You know who Malory hasn’t checked in on, lately? Sir Gawaine!
You know why Malory hasn’t checked in on Sir Gawaine? Because he’s not doing anything interesting!
Seriously, since Chapter 16 of Book XIII, Gawaine has been riding around, looking for strange adventure in general and the Grail in particular, and he comes up with bubkes. There are no giants to slay, no evil knights to joust, no maidens to rescue, even Pitiless Bruce has vanished from the narrative. It’s all Grail, all the time, and since Gawaine doesn’t measure up, he has nothing to do.
So he spends months riding around, not finding anything, and one day he happens across Sir Ector. Gawaine complains about his total lack of strange adventure.
“I know!” says Ector. “Every knight I bump into, and I’ve bumped into a bunch of Knights of the Round Table since we started on this Grail thing, every guy to a man complains about this strange adventure shortage.”
Gawaine groans. “Everybody?”
“Everybody except Sir Percivale, Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir Launcelot. Those four are probably all off together, getting the Grail, making the rest of us look bad. Stupid preternaturally virtuous knights.”
“Hold on,” says Gawaine. “Hold on there. I’ll grant you that Sir Galahad appears to be the second coming of Christ, and that Sir Percivale also sat down in the Siege Perilous and survived, and even that Sir Bors is a really awesome dude. Bors wins the Fewest Affairs in Camelot award every year. But Launcelot? Preternaturally virtuous? C’mon. He’s no more virtuous than I am! He’s just really, really good at jousting because he practiced real hard and was dedicated to the sport and became the best. I mean, maybe he’s on a mystic quest of atonement right now, I don’t know about that. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”
“We could go looking for them,” muses Gawaine. “If we stick close to Galahad we’re bound to get some contact holy. But he’d probably just run away, on account of we’re too sinful to be good company for him. So we should be sneaky.”