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  • Writer's pictureGlyn

How Gwenhafyr Became Queen

Updated: Nov 19, 2022

In my researches I came across giant-related legends that couldn’t be integrated into the main story of Gog-Magog. One was the tale of how Guinevere met King Arthur, and how she came to marry him. (Actually it’s Gwenhafyr, because she was Welsh).


I not only found the story charming, but I also saw that it began to explain her later mistreatment of Arthur. Malory’s telling doesn’t give her any justification, so Guinevere is shown as one of history’s great faithless bitches when she runs off with Lancelot, and steals the sword Excalibur.

The alternative story shows her in a more tragic light. Which is why I wrote it as a self contained piece, and made it available as a perk on the Indiegogo campaign for the novel (www.indiegogo.com/projects/gog-magog).


It's in the same world as the old giant-related stories, because Gwenhafyr is daughter of a giant. The trope of knights or kings winning a giant’s daughter and usually killing the father is not uncommon in Arthurian myth – it’s obviously a badge of bravery and heroism, not to mention robbery and possession. The tale of Culhwch and Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbadaden, is probably the most famous, as it is told in The Mabinogion.


I discovered Arthur’s venture along the same heroic path, to Gwenhafyr and her father Oagren/Ogren, in a short passage in Joy Chant’s book The High Kings. It’s a book in which she retells many Arthurian and related stories, but she doesn’t give the provenance.


If anyone knows, I’d love to hear from you!


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