Shortly after exiling Launcelot in a fit of pique, Guenever organized a small banquet, for herself and a couple of dozen knights. Her guest list divides up easily into factions!
THE ORKNEY FACTION
- Sir Gawaine
- His brother Sir Agravaine
- Their brother Sir Gaheris
- Their brother Sir Gareth
- And their half-brother Sir Mordred
THE BENWICK FACTION
- Sir Bors
- His brother Sir Blamore
- Their brother Sir Bleoberis
- Their cousin Sir Ector the Lesser
- Their other cousin Sir Lionel
THE GUYS WHO HAPPENED TO BE IN CAMELOT THAT WEEKEND FACTION
- Sir Kay, Arthur’s seneschal and cool older brother
- His assistant Sir Brandiles
- Their contemporary Sir Galihud
- A guy they kind of know Sir Galihodin
- And Sir Breunor, who copied Sir Gareth’s whole bit
THE FORMER SUPPORTING CAST MEMBERS RETURNING FOR TOKEN CAMEOS FACTION
- Sir Palomides, Tristram’s frenemy
- His brother Sir Segwarides the cuckold
- Gareth’s acquaintance the Indigo Knight, Sir Persant
- Gareth’s other acquaintance the Black Knight, Sir Ironside
- And Sir Mador de la Porte, who has been mentioned a few times now, Launcelot jousted with him in a tournament once
THE LEFTOVERS FACTION
- Sir Patrice, who you wouldn’t know, because he’s from Ireland
- Aliduk, who isn’t a knight apparently
- Sir Astamore, who is kind of a dick,
- And finally Sir Pinel the Dimwitted, cousin to the late Sir Lamorak.
As dinner wound down, Sir Gawaine asked someone to pass him the fruit, because (as Malory is sure he’s mentioned before, like, lots of times) Sir Gawaine just looooooved fruit. Guenever was always careful to have plenty of fruit on hand whenever she had Gawaine over for dinner, so that he’d be sated with pears and wouldn’t freak out and murder anyone. So the fruit bowl was passed up the table; it had been way down at the foot of the table, while Gawaine sat at the head. Sir Pinel (both a dimwit and the late Sir Lamorak’s cousin, as I just observed) got his hands on the fruit bowl and reasoned that if he put a poison apple in there, Gawaine would eat it and die. Then Sir Lamorak would be avenged! So he did that. It’s unclear whether he came to the party armed with poisoned fruit for murdering Gawaine with, or if he simply always had a poisoned apple on his person at all times and merely took advantage of the unplanned opportunity.
Pinel handed the fruit bowl along to Astamore, who passed it to Aliduk, and so on. When it reached Patrice, things took a turn for the predictable: Sir Patrice figured he was entitled to an apple, he’s a guest at the table same as anyone. So he took the poison apple, ate it, and then his head exploded from poison.
Seriously! When he had eaten it he swelled so he brast, says Malory.
All the knights leaped up, swords drawn, of course. Harsh words were shouted! Sir Gawaine figured that poison apple was meant for him, and dove under the table for safety!
Sir Mador in particular was pissed, because Patrice was his cousin. Cousins took the murder of cousins seriously in this day and age! Mador knew who to blame, too: the woman whose bowl of fruit the poisoned apple came from! None other than Guenever!