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Mandi’s 6 Favorite Arthurian Knights in Literature

The Round Table in "Merlin" Photo: BBC
The Round Table in “Merlin”
Photo: BBC

The Knights of the Round Table have fascinated historians and Romantics for centuries. The stories themselves are full of love, magic, chivalry, and heartbreak. The Knights are figures of great romance and adventure, and the legends surrounding Arthur and his knights have shifted as different cultures have taken on the legend. However, the ability to fall in love with these knights remain the same. Here are my personal favorite knights from Arthurian legends.


Gwaine in "Merlin" Photo: BBC
Gwaine in “Merlin”
Photo: BBC

If there was ever a Gawain fan club, I would definitely be a member. Gawain was a most gallant knight who was forever faithful to Arthur. In one legend, his love broke Ragnelle’s curse and made her look human again. He even brought down the Green Knight and was there for Arthur at the end. For a good take on Gawain’s adventures, I recommend In Camelot’s Shadow by Sarah Zettel.


King Arthur in "Merlin" Photo: BBC
King Arthur in “Merlin”
Photo: BBC

The King himself is the epitome chivalry and honor. He protected Camelot and did his best to always do the right thing. It was a broken heart that got him in the end. Arthur went from a simple boy to the king with Excalibur. His honor was never disputed. It is said that Arthur will return again when there is need of him.


From "Tristan and Isolde." Photo: 20th Century Fox
From “Tristan and Isolde.”
Photo: 20th Century Fox

The story of Isolde and Tristan is legendary like that of Romeo and Juliet. Tristan loved her with all his heart and still kept his honor. He died of a misunderstanding and broken heart. He was still a good Knight, despite his tragic love life, and was loyal to his heart in all things. A good and less tragic twist on the Tristan and Isolde legend is a trilogy by Rosalinde Miles.


Percival from "Merlin" Photo: BBC
Percival from “Merlin”
Photo: BBC

There is nothing more chivalrous than being involved in finding the Holy Grail. Percival was a gallant knight who wanted to help Arthur achieve his quest. He was also always devoted to Camelot. His personality was portrayed as being gentle and kind in most legends. I don’t think anyone ever questioned his chivalrous nature.


Sir Gareth Beaumain of Round Table battling the evil Red Knight while his Lady Lioness watching on. Credit: Arthur Rackham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Sir Gareth Beaumain of Round Table battling the evil Red Knight while his Lady Lioness watching on.
Credit: Arthur Rackham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gareth’s devotion to both Camelot and Lynette were amazing. He won her heart with this kind nature and persistence. Arthur trusted him as much as he did Gawain. His bravery even led him to defeat the Red Knight. While Gareth isn’t as well known as other knights, he should be.


Photo: Touchstone Pictures
Photo: Touchstone Pictures

Galahad is considered the purest of all Arthur’s Knights. Only he could be blessed by the Holy Grail’s power. In some legends, Galahad is the son of Lancelot and Elaine of Astalot. He had plenty of noble blood running through his veins and rescued plenty of maidens during his quests as well.

Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot in "King Arthur" Photo: Touchstone Pictures
Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot in “King Arthur”
Photo: Touchstone Pictures

Lancelot is not one of my favorites and, therefore, did not make my list. Although he is a highly lauded and romantic figure, he wasn’t a good man (in the legend that is). He had an affair with his King and best friend’s wife. He broke Elaine of Astalot’s heart to the point of death. Not to mention that Lancelot’s actions indirectly led to the fall of Camelot. The only depiction I’ve ever liked of him is Ioan Gruffud’s version in King Arthur. Overall, these knights stole my heart in one way or another. They were mostly good men and excellent knights.

Who is your favorite Arthurian knight? Do you have a favorite film or TV interpretation? Sound off in the comments…

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By on August 28th, 2015

About Mandi Harris

Mandi Harris is a freelance writer and blogger. If she isn't writing, she has her nose in a book. Books are her ultimate addiction. Her other weaknesses include period dramas, chocolate, and her pets. She is working on her own novels now and hopes to one day get published. You can read her book blog over at thepennedpiper.com.

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4 thoughts on “Mandi’s 6 Favorite Arthurian Knights in Literature”

  1. Have you read Gerald Morris’ The Squire’s Tales? Fantastic series (though written for younger audiences, I love it). Also, I agree with you about Gawain and Lancelot. This was fun, thank you!

  2. I have been in love with Gawain since I first read about his adventures with the Green Knight. Currently working up my own story involving him. 😀 And Bailey Cavender, you are correct. Gerald Morris’ Gawain books are awesome!

  3. Yay! Another person who’s not charmed by Lancelot. I never got the obsession over him. Nothing he does is any more heroic or admirable than any of the other knights. Glad to see Gareth on the list! No one seems to remember him in lists of cool knights.


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