Warning: this post will be very long. Because this is my favorite chapter of the book.
"Then he knelt down and raised Gauvain’s hand gently to his lips."
So earlier I said, when Cimourdain offered to sacrifice himself to prevent the battle, that he wanted to be the Christ figure but that in a…
I’ve been thinking about the Judas thing, which I didn’t even see there until you pointed it out, because the circumstances of the two kisses are so different. In the Bible, the kiss is the thing by which Judas betrays Jesus, by identifying him to the soldiers; but Cimourdain’s kiss is a genuine sign of affection and given in private, when Gauvain is already in prison and condemned.
Insofar as he interrogates Gauvain and has the chance to pardon him, but doesn’t, his role is closer to that of Pontius Pilate - but not really that, either, since he doesn’t wash his hands of the responsiblity, and Pilate wasn’t Jesus’ friend.
But he isn’t really Judas, either, because he doesn’t sell Gauvain out to his enemies, but condemns him to death because he honestly believes it is the right thing to do. I’m not even sure I would call it a betrayal, since they both knew from the start that if Gauvain did that, Cimourdain would have to do this. (And he also wasn’t Gauvain’s disciple, but rather the other way around, at least until this very moment.) (In a way, Gauvain even plays the role of Judas himself, by giving himself up and positively insisting on his execution.)
Not that there needs to be an exact parallel for someone to be a Judas figure - but I think, if there is any deeper parallel between Cimourdain and Judas, it lies in that very point robertawickham made: that they work together by betraying each other. Because Jesus needed to die in order to defeat death, and he knew this. And Judas, whether he knew it or not, was thus fulfilling a necessary role in a greater plan - the difference is that Cimourdain gets the chance to understand it (I’m not sure to what extent he really does, certainly not fully). As for their eating and drinking together being reminiscent of the last supper, it is certainly significant that this also, like the kiss, happens after Gauvain’s arrest and condemnation, and not before like in the biblical story.
Not that any of this keeps him from killing himself.