Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 4, Chapter 12

By T.H. White

Book 4, Chapter 12

  • Gawain is lying facedown in his tent, crying, while Arthur strokes his hand.
  • It seems that Lancelot has shown him mercy again. It's more than Gawain can bear.
  • Dramatic Irony Alert! Arthur is wondering if maybe Guenever and Mordred aren't talking right that minute about Arthur and maybe Gawain. Wouldn't that be swell?
  • Gawain is starting to think he's been snowed by Mordred. Because if Lancelot hates the Orkney clan as much as Mordred claims, why hasn't he just offed Gawain? He's had two chances to do it so far.
  • He, however, isn't doing so hot, because Lancelot has knocked him on the same part of the noggin that Galahad did back during the Grail Quest. Coincidence? We think not.
  • They talk a bit about Mordred, and how he was probably in love with Morgause.
  • Arthur tries to get Gawain to just forgive Lancelot for the death of Gareth and Gaheris, but that grudge is locked down tight in this guy.
  • Just then, a letter comes from England. Arthur doesn't want to say anything about it in front of Gawain, though, because he's already so sick and brain-addled.
  • Finally, he gives up and tells Gawain: Mordred has taken over England, with his New Order (no, not this New Order), and has told everyone Arthur is dead.
  • Also, he's going to marry Guenever.
  • Turns out, Guenever had no other choice but to accept the villain's proposal. No one was there to help her.
  • Smart lady, though: she asked Mordred if she could go to London to get together some wedding clothes, and she locked herself up in the Tower of London.
  • Mordred has guns, though. Well, at least cannons. And he's using them against men, which has never been done before.
  • Gawain jumps up, despite having a deadly wound, and is swearing he'll return to England with Arthur.

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