A report on GaherisLe Morte d'ArthurGareth and King Lot

Gaheriet's attributed arms
Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley
Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of Sir Launcelot and His Companions (1907)
Attributed arms of Loth the Proud (Loth le Prous [Preux]) according to romance heraldry
Gaheriet's attributed arms
A 14th-century Polish fresco at Siedlęcin Tower depicting Lancelot fighting the evil knight Turquine in a scene from the French Vulgate Cycle
Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of Sir Launcelot and His Companions (1907)
King Loth's attributed arms
"They fought with him on foot more than three hours." N. C. Wyeth's The Slaying of Sir Lamorak in The Boy's King Arthur (1922)
A 14th-century "Round Table" at Winchester Castle, Malory's Camelot
Gareth, Lyonesse and the Red Knight in Overthrowing of the Rusty Knight by Arthur Hughes (c. 1894–1908)
The holy island of Mont-Saint-Michel where Arthur slays an evil giant in one of the only few supernatural elements of the Roman War story
"How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of the Lady of the Lake", illustration for Le Morte Darthur, J. M. Dent & Co., London (1893–1894), by Aubrey Beardsley
"How Sir Launcelot slew the knight Sir Peris de Forest Savage that did distress ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen." The Romance of King Arthur (1917), abridged from Malory's Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard and illustrated by Arthur Rackham
"'Lady,' replied Sir Beaumains, 'a knight is little worth who may not bear with a damsel.'" Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)
"The Holy Grail, covered with white silk, came into the hall." The Grail's miraculous sighting at the Round Table in William Henry Margetson's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1914)
Arthur's final voyage to Avalon in a 1912 illustration by Florence Harrison
Arthur being taken to Avalon in Alberto Sangorski's 1912 illustration for Tennyson's poem "Morte d'Arthur"
N. C. Wyeth's title page illustration for Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1917)
The two volumes of illustrated edition of Le Morte Darthur published by J. M. Dent in 1893, with vellucent binding by Cedric Chivers.

A nephew of King Arthur, Gaheris is the third son of Arthur's sister or half-sister Morgause and her husband Lot, King of Orkney and Lothian.

- Gaheris

He was the youngest son of King Lot and Queen Morgause, King Arthur's half-sister, thus making him Arthur's nephew, as well as brother to Gawain, Agravain, and Gaheris, and either a brother or half-brother of Mordred.

- Gareth

He is the younger brother of Gawain and Agravain, the older brother of Gareth, and half-brother of Mordred.

- Gaheris

He is particularly notable in Le Morte d'Arthur where he is also known by his nickname Beaumains.

- Gareth

Le Morte d'Arthur depicts Gaheris as little more than a supporting character to Gawain, with the murder of Morgause an odd exception.

- Gaheris

The names and number of their children vary depending on the source, but the later romance tradition has given him the sons Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred.

- King Lot

This version of Lot's story was taken up by Thomas Malory for his seminal English complication Le Morte d'Arthur, in which Merlin notes Lot (originally Lote) of Orkney as Arthur's strongest early enemy that unfortunately must be slain on the day of their battle for Arthur to live.

- King Lot

Moorman identified three main motifs going through the work: Sir Lancelot's and Queen Guinevere's affair; the long blood feud between the families of King Lot and King Pellinore; and the mystical Grail Quest.

- Le Morte d'Arthur

4) The story of Sir Gareth: "The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney" (The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkeney)

- Le Morte d'Arthur

Lancelot's rescue party raids the execution, killing several loyal knights of the Round Table, including Gawain's brothers Gareth and Gaheris.

- Le Morte d'Arthur
Gaheriet's attributed arms

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Sir Gawaine the Son of Lot, King of Orkney, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

Gawain

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Character in Arthurian legend, in which he is King Arthur's nephew and a Knight of the Round Table.

Character in Arthurian legend, in which he is King Arthur's nephew and a Knight of the Round Table.

Sir Gawaine the Son of Lot, King of Orkney, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
"Gavvain's" attributed arms
"Galvagin" depicted in the Italian Modena Archivolt (c. 1135)
Gawain unwittingly fights Yvain in the Garrett MS. No. 125 manuscript of Chrétien's Knight of the Lion (c. 1295)
"Walewein" follows a flying checkboard in a 14th-century Dutch manuscript Roman van Walewein (en het schaakspel)
"Sir Gawain seized his lance and bade them farewell", Frank T. Merrill's illustration for A Knight of Arthur's Court or the Tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1910)
"The Passing of Sir Gawaine", Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of the Grail and the Passing of King Arthur (1910)
Parzival's Gawain in a capital relief at the Church of Saint-Pierre, Caen
"Sir Gawaine finds the beautiful Lady", Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
John Tenniel's illustration for "The Song of Courtesy", George Meredith's take on Gawain and the Loathly Lady published in Once a Week magazine in 1859
The Vigil by John Pettie (1884)
"Nevertheless You, O Sir Gauwaine, Lie." Florence Harrison's illustration for Early Poems of William Morris (1914)
"In the morning one of these ladies came to Gawaine." William Henry Margetson's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1914)
"Now you have released me from the spell completely." William Henry Margetson's illustration for Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race (1910)
Sir Gawain bends over the exhausted Maid Avoraine in concern after she has proved her love by running after his horse for two days. John Everett Millais' and Joseph Swain's wood engraving illustration for Robert Williams Buchanan's poem "Maid Avoraine" published in Once a Week magazine in 1862

In the best-known versions of the legend, he is the son of Arthur's sister Morgause and King Lot of Orkney and Lothian.

His younger brothers (or half-brothers) are Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and the infamous Mordred.

His character turns markedly ignoble in the Post-Vulgate Cycle, and even outright villainous in the Prose Tristan, resulting in his conflicting characterization in Le Morte d'Arthur.

Agravain's attributed arms

Agravain

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Knight of the Round Table in Arthurian legend, whose first known appearance is in the works of Chrétien de Troyes.

Knight of the Round Table in Arthurian legend, whose first known appearance is in the works of Chrétien de Troyes.

Agravain's attributed arms
Agravain's attributed arms
"He killed Sir Agrawaine with his first blow, and in a few minutes twelve dead bodies lay around him." Andrew Lang's Tales of the Round Table (1908)
The Royal Navy military transport HMT Sir Agravaine during World War II

He is the second eldest son of King Lot of Orkney with one of King Arthur's sisters known as Anna or Morgause, thus nephew of King Arthur, and brother to Sir Gawain, Gaheris, and Gareth, as well as half-brother to Mordred.

In the French prose cycle tradition included in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, together with Mordred, he then plays a leading role by exposing his aunt Guinevere's affair with Lancelot, which leads to his death at the hands of Lancelot.

Sir Mordred by H. J. Ford (1902)

Mordred

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Figure who is variously portrayed in the legend of King Arthur.

Figure who is variously portrayed in the legend of King Arthur.

Sir Mordred by H. J. Ford (1902)
The Death of Arthur, George Housman Thomas's illustration for Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur in an 1862 edition by James Thomas Knowles
Mordred's attributed arms featuring the symbol of the Orkney clan according to chivalric romance heraldry
Lancelot fighting Mordred and Agravain in Guinevere's chambers, Walter Crane's illustration for Henry Gilbert's King Arthur's Knights (1911)
N. C. Wyeth illustration for Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1922) "Then the king ran towards Sir Mordred, crying, 'Traitor, now is thy death day come.'"
Roddy McDowall as Mordred in the Broadway musical Camelot (1960)

As Modredus, Mordred was depicted as Arthur's traitorous nephew and a legitimate son of King Lot in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudo-historical work Historia Regum Britanniae which then served as the basis for the following evolution of the legend since the 12th century.

In a popular telling originating from the French chivalric romances of the 13th century, and made prominent today through its inclusion in Le Morte d'Arthur, Mordred is knighted by Arthur and joins the fellowship of the Round Table.

Notably, it is Mordred who stabs in the back and kills Pellinore's son and one of the best Knights of the Round Table, Lamorak, in an unfair fight involving most of his brothers (one of whom had even murdered their own mother for being Lamorak's lover).

Besides him, Mordred's other brothers or half-brothers are Agravain, Gaheris, and Gareth in the later tradition derived from the French romance cycles, beginning with the prose versions of Robert de Boron's poems Merlin and Perceval.

Young Gareth appealing to his mother Morgause (Queen Bellicent) to let him go serve King Arthur in Tales from Tennyson, 1902

Morgause

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Character in later Arthurian traditions.

Character in later Arthurian traditions.

Young Gareth appealing to his mother Morgause (Queen Bellicent) to let him go serve King Arthur in Tales from Tennyson, 1902

In some versions of the legend, including the seminal text Le Morte d'Arthur, she is the mother of Gawain and Mordred, both key players in the story of King Arthur and his downfall.

She is furthermore a sister of Morgan le Fay and the wife of King Lot of Orkney, as well as the mother of Gareth, Agravain, and Gaheris, the last of whom murders her.

Guinevere watching the mortally wounded Arthur being sailed off to Avalon in Queen Guinevere by James Archer (c. 1860)

Guinevere

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Early-medieval queen of Great Britain and the wife of King Arthur.

Early-medieval queen of Great Britain and the wife of King Arthur.

Guinevere watching the mortally wounded Arthur being sailed off to Avalon in Queen Guinevere by James Archer (c. 1860)
Guinevere by Henry Justice Ford (c. 1910)
Lady Guinevere, Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
Guinevere Takes Refuge in a Convent, Edmund H. Garrett's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Court (1911)
Guinevere with Enid and Vivien by George and Louis Rhead (1898)
Guinevere and Iseult by William Morris (1862)
Ritter und Dame (Sir Lancelot und Guinevere) by Wilhelm List (c. 1902)
Meigle stone detail
A scene preceding the kidnapping by Maleagant: "How Queen Guenever rode a maying into the woods and fields beside Westminster."
Arthur Rackham's illustration from The Romance of King Arthur (1917), abridged from Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard
Ellen Terry as Guinevere in the play King Arthur by J. Comyns Carr in the Lyceum Theatre production, designed by Edward Burne-Jones, in an American postcard mailed 12 January 1895
A 1961 photo of Robert Goulet as Lancelot and Julie Andrews as Guenevere in the musical Camelot

From there, it went to make up much of the narrative core of Thomas Malory's seminal English compilation Le Morte d'Arthur.

Their now not-so secret affair is finally exposed by Guinevere's sworn enemy and Arthur's half-sister, the enchantress Morgan le Fay who had schemed against her on various occasions (sometimes being foiled in that by Lancelot, who had also defended Guinevere on many other occasions and performed assorted feats in her honour), and proven by two of the late King Lot's sons, Agravain and Mordred.

Gawain's unarmed brothers Gaheris and Gareth are killed in the battle (among others, including fellow Knights of the Round Aglovale, Segwarides and Tor, and originally also Gawain's third brother Agravain), sending Gawain into a rage so great that he pressures Arthur into a direct confrontation with Lancelot.