Welcome to the Beastiary
"Many Monsters to Destroy"
Knights slaying dragons. Giants abducting maidens.
Perhaps these are the images which first flash through
your mind when
the word "Arthurian" is spoken.
Yet the monsters, beasts, witches, and warlocks who people our imaginations actually appear only briefly
and occassionally in Arthurian legend. There are but a few giants and even fewer dragons to challenge
the questing knights of the Round Table. Why, then, have these monsters, who play only a minor role in
the Arthurian "plot," captured such a large part of the popular imagination? One reason might be that
these creatures often embody the fears and anxieties of both the knightly characters who pursue them and
the authors of their tales. In seeking to understand Arthur and his knights, the characteristics of the
enemies they fight may be more revealing than any straightforward description of Lancelot's prowess or
Galahad's virtue. Arthurian legends are very good at representing the times in which they were written,
and the villains that each age chooses to hate are often indicative of fears specific to that time. The
following pages examine a select number of such Arthurian antagonists, and include some speculation upon
their function and meaning.
More specifically Dragons
to The Quest.