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Published:March 31st, 2010 22:42 EST
The Dark Knight and the Green Knight

The Dark Knight and the Green Knight

By Tony Graff


The first time I read through the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I didn`t get a whole lot out of it. I was trying to understand it late one night, cause I was going to have a test on it tomorrow. After a few hours I quit, and took a break to watch the then recently released movie, The Dark Knight. 

According to the poem, Sir Gawain was one of the top dogs in King Arthur`s court, known for his nobility and honor. So one Christmas, of all times, a huge knight appears in the court, completely dressed in green. Even his horse was a brilliant green color. He offers a challenge, to which everyone attending appoints Sir Gawain to accept his challenge of trading blow for blow. I`m pretty sure Sir Gawain got a little cocky, and in a single strike, lops the green knight`s head clean off. 

The knight isn`t dead, and picks up his head, and promises he`ll deliver his blow in one year, and extends the invitation to go to the green knight`s chapel. Bound by honor and duty, the now bewildered Sir Gawain is sure he is going to keep his word. 

Next Christmas arrives, and King Arthur`s knight sets out to find the chapel of the green knight, which takes several days. Along the path he finds a castle, and is hospitably settled in for a little time to recuperate before finishing his journey to the green knight`s hideout. The lord of the castle even makes him a deal. Sir Gawain can spend the days among the lovely ladies while the lord and his buds are out hunting, and at the end of the day, they will trade what they got. 

Day one: Sir Gawain gets a kiss from the lady of the house, and trades it for a deer that the lord caught. 

Day two: Sir Gawain gets some nice little trinket, which is traded for the boar the Lord traps. 

Day three: the lady of the castle tells Sir Gawain that she knows of his little predicament with the green knight and gives him a sash to wear that will protect him from the mighty strike of the large knight. Sir Gawain, in fear, does not give the sash to the lord of the house, but trades off a kiss for the last animal the lord catches. 

The next day, Sir Gawain heads off to the green knight`s chapel, and finds his opponent. True to his word, he stands ready to receive his blow. Bracing himself, but trusting in the sash he had been given, he extends his neck, only to get a nick. When he looks up, he sees the green knight remove his helm and reveal himself as the lord of the castle, the same one he was supposed to trade items with. Laughing, the green knight/ lord of the castle explains that he set this all up to prove that Sir Gawain wasn`t as noble and cool as everyone thought he was. 

So Sir Gawain gets to go back to the court of King Arthur, feeling down, and depressed, and largely a failure. Naturally everyone in the class brought up the question of why he did what he did. Why did mister green knight go through all this trouble just to prove that Sir Gawain isn`t so hot? That was my moment to share my epiphany: Harvey Dent is Sir Gawain! 
Now, I`m not crazy, I`m not. Hear me out. So, Harvey Dent is the white knight, the hero of Gotham City, and he won`t do anything against honor, and rules, and the established order, as the Joker calls it. Speaking of, the Joker in this case, is the green knight. He goes through a heck of a lot, just to see people break their rules, prove they are human. Alfred says it clearly, "There are just some people that want to watch the world burn." That`s the green knight`s deal, it was also the joker`s deal. 
Batman himself ties both stories together beautifully. "He wanted to see if someone as good, and noble as you," he tells Harvey Dent, now a two faced vigilante, "could fall." 

That made everything make sense. All the themes and ideas of the green knight suddenly made sense, and I aced the test. 

Anyone out there, if you end up studying Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, go ahead and cross reference it with the Dark Knight. I`m not going to be offended. Just mention me. It was a cool discovery for me.