It’s Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Thoughts on Book VII:
1) So Sir Gareth is seven feet tall. This is really clearly established early on; he’s a very tall dude. People comment on it, until Malory I guess forgets he mentioned it sometime before halfway through the book, when it’s dropped and never mentioned again. As a tall man myself, 6’4” (it’s funny because my wife is 4’11”) I appreciate a tall hero. Would have appreciated a little more consistency with regards to people noticing it, though.
2) Up to around chapter XII, which is to say, up until around the time Linet’s sister Lionesse appears, I assumed Gareth and Linet were going to end up together. Their pairing is implied in a pretty subtle way by Malory’s standards, which is to say, not very subtly at all. I’m not the only one who thought so, either: according to Wikipedia, Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” rewrite of this story has Gareth marrying Linet.
2a) I’m well aware that Wikipedia is a lousy resource, and there’s a plentitude of Arthurian scholarship out there, but it’s a hole with no bottom and I’m trying to compromise with coming to the text cold versus satisfying my own curiosity. It’s my blog, I can do that.
3) Sir Grummore Grummursum has got to be the best or the worst knight name so far, one of the two.
4) There is no explanation for any of the following: why Gareth arrived with two guys and no armor and incognito at Camelot, with Peter not appearing with his armor for a full year; why Linet decided to keep so many things secret when she came to Camelot to recruit help; why Gareth decided he needed to avoid going back to Camelot and seeing his mother; why he changed his mind after fighting Gawaine for two hours; and why on Earth Sir Gawaine decided he wanted to murder Sir Gareth and so Gareth stuck close to Launcelot. Except for that last one, these are major plot points! This is not a very good story, okay?
5) I may be in the minority, but I like the Red Knight, the Black Knight, the Green Knight, the Indigo Knight (whom Malory sometimes calls the Blue Knight), the other Red Knight, the Brown Knight, and the capper, Duke Auburn. I think it’s funny that there are two Red Knights!
Mr. Pink: Why can’t we pick our own colors?
Joe: No way, no way. Tried it once, doesn’t work. You got four guys all fighting over who’s gonna be Mr. Black, but they don’t know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You’re Mr. Pink. Be thankful you’re not Mr. Yellow. (Reservoir Dogs)
Tune in tomorrow, so to speak! I’m taking a break from Le Morte D’Arthur, not a long one. Tomorrow there will be something new, and once it’s done we’ll get back to Book VIII of Le Morte D’Arthur, the tale of Sir Tristram! Or a tale of Tristram, at least.