The Green Knight

The Green Knight ★★★★

Trials of knighthood

What makes a knight? Bravery, strength, honor? Yes, but not the way Gawain thinks. He thinks bravery means accepting a challenge to combat, he thinks strength means cleaving the beast's head from its body, he thinks honor means lying with a woman in bed, but no, not quite. Honor means giving her not your cock, but your hand, your ear, your heart; strength means not a single moment of glamorous violence for a brief instant of savage heroism, but a lifetime of quiet fortitude to endure the hardships and adversity of a long journey; bravery means not the courage to kill, but the tenacity to confront death, not to end the lives of others but to face your own end without fear, to accept the inevitability of your demise without flinching from the reaper's axe. 

Because knighthood is not one transformative act that changes your life forever — he beheads the monster and has his portrait taken, thinking he has already completed his journey, but then he goes right back to drinking with the peasants. Because knighthood is a long series of trials, the goals of which are not destruction and cruelty, not fire and blood, but kindness and mercy, humility and gratitude, selflessness and love. Because the kingdom can cut down the forest but the green comes for us all in time, whether in the form of the grass on our grave or the mold in our home, we have all beheaded the green knight simply by existing, by entering this world and daring the ascent to knighthood. 

Because anyone can be a knight, being a knight just means being a person with virtue, a person with valor, a person with value, a person worth remembering. "Who are you?" Did you even live if no one tells your tale, if none sing your song? So choose life, but not life in fear of death, no green sash of invulnerability tied around your waist in dread-filled desperation, no, instead choose life in the face of death, accept the inevitability of the green, because if you run from death your life will pass by in an instant, your story will be too short to be remembered. The only way to live a story worth telling is to live unafraid of death. Immortality is not a life lived forever, it is not a life protected from death, immortality is a story, it is a song.

"Tell me a tale of yourself so that I might know thee."

2021 | Adaptation

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