Some of you may be wondering who exactly the Green Knight is or why I’ve named my site the “Lair of the Green Knight”… This is really two different topics, and I’ll try to cover them a bit here. (If you want to skip to the story of the lair, see the end of this page.)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a 14th-centry poem describing an adventure had by Sir Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights of the Round Table.
Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a strange man who is completely green – hair, skin, clothes, everything. This “Green Knight” offers that anyone can strike him with his axe if he can, in return, come back and return a strike upon his challenger in a year and a day at the Green Chapel. Of course, Gawain accepts and beheads the knight in one blow. But his green foe simply stood up, picked up his head, and reminded Gawain to meet him at the appointed time.
Gawain has adventures arise in getting back to his appointment at the agreed upon time and place, but eventually does so.
I’ll quote the Wikipedia synopsis here:
The story begins in Camelot on New Year’s Day as King Arthur’s court is feasting and exchanging gifts. A large Green Knight armed with an axe enters the hall and proposes a game. He asks for someone in the court to strike him once with his axe, on condition that the Green Knight will return the blow one year and one day later. Sir Gawain, the youngest of Arthur’s knights and nephew to the king, accepts the challenge. He severs the giant’s head in one stroke, expecting him to die. The Green Knight, however, picks up his own head, reminds Gawain to meet him at the Green Chapel in a year and a day (New Year’s Day the next year) and rides away.
As the date approaches Sir Gawain sets off to find the Green Chapel and complete his bargain with the Green Knight. His long journey leads him to a beautiful castle where he meets Bertilak de Hautdesert, the lord of the castle, and his beautiful wife; both are pleased to have such a renowned guest. Gawain tells them of his New Year’s appointment at the Green Chapel and says that he must continue his search as he only has a few days remaining. Bertilak laughs and explains that the Green Chapel is less than two miles away and proposes that Gawain stay at the castle.
Before going hunting the next day, Bertilak proposes a bargain to Gawain: he will give Gawain whatever he catches, on condition that Gawain give him whatever he might gain during the day. Gawain accepts. After Bertilak leaves, the lady of the castle, Lady Bertilak, visits Gawain’s bedroom to seduce him. Despite her best efforts, however, he yields nothing but a single kiss. When Bertilak returns and gives Gawain the deer he has killed, his guest responds by returning the lady’s kiss to Bertilak, without divulging its source. The next day, the lady comes again, Gawain dodges her advances, and there is a similar exchange of a hunted boar for two kisses. She comes once more on the third morning, and Gawain accepts from her a green silk girdle, which the lady promises will keep him from all physical harm. They exchange three kisses. That evening, Bertilak returns with a fox, which he exchanges with Gawain for the three kisses. Gawain keeps the girdle, however.
The next day, Gawain leaves for the Green Chapel with the girdle. He finds the Green Knight at the chapel sharpening an axe, and, as arranged, bends over to receive his blow. The Green Knight swings to behead Gawain, but holds back twice, only striking softly on the third swing, causing a small scar on his neck. The Green Knight then reveals himself to be the lord of the castle, Bertilak de Hautdesert, and explains that the entire game was arranged by Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s enemy. Gawain is at first ashamed and upset, but the two men part on cordial terms and Gawain returns to Camelot, wearing the girdle in shame as a token of his failure to keep his promise with Bertilak. Arthur decrees that all his knights should henceforth wear a green sash in recognition of Gawain’s adventure.
Because Sir Gawain keeps his word, Lord Bertilak does not take his head as bid by Morgan Le Fay, and once gain a Knight of the Round proves that chivalry does exist. The green sash worn by all knights of the round after that just signifies once again their dedication to the ideals of chivalry and honoring their word.
(Of course, the downfall of all of Arthur’s work lies with Lancelot and Guinevere, but that’s another story.)
The Story of the Lair
The story of the Lair of the Green Knight has no such noble purpose, but does shine the light on some of my past. In college in the late 1980s, I joined a BBS known as “Camelot” and had to choose my persona. After much hemming and hawing, I came to be known as the “Green Knight”, loosely based on the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
However, the “Green Knight” in my case also signified my innocence at the time. I was, like most guys in college, green around the gills when it came to many of life’s lessons. And still, though I consider myself wiser now, I consider myself “green” in some respects. We all have more to learn, up until our dying day – and possibly beyond, but that’s a discussion for another time.
And when I was searching for a name for my blog, I decided that this would be my “Lair” on the internet. A place where I could store my thoughts, my ideas, my reviews, and share them with any who would be brave enough to enter… 🙂
So there you have it… The Green Knight and the Lair thereof…
Thanks for your time!