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Creator/AlfredLordTennyson's verse narrative ''Idylls of the King'' is inspired by [[Myth/KingArthur Arthurian legends]], especially Thomas Malory's ''Literature/LeMorteDarthur''; however, it also draws extensively on the ''Literature/{{Mabinogion}}'' and French traditions. The complete ''Idylls'' consists of 12 poems, plus a dedication to the deceased Prince Albert and an epilogue addressed to UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria. 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 the complete book, the poems are not in order of writing or publication.

It was illustrated by Creator/GustaveDore.
!! Provides examples of:
* AccentuateTheNegative: How Vivien and Modred set to work on other characters.
%%* AccidentalMurder: Balin and Balan, of each other.
%%* AdaptedOut: Morgaine/Morgause.
* AdaptationalAlternateEnding: "Gareth and Lynette" ends by saying that Mallory might have paired Gareth with his DistressedDamsel, but Tennyson thinks it's more likely he ended up with the woman he actually spent time with.
-->And he that told the tale in older times\\
Says that Sir Gareth wedded Lyonors,\\
But he, that told it later, says Lynette.
%%* AnyoneCanDie
%%* TheAtoner: Guinevere and, if you're paying very close attention, Lancelot.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Arthur doesn't hold back on the rebel barons in the first poem.
* 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.
* 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.
* DeadManWriting: 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.
* TheDividual: Balin and Balan, of the syndividual type. Balan is capable of restraining Balin's anger issues. Then, they split up.
* DrivenToMadness: Sir Pelleas, complete with MadnessMantra ("I have no sword").
* 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.
* IronicEcho:
-->The old order changeth, yielding place to the new.
* KilledOffscreen: Sir Gawain, who dies offstage between "Guinevere" and "The Passing of Arthur."
* 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."
%%* 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.
* 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.