Chrétien de Troyes was a French poet in the late 12th century, most well known for his Arthurian romances. He introduced the affair between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot and the Fisher King into the Arthur mythos, and greatly influenced later writers. His epic poems about Knights of the Table Round were seminal works of the Chivalric Romance genre, and emulated countless times by later poets.
His final work, Perceval, the Story of the Grail, was never finished due to Author Existence Failure, although several other poets attempted to finish it. It is the first telling of King Arthur and the Holy Grail.
The Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes are:
- Erec and Enide
- Yvain, the Knight of the Lion
- Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart
- Perceval, the Story of the Grail
Tropes in Chrétien's romances:
- Fisher King: The Trope Namer.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In his time, criticism of the ruling court was... unwise. de Troyes gets around this by combining two tropes. First, it was certainly common opinion that the Good Old Ways were better, so even the aristocracy of the day would agree that Arthur and his advisers were nobler, more courtly, more enlightened. After driving that uncontroversial point home, de Troyes then mentions how the court of Arthur was not that interesting most of the time, filled with petty bickering, people waiting for things to happen, and Arthur himself falling asleep at the table out of boredom. It was his way of saying "these guys certainly had their problems, and you're nowhere near as good as they were."
- Love Triangle: Between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot.
- Serious Business: Carts are the devil, who knew? Lancelot gets shamed by basically the entire universe for riding in a cart (except Guinevere, who shames him for waiting to get in the cart).
- Your Cheating Heart: Guinevere's extramarital love affair with Lancelot.