes ahead with it. Continue reading “Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 9 – Tristram, and Others”