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Who's YOUR Favorite knight?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I would like to know who your favorite knight/knight of the round table is and why. Also what book they're in that you enjoyed the best, if you can pick one that is.


message 2: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Jan 16, 2011 12:44AM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 301 comments Gawain or Yvain...
No, on reflection it would be Sir Dinadan.
Only came across this chap in Morte.
He's the most "normal" of the nights. Not so keen to joust, though hard as nails. Cunning, witty, smart. Doesn't have much truck with the going in disguise thing that everyone else seems to love. Actually recognises folk without relying on the heraldry or shield colour.


message 3: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments Probably Gawain, for me. I've done a lot of research on him. And the medieval text I most enjoy with him in would be either the Middle English Gawain ballads, or Simon Armitage's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Modern text... hmm. I can't actually think of one right now.


message 4: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 301 comments Gawain seems to be in pretty much every tale, even ones that Arthur is only mentioned in Gawain tends to have a walk on part. He's great in Morte.
Yvain seems to be one of the only characters based on a someone that can be proven to actually have existed (local boy from the Kingdom of Strathclyde) and he hangs out with a lion...which is kind of cool.


message 5: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments even ones that Arthur is only mentioned in Gawain tends to have a walk on part

Guess what my most recent essay was about? *grin*


message 6: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 301 comments Nikki wrote: "even ones that Arthur is only mentioned in Gawain tends to have a walk on part

Guess what my most recent essay was about? *grin*"


How Gawain occurs in more Arthurian texts than any other character?


message 7: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments Not exactly -- Gawain as a substitute for Arthur.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I really like Sir Dinadan, but why does everyone like Gawain so much? He seems sort of..vague. Everyone seems to see him in a different light. Either very noble, or a drinker, or who knows what else? Are there any good books with Gawain making frequent apperances? I'd like to understand him better.


message 9: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments The same can be said of almost any character in the Arthurian mythos, in my experience. Kay's just the same.

This page has a really good essay on Gawain -- this part summarises what I think, really:

Gawain may perhaps best be described as the Arthurian everyman, a character who often functions on a very human scale, failing and succeeding, but learning and progressing as well. It is this last that is perhaps most important in any overall consideration of Gawain as character. Sometimes he is the best knight, and sometimes not, but even as he fails he can learn from his mistakes, and sometimes becomes a better knight because of them. Ultimately, it may be this unusual capacity for character development, rooted in but not limited to his familial relationship with Arthur, that has made Gawain such a prominent figure in the Arthurian pantheon.


He's noble, but fallible. More human than Lancelot. And it helps that he doesn't betray Arthur, ever. Though, in the Vulgate Cycle -- if I'm remembering rightly -- he withdraws his service to Arthur so that he doesn't have to fight against Lancelot, who he considers to be a friend. That endears him to me, too, his sheer loyalty.

Are you thinking of something modern, or medieval? Medieval-wise, I'd suggest Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a good start -- Simon Armitage's translation is quite fun -- and even the medieval Gawain ballads, if you can handle Middle English (the best way is to read it aloud, if you're not used to it). Particularly The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle (link goes to a version of it online, with glosses along the side for the harder words). I'm fond of The Crown: A Tale of Sir Gawein and King Arthur's Court, too, though I think it's out of print -- I had to get a second hand copy, anyway.

Modern stuff, well, I like what Sarah Zettel did with all the characters. Camelot's Shadow is the first and the one focused on Gawain. It includes both the story of Ragnelle and that of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It's a bit like The Mists of Avalon, in a way -- there's quite a focus on female characters.


message 10: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 301 comments Nikki wrote: "The same can be said of almost any character in the Arthurian mythos, in my experience. Kay's just the same.

This page has a really good essay on Gawain -- this part summarises what I think, reall..."


Fangirl!


message 11: by Annette (new)

Annette Hart | 31 comments If you read the Middle English (Anonymous) Morte known as the Alliterative Morte D'Arthur, Gawain has a key role: he is shown as upholding how I knight really should behave. At the time it is believed to have been written, most knights (particularly crusader types) were little more than thuggish mercenaries.

I always liked Gawain - perhaps because his character and/or the presentation of him has always been so complex. When I was younger I also particularly liked his brother Gareth - someone appearing to be from the lower order but making it through by showing their merit. (Of course he wasn't a peasant - that wouldn't be allowed!)


message 12: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (andromache) | 1 comments Sir Kay! I think it's how he's supposed to be an exemplary warrior in the earlier tales, and then increasingly becomes more of a jerkass over the centuries. Hah.

And Idylls of the Queen was so wonderfully entertaining.


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael | 42 comments I also have a soft spot for Sir Kay (I acted him in a "play" when I was at infant school) and Sir Gawain, too. As Stephanie says, both exemplary knights in the original sources, but devalued by the later French writers, who considered them uncouth - although "jerkass" is a more pithy adjective, which I will be using at work tomorrow ;-D

Overall, I think Gareth is probably my favourite, I enjoy re-reading his tale in Malory. It always strikes me as so poignant that the love Gawain and Lancelot had for Gareth, and his fate at Lancelot's hands, is one of the major tipping points in the breaking of the Round Table and the final battle.


message 14: by V.J. (new)

V.J. Chambers (vjchambers) | 9 comments Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was one of my favorite things to teach when I taught 12th grade. We generally did it right after The Canterbury Tales. What my students (and I) found somewhat confusing about the tale was that Gawain was a failure because he tried to save himself from death and because he "flinched." We have such different ideas of bravery in our modern age. It always made for a neat discussion.

But I think I'm going to have to be stereotypical and say my favorite knight is Lancelot, because I adore how conflicted he is. I loved the comic portrayal of him in The Once and Future King. I also loved Lancelot in The Child Queen and The High Queen.


message 15: by Nonnie (new)

Nonnie (shanainai) | 1 comments Sir Gawain is my favorite Knight. I feel like I can reach his character level better than the rest.


message 16: by Debra (new)

Debra (fercharthur) | 13 comments Sir Gareth. He went to Camelot incognito. Endured Sir Kay for a year and then the savage tongue of Lynette. And was a perfect gentleman throughout.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Gareth and Gwain. They seemed a bit more . . . human. Also, they didn't to be quite as carnage-obsessed as some of the others.


message 18: by Debra (new)

Debra (fercharthur) | 13 comments Totally agree with you on that, Will.


message 19: by Terry (new)

Terry  (dulac3) | 1 comments I love Gareth, but also have a soft-spot for Palomides.


message 20: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 37 comments I assumed this thread would be nothing but Lancelot. Boy was I wrong. So, um... Lancelot.
And for a more obscure figure, Balin from that early tale, although he's dead at the end; it's just such a tragic tale. I like what Tennyson did with him, too.


message 21: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments I'm getting surprisingly fond of Kay/Cai, thanks to my dissertation!


message 22: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 37 comments Nikki wrote: "I'm getting surprisingly fond of Kay/Cai, thanks to my dissertation!"

Can I be nosy and ask your topic/title of your dissertation? You might have told us in a post, but I'm newish. Kay features in it, or he just won you along the way?


message 23: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments I haven't got a title as such, yet, but I'm going to explore the evolution of Cai/Kay throughout the literary tradition. He starts off as a hero in the Welsh (specifically 'Culhwch ac Olwen' and 'Pa gwr?'), and then later writers change him into a sarcastic, less noble figure -- and then in the past few decades there have been more sympathetic versions again.


message 24: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 37 comments Nikki wrote: "I'm going to explore the evolution of Cai/Kay throughout the literary tradition. He starts off as a hero..."

Ah interesting. He is a funny one and I wonder how that happened to him. You can tell us later. Cheers.


message 25: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments I have some ideas already, but I'm only partway through my research! (I actually need proofreaders who aren't familiar with my thought patterns, so if anyone is interested in Kay and will have the time to read through a 15k-20k word long dissertation and just say "I don't get where you're going with this"/"You need to explain this more", I'll be looking for proofreaders in July or so...)


message 26: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 37 comments Nikki wrote: "to read through a 15k-20k word long dissertation and just say "I don't get where you're going with this"/"You need to explain this more", I'll be looking for proofreaders..."

Tentatively, I figure I can do this. If your sights aren't high. I can ask those sort of questions. - I haven't been into the Welsh material, I start with the French more or less; whether that's an asset or not, in spotting what you want spotted, you can tell me.


message 27: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments I mainly need someone new to my work to proofread and make sure it all makes sense -- I have a habit of eliding the process by which I came to my conclusions, leaving people unfamiliar with the way I think blinking at it going "wait, how the heck did she get to that conclusion?" (While people who are familiar with my work, my usual proofreading team being my mother and my girlfriend, understand perfectly how I got there and wonder how the markers couldn't see it, it being so obvious to them -- which reflects more credit on them than on me.)

So I wouldn't be expecting line by line criticism or anything in depth like that, never fear. Your lack of knowledge about the Welsh material probably would help rather than hinder, because you would be in a good position to point out when I'm not being precisely clear. If I still need a proofreader nearer the time, I'll message you and see if you have time -- if you're interested, of course, I can send it along regardless of whether you agree to proofread for me.

Sorry, I'm turning out frightfully rambly -- I've been reading Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter novels today, and it's rubbing off...


message 28: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 37 comments I'm in, Nikki, if you feel you can use me. - Oh, I read a Lord Peter once, it was great. (But not Arthurian).


message 29: by Frank (new)

Frank (frankensteph) | 1 comments Why does it seem like Tristan always gets overlooked. He doesn't even get a mention in most stories, yet he is the knightliest of all knights.


message 30: by Nicky (new)

Nicky (shanaqui) | 146 comments Possibly because he isn't as strongly connected to the story as knights like Gawain and Kay who have been in the tradition for a long time, or Lancelot, who is more recent but considerably hyped. Most Tristan stories don't really take place in Arthur's court, but in Mark's, and I believe his story is considered to have existed separately to Arthur's before it became part of the Arthurian tradition.

Besides, his being the knightliest of all knights depends on the writer. Lancelot fans probably don't think much of him because he can challenge their hero.


message 31: by Louise (new)

Louise Gawain. Easily. Also happy to see a bit of love for Kay here. Poor bloke gets a lot of bad publicity.


message 32: by Morganu (new)

Morganu | 22 comments Hum... Gawain absolutely, he is one of the most loyal knights of King Arthur, and maybe Sir Perceval his innocence probably makes me very tenderly, unlike Sir Galahad he is too "pure"


message 33: by Julie (new)

Julie Bozza (juliebozza) | 10 comments Lancelot in 'The Once and Future King' by TH White. For his devoted life-long love for Arthur, Guinevere and God despite the internal conflicts such loyalties caused. For his sense of honour and his sense of failure and his madness.

Aglovale in 'The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis' by Clemence Housman. For his truthfulness, which conflicts with everyone else's chivalry. For his growth towards a gentler, happier soul - and the tragedy that almost no one recognises him for how heroic he really is.

And Leon in the BBC show 'Merlin'. For his gentle chivalry and utter gorgeousness and pretty hair. What more reason do I need...? :-)


message 34: by Louise (new)

Louise Yes! Another Sir Leon fan!

All the knights in Merlin are totally gorgous of course, but Leon clearly has the best hair.


message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael | 42 comments Now, now... let's not turn this into 50 Shades of Camelot!! :-D


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie Bozza (juliebozza) | 10 comments LOL! Oh Michael... don't give me ideas! ;-)

Louise, hurrah! So glad you feel Leon wins out in the hair department, despite the significant competition provided by Gwaine. :-)

Seriously, though. I adore Leon. I think we can thank the fact that the character grew in a rather ad hoc manner over time, as they drew on elements of the equally chivalrous Rupert Young - and he was a good enough actor to bring it all together and make it work. Plus, you know. He takes good care of the pretty hair for us. :-D


message 37: by Annette (new)

Annette Hart | 31 comments Is this the Sir Leon who appears to be immortal in the BBCs Merlin as, whatever happens to him, he never dies?


message 38: by Julie (new)

Julie Bozza (juliebozza) | 10 comments Annette wrote: "Is this the Sir Leon who appears to be immortal in the BBCs Merlin as, whatever happens to him, he never dies?"

Well, yes... Though I feel that description initially fell into the 'exaggeration for comic effect' category! Who knows what the real situation is now that he's drunk from the Cup of Life, eh? :-D


message 39: by Louise (new)

Louise He's just too awesome to kill!

My favourite one was when he apeared to be killed by dragon fire and then just popped up again next series.


message 40: by Morganu (new)

Morganu | 22 comments Another fan of Sir Leon here! :p


message 41: by Julie (new)

Julie Bozza (juliebozza) | 10 comments Morganu wrote: "Another fan of Sir Leon here! :p"

Hurrah! Hello, Morganu! What an excellent addition to the legends Leon is proving to be! :-D


message 42: by Nanna (last edited Aug 05, 2012 05:54AM) (new)

Nanna (nanna_sonne) | 11 comments I really like Tristan, especially after reading The Death Of King Arthur: The Immortal Legend!


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