The official blog of Historical Fantasy Author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Come and join me on the hunt for everything mythological, as well as historical. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Back to my knights! Like Sir Kay, Sir Bedivere, is one of the original Knights of the Round Table.
Excalibur into the Water. Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley, 1894.
Who was the great Sir Bedivere? The first mention of him is in the 10th Century poem Pa Gur. This is how the poet describes Bedivere.
They fell by the hundred
before Bedwyr of the Perfect-Sinew.
On the shores of Tryfrwyd
fighting with Garwlwyd
furious was his nature
with sword and shield.
We can also find him in the story of Culhwch and Olwen. In this he is described as being a good friend of Culhwch (Sir Kay) and helps Culhwch with his quests to win the hand of Olwen. Bedivere is later given the title, Duke of Neustria.
He is also described as being very handsome, although not as handsome as Arthur, and he had a magic lance -- like you do!
Monmouth portrays him as the most loyal of men, to which no one ever seems to despite. His reputation is left untarnished in future accounts.
He is one of only a handful of knights that survive the Battle of Camlann -- the battle where Arthur fought Mordred -- and he was the last person to see Arthur alive.
But what he is remembered for the most happened after the Battle of Camlann.
The Battle of Camlann leaves Arthur mortally wounded. Arthur commands Bedivere to throw Excalibur (his magical sword) back into the lake. However, Bedivere is reluctant to do so, for the sword is very valuable and is a symbol of Arthur's reign. So he decides to lie to his King, but Arthur can see right through the lie and tells him he must throw the sword into the lake. Once again Bedivere lies and Arthur looses his temper, telling him the sword must go back. Realising that his King will not die peacefully if he does not do as he is told, Bedivere reluctantly throws the sword back into the lake -- what happens next is unbelievable -- The Lady of the Lakes' hand reached out from the depths of the water and catched the sword mid-air, before disappearing back into the water again, taking the sword with her. Bedivere tells Arthur of what he saw and Arthur is comforted.
What happened to Sir Bedivere after Arthur died?
Some say Sir Bedivere died on the Roman Campaign, by which time he only had one hand.
But many of these medieval story tellers had a bit of thing for putting all these noble knights into religious orders and that is what many of them did with Sir Bedivere. He enters the hermitage led by Mordred-ousted Bishop of Canterbury. Ironically, it is the same hermitage Lancelot also ends up in. I hope it was a silent order, I cannot imagine the two of them having much to talk about.
...Perhaps I should do that with my stories, if a character is getting on my nerve I can stick them in a hermitage -- now there's a thought...
The one other thing that Sir Bedivere is remembered for is his logic and if any of you are fans of Monty Python, then you will know what I am talking about!