Le Morte D’Arthur Volume I by Sir Thomas Malory
Finished reading on April 18th, 2016
First off – don’t be afraid, it’s not in French!
I picked this book up because I was watching BBC’s Merlin on Netflix and I figured it would be great to read more about King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table etc. So out of my own free (but bonkers) will I picked up a volume of late fifteenth century literature.
This is what I made of it:
It is about a lot more than just King Arthur.
To me it seemed that it was just men wanting to play with their swords and lances. So many people grow shorter by a head and many castle holders have crazy customs (but to each their own…)
In the first volume you do find out how Arthur becomes king, and how he’s born as well, and we meet Sir Lancelot du Lake and Arthur’s sister Morgan Le Fay and Queen Guenevere and lots of knights. And then you follow them as one knight after the other goes looking for adventures.
I always had the idea that it must have been quite difficult to become a knight, but considering how many die in the first volume, and still there are so many more knights, there must be exponential growth somewhere….
I enjoyed most the book (VII) about Beaumains – a young man who arrives at King Arthur’s court and asks for three gifts (and just the concept of going along to the court and asking for stuff – crazy?), one to be fulfilled now and two in a year. The one he wanted now was to be fed for a year at the court. And he is granted his wishes (although knights make fun of him and he ends up being a kitchen boy for a year). After the year has passed, he asks for the other two gifts – first that he’d be granted an adventure and second that Sir Launcelot make him night when he sees him fit to be one. Sounded like just an arrogant brat to me there…. but it gets better. He is granted the adventure, where he has to help a damsel in distress, but the lady isn’t too happy that her request for a knight to help her, ends up with her having a kitchen boy following her (apparently he stinks, literally).
It’s just lovely from then on 🙂 I’d tell you what happens and who the boy is, but maybe you’d enjoy some Sir Malory’s writing rather than mine…
So in general I’ve very much enjoyed reading it, and I will soon continue and read the second volume (because to be honest, also SPOILER! – Arthur, Merlin, Mordred, Sir Launcelot and Morgan le Fay and Morgawse are all alive at the end of vol I, book IX).
Also I found myself thinking of maybe picking up Cervantes’ Don Quixote some time – that never made sense to me how Don Quixote was mentioned so much in my literature classes in school, but we never actually had to read anything that had any knights in it – maybe it’s to make sure we don’t read too much and end up like Don Quixote 🙂
Also I’d point out that if you’ve enjoyed George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Sir Malory would be nice too – style’s different, but lots of people die, crazy things happen and you’ve got Sirs instead of Sers 😀