Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapter 24
So once upon a time Sir Gawaine arranged for Sir Lamorak to die. His plan is fiendishly simple, subtle, basically it involves ambushing Lamorak with a sword. Let me walk you through it.
First, Gawaine arranges for his mother to visit Camelot, and to relocate to a castle nearby.
Second, Gawaine waits for Sir Lamorak, who pines for Queen Margawse, to call on her.
Third, Gawaine sends his little brother Sir Gaheris to burst in on them while they’re being all adulterous, and kill Lamorak with a sword.
Parts one and two of this plan go off without a hitch, but when Gaheris bursts in on his mother and her lover, well, what with one thing and another… Lamorak ends up covered in blood, which is good. It’s a step towards victory. Sadly, though, Gaheris got confused and murdered the wrong person in the bed.
“Oh crap,” says Gaheris, that dolorous knight.
“The hell?” cries Lamorak. “Gaheris? Is that you? You just killed your mother? Why did you just kill your mother? What is happening? Aren’t you on the Round Table?”
“Crap crap crap…”
“I mean, you could have burst in and killed me, I guess, you’d at least have a leg to stand on there, but…”
“Well I hope you’ve learned your lesson!” Gaheris doubles down on the matricide. “It’s a real shame, but, you know, your father killed my father. That’s why I had to kill your lover. That it was my mother: icing on the cake. You shouldn’t lust after someone’s mother. It’s not right.”
“Not right?” Lamorak seems (understandably) incredulous that Gaheris is going for the moral high ground here. “First off, my father’s didn’t kill your father. Sir Balin, called Mister Two-Swords, slew him.”
“That can’t be right,” says Gaheris. “Because then we would have been in the wrong when Gawaine and I avenged our father’s death and murdered your father, all those years ago. Listen, I’m overcome with weariness, and also you’re naked and in bed and not armed and armored like me, so let’s call off the joust to the death we were probably going to do. Just stay away from my mother in the future, is all I ask.”
“Your mother,” repeats Lamorak. “Whom you just murdered.”
So Lamorak flees! I mean, wouldn’t you? Don’t worry, though, folks, he’ll show up again soon. If by soon you mean like twenty chapters.
Everyone in Camelot is all abuzz about how Sir Gaheris murdered his mother and blamed Sir Lamorak for it. The general opinion isn’t so much pro-Gaheris as it is anti-Lamorak. Arthur and Launcelot have a little confab about it.
“People are upset,” observes Arthur.
“Yeah. It’s a shame. Sir Lamorak is a good guy,” says Launcelot. “But if he ever shows his face here at Camelot again, I’d feel obliged to ride off in a huff and never come back.”
“Really. Tristram feels the same way, he told me.”
“Hmm,” says Arthur. “On the one hand, I could come out in favor of Lamorak. That would cost me your service, and Tristram’s, and I suppose Gawaine and all his brothers too, but I’d keep Lamorak.”
Launcelot shakes his head. “You think Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, Gareth, and Mordred will let Lamorak alone? His days are numbered, sire.”
“Hmm. If I’m out Lamorak either way, it’s a question of alienating everybody versus not alienating everybody… what to do, what to do…”
Paragon of wisdom that Arthur is, he eventually condemns Lamorak.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Here, let me quote from way back in Book II, Chapter X:
“So there was a knight that was called the Knight with the Questing Beast, and at that time his right name was called Pellinore, the which was a good man of prowess, and he smote a mighty stroke at King Lot as he fought with all his enemies, and he failed of his stroke, and he smote the horse’s neck, that he fell to the ground with King Lot. And therewith anon Pellinore smote him a great stroke through the helm and head unto the brows.”
Or to put it another way: Pellinore rides in at the last minute and killsteals Lot. So Lamorak is way off base, blaming Mister Two-Swords for Lot’s death.
HANG ON, THAT’S NOT A QUESTION: So… what’s up with that, huh?
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapter 24 — No Comments
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