Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Part 1, Lines 37 - 249 Summary
OK, let the story begin!
We're now in Camelot, King Arthur's famous court, and it's Christmas time. Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and a bunch of other guests are celebrating.
The Christmas celebrations include fifteen days of feasting and entertainment, including jousting and dancing.
We hear a good deal about how amazing King Arthur is and how brave his knights are.
It's the New Year and everyone is gathered, celebrating and giving gifts.
At dinnertime, Queen Guinevere sits in the middle, decked out in beautiful and expensive clothes and jewelry. The narrator assures us that's she's the most beautiful woman ever.
Arthur doesn't want to start the feast until someone tells a pre-dinner story about some exciting adventure, or until some kind of marvelous event happens. (This is a little tradition of his.) So Arthur holds off on dinner, joking with his nobles and refusing food until something interesting happens.
In the meantime, we're introduced to some of the people surrounding Arthur, including Gawain, the king’s nephew and a very good knight.
Some trumpets sound, and the first course of the feast is set out.
Before long, something interesting does happen: a giant of a man bursts into the hall, riding a horse.
We're treated to some detailed descriptions of this giant, including hearing about his broad shoulders, trim waistline, and thick limbs. (He's starting to sound like the hero of a romance novel.)
And then we find out that he's completely green. His clothes are green. His skin is green. Even his horse is green.
His clothes are fancy, decorated with elaborate embroidery, gems, and silky ermine.
His hair is long and nicely styled. Even his horse's hair is combed and braided.
This green giant doesn't have any armor, but holds in one hand a holly branch, and in the other an enormous axe.
He glares at everyone, then asks to speak to their leader.
Everyone is completely astonished. They think he might have come from the land of the fairies.
Silence settles over the feast hall as everyone sits stone-still, waiting for King Arthur to speak.