Study Guide

Le Morte D'Arthur Book 4

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Book 4

Aftir Thes Questis

  • Merlin falls in love with Nenyve, the lady Pellynore brought back with him from his quest. Then, Merlin tells Arthur that he, Merlin, will soon be buried alive. Good to know.
  • Merlin travels to the land of King Ban with Nenyve, and, while there, prophesies that Ban and Elaine's son, Launcelot, will be a great knight.
  • But Nenyve tires of Merlin's attentions and buries him alive inside a huge rock. Saw that one coming, didn't we?
  • An alliance of five northern kings attacks Arthur's lands, so Arthur summons King Pellynore and his forces, and then rides out against the alliance, bringing Gwenyvere with him.
  • One night, the alliance of five kings ambushes Arthur's camp, but they're defeated and killed by Arthur, Kay, Gawain, and Gryfflet, with Sir Kay proving particularly brave.
  • At the advice of Pellynore, Arthur installs eight new knights, four young and four old, to replace the eight knights killed in the ambush. Among the four old knights is Uriens, Arthur's brother-in-law. The young knights are Gawain, Gryfflet, Kay, and Pellynore's son, Torre.
  • Arthur, Uriens, and Sir Accalon of Gaul chase a white hart into a forest one day, riding so hard that they kill their horses and must take shelter in a mysterious houseboat attended to by beautiful ladies. Hey, you win some you lose some.
  • When they wake up the next morning, Uriens finds himself at home in bed with his wife. Arthur finds himself in a prison with twenty woeful knights. No fair.
  • Arthur learns that the knights have been imprisoned by an evil knight named Damas because they refuse to be his champion in a land dispute against his brother, a good knight named Sir Outlake.
  • Arthur agrees to be Damas' champion against his brother as long as Damas releases the twenty knights if he wins.
  • Meanwhile, Sir Accalon awakes by the edge of a well, then meets with a dwarf who brings him the sword Excalibur from his lady-love, Morgan le Fay (remember her?) and tells him he must use it to kill a knight he'll fight tomorrow. Uh-oh – this cannot be good.
  • Accalon takes lodging in a priory where Sir Outlake also lies, recovering from a wound. Outlake asks Accalon to be his champion against Sir Damas' champion (whom we now know to be Arthur), and Accalon agrees. Let's get ready to rumble.
  • Accalon and Arthur fight and, thanks to Excalibur, Accalon seems to be winning the battle. That is, until he drops Excalibur (thanks to a handy enchantment by Nenyve, who also happens to be hanging around) and Arthur gets the sword.
  • After forcing Accalon to yield, Arthur learns his name. Accalon confesses that he is Morgan le Fay's lover and that she's planning to kill Arthur and her husband, Uriens, and make Accalon king. Morgan's quite the busy lady.
  • Arthur forgives Accalon, attributing any treachery on his part to Morgan's magic. Then he demands that Damas yield his lands to Sir Outlake.
  • Arthur and Accalon travel to an abbey to recover from their wounds, but sadly Accalon dies.
  • Morgan le Fay believes Arthur to be dead, too, so she tries to move forward with her plans and kill Uriens but is stopped by their son, Uwayne.
  • When Morgan learns that Accalon is dead, she travels to the abbey where Arthur lies and steals his scabbard, then rides away with Arthur and Sir Outlake in hot pursuit.
  • After escaping Arthur by turning herself and her men into stones (clever girl), Morgan meets with Sir Accalon's cousin, Sir Manessen, whom she releases from the captivity of another knight.
  • Morgan sets herself up in the land of Gore, and we have to say, that's a fitting name, given all the havoc she's wreaked.
  • While there, she sends a bejeweled garment to Arthur, but Nenyve advises Arthur to have the messenger-lady try it on first. When she does, she immediately burns up. Yikes.
  • Arthur exiles Uwayne from court, fearing he's in cahoots with his mom. In protest, Gawain and Gaheris accompany their cousin on his journey.
  • They meet with two knights and twelve damsels, who are flinging saliva and excrement on a shield hanging from a tree. Um, yeah.
  • The damsels tell Gawain it's the shield of Sir Marhaus, whom they believe hates ladies. Gawain knows Marhaus and defends him of this charge.
  • Then Sir Marhaus himself comes onto the scene and kills the two knights. He jousts with Gawain and Uwayne, just for fun. They retire to Sir Marhaus' house for a week.
  • The three men ride into an enchanted forest where they meet with three damsels of sixty, thirty, and fifteen years of age. The damsels offer to take the knights on an adventure. Uwayne accompanies the eldest, Marhaus goes with the middle, and Gawain is with the youngest.
  • On their journey, Gawain and his damsel see another knight defeat ten other knights on horseback, then refuse to fight them on foot, allowing himself instead to be bound up and carried away under a horse's belly.
  • The damsel asks Gawain to rescue the knight but he refuses, saying that the knight must have some reason for allowing himself to be captured.
  • Then Gawain mediates a dispute over a lady between a knight and a dwarf. The lady chooses the dwarf, and after the way all these knights have been behaving, that seems like a good choice.
  • Later, two knights challenge Gawain and as Gawain fights with one, the other rides away with Gawain's damsel, who's eager to leave him because she's mad at him for refusing to rescue the knight who got carried away tied to his horse's belly.
  • After their joust, Gawain stays with his opponent. Gawain's host explains that the knight was Sir Pelleas, who, it turns out, is in serious need of a confidence boost. He allows himself to be bound up and imprisoned because that's the only way he can see his love, a proud lady who scorns and humiliates him in this manner.
  • Gawain meets with Sir Pelleas and promises to help him win his lady, Ettarde.
  • But then Gawain meets with Ettarde and tells her that Sir Pelleas is dead, and then sleeps with her. Wait a minute, Gawain, how is that helping?
  • Sir Pelleas finds Ettarde and Gawain in bed together and resolves to kill himself, but instead Nenyve enchants Ettarde to fall in love with Pelleas. But Pelleas rejects Ettarde in favor of Nenyve, and Ettarde dies of lovesickness. Oh what a tangled web.
  • Meanwhile, on their adventure, Sir Marhaus and his damsel stay in the home of a man with six sons, who bears a grudge against King Arthur and his knights for the death of one his sons.
  • Marhaus is forced to fight with them all, but he spares the six sons, then forces the father to yield and makes them all allies of Arthur.
  • Later, Marhaus wins a great fortune in a joust, and saves the lands of the Earl Fergus from a giant. Nice one, Marhaus.
  • Meanwhile, Uwayne and his damsel ride westward on their adventure, where they meet with the Lady of the Roche.
  • Uwayne restores the Lady to her lands by defeating two brothers who have stolen it. He kills one, and sends the other, Sir Hew, to Arthur's court.
  • After a year, Marhaus, Gawain, and Uwayne meet up where they parted and then return to court together, where they tell everyone about their various adventures.
  • Sir Pelleas also arrives at Arthur's court and, along with Marhaus, is made a knight of the Round Table. Unfortunately, there will always be bad blood between Pelleas and Gawain, on account of Ettarde.

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