The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Spring arrives and Elaine throws a tournament for five hundred knights at her and Lancelot's new home. But, the Chevalier Mal Fet (Lancelot's new name) knocks down every single one without hurting anyone, and the whole tournament is a failure. Later, after the tournament, Elaine follows Lancelot to the battlements where he stands in a blaze of gold gazing desperately towards Camelot. His new shield with its image of a silver woman and a knight kneeling before her stands at his side. For the first time, Elaine realizes the woman is wearing a crown.
Lancelot may be jousting again, but he is not the same knight he used to be—he has lost his passion and spirit. Up until this point, Elaine had been deceiving herself that Lancelot would be content living with her in relative obscurity. But, when she sees his shield and realizes the woman is Guenever (because the woman is wearing a crown), she knows then that he will one day leave her.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
One morning, Elaine and Lancelot are sitting on the banks of the moat with Galahad when two strangers are announced, demanding to joust with the Chevalier. The jousting session with the first knight is a long, tedious affair because Lancelot patiently counters the other knight's thrusts and gives no attacks. Suddenly the knight throws down his helm and demands to know who Lancelot is and his identity is revealed. The knight—Degalis—claims Lancelot's brother Ector is the other knight at the gates. They are reunited and introduced to Elaine—she knows now she must host the people who will break her heart.
Now that Lancelot's identity has been revealed, it is only a matter of time before he returns to Camelot. Knowing this, Elaine does not try to interfere; much like Arthur, she simply accepts what is inevitable with a humility both endearing and pathetic.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon