Belonging to the fellowship of the Round Table is, by definition, in any Arthurian romance the greatest honour. In establishing a set of recognizable features of the Arthurian world and its chivalric code, romance authors aligned their stories with accepted models of aristocratic behaviour, subsequently woven into narrative patterns that brought popularity to the genre. By building the context of aventure [adventure] and setting its parameters (in other words, the cycle of departure — challenge/obstacle — (painful) gain — return), authors worked with their audiences’ expectations of a world in which ideals are enacted and deviations from the ‘norm’ are corrected.1 It is not surprising, therefore, that Arthurian romance revels in opposites — characters are either ‘in’ (belonging to) or ‘out’ (not belonging to) of the Arthurian fellowship and court — defining and classifying types of noble behaviour and those who do/do not exhibit it. Thus modern critical approaches focusing on the marginal or liminal and the ‘Other’ can provide profitable avenues for the investigation of Arthurian texts.
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