Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Re-Read Review of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Read for: Re-Read Challenge
Synopsis: "‘Be prepared to perform what you promised, Gawain;
Seek faithfully till you find me …’

A New Year’s feast at King Arthur’s court is interrupted by the appearance of a gigantic Green Knight, resplendent on horseback. He challenges any one of Arthur’s men to behead him, provided that if he survives he can return the blow a year later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and decapitates the knight – but the mysterious warrior cheats death and vanishes, bearing his head with him. The following winter Gawain sets out to find the Knight in the wild Northern lands and to keep his side of the bargain. One of the great masterpieces of Middle English poetry, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight magically combines elements of fairy tale and heroic sagas with the pageantry, chivalry and courtly love of medieval Romance. Brian Stone’s evocative translation is accompanied by an introduction that examines the Romance genre, and the poem’s epic and pagan sources. This edition also includes essays discussing the central characters and themes, theories about authorship and Arthurian legends, and suggestions for further reading and notes."

My Review: As with just about any book you read, especially classics and books that have been translated from old English, each time you read it you interpret it differently. I believe last time I read this was in college and I read it as more of a fantastic adventure, having been completely wrapped up in Arthurian legend at the time. This time however I found it to have a huge Christianity push, as a story to bring it to the people by slyly drawing in some of their own legends and stories. I also found it to be a firm warning against the evil and wiles of women, which in the time period was probably an accurate belief, but now as I read it I was more offended. As I said each time you read something like this you take away something new and read into it as it applies to your life at the time, that is part of the beauty of it.
My Rating: Previously I had rated this book very highly, but upon this reading I read into the meaning of things a little more than I did before and I wasn't too keen on what I was interpreting from it this time.  It is still a fantastic story that really does have a place in literature and should be read. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

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