Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 41

By T.H. White

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Book 3, Chapter 41

  • Despite Elaine's death, life goes on pretty much as normal at Camelot. Things are pretty tense.
  • Here's an example of the kind of ridiculous things that happen to Lancelot: One day he's hanging out lying on his stomach in the woods, and he gets shot in the booty by an archeress who thinks he's a rabbit.
  • Arthur starts to fight against Lancelot in tournaments, to assert his authority.
  • At one tournament, Arthur loses his temper, and for one moment he is the betrayed husband and Lancelot the betrayer. Maybe this was an unconscious attempt to have Lancelot kill him and put him out of his misery.
  • If Arthur were out of the picture, his friend and his wife could be truly happy—they could marry each other.
  • This anger is over with soon, and the two are friends once again.
  • But, another bad thing happens at the same tournament: Lancelot defeats all of the Orkney boys except Gareth. From this day forward, there is bad blood between Lancelot and Mordred, Agravaine, Gaheris, and—to a much lesser extent—Gawain.
  • Another strike against Lancelot is that Gareth fights on his side during the next tournament, against his own brothers.
  • Enter Sir Meliagrance, who is unsatisfied at court, and hopelessly in love with Guenever.
  • Meanwhile, Arthur and Lancelot are chatting about how Sir Tristram has been killed by King Mark.
  • A messenger enters with news that the Queen has been out a-Maying with some knights, and has been kidnapped by Sir Meliagrance. Several of the knights were wounded in this attack.
  • By the time Lancelot can read this message to Arthur, Arthur is helping him get into his armor so he can go rescue Guenever. Again.

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