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Sophie-David  Sophie-David is offline
Join Date: 11 Dec 2004
Location: Ucluelet, BC, Canada
Posts: 2,813

Well that is interesting WalesWoman, British headhunters! Would this have been in the Dark Ages rather than the Medieval? This puts a different angle on Gawain's fears as you suggest. It also crosses my mind that Arthur's court would be pretty annoyed that Gawain put himself in this position since it would be like giving the enemy a spy. But I don't think that this concern is brought out in the medieval stories, which suggests to me that the headhunter tradition is from earlier times.

The link I included yesterday was to the The Greene Knight which is a simplified and more prosaic version of the earlier and deeper Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Anna-Marie appears to have followed the earlier story quite closely, which includes the details of the Green Knight's golden cloak with butterflies and the holly bough which he held in his hand.

The earlier story also brings out the detail that Gawain voluteered to encounter the Green Knight to preserve Arthur's honour, and so that Arthur himself would not have to take up the challenge. In the earlier poem, the Green Knight's and his wife have plotted together to test Gawain and the story builds up over three days to end with the three kisses and the garter. In the later story his wife's passion for Gawain appears to be real, but the story is drastically condensed so that the seduction only occurs on one day without a buildup. The earlier story is definitely to be preferred.
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