It turns out that Sir Nabon is not that bad a guy, really.  He throws a big jousting tournament to celebrate the knighting of his son, Sir Nabon Junior, and hundreds of knights (from North Wales and Logris and other regions inimical to Arthur’s rule) show up to participate.  Jenna brings Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak and Sir Segwarides and Sir Kehydius to the tournament, for fear of what would happen if she didn’t.  But when they get there, Nabon treats them as guests.  He lends arms and armor to Sir Lamorak, who lost all his stuff in the shipwreck, and invites Lamorak to participate.

Lamorak is all why not, and joins in the tournament, despite still convalescing from the shipwreck, and wins.  Afterwards, Nabon himself wants to joust with Lamorak.  Lamorak is pretty well beat by this point, but Nabon won’t take no for an answer.

So they line up to joust, and Nabon pulls a dirty trick and kills Lamorak’s horse out from under him.  This is verboten under standard tournament rules; you’re supposed to knock your opponent off the horse, not just straight-up murder the horse.  But Nabon is the local lord and also he has a rep for ripping people into pieces, so everyone lets it slide.  Lamorak fights him on foot for a while, but Nabon gets the upper hand.

Once Lamorak is down, Nabon raises his sword, then pauses and laughs.  “Fair fellow!” he cries.  “What a game we’ve played.”  He lowers his sword.  “Here, take my hand; I’ll help you up.  You’ve impressed us all this day with your knightliness.”

“Well, thank you,” says Lamorak.  He lets Nabon help him up.

“Of course, I just defeated you, so I’m even more knightly.  Right?  Say yes.”

Lamorak, winded and sore and maybe thinking about how Nabon rips people in pieces with his bare hands, smiles awkwardly and nods yes.

“Ha ha!” laughs Nabon.  “Now, is there anyone else willing to joust me?  I didn’t think so.  Cake and punch for everyone, in the —”

“I’ll joust you!” interrupts Tristram  “I’ll fight you! I just need to borrow armor and arms and a horse from someone.”

Nabon was not expecting this, but agrees to lend Tristram the various pieces of equipment he needs.

They mount up, but at the last second Tristram dismounts.  He figures Nabon will just murder his horse, if he comes at him mounted.  “Let’s do this on foot!” he shouts.

Nabon shrugs, and dismounts.  The two of them swordfight for a while.

“You’re pretty good, you know that?  What’s your name, my friend?”

“I am Sir Tristram of Liones,” declares Tristram.

“You don’t say!  I’ve heard of you.” Nabon lowers his sword, in a conversational sort of way. “Good things, too.  I’ve been wanting to joust you.  You and Launcelot, you’re my wish-list…”

Nabon might have said more, but just then Sir Tristram takes advantage of Nabon’s distraction and lops his head off.

Then, quick like a bunny before anyone else reacts, Tristram dashes over to Sir Nabon Junior and lops his head off, too.


“Whoa,” says everyone present.  “I mean, yikes.  Well, okay.  Tournament over, I guess.  All hail King Tristram of the Isle of Servage?”

“No no no,” says Tristram.  “I may have just executed your lord in the middle of an explicitly nonlethal bout, and killed his son wholly without provocation in preemptive self-defense, since he would have tried to avenge his dad.  But I’m not going to stick around and rule y’all.  That’d just be weird.  Plus this island is a dump I don’t like you.  Besides, I’ve already got Brittany.  Sir Lamorak should become the king here.  He essentially won the tournament, after all.”

“Oh, no!” cries Sir Lamorak.  “No, no no.  I’m not sticking around this dump either.  Don’t foist it on me!”

“Well, fine then, I’ll just appoint someone who doesn’t deserve it,” snaps Tristram.

“I don’t deserve it!” says Sir Segwarides, raising his hand.

“Crap, can I… I wasn’t ready,” protests Sir Kehydius.

“Too late,” says Tristram.  “Sir Segwarides, by the power invested in me on account of I slew Sir Nabon and straight-up murdered Sir Nabon Junior, I’m such a jerk, I name you master of the Isle of Servage!”


Tristram and his entourage head back to Brittany after this.  Segwarides sticks around on Servage for a while, instituting reforms and freeing prisoners and paying back taxes to Arthur.  Eventually all is in order, and he returns to Cornwall, where he tells Mark and the lovely Isoud and all of Castle Tintagil about the whole strange adventure on Servage.  Everyone marvels at Tristram’s jerky awesomeness!  And the lovely Isoud cries a little when she hears that Tristram hasn’t abandoned Isoud the White yet.

We shift gears away from Sir Tristram at this point, for a while, but don’t worry, we’ll get back to him eventually.  He’s got a lot more jerk stuff to do.

Discussion Question: So Tristram’s a murderer now!  Good for him, apparently, is the common reaction.  Do you think he was prudent in offing Sir Nabon Junior mere seconds after slaying his father?  Why or why not?


Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book VIII Chapter 39 — 3 Comments

  1. I’ll go with prudent, and assert that the overlap between “prudent” and “sociopathic” in a Venn diagram is far from negligible.

  2. All of the protagonists of these books are pretty well unlikeable, but Tristram takes the cake. I can’t wait until we move on to somebody else!

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