Love can have many aspects, one of them being the terrible pain of loving someone that spurns your love. The
first time that we meet Pelleas is when Gawaine watches him humble himself for the possibility of seeing the lady he loves,
Ettard. Pelleas is a powerful warrior that few could overcome but he allowed himself to be routinely captured, beaten, and
ridiculed. During a tournament in which Pelleas was declared the champion, he offers the golden circlet prize to Ettard to
declare his love for her. But she spurned his offer. Malory states that there were others at the tournament that were more
beautiful and would have willingly accepted Pelleas' offer but he only loved her. Refusing his advances, she leaves for
her own lands, but he followed her. Disdaining him, each week she would send a group of her knights to attempt to drive him
away. Each time, Pelleas would defeat them but then allow them to capture and bind him. For only as a prisoner was he brought
into her presence.
Gawaine discovers this sad state of affairs from Sir Carados and determines to assist Pelleas. He convinces Pelleas
of his earnest and swaps armor. Taking Pelleas' horse, Gawaine approaches Ettard's castle claiming that he had killed
Pelleas. Ettard proclaims that it is a pity that Pelleas was dead as he was a passing good knight; but that of all men living she hated
him the most since she could not be rid of him. Since Gawaine had killed him, she would reward him by being his women. It is
never made clear why Gawaine at this moment failed his pledge to Pelleas but he declares that he loves Ettard and over the next
several days he spends in amorous pursuits with her. Being May, they set up pavilions on the grounds and Gawaine and Ettard
supped and slept together for two days.
Having slept little during this time, Pelleas sets out to determine what has happened. He finds Ettard in
Gawaine's arms asleep and sorrowfully leaves. Having ridden a mere half mile, Pelleas returns to kill our two lovers. But
he can not bring himself to slay them, and so he leaves again. For a third time, he returns in anger. But again, he can not bring
himself to slay them in their sleep. He takes his naked blade and lays it across their necks and leaves.
When Ettard awakes and discovers the sword, she realizes that Gawaine has played her false. She accuses him of
his false deeds and he departs. Meanwhile, Pelleas has decided to die a slow death drowning in sorrow in his pavilion by the priory.
Love will sometimes triumph, for Nimue discovers one of his men wandering in the forest and visits Pelleas. She falls in love with
him and places him under an enchantment. She leaves and returns with Ettard and shames her for her acts against
Pelleas. And therefore, she threw an enchantment upon Ettard that reversed the love. For now, Ettard loves Pelleas and he hates
her. Nimue pledges herself to Pelleas and he departs with her, leaving Ettard to die of her sorrow.