My Various Unasked For Thoughts on Different Arthurian Characters, Because I Can

Yeah, so…I just wanted to list the different Arthurian characters and my different thoughts and opinions about them. Why? I don’t know. I thought it would be fun. I’m not going to cover all the characters here at all, only a couple of the most well-known ones, because otherwise that would be loong.

So, in order of popularity (sort of):


  • Probably the one character I don’t have super strong opinions about, to be honest.
  • I don’t really care how you play him, so long as he’s not boring.
  • I do personally happen to like stories that include the ‘he tried to murder his infant son and failed’ aspect, though, because ANGST.
  • I guess I kind of like stories that portray Arthur as a more complex character? One that makes a lot of mistakes, even though he may still be a noble man. I don’t like stories that portray him as perfect, and I don’t like stories that railroad his character for the sake of it. That’s me and every Arthuriana character, though.
  • I honestly have no idea what that whole ‘he ordered that Guinevere be burned at the stake when he found out she committed adultery’ thing was about. Like. It doesn’t make sense from a logical perspective? Of course Lancelot is going to try to rescue her and that’s going to make the whole political situation worse. I don’t get why Arthur did it. Were the noblemen demanding it?


  • I love this character.
  • So, while I don’t have anything personal against retellings that portray Guinevere as some type of warrior queen, I still don’t really like it. Guinevere can have power in a political way and not on the battlefield! Honestly, I could be wrong, but it seems like I don’t run into a lot of stories that have a girl be a competent political leader. I’m just…a liiittle bit tired of warrior girls. I love warrior queens, until that becomes all people are willing to write.
  • I just love Chretien’s portrayal of Guinevere as someone people listen to and respect. That was kind of amazing.
  • I’m okay with someone writing villainous!Guinevere, but it seems like people never do it in ways I can get behind. The few times I’ve seen it done, she’s just a stereotypical, unpleasant, meddling woman rather than a respected enemy. Can some people not write villainous powerful women without tripping into a bunch of stereotypes?
  • While we’re on this topic, my Arthurian OTP is Mordred/Guinevere. I love the ship so much. I’ve yet to come across a (remotely good) novel that’s about this relationship, and the ship has…maybe six fanfics on AO3? Why are all my favorite ships so obscure?
  • Guinevere just has so much potential as a character. She’s been portrayed so many different ways, from medieval literature to today, and she’s such a flexible and enigmatic character. I love her, but she’s also really freaking hard for me to write
  • She’s just such a powerful character when she’s written well.
  • Anyway, if anyone knows of any good Mordred/Guinevere fanfics or novels, let me know.


  • I will admit, I have NO idea why Merlin is as popular as he is. He assisted in a rape and just screwed everyone over. I get a fairly unhealthy vibe from his relationship with Arthur, which is only cemented by the fact that Merlin convinced him to attempt to murder Arthur’s own infant son. Why do people stan?


  • He’s a disaster bi and no one can make me change my mind
  • I took a quiz once for ‘which Arthurian character are you’ and I got Lancelot. I guess it makes sense. I’m also a disaster over-achiever who is probably going to end up accidentally betraying king and country one of these days. (I am, however, much less good at time management than Lancelot apparently is, so I am not very good at fighting things or other useful talents.) I think I’m more like Gawain, tho
  • I think almost everybody interprets Lancelot as a Type A over-achiever and I like it.
  • One thing I wish more people would explore is Lancelot’s relationship with the Lady of the Lake. Didn’t she raise him?
  • You know, Lancelot and Guinevere is okay, sure, but you know what’s better? Lancelot in basically any slash ship. Lancelot/Galehaut is AMAZING, okay? (Galehaut is not at ALL to be confused with Galahad. Galehaut, if you don’t know, is some guy who waged a war against Arthur until he found out that Lancelot was super cute and called it off. That really happened.) And I love Lancelot/Gawain possibly even more, because apparently there was a scene in some medieval story–I think it was in the Vulgate Cycle–where Gawain told Lancelot that he wished that he were a beautiful girl, under the condition that Lancelot would love him more than any other. ADORABLE.
  • Basically, literally everyone in Camelot is wildly in love with Lancelot, and that’s not my opinion, that’s fact.
  • Some Arthuriana fans tend to hate/strongly dislike Lancelot for some reason, but I don’t. He’s definitely done a lot of bad things, some of which don’t get called out because of the genre conventions or the social outlooks of the time, but I think he also has potential to be a really, really morally complex and interesting and noble character. Just because not everyone writes the character well doesn’t mean that he’s a bad character.
  • We love and support Lancelot in this house (along with Guinevere, and Mordred, and Gawain, and pretty much everyone except Pelleas he can choke)


  • MY BOY. The character who got me into Arthurian legends. Just.
  • I am completely not interested in Pure Evil versions of this character, outside of the actual legends of course. You’ve been given so much tragic villain potential and you are NOT going to waste this. I just think Mordred works so much better as a tragic villain.
  • Morded is kind of…an inverse chosen one. Yes, he’s the center of some important prophecy, but the prophecy is that he’s going to destroy a kingdom. (Anakin, basically. He’s Anakin.) And I highkey love that twist on the trope.
  • I think I’m just drawn to characters like this, I’m sorry. I love Loki, Anakin, Seonho, and Mordred. I definitely have a Type.
  • You’d kind of expect Mordred to have a bigger role in Le Morte D’Arthur, but from what I remember, he’s kind of a background character until the end. It’s kind of an odd structure.
  • I find Mordred’s friendship with his brother Agravaine kind of cute, and I think any retelling from Mordred’s point of view is obligated to feature this.
  • In fact, I just love all the Orkney brothers. They are all collectively my favorite and no one can change my mind.
  • Anyway, I just love characters who plot with queens and topple dynasties


  • Like Lancelot, Gawain is also a disaster bi! Aside from that whole bit with Lancelot I talked about up there, Gawain also has this whole long poem that’s all about the story of how he got to make out with the Green Knight. And also about how he learned the true meaning of honor I guess, but we all know what the important part of the poem is. I haven’t read Gawain and the Green Knight yet, but I want to.
  • My sister, who has actually read the poem, claims that the important part of the poem is how he learned the true meaning of honor but I think she’s lying
  • He also has a really cute marriage with this woman named Ragnelle, and I swear I’ll cover that eventually in its own post because it’s an amazing story (no seriously I almost have the post written up I just need to finish it).
  • I think Gawain is the sort of person who loves animals, which is confirmed by the fact that he once tried to kill a man for mistreating a dog.
  • Doesn’t he also love his horse Gringolet? Gawain’s just adorable okay
  • He also stuck up for Guinevere when she was accused of adultery.
  • YES he may be an idiot who kills people but a) so is Lancelot and ninety percent of the rest of Camelot and b) aside from that, he’s really nice! Stop being mean to him, French authors
  • In all seriousness, though, I think I might be the only person who is fine with both more redneck/slightly trashy portrayals of Gawain and the paragon of knighthood portrayals of Gawain. I like both, okay? I’m not down for anything that completely makes Gawain into a jerk, but I’m okay with Gawain screwing up and being an idiot occasionally.
  • There’s this whole segment in one of Chretien’s stories where Gawain makes out with this girl only to find out that I think he killed her father or something and the girl’s fine with it, but her brother tries to kill him and then Gawain and the lady end up having to fight their way out with a chess set. This is the idiot content I subscribed for.
  • I love Gawain. So much. He and Lancelot are both such lovable idiots and I ship them. I don’t really want to pick a favorite Arthurian character, but if I had to, I’d say it tends to shift between Gawain, Guinevere, and Mordred?

So please do tell me your Arthurian headcanons, favorite ships, favorite retellings/fanfics, etc., and I’m sorry for making you sit through all this. I’m still writing it and posting it anyway. 😉 I may make a part two of this, but I already feel cringy enough posting this one post. I do want to cover the rest of the Orkney brothers, though. So I guess we’ll see.

16 thoughts on “My Various Unasked For Thoughts on Different Arthurian Characters, Because I Can

    • I know, I love warrior queens until I start noticing a conspicuous lack of politician girls and trickster seamstresses or whatever (kind of random examples tbh). It doesn’t help that a lot of the warrior girls I read as a kid were trying really hard to be ‘girl power’ and were NOT, in fact, ‘girl power’. You can’t say you support girls and then denigrate every girl who is not your heroine!
      But I still love warrior queens when done right.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “I don’t really care how you play him, as long as he’s not boring.” I love how applicable tht is to every character ever. XD

    I love Gawain toooo. I’ve been meaning to read Tolkien’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I own it! I have owned it for years now! Just haven’t actually sat down and read it.

    And this makes me want to read your WIP so much! Mordred is fascinating. And I love tragic villains done right. Do you know that BBC show Merlin? That Mordred was great (I thought) up till the episode he actually turned against Arthur. I was so disappointed how that was handled. He was just a poor confused kid with conflicting loyalties and he deserved a character arc that made SENSE.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it really is applicable to every character. XD I have somewhat specific tastes when it comes to portrayals of some Arthurian characters (i.e., do NOT come to me with your Mordred unless you’ve made him suitably goth and tragic, and do NOT come to me with your villainized Lancelot; the retelling may be great, but there are just some portrayals I’m not into). Others can be written however and I just…I don’t really care so long as it’s good.

      Gawain’s amazing! And WHAT DID TOLKIEN TRANSLATE GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT? I must look into this. (I have Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, but I haven’t read it yet. Heh. I started it, though!)

      Eek thank you! I love tragic villains so MUCH. I’ve heard of Merlin, but I’ve never seen it. I remember hearing things about Mordred’s character arc that I found kind of strange, though (It’s been a while, though, so I’m not sure if I can remember what I thought sounded weird). What was your problem with his arc? It is really terrible when a great character gets saddled with a bad arc, characters DO deserve an arc that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is fair, having preferences like that. I know for me, you may have written the best Robin Hood retelling ever, but if Robin Hood is not suitably witty and light-hearted, I’m really not interested. (Though of course he is allowed to be witty and light-hearted as a mask for his INNER PAIN AND ANGST. Just, as long as he’s witty and light-hearted!)

        Indeed he did. Haha. (I want to read that!)

        Ahhh it’s been a long time since I saw it, so all I remember clearly is my emotional response and not the actual details that prompted it, buuut basically he was UNQUESTIONABLY LOYAL to Arthur, and then some girl he hadn’t seen in ages (but he liked her) shows up trying to kill Arthur or undermine Camelot or something like that, and then when she’s executed, Mordred’s all like “YOU KILLED HER BECAUSE SHE USED MAGIC. THAT WAS HER ONLY CRIME. HOW DARE YOU.” when no? That was definitely not her only crime? His changing sides had nothing to do with his connection to Morgana or anything like that, and it wasn’t built up by him being concerned about Arthur’s intolerance for magic. It was out of nowhere. And I hated it.
        (It…was also kind of weird how much he changed sides like…three times? Ish? None of it made sense. Kind of like the show overall. There were things I loved and things that DROVE ME UP THE WALL.)
        (They really do. Even if they come to a bad end, that’s okay if it makes SENSE.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, yeah. I’m not even that attached to Robin Hood, but…don’t give me emo edgelord Robin. He can be emo! (Preferably with a mask of wittiness and lightheartedness.) But not an edgelord.

          I like what I’ve read of Beowulf so far. I really want to finish it. Hopefully other things don’t get in the way.

          Oh yeah, I think that was what I thought sounded weird. I didn’t watch it, but I did hear about it, and…why would you have Mordred go evil over his girlfriend? There are so many possible motivations for Mordred to turn evil in a retelling, and you just go and kill off his girlfriend? Characters not having proper buildup for a change is never nice. That’s too bad.
          (Lol, changing sides three times can be hard for a character to pull off unless they’re Loki. Loki is not only allowed to change sides three or more times, he’s expected to. Would you say it’s worth giving the show a try? I’ve never been sure about it. Like I said, I kind of have specific requirements for Arthurian retellings.)
          (Yes, I love villainous arcs that make sense. But people can’t shove one in just because.)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Agreed.

            (I have nothing to say about Beowulf, except that I hope you get to enjoy it, but if I didn’t say SOMETHING I feel like it might be confusing what the proceeding “EXACTLY” is referring to.)

            (Dude, I love Loki! Norse mythology Loki, at least; I am not acquainted with Marvel Loki. But I do love how he’s sometimes the villain, sometimes the annoying sidekick, it all just depends on how he’s feeling and where his personal interests happen to lie.)
            (Hmm okay I would say:
            1. Arthur is fun. Stubborn and arrogant, but also good qualities.
            2. Gwen is exactly Someone People Listen To And Respect (except Uther because Uther is horrible), but in a weird way because she’s a servant but like all her friends realize a hundred percent that she is to be Listened To And Respected. I liked that.
            3. Gawain is a redneck. I thought it was great.
            4. Lancelot is not…made villainous, precisely. But I thought the way they used him to get that part of the story in (him and Guinevere) was stupid. Especially after the foreshadowing in, like, season 1!!! Ugh!!! But it’s hard to say that LANCELOT was the villain.
            Basically, yeah, maybe it’s worth a shot? If you don’t mind some pretty big plot holes (really, Nimuet, your plan hinged on Uther being THAT ridiculous??) and Uther being used as a plot device and therefore usually horrible and undergoing ZERO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
            Also the first season was nicely self-contained and, you could maybe just watch that? I really liked the first season. It was fun. And it had a lot of great foreshadowing, which later paid off in ways that were generally less great, but at least they were fun while they were still just foreshadowing.
            I don’t know! This was so long! Maybe give it a try! Maybe don’t! I am useless!)

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved reading this post SO much!! I actually don’t know much about Arthur and that whole bit. I think I’ve seen two movies about it (which I did like) but you have made me want to start doing in depth research about them all!!
    I love how passionate you are!! I would definitely agree about not wanting Arthur to be a ‘golden boy hero’ but have complexities too!!
    Lancelot sounds amazing too!! And so does Gawian!!
    I really loved this post!! Thank you for sharing!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! I personally find Arthurian legends very interesting, and I’d say they’re well worth looking into. And that honestly means a lot to me that you’d want to look into them because of me 💙
      I love complex heroes so much! They’re amazing.
      Lancelot and Gawain really are amazing! I like them both.
      Thank you so much! You’re welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Umm…this post is amazing! I tend to agree with most of your thoughts too.
    Merlin is extremely morally grey and I think it would be fine if he was portrayer that way…but he usually isn’t. My favourite portrayal of him is in Stephen Lawhead’s book Merlin though. I really like him in that.
    Gawain is awesome too. And I love Percival in the versions that don’t make him out to be an imbecile. Galahad has a great concept but it usually isn’t done well in my opinion, but I’d love to do a retelling for him some day.
    Your point about Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake is awesome! I actually wrote a whole story about that. The story didn’t turn out great, but I was proud of that aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!
      I like morally grey Merlin best too. I wish people wrote him like that more often. 😕
      I LOVE GAWAIN. I’m the same as you about Percival. I think he has a lot of potential as a character who is a bit socially awkward and who has trouble fitting in, but I don’t like it when people write him as being stupid. I’ve read stories on Archive of Our Own where people do AMAZING things with Galahad, but sometimes people can just…portray him as That Angry Catholic or That Stuck-up Catholic and it’s just…😕 He can be such a fascinating character if you let him! Don’t be mean to him, writers!
      That sounds like such a cool story idea! It’s too bad it didn’t work out. Will you ever go back to it?

      Liked by 1 person

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