Three entirely unconnected events this chapter. First, Sir Suppinabiles from last chapter returns to Brittany.
“I’m back from Camelot,” he announces.
“Did they mention me at all?” Tristram asks.
“Cool! What’d they say what’d they say?”
“So, you know Sir Launcelot…”
“My good friend and knightly role model!”
“Yeah. He said he hates you and he’s going to kill you, because you’ve been unfaithful to the lovely Isoud.”
“Really? He said that?” Tristram is crestfallen. “Stupid wife. I should never have married Isoud. Darn it. Darn it all.” And of course he gets all morose, and blames Isoud the White. Jerk.
The lovely Isoud and Guenever are penpals, did you know that? They exchange letters all the time. The lovely Isoud hears about this turn of events from Guenever, and she’s heartbroken to hear about this betrayal by her man (“her man” !== her husband). Guenever writes her back an unexpectedly ominous note:
“Oh honey, oh sweetie, oh, listen. Men are idiots. Men are fools, you remember that. Tristram can hardly be expected to remember you exist while you’re not standing in front of him. Very few knights have mastered object permanence. Thats why ladies like you, and me, and Morgan, and so on, that’s why we use sorcery to manipulate men. Eventually you’ll get your Tristram back, never fear. His marriage to Isoud the White will totes go south, I promise. Kisses, Guenever.”
Third thing, Malory warns us it’s a bit of a curveball, but it sets up the action for the next several chapters. Remember Sir Lamorak? He turned Morgan le Fay’s drinking-horn over to King Mark in Chapter 34? Anyway, he’s on a ship that sinks. Everyone except him and his squire are killed, and then his squire drowns also. He gets fished out of the water by some guys from the Isle of Servage. They take him back there, but it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire, because the lord of the island is a giant named Sir Nabon the Black. Nabon, as you might guess from his name and his being a giant, is a right villain. Malory assures us of this. He hates King Arthur and all his knights. In fact, just a little while back one of Arthur’s knights visited the island, Sir Nanowne the Short, and Nabon ripped him to pieces. I mean, literally, pieces of Sir Nanowne were flying in all directions!
“Whoa!” says Sir Lamorak. “Sir Nanowne was my cousin. I hadn’t heard from him in a while, but I had no idea he was dead! And this guy killed him? Man, that about takes the biscuit. If I wasn’t so half-drowned I’d go give this Sir Nabon a piece of my mind!”
“Ssh!” say the fishermen. “Stay on the down-low, and get off this island as soon as you’re well. Otherwise Sir Nabon will tear us apart for helping you.”
“That’s not how I roll,” insists Lamorak. “Somebody messes with King Arthur (by proxy), he messes with me! Just as soon as I can walk again, boom, I’m taking this Nabon out.”