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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Interesting story about the ups and downs of Hollywood deal making. Starting from his childhood, his rise to being the best knight in the world and his love affair with Queen Guenever more commonly spelled as Guinevere in other books. The various quests he goes on to distract himself from his illicit love are great adventure yarns. While these often have fantastical elements there is no juvenilia to speak of.
The characterization of Lancelot is very well done, he is the most interesting, complex and conflicted character in the book. It is also interesting that T. White makes him ugly instead of giving him the usual knight in shining armor look. His affair with Guenever is a tragedy for all concerned, the queen even drives him completely bonkers at one point. The final part of the book The Candle in the Wind continues the sophisticated tone of the previous part. This part of the book is a culmination of all the previous parts, even the childish animals transformations of The Sword in the Stone is given a mature context here.
The Candle in the Wind is mainly concerned with the downfall of King Arthur and there is no mention of Norma Jean anywhere. I really like this description of Arthur: Between the two of them they had worked out their theory that killing people, and being a tyrant over them, was wrong.
Now, in the effort to impose a world of peace, he found himself up to the elbows in blood. He turns a blind eye for the sake of his best friend and his unworthy wife. Unfortunately his vengeful son Mordred cannot leave well enough alone and this leads to a war he does not want, his Chivalry project and his Round Table collapsing miserably. The Candle in the Wind is the most philosophical part of The Once and Future King and leaves the reader with much to reflect upon.
If you are interested in Arthurian fiction this is definitely one for your TBR list. View all 17 comments. Aug 13, Matthias rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the best book I have ever read. My other 5-star-ratings pale in comparison to this big wonder of a book. My Goodreads-rating system needs revision. It's so much more than that. It's about everything that matters in life, told in the warm voice of a brilliant and gifted author.
He has struck a chord within me that will keep on trembling forever. Humor, adventure, suspense, tragedy, poetry, romance, philosophy, history, faith, so Five stars? Humor, adventure, suspense, tragedy, poetry, romance, philosophy, history, faith, sociology, tradition, fantasy, the list goes on and on. More than pages? By the time you're done with them it will have felt like days do after they are over. But not 'too short', for they will have left a mark.
This book is a friend. Possibly, probably, for life. I love him first page to last, and finishing it hurt a little as with all tender goodbyes, but I will revisit him often. This book is perfect in every way, apart from the problem it presents me with now: What to read next? Which book s to taint with its enormous shadow? Jan 17, Jeremy rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I read this book about every two years. It is one of my absolute favorites. The stories and the characters are so well-crafted that I can read it over-and-over time and again with just as much pleasure as the first time.
This novel is actually divided into four 'books' within itself, and while you can read the four books out of order, it really is meant to be read from front to back. There ar I read this book about every two years. There are a few scenes in the movie which are not in the book, and quite a bit in the book which is not in the movie, but the overall flavor is the same, and the essence of the story is there.
The main thing lacking from the movie, which is quite important in the novel, is that Merlin is teaching Arthur Wart about the ways of humanity, civilization, and society, so that when he becomes the King he will not just continue with things as they have been, but learn to reason and think for himself, to try his best to make the world a better place. These lessons are referred to again and again later in the novel. This first book has far more magic and fairy-tale qualities than any of the rest of the book.
The second book is called "The Queen of Air and Darkness", and primarily has to do with Arthur's nephews from his half-sister, Morgause, and ends with Morgause, not knowing that Arthur is her half-brother, bewitching him and seducing him to give her a child. This child, Mordred, is the essence of fate of Arthur and what makes this novel such a tragedy. White reveals this information as well, and knowing it here does not spoil the remainder of the book in anyway. This second book is one of the shortest of the four.
The third book is easily my favorite and is called "The Ill-Made Knight". It is the story of Sir Lancelot. This portion of the novel and many smaller pieces of it are where a great many Hollywood movies pull their King Arthur and Lancelot material from, only they usually get it all wrong. Lancelot, in this book, is the greatest knight in the world, though he is quite ugly - not the sexy and charming knight as is always portrayed in the movies.
His face is often compared to a gargoyle. I believe this is quite important. It helps the reader to better understand his relationship with Queen Guenevere "Jenny" and to understand that the Queen does not have this lifelong affair with her husband's best friend simply because he is charming and handsome and the best knight in the world. The character of Lancelot as are Arthur and Guenevere is so richly charactered. His struggles with his faith and humanity, and how those play against his love for his best friend's wife, are his lifelong struggles.
Lancelot is shown to be an honest person, of the truest sense, even though he lives this lifelong struggle of adultery with his best friend's wife. The love triangle between Lancelot, Guenevere, and Arthur and Qudrangle with God, as White often represents it is the heart of this book, though the book really focuses on Lancelot's internal struggles. This book, along with the first book, represents the bulk of this novel's content. The irony in this book is how Arthur's own new system of "justice" is used against him bring to light publicly the affair between Lancelot and Guenever.
This novel is a wonderful exploration of humanity, society, and civilization, and a beautiful fairy tale tragedy. Mar 21, Katie rated it it was amazing Shelves: Spoiler alert, I guess. I love this book so much, you guys. It is possibly my new favorite book. The Once and Future King is a book about nostalgia, though not in the typical sense. If anything, it can be read as an examination of its failure: Moments of beauty are precarious, nearly always undercut in the end by the violent or the absurd.
At first, The Once and Future King seems oddly disconnected, jumping around from character to character throughout its four books. It is difficult at first to determine the protagonist. One of the most interesting parts of the whole book comes from a single chapter featuring the knight Lionel recounting his adventures in pursuit of the Holy Grail, a trip that reached its climax when he nearly killed his brother Bors. He then confesses that he did, in fact, kill a hermit attempting to protect his brother. Lionel rattles off a litany of mitigating circumstances, finishing with this: It is a master class in the potential of omniscient narration, and it is at times almost unbearably lovely and kind.
It also puts faith in the potential of the past: It is absolutely wonderful, and you should go read it as soon as you can. Mar 20, Markus rated it it was ok Shelves: The Once and Future King is at the same time a very classical and completely unique retelling of the Arthurian legend, but it unfortunately falls short of almost all the others. On one side it's an interesting attempt at reforging the legend to something not quite set in time and place, and a fascinating mix of Medieval English myths.
On the other there are many aspects of the style that ranged from slightly annoying to deeply flawed. Firstly, the book is written too much like a fa A curious book. Firstly, the book is written too much like a fairytale for my taste. I realise this is what some people would want, but I couldn't take the constant use of things like castles made out of food, extremely forgetful and laughable knights, and witches seemingly taken from the pages of the Brothers Grimm.
Second, the anachronisms are absolutely unforgivable. White is apparently talking to the reader, and thus sees fit to bring in, among other things: This does not belong in a medieval fantasy and serves for nothing but ruining the mood. Third, White does not place his Arthurian epic in a historical setting, or even in a vague context.
He puts it in the middle of the High Middle Ages, taking out all the events that actually happened during that time and calling it myth. This would have been fair enough if he had simply kept quiet about it, but alas, we get to hear all about the legendary William the Conqueror, the imaginary Richard Coeur de Lion, the supposed king Edward III, the so-called Henry IV. Just like the previous point, this just killed the book for me. The book does have its good sides. It is pleasant and entertaining reading sometimes although the entertainment occasionally comes from laughing at the author's style , and it does have a few enjoyable aspects.
It is incredibly, conservatively, British, to the extent of making Tolkien look like a radical hippie by comparison. It includes Merlyn as a time traveller constantly travelling backwards in time. And it serves the reader a moral lesson on the atrocity of war and nationalism, two of the greatest evils in the world, using said Merlyn, with his knowledge of the future, as a vehicle. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees. Even reviewing it accurately is an intimidating prospect.
I will try my best. Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, and Gareth. The titular character is their mother, Morgause, who is terrifying. The tone of the first book is blithe and frequently, brazenly crosses from mere Monty Python -like silliness to outright self-parody. Merlyn, born at the wrong end of time and constantly blurting out anachronisms, is mostly a figure of great fun, while his owl Archimedes, Sir Ector, and the haplessly questing King Pellinore are wholly so.
When I was younger, I remember watching The Sword in the Stone with a friend and being appalled by the irreverent treatment of Merlyn, especially the scene at the end where he shows up in the royal hall wearing a Hawaiian t-shirt and sunglasses. Little did I know that the book itself is almost as flippant—I think he wore a top hat in this version. Yet even at this early point we get subtle hints of the darkness to come. We then launch right into the early bloodlust of the Orkney brothers, and their sickeningly creepy relationship with their sickeningly creepy mom, but even this plot thread tangles for a while with the romantic travails of the senile Pellinore and a well-meaning trick by Sirs Palomides and Grunmore going horribly awry.
By the time that Morgause has worked her grisly magic on Arthur and become pregnant with the child of that incest, though, we are fairly settled in the darkness, with Lancelot, who even as a child is wracked with self-loathing and impossible expectations of himself. I can see that. The quest itself makes about as much sense here as it does in any other version, that is to say none. Lance and Gwen are not much younger. Yet Gareth, only a few years younger than Lancelot, is cut down in the bloom of his youth, and Mordred is portrayed as even younger.
Trying to figure it all out was starting to give me a headache, so I can only imagine how White felt writing it. Here Robin and his merry men exist independent of Richard and John—in fact, the real kings and queens are considered legends here. But all the suspension of disbelief is well worth it. Morgause boils a cat alive as part of her evil magic. Later she wraps Arthur in a ribbon of human skin in order to bespell him. The young Orkney boys slaughter a helpless unicorn and messily butcher it.
The man who later becomes Sir Bedivere beheads his wife for adultery. Agravaine slays his mother for the worst possible reason. No racy scenes are described, but we know that a drunk Lancelot gets deflowered by Elaine, mistaking her in his altered state for Guinevere. The young Arthur falls asleep having a vague dream about a beautiful, hypothetical wife, and awakens to find Morgause climbing out of his bed with her gruesome ribbon while her four young sons look on.
Lance and Gwen have secret liaisons for twenty-four years, none of which are ever shown. Mordred is hinted at sharing those feelings, and he also has a creepy preoccupation with Guinevere—his attempt to force her to marry him brings about the final battle.
Lancelot accuses the late Tristan of boorish behavior including racism: Lancelot gets hammered on one occasion. The musical Camelot is definitely prettier and simpler than the last half, but it catches all the important themes, and preserves the poignant ending with little Tom of Warwick who grows up to be Malory. This weighty novel will appeal to a wide range of people and I heartily recommend it to anyone who can handle its gory flashes and its sorrow. View all 4 comments. I knew enough about the King Arthur mythology through cinematic adaptations I've seen growing up, but this is the first time that I ever read a novel about this legendary hero, and I thought T.
H White's classic masterpiece The Once and Future King is the best place to start as any, considering the raving reviews I've encountered about this one every time I browse the medieval literature section in book-related websites. I was also drawn to this book because of this quotation taken from it: I was glad to pick this up again last week where I was already halfway through the first of the four segments. Now that I have officially finished the entire thing, I suppose what I can say first and foremost was that it wasn't everything that I hoped or wanted it to be--and that was pretty disappointing, honestly.
Nevertheless, there are exemplary aspects to it--particularly on the discussions concerning the ideologies of power and leadership; morality and gray areas--that are thoughtful and provocative. This book has very strong arguments which I immensely appreciated. Their chance encounter was supposedly destined and Merlyn is very fond of pointing out that he has clairvoyance, often humorously overwhelming Wart with prophesies from his distant future.
Their relationship is very unusual, an interpretation and approach that I'm not used to, but it remains nonetheless as my fondest and most favorite part of the entire novel. Wart doesn't feel special in any way and it baffles him why Merlyn has taken such an avid interest him especially when the boy has gotten accustomed to being treated of secondary importance to his more privileged friend, Kay.
His journey of self-discovery is an entertaining mix of the extraordinary and poignant where Merlyn forces him to question the social constructs of the era he lives in. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds.
Wart is a receptive student who eventually does accept that nothing his eccentric mentor is teaching him is inconsequential. Over the course of the first two hundred pages, Merlyn shapes Wart into the fine young man worthy of pulling out that famed sword Excalibur at the end of the first segment, and it's pretty much rewarding for our lead character and the readers to see Wart freely choose and embrace his fate even when he's absolutely terrified of the things Merlyn has warned him about for his future.
Next we have The Queen of Air and Darkness whose tackled events are twofold in scope; the first few years of Arthur Pendragon's reign and the wars he felt obliged to wage; and the curious adolescent misadventures of Queen Morgause's sons Agravaine, Gareth, Gawain and Gaheris whose unquestioning devotion and slightly if not gravely Oedipal-worship for their mother are upsetting and pitiful to read.
Queen Morgause is, of course, Arthur's half-sister, who will make him unwittingly commit an incestuous affair that will produce an offspring who is to be Arthur's ultimate downfall--Mordred. In this segment, there are noteworthy discussions about "Right" and "Might" between Arthur and Merlyn and his old friend and mentor continues to challenge him to think about every decision he makes as a king and the purpose and motivation behind every course of action he will take. Unless you do something, your reign will be an endless series of petty battles.
We've been following Wart's growth and evolution to King Arthur and his meditative discussions with his mentor Merlyn, and then all of a sudden we've switched central characters midway and they're the most irreconcilably selfish, distressing and unsympathetic pair I have ever encountered.
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I'm referring to Lancelot and Queen Guenever. I may have more sympathy for the former whose lamentations and struggles of moral judgment against the weakness of earthly desires can be quite moving in some moments during the book, but I absolutely abhorred this version of Guenever.
I assert that the writing for the women in this book is so appalling, even in medieval romance literature's standards. We have Guenever who is just vain, oppressive and pathetic and the commoner Elaine who is passive-aggressive yet also submissive and stupid. Both women are Lancelot's love interest and unrequited admirer, and they are respectively the devil and the deep blue sea for him as well. It's like reading the lives of a celebrity couple and a stalker-fan who wants to pull them apart.
And it's not even the trashy-fun, tabloid drivel kind of soap opera which was why I almost, ALMOST wanted to give up reading this book entirely. I did like this quote, however: Now, in their love, which was stronger, there were seeds of hatred, and fear and confusion growing at the same time; for love can exist with hatred, each preying on the other, and this is what gives it its greatest fury.
This happens when we revert back to Arthur who begins to question and doubt the choices and rules he had imposed on his kingdom. I just don't understand why I should care about Lancelot and Guenever's depressingly bland "love story" when I'm so invested in finding out more about King Arthur as a leader who is supposed to be a champion of the masses but has found himself becoming their oppressor instead and in ways he had been so committed in preventing in the first place. This was the man who argued with Merlyn that ideas should not be imposed on people but rather made available for them to choose or not to--and yet he finds himself doing the exact opposite because the supposedly noble knights in his service have taken advantage of their positions.
It was a channel for brute force, so that the people who had to use force could be made to do it in a useful way. But the whole thing was a mistake. It was a mistake because the Table itself was founded on force. Right must be established by right: I'm afraid I have sown the whirlwind, and now I shall reap the storm. I recall Jaime Lannister from George R.
R Martin's A Song of and Fire series once arguing that there are so many vows that knights take that it's often possible to follow one vow and forsake the other especially when they tend to contradict each other. White does tackle this but not nearly as straightforward as Martin's.
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His knights are still more inclined to hide under the veneer of moral self-righteousness to justify their machismo and misogyny. Even the bravest and most chivalrous of them all, Lancelot, still mistakes his own intentions but I can actually blame Guenever and Elaine for that. As a central character of The Ill-Made Knight , Lancelot is compelling but his inability to reclaim his weaknesses and use them instead to strengthened his convictions is ultimately the reason I stopped rooting for him.
The only real lesson I garnered from reading the torturous and unsurprisingly tragic relationship between Lance and Jenny is the fact that passions unchecked and consummated out of blind lust and immaturity are going to destroy you little by little, and Guenever most of all deserved whatever is coming for her. I frankly want to wish away the "Lance and Jenny" disaster from the pages of this novel.
Give me a moral man who insists on doing the right thing all the time, and I will show you a tangle which an angel couldn't get out of. The personal drama between Lancelot and Guenever's revelation about their affair and Arthur's reaction to it is one that really amused me to no end because Arthur has been aware of the affair since it started thanks to Merlin, the walking spoiler alert but chooses not to do anything about it as long as it's left unspoken.
What follows over the course of the pages is actually rather suspenseful for me. Everyone's dishonor and sin have caught up with them; Guenever's jealousy, Lancelot's pride and betrayal and Arthur's ineffectual stand against these two people and his unwillingness to accept Mordred as a son as well as a couple of other things I won't spoil here.
In the most twisted and ironic twist of fate, these three characters have no other choice but to stay united against the joint forces of Mordred and Agravaine who are determined to end Arthur's reign in Camelot. Arthur's conflict for me in this last segment is very riveting to watch unfold; all the lessons Merlyn have taught him have lead him to this moment. Arthur does not want to unravel the society he has built, but to preserve it, he must sacrifice the two people he loves most.
In summary, The Once and Future King was thought-provoking in ways that I enjoyed and consumed wholeheartedly, but it also fails to establish a well-balanced narrative that allows me to attach myself emotionally to its characters which diluted my investment in their eventual fates. I was very fond of Wart and Merlyn's relationship the most, and I would have liked to see Merlyn still play a role in the final years of Arthur's reign.
I also believe White should have lessened his focus on Lancelot and Guenever and showed us more about Lancelot's relationship with Arthur as oppose to telling us in passing. I think Arthur and Lancelot's relationship is more important than his affair with Guenever and if Guenever was written better then perhaps her role in the story wouldn't have been so wasteful and indigestible to read.
I maintain that this is a remarkable classic as a whole as long as you can select the parts to remember the most fondly. I must also caution anyone who plans to read this novel to endure the insufferable length of the third segment because, overall, this is still a worthwhile read. View all 16 comments. Jul 16, Travis French rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Just last week I finished one of the greatest books I have ever read. I had never heard of the book until it was mentioned in Bryan Singer's X-Men movies. Xavier talks about it with his students and Magneto can be seen reading it while in his plastic prison.
Because all great works of art are connected I had to read the book. I didn't even know it was about King Arthur and his knights until I found it on Amazon. Like most people I was familiar with the Just last week I finished one of the greatest books I have ever read. Like most people I was familiar with the characters and parts of the plot.
What surprised me is how much of the story is a tragedy.
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The story couldn't really unfold any other way. It all starts quite simply. Arthur is a young boy called Wart. Wart lives a sequestered life in feudal England training to be a knight. One morning Wart is searching the forest for a lost falcon and stumbles upon Merlyn's cottage. It is here that the story really starts. Merlyn becomes Wart's tutor and teaches by turning the boy into all manner of animals.
Disney adapted this section, titled The Sword in the Stone, into one of its early animated features with a fair amount of accuracy. Disney's only noticeable changes are addition of musical numbers and the absence of Robin Hood. It is in these two sections that we meet Queen Morguase, mother of the Orkney clan, as well as Lancelot and Guenever. It is all of these characters, including Arthur himself, who ultimately bring about the downfall of Camelot.
The final section, titled The Candle in the Wind, brings everything to its inevitable conclusion. Lancelot, by rescuing Guenever from the stake, forces Arthur to leave Camelot in the care of a wretched little prick named Mordred. In the face of all this tragedy some hope survives. Arthur remembers his idea of a just and peaceful civilization, his candle in the wind, and passes it along to a young page named Thomas Mallory.
Mallory goes on to write Le Morte de Arthur, perhaps the earliest version of the Arthurian legend. What makes the book so great is the level of realism White brings to what would otherwise be a fairy tale. A professional journalist turned novelist White cares about the world he creates. He knows what details would add to the plot and what might take away from it.
The characters are well rounded human beings; motivated by both their strengths and weaknesses. They live in a real place and coexist with all manner of fantastic beasts. Magic is a natural part of life; no more extraordinary than a jousting match. Like any great work of art I was sorry I had to finish. I say so, so it better happen. It will not happen for hundreds of years, but both of us are to come back. Jul 16, Cornelia Funke rated it it was amazing. The ONE book I'd take to the island.
I would chop off a finger to have written this book! Jun 12, Cindy Rollins rated it it was amazing Shelves: I had assigned this to 6 of my children to read but had never read it myself. Now I am thinking perhaps it should be read a little later than 7th grade. I am not sure a seventh grader can grasp the glory of it. What a book or maybe I should say what five books!! The Sword in the Stone: The Queen of Air and Darkness: The Candle in the Wind: The Book of Merlin: Arthur, the story of every good man or woman.
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The earnest quest to build a better world. The ever-increasing chasing after perfection. The ultimate betrayal and the death of a vision. Finally, the rebirth of hope. I have lived that story. T H White has lived it, and probably you have too. This is a full five-star book. Aug 05, Jamie rated it liked it. I really didn't get what I expected out of this book, which I always thought was a serious retelling of the King Arthur legend.
I mean, it is that. But it's strangely paced and the work's tone follows this odd arc across its four books that put me off. The first book, "The Sword in the Stone," follows Arthur's childhood, and it's dippy, whimsical, and laden with fantasy. It is, in fact, not too far from the Disney cartoon adaptation of the same name. Arthur has all kinds of adventures I really didn't get what I expected out of this book, which I always thought was a serious retelling of the King Arthur legend. Arthur has all kinds of adventures when his tutor Merlin turns him into different kinds of animals so that he can commune literally with nature.
There's also legendary figures like Robin Hood and mythical creatures like griffins. The whole thing was chock full of anachronisms and modern humor, which was pretty distracting. It's probably good stuff for young adults, but I found it pretty silly and almost quit reading. The weird thing is that beginning in the next book and continuing on through the last two, things start to get more serious.
The second book still has some humor and silliness in it, such as when two knights create an elaborate costume to impersonate the mythical Questing Beast, only to have a real Questing Beast fall in love with them and pursue them across the countryside. But it's more melancholy, too. The third book turns its focus to Sir Lancelot's rise to prominence, and by the fourth book there is no humor at all and the tone is utterly tragic as it recounts the star-crossed love triangle between King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Queen Guenever.
It ends quite sadly and is a far cry from a young boy who turns into a talking fish and has grand adventures in the Sherwood Forest. I actually enjoyed the parts dealing with Arthur, Lancelot, and Guenever. It's a powerful story about love, loyalty, honor, justice, and pride. Those are the kind of powerful concepts that I think of when somebody mentions the Arthurian legends, and it works here.
What didn't work quite as well is how the whole novel jumps around from focus to focus and lurches along the time line without any concern for pacing. This is a story that should have felt more epic in places, and it didn't. I also didn't like how the first book about Arthur's childhood had a tone that was so discordant with the rest of things. It's not even like they're part of the same story or world. Still, it was more entertaining and enjoyable than not, especially the tragedy revolving around a king, his queen, and his most loyal sorta and upstanding kinda knight.
And it's all pretty clean with just a little violence, so I think a lot of young adults would like it, especially if they're into the setting. Jan 14, Richard rated it did not like it Shelves: I got to page before I resigned to the fact I wasn't enjoying this book and only read a couple of chapters a day after that.
There is so much wrong with this book I cannot understand why it is so popular. Firstly there is virtually no action, adventures or quests that you would expect from a King Arthur book. It plods along painfully slowly with little or nothing going on for pages and pages at a time. Every thing is described in huge detail, even really mundane activities that are going on t I got to page before I resigned to the fact I wasn't enjoying this book and only read a couple of chapters a day after that.
Every thing is described in huge detail, even really mundane activities that are going on that have nothing to do with the plot and boring conversations go on and on when the could have been easily summed up in a few lines rather than a page or two of dull dialogue. Conversely many of what should be exciting parts are summed up in a couple of paragraphs. The story as well as being slow, bumps along without any real book long plot almost like a group of short stories that have been hashed together.
Many major events are told after the events by characters. The death of some characters are talked about by other characters some time after they have died. The entire Grail Quest is told only by those that return from it none of those were successful to the king and queen. Two major battles are told about in a letter and Arthur's final battle against Mordred isn't told at all. All of this gives a huge disconnect to the story and turns what should have been exciting passages into something fairly dull. The characters are often comic without being funny.
Others are unbelievable and unrelatable and act in ways that make no sense. Many of the characters act irrationally and are very inconsistent making it even harder to understand or like them. Lancelot is an awful characters, he regularly kills and injures others for little or no reason, goes to great lengths to cover up his affair with the queen and generally acts very deceitfully. One example is that he finds a tent and goes to sleep in a bed in it, the owner of the tent returns, Lancelot wakes up and he tries to kill the owner. Another time he is caught in the queens bedchamber by 14 other Knights, he tricks one of them into coming in by himself, Lancelot overpowers and kills him, takes his sword and armour, kills all but one of the other knights, the one that he 'spares' comes away with a broken arm.
Despite all this most other characters think Lancelot is the best knight ever and the knight who got the broken arm is in the wrong because he should have died fighting! The Lancelot and Queens affair is horribly written with no warmth to it, they spend most of the time behaving like a mixture spoiled children and a bitter old couple. I had no sympathy for them at all. The king is very weak and boring, he started of great as a child but once he is an adult he is pretty pathetic. He even knows about the queens and Lancelot's affair and does nothing about it.
There are quite a few analogies that have either dated very badly or would not makes sense to most people outside of Britain. A couple are even pretty racist, sexist or otherwise offensive by today's standards. If I was given the choice of re-reading this book or actually reading Twilight for the first time, I think the tween vampire romance novel would win out View all 5 comments. Jun 07, Seth rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: My favorite book in the universe. Decisively not for everyone, it is rambling, preachy, occasionally tedious, and always outrageously British.
Much of it consists of a cranky Englishman going on and on about whatever happens to pop into his head, whether it be the intricacies of jousting or lamentations on the current state of film industry yeah, what? Many will find it insufferably pretentious. But it is also hilarious, and sad, and it contains everything that is good about life My favorite book in the universe.
But it is also hilarious, and sad, and it contains everything that is good about life. I will attempt to explain four reasons why I love this book so much. First, it contains in the chapters about Sir Lancelot the most accurate description of chronic depression that I have ever read. Third, for all his verbosity, White knows how to cut with words.
Every once in a while reading this massive tome, I will come across a single line that is so devastatingly sad, or so deeply, uncomfortably penetrating, or so I don't even KNOW what, that just reading makes me feel like White just concentrated all the wisdom and wit in the universe into some kind of literary laser-beam and used it to cut away at curtain of reality just a teensy bit, then pulled it back to expose some sort of deep, eternal truth about the human condition.
And this is from a science guy who thinks that the human condition as revealed by literature is bullshit. Some of these lines are on my profile. They might not work so well out of context.
The Once and Future King
Fourthly, reading this book made me a better person. They're usually not sure what that thing is. Most of them destroy themselves in the doing of it.
And, of course, it's not clear that they succeed. But the trying is beautiful. And it made me think that maybe I should try too, every once in a while. If anyone is actually reading this, I assure you that this is by far the most earnest thing I will ever write. Everything else will be full of hipster snark and irony. Where I got the book: