Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 7

By T.H. White

Book 3, Chapter 7

  • Lancelot's famous quests start right now, but the book focuses in on his very first quest.
  • There are these two bad barons, Sir Carados and Sir Turquine, who are brothers. Turquine, in particular, is bad news. He's a legit lunatic.
  • Our boy Lancelot rescues Gawain from Sir Cardos, and during the struggle, Lancelot kills him.
  • After this happens, Lancelot and his cousin Lionel fall asleep under a tree. Ooops; Lionel is kidnapped by Sir Turquine.
  • So, Lance sets off to find him, but in the meantime Morgan le Fay and three other queens come wandering by and kidnap Lancelot. They take him back to their castle, and make him choose which of the four of them he'll take for a mistress. Sure is an awful lot of kidnapping going on!
  • Lancelot doesn't particularly want to knock boots with any of them. Remember how Morgan le Fay was rolling around on a bed of lard back in Book 1? Not hot.
  • They throw him in prison, because they definitely don't like this answer.
  • A fair damsel who works for the queens springs Lancelot out of the dungeon. As long as he'll promise to help her out with her father's tournament.
  • Did we doubt Lancelot would agree? Of course he does.
  • On the way to meet King Bademagus (the damsel's father), Lancelot sees a pavilion and decides to get some rest.
  • He wakes up to find a naked guy just chillin' and cutting his toenails.
  • The two start fighting, of course, and Lancelot wounds him pretty badly.
  • Meanwhile, this guy's lady shows up. Turns out, the toenail-cutting guy thought it was his lady love who was in the pavilion, so what a mix-up!
  • Lancelot feels really bad that he's wounded this guy, so he sends him off to Arthur's court. His name is Sir Belleus, and he'll eventually be knighted.
  • Finally arriving at the abbey to meet up with the fair damsel again (still no name), Lancelot meets King Bademagus, and the tournament commences.
  • Lancelot disguises himself by wearing the shield of a novice—all white—so that the other three knights from Arthur's court do not recognize him.
  • Needless to say, Lancelot seriously vanquishes all foes, and wins the tournament for the King.
  • Right about now, Lancelot remembers that poor Lionel is still out there somewhere, and returns to looking for him.
  • He meets a girl in the forest, who tells him that there's an adventure waiting to happen, if he's only man enough to take it. If so, she'll take him to the fiercest baron ever, who runs a sort of concentration camp full of prisoners he enjoys whipping with thorns.
  • Lancelot is game.
  • They make their way to a castle, and after a bit a gigantic guy comes riding out. Uh oh... the resemblance between this guy and Sir Carados is pretty striking.
  • Turns out, this is Sir Turquine, who is widely considered a lunatic.
  • But, he seems like a reasonable guy (he's not). He tells Lancelot that he'll set free all of his sixty four prisoners if he'll only promise to be his friend. Awwwww!
  • Not so fast, though! There's only one guy in the whole world that Sir Turquine won't extend this courtesy to, and it's (wait for it) Lancelot, because Lancelot killed his brother.
  • After a two-hour fight, Lancelot finally kills him.
  • Lancelot tells Gaheris and the maiden that Sir Turquine is old school (actually, "of the old school"), and he's the kind of guy Arthur and the Round Table are supposed to stop.
  • Turns out, Lancelot has not only saved Lionel and Gaheris, but pretty much the whole Orkney clan, if we count Gawain from the beginning of this adventure, and Agravaine, who's still in Sir Turquine's dungeon.

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