"The last of three brothers who swore an oath to find the Grail and to guard it."―Grail Knight[src]
The Grail Knight or Guardian of the Holy Grail was the brother of Sir Richard and another knight who all served in the First Crusade. They discovered the Holy Grail and pledged to protect it. Considered the wisest and bravest of the three, the knight took responsibility as guardian of the Cup of Christ for hundreds of years.
In the late eleventh century, he and his two brothers (Richard and a third sibling) became Knights of the First Crusade. During their journeys in the Holy Land, they discovered the Holy Grail and protected it at the Temple of the Sun in the Canyon of the Crescent Moon for 150 years, using the Grail's power to extend their natural lifespans. Chosen to remain as the Grail's sole guardian because he was the bravest and most worthy, his two brothers traveled back to Europe, leaving behind two markers leading to the Grail's location. The Knight lived in a side chamber off of the inner sanctuary of the Temple of the Sun, and had a book to read by firelight.
Though drinking from the Grail had extended his life beyond normal mortals, the centuries that passed had sapped his strength. When Indiana Jones entered the inner sanctuary in 1938, the Grail Knight attempted to fight him, but quickly toppled over from the weight of his own sword.
Gracious in defeat and sensing Jones as some sort of curiously dressed knight, the Grail's guardian tried to pass on his sword and role of protector to Jones but was interrupted by the arrival of Walter Donovan and Elsa Schneider. Donovan demanded that the Knight reveal which was the true Holy Grail, but the Knight refused to do so, warning that they must choose on their own as a final test. Donovan allowed Schneider to choose for him, and she selected for him a false one.
After Donovan drank from it and rapidly aged and disintegrated into dust, the Knight remarked that Donovan had chosen poorly. Jones subsequently found the correct one, and after drinking from it without ill effect, the Knight informed Jones that he had indeed chosen wisely. However, he then warned Jones and Schneider that the price of the Grail's miraculous effects was that it could not be taken beyond the Great Seal on the floor of the Temple's front chamber.
The Knight was last seen by the Joneses waving goodbye and awaiting the collapse of the Temple of the Sun, after Schneider crossed the Great Seal with the Grail and fell to her doom into the chasm below along with the Grail. As they left the Temple, the Knight smiled, acknowledging that now beyond anyone's reach, the Holy Grail was once again safe.
Personality and traits
The Grail Knight was chosen to remain as the Holy Grail's guardian as he was deemed the bravest and most worthy of the three brothers that had found the relic. However, during the centuries, the knight physically aged a year every time his spirit wavered. He is kind and respectful to Indy, who he thinks is a knight come to take his place, and perhaps able to sense Indy's honorable intentions. He is civil to Elsa and Donovan, but acts uneasy in their presence as he seems to sense their less-than-honorable intentions.
Behind the scenes
The Grail Knight was portrayed by the late Robert Eddison in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. While unnamed in the final film, the Grail Knight introduces himself to Indiana Jones in Jeffrey Boam's revised first draft of Indy III: "I am Lord de Bauvis[sic], seigneur of St. Gobain and Folembray. Castellan de Cambri, Viscount of Savoy... known far and wide as William the Lion, Duke of Brittany."
Before Eddison was cast in the role of the Grail Knight, the late actor Sir Laurence Olivier was considered for the part, but he was too ill at that time so he declined the offer. Olivier passed away in 1989, the same year in which Last Crusade was released in theaters.
During the early development of the film's script, Jones bests the Grail Knight who is on horseback and the crusader reveals the Holy Grail to be hidden within an earthenware jug that Jones drank from to test the water. The knight rides out of the temple after Jones and his father leave but his mount and he are turned to stone then sand before being blown away by the explosion that seals the temple. In the second revision, the Grail Knight becomes a skeleton when they leave.
It would be very unlikely for an eleventh century figure to be able to communicate in 20th-century English, as depicted in the film, even if the French knight knew the English language of his day. The First Crusade lasted from 1096-1099, which in linguistic history marks the very end of the Old English period and the beginning of Middle English, either of which would be quite unintelligible to a speaker from the 20th century. In fact, even the French of that time period (the knight's presumed native tongue) would sound strange to a modern speaker of French.
Although not officially confirmed, the Grail Knight may be a nod to Sir Percival, one of the Knights of the Round Table who quested for the Grail and served King Arthur.
The Grail Knight makes a brief appearance in one of the teaser trailers for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as some footage of the Grail chamber scene from Last Crusade was included.
In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, the Grail Knight battles Indy in the Grail chamber, unlike the film when his strength has left him. In the video game's sequel, the Grail Knight, while still a playable character, is absent during the Grail chamber scenes.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (First appearance)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade novel
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade comic
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade junior novel (1989)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade junior novel (2008)
- Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead (Mentioned only)
- Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)
- From Star Wars To Indiana Jones - The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives
- The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
- ↑ The Grail Knight was a knight of the First Crusade (1095-1099).
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- ↑ Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Read-Along Adventure
- ↑ Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade junior novel (1989)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
- ↑ 25 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' at Movie Fone