The Squire's Tales by Gerald Morris.
Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston.

The Squire's Tale (1998)
The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady (1999)
The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf (2000)
Parsifal's Page (2002)
The Ballad of Sir Dinadan (2003)
The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung Cart Knight (2004)
The Lioness and Her Knight (2005)-No review yet
Quest of the Fair Unknown (2006)-No review yet

The Squire's Tale: The story is told from the perspective of Gawain's squire (Terence) who is related to the fairies and therefore has undiscovered abilities. Gawain is shown as more intelligent and thoughtful than the other knights. The fresh perspective of Terence is the distinguishing feature of this retelling of events.

The book will be more enjoyable for elementary readers than most Arthur stories.
related-Gawain, knights and knighthood, magic, England, chivalry, fairy and folk tales, King Arthur

The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady: In this book, Squire Terence and Sir Gawain are called on a quest. Gawain has been challenged by the Green Knight to accept one blow for another. Gawain gives the first blow and must find the Green Chapel to accept his. They leave Camelot to accept the consequences knowing that Gawain will likely be killed. Bound by honor, he has no choice.

Lancelot has newly come to Camelot and has stolen Guinevere's favor. In Gawain's absence, Lancelot has also replaced Gawain in the court's esteem as the greatest knight of the kingdom.

Morris shows Gawain as the true heroic knight with some slight flaws. Lancelot may be a great sportsman, but he doesn't have the honor or wisdom of Gawain. Wisdom that Gawain has achieved through hard lessons.

The challenge of the Green Knight is borrowed from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th century poem which was influenced by even earlier tales. The tournament at the end is symbolic of Gawain's replacement by Lancelot in later tellings. Time passes, and the young generation has its new heroes. Also the new story replaces the old-although the old is not necessarily forgotten by all.
related-Sir Gawain, knights and knighthood, England, magic, honor, love, loyalty

The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf: This is a retelling of Beaumain's story-the kitchen hand who takes up the challenge of Lady Lynet to rid her and her sister's castle of the Red Knight who has besieged the castle. Beaumain is a skilled knight in disguise. An unusual dwarf (who knows Beaumain's identity) accompanies them on the quest. Morris's much expanded version answers questions left hanging in the original telling. Not only does Morris's version make more sense, but it is also more interesting and realistic.
related-Gareth and Gaheris, knights and knighthood, King Arthur stories, Knights of the Round Table, chivalry, beauty, love, Medieval life

Parsifal's Page: Raised on courtly stories by his lady-in-waiting mother, Piers wants to become a page, not learn his father's trade-blacksmithing. He jumps at his first chance to serve a knight. As Piers learns the knight is a recreant, Parsifal (a rustic wishing to become a knight) slays the knight and takes the armor. Piers becomes Parsifals's page and tries to teach him to be more knightly. They happen upon Jean le Forestier who trains Parsifal in weapon skills. In Parsifal's quest for good deeds to do, they come across the castle with the Holy Grail. They fail to ask about King Anfortas's perpetual injury, and in their failure the castle disappears. The quest to rediscover it is also a maturing process for both of them. Along the way they journey with Gawain and Terence and learn of important family connections.
related-Perceval and the Holy Grail, King Arthur, Medieval pages, England in the Middle Ages

The Ballad of Sir Dinadan: Morris uses a minor knight that appears in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur as a way of telling of the often told or referred to love triangle of Tristram (Tristan, the legendary knight) and Queen Iseult (also known as Isolde, Isoud, and Isolt) and King Mark. Morris uses Sir Dinadan as a contrast to show what knights ought to be like instead of the more praised Tristram, just as he contrasted Gawain and Gaheris with Lancelot in previous books.

In the story, Dinadan's father knights him against his will. Dinadan travels to Camelot where he befriends knights of the Round Table. He goes questing with others, but his foremost desire is to write and perform ballads. He prefers not to fight (like Gaheris) knowing that he is no good at it.

In his travels, Dinadan meets a Moorish knight, Palomides, who has come to England to learn what it is to be a great knight. After journeying together Palomides decides it isn't necessary to meet King Arthur and his knights. He has already met the closest to ideal that he can possibly find-Dinadan.
related-Iseult, Isolde, Tristan, Tristram, knights and knighthood, minstrels, troubadours

The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung Cart Knight: Morris retells a lesser known tale, at least in our time, by one of the early writers of the Knights of the Round Table, French poet Chrétien de Troyes. He adjusts parts of the story that don't work well and adds more of his own characters while keeping to the basic storyline.

In the basic story, Kai and Guinevere are abducted as the catalyst of a revolt against King Arthur instigated by Morgause. The intention is to accuse Kai and Guinevere of disloyalty, like Lancelot and Guinevere, kill them both, and weaken Arthur's rule over all of England. Lancelot and Gawain go to the rescue separately, and there is a trial by combat with Sir Meliagant, who imprisoned Kai and Guinevere, to resolve the situation. In Morris's tale there is a witness to the kidnapping (Sarah) who alerts King Arthur, which starts the rescue. As the kidnapping knight is also responsible for her mother and foster father's death, it becomes Sarah's quest as well.

The story shows Lancelot as a worthy knight again despite his past errors. One odd thing is that Morgan le Fay is shown contradictory to how others have depicted her. She and Morgause remain mysteries to me. Perhaps, that is how it should be.
related-King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, knights and knighthood, treatment of Jews, Lancelot, England, magic, fairies, Chrétien de Troyes's Le Chevalier de la Charette (The Knight of the Cart)

RSS Add to Stumble It! Add to Technorati Favorites
Email Updates
Kickstart Reading/50+ Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
BookAdvice Crosswords
Follow minerva66 at Twitter
Knock Your Socks Off Challenge

Recent NTugo Network Posts

    ©2006-2016 Advice, banner, and coding help given by Redwall_hp. Established May 2006.