New story! New story! Gather round, and let me tell you all about Sir Galahalt, who should not be confused with Sir Galahad. This story has so much jousting you guys, that’s why we’re covering seven chapters today.
Galahalt is prince of the country of Surluse, one of Arthur’s vassal states, and when he comes of age he travels to Camelot.
“Sire,” he says to Arthur. “I have come to joust, like the knights here do!”
“That’s cool,” says Arthur, “but I was just leaving. You’ll have to joust without me.”
“I’ll run the tournament, if you like,” offers Guenever. “I never have anything to do. I’ll get Launcelot to pitch in. It’ll be a change, me ordering Launcelot around. That never happens. Definitely not in the bedroom, especially.”
“Uh huh. That sounds great, honey.” Arthur has a suitcase in his hand, he’s walking out the door. “You three joust, have a good time, and tell me about it when I get back.”
Guenever corrals Launcelot, somehow, into participating in this tournament, which Galahalt decides to hold in Surluse instead of at Camelot. It’s a big-deal, eight-day tournament, headlined by Sir Dinadan (in disguise), Sir Launcelot (in disguise), Sir Ector-the-Lesser, King Bagdemagus, Sir Bleoberis, the King of Northgalis, Sir Meliagaunce (Bagdemagus’s son), Sir Sauseise (Bagdemagus’s aide, whom Bagdemagus urges to defeat Meliagaunce, but gently, so Meliagaunce will end up off the field without getting permanently maimed or slain), Sir Goneries, Sir Palomides, Sir Semound, Sir Archade, King Marsil of Pomitain, Sir Breuse, Sir Gaheris, Sir Blamore, Duke Chaleins of Clarance, Sir Elis the Black, Sir Lamorak, Mister 100, Earl Safere, Sir Mador of the Harbor, Sir Uwaine, Sir Gawaine, Sir Mordred, Sir Agravaine… so many knights, you guys.
Malory spends a fair amount of verbiage talking about this tournament but let’s skip that. Just assume it’s going on in the background, while a damosel name of, have we used Carmen? Carmen. Carmen has a problem, so she goes to Galahalt during the tournament to ask for his intercession. Seems a knight name of Goneries has picked her out to harass — throwing gloves at her, seizing her land, that kind of thing — and none of the knights at the tourney are willing to act as her champion.
Guenever and Galahalt consider this, put their heads together, and come up with an answer: Palomides. He’s a sucker for coming to the defense of ladies, they figure, so they send Carmen off to him.
Long story short, Palomides chops Goneries’s head off, after Goneries is a dick about it, and then he and Carmen become lovers, even though — Malory is shocked! shocked by this — Carmen is actually Palomides’s cousin, so it’s practically incest.
Then on the second day of the tournament… what? You thought that was the whole thing? Nah, we’ve got a full week yet to go! Jousting, jousting, skipping over the jousting, Sir Palomides needs a place to stay for him and Carmen. Galahalt orders Sir Archade to put them up, but he forgot that Archade was Goneries’s brother, so of course Archae accuses Palomides of murdering his brother, and they joust, and Palomides gets him with a spear through the chest and then a decapitation for good measure.
More jousting, blah blah blah, wow a lot of maimings, this description makes it sound more like a battlefield than a tournament, guys just breaking other guys’ necks, but I guess it’s all in good fun. Palomides beats most everybody, except Launcelot beats him and Lamorak fights him to a draw. Lamorak is only at the tournament because he’s allowed to be in Surluse, even though he’s been banned from Camelot.
But Palomides does beat a bunch of King Arthur’s nephews — Uwaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, also his secret son Mordred — and when Arthur hears about this, he’s severely bummed. “O Jesu, this is a great despite of a Saracen that he shall smite down my blood.“ Arthur is apparently a little bit racist and while he’s happy to have Sir Palomides around, he doesn’t like Palomides being a better knight than his own Christian nephews.