The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King Book 2, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
To help King Pellinore get over his lovesickness, Sir Palomides and Sir Grummore decided to dress as the questing beast and allow King Pellinore to quest for them. For a week, King Pellinore barely sees his friends as they stitch a costume.
The behavior of the knights becomes even more satiric and comedic as they stitch a costume to pretend they are the questing beast.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
The Queen, meanwhile, realizes it is useless to try and seduce the knights. So when, one morning, Gareth nervously comes to her with white heather, she covers him in kisses. Gareth runs off excitedly through the castle to tell his brothers. He finds them arguing about their mother. Suddenly, Gawaine has his hands around Agravaine's throat and beats his head against the floor.
The four brothers are incredibly loyal to one another but treat each other cruelly. Their bond is a vicious, harsh connection that seems to circle endlessly around their mother and her neglect, which has made them both come together as they are all they have, but also compete for her notice.
Themes
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
Soon, the knights finish the questing beast costume. They tell Pellinore that they have spotted a beast near the cliff earlier. Pellinore is confused and unexcited; he is tired of forever chasing the beast alone. But, he realizes, it has been eighteen years since last he chased it and so finally agrees.
It is odd that after so many years of dedication to questing, Pellinore has lost his excitement for it. The quest was perhaps simply a means, something to keep him amused until he met the Queen of Flanders' daughter.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Sir Grummore and Sir Palomides button themselves into the costume. Meanwhile, King Pellinore stands under the dripping cliff in full armor, thinking about the Queen of Flanders' daughter, about the last time he had seen her and the letters he has written to her. Sir Grummore and Sir Palomides bicker in the tight costume; suddenly, Sir Palomides feels something cold and slippery, and the two begin to run. King Pellinore, bored, decides to go to bed and begins to climb the cliff where he comes across the counterfeit beast arguing with its stomach. At the base of the cliff, the Questing Beast herself waits in the moonlight.
This scene is truly comedic—the knights are clowns, dressing up in a ridiculous costume. Meanwhile, the entire false quest distracts Pellinore from the actual Questing Beast.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Get the entire The Once and Future King LitChart as a printable PDF.
The once and future king.pdf.medium