Le Morte d'Arthur Overview

8 min read
Le Morte d'Arthur Overview

Le Morte d'Arthur was a book published in 1485 by Sir Thomas Malory. This book is a collection of tales of King Arthur from his birth to his death.


King Uther Pendragon calls the Duke of Tintagil to his palace. When the latter arrives, he is entertained. Then, the king tries to lay with the duke's wife, and the duke leaves. King Uther tells him that if he won't give him his wife, he will make war on him and kill him.

At this, the duke goes back home and gets in one of his strongest castles, Terrabil. He puts his wife, Igraine, in Tintagil, and then Uther comes with his armies to try to kill the duke.

Seeing that he could not conquer the duke, the king sent a knight to find Merlin and ask him how to get Igraine as his wife.

The knight finds Merlin, and brings the magician back to the king. Merlin says that he should go to Tintagil disguised as the duke, and lay with Igraine. The duke saw King Uther leaving, and he came out of his castle and was killed.

Then, Uther lay with Igraine and got Arthur as his son. Later, he married the lady and she became the Queen of England. However, Arthur was given to Sir Ector by Merlin.

Two years later, King Uther dies. Before his death, he names Arthur as his heir. No one wants to accept the lad as their king. Then, this happens:

The Sword In the Stone
In this story about medieval England, we find about how the legendary King Arthur became the king of England. It is a legend, not history. King Uther is dying. He got sick and everyone knew he was going to die soon. When he went to his troops on the battlefield

After he becomes king, Arthur appoints different people in his kingdom to different positions. Arthur makes a great feast for all his nobles and invites many other kings.

However, the kings he invited laid siege to a tower Arthur was in. Then, Arthur came out of his tower and fought the kings, defeating them.

Then, Arthur sent for King Ban of Benwick and King Bors of France to help him fight the kings who attacked him. Arthur sent some of his most trusted knights to take the message to these kings, and the knights managed to get to the kings after much fighting.

The kings welcomed them and listened to what they had to say, and then decided to come and help Arthur. When they got to England, Arthur made a great tourney to welcome them.

Soon, the six kings who fought Arthur got five more kings to help them out, and they attacked Arthur and his allies.

During the ensuing battle, Arthur and his allies fought long and bravely, King Ban and Bors lay an ambush and King Ban kills the King of A Hundred Knights. Arthur fights bravely in the encounter and kills many enemies.

Then, Merlin arrives and tells Arthur and the other two kings to stop fighting the eleven kings who attacked them because they were being invaded by the Saracens and had to leave.

Later, King Arthur and his allies save King Leodogran from another king's attack, and because of this, he gives Guinevere to Arthur as his wife.

Then, king Arthur went to Carleton, where he met King Lot's wife. He lay with her and got Mordred as his son. After this, he goes hunting and sees a hart, so he decides to chase it. The hart outruns his horse, and the horse collapses as it is exhausted.

A yeoman brings the king another horse, but the king gives it to Pellinore, a king whom Arthur met in the forest. This king was chasing the hart, as his father had before he died.

Later, a knight named Ulfius tells Arthur that his mother, Igraine, is a traitor because she didn't tell anyone that he was her son, and if she did, the kings who came to fight Arthur wouldn't have done so and simply accepted Arthur as their king. However, Igraine says that she never even knew her son's name because he was given to Merlin when he was born. Merlin told Arthur that Igraine was his mother, so he made a feast that lasted eight days. At the feast, a squire named Griflet asked Arthur to avenge his master, Miles, who was killed in the forest.

King Arthur knights Griflet, who goes to the forest and finds Pellinore, the knight who killed his master. He challenges him to a joust and comes out on the losing side. Griflet is taken back to Arthur's court to be healed.

After Griflet, twelve knights come from the King of Rome, telling Arthur that if he doesn't pay him tax, he will come and destroy England with a great army. Arthur sends the messengers back to the king of Rome to tell him that he won't give him anything.

Then, Arthur goes to fight the knight who defeated Griflet, and he too is beaten by Pellinore. His sword is broken by the knight's blade, and Arthur runs away. Merlin helps the king by casting a sleeping spell over the enemy knight, enabling the king to get away.

Merlin takes Arthur to the Lady of the Lake, who gives him a large and powerful sword called Excalibur, which had a scabbard that didn't let the owner bleed. Arthur wants to use this sword to kill Pellinore, but Merlin says that the knight should be left alive to serve him.

Arthur decides to kill all the babies born on May Day so that a prophecy that Mordred (who was born on May Day) will kill him would not be fulfilled. He kills all of them - except for Mordred, who is taken by a man and raised as his son.

Later, a lady comes to King Arthur's court. She had a sword and told the king that she had to find a great knight and give him the sword. Arthur and the nobles tried to take it, but all failed. Then, a knight named Balin took the sword from the scabbard.

The Lady of the Lake comes to Arthur, asking him for a gift. Arthur was ready to give her anything in the kingdom, but she asked for either the head of the lady who brought the sword to Arthur's court, or the head of Balin. Arthur said that he couldn't give her either, and Balin, recognizing the Lady of the Lake as an enchantress who led many knights to ruin, decapitated her with his new sword.

Then, Merlin came and told the king that the lady who brought the sword was the falsest lady alive, and he said that Arthur should have killed her when he had the chance because the sword that she gave Balin would kill him one day.

An Irish knight named Lanceor decides to chase down Balin and kill him. Arthur informs him that Balin is a very skilled knight, and he would probably lose, but the foolish knight decides to fight anyway and gets killed.

After Lanceor gets killed by Balin, a lady comes to the battlefield and takes Lanceor's sword and gets ready to kill herself. Balin tries to stop her, but the lady, who loved Lanceor, falls on the blade and dies.

Then, Balin meets his brother Balan, and they are delighted to see each other again. Later, a dwarf comes from the city of Camelot, and reproves Balin for killing Lanceor. However, Balin says he did it in self-defense, as the knight wanted to fight him, no matter what he said.

King Mark of Cornwall comes and buries the bodies in a tomb. Then, Merlin came and prophesied that the two best knights in the world, Lancelot and Tristram, would come to this spot and fight. Merlin says that because he let the lady kill herself, Balin would wound the most faithful knight in the world one day.

Then, Balin and his brother go and capture King Rience and kill many of his soldiers. They take him back to Arthur, who is happy that his most fearsome enemy was defeated.

Arthur led an army against King Nero, and Merlin distracted King Lot, one of Nero's allies, with a prophecy, so that he could not come and aid Nero. Arthur won the battle, and Arthur and Balin and Balan did many great deeds and killed twelve kings.

The twelve kings killed in the battle were buried in honor, and candles were set to burn above their graves. Merlin says that the candles will only go out when he dies. Then, Arthur gives the scabbard of Excalibur to his sister for safekeeping, but she gives it to a knight she loved and gave Arthur a fake scabbard which she made.

Later, Arthur got sick, and a knight named Herlews came to visit him. He was being escorted by Balin to the king, when an invisible knight named Garlon came and killed Herlews with a spear.

Next, Balin and a damsel are on the way to a castle. In the forest, they met a knight who was hunting. Perin came with Balin and the damsel to a church, where he too was slain by Garlon. At the castle, the damsel who was with Balin donated some blood to an old lady who was sick.

Afterwards, Balin and the lady leave, and they are hosted in a knight's house for the night. The knight says his son was wounded by Garlon and needed some of that knight's blood to heal him. Balin goes to a feast which Garlon is attending, kills him, and takes his blood to his host.


Mordred is planning to become the king of England while his father is away conquering Lancelot. Mordred tries to marry Guinevere, but she locks herself up in a tower and refuses to come out.

Arthur, hearing about this plot, goes to attack Mordred and a great battle ensues. Then, Arthur's loyal knight, Gawain, goes to Lancelot and tells him about Mordred's plans, and Lancelot says he will come and help the king.

Gawain dies and appears in a dream to Arthur, telling him not to fight the next day because if he does, he will die. The next day, Arthur goes out with his army to meet Mordred, and one of his knights is bitten by a snake, so he draws his sword to kill it. This is taken as an act of war, and Mordred's army attacks Arthur's army. Then, this happens:

The Death of Arthur
After Arthur finds out about Guinevereā€™s betrayal, he goes to fight Morgan and his knights. In the battle, he kills his upstart son, but is mortally wounded. His last loyal knight, Sir Bedivere, stays with his king to the bitter end. The king gives his knight his sword, and tells

After Arthur gets taken away on the boat, Bedivere goes to a hermitage in the country, where he finds a new tomb and the hermit saying prayers. He asks him who the tomb is for, and the hermit says it is for King Arthur, who was brought there by some ladies. At this, Bedivere is sorrowful and decides to stay with the hermit for the rest of his life.

Guinevere hears about Arthur's death and becomes a nun and later an abbess in Almesbury monastery. When Lancelot hears about Arthur's death, he goes to his tomb and prays, and then leaves to talk to Guinevere.

Lancelot goes to the monastery at Almesbury, where he meets Guinevere. After speaking with her, he leaves and becomes hermit like Bedivere. Then, one day six years later, news comes to Lancelot that Guinevere was dying. He rides to Almesbury, but when he gets there, she is dead.

Then, Lancelot goes back to the hermitage and later becomes sick and dies. His body is taken to Joyous Gard to be buried. Constantine rules over England next, and all the other knights who served under Arthur eventually died.