Study Guide

Le Morte D'Arthur Book 9

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Book 9

The Tale of Sir La Cote Male Taylé

  • A young man in a rich but ill-fitting coat arrives at Arthur's court and asks to be knighted. Kay nicknames him La Cote Male Taylé, which means "the badly-tailored coat." He's not too creative with these nicknames, our Kay.
  • Sir La Cote Male Taylé kills a lion that attacks Queen Gwenyvere one day when all the other knights are out hunting. That should be enough to earn knighthood, don't you think?
  • A lady arrives in court asking that one of the Knights of the Round Table take up the quest of her recently-departed lover, and La Cote Male Taylé does so. He's ready for action.
  • Sir Kay makes King Arthur's fool (or clown), Sir Dagonet, follow La Cote and joust with him. La Cote defeats him, but the lady makes fun of him for having to joust with a fool.
  • Sirs Bleoberys and Palomides, our old friends, also joust with La Cote, knocking him off his horse. Then they refuse to fight with him on foot, so the lady makes fun of him for this, too.
  • Eventually Sir Mordred joins up with La Cote and the lady, Dame Maledysaunte.
  • On his adventure, La Cote defeats the one hundred knights of the Castle Orgulus.
  • When Maledysaunte learns of this victory, she feels bad for making fun of La Cote. Serves her right.
  • Mordred makes the point that even Launcelot was easily knocked off his horse when he was a young knight, even though, like La Cote, he was fearsome on foot. It happens to the best of them, it seems.
  • Sir Launcelot rides after La Cote, meaning to help him, but before he meets him, six knights from the Castle Pendragon take La Cote prisoner.
  • Ever brave, Launcelot rescues La Cote and seventy other knights and ladies from the Castle Pendragon and its lord, Sir Bryan.
  • La Cote and Lady Maledysaunte thank him for his help.
  • A little miffed, Launcelot tells Maledysaunte off for making fun of La Cote, but she swears she only did it out of concern for his life, hoping to deter a knight so young from undertaking the quest.
  • Next, La Cote tries to win a fortress-bridge from three knights that are holding it. He defeats the first two. But the third knight, Sir Plenoryus, takes pity on La Cote's weariness and takes him into the castle to heal his wounds.
  • Thinking Sir Plenoryus has taken La Cote prisoner, Launcelot jousts with him, forcing him to yield and promise to pay homage to Arthur from that day forward.
  • Because Sir Bryan refuses to pay homage to Arthur, Arthur gives his lands to La Cote.
  • Maledysaunte, meanwhile, marries Sir Breune La Noyre.
  • And that's the end of the Tale of Sir La Cote Male Taylé. Book 9, however, keeps right on going by returning to the sordid story of Isode.
  • Isode sends letters to Sir Trystram asking him to return to Cornwall, so he and his brother-in-law, Keyhydyus, get in a boat and head that direction.
  • Unfortunately, an unfavorable wind strands them on the coast of north Wales near the Forest Perilous. Well that doesn't sound too promising.
  • Trystram and Keyhydyus joust with Sir Lamerok, whom they meet on their journey. Keyhydyus is wounded in the joust, so they carry him to a foresters' lodge to rest for a few days.
  • Sirs Launcelot and Mellyagaunce get into a joust with Sir Lamerok for saying that Queen Morgause is more beautiful than Queen Gwenyvere, until Sir Bleoberys breaks up the fight by reminding them of an age-old truth: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • Meanwhile, Sir Trystram meets with Sirs Kay, Tor, and Braundiles and they all joust for a bit.
  • We learn that Arthur has been seduced and led into the Forest Perilous by a woman named Aunowre, and that all his knights have come to the forest in search of him.
  • Lady Nynyve tells Sir Trystram of the danger that Arthur is in, and leads him to the King, who is nearly overcome by two of Aunowre's knights. Trystram rescues Arthur, just in the nick of time.
  • Trystram and Keyhydyus reunite and leave the Forest Perilous for Cornwall, back on task.
  • Isode lodges Trystram and Keyhydyus in a tower where she visits them often, unbeknownst to King Mark.
  • Trystram discovers love letters between Isode and Keyhydyus, chases Keyhydyus out of the tower, and then goes mad with grief, the poor kid.
  • Eventually, he goes so crazy that he becomes the fool (clown) of a fellowship of herdsmen and shepherds, living naked and wild in the woods.
  • Sir Andred tells King Mark that Trystram is dead because he wants Trystram's lands.
  • Of course this news causes Isode to go mad with grief and try to kill herself, but King Mark catches her just in time and keeps her under watch in a tower.
  • While frolicking in the woods, Trystram rescues a knight named Sir Dynaunt from a giant.
  • When Sir Dynaunt tells King Mark about the madman who rescued him, King Mark decides to trap him and bring him to his castle. Once he's in the castle, Trystram returns to his right mind.
  • Isode discovers that Trystram is there. She tells him to go to Arthur's court to avoid punishment from Mark, and that she'll come to him whenever he asks for her.
  • Mark finds out that the madman is really Trystram, and exiles him from Cornwall all over again.
  • On his way to Arthur's court, Trystram sends a message to Mark sarcastically thanking him for the way he has rewarded him for all the times he's saved his bacon.
  • Trystram and his companion, Sir Dynadan, takes a break from the sea-journey and, at the nearest landfall, meets with Sirs Dynaunt, Ector, and Bors and – yep – they all joust for a bit.
  • A lady tells Trystram and Dynadan about a plot of Morgan le Fay's to ambush Sir Launcelot with thirty knights, and asks for their help. Trystram promises it despite Sir Dynadan's protests about being badly outnumbered.
  • Trystram and Dynadan defeat the thirty knights.
  • They seek lodging in a place where the custom is that all guests must joust for their lodging with knights who are already there. Is there anything these guys won't joust for?
  • After they've won their lodging, Dynadan gets upset that they now have to keep the "custom of the castle" by jousting with Sirs Palomydes and Gaheris, who have just arrived there in search of a bed for the night.
  • After the fight, Dynadan refuses to stay in this particular lodging anymore, so he and Trystram ride to a nearby priory where they meet with Sirs Bors, Bleoberys, Ector, Dryaunt, and Launcelot.
  • Sir Trystram hears about a joust between King Carados and the King of North Wales, and decides to serve the champion of the latter king.
  • On his way to the joust, Trystram goes on a little detour to help a lady. What else is new?
  • Sir Gawain meets Sir Trystram and the lady. He quickly recognizes her as one of Morgan le Fay's henchwomen. Bad news. He gets the lady to confess to leading Trystram into a trap.
  • Understandably ticked off, Gawain and Trystram travel to Morgan's castle and challenge her knights to a fight, but Trystram is so frightening, the knights refuse.
  • On to other things. Gawain and Trystram rescue a lady from Sir Breunys sans Pité.
  • Then Trystram meets Brangwayne by a well. She has come in search of him, bearing letters from Isode.
  • Brangwayne and Trystram lodge incognito at the home of Sir Pellownes and meet his son, Sir Persydes, who hates Trystram for defeating him and stealing his lady.
  • Persydes and Trystram see Sir Palomydes on his way to a tournament. Of course, they joust with him, and he knocks them both off their horses.
  • Meanwhile, Launcelot jousts with and defeats a group of knights from North Wales.
  • The defeated knights ask Palomydes to redeem their honor by fighting with Launcelot, so he does, and Launcelot defeats him, too.
  • The group from North Wales follows Launcelot to a well, where they ambush him and he defeats them all again. Can't they take a hint?
  • Trystram fights incognito during the first day of the tournament on the side of King Carados, and wins the prize for being the best fighter that day as "the knight with the black shield."
  • Trystram fights incognito during the second day of the tournament on the side of the King of North Galis, because Sir Palomydes is on the other side. He wins the prize of the day for the King of North Galis.
  • Trystram (still incognito) rescues Sir Palomydes, who has been tied up in the forest by Sirs Ector and Bors, and Palomydes tells of his despair that he can't seem to get the better of this Trystram guy. Ha.
  • On the third day of the tournament, Trystram leaves early with Sir Dynadan and they lodge at the home of a nearby knight, Sir Darras.
  • Arthur awards the prize of the day to Launcelot, who humbly rejects it in favor of Trystram.
  • Sir Darras rides out to invite Palomydes to lodge with him, too.
  • Arthur sends ten of his knights on a quest to find the "Knight with the Black Shield."
  • One of the ten knights, Sir Lucan, comes to where Trystram is lodged and jousts with Sir Darras' nephew, who wounds him. Sir Uwayne rescues Sir Lucan and carries him to the abbey of Ganys to be healed.
  • Sir Darras discovers that Trystram killed three of his sons in the tournament, so he imprisons Trystram, Dynadan, and Palomydes.
  • Meanwhile, another of the ten, Sir Gaheris, rides to Cornwall and tells King Mark about the "Knight with the Black Shield."
  • King Mark realizes it must be Trystram, and is angry that his enemy has won such honor.
  • Uwayne arrives at King Mark's court and jousts with and defeats Sirs Andred and Dynas.
  • Gaheris at first agrees to fight for King Mark against Uwayne, but then he lets him ride away without fighting because Uwayne has reminded him of his oath never to fight with another knight of the Round Table.
  • King Mark rides after him in secret and wounds Uwayne in a sneaky, dishonorable ambush.
  • Sir Kay arrives at Mark's court and Mark sends him and Gaheris to the Perelous Lake, where he promises they'll meet with an adventure.
  • Mark and Andred ride to the lake and assault Gaheris and Kay, who defeat them then grant them mercy. They make Mark promise to be nice to Trystram from now on.
  • Meanwhile, Sir Darras releases Trystram, Palomydes, and Dynadan from prison. He and Trystram reconcile.
  • Sir Dynadan defends a lady who has been kidnapped by Sir Breunys sans Pité.
  • Morgan le Fay imprisons Trystram in her castle for a while. Eventually, she lets Trystram leave, making him promise to carry a shield with a hidden message about Launcelot and Gwenyvere's illicit love. That Morgan is so devious.
  • Morgan's jealous lover, Sir Hemyson, rides after Trystram to fight with him. Trystram defeats and kills him and Morgan erects an expensive tomb for him.
  • Trystram arrives at the tournament called by Arthur at the Castle Roche Duré, carrying the shield Morgan gave him.
  • Arthur notices the strange shield Trystram carries and learns its meaning. He interrogates Trystram about it and learns it came from Morgan le Fay. Uh-oh…

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