Medieval legends portray the Green Knight as being one of the most powerful characters in the court of King Arthur, although in other legends he is not a member of the court.
The Green Knight is called green in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight because his skin and clothes are green. Various interpretations have been used by scholars in order to describe the meaning of this character. Thus some have associated his greenness with a figure from Celtic mythology or with the Devil himself.
Many famous writers have shown a keen interest in the character, with J.R.R Tolkien calling him “the most difficult character” to interpret.
Various meanings have been attributed to the actual identity of the Green knight. The medieval poem simply calls him green because his clothes and skin are green.
Some have called him as being a part of nature such as vegetation or medieval art, others consider him to represent a Christian symbol, and yet others believe him to be a mythological character.
The Green knight is generally considered a legendary or fictional character because of the attributes that distinguish him from common humans.
The Green knight appeared in various medieval poems from the late medieval times.
The earliest poems mentioning him are from the 14th century, in particular the poem called Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which was written by an author known as Pearl Poet.
Other poems and legends in the later period mentioning the Greek knight include:
Various legends depicting the Green knight portray different roles for the Green knight. For instance, he has green skin in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, and has an encounter with Sir Gawain.
In “The Greene Knight”, his skin colour is not green but he wears green clothes. In yet another legend, King Arthur and King Cornwall, he appears as one of King Arthur’s knights.
Since the Green knight was not an actual character, his life is characterized by various legends that have been attributed to him.
He has also been given different names in different legends. For instance, he appears as Bercilak de Hautdesert in “Sir Gawain and the Green knight” but is called Bredbeddle in The Greene Knight.
The Green knight is one of the most interesting legendary characters of medieval times and is depicted as a man having green skin and clothes in different legends.
In one of the legends, he also appears as one of the knights of King Arthur.
The green color of the Green knight has variously been interpreted by the scholars and there is no agreed opinion on these different interpretations of the Green Knight.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article on the fictional medieval character the Green Knight, if you’d like to find more information on fictional characters similar to the green Knight please look at the the links at the bottom of this green Knight article page.