Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady

by Selina Hastings

Other authorsJuan Wijngaard (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1987



Call number

398.2 Has

Call number

398.2 Has

Local notes

398.2 Has



HarperCollins (1987), Paperback


After a horrible hag saves King Arthur's life by answering a riddle, Sir Gawain agrees to marry her and thus releases her from an evil enchantment.



0688070469 / 9780688070465



User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Riding out in Inglewood one day, King Arthur encounters the sinister Black Knight, who challenges him to a battle for his very crown. With his sword Excalibur lying far away in Camelot, Arthur is rendered immobile by his foe's unearthly power, and given one chance to redeem himself: if he returns in three days' time, with the answer to the Black Knight's question - "What is it that women most desire?" - he and his crown will be saved. And so the king sets out to discover the answer to this perennial question, eventually discovering what he needs in the guise of the "Loathly Lady." But is he willing to pay the price she demands for her information? Will any of his faithful knights be willing to sacrifice themselves in marriage to so hideous a creature...?

This gorgeous picture-book retelling of the story of Sir Gawain's marriage is one of two Arthurian titles that author Selina Hastings and illustrator Juan Wijngaard have adapted together - the other being Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - and presents one of my favorite medieval tales. Found in many sources, from the fifteenth-century poem, The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle, to the Wife of Bath's Tale, in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, this story emphasizes a reality that is still under attack today: that what women most want and need is choice. It is also one of the few Beauty and the Beast variants where it is the woman who is the enchanted ugly spouse, as opposed to the man.

Selina Hasting's narrative is engaging, but it is Juan Wijngaard's gorgeous artwork that really makes Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady outstanding! From the decorative endpapers to the lovely borders that surround each page, everything about the visual design of this book is appealing. The paintings themselves, whether full-page or smaller inset images, are breathtakingly beautiful, and wonderfully expressive. The facial expressions of the court ladies and knights are perfectly captured. All in all, a wonderful retelling of a wonderful tale, recommended to young readers who appreciate such stories.
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LibraryThing member jon1lambert
I only bought this because it was about Sir Gawain, the Arthurian knight transformed in the Middle Ages from marquee knight to villain.Unfortunately I cannot make any judgement on the text as I cant read Finnish.
LibraryThing member Lukerik
I had this book as a little boy. It must have been newly published then. I saw a copy second-hand recently and had to have it. The illustrations are stunning. Decorated end-papers and margins. There are lots of Medieval-style illuminations in the text and the main illustrations are full of the most incredible detail and have a texture to them so they look like they’re embroideries. I must have spent hours as a little boy looking at the picture of the Loathly Lady as seeing it again now my memory was so exact.

The story is also well done and has a feminist theme, which is probably why my mother bought it for me.
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(25 ratings; 4.2)
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