The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King


T. H. White

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The Once and Future King Characters

King Arthur or Wart

Arthur is the main protagonist of the novel. He is the illegitimate son of King Uther Pendragon, although he spends his childhood thinking he is a lowly squire. King Arthur is married to Queenread analysis of King Arthur or Wart

Sir Lancelot

Lancelot is considered to be the best knight in Arthur's court and his best friend. Lancelot, despite his talent, is deeply insecure and conflicted about his worthiness. He has a long affair with Queenread analysis of Sir Lancelot

Queen Guenever

Guenever is married to King Arthur, although she has a long love affair with Sir Lancelot. Despite her affair, Guenever is a deeply complex, beautiful, and fundamentally good person. Although she betrays Arthur… read analysis of Queen Guenever


Merlyn is an eccentric magician who serves as Wart's tutor throughout his childhood. Merlyn lives time backwards and thus already knows what is going to happen to Arthur. By turning Wart into different… read analysis of Merlyn

Queen Morgause

Morgause is an evil witch and one of Arthur's half-sisters. She is sister to Morgan Le Fay and Queen Elaine (different from the Elaine who seduces Lancelot), and mother to Gawaine, Gaherisread analysis of Queen Morgause
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King Pellinore

King Pellinore is one of the first knights Wart meets as a child. He is a bumbling idiot, but good-hearted, whose life purpose is to chase the Questing Beast. However, in Book II, Pellinore… read analysis of King Pellinore


Gawaine is one of the Orkney brothers and Morgause's son. He also becomes one of Arthur's knights and goes off on many quests. He is depicted throughout as a barbaric figure that cannot… read analysis of Gawaine


Gareth is one of the Orkney brothers, but is the most moral and sensitive of them all. As the youngest, except Mordred, he flees Orkney for Camelot where he becomes a pageboy in the… read analysis of Gareth


Agravaine is another of the Orkney brothers and the most twisted of them all, excepting Mordred. He is deeply in love with his mother Morgause and eventually kills her when he finds her in… read analysis of Agravaine

Sir Galahad

Galahad is Lancelot's son with Elaine. He is the most deeply moral and religious characters in the novel and remains a virgin his whole life. He is one of the knights to find… read analysis of Sir Galahad


On his first quest, Lancelot rescues the young Elaine from a tower. She falls in love with him and seduces him, and eventually gives birth to his son Galahad. Elaine is a tortured woman… read analysis of Elaine

King Uther Pendragon

King Uther is Arthur's father and predecessor. While King of England he killed the Earl of Cornwall and then married his wife Queen Igraine. Before they were married, Igraine gave birth to their son—Arthur—who… read analysis of King Uther Pendragon
Minor Characters
Mordred is Arthur's illegitimate son by Queen Morgause. Mordred is a sickly, twisted man who turns mad in his later years. While Arthur is away in France, Mordred falsely announces that Arthur is dead and crowns himself King of England.
Sir Kay
Kay is Sir Ector's son and grows up as Wart's companion. During their childhood, Kay is egotistical, insecure and deeply jealous of Wart. When he is made a knight, Wart acts as his squire until he pulls the sword from the stone.
Sir Ector
Sir Ector is Wart's guardian until he is crowned King, although he has no idea of Wart's royal parentage. Sir Ector is a good man, but also a very comedic figure because he is somewhat idiotic. Sir Ector makes very few appearances after the first Book.
Sir Grummore Grummerson
Sir Grummore is another of the knights featured in Book I. Again, much like Sir Ector and King Pellinore, he is a bumbling idiot and a very comedic figure—although ultimately a good-hearted knight.
Gaheris is one of the Orkney brothers, but is featured least in the novel. He is one of Arthur's knights, but is killed by Lancelot, along with Gareth, when Lancelot rescues Guenever from her execution.
Sir Percival
Percival is one of King Pellinore's sons. He is pure, gentle but a somewhat bumbling knight. Because of his innocence however, he is one of the knights to find the Holy Grail and never returns from the quest.
Sir Bors
Sir Bors is one of the knights to find the Holy Grail, but does return from the quest. He is described by White as a misogynist, who nonetheless remains loyal to Lancelot throughout the novel.
King Lot
King Lot is married to Queen Morgause and leads the Gaelic rebellion against Arthur at the beginning of the novel. He is also father of Gawaine, Gaheris, Gareth and Agravaine.
Morgan Le Fay
– Morgan is one of the Cornwall sisters and the most powerful witch. In Book I, Wart and Kay must enter her Castle to free prisoners. She reappears in some of the later quests Arthur's knights undertake.
Uncle Dap
Uncle Dap is Lancelot's uncle and squire.
Nimue is the young witch Merlyn falls in love with. She ultimately imprisons Merlyn in a cave for thousands of years.
King Pelles
Elaine's father. When Lancelot arrives at his castle as a mad-man, King Pelles—while drunk—places his gown around Lancelot, thus revealing Lancelot's true self.
The goose with whom Wart becomes friends during his time as a goose. Lyo-Lyok teaches Wart about there being no need for borders between people.
Mr. P
The evil pike dictator of the moat. This is the first character who introduces Wart to the idea of Power and Might vs. Right
Sir Meliagrance
The knight who, being in love with Guenever, kidnaps her. He is eventually killed by Lancelot in a trial by combat.
Igraine, Duchess of Cornwall
Originally the wife of the Earl of Cornwall. After the Earl is killed by King Uther, she becomes the king's wife. Before they are married, she gives birth to King Uther's son, Arthur, who must be hidden away.