Study Guide

The Phantom Tollbooth Chapter 7

By Norton Juster

Chapter 7

The Royal Banquet

  • The cabinet members bring Milo and Tock into the palace, which is beautiful.
  • Everyone from the market is there: the Humbug, the Spelling Bee, and Officer Shrift.
  • Officer Shrift doesn't seem to mind that Milo's left jail, and the Humbug tells Milo that he (Milo) will get to pick what everybody has to eat. Things change quickly in Dictionopolis, it seems.
  • King Azaz (remember him from Faintly's story?) comes in, and has everybody sit down. He asks Milo and Tock about themselves, and makes fun of Milo for not seeming to have any real entertaining skills. These guys are harsh!
  • Milo's in charge of what they eat, but isn't sure what to ask for. He thinks about how his mom is always telling him to be a good, polite guest.
  • So Milo orders a "light meal" (7.31). He means "light" as in snacks, not heavy courses, but the food that arrives is actually made of light. (Should have guessed!)
  • The Humbug and the king encourage Milo to try again, so he orders a "square meal" (7.35). But this time, the dishes that show up are a bunch of squares, which don't seem to taste very good.
  • Overall, Milo's done a pretty bad job of ordering food for everyone. We'll cut him some slack though, it seems like a complicated task.
  • The king then announces that everybody has to make a speech, and Milo has to go first. Milo's not really sure what to say, so he starts by greeting everyone.
  • The king cuts him off (how rude!) and then has each of the other guests make a speech. The Humbug starts and the king finishes. Each person makes a speech that's just a list of the foods they'd like to eat that night. Oh.
  • Milo realizes too late that his speech should really have been his dinner order. His food arrives and looks pretty gross compared to everyone else's.
  • The cabinet members try to console him with the breadbasket, but end up talking over each other too much and making the king mad.
  • When everybody's finished (Milo didn't have his), dessert is brought in. It's all "half-baked ideas" (7.75). (More puns!)
  • These are a big hit. Everybody else chows down, while Milo takes one "idea" (they're like cake) for the road.