The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 38 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, Nimue arrives at Camelot on behalf of Merlyn (who is locked in a cave) and clears up the whole Patrick accusation with her foresight. Although this is resolved and Lancelot returned to save the Queen, he still will not give up his loyalty to God. Guenever grows angrier by the day and begins to convince herself that she never loved him.
Lancelot and Guenever's relationship is fraught with bitterness—she will not accept his religiosity and becomes a petulant, demanding woman.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Just at this time, Arthur arranges a tournament that happens to take place near the Castle Corbin—where Elaine now lives out her middle-age. The Queen is bitter and accuses Lancelot of wanting to go to the tournament so he can see Elaine; she makes him promise not to go. However, when the day dawns for the tournament, Guenever regrets this and tells Lancelot firmly that he must go. Lancelot feels as though his heart is breaking in two and fears the madness she once pushed him to. Nevertheless, he sets out for Corbin.
Once more, Guenever is transformed into a petulant, selfish woman—just as when she turned him mad. Lancelot accepts this side to her and simply does as she commands, deeply saddened but unable to not love her.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
As he rides towards Corbin, Lancelot is surprised to see Elaine standing on the battlements where he left her twenty years before. She has grown plain and dumpy. She has been waiting for him. With the following words, Elaine sends a stab through Lancelot's heart: "You will be staying for good now."
Elaine's tragedy is her dogged faithfulness. Despite the fact that she once seduced Lancelot, White describes her as a faithful, tortured woman so that we compare Guenever's petulance to Elaine's patience.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon