Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 19

I’m not out of hiatus yet–I’ll be back by November–but I’m dropping another chapter of this in between studying.

Also, I just found out I have thirty followers now. o_o Thanks so much.

Right so came Ulfius, and he said, openly so that the king and all who feasted that day might hear, ‘you are the falsest lady in the world, and the most traitorous unto the king’s person.’ [Sorry, what? He’s saying this to Igraine now? God, I hate this guy.]

‘Beware,’ said Arthur, ‘what you say. You speak a great accusation.’ [Thank you, Arthur. Please shut him down fast, for the sake of my sanity.]

‘I am well aware,’ said Ulfius, ‘what I speak, and here is my glove to prove it upon any man who will say the contrary, that Queen Igraine is the cause of your great damage and of your great war. For if she had uttered in the life of King Uther Pendragon of your birth and how you were begotten, you would never have had the deadly wars that you have had. For the most part of your barons of your realm never knew whose son you were, nor of whom you were begotten, and she who bore you of her body should have made it openly known in excusing her worship and yours, and in likewise to all the realm. [Let’s give a round of applause for that impressive feat of mental gymnastics! …Did I mention I hate this guy?] Wherefore I prove her false to God and to you and all your realm; and whoever will say the contrary, I will prove it on his body.’

Then Igraine spoke and said, ‘I am a woman, and I may not fight, but rather than I should be dishonoured, there would some good man take my quarrel. Moreover,’ she said, ‘you and Merlin know well, Sir Ulfius, how King Uther came to me in the Castle of Tintagel in the likeness of my husband, who was dead three hours before, and how King Uther thereby begat a child that night upon me. And after the thirteenth day, King Uther wedded me, and by his commandment, when the child was born it was delivered unto Merlin and nourished by him. And so I never saw the child after, nor knew his name, for I never knew him. [YOU TELL HIM, Igraine. You’re awesome and we stan. Also, ouch Uther is horrible.]

‘And there,’ Ulfius said to the queen, ‘Merlin is more to blame than you.’ [Ha, so he backed down. An apology is in order, but she probably won’t get one.]

‘Well, I know that I bore a child by my lord King Uther,’ said the queen, ‘but I know not what has become of him.’

Then Merlin took the king by the hand, saying, ‘this is your mother.’ And therewith Sir Ector bore witness how he nourished him by Uther’s commandment. And therewith King Arthur took his mother Queen Igraine in his arms and kissed her, and they both wept. [This is so heartwarming, but Ulfius and Merlin are also horrifying and I’m not sure which emotion is stronger in me right now] And then the king let make a feast that lasted eight days.

Then one day there came into the court a squire on horseback, leading a knight before him wounded to the death, and he told them how there was a knight in the forest who had reared up a pavilion by a well. ‘He has slain my master, a good knight; his name was Miles,’ said the squire. ‘Wherefore I beseech you that my master may be buried, and that some knight may avenge my master’s death.’ [What is it with knights in these stories setting themselves up at random places and fighting all who pass through? Where do they get the time? I want their time.]

Then the noise was great of that knight’s death in the court, and every man said his advice. Then came Griflet, who was but a squire, and he was young, of the age of King Arthur. So he besought the king, for all his service that he had done him, to give the order of knighthood.

Here I am, ten days before the SAT and desperately in need of more time to study, and here these losers are, parked in front of some river or road or whatever and demanding to fight everyone who goes by. No, I’m not bitter, why do you ask?

Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 18

You know that episode in that TV series you watch that has you wondering if the scriptwriters were high while writing it? Well, this section is that, but for books, and I am LOVING IT.

‘Sir knight,’ said the king, ‘leave that quest and suffer me to have it, and I will follow it another twelvemonth.’ [Because you’ll totally be able to fit that in with all of your other responsibilities! 😀 This is starting to feel like something I would do, oh no]

‘Ah, fool,’ said the knight unto Arthur, ‘your desire is in vain, for it shall never be achieved except by me or my next kin.’ [Wait, but Palomides wasn’t related to Pellinore that I know of and…Oh, never mind.] Therewith he started unto the king’s horse and mounted into the saddle, and said, ‘gramercy, this horse is mine own.’

‘Well,’ said the king, ‘you may take my horse by force, but I might prove whether you are better on horseback or I.’ [Arthur, this never ends well (at least not in real life)]

‘Well,’ said the knight, ‘seek me here when you will, and here by this well you shall find me.’ And so he passed on his way.

Then the king sat in thought and bade his men fetch his horse as fast as ever they might. Right so came by him Merlin, like a child of fourteen years of age, and saluted the king, and asked him why he was so pensive. ‘I may well be pensive,’ said the king, ‘for I have seen the most marvelous sight that I have ever seen.’

‘That I know well,’ said Merlin, ‘as well as yourself and of all your thoughts. But you are a fool to take thought, for it will not amend you. Also I know what you are, and who your father was, and of whom you were begotten. King Uther Pendragon was your father, and begat you on Igraine.’ [Merlin, have you heard the phrase, ‘locking the barn after the horse is stolen?’ You should have told this to him years ago.]

‘That is false,’ said King Arthur. ‘How should you know it? You are not so old of years as to know my father.’

‘Yes,’ said Merlin. ‘I know it better than you or any man living.’

‘I will not believe you,’ said Arthur, and he was wroth with the child. So Merlin departed and came again in the likeness of an old man of fourscore years of age, whereof the king was right glad, for he seemed to be an upright man.

Then said the old man, ‘why are you so sad?’

‘I may well be heavy-hearted,’ said Arthur, ‘for many things. Also here was a child who told me many things that it seemed to me that he should not know, for he was not of an age to know my father.’

‘Yes,’ said the old man. ‘The child told you the truth, and more would he have told you if you would have suffered him. But you have done a thing of late that God is displeased with you, for you have lain with your sister, and on her you have gotten a child that shall destroy you and all the knights of your realm.’ [Aw, Mordred, my precious murder-child] [Also, WHOSE FAULT IS THIS, MERLIN. I ASK YOU.]

[Literally the only reason why I like Mordred is because I’m writing him, he is such a garbage fire, seriously] [But he’s a garbage fire we stan]

‘What are you,’ said Arthur, ‘that tells me these tidings?’

‘I am Merlin, and I was he in the child’s likeness.’

‘Ah,’ said King Arthur, ‘you are a marvelous man; but I marvel much at your words that I must die in battle.’ […That’s what you’re focusing on right now? That is a pretty awful thing to find out, I guess. But I still think it’s funny.]

[Arthur: I slept with my sister? ‘Kay, whatever. Wait, I’m going to die in battle?]

‘Marvel not,’ said Merlin, ‘for it is God’s will your body be punished for your foul deeds. But I may well be sorry, for I shall die a shameful death, to be put in the earth quick, and you shall die a worshipful death.’ And as they talked of this, someone came with the king’s horse, and so the king mounted on his horse and Merlin on another, and so they rode unto Caerleon. And anon the king asked Ector and Ulfius how he was begotten, and they told him Uther Pendragon was his father, and Queen Igraine was his mother.

Then he said to Merlin, ‘I will that my mother be sent for that I may speak with her. And if she says so herself, then will I believe it.’ [Yayy, Igraine is briefly back in the story, I’ve missed her] In all haste the queen was sent for, and she came and brought with her Morgan le Fey, her daughter, who was as fair a lady as any might be, and the king welcomed Igraine in the best manner.

Yay, I am (sort of) on schedule! A little late in the day, but no matter. That makes me unreasonably happy.

Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 3

We finally get to meet Arthur! And he is cute! This is the cutest part ever!

And also Uther dies. I am liking this chapter.


Then Queen Igraine waxed daily greater and greater, so it befell after half a year that as King Uther lay by his queen, he asked her by the faith she owed to him whose was the child within her body. [*mutters* What the hell does she owe you, you raped her and killed her husband] Then she was sore abashed to answer. ‘Do not be dismayed,’ said the king, ‘but tell me the truth, and I shall love you the better, by the faith of my body.’

‘Sire,’ said she. ‘I shall tell you the truth. The same night that my lord died, the hour of his death as his knights record, there came into my castle of Tintagel a man like my lord in speech and in countenance, and two knights with him in likeness of his two knights Brastias and Iordanus. And so I went into bed with him as I ought to do with my lord, and the same night, as I shall answer unto God, this child was begotten upon me.’

‘And that is the truth,’ said the king. ‘I myself came in the likeness of your husband, and therefore do not be dismayed, for I am father to the child.’ And there he told her all the cause, how it was by Merlin’s council. Then the queen made great joy when she knew who was the father of her child. […Malory? Is that a realistic reaction?]

Soon came Merlin unto the king and said, ‘Sir, you must purvey you for the nourishing of your child.’ [I don’t know exactly what this means…but it’s something about giving Merlin the baby. He really wants that baby.]

‘As thou wilt,’ said the king. ‘So be it.’

‘Well,’ said Merlin, ‘I know a lord of yours in this land that is a passing true man and faithful, and he shall have the nourishing of your child. His name is Sir Ector, and he is a man of fair livelihood in many parts in England and Wales. And this Sir Ector, let him be sent for to come and speak with you, and desire him as he loveth you that he will give his own child to another woman and have his wife nourish yours. And when the child is born, let it be delivered to me at yonder privy postern unchristened.’  [Wait, Uther and Igraine never even gave Arthur a name?] [Like, Merlin, you can see the future. Literally SO MUCH of the mess in Le Morte D’Arthur could have been averted if you had just mentioned to Igraine, ‘So, I was thinking about naming him Arthur! Maybe tell his sisters that?’]

So it was done as Merlin devised. And when Sir Ector came, he promised the king to nourish the child as the king desired.

Then when Igraine delivered the child, the king commanded two knights and two ladies to take the child bound in a cloth of gold, and deliver him to the poor man they met at the postern gate of the castle. [I’ve finally memorized what ‘postern’ means! I don’t have to look it up every time I see it anymore!] So the child was delivered unto Merlin, and he bore it forth unto Sir Ector and made a holy man to christen him, and named him Arthur. And so Sir Ector’s wife nourished him with her own breast. […Did you think we would get confused as to what she nourished him with, Malory?]

Then within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady. [It was really sad.] And in the meanwhile his enemies usurped upon him and did a great battle with his men, and slew many people. ‘Sir,’ said Merlin, ‘You may not lie so as you do, for you must go to the field though you ride on a horse-litter. For you shall never have the better of your enemies unless you be there.’ So it was done as Merlin devised, [Starting to see a pattern here] and they carried the king forth in a horse-litter with a great host toward his enemies. [Does anyone know what a medieval English litter looks like, when they were introduced, etc.? I didn’t know they had those.] And that day Sir Ulfius and Sir Brastias did great deeds of arms, and King Uther’s men overcame the northern army and slew many people and put the remnant to flight. And then the king returned unto London and made great joy of his victory.

The king fell passing sore sick, so that he was speechless three days and three nights, wherefore all the barons made great sorrow and asked Merlin what council were best. ‘There is no other remedy,’ said Merlin, ‘but God will have his will. But let all of you be before King Uther tomorrow morn, and God and I shall make him speak.’ [Okay, but I do have one question. If, later in the story, Morgan can heal Arthur after he got stabbed in the skull, why can’t Merlin heal Uther? Does he not want to? Is this just yet another inconsistency? (I mean probably)(But to be fair, nothing’s consistent in my story either)] So in the morning all the barons with Merlin came before the king. Then Merlin said aloud unto King Uther, ‘Sire, shall your son Arthur be king of this realm after your days?’

Then Uther Pendragon turned to him and said in the hearing of them all, ‘I give him God’s blessing and mine, and bid him pray for my soul, [‘CAUSE YOU NEED IT] and righteously and worshipfully that he claim the crown, upon forfeiture of my blessing. [I…I don’t know what ‘righteously and worshipfully’ means in this context. Is he saying that Arthur can claim the crown righteously and worshipfully?] And therewith he yielded up the ghost and was interred as belonged to a king, wherefore the fair Queen Igraine and all the barons made great sorrow. [Igraine, baby, don’t feel bad for this douchebag, he doesn’t deserve it]

Then stood the realm in great jeopardy for a long while, for every lord that was mighty of men made himself strong, and many wished to be king. Then Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury and counselled him to send for all the lords of the realm and all the gentlemen of arms that they should come to London by Christmas upon pain of cursing; and for this cause, that Jesus who was born on that night would of his great mercy show some miracle, as he was come to be king of mankind, for to show some miracle who should be rightwise king of this realm. [That was a complicated sentence, but basically God is sick of everyone’s BS and is going to perform a miracle to tell everyone who is going to be king.] [Does ‘pain of cursing’ have another meaning in this context, or did Merlin just threaten to curse a whole bunch of people if they didn’t do what he said? XD I have no idea if that’s what it means, but I really, really hope it means that.]

So the Archbishop, by the advice of Merlin, sent for all the lords and gentlemen of arms that they should come by Christmas eve unto London. And many of them made them clean of their life that their prayer might be the more acceptable unto God. [Lol, so cleaning up your act for the holidays isn’t a modern thing.] So in the great church of London (whether it was St. Paul’s or not the French book makes no mention) all the estates were long or day in the church to pray. […That last part means everyone prayed for a really long time? I think?] [Also, Malory, which French book, you use so many French books as a source for this.] And when matins and the first mass were done, there was seen in the churchyard against the high altar a great stone foursquare, like unto a marble stone. And in the middle of the stone was an anvil of steel a foot high, and therein was a sword, and letters there were written about the sword that said thus: ‘Whoso pulleth out the sword from this stone and anvil is rightwise king born of all England.’

Then the people marveled and told it to the Archbishop. ‘I command,’ said the Archbishop, ‘that you keep within the church and pray unto God, and no man touch the sword till the high mass be done.’ So when the mass was done, all the lords went to behold the sword and the stone. And when they saw the writing, some who would have been king attempted to take the sword. But none might stir the sword nor move it.

‘He is not here,’ said the Archbishop, ‘that shall achieve the sword, but doubt not that God will make him known. But this is my council, that we find ten knights, men of good fame, and they will guard this sword.’ So it was ordained, and then there was made a cry, that every man that would should attempt to win the sword.

And on New Year’s Day the barons had a joust and a tournament, so all knights that would joust or tourney there might play. All this was ordained to keep the lords together and the commons, for the Archbishop trusted that God would make known him who should win the sword.

So upon New Year’s Day when the service was done, the barons rode unto the field, some to joust and some to tourney. And so it happened that Sir Ector who had great livelihood about London rode unto the jousts, and with him rode Sir Kay and young Arthur who was Sir Kay’s nourished brother. [Yay! Our boy!] Sir Kay had been made knight last Hallowmas. [Hallowmas means Halloween and is like one of my favorite words.]

And as they rode to the jousts-ward, [I can’t find a definition for this, I’m sorry] Sir Kay lost his sword, for he had left it at his father’s house. [#relatable] And so he asked Arthur to ride back for his sword. ‘I will,’ said Arthur, and rode fast to get the sword, but when he came home, the lady and the household were out to see the jousting. [I swear I’m getting flashbacks to all the times my family has lost something RIGHT BEFORE WE GO SOMEWHERE. If I ever become queen, this will be how.] Then Arthur was wroth and said to himself, ‘I will ride to the churchyard and take the sword that is in the stone, for my brother shall not be without a sword this day.’ [I love how determined this cute kid is? ‘Well, no one’s home? Screw it! I’m just taking that magic sword, then! To hell with the consequences!’ *accidentally becomes king*]

So when he came to the churchyard, Sir Arthur alighted and tied his horse to the stile, and he went to the tent and found no knights there, for they were jousting. And so he grabbed the sword by the handle and lightly and fiercely pulled it out of the stone and took his horse and rode his way until he came to his brother Sir Kay. And as soon as Sir Kay saw the sword, he knew well it was the sword of the stone, and rode to his father Sir Ector, and said, ‘Sir, look, here is the sword of the stone, wherefore I must be king of this land.’ [Oh, God, Kay was almost the king of England]

When Sir Ector beheld the sword, he returned again and came to the church. And he made Sir Kay swear upon a book [the bible, I guess?] how he came by the sword. ‘Sir,’ said Sir Kay, ‘by my brother Arthur, for he brought it to me.’

‘How did you get this sword?’ said Sir Ector to Arthur.

‘Sir, I will tell you. When I came home for my brother’s sword, I found nobody at home to give me his sword. And I thought my brother Kay should not be swordless, so I came here eagerly and pulled it out of the stone without any pain.’

‘Found you any knights about this sword?’ asked Sir Ector.

‘No,’ said Arthur.

‘Now,’ said Sir Ector, ‘I understand you must be king of this land.’

‘Wherefore I,’ said Arthur, ‘and for what cause?’ […Arthur, you didn’t bother to read the writing on the stone? Or, like, bother to listen to any of the gossip since Christmas?]

‘God will have it that whoever draws out this sword shall be king of this land,’ said Sir Ector. ‘Now let me see whether you can put the sword there as it was and pull it out again.’

‘That is no mastery,’ said Arthur, and he put it in the stone, and Sir Ector tried to pull out the sword and failed.


I knew the story of how Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, but somehow it always missed me how relatable and just plain cute that was. I feel like becoming king because your older brother lost his sword and you had to find one for him is…probably the most realistic way of accidentally becoming king. I’ve never seen a more accurate portrayal of this type of story in all the books and fairy tales I’ve read. We will never trump Arthurian legend in this.

Also, if I were a knight, I would definitely always be losing my sword. I wouldn’t actually be able to fight anyone because I’d always accidentally be leaving my weapons at home. Hell, I’d probably be the Dinadan of the bunch and always think of ways to get out of fighting anyway, let’s be honest with ourselves.

Have you also been waiting for Uther to die? Is this an accurate portrayal of how you would become king? Does your family also lose lots of things right before they go somewhere?

Le Morte D’Arthur, book 1, part 2

My ten-year-old sister drew this. It’s of Uther, Ulfius, and Merlin all trying on different masks to try and disguise themselves so they can sneak into Igraine’s castle.

I swear I got depressed just reading this part, but you can’t exactly skip over it, so here we go. Igraine, we love you and you deserved better than this. I hope you got a happy ending. (I mean, we’ll never know, because Malory doesn’t tell us, but whatever I’m not upset /s)

Last week I made the mistake of looking up exactly how many chapters there were in this book, and…let’s just say I had a mini existential crisis. I forgot how long this book was, oh my God. Let’s just say we’re going to be doing this for a while. o_o (Also, on that note, I need to find some way of getting all of this organized, maybe make a separate page for it or something, but we’ll see about that.) Anyway, onto the story!


Then Ulfius was glad and rode on more than a pace until he came to King Uther Pendragon and told him he had met with Merlin. ‘Where is he?’ said the king.

‘Sire,’ said Ulfius, ‘he will not dwell long.’ Then Ulfius was aware that Merlin stood at the porch of the pavilion’s door. And then Merlin was bound to come to the king.

When King Uther saw him, he said he was welcome. ‘Sire,’ said Merlin, ‘I know all your heart, every part. So you will be sworn unto me as you be a true king anointed, and to fulfill my desire, you shall have your desire.’ Then the king swore upon the four evangelists. ‘Sire,’ said Merlin, ‘this is my desire. The first night that you shall lie with Igraine, you shall have a child with her, and when it is born it shall be delivered to me to nourish as I shall have it. For it shall be to your worship and the child’s profit, as great as the child is worth.’ [GAH RUMPELSTILTKIN RUMPELSTILTSKIN

EXCEPT SOMEHOW CREEPIER][He’s doing everything for the baaaby][This is a soap opera]

‘I will,’ said the king, ‘as thou wilt have it.’ [And Igraine is given no choice in whether she wants to keep her son or not. Characters like Uther make me done with life]

‘Now make you ready,’ said Merlin. [And I’ll be honest with you, characters like Merlin, too? I didn’t grow up with the T.H. White stories, which I think are in part responsible for a lot of the affection people feel for the character today.] ‘This night you shall lie with Igraine in the castle of Tintagel, and you shall be like the duke her husband, Ulfius shall be like Sir Brastias, a knight of the duke’s, and I will be like a knight that is called [*squints*] Sir Iordanus, a knight of the duke’s. But be careful that you do not make many questions with her or her men, but say you are diseased and so hasten to bed, and rise not in the morn until I come for you.’ [I assume ‘diseased’ does not mean the modern sense of the word? Maybe something like ‘slightly sick’ or ‘tired’? But then you never know, Lancelot slept with Guinevere when he had blood pouring out of his hand and he didn’t even notice.] [Also, I AM QUESTIONING ULFIUS’ NOBILITY.] So this was done as they devised.

But the duke of Tintagel saw how the king rode from the siege of Tarabyl, and therefore that night he issued out of the castle at a postern for to have distressed the king’s host. And so through his own issue the duke was slain before the king ever came to the castle of Tintagel. [*mutters to self* A postern is a small side door in the castle…I forgot that after looking it up yesterday. Maybe I should just start putting it down as ‘side door’ so I stop being perpetually confused? But then, if not a perpetually confused moth, what am I?]

So after the death of the duke King Uther lay with Igraine over three hours after his death, and begat Arthur on her that night. And Merlin came to the king at day and bade him make ready, and so he kissed the lady Igraine and departed in all haste. [I feel awful reading what happened to Igraine, I’m serious] But when the lady heard tell of the duke her husband, and that by all records he was dead before King Uther came to her, then she marveled who that might be that lay with her in the likeness of her lord.

Then all the barons by one assent prayed the king to make peace between the lady Igraine and him, and the king gave them leave, for he would be pleased to make peace with her. So the king put all his trust in Ulfius [Oh, look, my favorite character. >:-( ] to entreat between them, so at last the king and she met together because of the entreaty.

‘Now will we do well,’ said Ulfius. ‘Our king is a lusty knight and wifeless, and my lady Igraine is a passing fair lady. [‘lusty’ means passionate, I think?] It would bring great joy unto us all and it might please the king to make her his queen.’ [He’s talking to the barons.] Unto that they all agreed and moved it to the king. [Mate!! Why!! Does Ulfius!! Even care!! What’s at stake in it for him?]

And immediately, like a lusty knight, he assented thereto with good will, and so in all haste they were married in a morning with great mirth and joy. [WAS IGRAINE SHARING IN THAT JOY WITH YOU *chokes on swear words*] And King Lot of Lothian and of Orkney wedded Morgause that was Gawain’s mother, and King Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elaine. [Why all the Elaines though?] All this was done at the request of King Uther.

And the third sister Morgan le Fay was put to school in a nunnery, and there she learned so much that she was a great clerk of necromancy. [I LOVE THIS. I’M JUST ENVISIONING ASSASSIN NUNS RIGHT NOW AND IT IS AMAZING.] And afterwards she was wedded to King Uriens of the land of Gore, that was Sir Yvain’s le Blanchemain’s father. [That is the Sir Yvain, the knight with all the cute animals and the magic ravens. Morgan was his mother in this story, and sadly, I don’t remember him making much more than a cameo? I don’t remember the lion (or the magic ravens) showing up in here. Which makes me very sad. But we’ll see!]


Even though Malory never specified what happened to Igraine, I have to say I love Chretien’s version where Gawain just found her and Morgause chilling in a magic castle twenty years after they faked their death. (Yeah, Chretien’s version of the grail story was delightfully weird and I wish he had finished it.) Both she and Morgause had to go through so much, and I love an ending for them where they’re able to get away from the people who hurt them and leave all of that behind. And live in a magic castle. The best happy endings involve magic castles.

Do you like Morgan and Yvain (plus his cute pet lion)? Do you hate Uther as much as I do? Do you think Igraine got her magic castle in the end? Do you like the story so far?

Le Morte D’Arthur, Book 1, Part 1

All right, so here’s part one, kicking off the messy family drama! I’d kind of like for the commentary to be a little less visible so it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the text, so if you have any ideas, let me know in the comments. Also, is there a way to change the color of one sentence without changing the whole paragraph? I looked and couldn’t figure it out, so I’m just a grumpy html user with very sore fingers >_< Anyway, onto the story!


It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon when he was king of all England and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him for a long time. And the duke was called the duke of Tintagel, and so by means [Probably nefarious means] King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady and passing wise, and her name was Igraine.

So when the duke and his wife were coming unto the king, by the means of great lords they were both accorded. [I think it means both Gorlois and Uther made peace?] The king liked and loved this lady well, and he made them great cheer out of measure, and desired to lie with her. But she was a passing good woman and would not assent to the king. And then she told the duke her husband and said, ‘I suppose that we were sent for so that I should be dishonoured. Wherefore, husband, I council you that we depart from hence suddenly, that we may ride all night unto our own castle.’ And in likewise as she said so they departed, so that neither the king nor none of his council were aware of their departing. [I kind of love the high-flown old-sounding language of this book, even though it’s a little hard to read

The blue text and brackets system I currently have set up is what’s really hard to read, but Idk what to do about that]

As soon as King Uther knew of their departing so suddenly, he was wonderfully wroth. Then he called to him his privy council and told them of the sudden departing of the duke and his wife. Then they advised the king to send for the duke and his wife by a great charge. [What…what is a great charge? Serious question] ‘And if he will not come at your summons, then may you do your best, for then you have cause to make mighty war upon him.’ [Pro tip: If a girl won’t get together with you, get a huge army and kill all of her knights + her husband

Works every time]

So that was done and the messengers had their answers. And that was this shortly, that neither Gorlois nor his wife would come to the king. Then the king was wonderfully wroth. [*squints at page* Again?] And then the king sent him plain word again, and bade him be ready and stuff him and garnish him, for within forty days he would drag him out of the biggest castle that Gorlois had. [I am used to the word ‘garnish’, especially ‘stuff and garnish’, being about cooking geese, but I think here Uther is telling Gorlois to make ready for war? As in, ‘get weapons and arm your castles now.’ At first I’ll admit I kind of hoped he was threatening to cook him like a goose, but apparently not. *shrugs*] [Also, I have no clue how you pronounce Gorlois. I have no clue how to pronounce most of these characters’ names, but you know what? I’m writing a retelling anyway.] [I’ll just call him Fred]

When the duke had this warning, he went and furnished and garnished two strong castles of his, one at Tintagel and the other castle at Terrabyl. [No stuffing?] So his wife, Dame Igraine, he put in the castle of Tintagel, and himself he put in the castle of Terrabyl, [No, no, bad idea!!] which had many issues and posterns throughout. [Apparently an issue is defined on Middle English Dictionary as ‘a place of exit, a way out of a place’, and a postern is a small side door. As a side note, wouldn’t he want his wife in the place with lots of nice escape routes? I mean, it didn’t matter anyway, but…]

Then in all haste came Uther with a great host and laid a siege about the castle of Terrabyl. And there he pight many pavilions, and there was great war made on both parties and many people slain. [I think ‘pight many pavilions’ means he pitched many tents? I couldn’t find a definition for ‘pight’, though, so I just left it as is and didn’t mess with it.] Then for pure anger and for great love of fair Igraine King Uther fell sick. So Sir Ulfius, a noble knight […he’s involved in this whole business, though? I am questioning ‘noble’?], came to King Uther and asked the king why he was sick. ‘I shall tell thee,’ said the king. ‘I am sick for anger and for love of fair Igraine, that I may not be whole.’

‘Well, my lord,’ said Sir Ulfius, ‘I shall seek Merlin, and he shall do you remedy so your heart shall be pleased.’ So Ulfius departed, and by adventure he met Merlin in a beggar’s array, and there Merlin asked Ulfius whom he sought, and Ulfius said he had little to tell him.

‘Well, said Merlin, ‘I know whom thou seekest, for thou seekest Merlin, and therefore seek no further, for I am he. And if King Uther will reward me and be sworn unto me to fulfill my desire, that shall be his honour and profit more than mine, for I shall cause him to have all his desire.’ [Someone else pointed out that Ulfius does not recognize Merlin at first, leaving it fully Merlin’s choice to get involved in this mess.

Merlin is yet one more character where I do not get the hype.] [Also, it’s…interesting that Merlin is kind of outside Uther’s command? The king can’t just come and tell him what to do, he has to bargain with him. He becomes something of a parental figure to Arthur later, which is also odd, if you think about it. Wth is up with this character?]

‘All this will I undertake,’ said Ulfius, ‘that there shall be nothing reasonable but thou shalt have thy desire.’ [Essentially (because I had trouble understanding this at first), he can have whatever he wants as long as it’s reasonable. (Always put that ‘as long as it’s reasonable’ clause in there in Celtic mythology. Otherwise someone inevitably asks for your wife.)]

‘Well,’ said Merlin, ‘he shall have his intent and desire. And therefore, ride on your way, for I will not be long behind.’ [#Idonotgetthehype]


And that was the end of part one! I just never really got why people liked Merlin. I mean, yes, the trope of the creepy old enchanter in the woods is really cool and fun, but on the other hand, he abets a rapist? And yes, if you go far back enough, someone has written every character in a bad light–or at least in a way that would be considered bad today–and there are versions where Mordred and even Arthur committed rape (mainly in the Vulgate Cycle), and I’m totally fine with retelling those two characters without those aspects. But in the case of Arthur and Mordred, it isn’t embedded into their character (as in, most of the legends I’ve read do not feature that), and for Merlin, I would say it kind of is? The story of Uther and Igraine is in most of the legends involving Merlin that I’ve heard of, anyway.

I also had a mild panic attack halfway through that I was misspelling each and every characters name (I mean probably). Arthurian names are hard. I have confused Iseult and Igraine, Gaheris and Gareth (UGH why do they have matching names), and Mordred and Morgan. I haven’t confused them in my actual story yet, thank God, but I’m terrified of the day when I write ‘Gareth shouted at Gareth’ or some weird sentence like that. It’s coming. I can feel it.

This is why you give your characters distinct names, kids.

Are you more sympathetic to Merlin? Did you understand all of the story? (I have so far, but I admit I have problems with the language sometimes.) Have you ever gotten your characters’ names confused and/or figured out your characters’ names were pronounced differently halfway through the story?