Arthur sets a trap for ol’ Sir Lamorak, let me tell you.  He organizes a jousting tournament!  A quick little one, with Sir Gawaine and Gawaine’s brothers Gaheris, Agravaine, Gareth, and Mordred.  Sir Launcelot decides to sit this one out, so as not to embarrass Gawaine, and Tristram and Dinadan follow his lead.

So naturally Gawaine wins the tournament, and Sir Ector the lesser was also there!  But long story short, Gawaine wins.  In comes a knight and two squires… with a shield covered with leather.

“Who is that dashing stranger?” cries Arthur, as the mystery knight (spoiler you guys it’s Lamorak) lays into two nonspecific Knights of the Round Table, showing off.  He defeats them, but in the tussle his leather shield-cozy gets pulled off, and then was the king and all other ware that he bare a red shield.

“It’s that red shield guy!” shouts Arthur, and waves Gawaine and his brothers in to joust with the dude.  Lamorak takes out Gaheris!  He takes out Agravaine!  He takes out Gareth! Malory has forgotten that he just said Mordred was around!

So God me help,” muses Arthur, “that guy is one hell of a jouster.”  Arthur watches as Lamorak dehorses Gawaine.

“Man!  He just dehorsed Gawaine, everybody!” shouts Arthur.  “Who is that guy?  I’m tearing my hair out, over here!”

“Oh, sire, I know,” pipes up Sir Dinadan. “Sorry.  I thought I said.  Weren’t we just talking about him and his red shield last chapter?  That’s Sir…” He trails off, as Tristram is frantically elbowing him.  “I guess I don’t know his name after all.”

“Well, fortunately for you Arthur, I’m here,” says Tristram.  “I know his name!  He’s Sir Lamorak.  Nice guy.  Better at jousting than Sir Palomides.”


Seriously that just happened.  Sir Tristam: our hero, shameless goldbricker.


At Lamorak’s request they hold the whole tournament over again, since Gawaine getting so easily dehorsed invalidated the previous tournament’s results, and this time Lamorak beats like twenty guys and totally wins everything.  Afterwards Arthur, Launcelot, Tristram, and Dinadan ride up to greet and congratulate Lamorak.  When he sees them Lamorak takes off his helmet and waves, but then he spots Tristram and they run together and hug.  They haven’t seen one another since Chapter 17 of Book IX, after all.  Also, Lamorak recognizes Tristram!  And vice-versa!  After all the face-blindness going on earlier in this book, it’s a minor miracle.

So Arthur invites Lamorak back to Camelot, and he joins them, and there’s a big party.  Everybody’s ooh, Lamorak, you’re so great!  Except for Sir Gawaine and his brothers.

“Guys,” he says.  “Gaheris, Gareth, Agravaine, Mordred.  Guys.  This isn’t good.  This is bad.  Uncle Arthur really likes this Lamorak dink, even though he totally stole my tournament win earlier this selfsame chapter.  And sooner or later Lamorak is going to figure out we murdered his father, King Pellinore, for killing our father, King Lot.

“Also’s he’s into our mother, which is just weird and creepy,” Gawaine continues, citing Book IX Chapter 13 and Book X Chapter 8.


At this point I have to wonder whether Malory meant to tell the story of Gawaine killing Pellinore at any point, or whether he always meant to just vaguely allude to it in several places.  Some of the Launcelot stuff, like his acquisition of his castle Joyous Gard, Malory also alludes to without covering in detail.  Perhaps Malory felt that the original French sources he was cribbing from told the story better than Malory could have managed.



Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X Chapter 21 — No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *