Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat


A Knight of the Round Table whose true name in some romances is Brunor the Black. It appears that he was the subject of a now lost French romance.

A fragment, called Le Vallet à la Cote Mal Tailliée, relates how he arrives at Arthur’s court but is rejected for a place in Arthur’s service. After the Knight departs, Gawain speaks in his favor and sends a courier to bring him back. Given the style of similar romances, including the Knight’s story in the Prose Tristan, we may assume that in the original, the messenger failed to convince the Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat to return, spurring Arthur to send a group of knights after him. The Knight would have then defeated Arthur’s knights, embarked on a series of adventures, proven his merit, and returned to find an open seat at the Round Table. In any event, he is listed among Arthur’s knights in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, the Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, and Les Merveilles de Rigomer.

His original story, probably modified, is inserted into the Prose Tristan. We learn from this and other sources that he was the brother of Dinadan and Daniello. We hear in La Tavola Ritonda that he hated Lancelot because Lancelot had slain Daniello. The two knights fought to a draw at the castle Dusbergo.

The Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat has a chapter in Malory’s book of Tristan, expanded from a shorter version in the Prose Tristan. When he first arrived at Arthur’s court wearing his misshapen coat, Kay scoffed at him. The coat had belonged to Brunor’s murdered father (the Good Knight Without Fear), and Brunor had vowed to wear the coat until his father’s death was avenged. Arthur knighted him, and he soon proved his merit by rescuing Guinevere from a lion that had escaped from the king’s menagerie. Kay humiliated him by arranging for Brunor’s first joust to be with Daguenet, Arthur’s fool.

Responding to the request of Ill-Speaking Maiden (Bien Pensant), Arthur sent Brunor to avenge the death of a knight in Sorelois. He was miserably defeated in joust against Bleoberis and Palamedes along the way, but it turned out that Brunor only lacked skill in joust. On foot, he slew a dozen knights at the castle Orguellous (Orgulous).

He befriended Lancelot (in contrast to Tavola), who rescued him from the Castle Pendragon. Together, they went to Sorelois and defeated six brothers named Playne de Fors, Playne de Amors, Plenorius, PillounesPellogris, and Pellandris, completing the quest. On the return to Camelot, Lancelot evicted Brian of the Isles from the Castle Pendragon and gave the fortress to Brunor. Brunor married the Ill-Speaking Maiden, whose name he changed to Beau Vivant (Beauvivante). Arthur eventually promoted him to the Round Table.


See also
La Cote Male Taile | The Legend of King Arthur


Sources
Le Vallet à la Cote Mal Tailliée | 13th century
Le Bel Inconnu | Renaut de Bâgé, 1185–1190
Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470