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LIKE Chaucer's Miller who advises that a man "shal nat been inquisityf / of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf" (3163-4)--should not pry into God's private affairs, nor those of his wife--Tolkien, traveler in his sub-created fantasy world, averts his reporter's gaze from feminine business. Galadriel, the Elven queen of The Lord of the Rings (LotR), is suggestively powerful, yet at enough of a remove that the boundaries of her authority remain unclear. So is Morgan le Fey in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (SGGK), a tale Tolkien translated from Middle English. (I have provided a brief summary of the tale at the end of this article for those to whom it is unfamiliar.) In both cases a sense of enigma is generated by the silence surrounding the women's ability to influence events and characters. We are never sure how they do what they do. We are never entirely sure how much they do. Their magic, a feminine faerie force, is thus both sinister and beguiling, a provocative puzzle that lingers as an after-image once the spotlit heroes' actions have been fully registered. What is going on in the shadowy gaps of the texts? As much as heroes must shine, these women need textual absence to be effective. Morgan, a model whom I believe influences Galadriel's enigmatic agency, is a good example of a fictional character who works the gap. She functions as a feminine site that receives all that is threatening about the Green Knight once Gawain gets to know him better and to discover that he really is just kidding after all: the Green Knight's menace really was just a sharp-edged Christmas game. The Green Knight is revealed to Gawain as Bertilak the genial host. Morgan remains a stranger: as such, she can be blamed as agent so that the males can bond more effectively. Then we hear nothing more about her, although arguably that emblematic green girdle that Gawain takes home as a token is imprinted with her power. (1) Morgan remains an ominous shadow figure.

Profissional e técnico
Mythopoeic Society

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