February 2019 – King Arthur building the legend contd

By | March 17, 2019

The session:

Continued Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur”

1/.  Despite previous events the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot developed and Arthur heard that Guinevere had committed adultery with Lancelot.  Arthur was bound to sentence Guinevere to death and condemned her to be burnt at the stake.  Lancelot got to hear of this and rescued Guinevere just as the fire was being lit.  He took her to his castle Joyous Garde at Bamburgh, Northumberland.  This split the knights between Arthur and Lancelot.  Arthur laid siege to the castle, there were many casualties and eventually the Pope had to intervene.  Lancelot was given safe passage to Brittany and Arthur reclaimed his queen.  Sir Gawain persuaded Arthur to follow Lancelot to Brittany to attack Lancelot whilst leaving Mordred in charge.

2/.  Mordred forged documents to show that Arthur had been killed.  Mordred tried to force Guinevere to marry him.  Guinevere locked herself in the Tower of London and Mordred received news that Arthur was returning from Brittany.  A number of knights were loyal to Mordred and there was the battle of Camlann where 100,000 men were killed.  During the battle Mordred inflicted a fatal wound on Arthur who then managed to kill Mordred.

3/.  The Death of Arthur – Arthur knew that he was mortally wounded and asked Sir Bedivere to take Excalibur and return it to the lake.  Twice he hid Excalibur and pretended to return it to the Lady of the Lake.  On his third attempt he returned the sword to the Lady of the Lake.  Arthur then asked Sir Bedivere to carry him to the water’s edge where a barge arrived to take Arthur’s body.  On the barge were 3 ladies, one of whom was Morgan Le Fay, and they carried off Arthur’s body to the other world to heal his wounds.

Malory tells us that the next day Sir Bedivere came across a hermit at a small chapel near Glastonbury.  He was beside a recent grave and said that a group of women had brought the body of a knight for burial (thought to be Arthur).  Sir Bedivere changed his life and devoted himself to fasting, prayer and penance.  Guinevere entered a Benedictine convent and Lancelot joined Sir Bedivere in his life of prayer.  6 years later Lancelot became a priest and after Guinevere’s death he took her body to the chapel at Glastonbury and buried her next to Arthur.  After Guinevere’s death Lancelot wasted away and died.

4/.  Sir Constantine became king after Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were disbanded.