Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Gawayne and the Green Knight" by Charles Miner Lewis

Source: Librivox
Length: 1 hr, 17 min
Reader: Jerome Lawsen

The story: As King Arthur and his court at Camelot feast on Christmas Day, they hear the haunting sound of a fairy horn. Into their midst rides the Green Knight, an unearthly giant whose skin, beard, armor and horse are all green. He challenges the knights of the Round Table: any of them may hit him once with his green battle-ax, then one year later they will meet again and the Green Knight will deliver the same blow to the Arthurian warrior. Sir Gawayne initially avoids the challenge, but egged on by his potential love, the Lady Elfenheart, he accepts the challenge.

This is a 20th century retelling of an ancient legend. Lewis writes in rhyming couplets, a form of poetry more connected in my mind to playground taunts than to epic poetry. Yet, Lewis doesn't take his epic entirely seriously either. He adds in humorous asides and anachronistic commentary on the events, but he also seems to be quite earnest about the themes of true love and heroism. The tone keeps the story from becoming completely sappy, but the story keeps the tone from becoming overly cynical. It's the tension between the two that keeps this story interesting.

Rating: 7/10

The reader: Lawsen is an amazing reader. His narrating voice is an everyman American accent, pleasant and friendly-sounding. When he switches to character voices, he undergoes a magical transformation. His voices for Arthur, the Green Knight, and Gawayne had me wishing there was more dialog. He even has convincing female voices, something that few men can do well. The recording is crisp and allows Lawsen's voices to shine.


Heather said...

So glad to have found you! One of my Podcast listeners sent me here as we did "Tristan and Isolde" back at the beginning of the year and--of course--there are connections.

Stop by if you get a chance. Though you may want to FF through the crafty-stuff.
; )
Many thanks!

p.s. have you come across Librivox readings by Andy Minter? LOVE him!

Listener said...

Thanks Heather. Tristan and Isolde sounds interesting. My reading list is a little longer than my time right now, but as it's a short book, I may be able to fit it in.

I love Andy Minter's voice. I reviewed his reading of "A Prisoner of Zenda" some time back and I'll probably do something of his again.

Heather said...

Andy Minter has a whole crew of female podcast fans who--I don't think I'm talking out of school here--lust after his voice.
Middle-aged Vicar-dom be damned.

If you want to access old podcasts, there are two ways (one easier).
1) iTunes should have them all. Sometimes it freaks out and only has recent ones, then it kicks back in a day later.
2) on the right side of the show notes you'll see a "library" listed in descending order with chapter and book tags. Those are links to the mp3s. More tedious, but if you hate iTunes, that's the way to go.
; )
Good to find you!