Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 32

By T.H. White

Book 3, Chapter 32

  • Looking like a Real Housewife of Camelot, Guenever really does herself up in fancy clothes and lots of make-up to look her best for Lance the next morning.
  • Lancelot tells Arthur and Guenever that he failed at finding the Grail, though he hints he may have seen it.
  • We learn that only about half of the knights made it back. The rest are dead or still missing.
  • Lancelot recounts how he was knocked off his horse by his own son at one point during the Grail Quest. Right after this, an old hermit lady comes up and says, "Hey, you, best knight of the world!" Only she's not talking to Lancelot; she's talking to Galahad.
  • Next, Lancelot gets his armor taken away from him, which is a huge deal because it's this whole symbolic thing that means he's having his identity taken away from him during the Grail Quest. He's learning some lessons about himself and the sinful things he's done.
  • So, he heads off to find a holy man so he can make an honest true confession this time (he's always kept some stuff back before).
  • And it looks like Lance is about to spill the beans about him and Guen right there to Arthur, but Guen steps in and shuts him up.
  • Good thing Arthur thinks Lancelot was about to say something about Elaine. Whew! That was a close one.
  • Back to his story: the hermit he confessed to gives him a penance to get rid of his sins. He's got to wear a hair shirt, which is a scratchy animal hide with the tough hairs worn next to the skin (instead of the soft leather).
  • He's also not allowed to eat meat or drink wine, and has to go to Mass every day. The next day, he jousts with a mysterious knight where his armor disappeared, and he gets his stuff back.
  • Even after Lancelot repents for being prideful, though, he still gets smacked around by yet another black knight.
  • This time, he accepts it and thanks God for the adventure he has been given.

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