Throughout ancient European, and for that matter, world mythology, there is an unspoken character who dictates the laws of nature, who binds the seasons to his will, who has the power to bring the hero strife or glory. That character is the Green Man.
The Green Man is quite literally nature made characterized. Often in fantasy, and mythology that influenced it, the Green Man is a figure of rebirth, life, death, decay, and the changing of the seasons. The color green is vital to his character, representing not only the lush green of summer and spring but also the otherworldly nature of his being. The best example of this type of power can be seen in Tolkien’s superb work, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in which Galdwin is accompanied by the ghostly visage of a green knight.
In the natural aspect, the Green Man often appears in literature at the beginning with summer or fall, representing the fading of happy days, and the coming of strife for the character. One of the best examples of this, is from Geogre R.R. Martin’s widely popular Game of Thrones series, with the classic Stark words being, “Winter is Coming”, as the long summer comes to a close.
In my own work, the Green Man arrives in the middle of summer, when the days are longest in hottest. In the winter, the stakes are dire, and all hope seems lost in the soul-crushing effects of ice and snow, for life has faded and been corrupted. The book ends in the spring, heralding the Green Man’s return, and the renewal of life.
Please leave comments for any books you can think have a Green Man character, and be sure to like and subscribe!