Prince Gwalchafed of Gododdin
(Born c.AD 500)
(Welsh-Gwalchafed, Latin-Walgabetius, English-Gaheris)
According to Welsh sources, Gwalchafed, meaning Falcon of Summer, was the
son of Gwyar (alias King
Lot of Lothian) and younger brother of the celebrated warrior, Gawain,
with whom he
served at the court of their maternal uncle, the High-King
Arthur. Some historians think him to be the original
Galahad, though later literary sources give Gawain's brothers as Agravaine,
Gaheris and Gareth. A precursor of the middle character seems most likely.
to Arthurian romance, Gaheris accompanied his mother, Morgause,
to the court of King Arthur at an early age. It was during this visit that his
brother Mordred was conceived. After his father's death, the youthful Gaheris
and his elder brothers returned to court. Gawain was knighted and Gaheris served
as his squire in many heroic adventures. However, they appear to have exacted
revenge on their father's slayer, King Pellinore of Listinoire, by killing him
through less than honourable means.
family feud continued in the next generation when Gaheris' misguided mother
took Pellinore's son, Lamorak, as her lover. Gaheris followed them and,
catching the couple in flagrante delicto, sliced off Morgause's head!
Lamorak initially escaped but was later ambushed by the brothers and killed.
Gaheris' exploits continued with the rescue of his brothers from Newcastle,
the liberation of Gawain & Morholt from the Rock of Maidens and the
killing of the giant, Aupatris. He was a great friend of Percevale and
in his quarrels with King
Mark of Cornwall.
appears to have been quite the ladies' man. His official sweetheart was the
Damoiselle de la Blanche Lande, but this did not prevent him courting other
beauties. He fought the Cornish knight, Matto le Breune, and stole his lover
away, sending the the Cornishman out of his mind. He eventually married the
Damsel Savage, Lynet. Another side to his character shows he was also very charitable
towards the poor. He once accidentally frightened a commoner who left his
donkey and fled into the woods. Returning to find the beast of burden
devoured by wolves, he had lost his means of livelihood. Gaheris therefore
requested his host to give the man a horse.
tried to prevent his brother, Mordred, from revealing Queen Guinevere's
affair with Lancelot. After her eventual downfall, King Arthur asked Gawain
to escort her to her execution stake. He refused and suggested his brothers,
Gaheris and Gareth, instead. They reluctantly complied, but were killed in
the fighting when Lancelot's party attacked their armed guard and rescued