Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 1

By T.H. White

Book 3, Chapter 1

  • This little book (ha; none of these books is little) is called The Ill-Made Knight.
  • It's time for us to meet a French boy from Benwick (in France, natch). He's checking himself out in a reflection cast by a kettle.
  • He's trying to see himself, because he's always thought there was something wrong with him. Even later—when he becomes a great man—he'll still have this worry. He's ashamed of something for some reason, but he doesn't understand.
  • And we really shouldn't worry about it anyway, because it's his own private, personal biz.
  • This boy is fifteen and he's busy working out, pumping some iron, so not that much different from stereotypical teenaged boys these days.
  • If you'll recall, Arthur has this cool idea to have a Round Table of knights, who will be trained up from a young age. He's had his eye on Lancelot (which I'm sure you've already guessed is this kid's name).
  • Turns out, Lancelot is fanboying over Arthur. Hard. He's sort of in love with him and regards him as his hero.
  • He's only had one legit convo with Arthur though. When Lance got ready to leave England to head back to France (he went with his dad, King Ban, for the big battle), Arthur talked to him about joining up with his new Round Table when he got older.
  • The previous night (the night before Lancelot was checking himself out in the kettle), he had a strange dream about him and his brother searching for something they couldn't find, and riding on donkeys backwards, and drinking from a well that sank away from him.
  • He's already picked out his name for when he's a real knight: the Ill-Made Knight.
  • That's because he's ugly. Apparently, Lancelot looks like an ape who would be right at home in Arthur's personal zoo.

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