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Todd Jensen writes...

I've been meaning to ask you about this ever since your little "Bastards" ramble, but never got around to it until now. You gave a list of Arthurian figures who fit this archetype: Arthur himself, Merlin, Mordred, Galahad, and Percival.

Now, Merlin, Mordred and Galahad are all definitely illegitimate in the traditional legends, and the circumstances of Uther's visit to Igraine at Tintagel would make Arthur's legitimacy a matter of controversy, so all four of them can indeed be fitted into that archetype. (I'd hesitate at calling Galahad a bastard, mind, but that's another story :)

What puzzles me, though, is your inclusion of Percival in the list. I don't recall anything in any version of the Arthurian legend that I've read about him being illegitimate. The closest that I can think of is his secret rearing by his mother away in the woods after the death of his father and older brothers to keep him from finding out about knights. Is this what led to your classification of him as a "bastard"?

Greg responds...

Erin responds:

I liked the questions because they were very animated.

Greg responds:

I like the question too. In my mind, Percival was the illegitimate son of Gawaine. (You need to reread your Lancelyn Green very carefully.) This interests me because, as I've mentioned before, I have this sense that the true Bastard archetype in Arthurian lore has not been filled by a true Bastard, but by Gawaine himself. The archetype trying to take a break from himself, and largely failing.

And now, my son Benny has woken up from his nap and is joining us.

Ben (age 3) responds:


Response recorded on April 01, 2000