Study Guide

Le Morte D'Arthur Book 17

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Book 17

Sir Galahad, Episode 2

  • What's that? You Shmoopers want an update on Galahad? Gladly.
  • Sir Galahad has decided to rescue the inhabitants of a castle from a siege. While battling, he engages with Gawain and Ector.
  • Near the Castle Carboneck, a gentlewoman instructs Galahad to follow her on an adventure. She leads him to the ship carrying Percyvale and Bors.
  • The ship carries them all to another ship, which bears a message warning that only steadfast knights should come on board. Well Galahad definitely fits that bill, right?
  • Outside the ship, they meet Sir Percivale's sister, who explains the history of the boat and the marvelous sword they will find inside it. The knights encourage Galahad to take the sword, which he does, naturally.
  • The knights and maiden re-board the other ship (the one that Percyvale and Bors were on), which carries them to the Castle of Carteloyse in the Scottish Marches.
  • There, they meet with hostile occupants and kill them all. Then they learn from the priest of the castle that they rescued the castle from three brothers who committed incest with their sister.
  • Next, the knights and maiden come to a desolate forest, where they glimpse four lions led by a white hart. The four lions change into a man, lion, eagle, and ox. They learn that the hart represents Christ, and the lions stand for the four gospel-writers.
  • The company arrives at a castle, where the knights must fight to prevent Percivale's sister from having to give a basin full of blood. Ick.
  • When the fight ends in a draw, the party agrees to lodge in the castle for the night and continue fighting the next day.
  • When Percivale's sister learns that the custom of the castle that involves bleeding a maiden is to save the life of its lady, she agrees to be bled, but loses her life in the process. So was all that fighting for nothing?

Sir Launcelot, Episode 3

  • Back to you, Launcelot.
  • A voice tells Launcelot to enter into the first ship that he finds. When he does, he finds Sir Percivale's dead sister on board and reads a letter telling of the adventures that led to her death.
  • Sir Galahad boards the ship also, and he and Launcelot sail together for six months, fighting a ton of wild beasts and having wild adventures. Sounds like fun, right?
  • And it is, until a white knight on a white horse arrives and tells them it's time to separate, and that this will be the last time they see one another. And so ends the ultimate father-son bromance.
  • The boat takes Launcelot to a castle, which he enters, arriving before a locked door. What's behind the door? What's behind the door? The grail, of course.
  • Launcelot prays before the chamber door and it opens. He then sees a silver table and a holy vessel covered in red silk, but when he tries to enter, a fiery breath knocks him right out. No dice.
  • The people of the castle care for Launcelot, and he awakes from his sleep after twenty-four days, which represent the twenty-four years he lived in sin.
  • The people of the Castle (which turns out to be Carbonek, King Pelles' place) tell Launcelot he'll never see more of the Grail than he has already seen, so he decides to return to Logres.
  • On his way to Logres, Launcelot sees Badgemagus' tomb and learns that he was slain by Gawain.
  • Launcelot returns to Arthur's court, done with his grail quest.

Sir Galahad, Episode 3

  • Checking in with Launcelot's son, Sir Galahad, we find out that he has come to the chapel where King Evelake (here called Mordrayns, his Christian name) waits for him. After embracing Galahad, Evelake promptly dies.
  • Galahad performs some miracles in Logres, and then meets up with Percyvale and Bors again.
  • The three knights arrive at the Castle Carbonek and are greeted by King Pelles and his son, Elyazar.
  • Sir Galahad, who is becoming more and more impressive with each new feat, repairs a sword with just his touch.
  • Nine other knights from Gaul, Denmark, and Ireland arrive and take seats at a feast table.
  • The knights see an old man borne in on a bed, then another old man, whom they learn is Joseph of Arimathea, plus four angels from heaven bearing the Holy Grail. Then, four more angels enter with some candles, a towel, and a bleeding spear.
  • The twelve knights see Joseph of Arimathea celebrate mass with the Holy Grail, and as crazy and miraculous as it sounds, Christ appears in person during the Eucharist. Major cameo alert.
  • Joseph tells the knights that they'll see even more of the Holy Grail when they carry it to Sarras over the sea.
  • Galahad uses the bleeding spear to heal the old man on the bed, the so-called "Maimed King."
  • Percyvale, Bors, and Galahad depart from Carbonek, enter a boat bearing the Holy Grail, and sail to Sarras.
  • In Sarras, they're imprisoned by the reigning king, until he asks for their forgiveness on his deathbed and releases them.
  • A voice tells the people of Sarras to make Galahad their king, which they do. Well that was easy.
  • Galahad and his fellows pray before the Grail every day for a year, and then one morning they find Joseph of Arimathea there. He gives the Eucharist to Galahad before Galahad asks God to take his soul.
  • After Galahad dies, Percyvale lives as a hermit for a year and two months before he dies too.
  • Bors returns to Camelot and recounts his adventures. We're betting that was a long story.

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