Red Knight

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Red Knight is a title borne by several characters in Arthurian legend.

In legends[edit]

Tales of Percival[edit]

The Red Knight prominently appears in the tales of Percival as his early enemy. In the Red Knight of the Forest of Quinqeroi in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail; he steals a cup from King Arthur and is killed by Percival, who wears his armor and comes to be known as the Red Knight himself.[1] In Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, a retelling of Chrétien, the Red Knight is identified as Sir Ither, the Red Knight of Kukumerlant, a cousin to both Arthur and Parzival; he too is killed by Percival, who then puts on his armor.[2]

In Robert de Boron's Perceval, Percival kills the Red Knight in his youth and later slays also the Red Knight's vengeful brother, Cahot the Red.[3] In Sir Perceval of Galles, Percival not only kills the Red Knight, and thus avenges his own father, and takes his armor, but later also meets the Red Knights mother, a witch who thinks he is her son and wants to heal him, and burns her.[4][5]

Le Morte d'Arthur[edit]

Two different Red Knights appear in the tale of Gareth in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. The first is named Sir Perimones and is also known as "The Puce Knight", who, like his three brothers the Black Knight, the "Green Knight" (distinct from the character in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), and Sir Persant of Inde "The Blue Knight", is bested by the young Gareth. After these initial trials Gareth must face the Red Knight of the Red Launds, whose real name is Sir Ironside. Ironside has the strength of seven men and has trapped the princess of Lyonesse in a tower from which Gareth must save her. Though he had demonstrated a cruel and sadistic nature, Ironside is brought around and even made a Knight of the Round Table.

Other red knights[edit]

  • Gawain is known as the Red Knight for a brief time in Perlesvaus. In the same story, Percival also kills a pet lion of the Red Knight of the Deep Forest.
  • Galahad is called by this name in the Lancelot-Grail cycle.
  • In Chrétien de Troyes' story Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, the red knight Esclados guards a mystical fountain, and is defeated by Ywain.
  • In the Vulgate Merlin, two enemies of Arthur's and lords of the castle Estremores, Roalais and Sir Belias of Estremores, are both called the Red Knights of Estremores.[6]
  • In the Irish folklore tale Eachtra an Amadán Mor, the Red Knight is one of the knights defeated by Arthur's nephew Great Fool.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 1991 film The Fisher King, the Red Knight is a central character. He symbolizes the fear, loss, and grief experienced by Perry, a mentally ill homeless man portrayed by Robin Williams.
  • In the 1998 animated film Quest for Camelot, The Red Knight is given the name Sir Ruber (voiced by Gary Oldman), and is portrayed as a power-hungry kleptomaniac attempting to claim Excalibur for himself.
  • An episode of My Knight and Me features the Knight of Red or the Red Knight for short, who is depicted as a stereotypical gym teacher.


  1. ^ Troyes, Chrétien de (15 March 2011). "Perceval, Or, The Story of the Grail". University of Georgia Press – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ Eschenbach, Wolfram von (26 March 2009). "Parzival and Titurel". Oxford University Press – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ Bruce, Christopher W. (21 August 2013). "The Arthurian Name Dictionary (Page 95)". Routledge – via Google Books. 
  4. ^ "Perceval of Galles - Robbins Library Digital Projects". 
  5. ^ Fulton, Helen (23 November 2011). "A Companion to Arthurian Literature". John Wiley & Sons – via Google Books. 
  6. ^

See also[edit]