Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 1, Chapter 22

By T.H. White

Book 1, Chapter 22

  • King Pellinore comes for Kay's knighting, and brings big news: King Uther Pendragon is dead.
  • Of course, the question that people start to ask is: Who is king now?
  • King Uther apparently left no heir—that anyone knows of.
  • But: there have been signs and wonders seen lately. The big one is the sword in the stone that recently appeared in a church.
  • Well, actually the sword is lodged firmly in an anvil, which sits upon a stone in the churchyard (King Pellinore explains after much confusion).
  • The most important thing about this, though, is what's written on the stone: Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of All England.
  • Everyone's tried his hand at pulling the sword out, but no one has succeeded. Yet.
  • There's going to be a big tournament on New Year's Day in London for knights to try again. Kay very much wants to go and try his hand.
  • Sir Ector decides to take Kay and journey with King Pellinore and Sir Grummore to London. Because shopping and people. Oh, and a new king.
  • Wart comes into this conversation, and the others don't notice he is about to cry, because Merlyn is leaving him.
  • Merlyn confirms this, telling Sir Ector that his job is done—Kay will be knighted and Wart will be his squire, so he doesn't have any more reason to hang around.
  • But, Merlyn mysteriously tells them that they will all meet again, so no need to be sad.
  • With that, Merlyn disappears. He whirls into nothingness right in front of Sir Ector and the others.
  • Wart finally says good-bye, and then rushes out of the room quickly.

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