Gareth is the youngest brother of Sir Gawain and the son of Lot and Morgause of Orkney.
He is a major character in Malory's Morte d'Arthur, where the "Tale of Sir Gareth" was apparently a new story by Malory, which portrays Gareth as a shining example of chivalry who is knighted by and devoted to Sir Lancelot and who acts chivalrously towards Lynette despite her abuse of him. Gareth spurns even his own brothers when they act less than chivalrously.
Lancelot kills Gareth when he rescues Guinevere from the stake. When Gareths elder brother Gawain hears of this, he turns against Lancelot, and gets Arthur to pursue Lancelot in order to punish him. It is, of course, when they are in Europe pursuing Lancelot, that Mordred attemps to takeover the Arthurian kingdom. Which in turn leads to the final battle, and Arthurs death.
In Tennyson's Idyll of Gareth and Lynette, Gareth proves himself better than he seems to the sharp-tongued Lynette and the sceptical Sir Kay. Sir Gareth defeats a series of knightly opponents and rescues Lyonors.
Gareth also figures in modern works like T. H. White's The Once and Future King and E. M. R. Ditmas's Gareth of Orkney.
Full references to more about Sir Gareth at the Rochester site
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