Adventures of Sir Gawain the True, The (Knights' Tales (Quality)) Paperback – 17 Apr 2013
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An ingeniously integrated retelling of Gawain and the Green Knight and other episodes from the Arthurian canon. Worthy reading for all budding squires and damsels. --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
When Gerald Morris was in fifth grade he loved Greek and Norse mythology and before long was retelling the stories to his younger sister and then to neighborhood kids. He began carrying a notebook in which he kept some of the details related to the different stories. The joy he found in retelling those myths continued when he discovered other stories. According to Gerald Morris, I never lost my love of retelling the old stories. When I found Arthurian literature, years later, I knew at once that I wanted to retell those grand tales. So I pulled out my notebook . . . I retell the tales, peopling them with characters that I at least find easier to recognize, and let the magic of the Arthurian tradition go where it will. Gerald Morris lives in Wausau, Wisconsin, with his wife and their three children. In addition to writing he serves as a minister in a church.
Aaron Renierwas born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, andattended artschool in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.He's drawn comics as far back as he can remember, and today he has found a very vibrant and supportive community of cartoonists in Chicago, where he currently resides.Renier is the recipient of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, and received a nomination for best Children's Album in 2005.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sir Gawain is known as "the undefeated." He is tired of this title, but because it is what he is known as, when a battle comes up and King Arthur needs someone to win, it is Sir Gawain who is called up.
Sir Gawain returns to the court to recount a story of saving a damsel from a dragon. But when he is asked how he treated the damsel, he is dumbstruck. The damsel tried to thank him by bestowing a green sash on him, as well as a kiss on the cheek. But he refused both.
During a feast, a strange Green Knight appears at the Court. The knight challenges anyone to a game. Of course, being undefeated, King Arthur requests Sir Gawain to compete. The knight tells Sir Gawain to first strike a blow, and then he will do the same. Simple enough? Well, the knight wants Sir Gawain to strike an axe blow to his neck. Sir Gawain does as requested, and all are stunned when the knight picks his head up off the floor, tells Sir Gawain to appear at the Green Chapel on New Year's Day, and leaves. Sir Gawain knows that this will be the death of him, but he agrees.
King Arthur can't let his undefeated knight die, so he sends a group out to find Merlin, in hopes of finding a way to avoid Sir Gawain's death. Instead, the group meets Sir Gologras.
If you've read the other books in the series, then you will know that there are more surprises in store for King Arthur's group. Sir Gologras may not be who he seems. I don't want to give away the surprise ending, so I will stop there with my synopsis. But have no fear. As with the previous works in this series, there are many laughs and surprising moments on each page.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Like the previous two reviews earlier than mine, I agree: this is a good book. I read it to my boys who are 5 and 8, and though it probably is better for the 8-10 age group, we still enjoyed it quite a bit. I did have to explain a few words and concepts to them, but overall it is well written and easy to read. There are 10 short chapters, and each chapter contains one or two illustrations. I asked my boys what I should rate this, and they said "we really really liked it." I think that means 5 stars!
I gave it 4 stars for these minor reasons: 1) it is quite short and simple (simplistic?) and 2) a major part of the story line has to do with getting heads chopped off. I realize older kids or kids who have been exposed to tons of killings on TV might not flinch at this, but we did. I suppose this note is more for those parents who wonder if the content is appropriate. Other than the chopping off of a head in the story line, it is pretty mild and not too dark/scary. It even ends with a good moral tone.
In summary, the book is worth reading, especially if the reader enjoys tales of knights, chivalry, humor, wit, action, and those with a decent moral lesson (namely, friendship/kindness is better than victory at all costs).
And that might be the problem. The book reads like King Arthur meets The Princess Bride. A post-modern irony drips throughout the story such that the virtue attempting to be promoted is lost in the snark. In attempting to update the King Arthur story the magic and whimsy seem to have been strained out. What is left is a very modern Sir Gawain and the Knights of the Round Table, but a story that forgets the child. Middle boy child in our family loves stories and has trouble letting them go in the middle. I was excited to introduce to him King Arthur. I read to him the first two chapters and put the book down without a grumble from him. When I asked the next night if we should continue, which would normally have been met with an excited yes, I was met with a no, read something else.
On the one hand, Sir Gawain is much better than I would have expected of a children's series. On the other, it seems to be missing the key ingredient.
In King Author's court, he requires his knights to be comfortable iron suits and sharp swords, just like any knight. They must also be courteous and respectful while doing their knightly duties. After relating the dragon fight, at dinner that night, Sir Gawain is flabbergasted to learn of his rudeness. The King thought it rude Sir Gawain refused the damsel's gift of thanks not once, but twice. Shameful knight behavior.
Later, at the Christmas Feast, the Green Knight crashes the party to challenge a knight, specifically Sir Gawain, to a strange dual. Sir Gawain is to go first. He swings and knocks the Green Knight's head clean off his neck. The Green Knight will strike Sir Gawain, in the same fashion, in exactly one year. As the year goes by, Sir Gawain and the King decide the Green Knight must have used magic. How else could his head continue to speak after it was severed from his neck? King Arthur and his knights leave the kingdom in search of the great Merlin the Enchanter. If anyone can help Sir Gawain keep his head attached, it is Merlin.
While on the trip, the King and his knights run into several interesting characters on their way to their final destination: Green Chapel. Here, Sir Gawain will face the Green Knight for what may be his last challenge. On their trip, the King and his knights will run into a strange dwarf, sorcerers, and a stubborn nobleman, but not everyone is who they profess to be. In the end, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table will have had their abilities to fight and their manners both tested. One of those two will prove to be the better weapon. Reading the story and meeting these characters is so much fun, revealing any more would ruin it for everyone else.
Sir Gawain the True is the third knight to get his own story in Mr. Morris' Knight Tales Series. First was Sir Lancelot the Great and then Sir Givret the Short. As with the first two editions, the story is witty, fun and a great addition to reluctant readers' libraries. The sentences and words are at the 8 to 10 year-old-level, though occasionally there will be a word that might require a dictionary. The chapters are short and fast to read. The pacing is such that it is difficult to become bored at any one point.
This is a fun, short, chapter book boys will love to read. The illustrations are line drawings and enhance the story. The fight scene collage is especially funny. Speaking of fighting, none of the fight scenes are gory or gruesome. The sword fights in the pages of Sir Gawain the True are G-rated. Mothers will love the story for the King's emphasis on courtesy, respect, honoring oaths, and the value of friendships.
Note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher
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.
In SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE, Gerald Morris instills his own storytelling skills and humor into the medieval tale SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, making medieval literature come alive in the hearts of new generations. At times his version diverges from the medieval text. At times, Gerald Morris steps back to make fun of some of the traditions and assumptions of chivalry, and yet, in the end, the story itself exemplifies these values, such as the medieval concept of "trothe". Many of the values underlying Sir Gawain's adventures are indeed appropriate for young readers. Sir Gawain learns the value of friendship, keeping one's word and courtesy/respect for others.
SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a great, fun story for young readers. The pace is lively, the storytelling excellent and the characters memorable. Aaron Renier's black and white illustrations enrich the story's humor as well as the characterization and the landscape. SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a marvelous way to introduce the joy of the classics to young readers. SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is full of adventure, honor, and all those things that have enchanted Arthurian fans throughout the centuries. Gerald Morris gives the tales just the right twist for readers of today.
Although SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE has a target audience of young readers, I highly recommend this and all of Gerald Morris's Arthurian tales to all medievalists and Arthurian enthusiasts. Gerald Morris's tales, SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE included, make one fall in love with medieval literature all over again. In some ways, he is faithful to the source material, but thankfully not in a slavish fashion. Those who have read and reread SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT over and over, like myself, will easily notice some of the differences between the medieval version and Gerald Morris's version but the differences are also what make the story so much fun. If you are looking for a slavish word for word translation, go elsewhere. If however, you enjoy a great story retold in new ways, SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE is a keeper for the bookshelves! Indeed, in retelling classic Arthurian tales while instilling in the tales his own unique gift of storytelling, Gerald Morris makes the Arthurian world come alive again. Of course, retelling and recreating is, in itself, faithful to the medieval spirit. Superb!