It's hard to imagine a time when Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was not exceedingly popular, a time when it did not yet have innumerable articles written about nearly every aspect of it. It was an entertaining read in itself to see the history behind SGGK's rise from obscurity, but the most interesting to me, perhaps, was the segment about the many retellings, specifically re-imaginings of the tale as a children's story. The ways in which the story and all its complexities were condensed and in some cases sanitized, in one case "to focus on Gawain’s keeping his word as the point of his honor", shows more about what people at the time might have thought important than the poem's actual purpose.
Something that I've often observed but never seen talked about in scholarship is the debasement of great medieval works such as SGGK by simplification "as creators of fiction, popular music, films, comics, and even computer games dispassionately dismantle the received material for their own purposes." (Nastali, 51).