Thank goodness, then, that there are medieval Arthurian texts that dare to question at least some of the assumptions that undergird the ethos of their own elite audiences. And one of the characters who voices some of the most sensible objections to the knightly ethos is the plainspoken and witty Sir Dinadan, created in the French Prose Tristan cycle but best known nowadays from Malory's Morte Darthur. Here's my attempt to capture what I imagine to be one of his typical expressions:
Dinadan's problem, you see, is that, while he is himself a dab hand at jousting and swordplay, he prefers not to exercise his knightly skill unless it's really called for; but he's such good company that he is forever falling in with honor-crazed knights such as Tristram, who practically force him to fight for a glory that he would be quite happy to do without.
Dinadan doesn't even see the point of the love affairs that are the raison d'être for so many of his nobler companions of the Round Table. By challenging the utility of both combat and [so-called] courtly love, Dinadan becomes a devil's advocate bringing charges against both the chivalric and the chivalrous sides of knighthood.
His wit is reported more than displayed, but it is said of him that he composed an insulting ditty about the wicked King Mark (Tristram's hateful uncle) that he arranged for a minstrel to sing at Mark's court. (I think it would be a worthwhile bit of Arthurian fanfic for someone to write a text for said ballad, just in case anybody out there is looking for something to do.)
I seem to recall that a knight called Sir Dinadan features in Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court but that, like so many characters seemingly borrowed from Malory, he is unrecognizable as his medieval original.
Anyhow, that's my D entry for the Arthurian alphabooks. Next week: a lady who is rather distraught.