The Once and Future King Part 3, Chapters 6-7 Summary

T. H. White

Part 3, Chapters 6-7 Summary

Lancelot was, in essence, a cruel man; therefore, he took great pains to prevent his cruelty from being put in practice. He never killed a man who asked for mercy, and he never committed a cruel action that he could have prevented. Therefore, he was a man of honor, who performed what he promised.

When he and Arthur landed in England after returning from the Roman wars, they were met at the beach by Queen Guenever. When he sees Arthur kissing the queen, Lancelot’s insides twist and he immediately goes to a nearby inn to be alone. In the morning, Lancelot asks Arthur to send him on a quest. The king objects, wanting Lancelot to stay with him and the queen for a while. Lancelot becomes irate, stating that the whole purpose of the knights of the Round Table was to go on quests. Arthur calms him down and promises to send him on a quest.

Now, we are introduced to two knights by the names of Sir Carados and Sir Turquine, who do not believe in any form of government but the rule by force. Lancelot comes across Sir Carados, who has captured Sir Gawaine and holds him hostage. Lancelot fights and kills Sir Carados and releases Gawaine. He then joins his cousin Lionel to continue on his quest. While Lancelot sleeps, Lionel is captured by Sir Turquine, who we find out is Sir Carados’s brother. While Lancelot is still asleep, Queen Morgan le Fay, accompanied by three other witches, visits him and casts a spell on him. He is carried to the Castle Chariot where he is imprisoned. When he wakes, a damsel asks him to help her father, King Bagdemagus, who has been challenged to a tournament by the evil king Northgalis. She asks him to help her father in exchange for her help in rescuing him from imprisonment by Morgan le Fay.

At his release, Lancelot promises the damsel his help and rides off. He comes across a deserted pavilion. Tired, he lies down to sleep but is roused when a man sits on his foot. The two knights fight, and Lancelot seriously wounds the other. Realizing that neither one knows what they are fighting for, they become friends; Lancelot later invites the knight, whose name is Belleus, to join him at Arthur’s court.

Lancelot traces the location of Lionel at Turquine’s castle with the help of the damsel. Lancelot and Turquine fight for two hours until Turquine decides he will give the impressive knight mercy and release all his prisoners, unless he is Sir Lancelot. Lancelot readily reveals his name, and the two fight to the death, with Lancelot the victor. Among the prisoners is Gawaine’s brother Gaheris, who lends a horse to Lancelot.