Guenever woke up one fine spring morning and decided to throw a party. Not just any party! A special May party, a fun-times trip out into the glorious beauty of pastoral England. Naturally, to ensure maximal enjoyment of the splendors of the natural world, Guenever came up with some party rules.
- Everyone shall wear green silk or green linen.
- The group shall consist of ten knights, ten ladies, ten squires and twenty yeoman. This does not include Guenever herself.
- Everyone shall ride horses.
- The group shall return to Camelot no later than ten o’clock that night.
So she passed around a sign-up sheet and found ten knights to make the trip with her. Malory lists off these knights, and for once, when he says there’s ten knights, he actually provides ten names! Not eight names, not eleven names, ten names! It’s pretty special.
LIST OF KNIGHTS GOING OUT WITH GUENEVER
- Sir Kay, Arthur’s brother
- Sir Agravaine, Arthur’s nephew
- Sir Brandiles
- Sir Sagramour the Lusty
- Sir Dodinas the Thug
- Sir “Big Heart” Ozanna
- Sir Ladinas from the Thuggish Woods
- The Indigo Knight, from Book VII
- The other Red Knight, also from Book VII
- Sir Pellas the Good, Nimue’s husband
So these knights and a bunch of ladies and hangers-on rode out with Guenever into the woods, and that’s where Sir Meliagrance made his move. Sir Meliagrance had lusted after Guenever for years, apparently. Maybe he thought that Launcelot’s affair with Guenever was the secret of his success, and that if Meliagrance could just sleep with Guenever, then he would be the best knight! Or maybe he was just a jerk.
In any case, they were out in the woods when suddenly Meliagrance attacked! He and his men outnumbered Guenever’s knights roughly sixteen to one.
“All right, all you knights! Hand over the queen and nobody gets decapitated!” cried Meliagrance.
Guenever, not cowed in the slightest, ripped into Meliagrance with a lengthy burst of invective. She called him a traitor knight, and asserted he was about to dishonour the noble king that made [him] knight, that he shamest knighthood, and that she would sooner cut [her] own throat in twain rather than permit Meliagrance to dishonour her.
“You don’t actually have the choice, here,” bellowed Meliagrance, “unless these ten knights can hold off all one hundred and sixty of my men!”
Zoom in on Meliagrance glaring!
Zoom in on Guenever glaring!
Zoom in on Sir Pellas sighing, because the time had, at long last, come for him to earn the appellation he’d enjoyed since Book IV, “Sir Pellas the Good.”
And so there was a battle. Finally Sir Pellas had something to do! He did it well. Pretty soon nine Knights of the Round Table lie bleeding on the ground alongside forty or fifty of Meliagrance’s men. Sir Pellas stood alone, indicating with hand gestures that he could keep this up all day.
Guenever surrendered, though, on the grounds that the other nine knights would bleed to death if they didn’t get leeches and other medical care. They were in Guenever’s care; she didn’t want them to die. Pellas agreed to lay down his arms, if that’s what Guenever wanted, and so Meliagrance and his hundred or so surviving knights took Guenever, Pellas, and all the rest of Guenever’s Fun-Time May Spring-Tacular back to Meliagrance’s castle.