Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVI Chapters 2 and 3
On the way to Nacien’s house, there’s this largely pointless interlude.
Gawaine and Ector bump into a strange knight. I’m just going to tell you now, it’s Sir Uwaine, for some reason. You might remember him from back in Book IV, when he and Gawaine went on some of their first strange adventures together. Will this be a happy reunion?
“Hey! You! Strangers! Let’s joust!” shouts Uwaine, as soon as he sees them.
“Did you hear that?” asks Ector, all excited. “I’m going to joust someone! Finally!”
Gawaine isn’t having any of it. “He was totally talking to me! I call dibs!”
“Too late! I called dibs.” So Gawaine rides up on Uwaine. No indication that either recognizes the other. They joust, and as happens every so often, Sir Gawaine manages to stab the other knight in the chest with his spear, and down Uwaine goes. Gawaine takes a wound, too, but nothing serious.
“C’mon, get up!” Gawaine wants to keep jousting. He gets off his horse and pulls out his sword and starts waving it around. “C’mon c’mon!”
“No good,” says Uwaine. “Maybe when I was a young knight, but that was a long time ago. I’m pretty much dying, here. Would you mind taking me to the nearest church? Or convent, I’m not picky. I just want to die someplace a little more holy.”
“Fine, whatever. Except I don’t know where a church is, near here, so…”
Uwaine sighs. “Okay, okay. I’ll direct you.”
So Gawaine loads Uwaine up on his horse, and Uwaine directs him and Ector to the nearest church. Around this point Gawaine and Uwaine recognize one another and realize that they’re cousins and also their names rhyme.
“Hey, Gawaine,” says Uwaine. “Remember how we swore an oath to always look out for one another? When you were worried about getting kicked off the Round Table for your incompetence? Screw you, man.”
And then Uwaine dies.
“Aw, man,” says Gawaine. “I’m going to get blamed for this somehow.”
Uwaine comes back to life for a second. “I thought of some better last words! When you get back to Camelot tell them I was awesome!” Then he dies again.
Gawaine cries, because he can’t help but feel responsible. Which, of all the deaths Gawaine has caused, I got to say this is one of the least actionable. Uwaine initiated the joust, and he knew the risks of the extreme sport of ‘getting stabbed with a spear while on a horse.’ But whatever. Gawaine retrieves the end of his spear, which had been stuck in Uwaine, and then he and Ector bury Uwaine as men ought to bury a king’s son, and made write upon his name, and by whom he was slain.
UNRELATED NOTE: Hey, remember back in October when I said I’d probably be wrapping Le Morte D’Arthur up around the end of the spring 2014, but that it might run longer? Currently it’s on schedule to run longer, probably until the end of this summer. Just to let you know.
It would disservice Gawaine’s name for him to show up and *not* kill somebody unnecessarily!