The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 42 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
By the time Sir Meliagrance arrives at his castle with Guenever, he knows Lancelot will soon arrive. He decides the best thing to do is to blockade the castle so Lancelot will have to lay siege to it. However, the castle is in disorganized mayhem: people are trying to herd cattle in from the farmland; maids are fetching water in tubs and bringing it into the castle; and Sir Meliagrance is trying hurriedly to ready his guest chambers for Guenever.
The narrator describes Meliagrance's failed attempt to kidnap Guenever in highly satirical ways—his castle is ill prepared and Meliagrance's main concern is making Guenever's room comfortable (because he is in love with her).
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Finally, as Guenever sits at the window dressing some of her knights' wounds, there is a clattering outside; coming towards the castle, riding a cart and pulling a mangled-looking horse behind, is Lancelot. Sir Meliagrance had him held up by archers (hence the mangled horse), but had not counted on Lancelot finding a cart. Lancelot storms up the drawbridge and through the gates before they can be closed. Meanwhile, Meliagrance has fled to Guenever and, kneeling, asks desperately for her forgiveness. She grants it. When Guenever sees Lancelot standing in the inner courtyard, and he sees her, it is as if the Grail quest and Elaine has never happened. They are lovers once more. Having forgiven Meliagrance, they decide to stay the night at his castle.
Even Lancelot in his rescue of Guenever is highly comedic—he is in full armor but is riding a carthorse. The whole event it humorous and subverts the traditional chivalric rescue of a lover.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon