A flora/human hybrid unlike anything anyone has ever seen, The Green Knight suggests what he calls a “Christmas game” to the stunned hall. The fantastical being offers to give his spectacular, mighty axe to anyone who can strike a blow against him, but said individual must then seek him out in one year’s time at a place called The Green Chapel to have the blow returned in kind. When none of the other knights accept the challenge, Gawain jumps at what he sees as his chance to become a hero –Arthur even going as far as to let him use Excalibur. Unexpectedly, the Green Knight lays down his axe and offers his neck to his opponent, and Gawain impetuously strikes and decapitates the stranger.
Gawain is then left shocked as he watches The Green Knight pick up his own head, laugh, and announce, “One year hence” before riding away on horseback.