Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Blancheflor of Beaurepaire

‘White Flower’
Blanchefleur, Blancheflour, Blankeflur, Blankiflúr, Blanzifiore

The lady of Beaurepaire in Chrétien’s Perceval.

She was Gornemant of Gohort’s niece and Percivale’s love. When Percivale, newly knighted, leaves Gornemant and comes to Beaurepaire, he finds the town and castle in terrible plight – impoverished, spent, and starving. Nevertheless, they offer him what hospitality they can. Blancheflor, her eyes either smiling or sparkling with laughter, depending on the translation, greets the newcomer with an offer of all she has on hand: a freshly shot deer, along with a gift of five loaves or rolls and some boiled or reheated wine from another uncle of hers, a prior. (D.D.R. Owen explains in a note that inferior wine was improved by reheating it.)

That night, having given her guest a fine bed, she comes in and weeps beside it until he wakes and tenderly asks what troubles her. She reveals that Clamadeu of the Isles is bent on having her and has his seneschal Engygeron (Anguingueron) besieging her. He has killed most of her original 310 knights, captured 48, and left her with only 50 to defend her starving stronghold. Tomorrow the castle must be surrendered, but she has the knife ready to kill herself before letting Clamadeu have her person.

That's all, she finishes. Now I'll let you go back to sleep.

(Sounds pretty calculated.) He naturally comforts her, taking her into bed with him for the rest of the night to do so – whether or not they remain innocent seems largely to depend upon the reader’s own interpretation – and afterward defeats first Engygeron and then Clamadeu for her, sending them to Arthur.

The timely if chance arrival of a ship laden with food also helps Beaurepaire. Blancheflor would have married him and made him lord of Beaurepaire, but Perceval declined. Anxious about his mother, Percivale leaves Blancheflor, promising to return. One may guess that he would have, had Chrétien completed his story; at any rate, Blancheflor is apparently the sweetheart memory of whose complexion later sends him into a long and rapt contemplation of three drops of blood in the snow.

In the third continuation of Chrétien, Perceval returns to defend Blancheflor from another attacker, Caridés of Escavalon, and in the fourth continuation, he finally marries her. Perceval also weds Blancheflor in the Norse Parcevals Saga, and in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, where her name is changed to Condwiramurs (Kondviramur). In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, sha later fails in a chastity test at Arthur’s court. She is known as Lufamour in the Middle-English Sir Perceval of Galles.

Perceval, or Le Conte del Graal | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Attributed to Gauchier of Donaing, c. 1200
Third Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Manessier, c. 1230
Fourth Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Gerbert de Montreuil, c. 1230
Diu Crône | Heinrich von dem Türlin, c. 1230
Sir Perceval of Galles | Early 14th century