Study Guide

Le Morte D'Arthur Book 8

By Sir Thomas Malory

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Book 8

The Fyrste and the Secunde Boke of Syr Trystram de Lyones

  • Elizabeth, wife of King Melyodas of Lyones and sister of King Mark of Cornwall, dies giving birth to her son, Trystram, in a forest.
  • King Melyodas remarries a woman who wants the kingdom for her own child, but accidentally poisons that child instead of Trystram. Whoops.
  • After King Melyodas discovers his second wife's plotting and sentences her to death, Trystram, who seems like quite a nice guy, pleads for mercy for her, and grants her life.
  • Trystram travels with his tutor and servant, Governayle, to France, where he becomes a master of the harp, hunting, and hawking.
  • Meanwhile, King Angwysh of Ireland sends a message to King Mark demanding a tribute, or that Mark fight his champion, Sir Marhalt.
  • Trystram asks King Mark to knight him and let him be his champion in the fight against Sir Marhalt. King Mark does.
  • Trystram defeats Sir Marhalt in the fight, but he's really badly wounded and has to travel to Ireland for healing.
  • Trystram arrives at the court of King Angwysh, but tells everyone his name is Tramtryst so they won't try to avenge Sir Marhalt's death. Good thinking, dude.
  • King Angwysh's daughter, Isode, heals Trystram's wounds. Is it just us, or are there sparks flying?
  • Isode asks Trystram to defeat a pagan, Sir Palomydes, in a joust her father has planned. Apparently the outcome of the joust will decide her marriage.
  • Trystram defeats Sir Palomydes in the joust and forces him to relinquish any claim to Isode's hand. Nice save, T.
  • Isode's mother (and sister to Sir Marhalt) discovers that Tramtryst is really Trystram. She tries to kill him while he's taking a bath, but a nearby knight stops her.
  • King Angwysh sends Trystram away from his court, but they part on good terms.
  • Back in Cornwall, Trystram and King Mark get into a fight over the same lady, the wife of a knight called Sir Segwarydes. From this point on, they hate one another.
  • Trystram rescues Sir Segwarydes' wife after King Mark allows her to be kidnapped by a knight of the Round Table named Sir Bleoberys.
  • Because Trystram allowed Bleoberys to ride away with her, Segwarydes' wife refuses to go with Trystram, choosing instead to return to her husband. Tough luck, buddy.
  • King Mark asks Trystram to go to Ireland to arrange a marriage between himself (Mark) and Isode.
  • Trystram lands in England on his way to Ireland and, in Arthur's court, serves as King Angwysh's champion in a dispute with the family of Sir Launcelot. Trystram sure serves a lot of different masters.
  • As his reward for winning the dispute, King Angwysh allows Trystram to do whatever he wants with Isode.
  • Trystram leaves with Isode and her handmaid, Brangwyn, for Cornwall.
  • On the boat, Trystram and Isode mistakenly drink a love-potion that was meant for Isode and Mark, causing them to fall more deeply in love than they already are.
  • On a detour at the Castle Pleurs, Trystram and Isode are forced to submit to a custom wherein Trystram must compete with the lord of the castle in a joust, and Isode, with the lady of the castle in a beauty contest. The losers get their heads chopped off. Thankfully, Trystram and Isode win, otherwise we wouldn't have much of a story would we?
  • Eventually, King Mark and Isode marry, but Trystram and Isode are lovers. This has disaster written all over it.
  • Sir Palomides (Isode's would-be husband) rescues Brangwyn after she has been kidnapped and held captive. In exchange for her return, he forces Isode to swear that she'll grant him whatever he desires. Of course his desire is that he be allowed to kidnap Isode, and King Mark says she has to agree, to save her honor.
  • A friend of Trystram named Sir Lambegus rides after Palomides to try to rescue Isode, but Palomides defeats him, leaving him wounded.
  • Isode runs away during the fight and tries to drown herself in a well, only to be stopped by Sir Adtherpe, who takes Isode into his castle.
  • Adtherpe seeks vengeance for Isode's kidnapping, but when Sir Palomides defeats him, he must reveal Isode's whereabouts to Palomides. Nice try, buddy.
  • Trystram finds his way to the castle in which Isode has barred the doors against Palomides. He fights and defeats Palomides, but Isode, feeling generous, asks for mercy for her kidnapper. She then exiles him from Cornwall.
  • A Cornish knight named Sir Andred reveals Trystram and Isode's love to King Mark, but King Mark's barons counsel him to keep Trystram close to him – the better to monitor what he's doing.
  • In a show of power, King Mark forces Trystram to fight with a knight who's already exhausted by a joust. The knight, Sir Lamerok, becomes angry when Trystram refuses to engage with him on foot after he has knocked him off his horse.
  • In his anger, Lamerok sends a magical horn to King Mark. Why? Because this horn's power is that only women who are faithful to their husbands can drink from it cleanly. Sounds handy.
  • When Isode and one hundred of her ladies drink from the horn, only four pass the test. Isode is not one of them. No surprise there.
  • Later, Sir Andred catches Isode and Trystram in bed together. He and his henchmen bind Trystram and take him to a chapel to be judged.
  • But Trystram escapes, and rescues Isode from a leper-house where King Mark has imprisoned her. He takes her to a forest-manor where they live together for a while. Ah, the quiet life.
  • While enjoying himself in the forest one day, Trystram receives a poison arrow-wound from a man whose brother he has killed.
  • While Trystram is out of the house, King Mark captures Isode from the manor and imprisons her.
  • Isode, as resourceful as ever, manages to get a message out to Trystram that he must travel to the court of King Howell to be healed of his wound by King Howell's daughter, a woman named Isode le Blaunche Maynes, which Trystram does.
  • While there, Trystram marries Isode le Blaunche Maynes, but refuses to sleep with her when he remembers his love for the other Isode.
  • Trystram, his wife, and her brother Keyhydyus get shipwrecked off the coast of North Wales, where Trystram meets Sir Lamerok and Sir Segwarydes and reconciles with them both. At least something good has come from this big old mess.
  • The trio kills Sir Nabon and his son, who hold this land captive with an iron fist.
  • Then, Sir Lamerok rescues a knight named Sir Froll from a battle of three-against-one. It's all perfectly nice until Lamerok kills him in revenge for his fight with Sir Gawain.
  • Sir Froll's lady tells his brother, Sir Bellyaunce le Orgulus, who killed Sir Froll. Sir Bellyaunce fights with Sir Lamerok, but then reconciles with him.

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