The Buried Giant

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Buried Giant can help.

Briton Term Analysis

Britons were a people native to England, united by a common language, belief system, and culture. For many years, the Romans—who settled in England for a period before returning to Rome and who were much more technologically advanced—had helped protect the Britons from possible invaders, but their departure allowed the Saxons to migrate to the country and settle there. Britons felt that all of England was theirs by right and that they were morally and intellectually superior to Saxons because they had converted to Christianity. For centuries, Britons and Saxons fought each other for land and resources. The most famous Briton king was King Arthur, whose life inspired dozens of legends. Ultimately, the Britons were not able to completely eradicate the Saxons, but lasting peace was eventually established between them.

Briton Quotes in The Buried Giant

The The Buried Giant quotes below are all either spoken by Briton or refer to Briton. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 5 Quotes

“Even so, sir, isn’t it a strange thing when a man calls another brother who only yesterday slaughtered his children? And yet this is the very thing Arthur appears to have accomplished.”

“You touch the heart of it just there, Master Wistan. Slaughter children, you say. And yet Arthur charged us at all times to spare the innocents caught in the clatter of war. More, sir, he commanded us to rescue and give sanctuary when we could to all women, children and elderly, be they Briton or Saxon. On such actions were bonds of trust built, even as battles raged.”

Related Characters: Wistan (speaker), Sir Gawain (speaker), King Arthur
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“There are Britons who tempt our respect, even our love, I know this only too well. But there are now greater things press on us than what each may feel for another. It was Britons under Arthur slaughtered our kind. It was Britons took your mother and mine. We’ve a duty to hate every man, woman and child of their blood. So promise me this. Should I fall before I pass to you my skills, promise me you’ll tend well this hatred in your heart. And should it ever flicker or threaten to die, shield it with care till the flame takes hold again.”

Related Characters: Wistan (speaker), Edwin, King Arthur
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Buried Giant LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Buried Giant PDF

Briton Term Timeline in The Buried Giant

The timeline below shows where the term Briton appears in The Buried Giant. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...there with other women from the warren. Furthermore, the leader of the town is a Briton and a friend of hers. Even still, Beatrice says that the increased security means something... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The elderly man, addressing Axl and Beatrice in the Briton language, wonders how the guards could so soon forget their duty to stay at their... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...thinks this is interesting and wonders if it’s because he’s old or because he’s “a Briton living here among Saxons” that he seems to remember more than those around him. Axl... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...He also introduces the warrior as Master Wistan and tells them that Wistan speaks the Briton language with ease. Axl greets Wistan and tells him it’s an honor to meet such... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Wistan, catching himself staring, tells Axl that although Wistan is a Saxon, he lived among Britons for many years. Axl also notes that Wistan wears his sword like a Briton and... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...asked Wistan to take the boy with him and leave him at a village of Britons where he’ll be safe, and Wistan has agreed to think this plan over. Before leaving... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...about Edwin’s plight, saying that he wants to bring the boy to a village of Britons where Edwin will be safe. Wistan asks Axl if he would consider taking the boy... (full context)
Chapter 4
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...with Wistan, it seems to be coming true. Edwin looks back down at the old Britons and Wistan and wonders why they’re traveling together. He looks back to the soldiers on... (full context)
Chapter 5
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...a long time, the men didn’t leave. Realizing the soldiers belong to Lord Brennus (a Briton) and aren’t about to leave their post, Wistan suggests that he will keep his “jaw... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...a fight with Lord Brennus or his soldiers on account of being a Saxon in Briton-ruled territory. Furthermore, Wistan has been asked by his king to look into rumors about Saxons... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...Sir Gawain also assures Wistan that, although there are wars in other places, Saxons and Britons have “long been friends and kin” in this country. Wistan agrees and says he’ll be... (full context)
Chapter 6
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...village to talk with the elders and move amongst them, even though he was a Briton. This, however, was before Wistan was taken by soldiers and trained as a warrior by... (full context)
Chapter 8
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...top. Wistan said he thought this was once a trap: Saxons would lure bands of Briton soldiers in after filling the moat with firewood, run up the stairs so the soldiers... (full context)
Chapter 10
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...Brennus. Wistan says that he and Brennus had been trained to be warriors for the Britons together as children. Although Wistan had grown close with most of the other children, he... (full context)
Chapter 12
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...the dragon at all, but is tracking his mother, who had been taken away by Britons and “longs” to return to him. Wistan looks at Edwin strangely, almost as if he’s... (full context)
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...promise is, and Wistan replies that it’s to “carry in [his] heart a hatred of Britons.” When Edwin asks if this includes Britons who share bread with and protect him, Wistan... (full context)
Chapter 15
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
Denial and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...Sir Gawain rejects this idea and points out that, because of Merlin’s work, Saxons and Britons live side by side in peace. (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
...but Wistan is staring at Axl again. Wistan asks Axl if he is the “gentle Briton” that he remembers from his childhood and had tried to “keep innocents beyond the reach... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...Wistan says he doesn’t rightfully know, but thinks that he’s “been too long among you Britons,” having admired and despised them every step of the way. Now that his mission is... (full context)
Memory, Truth and Justice Theme Icon
War, Peace, Vengeance, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...buried, now stirs.” Once that giant rises, all the friendships and relationships between Saxons and Britons will be torn asunder and violence will break out. Wistan notes that this vengeance, for... (full context)
Chapter 16
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...decides to make whoever killed his mother pay. Edwin doesn’t see Wistan, just the old Britons. Beatrice tells him to go to Wistan, so Edwin runs forward. Suddenly he stops and... (full context)