The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lancelot is resolute to the remonstrations of the knights—he will not leave Elaine. They tell him that the Queen spent twenty thousand pounds looking for him; they talk about gossip from the court; how distraught both Arthur and Guenever have been since he left. Slowly, Lancelot's resolution begins to waver. He says, however, that he cannot leave Elaine; she has been good to him and he has grown to love her.
It is poignant that Lancelot says he loves Elaine—although it is unclear whether he truly means it. It appears he has grown to love her in the much the same way as Guenever loves Arthur—with fondness and esteem, but not with passion.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
The knights have been staying with them for a week now and Elaine knows she is going to lose Lancelot. She makes him promise that if he does leave, he will one day return to her. She tells him there is a man waiting outside the moat and that he must go to him. The man is Uncle Dap; he has Lancelot's horse and all his old armor folded neatly. Lancelot takes his armor and feels its familiar weight and curvature in his hands. He remembers Guenever—the real Guenever, not the one he has imagined. As Lancelot rides away, he does not look back; Elaine, watching from the battlements, does not wave.
When Lancelot promises Elaine he will return, this gives Elaine the hope she needs to keep on living—although Lancelot does not consider the weight of those words.
Themes
Fate (Time) Theme Icon