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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by Pearl-Poet

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What time of year is it at the opening of the story? What is taking place?

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The story begins at Christmas time in King Arthur's court. The knights of the court are celebrating the festive season with a tournament and a series of jousts. After the tournament is over, the knights return to court in the evening to participate in a feast, which lasts for fifteen days.

The poet describes the merriment of this feast as excessive, with all the court ringing with joy. The knights and ladies are all extremely happy for the duration of the feast, which they celebrate with their king.

New Year comes eventually, and the king takes his seat at the high table with Gawain and the other knights. It is at this point, while the king and his knights are celebrating the feast of New Year, that the green knight arrives.

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