Now we turn from the crazy sitcom of Gareth and his gal pal Lionesse and her shrewish sister Linet and their milquetoast brother Gringamore, back to Camelot. Or Carlion, this chapter Malory puts Arthur’s court at Carilon. It’s Pentecost again, which I find somewhat suspicious, but regardless. Arthur needs his annual someone-else’s-strange-adventure fix, and this year he lucks out, because in comes the Red Knight and the Green Knight and the Blue Knight (Malory changes his mind about calling him Indigo I guess) and they bring Arthur’s court up to speed about Sir Prettyboy and his marvelous adventures.
“Wow,” says Arthur. “And here I assumed that because Prettyboy meekly accepted Kay’s verbal abuse, he wasn’t knightly material. Just goes to show. I wonder who he really is.”
Before Kay can defend himself, Launcelot comes in and announces another knight has arrived, with a huge entourage. In comes another knight with a huge entourage! It’s the other Red Knight, who when he finds out there’s already a Red Knight in the scene announces his real name, Sir Ironside. Because that’s totally what his parents named him. The other Red Knight explains that he was defeated by Sir Prettyboy, just like the Red, Black, Green, and Blue Knights before him, and sent to present himself to Arthur or Lancelot or Guenever or somebody, and he brought along five hundred other knights for moral support.
“Well, hey, welcome to London or Camelot or wherever we are,” says Arthur. “You seem like a decent chap, except for all the murders — what say I make you a knight of the Round Table?”
“One thing, though, no more murders. All those random murders you’ve been doing? No more of that.”
“Sure, no problem, I was only doing that because I was mad at Sir Gawaine. Or Sir Launcelot. One of the two.”
Arthur gets the other Red Knight to apologize to both of them, just to be on the safe side. Gawaine and Launcelot do the classy thing and accept the other Red Knight’s apology, so that’s all well and good. They’re also extremely curious as to what Sir Prettyboy is up to now, and the other Red Knight can fill them in on what he did after he left the Blue Knight and defeated the other Red Knight: he hooked up with Dame Lionesse at Castle Perilous.
Past that, no one has any info. The Green Knight can relate the story of how Sir Prettyboy killed the Knight brothers, Arnold and Gerard, but that happened before he encountered the variously colored knights.
Then, randomly, Queen Margawse appears! Everyone is surprised! Margawse hasn’t been to Arthur’s court in like, fifteen years. It’s been awkward ever since Book I, Chapter XIX. Her various knightly sons — Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, Mordred isn’t mentioned for whatever reason — are thrilled to to see her, as is Arthur. But she didn’t come to visit her brother or her sons, she came to check up on her youngest, Gareth.
“I sent him here like a year ago?”
Arthur shrugs helplessly.
“He’s very knightly, and like, seven feet tall?”
“Oh, okay. Okay.” Arthur finally gets it. “Okay, I know who you’re talking about. We were just talking about him, in fact, these are some knights he defeated… we’ve been calling him Prettyboy which is a loving nickname, really, let me recap what we’ve pieced together of his adventures so far.”
And Arthur recaps, which I’ll skip over.
Afterwards Margawse is like, “there’s just one thing I don’t understand — Prettyboy the kitchen worker? You gave my youngest son a demeaning nickname and made him work in the kitchen?”
Arthur is all, “well, you know, you didn’t send word you were sending him, and when he arrived he didn’t have armor or knightly stuff or say his name…”
Margawse doesn’t get that at all. That makes no sense. When Margawse sent Gareth out she made sure he had all the usual knightly stuff.
Arthur shrugs. He blames Peter the dwarf. A year after Prettyboy, sorry, Gareth, a year after Gareth arrived, Peter showed up with a kit of knightly gear for Prettyboy, I mean Gareth, so, clearly.
Arthur just completely throws Kay under the bus. He’s always been nervous around Margawse.
Once all this is settled, Gawaine and his brothers are all, we’ll go find Gareth our brother and bring him back. But Sir Launcelot thinks this is a bad idea (as does Sir Baudwin, who invites himself into this confab). The better idea, pitched by Sir Launcelot with an endorsement from Sir Baudwin, want to send a messenger to Castle Perilous, Dame Lionesse’s castle, and invite her to Camelot.
Boom, she comes to Camelot, and assuming she did hook up with Prettyboy the way the other Red Knight seemed to think was likely, she’ll surely bring him along. It’s the perfect crime.
Arthur thinks it over, and decides to go with this plan.