Friday, March 3, 2017

Titular Tots: Gawain and the Green Knight (Enchanted Assemblages)

I'm sure that Gawain was a champ when he was little. This, in fact, was probably the bear that he had.

It may surprise you to know that for an Arthurian tale, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, doesn’t actually have King Arthur as a major player; yeah, he is there in the opening section, and some at the end, but for the bulk of the book we get used to Sir Gawain as our protagonist.

                But this is all right since, at the end of the day, Arthur’s knights are, more or less, the same idea, just differently bundled. Gawain, in the context of the poem, is the archetypical brave and fearless knights, one of Arthur’s fearless souls. All well and good. But, an unexpected problem emerges, namely, that Gawain is a dude, a dude with a penis.

                Stay with me here: because Gawain is presumed cisgender (Male) and heterosexual, and Christian, he is, well, not exactly the everyman which the player is supposed to inhabit. If the purpose of this adaptation is for the player to assume Gawain as their own persona, then the idea of Gawain already having a pre-formed identity is problematic.

                Or it would be for people other than myself.

                But, no, I throw the conservative idea of Gawain under the bus. In order for the player to fully inhabit Gawain and make it their own, I have altered Gawain to the following: (1) because Gawain is a knight-interpreter—someone chosen from the ranks of commoner to be trained as a servant of the people—‘he’ is already removed from his Christianized aura; no longer questing on behalf of lordly faith, the knight-interpreter is to serve the people. Such projects the ability for the religious and non-religious alike to impose their beliefs on ‘him’: Gawain is a pseudo-secular lump of clay to be molded according to the player’s whims; (2) Gawain is gender-fluid: at times he feels like a gal with a penis, at other times he feels like a dude with a vagina. Who he is at any time is up to the player and their own identity. The text, after all, only presumes him to be cisgender by virtue of it being a medieval text, but this can become problematized if we really want to dig; (3) Gawain is Omni-sexual: whether you bang dudes, girls, motor-vehicles, your palm, or nothing at all, Gawain shares your (lack of?) sexual appetite. They is you. Embrace it.

                These points cover the finer aspects of how I am building the construct behind the adaptation, its justification. The three above points are the most relevant but the same ideas apply to the smaller aspects of Gawain as well, such as his political orientation and so forth.

                The Green Knight, meanwhile, of course is not a playable character; after all, he is an antagonist… of sorts. The role of Mr. Fungi is to act as a sort of rival to the player; he is not so much an enemy as he is an enigma to be understood, or in the very least acknowledged. In a certain sense, the Green Knight is the central foci of the hermeneutic body, but he is a bit erratic due to his relative newness, his lack of interpretive sedimentation, in other words.

                The role of Greeny is to tromp around adaptation land of Not-Europe and interpret those Nodes which need interpretation; because, you know, bad things happen if the forces of literalism get a foothold. But because (Not-) Captain Planet is so new, his interpretations are often poorly formed and prone to literalism seeping inside; thus, the player’s journey to those Nodes which he has already visited.

                Beyond this, I don’t have much at the present moment. Modern scholars are still mystified at the idea of the Green Knight since there is no precedent for such a character in literally any other medieval text, so I feel that for this adaptation it is fine and true to the spirit of the source text that the Green Knight be kept a big in the shadows. Hey, no bite from my bark!

Franks and Goths (Notes:49)

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