Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Second Impression)


It has now been just over a year since I first read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Though much has changed in that time, not the least bit the number and focus of projects, as well as my own specific niche in medievalism, some things have remained unchanged; one such thing is my appreciation for this story.

Gawain's story remains rich and detailed. After all, this was what led me to initially begin work on Enchanted Assemblages. As my first readers will know, originally, Assemblages was to be an adaptation of Sir Gawain, not this original story-line encompassing several texts. So, what, if anything, has been revealed to me in these subsequent readings? Have I gleamed anything worthwhile?

I'm not going to claim anything profound. Meaning, I'm not exactly on pins and needles with a breakthrough concerning the text's alleged mathematical structure. But I have perceived the malleable nature of the narrative.

During my time with Gawain, what I noticed about the text was how well it lent itself to adaptation. As I brainstormed projects of possibility, ways to engage the text, my findings were that whether I had planned to Adapt Gawain into a screenplay for a teen drama or into an interactive Click Adventure, the story still worked. Well, I might add.

I could go into the numerous figures in literary theory who have postulated on mythos, semiotics, and narrative building blocks, but I won't because I don't want to bore you. But, the reality I found during my pontification of the text was that it simply worked in a wide variety of genres; the Green Knight could easily be translated into any number of adversarial figures while Gawain the typical hero or lone wolf; Gawain's sojourn in the castle? Well, that easily lends itself to a comedy, complete, even, with Queer hilarity on linguistic misunderstanding. I could go on but I don't want this post to be overly detailed (perhaps later I will share a more detailed explanation). The point is, Gawain's narratological building blocks easily morph into any number of contemporary events, scenarios, and archetypes. And because of this, it takes my breath away.

That's pretty much it. I haven't thoroughly studied Gawain so I can't really say much more. I've read the footnotes, re-read the plot, and found the flexibility of the narrative itself, but haven't yet launched into an academic reading of the text where I engage with scholarship. I will save that for another day.

In the meantime, though, Gawain continues to excite me and someday, I will perhaps pay homage to this text; creative project, paper, dissertation? Who knows.