Red Knight

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

In legends

Tales of Percival

The Red Knight prominently appears in the tales of Percival as his early enemy.

  • In Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail, the Red Knight of the Forest of Quinqeroi steals a cup from King Arthur. He is killed by Percival, who wears his armour 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 armour.[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 kills the Red Knight, thus avenging his own father, and takes his armour. Wearing the armour, Percival later finds the Red Knight's witch mother, deceives her into believing him to be her son, and burns her.[4][5]

Le Morte d'Arthur

Two different Red Knights appear in the tale of Gareth in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

  • The first of them 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 identity 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

  • In Chrétien's story Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, Esclados the Red (Old French: li Ros) is the guardian of an otherworldly fountain in the enchanted forest of Brocéliande. He appears as spouse of the lady Laudine (usually known as "the Lady of the Fountain") prior to Sir Yvain. He was slain by Yvain for attacking the latter's cousin, Sir Calogrenant, in defence of the magic fountain (or well, or spring).
  • 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 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 known as the Great Fool.
  • In the 1991 film The Fisher King, the Red Knight is a central character. He symbolises 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.

See also


  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. Bruce, Christopher W. (21 August 2013). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 9781136755378.
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