Galahad

"This girdle, lords," said she, "is made for the most part of mine own hair, which, while I was yet in the world, I loved most well"

Galahad

CharactersName Variants: GalaadBackground Essay Author: Kara L. McShane
Sir Galahad, the son of Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic, is best known as the knight who achieves the Holy Grail. When Galahad appears, he is the chief Grail knight; in the French and English traditions, he replaces Perceval in this role. Galahad first appears in the thirteenth-century Vulgate Cycle. The opening part of the Cycle, the Estoire del saint Graal, first mentions Galahad; it predicts his birth and his eventual achievement of the Grail. According to this section of the text, Galahad is ninth in the line of Nascien, who was baptized by Josephus, son of Joseph of Arimathea. This lineage connects Galahad to those who are said to have brought Christianity (and the Grail itself) to Britain. A later section, La Queste del saint Graal, recounts his adventures on the quest, which leads from Arthur's court to the city of Sarras, the earthly home of the Grail, and the place where Galahad dies while contemplating the Grail. Stories of Galahad's adventures are exceptionally consistent; the account of Galahad's quest from Malory’s Morte d'Arthur, "The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal," draws on the major events from the Vulgate Cycle. Malory preserves the prophesy and foretelling that surround Galahad; within the Grail Quest, hermits and other religious figures continually appear to interpret dreams and anticipate upcoming events. Galahad’s birth and achievements are foretold in both the Vulgate Cycle and in Malory; this gives the entire Grail Quest a sense of inevitability.

In both Malory and La Queste del saint Graal, Galahad is knighted by Lancelot at a convent in the woods. At the feast of Pentecost, he arrives in Camelot, where...

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