Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 2, Chapter 3

By T.H. White

Book 2, Chapter 3

  • Arthur, Sir Kay, and Merlyn are riding back from a grouse hunt, and Kay is asking all sorts of nosy questions about Queen Morgause. Seems like she's a hot topic of conversation. Plus, Kay has heard that she's hot.
  • This leads to a discussion about war, the current rebellion, the different races in the British Isles, and their conquerors, the Normans.
  • The Gaelic Federation now has eleven Kings, so there's going to be all-out war soon.
  • As they continue their ride back to the castle, Merlyn gives the short version of the history of the British Isles, from the Picts through the Norman invasion.
  • So, the upcoming war will be partially because the Teutons or Galls upset the Picts or Gaels many hundreds of years ago, but also because Queen Morgause wears the pants in her family. Not literally.
  • This fight, as we've seen previously, is personal: feud time (in feudal times!).
  • Merlyn points out, though, that personal reasons are not good reasons for all-out war.
  • Neither, though, are racial reasons, because if we keep living in the past, we'll never break the cycle. Everyone was an aggressor at one point, all the way back to Cain and Abel.
  • We get a bit about Merlyn's background: he's actually part Gael, but his father is a demon. Better call Sam and Dean, stat.
  • Life, Merlyn points out, already sucks quite a bit without all these wars and squabbling over territory and feuds between nobles.

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