Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XI, Chapter 2
Pellam invites Launcelot back to his castle, for a meal, and of course Launcelot accepts. When Joseph of Arimathea’s descendent invites you in, you don’t say no! So it’s back to Pellam’s castle, which has been rebuilt since that time Balin knocked it all down.
Pellam’s new castle is way more holy and magical than his old one. For starters, there’s a bird that flies in a window, and in its mouth, it holds a little incense burner! It flaps around and spreads the smell of awesome magic incense from its wee little censer! That’s pretty crazy!
Second thing, during the meal (which is a great meal) Pellam’s daughter comes in holding a vessel of gold betwixt her hands, and when she comes in Pellam gets up from the table and then kneels to her, and everyone else at the feast does the same.
“Should I be kneeling?” asks Launcelot.
“Oh, right, you don’t know,” says Pellam. “That is the Sangreal. Also known as the Grail? It’s pretty important. We’re going to misplace it at some point, and then the Round Table will be broken.”
But Pellam doesn’t want to talk about that, Pellam wants Launcelot to get his daughter pregnant. Not because Pellam is a weirdo, Malory assures us. No, it’s just that Pellam can see the future and knows that Launcelot and Elaine (that’s Pellam’s daughter’s name) will have a son name of Sir Galahad, who will be the best and solve all problems relating to Grails.
Launcelot is, unfortunately for Pellam, cool on the whole sleep-with-the-daughter thing, and excuses himself.
“Well dang,” says Pellam.
Fortunately Pellam’s main brain trust is an enchantress named Dame Brisen. Brisen comes up with a multi-stage plan.
First, she fills Elaine in on her part, and sends her to the next castle up the road, Castle Case. Elaine, Malory takes pains to assure us, is 100% down with Brisen’s plan.
Second, Brisen does some magic to produce the illusion of one of Guenever’s couriers, complete with a special ring that Guenever lends out to her couriers to confirm their identity.
Third, Brisen sends the illusory courier to Launcelot’s chamber, where she has the illusion show Launcelot the illusory ring and tell him that Guenever wants to see him and is lodging at Castle Case, just up the road.
Fourth, when Launcelot drops everything in a mad dash to reach Castle Case before sunset, she arranges for a small reception to be waiting for him at the entrance to the castle, complete with a tray and on the tray, a goblet, and in the goblet, high-proof liquor magically disguised as weak wine.
Fifth, Brisen enchants Elaine so she looks slightly more like Guenever, enough to fool a drunken knight in the dark.
So Launcelot arrives, he has a goblet of wine to be polite, he gets roaring drunk and then Brisen’s people lead him up to Elaine’s room, and nature takes its course!
Again, Malory takes pains to assure us that while this is Brisen’s plan, Elaine is totes on board. So one rape later (Launcelot being unable to give informed consent), Elaine is pregnant with Launcelot’s child! And then Launcelot passes out.
Wow. I wasn’t expecting a male to be raped and have a child forced upon him. Malory defies my expectations, sometimes. Not really in a good way, but still.