So Morgan le Fay and Igraine are at Arthur’s court, and before anyone says two words of greeting Sir Ulfius stands up and starts hurling invective. He’s been sitting on this hurt for a long time, and he gets all red-faced and would be violent maybe if no one were there to stop him. The upshot of it is that Ulfius blames Igraine for the massacre/battle against Team Lot & Mister 100.

If Igraine had shown up and endorsed Arthur at or after his coronation, then Lot and the others would surely have accepted him as king. After all, the bulk of their protest had been that Arthur was Sir Ector’s adopted son whose parentage was entirely unknown and whose claim to the throne was solely through Merlin’s sword-and-stone nonsense.  Ergo, all Igraine’s fault, says Ulfius.  He calls her traitress and a causer of war and false to God and threatens to murder anyone who defends her.

Igraine rebuts his verbal assault, saying that she’ll defend herself without it coming to violence she hopes, what with it being a patriarchal society wherein she’s forbidden to fight, and she’d like to think that some man – her son, maybe? – might be moved to defend her. The tale of Arthur’s conception, she says, is a hilarious anecdote, which Ulfius knows as well as she does, since he was there for most of it, and besides it’s Merlin who made it possible.

Arthur, at this point, considers asking about the details of this hilarious anecdote, but decides against it.

But, to Arthur’s chagrin, Igraine retells for everyone present, Arthur’s whole court, the story of Uther’s lechery and Merlin’s illusion-magic and Gorlas conveniently dying three hours before Arthur’s conception, and Uther marrying Igraine afterwards.

By the end of it everyone is pretty grossed out, even Ulfius, and the wind has gone out of his sails some. He grumbles that Merlin is the real grade-A monster here; Merlin is the one to blame for it.

“I know!” says Igraine. “I bore Uther a child, and then thanks to Merlin, I never got to see him again or raise him or find out what became of him.”

Then Merlin steps forward, and takes Igraine by one hand, and Arthur by the other, and puts their hands together, which is a touching little scene, and Merlin gets away with not explicitly apologizing, and Arthur cries and Igraine cries and Ector introduces himself to Igraine as Arthur’s foster father and they cry too, and then Arthur calls for another big party.

Eight days of partying later (Kay and the caterers Griflet and Lucas are busy) a boy rides up, with a dead knight. The boy explains that the knight was Sir Miles, the boy is Miles’s squire, and a guy out in the woods set up a tent out in the woods by the fountain –

“Nothing good ever happens at that fountain,” Arthur mutters.

“And at that tent,” the boy continues, “the villainous guy killed Sir Miles, and I’m hoping someone can avenge him? Or better yet I can get knighted myself and I’ll go avenge him? My name’s Griflet, by the way.”

“We already have a Sir Griflet,” says Arthur. “He’s one of the caterers.”

“That’s me!” says the boy. “It’s a continuity error!”

Malory, Malory, Malory… when will you learn?  He doesn’t actually assert that it’s a continuity error, but c’mon, it clearly is.  I had to look this up to confirm it’s not just me.  Curse you, Malory, for driving me once again to secondary sources!

Anyway back to the action.  “Hmm, if it’s a continuity error then I’d better knight you,” says Arthur. He looks Griflet up and down. “You’re awfully young, though. The Sir Griflet who fought so bravely at the massacre/battle against Team Lot & Mister 100 wasn’t so young.”

“I’ll age, I promise,” says Griflet.

“It is indeed a continuity error, sire,” says Merlin. “Best to knight him and be done with it. He’ll be a fine knight right up until he dies trying to stop your best friend from preventing the death of your wife.”

“Why do I let you say anything ever?” Arthur asks Merlin. “Griflet, fine, you can be a knight.”

Thus knighted, Sir Griflet was ready to ride off and try to kill the knight who had slain Sir Miles, but Arthur stops him and makes him promise to come right back after the fight, win or lose. Which strikes me as a little odd, I mean, if he loses he’ll likely die. But anyway, Griflet rides back to the fountain, and there’s the pavilion, and all the knight’s stuff sitting out.

Griflet takes his spear and bangs it against the knight’s shield, which is lying on the ground, and so the knight comes out and tries to get him to knock off the racket, and Griflet challenges him to a joust.

“What? Why?” asks the knight.

“You don’t remember me?”

“No.”

“You killed my master, Sir Miles?”

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“It was like twenty minutes ago!”

“Oh. Oh, right, you’re that kid. Listen, kid, you’re way too young for me to want to kill you, and you’re also way too young for me to lose to you in a fight.”

“I don’t care,” says Griflet, “I want to joust you.”

“Fine, fine, your funeral,” says the knight. “Which one is the joust? I can never remember.”

“It’s the one where we’re on horses and strike one another with spears,” says Griflet.

“Oh, man, I hate that one. Of all the knightly methods of contention it’s my least favorite. You’ll probably defeat me easily,” says the mystery knight, and he dresses for a joust and mounts up and they heft spears.

The two knights run at one another, and Griflet’s spear is shaky while the other knight’s aim is true, and boom, Griflet is dehorsed and left semiconscious with a big gaping spear wound, and his horse gets knocked down too.

“Yeah, I lied before. I’m actually a great jouster. I told you it was a bad idea,” says the mystery knight.  What a dick!  Who could this mysterious jackass be?


Comments

Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book I Chapters XXI and XXII — 3 Comments

  1. My guess is Merlin. Any time someone’s in disguise and being a dick, I assume Merlin. This is what you’ve done, Mallory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *