“Launcelot, Launcelot, Launcelot.” The anchoress tsk tsks and shakes her head. “You were such a good knight, when you were doing earthly adventures back in Book VI. But since then you’ve been engaging in heavenly adventures. It’s a whole new scale, kiddo.”
Launcelot perks up. “So, I lost at that tournament because those knights were all Mystery Knights or Magic Knights or Fair Knights, not regular knights? I’m still undefeated in terms of conventional jousting?”
“No!” the anchoress snaps. “That was a perfectly normal jousting tournament you crashed, between your brother-in-law Eliazar, Pellam’s son, and King Harlon’s son Argustus. Eliazar’s team were the Whites, and Argustus’s the Blacks, who lost.”
“Listen, remember Arthur’s last big jousting tournament in Book XIII, Chapter 6?”
Malory didn’t mention it at the time, but now he’s decided that during that tournament half the knights wore black and called their team the Unconfessed Sins, and the other half wore white and called their team the Virgins. And of course the Virgins won, and that was the true beginning of the Quest for the Holy Grail.
And, later, when Launcelot came upon a tournament and saw the Virgins beating the Unconfessed Sins again, what did he do? He joined in the fight on the side of the Unconfessed Sins. Shame, Launcelot! Boo!
“Aw, man.” Launcelot is dejected at that, let me tell you.
The anchoress takes pity on Launcelot and tells him to try to be a better man, and then she gives him some dinner.
In the morning Launcelot rides onwards and comes to a ford, guarded by a gigantic black knight, as big as a bear. They joust, wordlessly, and Launcelot gets dehorsed and washed away! And Launcelot is okay with that, because he’s trying to be better. And then he took his helm and his shield, and thanked God of his adventure.
And… that wraps up Book XV! Book XV was very short. Malory lets us know that Book XVI is going to be about Sir Gawaine, so, we’ve got that to look forward to. Actually it’s mostly about Sir Bors. If you’ve been paying attention you may have already pieced it together, but in the Quest for the Holy Grail, Galahad, Percivale, and Bors have a distinct advantage over everyone else.