Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVIII Chapter 6
Sir Bors goes back to Camelot and calls a meeting of the Knights of the Round Table.
“Fellows,” he says to the assembly. “I know that you think that whoever defends Guenever is necessarily a villain in cahoots with her, on account of she murdered Sir Patrice…”
“Boo!” cries a random knight. “She is a destroyer of good knights!“
“Arguably yes,” admits Bors. “But she’s also a maintainer of good knights, always holding banquets, and signing off on our expense reports. I’m convinced she didn’t murder Sir Patrice, and as such, I’m prepared to act as her champion.”
General uproar! The twenty-odd other knights who were at the royal banquet all huff about how unseemly this is, and many of the others grumble about how many, just maybe, Sir Bors and Queen Guenever are embroiled in a conspiracy to kill knights.
But Bors, the surviving winner of the Quest for the Holy Grail, is about as trustworthy as they come, and so most of the knights accept it.
We skip ahead to the day of the battle/trial/execution! Bors reassures Guenever that he isn’t going to drop out at the last minute. Everybody gets together in a field outside of Camelot. Guenever gets put into the dock, and someone starts up the big bonfire with the stake, for burning her at the stake. Malory takes a moment to remind us that back in the good old days murders got burned at the stake all the time, man, woman, king, queen, it didn’t matter, they were all for burning.
Sir Mador, her accuser, swears to Arthur that he believes Guenever poisoned Sir Patrice, and while he has no explanation for her motive beyond “she’s a woman,” he feels that should be sufficient. And then Sir Bors declares that isn’t good enough, that he’s confident she’s innocent, and that the only way to logically settle this argument and get to the bottom of what really happened is for the two of them, Bors and Mador, to joust.
Because that makes sense.
Mador’s raring to go, but Bors drags his feet throughout the process. Eventually Mador’s out, mounted and armed and ready to go, shouting at Bors to hurry up and get on his horse. Bors is ashamed of his dawdling, and sloooowly makes his way out to the end of the jousting field.
But then — finally! — a knight all armed, upon a white horse, with a strange shield of strange arms comes riding out of the woods and passes Bors.
“Whew,” says Bors to himself. Then, louder, “I’m going to cede my position to this strange knight here!”
Mador’s pissed. “Seriously?!”
Arthur’s annoyed, too. “What? Who is this guy?”
“He’s the best!” declares Bors, as he dismounts and pulls off his armor and orders a scotch.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVIII Chapter 6 — No Comments
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