Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 11

By T.H. White

Book 3, Chapter 11

  • Lancelot sticks around Arthur's court for a while this time.
  • But, he's not happy. He's literally becoming lovesick. Uncle Dap advises him to leave again, because he's losing a ton of weight.
  • Lancelot can't go; Arthur doesn't want him to go; and Guenever just says, "Go!" How utterly confusing.
  • So, Lance heads off to the haunted castle of King Pelles, who is largely regarded as being insane.
  • When he gets to King Pelles' village (Corbin), the streets are swamped with people who are so happy he has arrived, because now he can save the poor maiden who has been kept boiling in scalding water for five years. She must have Teflon skin.
  • Lancelot hears that Sir Gawain tried to rescue the damsel just last week, and since he doesn't want to engage in petty competition, he says, "Okay, I'm out."
  • The villagers, however, don't let him leave.
  • So, Lancelot goes into the tower to help the maiden, and discovers her sitting in the scalding water—stark naked.
  • She takes Lancelot's hand, which breaks the spell, and she is able to get out of the tub.
  • We learn a bit more about Lancelot's family tree: he's related to Jesus Christ. This must be important.
  • King Pelles has some kind of holy dish at his other castle, which also sounds important. It seems to somehow make prophecies.
  • So, Lancelot decides to stay with King Pelles and his daughter (Elaine numero dos, if you're keeping count—and we hope you are) for a while.

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