The Green Knight: Tests As A Quest. The Meaning Of The Film, What Is This Story About, Plot Analysis, Explanation Of The Ending.
Country: Ireland, Canada, USA, UK
Genre: fantasy, adventure, drama
Year of production: 2021
Director: David Lowery
Actors: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudory, Sean Harris
The Legend of the Green Knight (originally titled The Green Knight) is a fantasy tale based on medieval myths. A full-fledged poem unfolds on the screen about how a weak-minded person tries to find himself. The idea of the film is not bad, although such content “comes” not to every viewer. To explain the ending, let’s try to make out the meaning of the film “The Green Knight” and go through the Easter eggs that the director left us.
What is the movie about
Let’s start our review with the fact that you can watch the film “The Green Knight” on the Lordfilm film portal. Having dealt with the question “where”, we proceed to the analysis of what, in fact, the film is about.
From the content, it is difficult to understand exactly where the main action takes place, but given that the plot touches on the theme of the Knights of the Round Table, we can assume that this is medieval Great Britain. Or Norway, whichever you like.
Dev Patel starring Ser Gawain. Frame from the film.
The main character’s name is Sir Gawain. He is a knight by blood, because his mother is the sister of a reigning monarch. Knights gather at the King’s Christmas dinner to delight the ruler’s ears with stories of their exploits. Naturally, and in order to boast of valor among themselves.
Previously, the king did not welcome his nephew too much and did not invite him to such feasts. Therefore, it is Gawain who is invited to be the first to tell about his valor, telling a tale about his own life. However, our hero has nothing to say. He is an ordinary citizen who spends time in brothels, and is unlikely to ever get out of the city wall.
Suddenly, the “Green Knight” appears in Camelot. This is a mythical and immortal creature that challenges everyone present. The conditions of the duel are as follows: if the tree giant is injured, then the valiant winner gets the ax of the Green Knight. However, he reserves the right to strike a similar blow in a year and one day.
As expected, the king is the first to respond to the challenge, but immediately complains about his weakness and expresses the hope that there will be a daredevil in his entourage who will accept the battle. To everyone’s surprise, Gawain accepts the challenge.
The king gives him his own sword to fight, but the Green Knight is in no hurry to rush into the fray. On the contrary, he obediently lowers his weapon and exposes his neck to the blow. Gawain takes the monster’s head off. However, that doesn’t bother him at all. The headless body raises its head, which reminds that in a year the winner must fulfill the second condition of the contract. Then the headless knight rushes away with an ominous laugh.
Mythical tree giant Green Knight. Frame from the film.
For a year, Gawain remains the most popular person in Camelot. Songs are sung about him and legends are made. However, the time comes to pay the bills, and our hero is collected on a dangerous journey to the Green Chapel, where guaranteed death awaits him.
On the way, our hero, as befits a knight-errant, encounters many dangers. These are robbers, giants, ghosts and even talking foxes. However, having gone through all the ups and downs, he gets to the ultimate goal of his quest. Returns the Green Knight’s trophy ax and exposes his neck to the blow.
Gawain is very afraid of death, so he wears a magical belt, the owner of which cannot die. This amulet was given to him by his mother, the sorceress Morgan le Fay. In fact, the monster cannot harm our hero, but while the monster lifts the ax, Gawain seems to be considering options for the further development of reality. He sees what will happen if he just runs away unscathed. The hero does not want such a fate for himself, so he takes off his belt, saying that he is ready.
He takes off his belt, indicating that he is ready. However, the tree creature does not lower the ax on his neck, he strikes the daredevil’s throat with his finger and greets the glorious knight.
What is the hidden meaning of this film? Let’s try to answer this question and give an explanation of the ending.
“The Green Knight” is a fairy tale, which, in fact, is reported at the very beginning. And in any fairy tale, not only good always wins, but there is a meaning and a certain morality.
Sir Gawain is no knight. He is an ordinary person, but weak in spirit. He owes his position solely to his mother, who is part of the royal family. With a high degree of probability, our hero would have continued his inglorious existence, drinking in taverns, but the guy’s mother categorically did not like this state of affairs. This can be easily understood, because every mother wants the best for her son.
Therefore, the first Easter egg – an immortal monster was called by the mother of our not yet brave knight. It can also be assumed that the entire “Legend of the Green Knight” was originally conceived for Gawain. This is indicated by the fact that none of the knights of the Round Table responded to the challenge, and the king whispered to his negligent nephew that this was just a game.
For a whole year, our hero bathed in the rays of imaginary glory, although, in fact, he did nothing great. The green knight simply allowed himself to be killed. Moreover, the period of a year and one day is also set aside not by chance. It was assumed that during this time the hero would be able to muster up the courage to face death like a man. However, this did not happen. The hero gets drunk in taverns to unconsciousness, and hopes that he will not have to fulfill the second part of the contract.
Frame from the film.
However, he is reminded of his obligations and sent on his way. On the way, the quest begins. Gawain travels in comfort only at the beginning. Then the robbers take his horse, ax and equipment. However, leaving him a sword. This is the second Easter egg, which indicates that what is happening is a game. Now Gawain is hungry and barefoot, but he still needs to get to the Green Chapel.
On the way, he performs peculiar tasks that will help complete the game. For example, after returning the head of the decapitated Winifred, he returns the axe. Once in the lord’s castle, he gets back the charmed belt.
Our hero finds a horse to finish the journey not far from the chapel, when, frightened by an ax blow, he runs away. Yes, the flight was only in the hero’s imagination, but it can be assumed that, having fulfilled the terms of the contract, he will also return his horse, waiting for him near the chapel.
The meaning of the film is as follows: “The Green Knight” is a personal quest for our hero. Only after passing all the tests, he will be able to become a real knight, make decisions on his own and take a worthy place at the Round Table.
The meaning of the ending
In general, the ending of the film “The Green Knight” does not require additional explanation. The finale here is quite understandable: Gawain found the courage to fulfill the terms of the contract, for which he was awarded the title of “glorious knight”. However, this is not the general meaning at all.
The hidden meaning of the picture lies in self-sacrifice and willingness to change. Judge for yourself. The challenge that the Green Knight threw to everyone initially assumed the death of a daredevil, albeit in a delayed version.
Having inflicted any blow, the brave man had to understand that after the agreed time he would receive a response of the same strength. The mythical creature laid down its weapons and bowed its head. Gawain didn’t have to land a killing blow to win. It was enough just to push the monster with his foot to make it fall. This is exactly what any valiant knight would have done, for whom victory over an unarmed and submissive enemy would not bring any glory.
However, Gawain is weak in spirit and unsure of himself. He perfectly understands that he is in the circle of knights only thanks to his uncle. Therefore, in order to assert himself, he blows the monster’s head off. Yes, perhaps he realizes that over time he will have to pay for this with his life, but it will be only in a year, and our hero needs glory now.
Frame from the film.
The second significant moment that explains the film “The Green Knight” is a meeting in the castle with an unknown lord. The owner surrounds the guest with care and attention, calls him his best friend, but at the same time asks a simple and provocative question: “Will you do this one thing and immediately become a worthy person?”. The hero answers in the affirmative.
It follows that even having reached the end of the path, he still does not realize the true meaning of the game. Yes, he has already seen a lot, so at the next Christmas feast he will be able to surprise the king with a story about his adventures. However, he is still a coward. This is what prevents him from becoming a real hero.
Realization comes only at the end, when Gawain expects an ax blow. Before his inner eye comes the future life. In it, he returns and is knighted, marries Essel, to whom he does not have any feelings. Becomes king, and loses his son, remains completely alone, when even his mother leaves him in difficult times.
When the realization comes, he dares to remove the amulet belt, and immediately loses his head, which he should have been cut off many years ago. This is false glory and false life. After all, no one knows what exactly happened in the Chapel.
Frame from the film.
By choosing this path, Gawain saves a life. And he becomes a hostage of the charmed belt, which will have to be worn without taking it off. At the same time, the subjects know that he did not fulfill the condition, otherwise he would not have returned alive. And that is why he will be shouted in the back “imposter”. Now or later, but the end of the story is the same: decapitation.
It is this moment that Gawain realizes and chooses a different path. He takes off his belt, determined to die with honor. That’s when legends will really be made about him as a brave and honest warrior. Having made the right decision, he passes the quest, and becomes the winner of the game.