gwen rowley

Twenty Days of Arthurian Books

The List

Day Thirteen: Knights of the Round Table: Gawain by Gwen Rowley

Write ten points about why you liked this book:

  1. It’s a very good retelling of the Gawain/Ragnell romance
  2. It focuses on Gawain and Ragnell equally instead of one over the other
  3. It doesn’t shy away from Ragnell being transformed into an old woman the way other retellings seem to do
  4. Morgan is the cool aunt
  5. Lancelot is an ass hole
  6. Ragnell trolls Arthur’s court– especially Lancelot
  7. The romance between Gawain and Ragnell is really sweet and genuine
  8. The riddle is actually utilized and the answer is a theme in the book
  9. Bedivere and Lancelot were separate characters 
  10. Ragnell is really good at trolling Arthur’s court (I’m sorry, but this was the best part)

Would you recommend this book?  Why?: Yes, for all the reasons stated above.  This is a really good version of the Gawain/Ragnell romance that really hits upon the important themes from the original story and doesn’t shy away from aspects that seem to get lost in modern retellings.  The characters are strong, the plot enjoyable…  It was a fun book.  I highly recommend it.  

Thirty Days of Arthurian Romances

The List

Day Three: Gawain/Ragnell

1. Do you ship them?

I do!  I do!

2. Is this your OTP for these characters?

It is.  

3. What do you like/dislike about this pairing?

Their romance is such a fascinating story.  You see the true character of Gawain is that of a good, honorable man willing to listen and learn from people.  He knows he's privileged and yet he listens to this old woman that everyone else finds disgusting and shuns.  He does what he needs to receive the answer to the riddle but he’s not play acting and when he finds himself within a different wording of that riddle, he answers correctly.  Not because he knows the answer but because he’s learned and grown and honestly believes in the answer he gives.

As for Ragnell, she’s just awesome.  So strong in the face of adversity.  She knows her path and she sticks to it.  She finds herself the greatest knight– the one she knows can grow and learn enough to help her and places her fate in his hands.  She doesn’t choose the curse, but she damn well chooses how she’s going to get out of it.  And she’s brilliant in her choices.

They’re well matched and I wish we saw more of them after the Loathly Lady story (instead of Ragnell just up and leaving suddenly… cause…).  They’d have so much fun together and I’d love to read that.  

4. When did you start shipping them

Ever since I read their story.  I was in high school, I think.  I just love their story.  It’s a great story.  

5. Favorite and least favorite portrayal in novels

Favorite would be Gwen Rowley’s Knights of the Round Table: Gawain.  She understands and works with their story in a way a lot of authors shy away from.  As for least favorite… I don’t think I have one.  I can’t think of a portrayal of their story that I absolutely despise.  It might just be because I’m easy when it comes to them.   ;)

6. Favorite art or song associated with this pairing

7. One headcanon about the pairing

My intent is actually to just do music with these because I already did 30 days of images for the characters and that was hard (for me– I prefer words over visuals) and I’m much more of a musically inclined person.  I do everything to music and so it’s easier for me to go ‘I associate these people or this moment with that song’ because that’s where my head is.  And it’s easy to mix this with the headcanon because the music always has some story I associate with it.

So, song for Gawain and Ragnell is I will Remember you Still by Aeone from the Mists of Avalon Soundtrack.  I don’t like versions of the story where Ragnell leaves Gawain because that seems out of character with the Loathly Lady story and him being her choice.  So… Gawain always dies first.  And he’s away at war when he dies while Ragnell is up north taking care of Orkney and their children.  And she knows the moment when he dies and she’s very sad.  And this song captures that moment of sad when Ragnell knows that Gawain is gone and she’ll have to go on without him.