The first people Tristram and Launcelot bump into, on their way into Camelot, are Sir Gawaine and his brother Sir Gaheris.

“Check it out!” says Launcelot.  “We can call off the Tristram Rescue Squad, because here he is!”

“Sweet,” says Gawaine.  He maybe is embarrassed on account of he and Tristram met a few chapters back and Gawaine entirely forgot he was supposed to be looking for the guy.  “Looking for you was incredibly tedious and unpleasant and I’m glad it’s over. Ye have eased me greatly of my labor.  But what brings you out this way, Tristram?”

“I’m supposed to joust Sir Palomides at Merlin’s porch, you know, where Sir Lanceor died way back in Book II and Merlin raised up a monument saying TRISTRAM AND LAUNCELOT WILL FIGHT HERE BUT NOT TO THE DEATH.  Have you seen Palomides, by the way?”

“Seen who?” asks Arthur, who wanders up at this point.

So Launcelot tells Arthur about how they just fought but not to the death, and thus Merlin’s prophecy was completed.  And Tristram backtracks further and explains again how he was there to fight Palomides, and talks about how he rescued Palomides from Pitiless Bruce.

“Pitiless Bruce!” hisses Gawaine.  “My nemesis!”

And also Tristram was there in the first place because he was chasing a mysterious Fair Knight.

“That guy!” grumbles Gawaine.  “He defeated me and Bleoberis and also Kay.”

“Who is this guy?” asks Arthur.  But no one knows.  Arthur accuses Launcelot, but not seriously.  Nobody has seen the Fair Knight, and nobody has seen Palomides, either.


“Well, let’s get a move on,” says Arthur, and he takes Tristram into Camelot and gives him a tour of the Round Table and the damosels. Everybody cheers.

“Welcome, Tristram,” say the damosels in what I like to imagine is perfect unison.

“Welcome, Tristram,” say the knights in what would have to be deeply flawed unison.

“Welcome, Tristram,” says Arthur.  “A great knight, and I’m told a gentleman also and a scholar.  They say you are the greatest hunter, the greatest horn-blower, the greatest at all the various flavors of venery inside the bedroom and out, as well as a skilled harpist and of course a Launcelot-level jouster.  Welcome at last to Camelot.  I’m expressly not mentioning Book VIII, Chapter 19, the last time you were here.  You and I never met, anyway.  We’re just going to assume that was pre-Crisis. And also I pray you grant me a boon.”

“Of course!” cries Tristram, his head spinning with Arthur’s flattery.

“Stay here in Camelot and become one of my knights.”

“Oh, no thank you,” says Tristram.  He’s got a lot of irons in the fire, he says, all over.  Brittany, Servage, Cornwall, Ireland…

“Too late!” crows Arthur.  “You said you’d do a boon, and now you’re stuck.  Nothing personal,” he adds.  “I’ve had that boon-to-be-named-later bullroar played on me, like, a dozen times.  I just really wanted to reverse it!  And I must admit, it feels pretty sweet.”

Tristram sighs.  “So I’m stuck?”

“You bet you’re stuck!  But it’s not all bad, let me get you a chair.”

Arthur shows Tristram to his new seat at the Round Table, which has SIR MARHAUS crossed out and SIR TRISTRAM written in.  Malory helpfully reminds us that Sir Marhaus was the very first knight Tristram encountered on his very first strange adventure, way back in Book VIII Chapter 7.  Tristram slew him, but Arthur and everyone is copacetic with that; at the time Marhaus was acting as an agent of Ireland, not of Camelot.

Then Malory announces that he’s bored of Tristram and so we’re going to talk about King Mark for the next nine or ten chapters.


Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapter 6 — 1 Comment

  1. “We’re just going to assume that was pre-Crisis. ”
    Hialrious story: where someone kidnaps Malory with a time machine and chains him to a table and makes him write every storyline that features Cable.

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