Day Nine: Ragnelle (Ragnell)
1. Why you like or don’t like the character
I love Ragnell. I love her story and how she goes on to make her own destiny. I love how, at it’s heart, her story is all about what she wants. Not what anyone else, least of all a man, wants for her. She must have been one hell of a fierce lady to go through all that time as an ugly, old woman and suffer through the mockery of Arthur’s court (more rot there). But there’s also has a keen insight into people. Because of all of Arthur’s knights, she chooses Gawain. Not because he is the greatest knight or most handsome or most popular. But because she knows that he will give her her freedom. She knows he is the man who will give her her choices. And that mixture of fierceness, determination and insight makes her an amazing character in an amazing story.
2. Favorite characterization in novels
I have two. I love Ragnell/Aislynn in Gwen Rowley’s Knights of the Round Table: Gawain because initially she makes the choice to become an old woman to punish Gawain and has a grand old time trolling Arthur’s court. Which was a lot of fun. I also really enjoy Ragnell in Persia Woolley’s Guinevere Trilogy which was a really interesting and original take on the tale and I really loved it. Also, she tried to claw Gawain’s eyes out. Cause he totally deserved it.
3. Favorite characterization in TV shows/movies
No Ragnell in movies or TV shows. BOO!
4. Favorite art/illustration of the character
I like this pair from Howard Pyle’s book. Nice bookends from Ragnell’s story that Pyle was good enough to include in his retelling.
5. An actor your wished could play the character
I’ve always seen Ragnell as a character who isn’t a pushover. Which is why I think Amy Adams would be perfect. I think of her roles in Night of the Museum 2 or Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day and how she just talks and talks and doesn’t let anyone get a word and gets her way simply through never shutting up… yes please.
6. One headcanon about the character
I don’t like versions where Ragnell leaves. I prefer to have her go up to Orkney or Lothian to be Queen and rule in Gawain’s stead while he stays in Camelot and helps Arthur. She’s a great mom and a great queen and a great sister-in-law and everyone loves her and just let’s her run them over because that’s easier. And safer for your eardrums.
Also, I would be remiss as a friend if I did not point you all to SamoaPhoenix’s retelling of the Loathly Lady tale: The Knight and Lady’s Tale. I’ve always like this short little fic.