‘Dodinel the Wild’
Daudiniaus, Dedinet, Didoine, Didones, Dinodes, Dodinal, Dodinas le Savage, Dodinaus, Dodineals, Dodineaulx, Dodineis, Dodinel, Dodines, Dodiniaus, Dodiniax, Dodoines, Dodynas, Dodynax, Dodynel, Dodynell, Dodyniaux, Dondanix, Dondijel, Dondinax, Dondinel, Dondinello, Dondonello, Oddinello
A Knight of the Round Table, first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes, and given the epithet “the Savage,” “the Wild,” “the Wildman,” or “the Fierce,” due to a love of hunting wild game in wild forests, or because, in some stories, he lives in the wilds (in Ulrich’s Lanzelet, he has a home near the perilous Shrieking Marsh).
The Vulgate Merlin and Lancelot gives him a full biography: He was the son of King Belinant of South Wales and Belinant’s niece (another version gives King Brandegorre and his niece, but was raised by Eglante, yet another version names Lady of Malehaut as his mother). Dodinas was one of those who seem to be much in evidence, but upon whose personality there is hard to get little, if any, grip. Originally he might be identical with Percivale.
Chrétien de Troyes gives him, as Dodinel the Wild, the place of ninth best on the list of Arthur’s knights that begins in line 1691 of Erec and Enide; but Harris remarks, in his introduction to Yvain, that Chrétien
included among the ten ... some who were of no importance whatever,
being more interested in catchy names.
Chrétien also included Dodinel (though without the soubriquet ‘Wild’) with Sagramore, Kay, Gawaine, Ywaine, and eventually Guenevere as they sit listening to Sir Calogrenant at the beginning of Yvain. Dodinas is again listed among Arthur’s knights in Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight.
He participated in the wars against the Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign, joining the young warriors Gawaine and Yvain. He was knighted by Arthur for his service, and became one of the Queen’s Knights before he was eventually promoted to the Round Table. His adventures consist primarily of various imprisonments: in Dolorous Guard, the Castle Langree, the Forbidden Hill (Le Tertre Deuee), and in Meleagant’s (Meleagaunce) castle. He was rescued from most of these by Lancelot.
The Prose Tristan and Malory give him an impotent role as a knight defeated by Morholt and Tristan (for making fun of him). In French romance, Dodinel perishes during the battle against Mordred’s army at Salisbury Plain.
In the Chantari di Lancellotto, Dodinel joins Mordred and Kay in accusing Lancelot and Guinevere of treason. In Il Cantari di Carduino, he dies at the hands of Gawaine’s brother, Aguerisse (Gareth or Gaheris), and his death is avenged by his son, Carduino.
He may have been prominent in certain pre-Malory romances, and the prominence echoed wanly through into Malory, but the major adventures did not. Dodinas may well have been a friend of Sagramore’s for they ride together three times in the books of Tristram; on the third occasion, Gawaine and Ywaine are also with them. Dodinas may have been one of the Queen’s immediate circle, for he was in her party when they went a-Maying and Meliagrant ambushed them.
Dodinas is sometimes depicted with his own shield. The design of his shield can vary, but it often incorporates symbols or imagery reflecting his savage and untamed persona.
Erec | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210
Didot-Perceval | c. 1220-1230
Lancelot do Lac | 1215-1220
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240
Post-Vulgate Mort Artu | 1230-1240
Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
I Cantari di Carduino | c. 1370
Li Chantari di Lancelotto | Late 14th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470