The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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The Once and Future King Book 2, Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After breakfast, Pellinore walks out along the shore where he comes across Sir Grummore and Sir Palomides dressed in their costume. They are pointing aggressively to the base of the cliff. It turns out that the questing beast, thinking the two knights are a beast, has fallen in love with them. She is at the base of the cliff, arching her back provocatively and fluttering her eyelashes. The two knights want Pellinore to kill her once and for all so that they can escape, which he refuses to do.
White's description of the questing beast is highly comedic and satiric—the questing beast as symbolic for the notion of the quest itself is treated as something light-hearted and ridiculous. This treatment deflates all romanticized notions of the quest. Now the questing beast is chasing the knights, rather than the other way around.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
They are able to make it back to the Castle and draw the drawbridge in time. The whole party mounts the battlements to look for Pellinore (who they believe must have been eaten). After an hour or so, two figures appear at the horizon—it is King Pellinore with his arm around a middle-aged woman! It turns out to be the Queen of Flander's daughter who had found them with the help of the Questing Beast. The castle lowers the drawbridge for Pellinore who tries to hold the Questing Beast back while the lady enters; however the Questing Beast rushed in quickly, knocking Pellinore flat. Later that night, the Gaels throw a bachelor party for Pellinore and celebrate his nuptials.
This comedic story is an interlude to the more sinister action elsewhere in the kingdom. Both its humor and its happy ending juxtapose the tragedy of the other action in the novel.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon