The de Gales Clan
King Pellinore of the Long Isles, or Pellinore de Gales (Wales), was the greatest knight in the world during Arthur’s youth, and was granted the seat next to the Siege Perilous at the Round Table. Merlin led him to the place during Arthur’s first granting of places at the Round Table. But this last high place was reserved for the best knight in the world; it utterly destroyed anyone of lesser degree who sat in it undeservedly! Galahad was the only knight to ever acheive this honored place at the Round Table.
Pellinore is the brother of the Grail King Pellam, and as such, his life and his family is heavily affected by the mystery of the Grail Quest. However, Pellinore’s life centers around a quest not for the Grail, but for Glatisant, the marvelous “Questing Beast” (see Pendragon, illustration pg. 324; adventure pgs. 325-326).
Pellinore was reknown primarily for his adventurous heart. To him, the quest was everything! – though his lack of care towards his kingdom caused its fall to the Irish. Secondly, he was reknown for his “adventurous heart,” meaning his philandering ways.
Pellinore had a number of illegitimate children. Most notable was Sir Tor, called “Le Fise Aries,” after his cowherding step-father. Later, Pellinore acknowledged Tor as his son, and the young knight became an early member of the Round Table.
After killing Lot at the Battle of Castle Terrabel in field combat, Pellinore was murdered by the Orkney clan. His son Melodiam challenged Gawaine to answer for his crimes, but Melodiam’s death under Gawaine’s sword put an end to the dispute for many years.
It erupted again when Lamorak was found to be the lover of Gawaine’s mother Margawse. Lamorak too fell to the vengeful treachery of the Orkney clan. However, Tor, Aglovale, and Percivale de Gales never raised a hand against the Orkneys. Though treated as despised enemies by the Orkneys, their forbearance in the face of such blind hatred made them famous for forgiveness.
Skills common to de Gales clansmen were horsemanship and jousting. Every de Gales knight was never far from his steed, and Lamorak himself was known as the best jouster in the world, often regarded better than Lancelot or Tristram! Because of his prowess, Lamorak was considered the leader of the clan, though Aglovale was slightly older.
The youngest son, Percival, had been hidden away in the forests for his childhood years by his mother. She, quite rightly, feared the wrathful Orkneys and raised him to be holy and penitent -
hoping he would never wish to become a knight like his brothers. However, the wanderlust was in his blood: Percival became a great knight of the Round Table. Percival later took part in the completion of the Grail Quest along with his sister Amide, Sir Galahad and Sir Bors.
More than anything else, the de Gales knights were adventurers, like their father. They loved the fields and forests, and jousting at a crossroads or bridge for the love of it. As a group, the de Gales were not as fond of the glory of battle as the Pendragons, the intrigue of court as the Orkneys, or the public adoration of the tourney field as the de Ganis knights. Yet this is not to say they did not enjoy or participate in such events. For example Lamorak easily unhorsed 30 opponents at Gareth’s wedding tourney!
None of Pellinore’s sons ever marry as far as we know, and all except Lamorak seemingly give up the lustful ways of their father. (Barring the version of Percival, by Wolfram von Eschenbach, where Percival marries, becomes the Grail King, lives “happily ever after” and has a famous son, named Lohengrin. However, this digresses greatly from the chaste Percivale of Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.)
Overall, the de Gales knights’ quests were more often than not played out and resolved in the solitude of the heart, and across the lonely wilds of Britain.
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