He is one of two giant siblings, with her sister Argante. Together, they represent the worst of love and sex, demonstrating when such things can go horribly wrong.
When we meet them in book 3, they are pursuing a knight with plans to use him to satisfy their insatiable lusts.
Furthermore, their bestial natures are meant to suggest even more obscene sexual practices. Additionally, Ollyphant’s name (which simply means elephant) may have a phallic connotation.
In short, they represent every behavior and desire that is far outside that of courtly love, where the code of chivalry and knighthood recommend strict practices regarding such things.
See our complete list of Arthurian characters for more entries like this one.
- Norris Lacy, Geoffrey Ashe, Debra Mancoff – The Arthurian Handbook (Second Edition)
- Alan Lupack – The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend
- Ronan Coghlan – The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends
- Anonymous – Lancelot-Grail, the French Vulgate
- Sir Thomas Malory – Le Morte d’Arthur