Peredur fab Ragnal

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Peredur fab Ragnal in 1996
The Player King and Queen in 971

Peredur fab Ragnal is the leader of the Illuminati, who achieved the Holy Grail and became the Fisher King. [1][2][3]


He married Lady Blanchefleur, and ruled over Castle Carbonek by her side. Peredur is apparently an illegitimate son of Gawain, one of King Arthur Pendragon's leading knights, by Lady Ragnal. [4]

In the early 7th century A.D., Peredur founded the Illuminati Society, for some as yet unknown purpose, though probably connected to Arthur's anticipated return (which he expected to take place at the end of the 22nd century). [5][6]

In 971, under the alias of the Player King, Peredur, accompanied by Blanchefleur and Shahrizad, visited Wyvern Hill to witness the building of Castle Wyvern, and bantered with the suspicious Brother Valdez. Later, when Wyvern the dragon was distracted by his attack on Wyvern Hill, he and Fleur used the opportunity to sneak into the dragon's lair. There they found the sword Excalibur where it had been kept since being stolen. With the sword safe in hand, Peredur called Castle Carbonek and was spirited away to safety. ("The Pledge")

In November, 1996, Peredur issued orders to David Xanatos, through Quincy Hemings, to seize the Stone of Destiny en route to Scotland. ("Bash") While the stone that he received may not have been the original, the Spirit of Destiny spoke to Peredur stating that it cannot be possessed. It also informed Peredur that King Arthur had awakened. Not expecting Arthur to awaken for another two centuries, and fearing their plans had been disrupted, Peredur convened a meeting of the upper echelon members.

Blanchefleur and Duval are the two people he loves most in this world. ("Rock of Ages")


Real World Background

"Peredur" is the Welsh counterpart of Sir Percival, one of King Arthur's knights in the medieval romances, and the initial Grail hero. He is the protagonist of the Welsh prose romance Peredur Son of Evrawg.

Peredur seems to have begun as a Dark Age British warrior-hero; there was a prince in northern Britain during the late 6th century A.D. who bore that name and may have been the original of this figure. ("Evrawg", the name of the Arthurian Peredur's father, is thought to be derived from "Eboracum", the Roman name for York.) It is as yet unknown when he became identified with the Percival of Arthurian romance, though Peredur Son of Evrawg is thought to have been composed during the thirteenth century.

Sir Percival himself first appeared in the 12th century French verse romance, Perceval, or the Story of the Grail, by Chretien de Troyes, which also introduced the Grail into Arthurian literature. Chretien left the story unfinished, and many writers after him tried to complete it for him, in a series of works known as "Continuations". In the early 13th century, Robert de Boron composed a trilogy about Percival and the Grail, though the third book, which would have dealt with Percival himself, is lost. The "Prose Lancelot" or Vulgate Cycle introduced Sir Galahad into the Grail story and made him the chief Grail hero, though preserving Percival as a sort of runner-up, one of the three knights who achieved the Grail, alongside Galahad and Bors de Ganis. Malory used this version in his Le Morte d'Arthur, though in more recent years, many writers on the Grail have turned back to the older, Percival version of the story.

The story of Percival differs in its details from one storyteller to the next, but generally agree on the skeleton of the tale. Percival's mother raised him in secret in a remote forest in Britain (usually located in Wales), keeping him ignorant of knights and knighthood (in most versions of the story, his father and older brothers had been slain in battle or tournaments, and she wished to spare him from the same fate). But one day, when he was in his mid-teens, Percival saw a few of King Arthur's knights riding through the forest. Mistaking them for angels, he greeted them and learned of their true nature. After asking them about their arms and armor, and the work of a knight, he ran away from home to go to King Arthur's court and become a knight himself.

Percival came to King Arthur's court just as a knight in red armor stole a cup from the king's table and rode off with it, challenging any of Arthur's knights to meet him in single combat and battle him over the cup. Percival took up the challenge, and slew the Red Knight by hurling a javelin straight through the visor of his helmet and into his eye. He then, after removing the Red Knight's armor with some difficulty (being unfamiliar with armor, he was about to resort to the desperate measure of burning the knight out of it before one of Arthur's knights courteously showed him how to take the armor off the Red Knight) and donning it, set off for a life of adventure, during which he met his lady-love, Blanchefleur, for the first time. He also came to the Grail Castle (the counterpart to Carbonek, though the name is not found in Chretien, and first appears in the Vulgate Cycle), where his old uncle the Fisher King ruled. The Fisher King was crippled with a terrible spear-wound in the leg, which could only be healed by somebody asking him a specific question (what this question is varies from tale to tale; some versions make it "Whom does the Grail serve?", while others make it "What pains you so?"); when Percival ate dinner with him and his court, he wished to ask the question, but remained silent because he had been advised not to go around plaguing people with numerous questions. He only learned after he had left the Grail Castle that he had done the wrong thing by remaining silent, and that if he had asked the question, the Fisher King would have been healed, and would have recognized Percival as his nephew and heir.

Percival returned to Arthur's court, where he became a knight of the Round Table; however, not long afterwards, a hideous woman appeared and berated him before the entire court for not asking the question. Percival left Arthur's court at once in desperation to find the Grail Castle again and ask the question. He rode about looking for it for five years, in the process becoming increasingly forgetful of God and not even attending services at church, until he met some knights and ladies on Good Friday, who rebuked him for riding armed on such a day. Chastened, Percival sought out a nearby hermit, who gave him spiritual instruction, and told him also that he had failed in part to ask the question on his visit to the Grail Castle because he had abandoned his mother, who had consequently died of a broken heart. (It is here that Chretien's account broke off.) In the Continuations, Percival usually returns to the castle, asks the question, and succeeds his uncle to the guardianship of the Grail, but in the Vulgate Cycle and Malory, he becomes a hermit near the city of Sarras (somewhere in the Middle East) after Galahad's death and the taking of the Grail up to Heaven, dying himself a year later. The Welsh romance "Peredur" takes a remarkably different turn; it omits the Grail, and instead gives Peredur the duty of avenging a murdered kinsman upon a band of warrior witches from Gloucester, whom he slays with the help of Arthur and his knights.

Roger Lancelyn Green, one of Greg Weisman's chief sources on the Arthurian legend, made some modifications to the story of Percival in his account of King Arthur and his knights. One was a hint that Percival was the son of Sir Gawain by Lady Ragnell, the Loathly Damsel whom he wed. Green was inspired by the similarity of Percival's story to the motif of the "Fair Unknown", a young man who grows up in obscurity but emerges from his remote dwelling-place to become a great knight; in most versions of this story, the "Fair Unknown" is Gawain's son. It is presumably from here that Weisman drew Peredur's patronymic of "fab Ragnal", Welsh for "son of Ragnal" ("Ragnal" is evidently a variant of "Ragnell", and it would be appropriate for Peredur to be linked to the mother who raised him). Green also depicted Blanchefleur as not merely a lady love of Percival's, as in Chretien, but as linked to the mysteries of the Holy Grail; at the end of the Grail Quest, they marry (Sir Galahad himself officiates at their wedding) and rule over Carbonek together (Green states that their kingdom survived the fall of Camelot "and made still a little light in the darkness" of post-Arthurian Britain), a concept which Greg Weisman followed in his interpretation of Blanchefleur as residing in Carbonek and, like Peredur, a high-ranking member of the Illuminati.

Greg's choice of "Peredur" rather than "Percival" for this character may be part of the present custom among modern-day Arthurian writers to use the old Welsh names for the familiar figures of the Arthurian cycle, to link it more closely to its Dark Age roots (such as "Cai" for Kay, "Bedwyr" for Bedivere, "Medraut" for Mordred, etc.), though this is the first time that this practice has appeared in Gargoyles.

See Also