Alfred Lord Tennyson's verse narrative ''Idylls of the King'' is inspired by [[KingArthur Arthurian legends]], especially Thomas Malory's ''Literature/LeMorteDarthur''; however, it also draws extensively on the ''{{Mabinogion}}'' and French traditions. The complete ''Idylls'' consists of 12 poems, plus a dedication to the deceased Prince Albert and an epilogue addressed to [[QueenVicky Queen Victoria]]. Tennyson, a longtime enthusiast of the Arthurian tales, worked on the collection for decades: the first four poems appeared in 1859, and the last one in 1885. (In book form, the poems are not in order of writing or publication.)
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!! Provides examples of:
* ADayInTheLimelight: Because Tennyson doesn't try to replicate Malory in his entirety, a number of significant characters, like Merlin, appear in no more than one or two poems apiece.
* AccentuateTheNegative: How Vivien and Modred set to work on other characters.
* AccidentalMurder: Balin and Balan, of each other.
* AdaptedOut: Morgaine/Morgause.
* AnyoneCanDie
* TheAtoner: Guinevere and, if you're paying very close attention, Lancelot.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Thoroughly deconstructed by the end, as physical appearance turns out to be an utterly unreliable way of judging character.
* BerserkButton: Balin responds badly to any number of things, but especially to perceived insults to himself and to Guinevere.
* BittersweetEnding: The Round Table is destroyed, Arthur is dead and gone and civilization is in ruins. Still, the good Sir Bedivere remains, and the new year is at hand.
* ChildByRape: Arthur.
* ConsummateLiar: Vivien, although she's right about Guinevere and Lancelot.
* CoolSword: Excalibur.
* CradlingYourKill: "Balin and Balan".
* DarkerAndEdgier: The poems become grimmer and gorier as the Round Table dissolves.
* [[DeadManWriting Dead Woman Writing]]: Elaine leaves a posthumous message for the court in "Lancelot and Elaine".
* DeathByDespair: Elaine of Astolat.
* DeathSeeker: The heartbroken Arthur after he realizes the extent of Guinevere's and Lancelot's treachery.
* DrivenToMadness: Sir Pelleas, complete with MadnessMantra ("I have no sword").
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Sir Gawain, who dies offstage between "Guinevere" and "The Passing of Arthur."
* FisherKing: As Arthur's power fades and the Round Table slowly disintegrates, the seasons change for the worse.
* GirlInTheTower: Lyonors in "Gareth and Lynette."
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Guinevere's passion for Lancelot destroys the Round Table by undermining everyone else's virtue.
* GondorCallsForAid: Why Arthur [[JumpedAtTheCall Jumps at the Call]] in "The Coming of Arthur."
** Subverted in "Gareth and Lynette." Because of some backstage maneuvering by Arthur, Lancelot does not go on the quest when Lynette asks; when he does put in an appearance later on, Lynette is exasperated instead of pleased.
* GreenEyedMonster: Guinevere whenever a woman gets too close to Lancelot, as first becomes apparent when Vivien shows up.
* HeroicVow: Knights must swear one to join the Round Table.
* HolierThanThou: Pellam's understanding of Christianity.
* IdiotBall: Carried by several characters.
** Thanks to his IncorruptiblePurePureness, Arthur doesn't pick up on the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot.
** Merlin allows himself to be tricked by Vivien.
** Tristram doesn't pack up to go, despite Isolt warning him that Mark could return any second.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Arthur and Galahad.
* KillEmAll: The battle at the Red Knight's court on a small scale, followed by Arthur's final battle on a large one.
* KnightInShiningArmour: Most prominently Arthur, Gareth, and Galahad.
* KnightInSourArmor: Lancelot, especially in "Lancelot and Elaine", "The Holy Grail" and "The Last Tournament."
* AManIsNotAVirgin: Subverted, sort of. Arthur strongly advocates male chastity and tells Guinevere that he was a virgin before he married her. Similarly, Sir Galahad's purity is linked to his virginity. A number of knights fail to pass this test, though.
* MerlinAndNimue: Here, Merlin and Vivien.
* MistakenForCheating: Enid by Geraint.
** More ironically, Guinevere accuses Lancelot of cheating with Elaine of Astolat.
* MurderTheHypotenuse: Tristram neglects to keep track of time during "The Last Tournament"...
-->"Mark's way," said Mark, and clove him thro' the brain.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Tennyson's Arthur is a romanticized version of Prince Albert.
* NotSoDifferent: The Red Knight's point about the relationship between his court and King Arthur's. Given what follows, he appears to be correct.
* TheOathBreaker: By the end of the sequence, many of Arthur's knights have betrayed their vows in one way or the other.
* OneSteveLimit: Unlike the original legends, Tennyson does not deluge us with multiple characters with the same name.
* PlayingCyrano: Sir Gawain promises to do this for Sir Pelleas in "Pelleas and Ettarre." The execution, however, leaves something to be desired.
* PublicDomainCharacter: The entire cast of characters.
* SlapSlapKiss: Lynette spends most of "Gareth and Lynette" trying to provoke Gareth, whom she believes to be base-born, until she changes her mind near the end.
* SmugSnake: Modred, Vivien.
* SoleSurvivor: Sir Bedivere.
* TameHisAnger: "Balin and Balan" subverts this trope. Balin does his best, but once he's separated from Balan and begins to doubt Guinevere, his self-control evaporates.
* TheDividual: Balin and Balan, of the syndividual type. Balan is capable of restraining Balin's anger issues. Then, they split up.
* TriangRelations: Type 12, although platonic on the male ends. Arthur loves Guinevere and Lancelot. Lancelot loves Guinevere and Arthur. Guinevere loves Lancelot, but not Arthur.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Because Tennyson skips large chunks of the legend, some characters simply disappear without a trace (Vivien), or have blink-and-you'll miss-it resolutions to their plot (Lancelot).
* WillNotTellALie: Arthur.
* YourCheatingHeart: Lancelot and Guinevere; Tristram and Isolt.
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