Lynette and Lyonesse

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Arthur Rackham: "Sir Gareth battling the evil Red Knight while his Lady Lioness watches on"

In the Arthurian legend, Lynette (alternatively known as Linnet, Linette, Lynet, or Lyonet) is a haughty noble lady who travels to King Arthur's court seeking help for her beautiful sister Lyonesse (also Linesse, Lionesse, Lyonorr and other names), whose lands are besieged by the Red Knight of the Red Lands.

Since Lynette refuses to reveal her name for reasons which are not explained, she ends up with a kitchen servant instead of a champion (he is called Beaumains, but is really Gareth of Orkney in disguise). Furious, Lynette leaves Arthur's court. She does not wish to be accompanied by Beaumains, and continually insults him and tries to send him away. Beaumains, however, follows her and proves himself in combat with various recreant knights. As she observes his skill in battle, Lynette's attitude changes from scorn to respect. Along the way, Gareth is knighted by Sir Lancelot. They arrive at Lynette's castle, where Lyonesse has been waiting for her champion. Beaumains defeats the Red Knight, gets wounded, is nursed back to health by Lynette, falls in love with Lyonesse, who consents to marry him only after she makes sure that he is of noble birth. The three travel back to Arthur's court, Lynette falls in love with Sir Gaheris, Gareth's older brother, and the two couples are married in a double ceremony.

In Alfred Tennyson's poem Gareth and Lynette, however, Tennyson implies that in his story it is Lynette whom Gareth marries.

In most stories, Lynette is a minor character. However, in Gerald Morris' The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf, Lynet is the main character, and Lyonesse, in a new twist, is cruel and stupid. Lynette is also the main character of Vera Chapman's The King's Damosel.

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