The Once and Future King by T. H. White

The Once and Future King is a wisdom-searching reader’s novel that is going to be enjoyed. This book is actually four stories placed into one text, although each section of the book is marked in the table of contents. This book isn’t a tough read for anyone who can’t focus for long because each quarter of the novel is split into small 10-12 page chapters, although some chapters are longer.

At the beginning of the first book, it tells the jovial adventures of a young Arthur (is referred to as Wart), Kay, Merlyn, and Archimedes the Owl. This part of the book is of kin to books for children (although children with vocabularies higher than average). Nevertheless, T. H. White sneaks in allusions to political structure, albeit in animal form.

The second book is darker, less humorous, and deals with King Lot and the other kings that sided alongside him against the newly-crowned and still young monarch Arthur, and tells the reader the tale of the young Orkney brothers; Gawain, Agravaine, Gareth, and Gaheris.

The third book, which is much more meditative and serious, tells the tale of Lancelot, the invincible knight with the face of an African ape. Lancelot is torn between responsibility and desire, and what’s more is that each of these desires is conflicting because he wants to be true to God, to give into his covetousness for Guinevere, and be loyal to his friend and majesty Arthur; and feels guilt for abandoning his wife and son, in addition to what he has done to Arthur.

The fourth book is utterly bleak due to a twisted and evil illegitimate child of a king that has become a knight, who seeks to destroy Arthur’s ideals by manipulating them. The final pages are Arthur lamenting over why men fight.

Overall this tome is worth the read if you are searching for a manuscript that will provide you with both many hours of enjoyment, and of thoughtfulness. Although it is not for children as it has incest, adultery, and other things that do not deserve to be placed any where near a young child’s mind.