Neil Thomas does away with two prejudices about Diu Crone: firstly, that it falls into two discrete parts, an 'abduction of Guinevere' story (down to line 13,901) and a story of how Gawein, after a series of adventures closely based on the Gawan books of Wolfram's Parzival, achieves the Grail (thereafter to the end); secondly, that this second part is a more or less arbitrary attempt to make Gawein, the deuteragonist of Wolfram's poem, into the hero of a romance devoted solely to him--which implies that Diu Crone is simply a second-rate calque on Wolfram.
First of all, by putting Diu Crone into the context of a number of Grail stories, and not just Wolfram's Parzival, he is able to show that making Gawein into the hero of a Grail romance is no great innovation.
This rehabilitation procedure is applied also to King Arthur, who in Diu Crone, so far from being that unchanging model of perfection in chivalric standards that we normally perceive him as being, is, when the poem opens, the 'injured party'in a love triangle and the butt of Guinevere's scorn, only gradually to be rehabilitated by the reflected glory of Gawein's success.
Thomas does not gloss over the difficulties of taking Diu Crone seriously, and admits that 'Modern readers [...] may [...] need to exert some determined suspension of disbelief to appreciate the romance in the same way as a medieval public'(p.
It is even possible that Diu Crone, in which a considerable preoccupation with the Wheel of Fortune motif is evident and where Heinrich's Gawein in a sense 'regains' for his King the favour of Fortuna that Arthur had tragically lost in the course of the Old French prose cycle, may have been designed in some sense as a riposte to the tragic Mort Artu topos.
412-20), the early stages of Diu Crone contain few suggestions that his Court had invariably found favour with that deity.
For Priure's messenger in Diu Crone does not simply adhere to the common romance convention, according to which a testing emissary comes to try the valour or spiritual standard of pre-eminently one individual knight of the entourage.
In Diu Crone Guinevere's reproach is in fact made all the stronger by the note of sexual reproach conveyed through her invidious comparison of her husband, warming himself by the fireside, with a knight 'known to her' who rides through the woods night and day singing her praises with only the most minimal clothing to fend off the winter cold:
In fact, her words cohere with the logic of the archaic, semi-mythological version of the abduction motif Heinrich favours in Diu Crone. Unlike, for instance, the triangular scenario of the Prose Lancelot that 'emits no ring of ancientness', (19) since it presents the Queen's lover as being one of her husband's own knights, Guinevere's lover in Diu Crone bears a greater resemblance to the supernatural prince of more ancient lore in which Guinevere is 'a fairy queen ravished from her supernatural husband by Arthur of this world, and therefore subject to raids which the other world would regard as rescues, but which to the Arthurian world [...] appear as abductions' (Webster, p.
At any rate, the Guinevere of Diu Crone gives the rather shifty impression of one strenuously repressing memories of a former life in her attempt to maintain her position within the Arthurian order.
(24) The depiction of Gawein in the early stages of Diu Crone, then, is anything but 'typgerecht', for in his portrayal of the 'early' Gawein Heinrich appears innocent of any notion of Gawein's 'pre-formed character': (25) that is, of the normative force of the tradition of the sage, patriarchal Gawein.