Orlando Furioso, Canto XI

Knights: 5+ (Ruggiero, Orlando, Bradamante, Oberto King of Ireland, Bireno the bastard who did Olimpia dirty, and probably a bunch of unnamed Irish knights)

Damsels: 2 (Angelica and Olimpia)

Monsters: 3 (the hippogriff (it gets tired of Ruggiero and flies off to deus ex machina elsewhere), the Orc (RIP), and a giant (defeats Bradamante)

Swords: 1 (Orlando’s Durindana)

Horses: unknown and unnamed

Wizards: ? (a couple mentioned in passing)

In this canto nothing much happens that we haven’t already seen.

A knight (Ruggiero) seeks to assault Angelica. Angelica flees by magical means (she still has the magic ring from last canto). Ruggiero sets off in search of her. Both stumble into their own unrelated adventures. One being Ruggiero witnessing his beloved Bradamante get defeated by a giant.

Then it’s back to some other knight and that one goes to a place we’ve already seen (the Isle of Tears where the Ebudans feed women to the Orc) and the earlier scene plays out again only this time it’s different.

Now it’s Olimpia about to get fed to the Orc and it’s Orlando who shows up to save her. The Orc gets killed (Orlando drags it out of the sea with an anchor) and the Ebudians are massacred by the Irish. Then the king of Ireland, Oberto, glimpses Olimpia and instantly falls in love with her. (She’s naked.) Orlando asks her how she got there, since last he saw she was about to get happily married. She then relates her tale of woe and betrayal by Bireno, and the Irish king is like “Well, stay with me and I’ll give you your kingdom back.” She does and that all gets taken care of in a couple of stanzas.

Meanwhile, Orlando goes off to do his own thing and Ariosto says Orlando did so much cool stuff but Ariosto can’t talk about it all because then this book would be even longer than it already is.

The end.

Along in there Ariosto uses the word “lover” to mean perspective rapist, and we get a few stanzas concerning the evils of guns and a few more talking about how sexy and white the naked Olimpia is.

A yawn all around.

I hope it will pick up some in the next canto.

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