Sir Ector

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Sir Kay showeth the mystic sword unto Sir Ector, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. (1903)

Sir Ector /ˈɛktɔːr, -ər/, sometimes Hector, Antor, or Ectorius, is the father of Sir Kay and the adoptive father of King Arthur in the Matter of Britain. Sometimes portrayed as a king instead of merely a lord, he has an estate in the country as well as properties in London.

Ector appears in the works of Robert de Boron and the Lancelot-Grail, as well as later adaptations such as the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. In these versions, Merlin takes Arthur from his biological parents King Uther Pendragon and Igraine, and brings him to Ector's estate. Merlin does not reveal the boy's true identity, and Ector takes him on and raises him with Kay as his own son. When Kay is old enough to be knighted, Ector's young ward serves as his squire.

In The Once and Future King T. H. White says his lands lie in the "Forest Sauvage"; some later writers have used this as well.

In the earlier Welsh stories, the father of Kay (Cei) is instead named Cynyr (Kyner).[1]

In other media[edit]

  • In the 1963 Walt Disney Studios animated musical-fantasy-comedy movie The Sword in the Stone, Lord Ector is voiced by actor Sebastian Cabot. He does not believe in magic until Merlin casts a blizzard before him, thus allowing the wizard to educate Arthur in the castle, even though Ector has forbidden it. He is extremely distrustful of magic and Merlin, whom he mistakenly refers to as Marvin. When he first allows Merlin to educate Arthur, Ector forces Merlin to reside in an old, dilapidated tower near the castle, in hopes of making Merlin want to leave. Even though he loves him, Ector often treats Arthur harshly and possesses a clear authority over him, treating him more as a servant, while doting on his birth son, Sir Kay. However, he does care for Arthur, as shown in his first scene, where he scolds Kay for allowing Arthur to go into the forest alone and worried that he might be dead. He also appoints him as Kay's squire, and clearly has affection for Arthur, and does not always want to treat him poorly, but rather feels responsible for his welfare. After Arthur is revealed as the rightful King of England by pulling the sword from the stone, he immediately begs Arthur's forgiveness for how he has treated him up to that point and bows in submission while sternly ordering Kay to also bow down to Arthur.
  • In the 1975 Monty Python film Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sir Ector is named as one of the knights killed by the Rabbit of Caerbannog.
  • In the 1981 epic fantasy film Excalibur, Sir Ector is portrayed by actor Clive Swift.
  • In the 2011 historical-fantasy-drama TV series Camelot Sir Ector is portrayed by actor Sean Pertwee.
  • In Cursed (2020 TV series), Peter Guinness (actor) is the actor who plays Sir Ector.