The Buried Giant

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Buried Giant can help.
Querig is a female dragon that has been trapped in a pit at the top of a mountain by Merlin and King Arthur. King Arthur ordered Merlin to cast a spell on Querig’s breath so that anyone who breathes this mist loses both short-term and long-term memories. Because of where she’s trapped, Querig’s breath permeates the entire country of England and forces both Britons and Saxons to forget that they were ever at war, which also helps establish peace between them. King Arthur also ordered Sir Gawain to serve as Querig’s protector. At the time of the story, Querig has grown very old and Sir Gawain believes she only has one or two years left to live. Once she dies, everyone’s memories will be restored. Wistan, a Saxon, does remember the crimes the Britons committed against the Saxons and is sent by a Saxon leader to slay Querig. After Edwin is bitten by a dragon, Wistan uses him to discover where Querig lives. Axl and Beatrice also discover that Querig is the one making them forget their pasts, so they also decide to help kill her by feeding her a poisoned goat. In the end, Sir Gawain is killed by Wistan while trying to protect Querig. Wistan then slays Querig and, once she stops breathing, people slowly begin to remember the past and a new war seems imminent.

Querig Quotes in The Buried Giant

The The Buried Giant quotes below are all either spoken by Querig or refer to Querig. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Buried Giant published in 2015.
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Axl, tell me. If the she-dragon’s really slain, and the mist starts to clear, Axl, do you ever fear what will then be revealed to us?”

“Didn’t you say it yourself, princess? Our life together’s like a tale with a happy end, no matter what turns it took on the way.”

“I said so before, Axl. Yet now it may even be we’ll slay Querig with our own hands, there’s a part of me fears the mist’s fading.”

Related Characters: Axl (speaker), Beatrice (speaker), Querig
Related Symbols: The Mist
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:

“Should Querig really die and the mist begin to clear. Should memories return, and among them of times I disappointed you. Or yet of dark deeds I may once have done to make you look at me and see no longer the man you do now. Promise me this at least. Promise, princess, you’ll not forget what you feel in your heart for me at this moment. For what good’s a memory’s returning from the mist if it’s only to push away another? Will you promise me, princess? Promise to keep what you feel for me this moment always in your heart, no matter what you see once the mist’s gone.”

Related Characters: Axl (speaker), Beatrice, Querig
Related Symbols: The Mist
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“A dark man he may have been, but in this he did God’s will, not only Arthur’s. Without this she-dragon’s breath, would peace ever have come? Look how we live now, sir! Old foes as cousins, village by village. Master Wistan, you fall silent before this sight. […] Her breath isn’t what it was, yet holds the magic even now. Think, sir, once that breath should cease, what might be awoken across this land even after these years! Yes, we slaughtered plenty, I admit it, caring not who was strong and who weak. God may not have smiled at us, but we cleansed the land of war. Leave this place, sir, I beg you.”

Related Characters: Sir Gawain (speaker), Wistan, King Arthur, Querig, Merlin
Page Number: 285
Explanation and Analysis:

“You and I longed for Querig’s end, thinking only of our own dear memories. Yet who knows what old hatreds will loosen across the land now? We must hope God yet finds a way to preserve the bonds between our peoples, yet custom and suspicion have always divided us. Who knows what will come when quick-tongued men make ancient grievances rhyme with fresh desire for land and conquest?”

“How right to fear it, sir,” Wistan said. “The giant, once well buried, now stirs."

Related Characters: Axl (speaker), Wistan (speaker), Beatrice, Querig
Page Number: 297
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Buried Giant LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Buried Giant PDF

Querig Character Timeline in The Buried Giant

The timeline below shows where the character Querig appears in The Buried Giant. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...detour to meet Father Jonus. Ivor observes that the path to the monastery is in “Querig country,” which somewhat startles Axl and prompts him to ask if the “she-dragon” is still... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
Ivor says that he thinks the real danger associated with Querig “comes less from her own actions than from the fact of her continuing presence.” Ivor... (full context)
Chapter 5
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
The grey-haired soldier tells Sir Gawain that Wistan is here to slay Querig, which alarms Sir Gawain. Wistan confirms that this is part of his mission but says... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...Brennus has a man who can tame dragons with him, and he intends to tame Querig and use her in battle. Wistan’s mission is to kill the dragon before she can... (full context)
Chapter 6
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...attempted up until the last moment to make Wistan promise not to try to kill Querig and instead speed home immediately after bringing Axl and Beatrice to the monastery. Wistan refused... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Axl “might be free of it” and get their memories back. Wistan tells her that Querig causes the mist and that the monks in the monastery protect her. Beatrice tells Axl... (full context)
Chapter 7
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...Sir Gawain explains, is why Wistan is interested in Edwin: he can lead Wistan to Querig. Edwin suddenly rushes to the gate and Sir Gawain grabs him. Edwin resists, but soon... (full context)
Gawain’s First Reverie
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...are distressed and he offers help, to which they reply that he should have slain Querig by now. By way of explanation, one widow says that as she was preparing to... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...if they would have called him a coward if they could have seen him face Querig with a band of men the first time. Furthermore, Sir Gawain had fulfilled a promise... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...his duty to the end.” For now, however, Sir Gawain and Horace must go to Querig because their “work is unfinished.” (full context)
Chapter 10
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...but that he also has a “hunter’s gift” and ability to track the location of Querig’s lair. Edwin says that not even Steffa had seen a quality like that in him,... (full context)
Chapter 12
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...him from running away. Edwin tells Wistan that he’s been lying about bringing him to Querig. Wistan asks him to explain, but Edwin can’t because he forgets what his confession was... (full context)
Chapter 13
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...she’s still anxious for this to happen because it would be “a fine thing” for Querig to die and the mist to be lifted. (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...special leaves that would make it poisonous in the hope of using it to kill Querig. The children ask Axl and Beatrice if they will take their remaining goat up to... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...him something. Beatrice asks what it is and Axl tells her that if they kill Querig and get rid of the mist, he wants her to promise not to forget how... (full context)
Gawain’s Second Reverie
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...had been such a brave help when they had first come up the mountain to Querig and lost two of their companions. Gawain remembers when one of them, Buel, had been... (full context)
Chapter 15
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...Sir Gawain, appalled, refuses. Beatrice expresses interest in waiting to see if Wistan will slay Querig. (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...on the mountain instead of with their son. Beatrice explains that they want to see Querig slain and that they brought a poisoned goat. Edwin strains against the ropes Wistan tied... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...if he is the dragon’s protector, which Sir Gawain confirms is true. Wistan asks if Querig is close and Sir Gawain says that this is true, as well. Beatrice asks how... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...leads them to a pile of rocks from which they can look down and see Querig, who is sleeping and looks as if she is aging and fragile. Beatrice says that... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...begs Wistan to think about “what might be awoken across this land” if he kills Querig and to just leave. Wistan questions what kind of god “wishes wrongs to go forgotten... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...him and killing the dragon. Wistan walks by Axl and Beatrice to look down at Querig. Beatrice asks him to hurry and slay the dragon, but Wistan is staring at Axl... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Wistan descends into the pit without waking up Querig and only examines her for a few moments before cutting off the dragon’s head. Axl... (full context)