Dolorous Garde, La
Dolereuse Garde, - Tor; La Dolerouse Chartre; Doloreuse Chartre, - Garde, - Tor; La Doloroeuse Chartre, - Garde, - Tor; Dolorous Chartre, - Gard, - Guard
A castle originally known as Joyous Garde. [More]
An enchanted hilltop, possibly in Scotland. At the top was a pillar, adorned with fifteen crosses, to which only the best knights could tie their horses. Any other knight would be driven insane.
Merlin had constructed the test at the behest of Uther Pendragon in order to find worthy knights for Arthur’s table. Kahedins vowed to travel there in Chrétien’s Perceval, but it is Perceval who tests himself at the pillar and succeeds in the Second Continuation. Merlin’s daughter inhabited the mountain and explained the adventure to Perceval.
A dungeon owned by Brandin of the Isles (Brandus des Illes), lord of Doloreuse Garde, but in a separate castle from Dolorous Garde (Doloreuse Chartre). Every knight who attempted the adventure at Dolorous Guard and failed was thrown into the Dolorous Prison; their names, however, appeared on tombstones at Doloreuse Garde, as if they were dead. These knights included Yder, Guivret, Yvain of Leonel, Cadoain, Kehedin (Kahedins), Kay of Estraus, Girflet, Dodinel, Taulas, Mador, Galegantin, and Arthur’s son Loholt.
Gawaine was tricked into the prison by Brandin after Lancelot liberated Doloreuse Garde, but the lot of knights were eventually freed by Lancelot. Loholt and Galegantin developed serious illnesses while in the prison; Loholt later died, but Galegantin was healed by the Hermit of the Thicket.
La Bele Garde, La Bele Prise, La Dolereuse Tor, La Dolerouse Tor
The castle inhabited by the evil giant Caradoc. In one of the earliest stories of Guinevere’s abduction (found on the Modena Archivolt), it was ruled by Mardoc, who had Caradoc kidnap Guinevere. The castle could be entered only by two bridges, which were guarded by the warriors Burmalt and Caradoc. Gawain managed to penetrate the fortress and rescue the Queen.
In later stories, the Dolorous Tower belongs wholly to Caradoc, Guinevere’s abduction is removed, Caradoc kidnaps many good knights and imprisons them in his squalid, rodent-infested jail. Lancelot becomes Caradoc’s killer. After Lancelot killed Carados, this castle was renamed La Bele Garde (Bellegarde) or La Bele Prise, and apparently Sir Melians li Gai (Melian the Gay) and his bride (who had been imprisoned there) became its lord and lady. Malory mentions it as the home of Sir Selyses.
I do not think this Sir Carados is to be identified with King Carados of Scotland, nor the Dolorous Tower with Dolorous Garde. Sir Carados and Sir Turquine were brothers, so their holdings reasonably might have been close together. Phyllis Ann Karr have some scanty evidence that Turquine's Hill may have been in the southwest, in the region of the South Marches. Carados might have been a spiritual ancestor of the outlaw Doones of Devonshire. A possible identification for the Dolorous Tower is Trematon Castle.
[A] place wherein the former Earles and the outer chiefe gouernors of Cornwall made their abodes ... howsoeuer ... if falleth daylie to ruyne and decaye: The inner buyldinges are fallen downe, only some ragged walls remayne; and in the base courte some Lodginges doe stande, and the Prison.