Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapters 55 and 56
At this point there’s a brief interlude of Tristram being a dick to Sir Dinadan for no reason at all. See, Dinadan comes by looking for Tristram, but Tristram’s incognito and won’t tell Dinadan that it’s him. Then Tristram insults him, and compounds the insult by refusing to joust Dinadan when Dinadan gets (understandably) pissed about it. Tristram goads Dinadan into jousting a totally different knight just passing by, Sir Epinegris, and when Dinadan loses Tristram mocks him for it. Dinadan finally goes off in a huff, ignoring Tristram’s protestations at the end that it was all in good fun.
“I’ll tell you where Sir Tristram is! Let’s be friends!”
“Go to hell! If you know where Tristram is, maybe I don’t want to know any more! God defend me from thy friendship!”
The really sad thing is that Dinadan is as close as Tristram has to an actual friend.
Afterwards Tristram goes home to Joyous Gard, where the guards come up to him and complain about how some of the guards were just killed.
“Some knights are here, and they just killed three guards for saying that Sir Launcelot is a better knight than Sir Gawaine.”
“This is Sir Launcelot’s castle, what did they expect?” Even Tristram thinks this is some trollish behavior. He seeks out these knights. “Guys, what the hell?”
“Tristram, Tristram, Tristram,” says the lead knight. “You’re new here. I’m Sir Gaheris, this is my brother Sir Agravaine, and we’re Sir Gawaine’s brothers and King Arthur’s nephews and we kill whomever we feel like.”
“I know who you are,” says Tristram. “Gawaine and Arthur should both be ashamed to be related to you. Ye be called the greatest destroyers and murderers of good knights that be now in this realm. You’re the dicks who murdered Sir Lamorak. I wish I’d been there with him.”
“Then you would have ended the same way,” says Gaheris, and he spits on the ground.
“I’m guessing there must have been more than just the two of you there,” says Tristram. “Anyway, if you’re taking up residence in Joyous Gard, I’m leaving.”
Tristram turns to leave, but Agravaine stops him. “Turn, traitor knight!” he demands. “Nobody threatens us like that and then just walks away!”
“You asked for it,” says Tristram.
And then, long story short, Tristram jousts the hell out of both of them, leaving them bloody and battered.
Afterwards he goes to Isoud. “We’ve got to leave Joyous Gard,” he tells her. “Things have taken a turn for the violent.” And he fills her in on the events of the last few chapters.
“Oh man,” says Isoud. “This all sounds pretty bad. Lamorak dead, Dinadan unaccountably angry for no reason you could discern… Didn’t Dinadan come up with that ‘King Mark Sucks’ novelty song which proved so instrumental in deposing him?”
“He did,” says Tristram.
“I wish he’d come here; I’d like to thank him.”
“Well, he’s looking for me, so he’ll turn up at some point. You know he’s opposed to courtly love, by the way? Thinks it’s stupid and unrealistic.”
“Feh! Between that and the inexplicable rage you describe while you were being perfectly reasonable, he sounds very grumpy. If I see him I’ll cheer him up.”
Isoud sends Dinadan a telegram or something — Malory doesn’t really explain — and Dinadan learns that Isoud wants to meet him. He goes to Joyous Gard and they meet, blah blah blah, introductions, Dinadan can see what Tristram sees in Isoud, blah blah blah, nevertheless courtly love is stupid, blah blah blah.
“You know, Sir Bleoberis fought off three knights at once, for the love of a lady,” says Isoud.
“Yeah. He’s a good guy, Bleoberis,” says Dinadan.
“Would you fight three knights for me?”
Isoud is disappointed. “Aren’t I fair enough? I’m pretty fair!”
“You are the fairest lady I have ever met, and much fairer than my lady Queen Guenever, heck, fairer than Sally Segwarides. But that doesn’t mean I’d fight knights just on your say-so.”
“You’re silly,” laughs Isoud. “By the standards of our society, it’s you who are the eccentric one!”
And Malory closes the scene with an implicit invitation to marvel at Sir Dinadan’s pig-headed refusal to go fight three knights at once for no reason other than a hot lady asked him to.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapters 55 and 56 — No Comments
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