Finally it’s the big day!  The wedding of Arthur and Guenever!  Malory skips the ceremony completely!  That’s just par for the course with him, I mean, Guenever still hasn’t had any lines.  They wed at the Church of St. Stephen in Camelot, so I guess this has all been happening in Camelot and not London after all.

At the reception everyone’s just sitting down to eat. Merlin does a last-minute check and makes sure that all 29 or 129 or 149 knights of the Round Table are in place, and tells them to sit tight, because a strange adventure is about to start.

Sure enough, during the soup course, in runs a white hart, getting run down by a white hound and thirty black hounds.  Right in the middle of the wedding reception, hart and thirty-one dogs.

“Oh, for the love of —“ says Arthur.   Guenever rolls her eyes.

“Wait for it,” says Merlin.

As the hart is running around all the tables (including but not limited to the Round Table), the white hound catches up to it and rips out a chunk of its hindquarters, and they both go spinning base over apex and knock right into some knight who’s sitting at a sideboard in the back.  The knight throws down his food, grabs the white hound by the scruff of the neck, and runs out of the hall to his horse and runs off.

“Wait for it,” says Merlin.

As the knight is riding off, a lady on a white walking-horse comes riding in from the other direction, shouting to King Arthur about how they’re her dogs and that knight just stole her best white brachet.

“It’s my wedding day!” Arthur shouts back at her.  “You’re crashing!  Get lost!”

“Wait for it,” says Merlin.

And then another rider comes in behind her, a knight on a big ol’ horse, and he scoops up the shouting woman and rides off with her, her screaming and protesting the whole time.  All Arthur’s knights look to Arthur and Merlin for direction: should they leap up and subdue the guy or what?  But Arthur is just holding his head in his hands and Merlin is signaling to them to sit tight, so they don’t move.

“I hate this strange adventure stuff,” Arthur says.  “Let’s just pretend that never happened and try to enjoy the rest of the reception.”

“Sire!” says Merlin, reproachfully.

“I mean, she busted in here and she was shouting, and I don’t want to deal with it,” says Arthur.

“You must!” cries Merlin.  “When strange adventures get started you’ve got to deal with them or else all hell breaks loose.”

“Fine, fine.”  Arthur slams down his fork.  “But I’m not doing it myself.  I refuse.  I hate these strange adventures.”

“Very well,” says Merlin icily.  “Then send Sir Gawaine to track down the white hart, and Sir Tor to track down the white hound, and send King Pellinore to rescue the damsel or else die in the attempt.”

“Hmm, die in the attempt, you say?”

“These three knights shall be sent off, and have strange adventures,” says Merlin.  “Which will occupy the bulk of the remainder of Book III, and occur contemporaneously, but we’ll start with Sir Gawaine, because he was mentioned first.”

And, sure enough, the next three chapters are about Sir Gawaine.  And no, Guenever doesn’t get any lines.

 

Vocabulary word of the chapter: brachet, which is old-timey speak for female dog.


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Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book III Chapter V — 2 Comments

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