Lancelot's Fight at Guinevere's Door
In Malory, when Mordred
& Agravain catch Guenever & Lancelot together, they have a small
troop of warriors, all of whom end up dead, as does Agravain. The origins
of the episode date back to at least the Mort Artu. But there are
differences in the original.
In the Mort Artu, Lancelot
manages to kill and arm himself with the arms of a warrior called Tanaquin,
and when he escapes, he kills only two of his assailants. Agravain escapes
to be butchered with his brothers when Lancelot rescues Guinevere from the
The differences in Malory's
version can be traced back to the Stanzaic Morte Arthur. In it, Agravain
is killed in the fight at the door, a dramatic event. This increases the
power of Gawain's nobility and the depth of his sense of betrayal at the
murder of Gareth & Gaheris, both unarmed here but maybe not in the
Mort Artu. The Stanzaic Morte Arthur also gives us a bloodier struggle.
Malory takes the next step
and identifies the assailants. The role of Tanaquin from the Mort Artu is
taken by Colgrevaunce, who in the other sources (including Malory's own
usual errors!) should already have be dead as a result of his intervention
in the fight between the brothers Bors and Lionel. The remainder of the
warriors are Mordred, Agravain, Mador de la Porte, Meliot of Logris,
Petipase of Winchelsea, Galleron of Galway, Melion of the Mountain,
Astamor, Gromore Somir Jaure, Curselaine, and all three of Gawain's sons,
Gingalin, Florence and Lovel. None are prominent warriors, for the most
part. Galleron is known only as Gawain's adversary in The Adventures of
the Tarn Wadling. Malory introduces him as the wounded knight who
becomes Palimedes' godfather. Gingalin is the hero of Libaeus Desconnus.
Gromore is the brother of Dame Ragnell. Colgrevaunce features prominently
in the English version of Ywain. Meliot appears as Nimue's cousin in
the adventures as Arthur's wedding.