(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)
I hope everyone enjoyed the “detour” we took in the Inklings series, looking at some of Tolkien’s translation work. After finishing this one, I realized I don’t have much to say about Tolkien’s translation as I’ve only read one other translation and that was in high school, so I couldn’t tell you the differences for all the Mexican food in the world. But I did enjoy the story when all was said and done. (Also, for time’s sake, I’m only focusing on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight)
I thought these were some interesting quick facts about the story:
- The copy that The British Museum has was written around 1400
- It’s believed to be the same author, but nothing is known about him.
I thought this was insightful from the introduction: “In terms of literature, undoubtedly this break in the mathematical perfection of an ideal creature, inhuman in flawlessness, is a great improvement. The credibility of Gawain is enormously enhanced by it. He becomes a real man, and we can thus really admire his actual virtue.”
Once I got into the story telling style (since I don’t read a ton of alliterative poems), I enjoyed it. Before it all came out (I had completely forgotten the ending) though, I was getting really upset that Gawain kept letting Lady Creeper come into his room. How could he not smell that trap? I was also cool without the description of what they did with the deer or the boar. Gross and nasty internet.
But then it all made sense after it turns out Morgan isn’t a fan of Arthur. I need to brush up on my Arthurian legends, because I don’t know much about Morgan le Faye and her desire to take down Arthur and Camelot. What a great sister.
Not only did I appreciate the way in which Gawain came to his senses (“Though a fool I now am made.”), but I liked Arthur’s reaction below (as seen in the quotes)
“Lo! Lord,” he said at last, and the lace handled,
“This is the band! For this a rebuke I bear in my neck!
This is the grief and disgrace I have got for myself
From the covetousness and cowardice that o’ercame me there!
“every Knight of Brotherhood, a baldric should have,
A band of bright green obliquely about him,
And this for love of that knight as a livery should wear.”
I did have one piece I couldn’t figure out: Why did the name spelling exchange between Gawain and Wawain?
That’s what I got for this month! What did y’all think? Have you read this story before?