Gareth and Rede Knight of the Rede Laundes exchange words.
Gareth and Rede Knight of the Rede Laundes exchange words.
Lady warns him not to blow the ivory horn until noon, otherwise the knight’s strength (Rede Knight of the Rede Laundes) will be 7 times stronger that of a normal man. He doesn’t listen. This is similar to the enchantment that Gawayne has from 9-12 everyday where he is nearly invincible.
The Rede Knight of the Rede Launde doesn’t care who this is, he’s confident he’ll kill whomever. We learn of the 40 knights this Rede Knight of the Rede Laundes has hung.
Dame Lyones prepares Gareth a proper greeting. The Rede Knight of the Rede Launde thinks a truly great knight, like Launcelot is coming …. nope, it’s “just” Gareth.
The besieged lady inquires about Gareth
Damesell requests that Gareth be made knight by Persaunte, but Gareth tells how Launcelot already made him a knight. This impresses Persaunte. Gareth revels his name (identity)
Gareth won’t sleep with his Persaunte’s daughter. We leard of the Rede Knight of the Rede Launde who is the tyrant that started this adventure in the first place. He’s laying siege to the damesell’s sister and that’s the whole goal here to defeat him.
Gareth wins. He defers mercy to the damesell again, She agrees again. Persaunte offers service of his 100 knights to Gareth. All these knights thus far have been brothers: Rede, Green, Black, Inde – Gareth has basically built an army by fighting and defeating these knights. Persaunte also gives Gareth his 18 year old daughter for the night.
Gareth tells her his kitchen duties were really to see who his friends truly were. She finally relents and is won over. Gareth fights Persaunte well over “too owres”.
“ye shall cacche som hurte” = a very Malory thing to say. Love it!
By the way, “and” usually means “if” in this book.
Parsaunte isn’t even as tough as the knights we’ve really come for. She finally recognizes Gareth’s good blood.
Blood = lineage (as in this case)
Blood = sin (as in Gwenyvere’s bedroom and Launcelot’s hand)
Blood = healing (staunche the blood)
Blood = Christ (Grail, communion)
lady still berates Gareth, but he’s getting a little tired of her. They come upon a pavilion of knights. She talks up Sir Parsaunte of Inde, “the moste lordlyest knyght that ever thou lokyd on”
Gareth is victorious, Rede begs for mercy. Gareth puts it to the lady again and she agrees to show mercy. They all celebrate and submit to Arthur, though it’s really Gareth where the stronger loyalty lay.
They finally get to the Rede Knight, who is brother to the Green and Black Knights. Gareth and Rede fight and the lady is encouraging Rede Knight, who is her enemy, to win.
Gareth is now protected by this Green Knight (first of many knights who will be loyal to him within the larger state structure of Arthur’s court – state within a state). This Green Knight has 30 men under him (who are thus under Gareth now, too).
She relents and orders him not to kill the Green Knight. Green knight tries to talk sense into the lady about her terrible treatment of Gareth.
Gareth and the Green Knight fight. Green Knight begs for mercy, but Gareth leaves mercy up to the lady’s discretion.
After 1.5 hours the black knight dies. Lady is still not happy. Now there’s a Green Knight, brother of the Black Knight. Gareth says he killed the Black Knight honorably.
She tells the black knight to fight Gareth. They fight.
She still insults him, he’s not giving up. They come upon a knight all in black.
The lady houses with the newly rescued knight. They all party, but she still despises Gareth. He fights 2 knights at a river crossing. Wins. Lady is totally unimpressed.
Gareth helps a man who is fleeing 6 thieves. He kills them but asks no no reward in return.
“Ryght so there cam a damesell into the halle and salewed the kyng and prayde hym of succoure.”
Sir Gareth of Orkney, 226:12
The damesell’s interaction with Arthur at court reveals a political complexity concerning the obligations between men and women in the context of the medieval romance genre. Here, women possess considerable power and influence and are just as capable as the men to perform in the state political sphere. This male / female relationship dynamic illustrates the intricacy of the roles both men and women can play in the political realm and reveals the considerable power women actually possess in spite of the majority of Malory’s word count being devoted to masculine action and influence.
The damesell, unable to take care of the Rede Knyght of the Rede Laundys by herself, addresses Kynge Arthur in person at his court in hopes this masculine governing body will provide her with necessary service, “[my sustir] is beseged with a tirraunte,” (226:16) and that the damesell has “come to you for succoure” (226:18). The damesell understands that the purpose of Arthur’s administration is an effort to bring order to all England, which she is showing respect to by coming directly to Arthur as well as deferring to his rule. However, in not revealing the full facts of the case, the name and location of her “sustir”, she is refused. Though Arthur and his (male) knights have sworn and are obligated to protect ladies from harm (the Pentecostal Oath), especially against a “tirraunte” (226:16) who is doing such harm, Arthur can refuse this obligation since the damesell is also refusing information for him. The damesell, understanding that Arthur cannot just send out his military without having full reliable information, shows political tact, “than muste I seke forther” (226:35) when Arthur denies her request.
While she does ultimately obtain a champion, Sir Gareth, “graunte me to have this adventure of this damesell,” (227:7) since his true royal lineage is kept from her she does not see the worth that this “kychyn knave” could honorably provide for her, and in fact grows angry, “she wexed angry” (227:17) and insults Arthur himself in front of the whole assembled court, “Fy on the” (227:16). The damesell requires the full and honorable force of the masculine state institution to uphold its obligations to protect the people, especially in this case since it’s a lady in need of assistance, and so she feels justified in behaving openly hostile towards the king since she believes these obligations are not only not being met, she also believes her honor and need of assistance is being mocked by being assigned this “kychyn knave” as if it were some sort of bastardized consolation prize. For his part, Arthur shows political tact and restraint by not punishing the damesell for insubordination or disrespect since she is, after all, one of the lady’s he has sworn to protect, a fact the damesell is well aware of and knows will protect her in this verbal sparring match.
Yet Arthur does have an option that allows him to uphold his protection obligations without necessarily being directly implicated in the damsell’s affair should the adventure turn out bad for the him and the state. By allowing Gareth to be knighted not by the head of the state, Arthur, but by his lieutenant, Lancelot “than Sir Launcelot gaff hym the order of knyghthode” (229:16), Arthur can still save face and not neglect his obligations. In turn, the damesell, though begrudgingly, does her part in shaping the character of this fresh knight by constantly testing him, either through verbal abuse, “thou stynkyst all of the kychyn,” (229:28) or by upholding the chivilaristic rule of mercy as a teaching moment (as far as she believes it to be) for Gareth, “sle hym nat, for and thou do thou shalt repente hit” (236:9).
Thus both parties, male and female, show political shrewdness and take full advantage of the complicated opportunities which have been given to each of them. For the damesell’s sake, at worst Gareth would be killed by one of the numerous knights they will encounter during the adventure and so she will be free to just “seke forther,” and in Arthur’s case he has an opportunity to remove yet another “tirraunte” from his kingdom. In their own ways, both Arthur and the damesell possess great influence in the shaping of society and in upholding chivalry.
Launcelot does make him a knight. This damesell does nothing but insult him up one side and down the other. She wants a “real” knight.
“Beawmaynes” (Gareth) insults Kay right back then knocks Kay off his horse, takes his shield and spear. He now fights with Launcelot.
The new knight asks to take on this damesell’s adventure to deal with the tyrant. He also asks that Launcelot make him a knight.
Launcelot and Gawayne give this knight gold for new clothes while Kay still mocks him. A damesell arrives at court requesting help with a tyrant. She does not give her name and Arthur refuses to help her.
Kay mocks this new knight who sleeps in he kitchen with the servants.
New knight asks for 4 gifts – 1 now, the rest later. This knight wants a year’s worth of food. He won’t say his name.
Gareth = Beawmaynes = “fair hands” or “pretty hands”. Tis is Kay’s insult of Gareth.
Custom for the king not to go to mete (eat meat) until there is a great marvel.
The knights gather, a new knight enters.
Launcelot is renowned the world over.
Beowulf was also eager to gain fame, and was also generous to his kinsmen (the old myth hero). Also like Heracles in that he’s divine and undertook labors / adventures. All this is civilization building and Launcelot’s role in the greater myth cycle is that he’s bringing justice to Arthur’s court and the realm. He’s the strong arm of the law.
The knight turns good and becomes a hermit (we’ll see this happen again at the end of the book). Everyone recalls Launcelot’s deeds at court.
The knight tricks Launcelot to look away so that he can chop of his wife’s head. He then begs for mercy. Launcelot makes him wear the head and then go to see the Pope in Rome and beg forgiveness.
Launcelot sees a knight chasing a lady (his wife) with his “naked sword”. She loves her cousin.
Launcelot was tricked to remove his armor. He fights Phelot with just a tree branch. Killing an unarmed knight is an act of treason as well as dishonorable.
Everyone is cheered! He sees a falcon trapped in a tree and a lady begs him to rescue it. Launcelot admits to being a terrible climber. Launcelot removes his armor to climb this tree.