Lugodoc’s summary of Book 10 – Odd Tales
[ The Joust at the Castle of the Hard Rock, continued… ] and although Tristram told him who the shield was from, he would not reveal his own name, puncturing both King Arthur himself and Sir Uwaine when they became too suspicious. He rode off and rescued Sir Palomides from Pitiles Bruce and his ten knights, following the damosel, save the failure referred to at the end of Book 9.
Having saved his life, Tristram challenged the injured Sir Palomides to mortal combat in a fortnight’s time at the tomb of Lanceor and Colombe (see Book 2 – Malory is full of little cross-references like this). Meanwhile Launcelot was going around incognito in white armour with a covered shield so he could fight anyone he wanted, including his friends, and came to the tomb where Tristram mistook him for Palomides (who later claimed to have been in jail). They nearly killed each other, fulfilling Merlin’s prediction made decades before, that the two best knights in the world, and the truest lovers, would one day fight there, but neither would die.
Once they realised who was who, Launcelot finally dragged a reluctant Tristram back to Camelot, where Arthur noticed that on the Round Table, the name of his dead knight Sir Marhaus (whom Tristram slew at the beginning of Book 8) had magically changed to… Tristram! So he knighted him.
Infuriated by stories of Sir Tristram’s fame in England, King Mark left Cornwall in disguise and rode to Camelot looking for treacherous revenge, but was merely humiliated several times and taken before Arthur.
Sir Lamorak humiliated all the Orkney Knights at a joust, and Gawaine swore revenge, having already killed Lamorak’s father, King Pellinore, for having killed his own father, King Lot.
Tristram desperately wanted to see La Beale Isoud again, so Arthur made King Mark promise to cancel his exile and take Tristram back to Cornwall safely, and Launcelot promised to kill Mark if he hurt Tristram.
King Pellinor’s youngest son Percivale was introduced to Arthur by his eldest (full legitimate) brother Aglovale, and knighted. They all suspected he might be exceptional when, after a high-born and previously dumb maiden suddenly told him to sit in the Siege Perilous, she confessed to the nearest priest and died.
Sir Gaheris found his mother, Margawse, sleeping with Sir Lamorak (who had slain her husband, King Lot, at the Battle of Terrabil), so he chopped off her head and let Lamorak go, to be killed later. Lamorak claimed he hadn’t killed Lot but that it was Balin who had (which is not what Malory says), and rode off in shame. Camelot was in uproar.
King Mark sent some rumour-mongering letters to Arthur’s court at Carlion, so Sir Dinadan wrote a ley and sent Eliot the harper to Cornwall, to satirise him horribly in return. Meanwhile Elias invaded Cornwall from Sessoin in France, and King Mark was forced to ask Sir Tristram for help. While Tristram was recovering from previous wounds, Mark led an attack, but after much slaughter became beseiged in Tintagil Castle, where Tristram eventually joined him. Once in charge he burned all Elias’ ships, and after much mutual carnage they agreed to a champion contest. Tristram slew Elias after a long and very close fight. The Sessoins were forced to deliver hostages and walk home to France. Then, during the celebrations, Eliot the harper arrived, which ruined King Mark’s good mood.
One day, King Mark’s brother, good Prince Boudwin, found Saracens invading his part of Cornwall, and with no time to go through official channels he attacked and drove them off, killing forty thousand of them. Mark was so angry at being upstaged that he personally stabbed his own brother to death in front of his wife, the Lady Anglides.
La Beale Isoud advised the Lady Anglides to flee with her son, Alisander le Orphelin, and she escaped, with the help of the good Sir Sadok, to be with her cousin Bellangere, who was the constable at Arundel Castle (then known as Magouns).
Probably about a decade later (after all the other events in Book 10 and presumably somewhere during the Sangreal quest), Alisander became a knight and his mother gave him the bloody shirt his father had died in, making him swear revenge. He went adventuring, and after one particularly spectacular joust at the seaside, where he slew Sir Malgrin, he was drugged and kidnapped by Morgan le Fey. She carried him off to her castle, La Beale Regard, to be ravished, and tricked him into swearing to remain there for a year and a day, but declaring he would “liefer cut away my hangers than I would do her such pleasure” he went with her cousin instead, and Morgan got her uncle to burn the whole place down while Alisander stood in the garden. It was there in the smouldering ruins, where he was bound to remain by his oath, that he met Alice la Beale Pilgrim and won many great victories defending this rubble from passing knights.
When the oath expired Alisander, Morgan’s cousin, and Alice were a threesome in Benoye, and never met Arthur. Alisander begat with Alice a son called Bellengerus le Beuse, and they forgot about vengeance against King Mark. But he didn’t forget about them and he eventually slew Alisander through treason, though Bellengerus would one day meet an ageing King Arthur, avenge his father and grandfather, and slay a very elderly King Mark.
Sir Galahalt called an eight day joust in his country of Surluse, and all were there except Tristram (who was in Cornwall) and Arthur (leaving Guenevere and Launcelot free to continue their adultery). The main melee was always during the day, but special duels were fought after dinner in the evening.
Day 1 – King Bagdemagus told Sir Sauseise to fight his son, Sir Meliagaunce, to remove him from the field. In the evening Palomides beheaded Sir Goneries on behalf of a damosel, but Galahalt declared that any knight defeating Palomides the next day could have her.
Day 2 – Galahalt himself challenged Palomides for the prize and lost, and in the evening Palomides slew Goneries’ brother, Sir Archade.
Day 3 – Sir Lamorak was incognito and only just beat Sir Palomides before revealing himself.
Day 4 – Sir Lamorak showed off all day.
Day 5 – Sir Palomides vanquished several of Arthur’s friends and relations until Sir Lamorak made him go away, but refused to stay himself because he was frightened of Gawaine. Then Sir Dinadan fooled around at dinner, and afterwards Palomides slew a fellow paynim (pagan) Saracen knight called Sir Corsabrin on behalf of King Bandes’ daughter, and being un-christened, the corpse supposedly stank.
Day 6 – Lamorak was unhappy with his brethren for having been un-horsed, and at dinner Dinadan mocked Galahalt’s fish aversion.
Day 7 – Launcelot dressed up in drag so he could beat up Dinadan, then he forcibly dragged him off into the forest and dressed him as a woman. At dinner, the results were announced: 1st – Launcelot; 2nd – Lamorak; 3rd – Palomides; 4th – Bagdemagus.
On the morning of the eighth day they all went home except Lamorak, who was still frightened of Gawaine and his associates. Rightly so, because (with the exception of Gareth) they soon murdered him, Mordred striking the killing blow to his back.
Meanwhile, in Cornwall, King Mark called his own joust, and relying on Tristram’s habit of tourneying incognito, convinced King Bagdemagus that he – Tristram – was his bitter enemy, Sir Launcelot. Although badly mauled, Tristram won as usual, so Mark drugged him and hid him in a prison.
This was too much for Sirs Sadok and Dinas, who started an insurrection, but Mark faked some letters from the Pope demanding a crusade and tried to trick Tristram into fighting for him in Jerusalem, but Tristram refused. Sir Percivale arrived from Camelot, rescued Tristram, and made Mark promise to leave him alone, but Mark fooled the uprisers with his phoney papal bull and locked Tristram up again.
Finally Dinas, Sadok, and others lost patience and locked up King Mark, while Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud fled to Logris (England), never to return. They moved into Launcelot’s castle, Joyous Gard, where Tristram went hunting and hawking and where Palomides told Percivale about how his brother Lamorak had been slain by the Orkney Knights after the Surluse Joust.
Tristram’s ensemble were out riding when they encountered a boat on the Humber. King Hermance had been treasonously slain by two of his own knights, and fixed to have his lieutenant, Sir Ebel, despatch his corpse by sail to King Arthur, clutching a letter requiring revenge. Palomides accepted the quest, sailed up the Humber to the Red City and duly executed the evil Sirs Helius and Helake. That done, he returned to Joyous Gard, where “…Dinadan went unto Palomides, and there either made other great joy, and so they lay together that night. And on the morn early came Sir Tristram and Sir Gareth, and took them in their beds, and so they arose and brake their fast.”
Sirs Tristram, Palomides, Gareth, and Dinadan all rode to the tournament at Lonazep, and Tristram set up Isoud in a priory window with a good view of the jousting. The rest of the book is a mess, with Palomides feigning friendship whilst scheming against Tristram and lusting after Isoud. Everybody was there, including: King Arthur, King Marhalt of Ireland, King Galahalt of Surluse, King Pellam of Listeneise, the King of Northumberland, the King of Northgalis, the King of Scotland, the King of the Straight Marches, and the King with the Hundred Knights.
Day 1 – Sir Tristram’s group of four wore anonymous green and took sides against Arthur to win more glory, but were all unhorsed, so Tristram changed into red. Secretly inspired by Isoud, Palomides went into a frenzy and won the day.
Day 2 – Before the joust, Palomides beat up Arthur for desiring Isoud. Tristram and Palomides both fought in disguise, and Palomides secretly attacked Tristram and then tricked Launcelot into fighting him, something he had sworn never to do. Tristram eventually won the day, with Launcelot’s approval, but Isoud was furious at Palomides, who had been lying. Launcelot and Arthur dined together, and Palomides wept with sexual frustration.
Day 3 – Arthur and Launcelot found themselves overwhelmed in a press, so Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan changed sides to help them, but Palomides stayed faithfull to Northgalis and found himself driven back with the losers. Launcelot and Tristram shared the day.
Palomides, furious with Tristram for changing sides and making him lose face, foreswore his friendship in a huge scene, then rode off sobbing with the kings of Wales and Scotland. Everybody else went home, and Sirs Bloeberis and Ector reported to Queen Guenevere at the seaside, where she was recuperating from a malady.
Palomides soon left the two kings and went adventuring, helping a fellow love-lorn knight, Sir Epinogris (the son of the King of Northumberland), to retrieve his lady from Sir Helior le Preuse, and whilst doing so he met his brother Sir Safere.
The two brothers were then captured at a castle, whose lord Palomides had slain at Lonazep, and though Safere was released, Palomides was bound and taken prisoner to Pelownes by the seaside for execution. Fortunately the guard party passed too close to Joyous Gard and Launcelot rescued him, and for two months he stayed there with Tristram and Isoud, who he made up with, even though the endless sexual frustration made him love-sick.
But then one day Tristram found him by a well in the forest singing loudly about how much he loved Isoud, and there was another huge scene, and they promised to fight to the death fifteen days later. Unfortunately in the meantime Tristram was lamed by a hunters arrow (which he always suspected was Palomides’ fault) and this time Palomides was ready for the fight but Tristram wasn’t.
When Tristram had recovered, he searched for Palomides all Summer, but the Saracen was off on his own adventures, and Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud lived happily ever after at Joyous Gard (until King Mark’s assassin arrived).
At A Glance
Book 10 chapter summary:
1. How Sir Tristram jousted, and smote down King Arthur, because he told him not the cause why he bare that shield.
2. How Sir Tristram saved Sir Palomides’ life, and how they promised to fight together within a fortnight.
3. How Sir Tristram sought a strong knight that had smitten him down, and many other knights of the Round Table.
4. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Sagramore le Desirous and Sir Dodinas le Savage.
5. How Sir Tristram met at the peron with Sir Launcelot, and how they fought together unknown.
6. How Sir Launcelot brought Sir Tristram to the court, and of the great joy that the king and other made for the coming of Sir Tristram.
7. How for the despite of Sir Tristram King Mark came with two knights into England, and how he slew one of the knights.
8. How King Mark came to a fountain where he found Sir Lamorak complaining for the love of King Lot’s wife.
9. How King Mark, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan came to a castle, and how King Mark was known there.
10. How Sir Berluse met with King Mark, and how Sir Dinadan took his part.
11. How King Mark mocked Sir Dinadan, and how they met with six knights of the Round Table.
12. How the six knights sent Sir Dagonet to joust with King Mark, and how King Mark refused him.
13. How Sir Palomides by adventure met King Mark flying, and how he overthrew Dagonet and other knights.
14. How King Mark and Sir Dinadan heard Sir Palomides making great sorrow and mourning for La Beale Isoud.
15. How King Mark had slain Sir Amant wrongfully tofore King Arthur, and Sir Launcelot fetched King Mark to King Arthur.
16. How Sir Dinadan told Sir Palomides of the battle between Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristam.
17. How Sir Lamorak jousted with divers knights of the castle wherein was Morgan le Fay.
18. How Sir Palomides would have jousted for Sir Lamorak with the knights of the castle.
19. How Sir Lamorak jousted with Sir Palomides, and hurt him grievously.
20. How it was told Sir Launcelot that Dagonet chased King Mark, and how a knight overthrew him and six knights.
21. How King Arthur let do cry a jousts, and how Sir Lamorak came in, and overthrew Sir Gawaine and many other.
22. How King Arthur made King Mark to be accorded with Sir Tristram, and how they departed toward Cornwall.
23. How Sir Percivale was made knight of King Arthur, and how a dumb maid spake, and brought him to the Round Table.
24. How Sir Lamorak visited King Lot’s wife, and how Sir Gaheris slew her which was his own mother.
25. How Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred met with a knight fleeing, and how they both were overthrown, and of Sir Dinadan.
26. How King Arthur, the Queen, and Launcelot received letters out of Cornwall, and of the answer again.
27. How Sir Launcelot was wroth with the letter that he received from King Mark, and of Dinadan which made a lay of King Mark.
28. How Sir Tristram was hurt, and of a war made to King Mark; and of Sir Tristram how he promised to rescue him.
29. How Sir Tristram overcame the battle, and how Elias desired a man to fight body for body.
30. How Sir Elias and Sir Tristram fought together for the truage, and how Sir Tristram slew Elias in the field.
31. How at a great feast that King Mark made an harper came and sang the lay that Dinadan had made.
32. How King Mark slew by treason his brother Boudwin, for good service that he had done to him.
33. How Anglides, Boudwin’s wife, escaped with her young son, Alisander le Orphelin, and came to the Castle of Arundel.
34. How Anglides gave the bloody doublet to Alisander, her son, the same day that he was made knight, and the charge withal.
35. How it was told to King Mark of Sir Alisander, and how he would have slain Sir Sadok for saving his life.
36. How Sir Alisander won the prize at a tournament, and of Morgan le Fay: and how he fought with Sir Malgrin, and slew him.
37. How Queen Morgan le Fay had Alisander in her castle, and how she healed his wounds.
38. How Alisander was delivered from Queen Morgan le Fay by the means of a damosel.
39. How Alisander met with Alice la Beale Pilgrim, and how he jousted with two knights; and after of him and of Sir Mordred.
40. How Sir Galahalt did do cry a jousts in Surluse, and Queen Guenever’s knights should joust against all that would come.
41. How Sir Launcelot fought in the tournament, and how Sir Palomides did arms there for a damosel.
42. How Sir Galahalt and Palomides fought together, and of Sir Dinadan and Sir Galahalt.
43. How Sir Archade appealed Sir Palomides of treason, and how Sir Palomides slew him.
44. Of the third day, and how Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Lamorak, and other things.
45. Of the fourth day, and of many great feats of arms.
46. Of the Fifth day, and how Sir Lamorak behaved him.
47. How Sir Palomides fought with Corsabrin for a lady, and how Palomides slew Corsabrin.
48. Of the sixth day, and what then was done.
49. Of the seventh battle, and how Sir Launcelot, being disguised like a maid, smote down Sir Dinadan.
50. How by treason Sir Tristram was brought to a tournament for to have been slain, and how he was put in prison.
51. How King Mark let do counterfeit letters from the Pope, and how Sir Percivale delivered Sir Tristram out of prison.
52. How Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud came unto England, and how Sir Launcelot brought them to Joyous Gard.
53. How by the counsel of La Beale Isoud Sir Tristram rode armed, and how he met with Sir Palomides.
54. Of Sir Palomides, and how he met with Sir Bleoberis and with Sir Ector, and of Sir Pervivale.
55. How Sir Tristram met with Sir Dinadan, and of their devices, and what he said to Sir Gawaine’s brethren.
56. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris, and how Sir Dinadan was sent for by La Beale Isoud.
57. How Sir Dinadan met with Sir Tristram, and with jousting with Sir Palomides, Sir Dinadan knew him.
58. How they approached the Castle Lonazep, and of other devices of the death of Sir Lamorak.
59. How they came to Humber bank, and how they found a ship there, wherein lay the body of King Hermance.
60. How Sir Tristram with his fellowship came and were with an host which after fought with Sir Tristram; and other matters.
61. How Palomides went for to fight with two brethren for the death of King Hermance.
62. The copy of the letter written for to revenge the king’s death, and how Sir Palomides fought for to have the battle.
63. Of the preparation of Sir Palomides and the two brethren that should fight with him.
64. Of the battle between Sir Palomides and the two brethren, and how the two brethren were slain.
65. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides met Breuse Saunce Pite, and how Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud went unto Lonazep.
66. How Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Galihodin, and after with Sir Gawaine, and smote them down.
67. How Sir Tristram and his fellowship came into the tournament of Lonazep; and of divers jousts and matters.
68. How Sir Tristram and his fellowship jousted, and of the noble feats that they did in that tourneying.
69. How Sir Tristram was unhorsed and smitten down by Sir Launcelot, and after that Sir Tristram smote down King Arthur.
70. How Sir Tristram changed his harness and it was all red, and how he demeaned him, and how Sir Palomides slew Launcelot’s horse.
71. How Sir Launcelot said to Sir Palomides, and how the prize of that day was given unto Sir Palomides.
72. How Sir Dinadan provoked Sir Tristram to do well.
73. How King Arthur and Sir Lancelot came to see La Beale Isoud, and how Palomides smote down King Arthur.
74. How the second day Palomides forsook Sir Tristram, and went to the contrary part against him.
75. How Sir Tristram departed of the field, and awaked Sir Dinadan, and changed his array into black.
76. How Sir Palomides changed his shield and his armour for to hurt Sir Tristram, and how Sir Launcelot did to Sir Tristram.
77. How Sir Tristram departed with La Beale Isoud, and how Palomides followed and excused him.
78. How King Arthur and Sir Launcelot came unto their pavilions as they sat at supper, and of Sir Palomides.
79. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides did the next day, and how King Arthur was unhorsed.
80. How Sir Tristram turned to King Arthur’s side, and how Palomides would not.
81. How Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector reported to Queen Guenever of the beauty of La Beale Isoud.
82. How Epinogris complained by a well, and how Sir Palomides came and found him, and of their both sorrowing.
83. How Sir Palomides brought Sir Epinogris his lady; and how Sir Palomides and Sir Safere were assailed.
84. How Sir Palomides and Sir Safere conducted Sir Epinogris to his castle, and of other adventures.
85. How Sir Tristram made him ready to rescue Sir Palomides, but Sir Launcelot rescued him or he came.
86. How Sir Tristram and Launcelot, with Palomides, came to Joyous Gard; and of Palomides and Sir Tristram.
87. How there was a day set between Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides for to fight, and how Sir Tristram was hurt.
88. How Sir Palomides kept his day to have foughten, but Sir Tristram might not come; and other things.