This chapter opens with Dinadan and Palomides, neither of whom recognizes the other, even though they spent a big chunk of Book IX in prison together, along with Tristram. Their conversation is hugely frustrating because mainly it’s a recap of stuff that they should already know.
Dinadan knows Tristram, Palomides knows Tristram, and Dinadan thinks Tristram is a jerk but also a solid fighter. Palomides explains he’s on his way to Merlin’s stony grave, which is not the magic rock that has imprisoned Merlin ever since Book IV, but rather the memorial Merlin had raised in Book II and which Tristram has been inexplicably calling a porch. He has an appointment with Tristram to joust there, and he’s late. But he has a good excuse: he was in prison! Tristram should totes understand that.
Sir Dinadan tells Palomides about the Launcelot-Tristram title bout that went on in Chapter 5, how it ended in a draw, and how Tristram joined the Round Table.
“Wow,” says Palomides. “Shame I missed that. Also, I’m shocked to hear Tristram didn’t easily defeat Launcelot. Launcelot is kind of a wimp compared to Tristram.”
Dinadan gives Palomides a long look. “Have you ever met Sir Launcelot?”
“…No,” admits Palomides. “Except this one time when he defeated me and Tristram together, when we woke him up from a nap.”
“Well, take my word for it, you don’t want to fight either of them. They’re in a special class, those two. Now let me tell you about the next plot point, which is another jousting tournament, because that’s all Le Morte D’Arthur is, is jousting tournaments thinly connected by narrative.”
“Yeah. Queen Guenever and the lovely Isoud are going to be jointly presiding over this one.”
“Oh, I’m still sweet on the lovely Isoud,” exclaims Palomides. “I’ll enter the tournament and hopefully see her.”
“Cool! Let’s team up,” says Dinadan. “Who are you, again?”
“I’m Sir Palomides, the Muslim knight. Brother of Sir Safere and of Sir Segwarides —”
“Hold the phone!” says me. “Segwarides is Palomides’s brother? Palomides is Sally Segwarides’s brother-in-law? Sally Segwarides, the hottest-to-trottest lady in Cornwall as of Book VIII before the lovely Isoud moved there? Had an affair with Mark and another one with Tristram at the same time? Ran off from her husband with Sir Bleoberis (Launcelot’s cousin)?”
“Yeah I’m sure I mentioned that,” says Malory.
“I do not think you did,” says me. “I would remember that.”
Malory and I would continue our debate, but we’ve already intruded into Dinadan’s and Palomides’s narrative overmuch.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: I do not know what Palomides is talking about, with this whole story about Launcelot napping, he and Tristram waking the guy up, Launcelot smiting them both. Do you?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Palomides and Segwarides are brothers! Who saw that coming?! I’m tempted to go back and edit my commentary on Book VIII.