Sir Galahad (/ˈɡæləhæd/; sometime referred to as Galeas /ɡəˈliːəs/ or Galath /ˈɡæləθ/), in Arthurian legend, is a knight of King Arthur's Round Table and one of the three achievers of the Holy Grail. He is the illegitimate son of Sir Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic, and is renowned for his gallantry and purity. Emerging quite late in the medieval Arthurian tradition, Sir Galahad first appears in the Lancelot-Grail cycle, and his story is taken up in later works such as the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
The circumstances surrounding the conception of the boy Galahad are explained by Malory and derive from the Lancelot-Grail cycle: Elaine, the daughter of King Pelles, the Grail King, uses magic to trick Sir Lancelot into thinking that she is Queen Guinevere, whom Lancelot loves. Sir Lancelot and Elaine sleep together, but on discovering the deception, Lancelot at first tries to kill Elaine for her complicity, but when he finds out that they have conceived a son together, he is immediately forgiving; however he does not marry Elaine or even wish to be with her anymore and returns to King Arthur's court.
The young Galahad is born and placed in the care of a great aunt, who is an abbess at a nunnery, to be raised there. According to the Vulgate Cycle, "Galahad" was Lancelot's original name, but it was changed when he was a child. At his birth, therefore, Galahad is given his father's own original name. Merlin prophesies that Galahad will surpass his father in valour and be successful in his search for the Holy Grail.
Quest for the Holy GrailEdit
Upon reaching adulthood, Galahad is reunited with his father Sir Lancelot, who knights him at King Arthur's court at Camelot during Pentecost, where he is accompanied by a very old knight who immediately leads him over to the Round Table and unveils his seat at the Siege Perilous, an unused chair that has been kept vacant for the sole person who will accomplish the quest of the Holy Grail. Sir Galahad is promptly invited to become a Knight of the Round Table, and soon afterwards, King Arthur's court witnesses an ethereal vision of the Holy Grail. The quest to seek out this holy object is begun at once. Galahad for the most part travels alone, smiting his enemies, rescuing Sir Perceval from twenty knights and saving maidens in distress, until he is finally reunited with Sir Bors and Sir Perceval. These three knights then come across Sir Perceval’s sister who leads them to the grail ship. After many adventures, Sir Galahad and Sir Perceval find themselves at the court of King Pelles and Eliazar, his son. These men are very holy and they bring Galahad into a room where he is finally allowed to see the Holy Grail. Galahad is asked to take the vessel to the holy city of Sarras.
After seeing the grail, Galahad makes request that he may die at the time of his choosing. So it is, while making his way back to Arthur’s court, Sir Galahad is visited by Joseph of Arimathea, and thus experiences such glorious rapture that he makes his request to die. After bidding Perceval and Bors farewell, Galahad is taken up to heaven by angels.