Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XII Chapters 6 and 7
So Elaine goes back to Launcelot, to tell him about Castle Bliant and how her father would set them up. She brings along her cousin Sir Castor, to be his sidekick.
“Castor, hello,” says Launcelot. “I’m…” He remembers that the name of Launcelot is pretty much mud, and even when it wasn’t, it got him into trouble with random passersby trying to joust him. “I’m Sir Exiled From Camelot. No, that’s too long. Sir Exiled. No, too specific. Sir Guilty. Just call me Mister Guilty, all right?”
“If you say so,” Castor says slowly. “I thought you were Sir Launcelot, though. I mean, you look just like him, and Elaine keeps making doe-eyes at you.”
“Listen, buddy.” Launcelot leans in. “Let’s say, hypothetically, I were Sir Launcelot, the renowned greatest knight in Christendom. And let’s say I was asking you to call me Mister Guilty. Do you think it would particularly profit you to be all, no, I’m not going to call you that? Or do you think you’d be better off playing along?”
Castor drops to his knees. He can take a hint. “No sir, Mister Guilty sir! I only know you as Mister Guilty, sir! If anyone asks that is the beginning and end of my knowledge!”
Then Sir Launcelot pardoned him.
Pellam and Launcelot and Elaine and ten knights and twenty ladies all ride out to Castle Bliant. Malory’s description of Bliant is that it’s all iron-clad, and its moat is exceptionally deep and wide. Launcelot renames the castle Joyous Isle, which is a reference to his old place, Joyous Gard, which he had to abandon to Tristram and Isoud. There, he becomes known as Mister Guilty, and adopts a new coat of arms, which is a picture of a queen with a knight kneeling in front of her. Also, he cries a lot.
Some amount of time passes, and then Peter the dwarf happens by with news: there’s a jousting tournament going on, just a few miles away! Launcelot considers heading out there and participating, but decides against it. Instead he sends Peter in his place, with a message. Mister Guilty, the knight of Joyous Isle, will joust anyone who shows up, any time. The knight who beats him will be awarded a fair maid and a gerfalcon.
Five hundred knights eventually show up, and Launcelot defeats each and every one of them. He’s so skilled that he avoids killing or even maiming his opponents, that’s how good he is. Malory skips over the details of Launcelot’s 72 hours of continuous jousting action, though, and we rejoin the narrative during a big feast afterwards.
Sir Ector and Sir Percivale, Launcelot’s cousins who have been searching for him since Book XI, happen by. They see the castle and its big moat and no drawbridge, and naturally they’re curious. They try shouting at the castle. “Hello! Hello!”
A lady with a falcon on her shoulder emerges from a rear door, and calls back to them from the other side of the moat. “Howdy! Have you come to fight for me? You’re late!”
“We just had a big jousting tournament, and I’m the prize! Nobody won me, though!”
Ector and Percivale exchange glances. “Whose castle is this?”
“My lady Elaine’s, she’s so pretty! And her lover, the best knight anywhere, Mister Guilty!”
“Well that doesn’t raise my suspicions at all,” mutters Ector.
“How did Mister Guilty come to be lord of this castle?” shouts back Percivale.
“It’s a crazy story actually!” shouts the prize… you know what? Her name is Melanie, I’ve just decided. “He wandered into Corbin acting like a crazy person! And then he was the town crazy man for a while! And then he was healed by the Grail! Mister Guilty: he’s just the best!”
“I would like to meet this Mister Guilty!” shouts Percivale.
Melanie nods. “There’s a boat over on the other side of the castle! It’ll ferry you over!”
“Thank you!” shouts Percivale, and Melanie goes back inside.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XII Chapters 6 and 7 — No Comments
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