Thursday, October 8, 2009

Summary, Chapters 0 to 20

A recap of the story so far, to refresh our memories.

["Capitu. xviij. de como Amadis se combatio con Angriote: y con su hermano: los quales guardauan vn passo de vn valle en que defendian que ninguno tenía mas hermosa amiga que Angriote." Introduction to Chapter 18 of the 1526 edition, published by Jacobo and Juan Cromberger in Seville, Spain. "Of how Amadis did combat with Angriote, and with his brother, who guarded a pass of a valley in which they defended (the idea) that none had a more beautiful ladylove than Angriote."]


Chapters 0 to 15

Amadis is born in secret and out of formal wedlock to Princess Elisena of Little Brittany and King Perion of Gaul. He is abandoned at birth, then discovered and adopted by a Scottish knight, Gandales. Because Gandales finds the newborn at sea, he calls him "Childe of the Sea." When Amadis is seven years old, King Languines of Scotland takes him and Gandales's son Gandalin to his court. There, at age twelve, Amadis meets Princess Oriana of Great Britain, then ten years old, and the two fall hopelessly in love — hopeless because such a lowly boy has no chance to wed such an important princess.

Amadis becomes a knight, with Gandalin as his devoted squire. A sorceress who watches over him, Urganda the Unrecognized (so called because she can disguise herself as anyone), gives him a magic lance. He performs several astounding feats with it before he joins an army to help King Perion, whose kingdom has been invaded by the King of Ireland. Amadis wins the war by defeating the King of Ireland in one-on-one combat, and immediately afterwards, with the help of the level-headed Damsel of Denmark, he learns his true identity.

Meanwhile, his brother Galaor has been kidnaped while still a toddler by a giant. When he grows up, Galaor becomes a knight with the help of Urganda and begins his own career as one of the finest knights in the land. However, he is not as smart as Amadis and is not at all chaste.

After Galaor's first battle, a damsel guides him to the castle of the Duke of Bristol and, there, to the bedroom of Princess Aldeva. The Princess and Galaor share their love; this traditional medieval erotic episode involves comic-violence skirmishes with Duke's dwarf. Then Galaor goes to another castle and, after more comic violence, frees a damsel being held prisoner there, who treats his wounds and his amorous urges.

Amadis, meanwhile, is traveling to King Lisuarte's court in Windsor in Great Britain, where Oriana is. On the way he is insulted by a knight named Dardan, who is also trying to cheat a widow out of her inheritance. At Windsor, Amadis avenges himself and the widow, and is welcomed into King Lisuarte's court, where he becomes a knight in service to Queen Brisena. In secret, he goes to a garden at night and speaks through a window with Oriana, and they declare their love to each other.

(A more detailed recap of Chapters 0 through 15 is available here.)

Chapter 16

Agrajes, a cousin of Amadis, rescues Princes Olinda of Norway, his beloved, from a storm, and she continues traveling to Windsor. He meets his uncle Galvanes and they also decide to travel to Windsor, but in Bristol they learn that the Duke of Bristol will burn alive the damsel who led Galaor to Aldeva. Though the explanation they hear is untruthful and leaves out the sex, they believe it and confront the Duke, who is not moved to release her.

Agrajes and Galvanes rescue the damsel from the flames and fight off the Duke, who swears enmity against all knights-errant. Then they meet a knight named Olivas, who also hates the Duke, and the three knights head for Windsor.

Chapter 17

Amadis leaves Windsor in search of Galaor, but on the way he meets a badly injured knight in service to King Lisuarte, whose wife explains that he was defeated by a knight who hates Lisuarte because one of his knights (Amadis) killed Dardan. Amadis avenges him, then continues on his way.

He meets a dwarf named Ardian (not the Duke's dwarf), who agrees to guide him to a castle where Amadis hopes to find Galaor.

On the way, Amadis meets a knight named Angriote who claims his ladylove is the most beautiful in the world and tries to force Amadis to agree.

Chapter 18

Amadis defeats Angriote.

He continues on to the castle, which belongs to Arcalaus the Sorcerer, and finds it deserted. He discovers a horrible dungeon, kills its guards, and frees Princess Grindalaya, who being held there. While he is doing that, Arcalaus's men attack Gandalin and the dwarf. Amadis frees them, but discovers that they are all trapped inside the castle. At dawn, Arcalaus appears. Using sorcery, he defeats Amadis, leaves him for dead, takes his horse and armor, and rides off to the court of King Lisuarte.

Chapter 19

Two mysterious damsels arrive at the castle, release Amadis from the spell, and save his life. He frees the remaining prisoners in the dungeon — one hundred fifteen men and thirty knights, including Gandalin and the dwarf — who are all very grateful. He makes peace with Arcalaus's wife, and sends a knight named Brandoivas with Princess Grindalaya to King Lisuarte's court.

Amadis continues on his way and meets the two damsels who had released him from the spell. They are under attack by two knights, and he defeats them. The damsels turn out to be nieces of Urganda. They all continue on their separate ways.

Chapter 20

Arcalaus arrives at King Lisuarte's court and announces that he has killed Amadis. Everyone hates him, so he leaves. Oriana nearly dies of sorrow. Then Brandoivas and Grindalaya arrive, tell the truth, and everyone is happy. The Queen learns that Grindalaya's sister is Aldeva (the one who made love to Galaor) and sends for her.

Chapter 21 (so far)

This chapter opens by telling how Galaor gets fooled by a knight (using a very old trick), so Galaor kills him. The knight's ladylove follows Galaor, hurling insults, and vows to get him killed as they enter a forest named Angaduza....


If you are new to the story and have time to read only one chapter, I recommend Chapter 9, in which Amadis, still known as Childe of the Sea, fights the King of Ireland: a perilous battle described in lyrical prose. (Link here.)

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