Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 36

By T.H. White

Book 3, Chapter 36

  • The best knights have been killed off in the Grail Quest, and now everything is going bad with the Round Table.
  • People are too much into gossip, scandal, and drama.
  • Lots of the knights are interested in ridiculous fashions, and there are several magical objects going around that test whether or not a wife is faithful. This seems to just be asking for trouble.
  • The court is now paying attention to Guenever, not because they suspect something, but because they're bored and just looking for trouble.
  • Mordred starts spreading rumors that Guenever chased Lancelot off after a loud shouting match, where she accused him of being in love with other women.
  • The Queen becomes unpopular during this time, and someone's looking to take advantage of this.
  • While Lancelot is away, the Queen throws a dinner party, trying to emulate La Beale Isoud.
  • So, she lays on a lux spread with some really juicy apples, knowing Gawain just loves fruit—in particular apples and pears.
  • Too bad for Guenever, the Pellinore-Orkney feud is not quite dead. Sir Pinel, a distant relative of King Pellinore, wants to get stuff started again.
  • He poisons the apples Guen has brought in especially for Sir Gawain.
  • Gawain doesn't have a chance to eat any of the apples before Sir Patrick drops dead from eating one.
  • Sir Mador de la Porte accuses the Queen of the murder.
  • Back in the medieval times, there weren't lawyers and courts. Instead, you'd hire a champion to take up your side and battle it out in the tournament field.
  • Sir Mador is going to fight for himself, but Guenever needs to find a champion, and Arthur can't go there, because he's King. He can't appear to have a dog in this fight.
  • If Lancelot had been around, he would have been her champion.
  • Instead, she has to humiliatingly beg Sir Bors to do this. And we know he doesn't like women in general and Guenever in particular.
  • The stakes are super high, because if Guenever's champion doesn't win she'll burn at the stake.
  • Arthur wants to know what her problem is that she can't keep Lancelot around.

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