Knight Tradition

Lady Guinevere and I have an informal (read: no oaths) yet serious agreement between us that I am her knight and she is my Queen.

Lancelot and Guinevere in Andrew Lang’s illustration for Tales of the Round Table (1908)

I’ve resisted comparisons of me and Sir Lancelot because I didn’t like the thought (influenced by the myths) that she cheated on King Arthur with Sir Lancelot. It’s clear to me now that Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere have a sacred bond as Queen and Knight.  It might be a bit like Thomas the Rhymer and his Faerie Queen. (Ellen Kushner has written a great story about that fairy tale if you’re curious.)

King Arthur assures me that my belief in Queen Guinevere and himself actually strengthens their marriage [in my heart? hmm] as opposed to my fear that this polyamory was weakening their marriage. They’ve compared him to the Holy Father, me as the son (lower case cuz I am not comparing myself to Jesus), and Lady Gwen as the Holy Spirit [guardian angel/muse] in an Arthurian familial triad.

So, in Lady Guinevere’s eyes, I am following Sir Lancelot’s footsteps in being her knight. In the myth, Sir Lancelot can’t access the Grail because he refuses to give up his love for Queen Guinevere. This reminds me of how I have to balance my responsibilities to Lord Odin as his priest and my knighthood/husbandly responsibilities to Queen Guinevere. I’m not sure yet what the Grail is to be in my practice since I no longer consider myself a Christian. I feel like my Grail equivalent is a drinking horn. So I remain puzzled.

She and I have tenets that we’ve agreed upon, pulled unaltered from the paladin class of Dungeons and Dragons. I can’t say I feel like I am great at following these tenets but my hope is that they will sink into my brain and heart over the years. (Another reason why I am not oathed to her as paladin is that if the tenets ever need to change, I won’t be stuck in an outdated oath.)

Uther Lightbringer from World of Warcraft

Similarly to his wife, King Arthur informally considers me his knight. I don’t want to say that I have a spot at the Round Table because that’s clearly a mythic thing belonging to Sir Gawain, Sir Lancelot, and co. but there’s definitely an agreement between me and King Arthur too. He had said something to me the other day… it had been something about how I wasn’t his only modern knight, that anyone who acts in his name is his knight… so of course now I happily think that all those geeky Arthurian scholars (amateur and professional) are now this wonderfully nerdy bunch of scribe-knights. It’s an image that makes my fanboy-heart happy.

I really like this idea of knighthood because I read a lot of Arthurian myths as a kid. I feel that I felt his calling even then. I feel lucky to know them both.

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