he stories about the Fair Unknown contain reworkings of themes familiar from the
Grail romances, continuing the cycle into a new generation. In the 15th century poem The Weddynge of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnall, the poet notes that Ragnelle bore Gawain a son called Gyngolyn. Although the name of the youth is unknown
when he first arrives at Arthur's court, he is eventually revealed as the son of Gawain.
n several of the Fair Unknown stories the motif of the kiss returns: in the verse
romance Le Bel Inconnu by Renaut de Beaujeu, the hero has to undergo a trial in which he is kissed by a serpent. When he succeeds,
the serpent turns into a beautiful woman. Another version of this episode appears in the stanzaic romance Lybeaus Desconus, attributed to Thomas Chestre,
written in the late 14th century, and there is another of these serpent women in the Italian tale I Cantari di Carduino from about the same date.
he Fair Unknown either does not know his own name or he conceals it. In Lybeaus
Desconus the young hero has been, like Perceval/ Parzival, sheltered by his mother from all
knowledge of knighthood. Like those heroes, Lybeaus appears at first to be an unlikely candidate for knighthood but he soon proves his worth.