S: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight- Continued! Katherine Lund
BC: Written By: Katherine Mary-Grace Lund Division 8-2
FC: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ~Continued~ by Katherine Lund 8-2
1: The entire hall was dead silent; all in it were frozen with shock. The faces of Queen Guinevere and her ladies were full of horror at the ghastly head. One lady had even fainted, and she toppled over on to the Queen. Finally, the knights recovered themselves and soon the banquet hall was in an uproar. Lady Eleanor, who was rather smitten with the young Gawain, cried, "Oh, do not let him kill you, o knight! You need not keep your word to that unholy monster!" The nineteen-year-old lady burst into tears. "I am sorry, fair Eleanor, but to do so would be a blow to my honor from which I could never recover!" Sir Gawain replied firmly. "Aye, my lady, he is right. He cannot break his code of honor," confirmed Sir William, an experienced, grizzled knight. "Is there no other way?!" cried the normally poised Queen, in distress. "Could Gawain not seek the scoundrel out and finish him?" cried another knight. Throughout all this King Arthur sat silent, a grave and concentrated look on his face. "My good ladies, my noble knights, my dear Queen! Hear me, I say!" Arthur called out, his voice carrying above the din. The noise almost immediately fell to nothing. "Nothing can be decided right now," the King announced. "I shall seek counsel from the good wizard Merlin," he continued. Murmurs of approval rippled through the room. Arthur held up his hand for silence. "I also request my noble knights to have a meeting tomorrow afternoon at the Round Table. We must do something!" King Arthur concluded fiercely and firmly. Applause broke out among the listeners, and the feast was over. Later that night, the King crept through the castle and sought out the old wizard, Merlin. On and on through the night the two men debated and discussed, argued and agreed, and they conversed and concluded.
2: Finally, the King and his Wizard hatched a plan. "Will it really work? What if it doesn't? He's naught but a boy!" Arthur worried in despair. "Your Majesty, what else can we do? And, sire, you picked him as one of your high knights; you must let him prove himself to you," Merlin replied gravely. King Arthur sighed. "As ever, you are right, my trusted advisor," he said wearily. The next day, the King, Merlin, and the knights were gathered around the Round Table. Queen Guinevere was also present, for she had convinced her husband the King that she had much to offer. Nearly right away, Sir Lancelot, a brave and honest knight, jumped up to speak. "Sire, let me go forth and slay this evil! Death need not come so soon to Sir Gawain!" Lancelot exclaimed. Before sitting down, he gave a nod to the Queen Guinevere, who blushed faintly. "Nay, let me, sire!" a different knight called. Soon the room was filled with courageous and foolhardy offers. Gawain alone of the knights was silent. "Quiet!" King Arthur boomed. Dead silence fell immediately. "Quiet," he repeated in a normal tone. "In our discussion last night, Merlin and I decided what should be done. The question is, will we be able to pull it off?" Arthur mused. "If I may speak, sire," began Sir Gawain after a pause. King Arthur nodded his assent. "I wish for no one else to perish at the hands of this terrible monster; no one else is bound by their honor. Let me do my part so the rest of you may live on in peace," Gawain finished with determination set in his face. "Noble Gawain," the King smiled. "If our plan succeeds, no one needs to die." Relief, then confusion flooded not just Gawain's, but
3: most of the faces in the hall. The only ones not bemused were Arthur, Merlin and Guinevere. "Let me explain, sire," Merlin offered. "Please do," Arthur replied gratefully. As Merlin explained their plan, astonishment and hope lit everyone's faces. "By Jove, it's genius!" Sir Stephen, a boisterous and hearty man, cried. Merlin and Arthur smiled. "Thank you, Sir Stephen, but we cannot decide that until we have actually tried it," Arthur answered wisely.
4: The next day, couriers were sent from court to a certain noble, carrying a message containing the plan. Since the Lord Frederick, the mentioned noble, lived one month away, on the other side of England, it would be two months until an answer arrived. This gave Gawain ample time to prepare for his journey with the Queen. Two months later, an answer came and Guinevere and Gawain were prepared to leave. In this first stage of the plan, Gawain and Guinevere were to travel to Lord Frederick's castle, and make it appear that the Queen was simply going on a springtime trip, for it was now close to spring, with her escort, Sir Gawain. | They were trying not to arouse suspicion, so as to not attract any unwanted attention. It was yet to be discovered whether the latter stages of the plan would indeed work. It was a cool, sunny March morning when the Queen and the knight departed Camelot. An anxious King had Gawain swear to protect his beloved Queen, and Guinevere gave her word not to purposely put herself in danger. The two rode on for miles, through wind and rain, sun and cloud. At night they rested in villages and manor houses, and every so often they slept in castles.
5: Queen Guinevere and Sir Gawain were welcomed warmly by the lord of the castle. Since it was late evening, they went straight to their prepared guest bedchambers to rest for the eventful day to come. Gawain paced his lavish bedroom anxiously. He strode back and forth on the richly embroidered carpets and the cold stone floor. Not even the hot chamomile tea he ordered from a serving maid could calm him down. Finally, worn out with stress, he fell asleep on the grand oaken bed. | Finally, Guinevere and Sir Gawain reached their destination: Lord Frederick's castle. It was nearly Easter when they arrived; they came the day after Good Friday. There was to be a grand feast the following day, and that was when the last part of the plan was to be revealed. For who enjoys barging in on feasts?
6: The following day was tense for poor Sir Gawain; he paced endlessly, polished his sword, and muttered stressfully to himself. The calm-seeming Guinevere tried to soothe him, but on the inside, she, too, was a nervous wreck. The air was so thick with stress you could have cut it with a knife. | Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, evening arrived. As Gawain and Guinevere were about to enter the hall as guests of honor, Guinevere leaned over to the knight and whispered, "Go forth, o Sir Gawain, and do what you have come to do. There is no turning back; we have come so far. Remember, you are more mighty and brave than any unnatural enemy. This I say to you, brave Gawain: good luck!" And with that, the lovely Queen turned and strode elegantly into the hall, her auburn braid swaying slightly behind her, and her silken ballgown rustling softly. Determination rose inside of Gawain. He adjusted his splendid blue tunic and marched in a dignified manner into the banquet hall. All chatter in the hall died when the Queen and Gawain entered. The noblemen admired Guinevere's beauty, and all the ladies sighed dreamily for Sir Gawain.
7: Lord Frederick, a portly middle aged man, called for silence. "Welcome, Your Majesty, to our Easter Feast. And welcome, young knight, welcome! Please, take a seat, Your Majesty," he boomed. His go0d-natured face crinkled into a smile. Then, stroking his light brown beard streaked with gray, he announced: "Well then, let the feast begin!
9: No sooner had he spoken those words than came a thundering BOOM! from the door, flabbergasting the entire hall. Gawain and Guinevere, though not very surprised to see him, were shocked beyond belief that this man's head had somehow grown back! "Yes, he came, after all," Gawain mused grimly to himself. For it was, indeed, the Green Knight come knocking. A moment later, the great wooden doors burst open, and a brilliantly green, monstrous giant of a man stomped in. "Hail, Lord Frederick! I have come to challenge one of these," he smirked, "knights!" Unable to keep silent any longer, Gawain jumped to his feet, his chair thrust backwards loudly. "Hail, Green Knight! I, Gawain, have come to finish you!" Gawain shouted. "Oh ho! What have we here? One of Arthur's boys in armor?" the Green Knight exclaimed. He chortled arrogantly. "Come back a little early, have we now? My, my, how impatient you are to end your life," he snorted, his face full of conceit. Gawain snarled, and Guinevere's face was contorted with anger. "And you've brought the Queen herself! What a pretty little trophy she'll make," the Green Knight finished with a narcissistic grin. Shrieks and bellows filled the hall. "SILENCE!" Lord Frederick boomed. Dead silence fell. "Let us have a duel!" he suggested solemnly. And so there was a battle, a great fight between the two knights. It was like a tug-of-war, with neither side ever attaining higher ground. On and on they fought, green blood spouting from all of the Green Knight's wounds. Finally, at long last, Gawain had the Green Knight cornered. "GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM, MONSTER!" Gawain roared. With a great, dramatic swing of Gawain's sword, the Green Knight's head was parted from his shoulders.
10: The crowd went wild. The Green Knight was defeated! "GA-WAIN! GA-WAIN!" they chanted. Queen Guinevere came swiftly to Gawain. "That was marvelous, o grand knight! I knew you could do it," she smiled with proud tears in her eyes. "Let's get you to the doctor, and then we shall return home!" The wounded, weary Gawain was only too happy to oblige.
11: One month later, the Queen and Gawain returned to Camelot. As their procession arrived, Guinevere and Gawain looked out the windows of their carriage and saw a teary, joyous King Arthur. "My dear Guinevere! And oh, my noble knight, the great Gawain!" Arthur cried when the carriage finally came to a halt and the Queen and the knight stepped out. Guinevere fell into Arthur's arms, all thoughts of ladylike behavior forgotten. Gawain simply stood with tears in his eyes, smiling all the while. A moment later he was surrounded by a gaggle of young ladies, the most enthusiastic of whom being, of course, the Lady Eleanor. In the midst of all the colorful skirts and elaborate hairstyles, Gawain only had eyes for Eleanor. Later that evening, a great celebration was called for. Mysteriously, both Sir Gawain and young Lady Eleanor were | found to be missing towards the end of the ball. Upon learning this, the King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere exchanged a knowing look. Guinevere smiled to herself thoughtfully as she mused about how well the plan had worked. This victory tasted very sweet. And the Green Knight was no more!