Who were the best Knights of the Round Table?
Who was the strongest? Galahad? Lancelot? Gawain? Percival?
- JallanLv 71 decade agoBest Answer
There a lots of medieval Arthurian romances written by various authors. Naturally they disagree. There is no one answer.
Even if a particular version of the Arthurian story were real, it is obvious that the a list of best knights of the Round Table made at a particular time would not be the same as a list made 20 years later.
That said, in most verse romances, Gawain is reputed to be the most famous knight of the Round Table, his prowess normally exceeded only by the hero of the particular romance (if that hero isn't Gawain himself). However the hero usually marries an heires and settles down somewhat, allowing Gawain to be arguably still the best active knight of the Round Table.
In the “Perlesvaus'', Perceval is the best knight (although in this romance he is never said to be a Knight of the Round Table). Among the named knights of the Round Table, Gawain and Lancelot are supreme, always listed in that order, which may or may not suggest that Gawain is considered by the author to have a slight superiority. See http://omacl.org/Graal/ .
In the Lancelot-Grail cycle, we are told how Gawain was almost wounded to death in Arthur's war with Galehot, and afterward never regained his full strength. This may be an attempt by the author to allow it to be argued that Gawain, at his top strength, was a greater knight than Lancelot at his top strength. However in a magic test involving healing Agravain who can only be healed by the blood of the best knight in the world and the second-best knight in the world, Gawain is ranked as second-best and Lancelot as best, at that time.
Later Gawain, and many other knights, are defeated by Lancelot's cousin Bohort (Bors), all in single combat. Bohort is at this time the lord of a castle, forced to fight any knight that challenges him, and forbidden to reveal his name or to ask the name of the challenging knight. Only Lancelot is able for defeat Bohort. But later, when retelling the tale in Arthur’s court, the author reveals that Gawain was already badly wounded from a previous battle when Gawain fought Bohort.
The best knights in the “Prose Lancelot” are Lancelot, Lancelot's cousin Bohort, Lancelot's half-brother Hector, Gawain, and Gawain’s younger brother Gaheriet (who mostly corresponds to Gareth in Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur''). It is explained that Gaheriet’s reputation was less than it should have been because Gaheriet mostly never spoke about the deeds he had performed. Towards the end of the “Prose Lancelot” Perceval is introduced. He and Hector have a battle in which both mortally wound the other (but the Holy Grail appears and heals them). Perceval also later fights Lancelot to a stand-still, but their identities are revealed and the fight breaks off before either emerges as the victor.
In the “Quest of the Holy Grail”, a sequel to the “Prose Lancelot”, Lancelot’s son Galaad (Galahad) is undeniably the best knight, who defeats Lancelot and Perceval in jousts and Gawain in a tournament battle.
In the “Death of Arthur” the next sequel, it is revealed that Gawain’s strength magically triples from dawn to midday. Then it falls back at once to its normal level. At his greatest strength Gawain would seemingly be superior to Lancelot, but in their battle Lancelot is able to fight defensively for long enough when Gawain is at his peak that Gawain’s strength eventually gives out at mid-day.
The “Prose Tristan” and other later romances increase the number of best knights. Tristan is portrayed as another best knight, equal or possibly superior to Lancelot. Palamedes, Tristan’s rival is not quite equal to either. Bliobliheris (Blioberis) a cousin of Lancelot is considered to be equal or possibly superior to Bohort. Blobliheris appears reasonably often in previous romances, but with no indication that he was of unusual prowess. Lamorat, an elder brother of Perceval is also pictured as an excellent knight, and said to be superior to Perceval in knightly prowess, although Perceval was superior in mortal virtue and in religion. Brunor the Black, the Knight of the Ill-Cut Coat, has, at one time, the reputation of being the fourth-best knight in the world, surpassed only by Lancelot, Tristan, and Palamedes. Another great knight is Erec son of Lac. Gaheriet continues to be among the best knights. But Gawain now appears as a false, treacherous murderer. Gawain supposedly still has an enormous reputation for prowess and courtesy among Arthur’s knights, but this is again and again revealed to be a sham. But Gawain tells his adventures in his own way, and is wrongly believed.
A late prose romance called “The Prophecies of Merlin” introduces a knight named Segurant the Brun (in Malory called Severause le Brewse) who is supposed to be an equal to Lancelot and Tristan, but who is too buy attempting to avenge his father’s death on a dragon he hunts to bother much with fighting with other knights. Besides, the Lady of the Lake made both Lancelot and Segurant swear not to fight one another. His story ceases when Segurant is sailing to Sarras where he will presumably meet Galaad, Perceval, and Bohort. But no account of the end of Segurant’s voyage is given in any romance.
In these later prose romances, when they cover material supposedly taking place at the time of the Grail quest, Galaad is still the best knight of all.
I could provide other examples of tales in which one text or another attempts to present a knight otherwise not particularly well known as a supreme knight, the equal or superior of Lancelot and Tristan.
Mordred is not shown to be an especially good knight in any medieval source, except after he usurped the throne. He appears as a murderer and rapist, even before his rebellion. He and his brother Agravain murdered Dinadan. He also attempted to force Guenevere into wedlock with him. Any attempt to include Mordred among the best knights ignores numerous indications in the medieval romances that he wasn’t. And these romances also make clear that the successful attempt by Agravain and Mordred to reveal that Lancelot was Guenevere’s lover was inspired more from jealously and hatred of Lancelot and his kin than by disinterested pursuit of truth. One of the first adventures related of Mordred in the “Prose Lancelot” tells how he seduced the wife of his host. And when the host discovered Mordred and his wife in bed together, Mordred defeated the host in battle and forced him to reconcile with his wife. The Mordred of the medieval prose romances had no moral qualms about illegitimate love relationships, indeed seems to have had no moral qualms about anything.
Of course, a novelist can change and retell the story any way he or she wishes. But a commentator ought to make clear what version he or she is following or whether he or she is inventing a new version of the story.
- 5 years ago
My personal favorite is Sir Gingalain. However, the most celebrated knight is definitely Gawain. However, if you are looking for a good hero for a story, I would choose either Galahad or Percival (they are usually considered pure of heart.) Sir Kay is generally thought to be the most respected knight, though he is pretty inept on the battlefield. He was a close friend to King Arthur. Lancelot was probably strongest, but he was a pretty bad guy, and he ultimately made a major contribution to the downfall of Camelot.
- GoliLv 41 decade ago
Lancelot, Sir Gawain, Percival, the Green knight.Source(s): g
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- 5 years ago
In order, I think: Galahad (for the like one year that he's a knight before he does at like age 15), Lancelot, Tristan, Lamorak, Gareth, Gawain, Bors, Palamedes, and Percival.
Lanval and Erec would also rank highly, except that they basically retired before those other ones were even knights really.
Mordred isn't strong-- he kills arthur, but arthur wasn't very strong either.
Also, it took Mordred, Gawain, Gaheris, and Agravain together to kill Lamorak by himself, after ambushing him.
Gareth also fought Lancelot to a standstill one time, as did Tristan, but didn't really do all that much, and was accidentally killed by Lancelot.
They all seemed to be beating and losing to each other all the time, with Lancelot and Tristan a consistent 1&2, except for literally the grail quest, where Galahad's the best, before willingly dying and going to heaven...Source(s): Marie de France, Thomas Malory, Chretien de Troyes
- BrendaLv 44 years ago
Who was King Arthurs knight of the round table who passed up a date with Shannia Twain?
- 1 decade ago
In the traditional stories of King Arthur Gawain was supposed to be the strongest of the nights, He actually defeated Arthur and Lancelot in tournament before travelling to India.
- 1 decade ago
- 1 decade ago
Mordred. He had to say what everyone was thinking and he was vilified for it. He outed Lancelot and Guinevere, made Aurthur acknowledge what was happening. Arthur became complacent as a king and Mordred challenged him. When Arthur went out to seek the Grail, Camelot was falling apart through rumors and lies..Mordred brought everything into the light, even if it wasn't the popular thing to do. He forced Arthur to return, he made the Lords and Knights see that the kingdom was not as shiny and clean as they all thought it was. He weeded out the corruption.
I'm not saying that Arthur was bad, Just that when you are the one in power you see things differently. You see some thing that others don't, but you also miss things.
Mordred addressed the issues Arthur missed while the rest of the knights just towed the line.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Galahad was the embodiment of perfection.
Lancelot was an adulterer.
Gawain and Percival were kind of screw ups.
When I look at all of them as a whole (taking in skill and deeds) I'll always side with Galahad.
- 1 decade ago
Galahad is the purest of heart, but Lancelot is the strongest and bravest.