The Once and Future King
These series of books come together as one under the title of The Once and Future King; a story based on King Arthur. The story is about a boy named Arthur who does become king and the story as how he gets there, through his training and other life obstacles. Merlin, one of the major characters in the books is Arthur’s wizard and he lives through time backwards, so he knows Arthurs future. Since Merlin knows Arthur’s future he guides the boy carefully as to what he should and should not do. Merlin turns Arthur into many different animals such as a fish, ant, hawk, goose, and a badger in hopes to teach Arthur a lesson for his future life as king. In White’s third book, The Ill-Made Knight, the story shifts focus from Arthur to Sir Lancelot and Guinevere, Arthurs wife, and their forbidden love affair.
I think that Guinevere is one of the most interesting characters in this book series. She is made out to be good character at first, doing all the right things until the third part where White focus’ on her and Sir Lancelot’s love affair. She is a beautiful woman, and she supports Arthur in what he wants to do and his ideas. She loves Sir Lancelot though and his hiding behind her affair from her husband and king. I find Guinevere all the more interesting because she very
wrong in what she is doing. Her actions are poor and immature. Although she still gets commemorated for being supportive and loving to Arthur even though she is lying to him. She is doing Lancelot a huge disfavor and dishonor. Lancelot and Arthur are friends, and because of this affair, he now must lie to his friend and king. It is mentioned that Lancelot is insecure about love and life and going behind his kings back finding love and assurance in all the wrong places is not helping him. Guinevere is also being unfaithful and wronging her king and husband. This dishonors him and her. I find Guinevere an interesting woman because of the choices she makes and how she manages to carry them all so well, and still be seen as a lady.
The grail intrigued me most in this story. A grail is generally seen as “holy” or something symbolizing achievement, not necessarily what a person has not achieved. I also find it ironic that it is only achieved with a pure heart, and mind, when Arthur’s queen is having a secret affair. The grail also somewhat contradicts the idea of chiveralry, which King Arthur is very big on.
In this series of books and stories, The Once and Future King is a complex and very detailed story. T. H. White shows us how King Arthur got his title with the help of Merlin and the lessons her taught Arthur. Guienvere, Arthur’s wife is shown as a good women who loves and supports her King even though behind the curtain she is having a secret love affair with one of Arthur’s commanders. The grail is there to represent what Arthur ultimately has no achieved, it is also there a touch of irony seeing as it contradicts the ideas of chiveralry.
The Once and Future King