Feb 1: I told them we already got one

Forgive the Python reference but tonight we’re reading the Holy Grail (Vol. 35, “Chronicle and Romance: Froissant Malory Holinshed”). Talk about the difficulty in reading works as another time might have – I can practically hear the coconuts clacking together.

Also, given the anniversary-like ways of the Daily Reading Guide, I have expect a parenthetical: (“Holy Grail Found, February 1, 1203”).

How do I play this? Should I give into the clacking coconuts, or should I try to be all scholarly? Because this is the Daily Reading Guide, designed for the dilettante, I think I am safe in allowing the clacking.

And Chapter VII, according to its heading, indeed has Sir Galahad – and “how after, all the knights were replenished with the holy sangreal”. I must have their recipe! Okay, herewith the liveblog:

-- Here the “forsooth”-iness, which I so object to elsewhere, makes perfect sense (perhaps because it’s in the original. In fact, in the first couple of sentences we have a “forsooth” and a previously-unencountered “soothly”. Sooth futures were a good business in days of yore, apparently.

-- Holy shit (seriously):

…for Sir Launcelot is come but of the eighth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ, and Sir Galahad is of the ninth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ, therefore I dare say they be the greatest gentlemen of the world.

I don’t know what it means, but that’s pretty heavy. What are the odds that they’d both be English?

The Holy Ghost comes, Gilliam-like:
Then there entered into the hall the Holy Greal covered with white samite, but there was none might see it, nor who bare it. And there was all the hall fulfilled with good odours, and every knight had such meats and drinks as he best loved in this world. And when the Holy Greal had been borne through the hall, then the Holy Vessel departed suddenly, that they wist not where it became: then had they all breath to speak.
I particularly like the touch of the “meats and drinks”. God wants you to have seconds! I should remember this passage whenever someone blathers on about the 72 virgins; Malory aimed low.

Oh, I get it: Sangreal = Greal = Grail. Thanks for not telling me, HC. There’s some pedantry there you can use, though.

So then Sir Gawaine stands up and decides to seek the Grail, because he only saw it covered. This is a guy with too much time on his hands. The other knights follow suit. King Arthur is displeased (one of the rare alterations the Pythons made in the source material), but it says something about King-Knight relations in those days that the Knights get to leave anyway.

In Chapter VIII they leave, although the queen is interested in Galahad’s parentage – is he Lancelot’s child? I didn’t know that, either. This is far soapier than has been represented.

Chapter IX. We seem to get following Galahad pretty closely. There’s some shield that curses any knight except the best. Why they don’t throw it out I don’t know. Why they didn’t schedule this excerpt before Don Quixote, instead of after, I don’t know, unless it’s to make these guys seem ridiculous already. Why would you have a shield that practically nobody can use, then, when you know you’re not qualified to wield it, why would you wield it? We’re much more sensible about our shield-wielding in these times.

In Chapter X, it turns out this shield belonged to Joseph of Aramethia, or perhaps his son, and somehow wound up in Great Britain, like the Elgin Marbles. And the cross on the shield is from his own blood!

So then, in Chapter XII, Galahad has to go visit a fiend in a churchyard. His attending squire behaves well, apparently, and so Galahad makes him a knight (another power I didn’t know knights had. Then they part ways, and the new knight immediately steals a crown and gets killed, which provokes very little editorial comment; it seems that he was just unlucky, that’s all. Galahad revenges himself, cutting off a guy’s arm (flesh wound! Sorry). And Melias gets better! The guy who stole a crown! These guys are no better than gangsters, honestly.