Here we go! A quick look at how the different types of love defined Camelot.
There’s an overview of how each type of love effects the legends and then a brief blurb about some of the characters that seem to display it the most.
Storge: Familial love and natural affection
Storge held Camelot together for years, but over time, it became less of the glue between houses/factions and more the vice choking the life from Arthur’s Kingdom
Storge is mainly exemplified by Gawain, he loved his family more than he loved himself. Arthur and Kay are another good example. They are VERY different people but still loved each other dearly.
Philia: Love for Friends
Philia is betrayed and destroyed over and over again in Camelot. It is strong when the kingdom is young, but as Logres ages, Philia becomes fragile.
Most of the round table fell under this category. The relationship between the knights fell under Philia when they weren’t violently opposed to each other. Some examples are: Gawain and Lancelot, Arthur and Lancelot, Tristan and Dinadan, etc.
Eros: Erotic, romantic love
Eros is dangerous in Arthuriana . It destroys Arthur and razes everything he held dear. The strongest players in the Arthurian mythos are ultimately brought low by improperly handled Eros.
Tristan and Isolde, Guinevere and Lancelot, the most turbulent and exciting romances Arthurian Legend has to offer are undeniably the products of Eros. The love Merlin had for Nimue also falls under this category
Agape: Unconditional love
Agape is lacking in the Arthurian mythos. Most events that would be assigned to Agape were driven as much by Storge or Eros as unconditional love.
Percival loved everyone, he was the original good boy. Galahad tried hard to embody Agape as well, but there was always something bitter at the core of his characterization that always makes him fall short of true Agape.
Ludus: Playful, flirtatious love
Ludus drains out of the legends as the story draws closer to the destruction of Camelot, its loss darkens the atmosphere and lends an air of seriousness to the stories
Ludus is hard to pin down without leaning heavily on specific incarnations of the knights. Gareth could be portrayed as almost flirtatious, but not quite. Bedivere is another candidate, but his characterization is hard to pin down. The relationship Gawain experienced with Lady and Lord Bertilak can possibly be placed under this category, but it’s up for debate.
Pragma: Long standing love, as with a married couple
The sense of loss we feel from Arthur at the end of the legend, is the loss of Pragma.
Gawain and Ragnelle’s story never gave off Eros fireworks like the other romances of Arthuriana. They were calmer and softer with their affections, which while boring, makes for a sweet romance.
Arthur and Guinevere also gave off more of a Pragma feel, which could have been why Guinevere wound up in a relationship with Lancelot. She might have been looking for excitement that her old romance with Arthur couldn’t give her.
Philautia: Love of self
Philautia had the capacity to save or raze Logres. In the end Philautia was as much a player in Camelot’s ultimate fall as Eros
Morgana, Merlin, Mordred, Mark, (a lot of ‘M’s) are strong contenders for Philautia in the Arthurian mythos. Philautia comes out to play mostly in morally grey/antagonistic characters, but key players such as Lancelot, Guinevere, and Arthur also demonstrate it. Philautia is a double-edged sword, loving yourself can be a good thing just as easily as it can be a bad thing.