Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Little Knight

Petit Chevalier

The Little Knight, as depicted in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, emerges as a fascinating and complex character within the Arthurian legend. While initially described as dwarfish, his role extends far beyond mere physical attributes, delving into themes of revenge, love, and magical prowess.

In the tale, Gareth, one of King Arthur’s valiant knights, confronts and ultimately slays the Little Knight. Gareth’s motivation for this act of violence stems not only from the death of another knight named Brangemuer but also from his own previous humilitation at the hands of the Little Knight. This sets the stage for a compelling narrative of retribution and honor, showcasing the depth of Gareth’s character and his commitment to justice.

However, the story doesn’t end there. In the Second Continuation, a new dimension is added to the narrative with the introduction of the Little Knight’s sister, Tanrée. Remarkably, she becomes Gawain’s lover, introducing themes of romance and interconnected fate into the tale. This unexpected twist not only adds complexity to the characters but also deepens the bonds between them, highlighting the intricate web of relationships within Arthurian legend.

Moreover, the Little Knight’s involvement in a tournament in the White Land unveils his possession of a magical shield, shrouded in mystery and enchantment. This shield, with its mystical properties, can only be successfully carried by a knight who is truly loved by his lady. Here, the narrative takes on a fantastical quality, introducing elements of magic and chivalric symbolism that are hallmarks of Arthurian literature.

Overall, the story of the Little Knight is a rich tapestry of adventure, emotion, and magic, weaving together themes of revenge, love, and the supernatural. Through his exploits and interactions with other characters, the Little Knight leaves an indelible mark on the Arthurian legend, embodying the complexity and depth of this timeless literary tradition.

First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Attributed to Wauchier of Denain, c. 1200
Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Attributed to Wauchier of Denain, c. 1200