Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 2, Chapter 9

By T.H. White

Book 2, Chapter 9

  • Meanwhile, King Pellinore is still moping around Queen Morgause's castle.
  • Sir Palomides thinks the only thing that will pull him out of his funk is to have him go after the Questing Beast.
  • Unfortunately, the Questing Beast is dead. Either that, or still over in Flanders.
  • This doesn't stop Sir Palomides. If they can't have the real Questing Beast, then he and Sir Grummore will have to cosplay as Glatisant, and allow Pellinore to hunt them.
  • The two start planning how they will accomplish this. It gets really foolish really quickly.
  • So, for a week Pellinore doesn't see much of his friends. They encourage him to write more sad poems to Piggy while they make their preparations.
  • Finally, they're finished with their costume. And it's quite hilarious.
  • They give it a whirl, but have difficulty synching up their movements to make it work.
  • During this testing, they wreck the costume several times, and have to make numerous repairs.
  • After several more days, they get their act together and succeed at galloping and making a passable imitation of the Questing Beast's baying.
  • In the meantime, Queen Morgause realizes the English knights are foolish, and there's nothing in it for her to continue to be charming.
  • She discovers, in fact, that she hates them. Well, that escalated quickly.
  • Now, she's all about her boys. She even forgives them for making her have them whipped (!).
  • When Gareth brings this news back to his brothers (who are hanging out in the storeroom under the castle), he interrupts an argument between Gawain and Agravaine.
  • Agravaine seems to be implying something improper about the goings-on between their mother and the English knights. He wants to write a letter to this effect to their father, but Gawain denies anything like this is happening.
  • Flying into a rage because he doesn't like hearing his mother talked about this way, Gawain attacks Agravaine.
  • And then Agravaine does something unforgiveable among the G-boys: he draws a knife on his own brother.
  • Gareth tries to play peacemaker and shouts out instructions to break up the fight.
  • Gawain almost kills his brother, and the text notes that later, Gawain's uncontrollable temper even causes him to kill women, but he regrets it afterwards. Well, that's at least something, we guess?
  • Back to Palomides and Grummore. After they hide their Questing Beast costume in a cave, they tell Pellinore that they've seen something strange on the cliffs outside.
  • When Pellinore fails to guess, they tell him flat out that they've seen the Questing Beast.
  • Strangely enough, Pellinore seems over the Questing Beast. He has little interest in even checking this story out.
  • Turns out, Pellinore really now cares more about the Queen of Flanders' daughter than the Questing Beast. He wants human company of the female variety.
  • Plus, the Questing Beast can't cook, and Piggy can.
  • Pellinore tells the other two knights that he saw seven magpies earlier. Apparently, this is an omen: one means sorrow, two means joy, three means marriage, and four means a boy. Because there were seven magpies, this signifies to Pellinore that it means four boys.
  • He even had his boys' names picked out: Aglovale, Percivale, Lamorak, and another funny name that he can't remember right now.
  • Eventually, Pellinore agrees to go check out the rumor of the Questing Beast.
  • While waiting, Pellinore sadly obsesses about how he's sent so many letters to Piggy, but she's never once sent a response back to him.
  • It must be, he thinks, because he's unworthy.
  • Meanwhile, Sir Grummore and Sir Palomides are being followed by something (although each thinks the other is bumping or jostling him).
  • Pellinore gives up, thinking the two wandered off somewhere and left him alone.
  • Returning to Grummore and Palomides, we discover that the real Questing Beast has arrived, and is under the impression she has discovered her true love—the fake Questing Beast that is actually Grummore and Palomides.

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