Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Wicked Custom

Malvagia Usanza

In the annals of Arthurian lore, a chilling saga unfolds in La Tavola Ritonda, on an island where Tristan and Isolde find themselves stranded during their fateful journey from Cornwall to Ireland. Dominating the island’s landscape stands the foreboding Castle of Tears, the ancestral seat of Lord Galehaut’s parents. For Tristan, escape from this perilous realm hinges upon the daunting task of conquiering this formidable stronghold.

Recounted in the Prose Tristan, the island is known as the Giant’s Isle, its ominous name foreboding the treacherous trials that await the unwary traveler. Amongs the island’s sinister customs lies the infamous “Wicked Custom,” a macabre ritual that ensnares unsuspecting knights and their fair ladies. Here, the visiting knight’s beloved is cruelly pitted against the paramour of the island’s lord in a twisted constest of beauty. The stakes are unbearably high, for the woman deemed least fair faces the grim fate of beheading, her life forfeit to the island’s merciless decree.

As Tristan confronts this harrowing challenge, he confronts not only the physical perils of the Castle of Tears but also the moral quandaries that define his heroic journey. In the shadow of looming danger, Tristan’s courage and resolve are put to the ultimate test, offering a poignant testament to the enduring themes of love, sacrifice, and redemption that permeate the Arthurian legend.

La Tavola Ritonda | 1325-1350
Prose Tristan | 1230-1240