Thursday, March 31, 2011


THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a slightly updated retelling of the classic British fable of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Among the Knights of the Round Table, there is only one who is undefeated: Sir Gawain. His reputation has earned him the title of “the Undefeated.” However, like many of the King Arthur’s Knights, Sir Gawain isn’t the most polite person and after saving a young woman from a nasty dragon, he unintentionally disrespects her. Sir Gawain’s other fault is that he is rash to make an oath. This gets him into trouble when at a Christmas feast a Green Knight arrives and challenges to Sir Gawain to a contest of blows. He instructs Gawain to chop off his head. Gawain doesn’t know what to think, but the knight insists and Gawain has already made a promise to do it. So, Gawain does. The knight’s head rolls off, then his body picks it up and carries it under his arm. The knight then tells Gawain he will meet him a year from now at a specific place, the Green Chapel, to return the blow Gawain has given him. The Green Knight then rides away. Time ticks on and as the date that Gawain must meet his fate draws near, Arthur and his knights set on a quest to find a way to prevent Gawain from literally losing his head.

Morris telling of the story brings together just the right balance between humor and drama. The story is accompanied by illustration by Aaron Renier which parallel that balance. The story diverges from the original poem of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, but not in an offsetting way; instead of drastically altering the text, Morris just embellishes things here and there (such as with the dragon and the lady prologue).

I enjoyed reading THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE. After reading the book, I have since learned that Gerald Morris has written other books about Arthur and his knights. I enjoyed this book so much that I look forward to finding those other tales by Morris and reading them for myself.

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