Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XI Chapter 4
Pretty soon a knight comes by! Sir Bors! He’s not Sir Launcelot, but he is Launcelot’s nephew. Also he’s the late Sir Lamorak’s brother, and he’s knight of the Round Table. He’s pretty darn close. I mean, what are the odds? At least half of the knights in Le Morte D’Arthur aren’t related to Launcelot, after all.
So naturally Bors and Bromel end up jousting. At first Sir Bromel looks like he might be winning, but nope. Sir Bors wins, instead. Bromel surrenders, and Bors accepts his surrender on the condition that Sir Bromel go visit Sir Launcelot next Pentecost and apologize to him in person (yield thee unto him as a knight recreant). Bromel promises to do that, and off he goes.
Bors heads into the castle, to meet Pellam and Elaine. They’re thrilled — thrilled! — that finally Launcelot’s family has come to visit the baby. Bors is surprised about the baby, it is safe to say. Launcelot never mentioned a baby, he says. On the other hand, Launcelot has been distracted lately. Bors holds his little cousin Galahad and can’t deny there’s a strong resemblance.
“I hope he grows up to be a great knight!” says Bors as he holds the baby.
And then! A bird comes in holding an incense burner in its mouth, and there’s a magical feast, and a new maiden comes in holding the Grail, and she announces to Sir Bors that his cousin Sir Galahad will grow up to sit in the Siege Perilous, win the Grail, surpass Launcelot in every way, et cetera. Then she disappears in a light show!
“Wow,” says Bors. “This is some crazy strange adventure happening here. Pellam my man, are you sure we’re in Castle Corbin? Because it seems to me this is Castle Strange Adventures!
“Yeah,” says Pellam after a pause. He recalls Sir Balin and the dolorous stroke and all that. “Many knights have passed through here on strange adventures. Sir Gawaine was here the other day. I don’t like him.”
“Nobody does,” says Bors. “Maybe I’ll hang out here for a while, see if I can score a strange adventure of my own.”
“I don’t recommend that.” Pellam has seen a lot of strange adventures in his day. “It sounds like a fun time, all strange and adventurous, but it all ends in tears.”
Bors is confident. “I can handle whatever!”
“Well, okay. But if you’re going to do this, see a priest and do some confessing, so you can die with a clear conscience.”
Bors doesn’t plan on dying, but he agrees to confess his sins. Bors’s sins are very pedestrian, Malory tells us. While some knights will dip their wick anywhere, Bors has only slept with one woman, Princess Brangoris’s Daughter. Bors and Princess Brangoris’s Daughter have a kid together, a girl named Elaine. That’s, like, the fourth Elaine I think?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Did Malory live during some era when there were very few women’s names to go around, such that he had to double up on characters like this? Too many Isouds, too many Elaines.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XI Chapter 4 — No Comments
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