The narrative returns to the Black Knight, who rides to a religious house not far from the forest, where Ivanhoe was taken after he was removed from the doomed castle. The Black Knight says he will meet Ivanhoe again at the funeral of Athelstane. He also mentions that it is his task to reconcile Ivanhoe to his father. After the Black Knight leaves, Ivanhoe prepares to travel, taking Gurth, whom he now refers to as his squire, with him. Meanwhile, the Black Knight and Wamba are in light-hearted mood as they journey in the forest. But then they are attacked by armed men. The fight goes badly, but the Black Knight makes the bugle call to summon the friendly outlaws. Locksley and his men soon arrive, and with their help almost all the assailants are either killed or mortally wounded. Their leader turns out to be Waldemar Fitzurse, and the Black Knight gets him to admit that it was Prince John who planned the attack. Fitzurse knows that the Black Knight is Richard. Richard spares his life but banishes him from the country. Richard then tells Locksley his real identity, and Locksley in turn confesses that he is Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. Friar Tuck begs forgiveness of Richard for any slights he may have given him. Richard good-naturedly grants his desire.
The gathering in the forest is joined by Ivanhoe and Gurth, and they all gather for a feast. Ivanhoe tells Richard that his kingdom is in disarray and he should act quickly to reclaim it. Richard replies that he needs to wait until he is sure that the various forces he is depending on are marshaled and ready. Robin Hood also fears that Richard should not stay in the forest too long. He sets up a ruse whereby it appears they are under attack by Normans. This brings the banquet to a sudden end. Then Robin confesses the ruse to Richard, and Richard realizes that it is indeed time for him to move on. He sets off with Ivanhoe, Gurth and Wamba for Athelstane’s castle, which is in mourning for its lost leader.
When they arrive at the castle, Richard and Ivanhoe are shown to a large apartment, where Cedric and a dozen other distinguished Saxon men sit. Cedric takes Richard and Ivanhoe to a small chapel, in which the bier of Athelstane has been placed. Then he guides them to a small adjoining oratory, where they meet Edith, Athelstane’s mother. Next, they go to an apartment where twenty women are gathered. Four of them, including Rowena, sing a dirge for the soul of the deceased. Cedric then takes Ivanhoe and Richard to another room, where Richard reveals to Cedric his true identity. Richard then tells Cedric of the boon he requests of him—that he should be reconciled to his son. Ivanhoe, who had covered his face with a mantle, reveals himself, and Cedric agrees to be reconciled to him. Then there is an astonishing event. Athelstane, dressed in grave clothes, appears in the doorway. He says that he was stunned but otherwise unwounded by the blow he was struck in the battle. When he recovered consciousness he found himself in an open coffin. He was then drugged by two rogue monks (one of whom was Friar Tuck), but eventually he was able to get free. Cedric tries to get him to dispute the throne with Richard, but Athelstane disappoints him by pledging his allegiance to the king. He also renounces his interest in Rowena in favor of Ivanhoe.
The trial by combat of Rebecca begins. The stake at which she is to be burnt has already been prepared, and is surrounded by sticks of wood. A crowd has assembled. Rebecca is taken to a black chair which has been placed near the pile of wood. She retains her dignified manner. There is a flourish of trumpets and the combat is announced. No champion appears for Rebecca, but she asks for more time. The Grand Master grants her request. De Bois-Guilbert makes one last plea to her to flee with him on his horse. She refuses. In the nick of time, a champion appears for Rebecca. It is Ivanhoe. In the contest, Ivanhoe and his horse are felled. De Bois-Guilbert also falls. Ivanhoe takes his sword and demands that De Bois-Guilbert yields. But there is no answer. De Bois-Guilbert is dead. The Grand Master declares that the judgment of God has been made.
The Grand Master orders that Rebecca be freed. Then Richard the Lion-hearted arrives with a band of armed men. He had been intending to be Rebecca’s champion. He orders one of his knights of arrest Malvoisin for treason, and then tells the Grand Master that the flag of England now flies over the castle, rather than the flag of the Templar Order. For a few moments it appears as if there may be a violent conflict between Richard’s forces and the Knights Templar. But the Templars depart without a fight. The Grand Master says he will appeal to the Pope because Richard has usurped the privileges of the Order. During the tumult of the Templars’ retreat, Isaac and Rebecca slip away unnoticed. The Earl of Essex, who accompanied Richard, tells Ivanhoe that Richard has sent his brother John back to their mother, to wait until the disorder dies down. Some little while later, Cedric gives his consent to the marriage of Ivanhoe and Rowena, and also softens his dislike of the Normans, since Richard treats him well. The marriage of Ivanhoe and Rowena is attended by Normans and Saxons alike, and acts as a pledge of peace and harmony between the races. The next day Rebecca visits Rowena to convey her thanks to Ivanhoe. She and Isaac are leaving England for Spain. She gives Rowena an expensive necklace. Rowena tries to persuade her not to leave England, but Rebecca is adamant. Ivanhoe and Rowena have a long and happy marriage.
De Bois-Guilbert’s death is a strange one. He dies “unscathed by the lance of his enemy . . . a victim to the violence of his own contending passions.” The idea is that he is fatally divided against himself. He can not reconcile his need as a proud knight to show prowess in battle, with his infatuation with Rebecca and his desire to protect her. Having De Bois-Guilbert die in this way also spares Ivanhoe the responsibility of killing him, which might have cast a shadow over his triumph. Throughout the novel, Ivanhoe kills no one; he is an unblemished hero.
These final chapters further characterize Richard, but the portrayal of him is more ambivalent than that of Ivanhoe. He is generous and gracious, and knows how to get along with nobleman and commoner alike. His mild treatment of Prince John, who plotted against him, is to his credit. However, Richard does not go uncensored by Scott. An example occurs in Chapter XLI, when Ivanhoe dares to question Richard’s habit of journeying alone and undertaking “rash adventures.” But Richard does not listen to him, and Ivanhoe realizes that it is impossible “to contend with the wild spirit of chivalry which so often impelled his master upon dangers which he might easily have avoided.” This forms part of Scott’s critical attitude to chivalry.