Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XI, Chapter 9
Malory cuts to Guenever and Elaine at this point, shortly after Launcelot has run off into the woods to be a crazy man.
“This is all your fault,” Guenever tells Elaine.
“Oh, come on!” Elaine protests Guenever’s assertion. “I mean, come on. You have a husband — King Arthur — and yet you selfishly claim Launcelot as your special man-friend in addition to Arthur! So you have two men, and I have zero, despite losing my virginity to Launcelot and having his son! How is that fair? At least I can take comfort in the knowledge that one day Baby Galahad shall be in his time the best knight of the world.”
Guenever doesn’t care. “Sun comes up, you and your whole entourage are out of Camelot, you hear me? You leave, you never come back. Also, as Queen of England, I forbid you to seek out Launcelot while he’s off in the woods being crazy.”
“Like I would,” Elaine says. “He’s gone crazy! Which is your fault!” She stifles a sob. “I just love him so much. Alas!”
“Alas!” agrees Guenever, and for a moment they’re just two women pining together for the same man.
In the morning, Elaine and her crew leave, for reasons that no one will explain to King Arthur. Arthur’s willing to let her go, of course, though he’s annoyed that she’s being so secretive. So Arthur sends a hundred-knight escort with her, led by one of his best men, Sir Bors.
Bors sidles up to Elaine, as they ride off, and nonchalantly observes that it’s awfully early and doesn’t she look a little bedraggled and I don’t know, Malory is nonspecific, but he gets her to tell her the whole sordid story.
“Launcelot ran away from home?” Bors is shocked, shocked to hear this! “Where did he go?”
“I just said, I don’t know!” Elaine sniffles.
“You and Guenever, man, you’re a couple of pieces of work!”
“It’s not my fault! It’s Guenever’s fault! She’s the one who sent him away! Why does everyone say it’s my fault?!”
Bors announces an intention to bring his hundred followers back to Camelot, where Bors shall give Arthur a version of the story that doesn’t include Launcelot’s affair with Guenever. He thinks Elaine should probably seek out Launcelot, too, which she was planning on doing anyway, she’s quick to tell him. Even if Queen Guenever, Miss Thing, insisted Elaine never see him again.
Screw Guenever, that is Elaine’s basic position.
Dame Brisen, the enchantress who masterminded the Elaine-Launcelot hookup in the first place, pulls Elaine aside as Bors leaves, and warns her that Launcelot is totes crazy and there’s nothing profitable from an Elaine-Launcelot reunion at this point in time, but maybe Bors will find Launcelot and nurse him back to sanity, and then at some point after that, more Elaine-Launcelot assignations. That is the only path from the present situation to Elaine-Launcelot funtimes that Brisen can see.
This makes Elaine cry.
Bors goes back towards Camelot, but on the way he meets Guenever and some of Launcelot’s other cousins. Bors himself is Launcelot’s kin, remember? With Guenever are some number of additional cousins, including but not necessarily limited to Ector the Lesser and Lionel. Bors tells them all about the Launcelot situation. Guenever cries, which prompts Bors to chew her out, crying over spilled milk, etc. Then Lionel and Ector and Bors sit down together and bemoan the ultimate fate of their family. First Lamorak murdered, now Launcelot mad. Shall the Orkney faction (Gawaine and Mordred and their brothers) entirely overwhelm Bors and the rest of the Benwick faction?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Do you think Malory has been subtly pulling for the Benwick faction over the Orkney faction this whole time, or do you think it hasn’t been subtle at all?
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XI, Chapter 9 — No Comments
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