Study Guide

The Once and Future King Coming of Age

By T.H. White

Coming of Age

Richard Linklater, eat your heart out. The Sword in the Stone is the original Boyhood.Ā  We don't even know just how important Wart is until the very end of the first book. He's only "Wart," or "The Wart" (a gross nickname that rhymes with "Art,") but we're not told until the end that that's short for Arthur, as in King Arthur.

The first book is all about Wart's coming of age. We see how his foster family, magical tutor, and various folks around the Castle of the Forest Sauvage shape his identity, and how he learns valuable lessons that will make him into the king that he is destined to be throughout The Once And Future King.

To a lesser extent, the books are also about the coming of age of several other significant characters, including Lancelot and Galahad.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. What do you think is the most important experience in Arthur's development as an adolescent?
  2. How would having a mother in the picture have changed Arthur's childhood and teen years?
  3. Do you see any similarities at all between adolescent Arthur and boys in the 21st century? What is a striking similarity? How are they totally different?
  4. In what ways does Morgause really mess things up royally with her sons' coming-of-age process?

Chew on This

If Arthur had been raised by Uther Pendragon, he would have been a less kind and generous man and king.

Kay provides some of Arthur's earliest lessons in getting along with others.

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