Magical and Supernatural Beings in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

So-called Church fathers altar (Kirchenväteral...

So-called Church fathers altar (Kirchenväteraltar), outside of the right wing, lower scene: Saint Augustine and the devil—according to other sources: Saint Wolfgang and the devil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Magic in the story portrayed as if it is part of everyday life. Gawain battles dragons and wolves and we as readers quickly forget that only one of those creatures is real. Green Knight is the main magical being. He loses his head, picks it up and expects Gawain to keep his word. Playing the beheading game must be a lot less scary if you know you cannot be killed. The people in the room, even though they are shocked at first, assume it is magic and witchcraft. Later in the story, Merlin and his magical powers are introduced just as nonchalantly as all the other magical powers throughout the story. In a way, this poem reminds me of  contemporary magical realism literature in which magic is just part of everyday life and no one pays much attention to it.

Anonymous.  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  Translated by Bernard O’DonoghueNew York: Penguin Books, 2007.

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