Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 45

By T.H. White

Book 3, Chapter 45

  • Arthur and his court are now going through an Indian Summer, a temporary respite from strife that has been and what is to come.
  • The King is working on his next big project: Law as Power (he's done with this whole Might thing—it's not working out no matter how he tries to fix it).
  • He's also completely generous, because he could have at any time busted Guenever and Lancelot for their affair. Instead, he just trusts that they'll not draw it to his attention and make him act.
  • During this Indian Summer, rumors and the Round Table drama have been temporarily quelled, and the G-boys are largely under control.
  • Once again, Gramarye is at peace.
  • But the fourth party of the Arthur-Guenever-Lancelot-God quadrangle is about to make his move.
  • Ever since Lancelot was duped into sleeping with Elaine, he's felt like a fake, and has only been able to perform the one miracle—rescuing Elaine from the boiling water.
  • Into court comes a knight from Hungary, by name of Sir Urre. He was wounded in a tourney seven years ago, and has seven wounds. He was cursed by the mother of his opponent, and because of this, the wounds will never stop bleeding until the best knight of the world tends to them.
  • So, Sir Urre gets carried around from country to country looking for the best knight. Of course, people have told him about Lancelot.
  • At the feast of Pentecost, at Arthur's court at Carlisle, Sir Urre is carried in for Lancelot to have a go at healing him.
  • There are 140 knights just waiting to see Lancelot succeed. Arthur thinks this is going to be his best act ever, and has souped the place up just for the occasion.
  • Meanwhile, Lancelot is hiding in the room where they keep the horse equipment, hoping someone like Gareth will be able to heal the guy.
  • It sure is tough being considered The Best Knight in the World, because you have to go through a ton of tests, and all the while you know that one day your number is going to be up. One day, you will fail.
  • Lancelot listens to the proceedings from the harness-room, as each knight is called to take his turn trying to heal Sir Urre.
  • Because he's tried to hide, Lancelot makes himself more obvious by being the last guy to come give it a try.
  • Arthur commands him to try—that if Lancelot can't do it, nobody can.
  • Knowing he can't get out of this, Lancelot prays to God to please allow him to do this, so that his and Guenever's reputations can be saved.
  • A great celebration breaks out. It seems that Lancelot was successful after all.
  • Apparently, Lancelot was allowed his miracle after all.
  • Our last glimpse of him is him kneeling and crying, like a child who has been beaten.
  • Book 3 ends.

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