Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book VII Chapter XI
So at this point it’s clear that when Linet asserted that the Red Knight of the Red Lands was causing trouble for her sister, she didn’t mean that Red Knight or those Red Lands. Apparently Malory liked the imagery of the Red Knight so much he’s decided to use it for two different characters in the same story.
Now that we’re eleven chapters in, Sir Gareth finally gets around to complaining to Linet about her absurd behavior. He’s not so much upset about it being abusive and embarrassing as he is about it being inaccurate: he’s actually a very competent knight, but she keeps acting like he’s a mere yokel or churl.
Linet responds that she’ll leave that up to the best knight to judge. Turns out this whole time Linet has been leading Gareth to Linet’s personal hero, about whom she has as many good things to say as she does negative things about Gareth. He’s just so awesome, he’s like 99.9% as awesome as King Arthur, and more awesome than anybody else. Gareth, understandably, expresses interest in meeting the dude.
Linet leads Gareth into the Indigo Lands, where there’s a big lovely city with lots of indigo tents and banners and shields. And of course there’s a jousting tournament just getting ready to start! At this point I am shocked whenever a knight arrives in a new location and there isn’t a jousting tournament about to start. Or I would be, if that ever happened.
Anyhow, the knight that Linet is such a fan of is Sir Persant, the Indigo Knight. The word Malory uses is Inde, which at first I assumed meant India, with the elephants and the Orientalism, but some rooting around online strongly suggests we’re talking about the color indigo. Persant and five hundred of his closest friends are gearing up for some jousting, and when they see Gareth of course they immediately want him to participate, a sentiment they communicate with gestures while Linet and Gareth are still a long ways out of earshot.
Gareth is all, cool! A joust! But Linet is all Oh, you silly Prettyboy, you’ll just get yourself killed if you try to joust actual knights, and Gareth testily points out he defeated a whole series of knights, in front of Linet, in the preceding chapters.
For some reason, it’s unclear why, but for some reason this time when Gareth defends himself… Linet listens to him. “You know, you’re right,” she says. “You’re actually a great knight, and you must also be a gentleman because you’ve put up with my incredibly shrewish behavior for chapters and chapters now.”
“I’m keeping my identity secret,” Gareth reminds her. “Whether I’m a nobleman or not, you don’t get to know. But at this point I’m ready to just quit you and abandon you here with your super Indigo Knight buddy.”
“Alas!” she responds. “Now that you don’t want me I think you’re marvelous! Fair Prettyboy, forgive me!” And she throws herself at his feet, and of course Gareth accepts her apology.
Sir Thomas Malory: not great at writing women.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book VII Chapter XI — No Comments
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