NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia


Dolorous Lady

In the romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory, La Cote Male Taillée encounters Maledisant while on a quest for the Holy Grail. Maledisant tests La Cote’s chivalry by asking him to fight her champion, Sir Plaine de Force, in single combat. At first Maledisant is abusive, presumably because he refused to remove his ill-fitting coat, until he had avenged his father. Despite being ill-equipped and ill-prepared, La Cote accepts the challenge and defeats Sir Plaine, earning Maledisant’s admiration and respect.

After their encounter, Maledisant and La Cote become friends, and she helps him to find his true identity and purpose as a knight. Together, they embark on a series of adventures, and La Cote eventually proves his worth as a noble and valiant knight.

Maledisant is best known for her role in the quest for the Holy Grail, where she serves as a test for the purity and chivalry of the knights who seek the Grail. In most versions of the legend, Maledisant is a beautiful woman who had been cursed to suffer from perpetual sadness and grief. She is often depicted as a damsel in distress who requires the assistance of a knight in order to be freed from her sorrow.

Maledisant first appears in the 13th-century romance Perlesvaus, also known as The High Book of the Holy Grail. In this work, she is one of several maidens who test the worthiness of the knights who seek the Grail. She asks the knights to help her avenge the death of her lover, but ultimately reveals that her true purpose is to test their chivalry and selflessness.

Maledisant appears in later Arthurian works, such as the Post Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. In these works, she retains her role as a test for the knights who seek the Grail, and is often depicted as a tragic figure who inspires compassion and sympathy.

See also
Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat | The Legend of King Arthur
Maledisant’s Shield | The Legend of King Arthur

Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Perlesvaus | Early 13th century