8.17.2014

THE BEHEADING GAME (STORY: GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT).


I promised, on the eve of sleep, that I would tell him the story of Gawain and the Green Knight tomorrow. Okay...technically, I said I would tell him the story of the Black Knight (with either Arthurian Perceval or Welsh Yvain), but I think Gawain is a much more compelling tale. It has an appropriately happy ending and some good life lessons, aside, of course, from that whole idea of entering into wagers that involve letting a mysterious knight attempt to sever your head with his giant sword.

Any good younger-ish Arthurian tale books? I know the stories fairly well, but haven't found a good - a really GOOD - collection of tales yet. So I just...filter them through my own mischievous narratives in a manner that is, ideally, not going to cause too much trauma. And, in the case of Gawain, I will wait until he is a little older to initiate a discussion about the multilayered symbolism throughout, its fascinating dichotomous comparisons of nature and chivalry, and the various interpretations as seen through several different lenses, not least interesting of which would be perspectives dealing with feminism and homosociality.

I think at this point, it has more to do with the fact that there's knights and big swords.

IN A NUTSHELL.

1. A giant (green knight) shows up at King Arthur's court on New Year's Day and challenges everyone to a friendly game: a single knight may strike him...but he will return to do the same to that knight in one year's time at the Green Chapel.

2. Sir Gawain accepts. He neatly beheads him. The Green Knight picks up his head, gets on his horse, and departs.

3. A lot happens in between. A few day's before the next New Year's, Gawain sets off to keep his end of the bargain. Along the way, he hangs out with a really nice couple in their castle and deals with some ethical quandaries.

4. He finally meets up with the Green Knight on New Year's Day and...

5. You really have to just read the story, with all the details. It's a great one. And it's a happy ending, depending on your perspective.




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