Ever since Gauvain was presented as the embodiment of ideal knighthood in Chrétien de Troyes’s first Arthurian romances, this character underwent an impressive development in Old French literature. In this development, the flaws in Gauvain’s character, which are already present in Chrétien’s texts, play an important part. Arthur’s nephew, after all, is not just the preeminently heroic and courtly knight, but to an equal extent a paragon of fickleness and frivolity. For example, he rarely succeeds in completing a task without being distracted; in addition, his irresistible appearance serves him well when it comes to keeping up his reputation as ideal lover. Understandably, these qualities offer ample occasion to the Old French poets to ironize Gauvain’s conduct. The authors of certain prose romances, such as La Queste del Saint Graal and the Tristan en prose, do not restrict themselves to irony: in these texts, Gauvain has been downgraded to a depraved sinner and a villain.1