Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | book review


Title: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Author: Unknown
Rating: 3 stars

Opening Line:

Since Troy’s assault and siege, I trow, were over-past…

Have you ever heard the saying, “it sounds too good to be true”? Well, apparently Sir Gawain had not. So there’s this jolly green giant who barges into the room and makes Gawain a deal: Gawain gets one swing at the Green Knight neck with an ax, and exactly one year later, the Green Knight gets to do the same to Gawain. The guy is volunteering to get his head chopped off first — you really don’t think he has something up his sleeve?

How I picture the Green Knight

So a year later, Gawain is due to meet with the Green Knight once again. During his travels, he comes across a castle and stays a few nights. The lord of the castle has to go on a three-day hunting trip and makes Gawain a deal: whatever the lord obtains during the hunt will be given to Gawain, and whatever Gawain obtains during his stay at the castle is given to the lord. Again, doesn’t this sound a little too good to be true? Yet again, Gawain accepts. During the lord’s absence, his wife tries her best to seduce Gawain, but to no avail. The most Gawain allows are kisses, which he gives to the lord after each day of hunting; in return, Gawain receives various meats.

Finally, it is time for Gawain to meet with the Green Knight. He has resisted the lord’s wife’s advances and receives a girdle from her that she claims to be magic. Apparently, if he wears it, nothing can harm him. He breaks his deal with the lord by keeping the girdle in secrecy. All he has in mind is keeping his life rather than being beheaded by the Green Knight.

I did not expect the ending at all, but I actually kind of liked it. Although it was not exactly a fun text to read, it was decent (and better than Beowulf). And of course it is full of amazingly awesome and alluring alliteration!!! Yeah, just kidding. It’s exceedingly excessive and I almost have to read it out loud to fully understand it. I love alliteration, I truly do, but this was one of the few examples of over-using it.

English Major credibility bar

Now that I’ve read this, my status as English major has increased!!! I’m getting there!!

Favorite Quote(s): “What should man do but dare?”

“The two then talk of love: its grief; also its grace.”

5 thoughts on “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | book review

    1. I’m glad I enjoyed it more as well. And yes, actually Chaucer is our next assigned reading and I’ll be starting it this weekend. I hope I like it as much as you do


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