Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paladin (Part 3B) – The Knights of the Round Table

In my last blog, I gave an overview of the Arthurian myths, and what I thought were the more important elements of the story. In today’s installment, I am just going to list out the more important knights and try to give a statement or two about each of them. There are probably hundreds of knights that I could list out, but I am going to try to keep the list centered on the more important (famous) knights. Originally, I had visions of doing this in one blog, but that vision quickly faded, as I started to review the list. In order to keep the blog readable, I will review the knights in several installments (probably 3-4 entries), saving the most important knights for last.

Sir Aglovale de Galis was the eldest legitimate son of King Pellinore. Aglovale was not the impressive knight that his brothers Lamorak and Percival were, but his valor was unquestioned. It was Aglovale who first brought Percival to Camelot to be knighted. In the Vulgate Cycle, Aglovale died accidentally at Gawain's hand during the Quest for the Holy Grail, but in Malory he and his brother Tor were among the knights charged with defending the execution of Guinevere, and they were killed when Lancelot and his men rescued the queen.

Sir Agravain (Agravaine) was a nephew of King Arthur and was the second son of King Lot and Morgause, full brother to Gawain, Gaheris and Gareth. His half-brother and most frequent associate in the Post-Vulgate Cycle was Mordred. His mother's parents were Gorlois and Igraine; she was a sister of Elaine and Morgan le Fay and maternal half-sister to King Arthur. Agravain was described as handsome and a capable fighter, but unlike his heroic brothers Gawain and Gareth, Agravain had a reputation for malice and villainy. It was Agravain and Morded that exposed Guinevere's affair with Lancelot.

Sir Bedivere was the Knight who returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. He served as King Arthur's marshal and was frequently associated with Sir Kay. Bedivere, was one of the earliest characters associated with King Arthur.

King Bors was the uncle of Lancelot and Hector de Maris. He married Evaine, the sister of Ban's wife Elaine, and had two sons, Bors the Younger and Lionel. Ban and Bors became Arthur's early allies in his fight against the rebel kings in Britain, and he vowed to help them against their enemy Claudas, who had been threatening their lands.

Sir Bors the Younger was always portrayed as one of the Round Table's finest knights, but his real glory came on the Grail Quest, where he proved himself worthy enough to witness the Grail's mysteries along with Lancelot, Galahad, and Percival.

Sir Caradoc was a member of the Round Table during Uther Pendragon's time, but he joined other kings in rebellion when Arthur took the throne. He was eventually reconciled with the young king and became one of his most trusted allies.

Sir Calogrenant was an excellent knight, but he died during the Grail Quest while trying to keep Sir Lionel from killing his own brother, Bors.

Sir Constantine was the son of Cador of Cornwall. Constantine fought in the Battle of Camlann and was the one that Arthur passed the crown to before being taken to Avalon.

Sir Dagonet was the court jester, and a knight. In some versions of the story he was merely a buffoon who has been knighted as a joke, while in others he was actually a valiant warrior.

Sir Daniel was a formidable knight that Arthur welcomes to the Round Table after he defeated several knights including Percival and Gawain.

Sir Dinadan was a close friend of Tristan, and was known for his good humor and joking nature. Unlike most other the knights in Arthurian mythos, Dinadan prefered to avoid fights and considered courtly love a waste of time, though he was a brave fighter when he needed to be.

Sir Ector was Arthur's foster father and Sir Kay's father. When Arthur pulled Excalibur from the stone he and Sir Kay were the first to swear loyalty to the new king.

Sir Hector de Maris was the half-brother of Lancelot and the natural son of King Ban of Benwick and the Lady de Maris. Hector participated in the Grail Quest, but he was one of the many knights who proved unworthy of achieving the Grail. When Lancelot was caught in his affair with Guinevere, Hector stood by his brother and left the court with him. He participated in the battle to rescue the queen at her execution, and in the defense of the Joyous Guard. He joined Lancelot in France when they were expelled from Arthur's kingdom, and he helped defeat the army led by Mordred's sons after the Battle of Camlann.

Sir Elyan was the son of Sir Bors. He was an excellent knight and he helped his cousin Lancelot rescue Guinevere after their affair was exposed, and joined him in exile.

Sir Gaheris was the son of Morgause and King Lot. In Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Gaheris was squire to his elder brother Gawain before being knighted himself, and helped moderate Gawain's fiery temper. He participated in the murders of King Pellinore (his father's slayer), Morgause (his mother) and Sir Lamorak (his mother’s lover). In Malory’s version, Lamorak was greater than any knight, with the exception of Lancelot and Tristram, and this act of revenge was deemed cowardly and a blot on the Orkney brothers' honor. When Arthur discovered that Gaheris was Morgause' slayer, Gaheris was ejected from court. Gaheris was killed accidentally by Lancelot during the rescue of Guinevere. Gawain's fury at this outrage was terrible and the resulting feud destroyed the Round Table. Gaheris was often little more than a supporting character to his brothers Gawain and Gareth, with the murder of Morgause being the only exception, leading modern authors, such as T. H. White, to give the act to Agravain instead. It is possible that Gaheris and Gareth were the same character in origin, as their names the in French sources, are easy to confuse and adventures ascribed to the brothers are often interchangeable.
Paladin Series Summary
For ease of reading, I will provide the links to all the blogs in the series:
Part 1A

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