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King Arthur's Court- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Updated on February 2, 2013

King Arthur's Court- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

King Arthur is the great King of Celtic myth who inhabited the mythical city of Camelot. The story of the green knight is set in his court. The King and his court were celebrating New Years Eve when they were joined by a green Knight riding on an ox. The Green knight challenged any knight present to cut off his head but with the challenge that if they did so, the he would be given the opportunity to behead them in the next years eve.

The Green Knight is beheaded

Sir Gawain arose from the company of Knights and cut off the strangers head with one clean blow, but was left open mouthed as the Knight's body rose, grasped for his head and rode off on his ox. Just as he was leaving the rook, the Knight's head addressed Sir Gawain and told him to meet him at the Green Chapel on the next New Years Eve.

Sir Gawain seeks the Green Chapel

In the autumn of that year Sir Gawain left Camelot to find the Green Chapel. On Christmas Eve he chanced upon the castle of Sir Bertilak, who asked him to stay for Christmas. There then started a very strange arrangement. Each day Sir Bertilak went hunting and each day his wife entertained Sir Gawain. The men would meet in the evening to exchange what they had each gained during the day. Each day Sir Bertilak went hunting and each day his wife entertained Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain had taken only a few kisses from his wife but he exchange these for the spoils of the hunt. On the third day Sir Gawain took a green belt or girdle from the wife but he dud nit tell Sir Bertilak that he had taken it.

The Green Chapel

After Christmas a guide showed Sir Gawain the way to the Green Chapel. Despite his guides warnings of dire consequences Sir Gawain pressed on to meet the Green Knight. At the chapel Sir Gawain knelt in front of the Green Knight who had the axe in his hand. The Green Knight dealt three blows at Sir Gawains neck, the first two missed and the third just grazed him. Sir Gawain was very confused but then the Green Knight explained that he was really his Christmas host, Sir Bertilak who had been transformed by the sorceress Morgana so that he could see how brave King Arthur's knight's were.

Sir Bertilak said that the two blows where he failed to make contact at all were made in respect of the two nights where he had faithfully reported all his gains. The third blow when he had drawn blood was issued as a mild reproof for not telling him of the gain of his wife's girdle.


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