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Sir Balan

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Title: Sir Balan  
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Subject: Rience, Idylls of the King, Balan, List of fratricides, List of Arthurian characters
Collection: Arthurian Characters, Fictional Knights
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Sir Balan

Sir Balan le Savage, brother of Sir Balin from Northumberland, is a minor character mentioned in various Arthurian legends. His story is retold, along with his brother's, in The Ballad of Balin and Balan, Book II in Malory's Le Morté d' Arthur and by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in Idylls of the King.

After Balin fought with Sir Lanceor of Ireland and killed him (in turn causing Lanceor's lover Colombe to take her own life, which makes him destined to make the Dolorous Stroke), he went on to find his brother Balan, who was also in disfavour of King Arthur. Merlin foretold of a curse that was laid on the brothers by a damsel after Balin drew a magical sword from the damsel's gilt and failed to return it, thereby laying a fatal curse "on him and the man he loves most".

Balan, joined by his brother, decide to attack King Rience in order to regain their lost honour for King Arthur. The Brothers succeeded in ambushing Rience en route to sleep with the Lady de Vance and brought the king before Arthur. Rience's capture resulted in the forming of an alliance of twelve rebel kings, including King Rience's brother, King Nero. The kings, most notably Nero and Lot, were captured or killed by Arthur with the help of Balin and Balan.

After the battle, Balan comes across a cursed knight, guarding an island castle, who challenges all knights who approach. Balan slays the cursed knight at the gate, whereby falling under the same curse that holds him to protect the castle from any passersby. Sir Balyn eventually comes across the castle, and is told that he must joust with the guarding knight in order to continue his passage. Neither brother, however, recognises that his opponent is his brother: Balan being in disguising red armour with an unrecognisable shield; Balyn having been persuaded just before the battle to swap his own shield. The brothers end up fighting to the death, with Balan dying a few hours prior to Balin's own end.

The brothers were buried together on the island by Merlin, who also left the infamous sword on the island later to be found by Galahad.

In T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone, Balin and Balan are the names of two hawks that the Wart meets in the mews; Balan is helpful and kindly, while Balin is more eager to see the Wart have a hard time.

External links

  • The Ballad of Balin and BalanSummary of
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