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File:SirBedivere Beardsley w270 7832.jpg

Knowing that you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you, Bedivere chucked Excalibur back into the lake.[1]

Sir Thomas Malory (c. 1405--1471; his name is also spelt Mallory and a handful of other variants) was an English writer whose version of the King Arthur mythos, Le Morte d'Arthur, is often treated as the definitive version. This is partially due to the fact that the book was one of the first to be printed in Britain (by William Caxton in 1485, 14 years after Malory's death), and subsequently reached a high circulation.

Le Morte d'Arthur means The Death of Arthur; it was originally only the title of the 8th and last "book" of Malory's narrative, which he named The Whole Book of King Arthur & of His Noble Knights of the Round Table[2]. It was Caxton that changed the title to the one that was afterwards almost universally used, presumably because it was shorter.

Oddly enough, in popular scholarly opinion Malory was himself an evil knight, who wrote the tale during his various stints in prison for robbery, murder, and rape.

Malory also has a bit part in T. H. White's The Once and Future King, as the squire that King Arthur sent off to tell the story of the Round Table.

Tropes exemplified by Le Morte d'Arthur:

  1. Image is "How Sir Bedivere Cast the Sword Excalibur into the Water" by Aubrey Beardsley, 1894.
  2. Though he spelt it The hoole booke of kyng Arthur & of his noble knyghtes of the rounde table.