The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 45 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Arthur, Guenever and Lancelot are on the eve of their Indian summer—gossip has been silenced and discourtesy put down. Arthur's kingdom is finally at peace.
It seems as if peace has been reached—yet many of the feuds and accusations at court have not be resolved, and are simply hidden for the time being.
Themes
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Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
However, Lancelot has to face one last challenge. There is a knight, Sir Urre from Hungary, who in his last tournament sustained so many wounds that they would never heal. It is said a curse had been put on him, and only the hands of the greatest knight in the world would close the wounds. Sir Urre has finally made it across the Channel to Britain and is asking for Lancelot to heal him. Arthur arranges it that at the Pentecost feast at the Carlisle court, every knight will attempt to heal Sir Urre.
Early in his life, Lancelot hoped to one day perform a miracle. However, since losing his virginity and starting a relationship with Guenever, he had laid all such hopes to rest—believing he was not pure enough. However, now he has an opportunity to perform such a miracle.
Themes
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
It is the feast of Pentecost and Lancelot is hiding in the harness-room. Whole lines of Knights are waiting to heal Sir Urre—half of them already having failed. Lancelot does not wish to try this miracle; he knows he will fail and knows then all the people will see his shame.
Despite his hope to perform a miracle, Lancelot does not want to attempt it: he knows that if he fails, his mythic persona will be destroyed, and he believes that because of his sins that he will fail. He cannot bear the thought of his pride and egotism being exposed.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
Finally, it is Lancelot's turn. He kneels next to Sir Urre but pleads with Arthur not to make him do this. But Arthur commands him too. Over in the stands, Guenever watches as Lancelot touches the knight. Suddenly, people are gathering around the two knights; Arthur is crying and gentlemen throw their hats. She hears "It shut like a box!" Meanwhile, Lancelot is kneeling next to the healed Sir Urre, weeping.
In healing the knight, Lancelot begins weeping. This is a form of breaking point in his character where he realizes, for the first time, that his sins are not overarching, that there is some purity to him still.
Themes
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
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