The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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Sir Galahad Character Analysis

Galahad is Lancelot's son with Elaine. He is the most deeply moral and religious characters in the novel and remains a virgin his whole life. He is one of the knights to find the Holy Grail, but never returns from the Quest, having become too perfect to return. Before finding the Grail, he spends six months on a boat with Lancelot where the two get to know each other.

Sir Galahad Quotes in The Once and Future King

The The Once and Future King quotes below are all either spoken by Sir Galahad or refer to Sir Galahad. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ace Books edition of The Once and Future King published in 1987.
Book 3, Chapter 36 Quotes

Half the knights had been killed—the best half. What Arthur had feared from the start of the Grail Quest had come to pass. If you achieve perfection, you die. There had been nothing left for Galahad to ask of God, except death. The best knights had gone to perfection, leaving the worst to hold their sieges.

Related Characters: King Arthur or Wart, Sir Galahad
Related Symbols: The Questing Beast and Quests, The Holy Grail
Page Number: 477
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator categorizes different parts of Arthur's reign into four main feelings, or "tones": the "companionship of youth," when knights and the Round Table were young, the "chivalric rivalry," which blossomed after the threats to the kingdom had been eradicated, the "enthusiasm of the Grail," and now the bleakest yet -- the "knowledge of the world" phase, one of intrigue and gossip and "the fruits of achievement." With the context of this timeline established, the narrator suggests that the current moment is a critical time, in which half of the "best knights" have been killed. Again, the narrator associates destiny with death; once you live out your destined perfection, "you die," according to the narrator's blunt appraisal, which seems to stem from Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur" itself.

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Sir Galahad Character Timeline in The Once and Future King

The timeline below shows where the character Sir Galahad appears in The Once and Future King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3, Chapter 15
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...Pelles and brings news that Elaine has given birth to a son and named him Galahad (Lancelot's first name). (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 23
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
One morning, Elaine and Lancelot are sitting on the banks of the moat with Galahad when two strangers are announced, demanding to joust with the Chevalier. The jousting session with... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 28
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
...in the Great Hall to hear the tales of his adventures. Gawaine's story is of Galahad's piety and virginity; of violence committed unnecessarily; and of Gawaine accidentally killing a fellow knight. (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 30
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
...been found in the hands of their dead sister. Percy had been trying to follow Galahad but was tricked by a witch and found himself in a desert with no horse.... (full context)
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Meanwhile their sister, a nun, received a vision. Galahad was staying at a hermitage not far away; she found him and took him to... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 31
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
...himself to the King and informs him that the Holy Grail has been found by Galahad, Percival, and Bors who are with it now, carrying it to Babylon; Bors will eventually... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 32
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
...to King Peles' castle, but was waylaid on the journey when he was dismounted by Galahad. Angry and with his pride hurt, he had ridden to a chapel. While he slept,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 33
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
...Inside the ship was the body of a dead woman clutching a letter. One day, Galahad came to them and lived in the ship for months. They had adventures with animals... (full context)
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
One Monday, they arrived at a forestland where a white knight was waiting to take Galahad to the Holy Grail. Lancelot knew he would not be taken too, but asked Galahad... (full context)
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
...the most beautiful chapel he had ever seen. He couldn't go inside, but could see Galahad, Bors and Percival, and knights from other lands; and on a silver table was the... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 34
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
...Guenever's life is that she is childless: Arthur has two illegitimate children and Lancelot has Galahad. But she will never have a child; later in her life, this will break her. (full context)