Tristan de Bois, also known as "The Black Knight" was the older brother of Ygraine and Agravaine de Bois, the brother-in-law of Uther Pendragon, and one of Arthur's maternal uncles. A former friend of Uther, he turned against him after the death of Ygraine. Many years after his death, he became the deceased uncle-in-law of Guinevere, the wife of his nephew, Arthur.
Presumed the eldest child of his parents, Tristan was closest to his younger siblings, Ygraine and Agravaine. When his beloved younger sister Ygraine died during childbirth, Tristan blamed Uther for her death and challenged him to a duel. Uther won the duel but before he died, Tristan swore in his dying breaths that he would rise from the dead and avenge Ygraine.
Twenty-one years after his death, at Arthur's coming of age ceremony, Tristan is reanimated as a Wraith by the sorceress Nimueh. He crashes his horse through the window during the ceremony and challenges the knights to a fight to the death. Sir Owain takes up the challenge and strikes a would-be fatal blow, but ultimately dies, Sir Pellinore takes up the next challenge and also dies, though he too strikes a fatal blow. Arthur challenges Tristan to a duel himself, and he accepts. Gaius and Geoffrey of Monmouth are later able to identify Tristan by the crest on his shield. It is an image of a white Phoenix. He is the only knight known to have carried such a crest.
Merlin observes that both times the Knights fatally wounded Tristan, he survived. With the help of the Great Dragon, Kilgharrah, he creates a sword that can kill the dead. Although it is intended as a sword for Arthur's use only, it is Uther who fights Tristan with Excalibur. As a result the Wraith dies, and Tristan de Bois returns to the world of the dead, his revenge unfulfilled (Excalibur).
Tristan showed to be an exceptionally skilled warrior, with incredible swordsmanship and a formidably aggressive fighting style. When he returned from the dead as a wraith, not only had his fighting skills remained unchanged, but he was the perfect opponent for agile or fast individuals, as he was momentous, powerful, and extremely strong. Additionally, as a wraith, because he was already dead, Tristan could not be killed, as any man-made weapon or even mortal magic cannot kill a wraith.
- Series 1
- Excalibur (Appears as a ghost or spirit)
- Series 5
- The Diamond of the Day: Part One (Appears in crystals) (cameo)
- Tristan was never mentioned by his brother, Agravaine like their sister Ygraine was so it is unknown what their relationship was like. Given Agravaine's hatred at Uther for the loss of both of his siblngs, it is likely that he is close to him, though not as close as to Ygraine.
- According to Gaius and Geoffrey, Tristan was the only person to have used such a crest (the white phoenix) as it is never seen to have been used by Agravaine. It is still implied that the white phoenix crest was the also the crest of the House of de Bois.
- Like Cornelius Sigan, it is unknown to what Tristan's actually characteristics were due to the fact that at time of his resurrection, he was a wraith.
- His surname, De Bois, means "of wood" in French.
- Tristan is the first of two characters of the same name to appear in the show. The second was the smuggler Tristan and the lover of Isolde.
- Given that Tristan blames Uther on Ygraine's death rather than accepting it due to birth complications, it is likely that he and Agravaine are aware that their sister conceives through the use of magic on Uther's requests.
- In the Italian version of the show, his name was translated as Tristano.
- While his resurrected form is referred to as a wraith it bears a striking resemblance to a revenant.
|Series 1 Enemies|
|The Dragon's Call: Mary Collins † • Lady Helen (indirect) † |
Valiant: Valiant † • Devlin • Serpent Shield
The Mark of Nimueh: Nimueh † • Afanc †
The Poisoned Chalice: Nimueh † • Balorian Spiders • Cockatrice
A Remedy to Cure All Ills: Edwin Muirden † • Elanthia Beetles
The Gates of Avalon: Sophia † • Aulfric † • Sidhe elder
The Beginning of the End: Uther Pendragon †
Excalibur: Nimueh † • Tristan de Bois †
The Moment of Truth: Kanen
The Labyrinth of Gedref: Arthur Pendragon (indirect) †
To Kill the King: Tauren • Morgana † • Uther Pendragon †
Le Morte d'Arthur: Nimueh † • Questing Beast • Kilgharrah