“Well, darn,” says Sir Lucan.

“C’mon, let’s get the king’s body out of here,” says Sir Bedivere.  “Those looters are going to be coming through here soon.”

Lucan and Bedivere pick up Arthur, and did I mention before that Lucan was badly wounded and needed a lie-down?  Because the effort of standing up, followed by picking up Arthur’s body, turns out to be too much for Sir Lucan’s heart, which gives out.  Lucan collapses, dropping Arthur as he falls dead to the chapel floor.

The shock is enough to rouse Arthur, who, it turns out, was not a hundred percent dead.  “Waugh!” cries Arthur.

“Sorry, sire!” says Bedivere.  Then he notices his brother just died.  “Waugh!”

“Calm down, Bedivere.”  Arthur may lack the strength to sit up, but he’s still king.  “If I wasn’t dying, you can bet I’d be giving Lucan a stirring eulogy.  He’s been with me since Book I.  Now you’re the last one I have.  I’m dying, so I need you to do some magic for me.”

Bedivere blinks.  “Magic, sire?”

“Take Excalibur, my magical sword, and carry it out to the beach, and throw it into the ocean.”

“Sire, has your brain been damaged?”

“You heard me.  Then come back here, and hurry, because I don’t have much time left.”

Bedivere gingerly takes Excalibur, and stumbles out of the chapel, intent on obeying Arthur’s bizarre commands.  He makes it only halfway to the water, though, before he has a thought along the lines of Hey, Arthur is clearly dying and probably he’s crazy from the head wound and Excalibur is a magic sword and also it’s all jeweled and golden.  So basically instead of throwing the sword into the sea, he hides it.

Back in the chapel, Bedivere coos as he approaches the dying king.  “Hey, sire, buddy, hey, how are you doing, buddy?”

Arthur takes a breath before speaking.  “You threw Excalibur into the water?”

“You bet I did!”

“Good, good.  What did you see happen?”

Bedivere blinks.  He was not expecting this.  “It sank?  Into the water?”

“Bedivere!” Arthur barks.  “You didn’t throw the sword away at all, did you?”

“…No, sire.”

“Go back and do it again!  And do it right!”

So Bedivere goes and fetches Excalibur and takes it down to the beach, and then, again, he holds it and weighs it in his hand and thinks about how pretty and valuable it is, and rather than cast it into the sea he hides it again.

Back to the chapel.  “Done, sire!”

“And?”

Bedivere has composed a good lie this time.  “There was, like, a flash of light?  And angels, and maybe the Grail?  Or Merlin?  Something magick-y definitely happened.”

Arthur just glares at him.  “I’m extremely disappointed in you, Bedivere.”

“Sorry, sire.”

“This is why you’ve never been a major character up to this point.”

“Sorry, sire.”

“If you screw this up a third time I don’t care that I’m as weak as tissue paper, I swear I will kill you with my bare hands.”

“Sorry, sire.”

“Now go, and obey my command!  Throw away Excalibur!”

So for a third time, Bedivere leaves to dispose of Excalibur.  And this third time he psyches himself up, winds up, and pitches the sword out into the ocean.

Where — and you probably picked this up already somewhere via cultural osmosis — an arm reaches up out of the water and neatly catches it, before lowering back down into the wine-dark sea.

Bedivere’s jaw drops.  Of all the things he was expecting, that wasn’t one of them.  He rushes back into the chapel.

“Sire!  It was amazing!  An arm came up from nowhere and caught it!”

“Finally,” says Arthur.  “I can’t believe we’ve wasted all this time.  Now come on, help me up.  I’ve got to get down to the beach.”

Down on the beach, to Bedivere’s shock, a boat has landed.  Arthur doesn’t seem at all surprised to see it.  He lets Bedivere lead him down to the gangplank, then takes a few unsteady steps forward alone, letting his sister Morgan le Fay catch him as he collapses.  Bedivere is stunned to see Morgan le Fay, Nimue, and several other ladies on deck, but Arthur was expecting them.

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.

Sir Gawaine, died of injuries after retaking Dover from Mordred, in Book XXI.

Sir Mordred, slain by King Arthur in the final battle, in Book XXI.

King Arthur, traveled to Avalon, in Book XXI.

Sir Lucan, died of injuries sustained in the final battle, in Book XXI.

Starred entries are knights who were not, technically, members of the Round Table, but who were more or less solid Camelot-allies.


Comments

Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XXI, Chapter 5 — No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *