Galahad the ‘Perfect Knight’ and the Legends of King Arthur

Introduction

Galahad was a Knight of the Round Table who served the legendary King Arthur. Of all the knights that served the King, Galahad was reputed to be the most chaste and pure. Among many other feats that he accomplished, Galahad was most noted in the Arthurian literature for having achieved success in his quest for the Holy Grail. This was possible because he was the most perfect knight as per the legends. In addition to being chaste and pure, Galahad was also gallant and exceptionally brave.

Background of Galahad

The circumstances surrounding the birth of Galahad are quite exceptional in the Arthurian stories. As per these tales, King Arthur’s most celebrated knight Lancelot mistook a woman for the queen. Lancelot loved the queen but due to an enchantment, he mistook Elaine of Corbenic as Queen Guinevere. Their love resulted in the birth of Galahad. The deception was undertaken by Elaine because a prophecy foretold that her son with Lancelot would be the one to discover the Holy Grail.

After the Birth

After he was born, Galahad was taken away from King Arthur’s court. This was because Lancelot didn’t want Elaine or Galahad to remain at the court. Legend has it that Galahad was born and then placed in the care of an aunt at a nunnery. He was raised at the nunnery which may account for his purity, chastity, and gallantry later in life. It was many years before he grew up and finally reunited with his father in a dramatic manner.

Galahad as a Knight of the Round Table

When Galahad grew up, he fought his father Lancelot who was one of the most accomplished knights of King Arthur. Galahad defeated Lancelot upon which his father knighted him. He was then taken to the famed Round Table. The Table had a seat known as ‘Siege Perilous.’ Any knight who sat on it died because the seat was meant only for the one who could find the Holy Grail.

An old man accompanied Galahad to the seat and had him sit there. He survived upon which King Arthur asked him to remove a sword from a stone which he did with ease. This test was the same as Arthur’s own test before he became king when he removed Excalibur from the stone. Upon completing the test, Galahad was proclaimed the greatest knight ever by the King.

Galahad and the Quest for Holy Grail

Soon after Galahad joined the Round Table, all the knights and the King were seated at the table. They had an ethereal vision of the Holy Grail. This was a sign that they should start looking for it. Upon seeing the vision, Galahad started the quest for the Holy Grail and others followed in his footsteps. During the quest, Galahad came across many tests and challenges. He passed all these performing many miracles along the way. These included healing the sick, defeating demons, and helping fellows in need.

Death and Ascension to Heaven

As foretold in the prophecies, Galahad was the one who was able to reach the Holy Grail. In doing so, he also helped fellow knights Bors and Percival along. The three used the mystical Ship of Solomon to reach the magical realm of the Fisher King. Upon reaching the castle Corbenic, Galahad was taken to the room which housed the Holy Grail.

He was then tasked to take the Grail to a mythical island, Sarras. However, Galahad asked that he be granted the wish of choosing his time of death. As Galahad traveled back to King Arthur’s court, he had a vision of Joseph of Arimathea. Upon this vision, Galahad asked to attain death. His fellow knights, Percival and Bors, saw angels carry Galahad to the heavens. This marked the end of Sir Galahad.



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