An extra special audio telling and commentary of Gawain & the Green Knight has begun on Martin’s online newsletter The House of Beasts & Vines, for paid subscribers only.
The first of four episodes, which will run fortnightly up to Christmas, is now available, an ideal gift for the festive season at £6 ($7) per month. As well as full access to the latest writings, audio and drawings direct from Martin’s desk, subscribers get exclusive access to everything in the vault as it builds up.
Martin’s telling of Gawain & the Green Knight came as a gift while in the throes of a Covid fever – “a beast to ride throughout the disorientations of the illness”. See below for a sneak preview of Martin’s introduction to the story.
It is a drizzly late autumn morning here in Devon. The embers of last night’s fire are still glowy-glow in the ashes. I’m wrapped layers deep in cardigan and Donegal sweater, my paws cleaving to a mug of strong dark coffee. Dear reader, I’ve been ill. I travelled far to the west and got sick. Thousands of miles, over Greenland I flew, only to be clobbered by the virus that’s wrapped four times round the earth like a serpent. Underworld on occasion it was, but I returned with a gift, as is fitting with a tough invitation. In all the tossing and turning and garish dream states a story continued to swirl in me: Gawain & the Green Knight.
In this weakened and irritable state, this tale proved my Gringolet, it gave me a beast to ride throughout the disorientations of the illness we are almost all personally familiar with by now. What follows is my own, very personal telling and take on the story. I’m not stating that it’s ‘what it means’. I haven’t attempted to keep in its alliterative poem form (there are great translations already), rather in the style of the oral tradition.
The last thing I heard before I got sick was that a black bear had been spotted in the area, the first for many years. Though a sickness-dream I’m sure, at night it felt like the bear totemically circled the cottage, chanting the story. An energy moving around and around in the dark. So now I pass it on, as is fitting.