Malory changes scenes abruptly, and spends a half-chapter filling us in on Sir Bors and Sir Lionel. They set out at the same time as Percivale, but they never found Launcelot. Instead, Bors drags Lionel to the court of King Brandegore, where Malory tramples on his own continuity yet again.
Remember how in Book XI, chapter 4, Bors turned down an offer of sex on the grounds that he only loved one woman, so-called “Princess Brangoris’s Daughter?” Well, now Malory is spelling that name Brandegore instead of Brangoris, but that isn’t the continuity error I mean. Back then, he and the princess had a daughter together, who was named Elaine (just like Arthur’s sister and Launcelot’s mother and Launcelot’s wife, all of whom are different characters). Suddenly though Malory claims that Bors actually has a son in Brandegore’s court, a lad of fifteen years name of Helin No-Last-Name, so named because Helin’s parents weren’t married.
Bors visits his son and his son’s mother and grandfather, while Lionel just stands around tapping his foot. Bors thinks Helin is a fine young man, totally worthy of being recognized as his son, so he and Lionel set aside their quest for Launcelot and instead return with Helin to Camelot, where Arthur knights him and so he proved a good knight and adventurous.
You can totally see how Malory needed to interrupt Launcelot’s ongoing saga to provide the secret origin of Sir Helin No-Last-Name, right? Right?
Anyway. Back on Joyous Isle, Percivale and Ector try to get Launcelot to return with them to Camelot, but Launcelot is unwilling, on account of Guenever banished him. Ector lays out a multipart argument in favor of Launcelot’s return:
* Everybody in Camelot misses you.
* Especially Guenever, who hasn’t been saying word one about this so-called banishment.
* Also right now the top number one knight is Sir Tristram, because you aren’t around any more.
* You really want Tristram to be A-1 Knight Prime? Come on!
* Did we mention that Guenever gave us awesome expense accounts? She’s spent like twenty thousand pounds of silver, funding our quests. That’s how much she cares!
FUN FACT: In Dungeons & Dragons, one pound of silver (50c of encumbrance) is worth five gold pieces, so Guenever spent 100 000 gp on funding knights! That is as much as it costs to buy a brazier of commanding fire elementals, or to go in halvsies on a mirror of life trapping!