Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Gogenar, Goiomar, Goionar, Goionard, Guiomair, Guionmar, Guionmarz, Guiormar, Guyamor, Guyomar

Cousin of Guinevere and brother of Sadoine in the Vulgate Merlin. He fought alongside Leodegan (Leodegrance) and Arthur against the Saxons. He fell in love with Morgan le Fay, one of her earliest lovers. Morgan fell in love with him when she was lady-in-waiting to Guenevere.

Guinevere discovered their affair and ended it, banishing Guiomar from court, sparking the famous hatred between Morgan and the Queen. Some have sought to suggest that this was the reason behind Morgan Le Fay’s enmite towards Arthur, though the idea has not been widely accepted.

In an obvious quest for power over those who have hurt her, she seeks out Merlin, who also loves her, to teach her many enchantments. Morgan left to learn witchcraft from Merlin and she later gave birth to Guiomar’s son, who became a noble knight.

In a later work, the Livre d’Artus, she uses this newly-learned skill to found her val sanz retour, to keep Guiomar in her power and – with the valley’s capacity for preventing, through a magic curtain of air, the escape of any knight who enters it – to foil Guenevere and Arthur by entrapping Round Table adventurers. This character elaboration, incidentally coinciding with the growth of women-hatred in the latter Middle Ages, turns Morgan from a nurturing ruler of a sea-girt paradise into a destructive sorceress who entraps men sexually rather than healing them.

The origin of his name and character are probably found in Guinguemar (Guingomar) of Chrétien’s Erec. His name derived possibly from a Germanic name meaning ‘famous in battle’.

Guiomar can be found in Vulgate VII, the story in Vulgate IV.

Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Le Livre d’Artus | Early 13th century
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470