Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapters 63 and 64
Palomides and Hermind arrive by ship at the Red City, which by the way is located on the Delectable Isle, I kid you not. Palomides knows that Helius and Herlake won’t be happy about Hermind’s arrival, but they have no reason to fear him as far as they know. So he just goes up to the gates and announces that he’s Sir Palomides, Knight of the Round Table, Questing Beast Questor, and Arthur’s Goodwill Ambassador from Camelot.
He gets a city-wide party thrown in his honor! Although when they find out he’s Muslim they try to get him baptized, and he has to politely decline again and claim that he swore an oath to win like seven tournaments and also capture the Questing Beast first, before he would convert.
Around Day Three of this city-wide Palomides Festival, he finally meets Helius and Herlake. They’re all dolled up in shiny armor, with forty knights attending them. Malory at this point editorializes a bit about how Helius and Herlake aren’t deserving of their honors, because they were only the adopted children of King Hermance, and therefore are secretly really peasants, which leads them to self-hatred, which is why they’re such villains. Thanks for that, Malory.
“Welcome, Sir Palomides Saracen,” they say.
“You’re under arrest!” is how Palomides greets them in return.
This leads to a tense conversation, let me tell you, wherein Helius and Herlake don’t deny having murdered their father, but also noting that they have forty knights and a whole city on their side. They talk a little smack about his being Muslim, also.
“Feh,” says Palomides. “Even if I die right now, I’d die a better Christian than either of you. And I’m not even baptized, nor do I believe in Jebus! I’m just a better person than either of you!”
Then, long story short, Helius and Herlake try to flee. Palomides chases them. He jousts like forty guys, gets trampled, gets up, bashes Helius’s head in with a mace, stabs Herlake through the heart with a spear, fights Helius on foot for a while, and eventually decapitates him.
“All hail King Palomides!” cheer the peasantry.
“Yeah, no, I have zero interest in that,” says Palomides. “This place is kind of a dump. I’m going back to Arthur’s court. Sort it out among yourselves.”
So Sir Ebel or Sir Hermind or someone becomes king of the Delectable Isle, and Palomides makes his way back to Joyous Gard, where he reconnects with Tristram and Dinadan and Gareth. He and Dinadan have sex. Or at least they lay together that night. Which when a knight and a damosel do it means sex.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Malory combines hilariously archaic pro-aristocracy politics with odd progressivism w/r/t Palomides being non-Christian (and also possibly gay, but that’s no doubt my modern eyes seeing what he didn’t intend). Weird, huh?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Would this whole section of the book work better if Sir Dinadan were actually a woman who rebelled against her culture’s gender roles and lived as a man and knight? I think maybe so!
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapters 63 and 64 — No Comments
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