Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

The most perfect Knight of the Round Table. The son of Lancelot, he alone was sufficiently pure of body and spirit to achieve the Quest for the Holy Grail and to cure the Waste Land. Lancelot's baptismal name was also Galahad, suggesting that the two characters may originally have been the same, though there is also the inference that Lancelot, through his adultery with Guinevere, had become impure, and thus had to make way for his son (born in deceit, but guiltless of blame). Galahad not only symbolizes perfection and chivalry but also someone who will champion a righteous cause. The first complete telling of his story was in the Queste del Saint Graal, part of the Vulgate Cycle (see Arthur) set down by anonymous writers during the period 1215-1235, where he is identified as the grandson of Pelles, the Fisher King. He features in many Arthurian novels and stories (see Arthur), though only Galahad (1926) by John Erskine, Brother to Galahad (1963) by Gwendolyn Bowers and the irreverent Too Bad Galahad (1972) by Matt Cohen (1942-    ) focus on him solely. [MA]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.