Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Summary and Notes
The setting shifts to France, where Gawaine lies weakened and sobbing in his tent and Arthur is comforting him. The younger man is humiliated because of Lancelotís mercy, and Arthur is trying to explain what a brave and necessary warrior Gawaine has been to him, and why it is necessary to stop the war. Arthur is eminitely kind, reasonable and loving, and Gawaine cannot help but respond to the power of good in the old king.
Gawaine complains that his head hurts where Lancelot hit it, and the King asks him if he might be able to find it in himself to forgive the knight for beating him not just this time but so many years before.
The Bishop of Rochester enters with letters for the King. Arthur opens his mail and becomes distressed and quiet. He has received a letter that informs him about his son: Mordred has declared Gawaine and Arthur dead, has taken over England, and has proposed to Guenever. Most surprising to the two men, Guenever accepted his proposal, and then locked herself in the Tower of London. Mordredís army is sieging the castle with cannons. The invention of gunpowder, is novel and horrifying to the king, and both men decide to rescue the Queen. Gawaine, standing, immediately sways and collapses.