Pellinore in Arthurian Lore

Pelinore or King Pelinore is the King of Listenoise also known as Northumberland. He is said to be of the royal bloodline of St Joseph of Arimathea, the dynasty that protected the Holy Grail based on the Arthurian lore.  He is directly the son of King Pellam and the brother of King Pelleas and Allain (Fisher King).

In his first appearance, he was called “The Maimed King” because he got wounded by a holy spear for he doubted the powers of the grail. He also earned his title of “The Knight with the Strange Beast” for the pursuit of the Questing Beast. He claimed he was destined by blood to hunt the beast down.

According to Post-Vulgate Cycle,I Pelinore has many children that were illegitimate and legitimate children who were all members of the round table. His male children were all seen as strong males named Tor, Aglovale, Lamorak, Dornar, and Percival. His children in wedlock were Lamorak, Aglovale, Lamorak, Percival, and Amide (Daughter, who was a servant of the Grail) but Tor and Eleine/ Alyne (daughter) were born out of wedlock.

Strengths

King Pellinore Pelinore was the father of the first grail seeker, Percival and his daughter Amide, servant of the grail who helped them achieve the mystical objective.

Pelinore is a brave man. He was brave enough to pursue the monster creature that terrified everyone. He was obsessed about it to the point that nothing else mattered to him. He was willing to risk his life to ensure his name was attributed to being a beast killer. He was often in an untidy appearance each time he came back from hunting the beast but somehow he managed to always keep his beards waxed. This beast hunting expedition lasted for twelve months.

He is a strong fighter. When he came to Camelot and appeared in King Arthur’s court, he was challenged to fight the monarch, so as to make himself worthy to undertake the task of hunting the beast. He emerged triumphant, which made Arthur accept him to the “Order of the Round Table”.

In the musical, Camelot, his loyalty to the King and friendship with him earned him to be pet-named “Pelly”.In the service of King Arthur, he was strong enough to kill many rebelling vassals which included the mighty king Lot of Orkney at the battle of Dimiloc, which unfortunately brought about his untimely death. The musical “Camelot” In reference to His loyalty to the King and friendship with him earned him to be pet-named “Pelly”.

King pellinore has the thick accent of a proper gentleman, he ends his sentences most times with “what” in repetition, based on this Merlin made fun of him saying “…Or if I were king Pellinore I would say ‘what, what, what?’”

In one of his Modern appearances, specifically in the movie Merlin, he is a knight of Camelot who is well trained and also a talented sword fighter. He fought bravely with Tristan de Bois even with the wounds he sustained previously at Othaden.

One of the most outstanding positive qualities of Pellinore, is his ability to not yield. He is strong-willed and persistent to the extent that King Arthur couldn’t make him back off from the quest of slaying the beast. Arthur challenged him to a Joust, after three jousts Arthur is unseated. According to Mallory, they continued the battle on foot. Pellinore breaks Arthur’s sword which he drew from the stone and anvil. The only way Arthur’s life was saved was Merlin casting a sleeping spell on Pellinore.

Weaknesses

Though some view King Pellinore’s ambitions as a positive quality, some see it as having an excessive ego and being over-ambitious.

His ego was the true reason he pursued the beast because he wanted his name to be likened as “The Slayer of the beast”. He was ready to go great lengths just to achieve that. He almost killed King Arthur because he will rather fight and kill his opponent than not pursue his quest which he claimed is his bloodline’s destiny. He says;

“It is in vain thy desire, for it shall never be achieved but by me, or my next kin”

In Pellinore’s adventure in the Quest of the White Hart he was depicted as a selfish and unkind character. On Merlin’s counsel, Pellinore was assigned the task of Liberating Dame Nimue. On his thirst for accomplishment, his adventure was marred because he ignored helping a wounded Knight and his Lady. The Knight died and the lady took her own life. As the book transcends, Pellinore found out by the revelation of Merlin, that the couple he refused stopping to help was his daughter Eleine and her husband and that Lions and other wild beasts had made a meal out of their corpse.

In the Warlord’s chronicles by Bernard Cornwell, Pellinore is portrayed as an old man kept in a cage, and an old man commanding imaginary armies. The above assertion was depicted shortly after Arthurs wedding when there was an invasion force of Saxon and Irish Raiders. At the course of this invasion, King Arthur summoned Pellinore, giving him the mandate of vanquishing the five Kings. He arrived at the battlefield too late and by then, the war has already been won by Arthur’s forces.

The assertion by Bernard Cornwell “ old man kept in a cage” was also depicted when Gundleus was sacked from Tor and Arthur’s men retrieved Pellinore and kept him locked him locked in a storeroom.

Death

In the movie Merlin, Pellinore died at the hands of Tristan de Bois.

However, most appearances of King Pellinore gave a uniform account of his death.

As earlier mentioned, Pellinore killed King Lot of Orkeney during the king’s service in the battle of Dimiloc (Tarabel). This act instigated a bloody feud between both families which was the main reason he was killed.

Gawain and Gaheris were greatly fueled by anger about their father’s death. In the tenth year after Tor was Knighted, Gawain assisted by Gaheris avenged their father’s death by killing Pellinore.

According to one of Pellinore’s literary versions, Sir Palamedes the Saracen continued the quest and killed the beast.

Leave a Comment