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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hank and the Green Knight

I'm almost done with Morte Arthur (finally) and it got me thinking about my Medieval Lit class in college. We read Gawain and the Green Knight, which involves the Knight Gawain going through a series of moral tests that he didn't know were tests, orchestrated by the mysterious Green Knight. Another guy in the class, Hank, was perplexed by this. He kept asking what gave the Green Knight the right to test people. IIRC our Professor made the case that the Green Knight wasn't to be understood as a peer, but as an anthropomorphic representation of God or Nature or whatever else puts us through our paces in life; Fate with a face on it. Hank wasn't satisfied with this answer, and made a little film (he was clever that way) adapting the story and placing Hank's question about who's the "bad guy," Gawain or the Green Knight, right up front. I remember thinking the film was cool, and I hope someone out there has it and slaps it on Youtube.

In that class we also read a lot of medeval theology, and Hank asked how we were to apply these readings to our spiritual walks. The prof answered that it was up to us, and we didn't have to; the point of reading it was to understand the people of the age, not to adopt their beliefs.

Hank loved to climb ledges, mountains, etc. He was planning to get a job on an oil derrick or something, but while still a student he fell to his death on one of his recreational climbs. It was a shame that someone so vigorously and actively pursuing answers and experiences about life (in direct contrast to my timid, cloistered approach to life) should be cut down so early.

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