The story moves on. Finally.
So, Wart is figuring out a way to convince Kay to go with him into Hob barley’s strip and muses on his relationship with Kay.
“It was strange, but their battle had made them friends again, and each could look each other in the eye, with a kind of confused affection” (93).
Translation: ‘I have been raised [Male] and accord to a strict cult of masculinity; this cult terribly limits my ability to interact with women and men—people in general—and those whom I grow close to can only resolve difficulties with me, if they are likewise [Male], via recourse to violence.’
You see this all the time in literature and film. Has this, like, ever been the case in reality?
When I was young, I had my fair share of scuffles with my friends—usually non-physical but sometimes physical—and I can honestly say that no fight ever brought us closer together. This fascination with violence as the path to peace instead of simply talking things out, has to be one of the most rancid parts of masculinity—where else do you see such a delimitation of personal identity? Where you can only communicate with another [Male] by fighting and not even, truly, know what to call it? (“confused affection.”) Reactionaries can rant all they want about ‘collectivization’ and ‘loss of identity’ but the fact remains that it is only in gender roles, and gender itself, that we see such a monumental limitation of identity and personal practice. Honestly, nothing else even comes close.
What were we talking about? Oh yeah, the boys and their homoerotic tension as they travel into the woods. Right!
So, they walk into the woods and this wood is old. Like, super-freaking old; the forest is nearly impenetrable due to the vast assortment of dead trees buttressed against the living and the various bits of uneven ground and marsh. IT sounds like a less than ideal place to even visit. The fact that Wart and Kay freely travel to this place in search of fun, truly is a testament to how life was shitty before the advent of video games.
But the boys bravely proceed on and before long they encounter a seemingly mute man cutting wood. Kay is less than pleased.
“’Pooh,’ said Kay, ‘you have knights-in-armor, or dragons, or things like that in an adventure, not dirty old men cutting wood’” (95).
Kay has not been on many adventures!
Adventuring 101, Kay: the adventure is preconfigured in the always-already nature of the trivial.
Moving away from the Giant, though, Wart and Kay continue on their trek through the woods. Apparently, they still believe something worth finding is hiding in this wood. Lucky for them, however, they are in a YA adventure story, so there is, of course, something for them to discover.
Enter: John Naylor, or ‘Little John,’ a seven-foot-tall half-naked man who is resting on his dog.
Boys, this is the part of the story where you will want to run in the opposite direction as fast as you can.
What a relief though when the story doesn’t turn tragic. Turns out that Little John wants to take them to the leader of the forest, a man by the name of Robin Wood (ugh), after Kay suggests that the mute man cutting wood from before had forewarned Little John of Wart-Kay’s impending arrival; evidently, brash thoughts on forest communication is something worth gushing about to one’s superiors. So the boys travel alongside him asking questions which aren’t too interesting and that mostly relate to trying to figure out Little John’s odd speech (which I feel is an approximation of a Middle English dialect rendered in modern English).
At any rate, they finally arrive at a great lime-wood tree. Perched on the top is Robin Wood with Maid Marian. Some uninteresting banter ensues, Mr. Wood has the boys shoot at a bird with a bow and arrow, and then the interesting stuff happens.
To make a long story short, it turns out that Wat didn’t actually bite off Dog Boy’s nose. Dog Boy was fooling around with a dog with Wat and he called the dog over to him; but, there was a fairy person nearby chopping wood. Dog Boy neglected to point at the dog he had been calling and forgetting that the fairy people all have names after beasts and that this nearby fairy was named Dog, the fairy chopping wood was transported to Dog Boy instead of the Dog, and so his nose was cut clean off. Wat is actually a harmless vegetarian who wouldn’t hurt a fly (good, so no Ableist garbage. Nice).
Oh, also, turns out that Morgan le Fay might be the queen of these fairies. Fairies are, evidently, among the oldest of races and lived in Britain before even the Romans. They live in burrows and have ancient knowledge which might be naughty. Anyways, Morgan has kidnapped some people or animals, or something, to enchant and now Robin Wood and Kay and Wart must try to rescue them from her castle stronghold… or something (I’m gonna to level with ya: this whole section was poorly written. I had very little idea what White was getting at with Morgan; maybe this was intentional in order to keep up the mystery, but most of the time White remains cryptic about the links and what’s happening so I only got the gist of things).
At least something is happening, I guess. But I would like something more in the way of a plot at this point. So far it has just been random things happening, some of which were interesting and many of which were not. I actually hope that this rescue mission thing doesn’t last too long since it does not sound hugely awesome, by which I mean, interesting.