Meanwhile Sir Mordred, whom Launcelot did not kill, limps off to Arthur.  He has to go on horseback because, as you may have forgotten, all of this went down while King Arthur was away from Camelot on the pretext of a hunting trip.

Mordred finds Arthur and Gawaine, and tells them the whole sordid story: not only was Launcelot sleeping with Guenever, but he killed thirteen knights!  He rampaged through Camelot!

To say Arthur is despondent at this news is an understatement.  He puts his head in his hands and starts murmuring about how it’s all over now, how the queen must suffer the death, how the noble fellowship of the Round Table is broken forever, and so on.

Gawaine is, for once, a voice of reason!  Or at least moderation.  “Uncle Sire,” he says.  “Maybe, just maybe, Launcelot was in Guenever’s chamber for some wholly innocent reason!  Maybe my brothers and sons were killed by a terrible misunderstanding!  Maybe we can still pull out of this!  I mean, this is Launcelot we’re talking about.”

Arthur sighs.  “I know.  I know Launcelot.  There’s no coming back from this.  I’m surprised to hear this coming from you, since you’re a dick.  Also he killed your brother and two sons of yours, Sir Florence and Sir Lovel.”

“Actually three: Sir Gingalin was my eldest son.  Anyway, of all this I have knowledge, of whose death I repent me sore; but insomuch I gave them warning… I mean, c’mon, I hate to say ‘I told you so’ to my three dead sons, but, I told them so.  They are the causers of their own death.”

Arthur commands Gawaine to get Gaheris and Gareth, and to take Guenever out to the usual stake, and burn her.  I got to say, throughout this entire novel, I have been on Arthur’s side.  Here, though, here he’s pretty clearly going too far.  When Gawaine thinks you’re being needlessly orgulous…

Anyway, Gawaine straight-up refuses to do it.  He tells Gaheris and Gareth to refuse, too, but Arthur’s the king and Gawaine is merely the older brother, and while neither of them are happy about it, the two good Orkney knights obey the king.

Alas, that ever I should endure to see this woful day,” says Gawaine, getting in the last word.  He goes off to sulk, and Arthur goes off to cry, and that pretty much sets the tone of the evening.

The next morning, Gaheris and Gareth very regretfully lead Guenever out to the stake for burning.  With them are a sizable group of knights of the Round Table:

1) Sir Belliance, the jerk

2) Sir Segwarides, the cuckold

3) Sir Griftlet the Caterer

4) Sir Brandiles

5) Sir Aglovale, Percivale’s brother

6) Sir Tor, Percivale’s other brother

7) Sir Gauter, from Book VI

8) Sir Gillimer, also from Book VI

9) Sir Reynolds, from the same scene in Book VI as Gauter and Gillimer

10) Sir Damas

11) Sir Priamus, the converted Moor

12) Sir “the Other Kay” Kay

13) Sir Driant

14) Sir Lambegus, Tristram’s sidekick

15) Sir Herminde

16) The Green Knight, from Book VII

17) The Red Knight, from Book VII

When Launcelot shows up to rescue Guenever, as everybody knew he world, he kills them all.  Also Gaheris and Gareth, not because he was trying to but because it was a very chaotic scene.

Guenever and Launcelot ride off over the pile of bodies.  Arthur watches them go.

“This can’t go on,” he says.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  So the Orkney faction now consists of Sir Gawaine, Sir Mordred, and…. That’s it.  Meanwhile, the Benwick faction has swelled up to eighty knights!  How sad is that?  Pretty sad, am I right?

Knights of the Round Table who have died: a list I surely won’t have to update as we go on from here!

Sir Balin, slain by Sir Balan in Book II.*

Sir Balan, slain by Sir Balin in Book II.*

Sir Accolon, slain by King Arthur as a result of Morgan’s plan failing in Book IV.*

King Pellinore, slain offscreen by Sir Gawaine sometime after the start of Book IV.

Sir Chestaline, Sir Gawaine’s youthful ward, slain by Roman soldiers during Book V.*

Sir Marhaus, slain by Sir Tristram early in Book VIII.

Sir Lamorak, slain offscreen by Sir Gawaine and his brothers around the time of Book X.

Sir Uwaine, slain by Sir Gawaine in Book XVI.

Sir Colgrevance, slain by Sir Lionel in Book XVI.

King Bagdemagus, slain by Sir Gawaine sometime prior to Book XVII.

Sir Galahad, ascended into heaven with the Grail in Book XVII.

Sir Percivale, died of grief after coming in second on the Grail-Quest, in Book XVII.

Sir Patrice, ate a poisoned apple intended for Sir Gawaine, in Book XVIII.

Sir Meliagrance, decapitated by Launcelot with one hand tied behind his back, in Book XIX.

Sir Tristram, murdered by King Mark sometime before Book XX.

Sir Colgrevance, again, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Agravaine, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Mador de la Porte, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Meliot de Logris, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Petipase of Winchelsea, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Galleron of Galway, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Melion of the Mountain, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Astamore, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Grummore Grummursun, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Curselaine, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Florence, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Lovel, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Gingalin, slain trying to arrest Launcelot, in Book XX.

Sir Gaheris, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Gareth, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Belliance, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Segwarides, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Griftlet the Caterer, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Brandiles, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Aglovale, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Tor, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Gauter, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Gillimer, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Reynolds, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Damas, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Priamus, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir “the Other Kay” Kay, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Driant, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Lambegus, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Sir Herminde, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

The Green Knight, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

The Red Knight, slain by Launcelot during his rescue of Guenever, in Book XX.

Starred entries are knights who were not, technically, members of the Round Table, but who were more or less solid Camelot-allies.  Gawaine-related deaths: 6 of 47.  Launcelot-related deaths: 33 of 47.  Remember when Sir Gawaine’s body count seemed excessive?


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Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XX, Chapters 7 and 8 — No Comments

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