For the knight Gaheris of Carhaix, see Gaheris


Gawain mourns his brothers from Arthur & Lancelot: The Fight for Camelot

Gaheris was a Knight of the Round Table, in the court of King Arthur, according to Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Malory renders French Guerrehet as Gareth and French Gaheriet as Gaheris from Book I to Book X, chapter 48 (ignoring book VII, “The Story of Sir Gareth” which is of unknown origin). But from Book X, chapter 55 to the end of the romance, Malory reverses this practice and renders French Guerrehet as Gaheris and French Gaheriet as Gareth. (In the French romances Gaheriet is almost always far more prominent than Guerrehet.)

The Switching of Names in Le Morte d’ArthurEdit

The result is that Gaheris represents Gaheriet in the early portion of Le Morte d’Arthur and is the more prominent knight. He is Gawain’s squire in Gawain’s first adventure, is more highly esteemed by Malory’s Tristram than is Gawain, and it is Gaheris who kills his own mother in Malory’s account. In the French accounts, all this is told of Gaheriet.

It appears that Malory originally identified his Gareth with Guerrehet because his source, the Post-Vulgate Merlin, at that point lists Guerrehet as the youngest of the brothers. And Gaheriet, Malory renders into English as Gaheris. This works well enough, until in his story of Tristram, Malory is dealing with Agravain and Guerrehet killing a knight at Joyous Gard. But Malory did not imagine his Gareth to be a murderer. So at that point he reverses his names for the two brothers: the murdering Guerrehet becomes Gaheris, and Gaheriet becomes Gareth.

Some Name VariationsEdit

MALORY: Gaherys, -e, Gaheryes, Gaheris.

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