Bors

Sir Bors Sees the Child Galahad

Bors

CharactersName Variants: BohortBackground Essay Author: Alan Lupack
Bors is an important character in the Vulgate Cycle and in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur (which does not include the early adventures of Bors but does tell, in an account similar to that in the Vulgate, of Bors’ part in the Grail quest and in the events leading to the fall of Camelot. Bors is the son of King Bors of Gaunes and the cousin of Lancelot. Along with his brother Lionel, Bors is protected as a child by the Lady of the Lake. He is made to love the daughter of King Brandegorre by means of a magic ring that her governess gets him to wear. They sleep together once and conceive a son, Helaine the White. Despite the fact that he slept with a woman, Bors is one of the three knights who achieve the quest for the Holy Grail. He accompanies Galahad and *Perceval on the ship that brings the Grail from Britain to Sarras and remains there with them until both are dead. He then returns to Camelot and becomes an ally of Lancelot when he is caught in the queen’s chamber. After Arthur’s final battle with Mordred, Bors joins Lancelot in leading a holy life. When Lancelot dies, Bors and other of Lancelot’s kin go to the Holy Land to fight infidels. There, he dies on a Good Friday. In later literature, Bors is rarely an important character. An exception is the novel Launcelot, My Brother (1954) by Dorothy James Roberts, in which Bors, the narrator, is said to be Launcelot’s brother.
 
Bors (Bohort) of Gaunes is the father of Bors and Lionel and the brother of Lancelot’s father, Ban of Benwick. According to Malory, the elder Bors, along with his brother, assists Arthur in his struggle against the rebellious kings.
Bibliography

Cherewatuk, Karen. "Born-Again Virgins and Holy Bastards: Bors and Elyne and Lancelot and Galahad." Arthuriana 11.2 (Summer 2001): 52-64.

Curtis, Jan. "A Confluence of Pagan-Celtic and Christian Traditions in Charles William's 'Bors to Elayne: The Fish of Broceliande." Arthuriana 6.1 (Spring 1996): 96-111.

Lumiansky, R. M. "Malory's Steadfast Bors." Tulane Studies in English 8 (1958): 5-20.

Weiss, Victoria L. "Grail Knight or Boon Companion? The Inconsistent Sir Bors of Malory's Morte Darthur." Studies in Philology 94.4 (Fall 1997): 417-27.