Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Lady of Malahaut


She ruled a town called Le Puis de Malohaut, apparently in the territory of Malahaut. Since Vulgate II assigns this country to the King of the Hundred Knights, the Lady may have been his vice-regent (or sister). Her cousin was the niece of le Sires des Mares, the mother of Hector (Ector de Maris).

She was a good governor, loved by the people, a widow and considered a great beauty in her day. (She is once given a proper name: Bloie.) She was married to a knight named Danain the Red, but she fell in love with Guiron the Courteous. Only Guiron’s purity dissuaded them from having an affair. In one episode, she was kidnapped by a knight named Gorgari, but was rescued by her brother.

She was the mother of Dodinel and an unnamed son who was killed by Lancelot. She imprisoned Lancelot (either for killing her son or the son of her seneschal), but released him on his parole so that he could attend an assembly or tournament. Probably she did not really expect him to return, but he came back without fanfare and quietly went to sleep in his cell.

When the Lady found his weapons and armor battered, his horse wounded, himself wounded and asleep in his cell, she fell in love with him. Later, however, witnessing a lovers’ meeting between Lancelot and the Queen, the Lady of Malohaut set aside her own feelings and offered herself as Guenevere’s confidante. Lancelot could confide in Duke Galeholt of Sorelois, and the Lady told Guenevere,

I believe that four can keep a secret better than three.

Guenevere then tried a little matchmaking between the Lady of Malohaut and Duke Galeholt. She went about it in direct style, counseling each of them frankly to love one another, and succeeded in bringing them together so well that after Galeholt’s death, the Lady of Malohaut died for love of him.

Vulgate VII mentions a “Senayns li chastelains du Puj de Malohaut.” I would guess that Senayns was the widowed lady’s dead husband; the name might be transferred to the lady herself.

DidotPerceval | c. 1220-1230
Lancelot do Lac | 1215-1220
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Third Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Manessier, c. 1230
Palamedes | c. 1240
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
La Tavola Ritonda | 1325–1350