The Once and Future King Part 3, Chapters 27-29 Summary

T. H. White

Part 3, Chapters 27-29 Summary

Gawaine and Mordred arrive at Camelot to beg for mercy for killing their mother and Lamorak. Gawaine comes with some sense of shame, but Mordred has no regret. Both Gawaine and Mordred bow before King Arthur and ask for pardon. Arthur quickly gives it and tells them to go away. Lancelot and Guenever silently wonder that the king seems willing to forgive matricide, an act that could destroy the foundations of the Round Table.

Arthur returns to his previous conversation about the purpose of the Round Table. He had originally founded it as a way to use Might for Right, but now all the giants, dragons, and evil knights are gone, so there is no channel for that Might. It is because of this that the knights are beginning to fall into shameful battles, such as this with Gawaine and Mordred. He decides he wants to use Might, not for an earthly battle, but for a spiritual one. He wants the knights to fight for God, not for the rights of men. Lancelot suggests that they quest for the Holy Grail. At this moment, a messenger arrives to tell Lancelot that his Uncle Dap has a young man who seeks Lancelot to make him a knight. The young man’s name is Galahad. Lancelot leaves, while Guenever is conscious that her lover is going to his son by another woman.

For the next two years, the Knights of the Round Table set off on their quests for the Holy Grail. Many die, and many disappear. Sir Gawaine returns to Camelot and tells King Arthur and Queen Guenever of his adventures. He encountered Sir Galahad many times, and Lancelot’s son has taken on an almost holy persona. Sir Gawaine unknowingly kills his own cousin, Sir Uwaine. He returns home after having been severely wounded.

Sir Lionel, a cousin of Sir Lancelot, is the next to arrive at Camelot. He is served by King Arthur and Queen Guenever, who want to hear of his quest. Sir Lionel tells of his struggles against his brother, Sir Bors, who is a pious but difficult man. On his quest, Bors was begged to give up his righteousness or cause the death of someone. Bors refused, so many people died. Sir Lionel planned to kill Sir Bors, but a hermit interceded. Lionel killed the hermit and prepared to go after his brother. Another man, Sir Colgrevance of Gore, berated Lionel for what he had done. Lionel took after Sir Colgrevance, who begged Sir Bors to stop him. Lionel killed Sir Colgrevance and then turned to kill Bors. Suddenly, the sun came out, and the two brothers laughed and made peace. Lionel is sure that it will be Bors who finds the Grail.