Smash cut to Mador accusing Guenever of treason, in front of Arthur and everyone!  Malory helpfully explains that back in olden times, murdering a knight was considered treason.

“Well, obviously the way to proceed is trial by combat,” says Arthur.  He figures he can get this wrapped up real quick.  “Mador, you’re accusing Guenever, so you and Launcelot can duel…”

Someone whispers into Arthur’s ear that Launcelot is out of town.

“Fine then,” Arthur says crossly.  “I’ll do it.  Sword!”

As someone hands Arthur a sword, Mador protests.  One, Arthur is the judge, and so can’t act as champion for the accused.  Two, Arthur is the king and the last thing Mador wants is to accidentally be responsible for the death of the king.  And three, Arthur is of course too perfect and wise and full knightly for Mador to have a fair fighting chance against him.

“Fine then, again.  Can I get a volunteer to act as my wife’s champion?”

Arthur turns to the assembled knights, all of whom were at the dinner.  None of them step forward, because either they figure Guenever’s guilty (most of them), or they have a general rule against championing other knights’ ladies (Sir Bors and the rest of the Benwick faction), or else they’re just pretty much cowardly (Sir Gawaine, Sir Pinel).

Mador suggests they take a one-day break and then get back to it.

Arthur’s mad, though, because all his knights are basically asserting they think Guenever is a murderer.  “No!  We’ll adjourn for two weeks, and if none of you come forward and agree to act as Guenever’s champion, then I’ll… I’ll…”

“Burn her at the stake?”

“Yes!  I’ll burn her at the stake!  Then won’t you all be sorry!”  Arthur waggles his finger at the knights.

Afterwards Arthur assures Guenever that this whole burning-at-the-stake thing won’t actually happen.

“I didn’t poison anybody!” insists Guenever.

“I believe you, I believe you.  We’ll find Launcelot, get him to trounce Mador, it’ll all be over double-quick.  Where is that ol’ dog, anyway?  Where is Sir Launcelot?

Guenever fidgets.  “I don’t know.  I’m pretty sure he’s out of the country, though.  Like, if someone exiled him from Camelot?”

“Dang it.  Okay.  New plan.  Sir Bors!”  Someone hands Arthur Sir Bors.  “Bors, bite the bullet and fight on my wife’s behalf.  It’s not unseemly, I’m giving you permission!”

Bors respectfully declines, on the grounds that he’s a witness in the murder case and it just wouldn’t be proper.  “I could go find Sir Launcelot for you, though,” he offers.

“Fine, fine, do that.”  Arthur’s tired of this whole thing.  He waves Bors away and goes to bed, grumbling about how Guenever should have just kept Launcelot happy, in a manner that could be interpreted as implying Arthur knows full well that Guenever and Launcelot are lovers, and he just doesn’t care.


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Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVIII Chapter 4 — No Comments

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