King of Listinoire
Pellinore was said to be of the Royal line of St.
Joseph of Arimathea, the dynasty who guarded the mystical 'Holy
Grail'. He was a son of King Pellam and brother of Kings
Pelles and Alain. Pellinore takes on various roles across different Arthurian
First appearing in the Vulgate Merlin (c.1225) and the Livre
d'Artus (early 13th c.), he is called the "Maimed King".
This character was wounded by a holy lance after doubting the powers
of the Holy Grail. Like their monarch, his lands became sickly
and barren; and neither were healed until his grand-nephew, Galahad,
achieved his goal in the Grail Quest. Pellinore was father of the
first grail-seeker, Percivale, and his brothers.
Elsewhere, Pellinore was the pursuer of the bizarre 'Questing
Beast'. He appeared at the court of the High-King
Arthur and was immediately challenged, by the monarch, to a
fight for the right to undertake this hunt. Pellinore was triumphant
and Arthur accepted him into the Order of the Round Table. Later, in
the King's service at the Battle of Tarabel, he killed King
Lot of Lothian and unwittingly instigated the blood feud
between the two families, which ultimately led to his death at the
hands of Lot's sons.
Pellinore's brother and, presumably, joint-ruler, Pelles, is
portrayed as an almost identical wounded character known as the
"Fisher King" and, in post-Vulgate romances, it was their
father who was maimed. RS Loomis convincingly argues that Pellinore
Mawr, the Welsh Sun-God. All three were almost certainly this
same character in origin. Their attachment to the Grail story is
probably through their supposed ancestor, Brons - Joseph of
Arimathea's son-in-law who developed from Welsh God, Bran.
In Welsh genealogies, he is often confused with Beli. Both were Chiefs
of the Gods and, according to Welsh mythology, Beli was Bran's
As Grail-King, Bran was associated with the Castell-Dinas-Bran area
of North Wales. Listinoire is also referred to as Northumberland; so
Pellinore was placed in the north. This is almost certainly because
his son, Percivale, partly derives from the historical King
Peredyr ab Eliffer, King of York. It could be that the
connection with Beli Mawr was suggested from 'ab Eliffer' via a-b-elli-mer.
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