Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 4, Chapter 8

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Book 4, Chapter 8

  • A week after the fight, the G-clan is waiting around in the Justice Room.
  • Guenever is about to be burned at the stake. They're preparing the wood right now, as Gawain, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred speak.
  • Gawain is sure Lancelot will come rescue her, per usual.
  • Oh, and Agravaine was killed by Lancelot during that struggle at Guen's bedroom door.
  • Out of the thirteen knights that were trying to take Lance down, all were killed, and one ran away.
  • We'll give you a hint who that was. He's part of the G-clan, but his name starts with M.
  • When Gawain accuses Mordred of being a coward, Mordred starts crying. Dude, that's not really helping your case any.
  • When Arthur comes on the scene, he tells them that Mordred is still alive because he told Lancelot not to kill his son.
  • Gawain doesn't want to fight against Lancelot, and Arthur warns him that this sounds quite a bit like treason to him.
  • Neither Gareth nor Gaheris want to take up arms against Lancelot, either.
  • Only Mordred is willing—even though he has a broken arm.
  • Finally, Gareth and Gaheris agree to go, but they refuse to be armed, since Lancelot will see them and see that they don't get hurt.
  • Arthur is in a pretty pickle: He has to uphold justice, but at the same time, he is hoping Lancelot will come rescue Guen. If he does, though, people are going to get hurt. If he doesn't, Guenever will suffer a horrible death by burning.
  • As Guenever is prepared for execution, Gawain narrates the events to Arthur, who doesn't feel up to coming to the window to watch.
  • Right on cue, Lancelot comes on the scene with some knights, before there is any real danger to Guen.
  • Everything is plunged into chaos, and Gawain tries to call out the action as it's happening, like a sportscaster.
  • Lance has even brought a gown for Guennie, because it's not proper for her to be seen in just her shift.
  • Gawain and Arthur have a little impromptu celebration, since their side won. And by "their," we mean Lancelot's. Pretty confusing, huh?
  • While they have a drink, Arthur's making plans for how this whole thing can be fixed. Maybe Lancelot can bring her back, and then they can come up with a reasonable explanation for why he was in the Queen's room.
  • And Gawain is there to rain on the King's parade, and tells him that this won't work as long as Mordred is still alive.
  • Speak of the devil. Mordred comes in, and brings news that Gareth and Gaheris are dead.
  • Worse, Lancelot killed them. And they were unarmed.
  • Gawain runs out to check the truth of this for himself.
  • Twenty more of Arthur's knights are dead. Included in this roll call are Sir Aglovale, in addition to Gareth and Gaheris.
  • The clan leader returns, overcome by emotion. He has seen both of them dead. He cries in Arthur's lap.

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