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The Once and Future King | Study Guide

T. H. White

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The Once and Future King | Characters

Character Description
King Arthur King Arthur is the wise, kind-hearted ruler of Camelot; his attempts to do good prove futile, but he still hopes for a better future. Read More
Sir Lancelot Lancelot is the greatest knight in the world and the chief Knight of the Round Table; his desire to achieve perfection is thwarted when he falls in love with Queen Guenever. Read More
Queen Guenever Guenever is the passionate, courageous wife of King Arthur. As the Queen of Camelot, she loves two men, Arthur and Lancelot, which leads to difficulties for all three. Read More
Merlyn Merlyn is a wise, powerful wizard; he trains Arthur as a boy and guides him during the early part of his reign as king. Read More
Adulterous wife The adulterous wife is killed by her husband, Sir Bedivere, even though Lancelot tries to stop him.
Aglovale Aglovale is the eldest son of King Pellinore and Piggy; he is a noble knight who forgives the Orkney brothers (Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth) for killing his father and brother.
Agnes Agnes is Queen Guenever's maid.
Agravaine Agravaine is the second oldest son of Queen Morgause. He has a near-incestuous relationship with his mother and eventually kills her out of jealousy.
Sir Alphagus Sir Alphagus is a knight killed by Sir Urre.
Archimedes Archimedes is Merlyn's wise, talkative owl.
Badger Badger reads his thesis to Arthur about how humans are both similar to and different from other animals.
King Bagdemagus King Bagdemagus is helped in a tournament by Lancelot.
Balan Balan is a merlin (a small falcon). He befriends Arthur after Arthur has been changed into a merlin.
King Ban King Ban is a French monarch who comes to the aid of King Arthur at the battle of Bedegraine.
Sir Bedivere Sir Bedivere cuts off the head of his adulterous wife, despite Lancelot's orders to the contrary. Bedivere then repents and takes his wife's head to the pope as penance.
Bishop of Rochester Acting on behalf of the pope, the Bishop of Rochester forgives the repentant Guenever and Lancelot in an attempt to stop a war.
Bleoberis Bleoberis is a cohort of Sir Bors.
Sir Bliant A friend of King Pelles, Sir Bliant suspects the wild man is Lancelot.
King Bors French monarch King Bors comes to the aid of King Arthur at the battle of Bedegraine.
Sir Bors A cousin of Lancelot, Sir Bors is a misogynist and a pious knight. Together with Galahad and Percivale, he finds the Holy Grail (a legendary cup purported to have held Christ's blood when he was crucified).
Sir Carados A cruel knight, Sir Carados tries to uphold the notion of might-is-right. He is killed in a duel by Lancelot.
Sir Castor Sir Castor is the young knight who recognizes the wild man as Lancelot.
Cully Cully is an ill-natured goshawk; he almost eats Arthur after the boy has been turned into a merlin.
Uncle Dap Uncle Dap trains young Lancelot to become a great knight and later serves as his squire. His real name is Gwenbors.
Degalis Degalis is a knight and a friend of Lancelot.
Dog Boy After Dog Boy has his nose bitten off by the deranged Wat, he spends most of his time in the kennel taking care of dogs.
Dornar Dornar is one of the sons of King Pellinore.
Ector Ector is Lancelot's brother. He finds Lancelot staying at Elaine's castle and tries to convince him to return to Camelot.
Sir Ector Sir Ector is the father of Kay and the foster father of Arthur. He treats Arthur with kindness.
Queen Elaine Queen Elaine is the mother of Lancelot.
Elaine The daughter of King Pelles, Elaine tricks Lancelot into sleeping with her and bears his son, Galahad. A pretty but simple woman, Elaine loves Lancelot and tries to win him from Guenever, to no avail. With Lancelot gone and her son dead, she despairs and commits suicide.
Fat knight The fat knight is the husband of the gentlewoman. He tries to kill an unarmed Lancelot, who instead kills him.
Gaheris The third eldest of Queen Morgause's sons, Gaheris is simple-minded, usually following where his brothers lead.
Galahad The son of Lancelot and Elaine, Galahad becomes a perfect knight and finds the Holy Grail.
Gareth The youngest of Queen Morgause's sons, Gareth rebels against his mother and serves nobly as a Knight of the Round Table. He admires Lancelot and is accidentally killed by him.
Gawaine The eldest son of Queen Morgause, Gawaine is hot-tempered and loyal to his clan, but tries as best he can to serve as a good Knight of the Round Table. He seeks vengeance toward Lancelot after the latter accidentally kills two of Gawaine's brothers.
Gentlewoman The gentlewoman tricks Lancelot into climbing a tree to get a falcon, making him vulnerable to her husband who unsuccessfully tries to kill him.
Governess The governess is the first teacher of young Wart and Kay. She is somewhat muddled and has a mysterious wound.
Sir Grummore Grummursum A close friend of Sir Ector, Sir Grummore disguises himself, along with Sir Palomides, as the Questing Beast, causing the real Questing Beast to fall in love with them.
Hedgehog Hedgehog is a timid animal who begs Arthur (who has been changed into a badger) not to eat him.
Hob Hob trains the hunting birds at Sir Ector's castle.
Igraine Igraine is Arthur's mother. After she is raped by King Uther Pendragon, she bears Arthur. Because Arthur is an illegitimate child, he is sent away from his parents.
Kay Kay is the son of Sir Ector. An insecure, spoiled boy, Kay grows up with and often fights with the young Arthur, but accepts him as king when Arthur pulls the sword from the stone.
Lamorak Lamorak is the son of King Pellinore and Piggy and the brother of Aglovale, Percivale, and Dornar. After being seduced by Queen Morgause, he is stabbed in the back and killed by Mordred.
Sir Lavine Sir Lavine is a knight who agrees to stand in for Lancelot in a tournament.
Leader The Leader is the queen of the ants. She spends her day laying eggs and giving orders to other ants in her colony.
King Leodegrance King Leodegrance is Queen Guenever's father.
Sir Lionel Sir Lionel is the brother of Sir Bors and the cousin of Lancelot. He tries to kill Bors after the latter refuses to rescue him.
Little John Little John is the right-hand man of Robin Wood.
King Lot The war-loving husband of Queen Morgause, King Lot is defeated at the battle of Bedegraine by King Arthur and later is accidentally killed by King Pellinore.
Lyo-lyok A goose, Lyo-lyok befriends Arthur after he has been changed into a goose. She is shocked when Arthur asks her whether geese make war on each other, and she tells him geese see a world without boundaries.
Sir Mador de la Porte Sir Mador de la Porte accuses Queen Guenever of trying to poison Gawaine. Lancelot defeats Mador in a trial by combat, but spares his life.
Maid Marian Maid Marian is Robin Wood's beloved. She guides Arthur and Kay on an adventure through the forest.
Meg Meg is a kitchen maid; the Orkney brothers (Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth) use her as bait to capture a unicorn.
Sir Meliagrance A cockney Knight of the Round Table, Sir Meliagrance kidnaps Queen Guenever and then repents. The queen forgives him, but Meliagrance finds bloody sheets in her bed chamber and accuses her of sleeping with a wounded knight. Lancelot defends Guenever's honor and slays Meliagrance in a trial by combat.
Mordred Mordred is the illegitimate son of Arthur and Arthur's half-sister, Queen Morgause, who raises the boy. Morgause poisons Mordred's mind, causing him to hate his father, who exacerbates the situation when he tries to kill Mordred as a baby. Mordred gets his revenge by breaking up the Round Table.
Morgan le Fay An evil witch, Morgan le Fay is the sister of Queen Morgause.
Morgause An evil, Gaelic witch queen, Morgause is the daughter of the Earl of Cornwall and Igraine, the sister of Morgan le Fay, and the half-sister of Arthur. She abuses her four sons (Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth) in a way that makes them always long for her love. She casts a spell on King Arthur, making him sleep with her, and subsequently bears their son, Mordred.
Mother Morlan Mother Morlan is a Gaelic earth-mother figure; she marries St. Toirdealbhach.
Nimue Nimue is the beautiful young witch with whom the wizard Merlyn falls in love. She takes him to a cave and holds him captive for thousands of years.
Nurse Nurse takes care of Arthur and Kay.
Old Jack Old Jack is a huge pike in the moat around Sir Ector's castle. A cruel, selfish, absolute monarch of his domain, Old Jack almost gobbles up young Arthur after the boy has been changed into a perch.
105978/DC After being changed into an ant Arthur meets 105978/DC—a fellow ant who wonders why Arthur has not been working.
Orkney brothers The Orkney brothers are Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth. Their mother is Queen Morgause.
Sir Palomides Sir Palomides and Sir Grummore disguise themselves as the Questing Beast, which causes the real Questing Beast to fall in love with both of them.
Ralph Passelewe Ralph Passelewe is a very old man who sings a song at Sir Ector's Christmas feast.
Sir Patrick Sir Patrick accidentally eats a poisoned apple intended for Gawaine.
Percivale A son of King Pellinore, Percivale finds the Holy Grail together with Galahad and Sir Bors.
King Pelles King Pelles is an esoteric mystic and the father of Elaine. He lives in the haunted castle of Corbin.
King Pellinore King Pellinore is a clumsy but good-natured knight and a close friend of Arthur. Pellinore chases the Questing Beast for many years until he marries his true love, Piggy.
King Uther Pendragon King Uther Pendragon is the Norman ruler of England and the father of King Arthur.
Sir Percivale Sir Percivale (also called Percy) is one of the knights who goes on the quest for the Holy Grail.
Peregrine falcon The peregrine falcon is the queen of the hunting birds at Sir Ector's castle. After Arthur has been changed into a merlin, she has him go through an initiation rite.
Piggy Piggy is the nickname of the daughter of the Queen of Flanders. She and King Pellinore fall passionately in love and then marry.
Sir Pridam Sir Pridam is one of the knights who goes on the quest for the Holy Grail.
Queen of Flanders The Queen of Flanders is the mother of Piggy, who marries King Pellinore.
Questing Beast The Questing Beast is a creature with the head of a serpent, the body of a leopard, the haunches of a lion, and the feet of a hart. She loves having Pellinore chase her, but then falls in love with Sir Grummore and Sir Palomides after mistaking them for a male Questing Beast.
Roach Roach is a timid fish who leads Merlyn and Arthur (who have been transformed into fishes) to his mother, who is having some health problems.
Mrs. Roach Mrs. Roach is a fish; she is cured of a strange illness by the wizard Merlyn while he is transformed into a fish.
Sergeant-at-arms A gruff man, the sergeant-at-arms trains Kay to become a knight.
St. Toirdealbhach A Gaelic mystic, St. Toirdealbhach marries Mother Morlan.
Tom of Newbold Revell Tom of Newbold Revell is a page working for King Arthur. Arthur entrusts Tom with carrying the idea of the Round Table into the future.
Tuck Tuck, better known as "Friar Tuck," is captured by Morgan le Fay, along with Wat, Dog Boy, and a dog, and is eventually rescued by Arthur and Kay.
Sir Turquine A sadistic knight, Sir Turquine upholds the notion of might-is-right until he is killed in a duel by Lancelot.
William Twyti The chief huntsman of King Pendragon, Twyti is a seasoned veteran who is experienced at hunting boar.
Sir Urre Sir Urre is a Hungarian knight.
Wat Because he doesn't have a nose, Wat is mocked and lives as an outcast in the woods until he befriends Dog Boy.
Robin Wood Robin Wood is better known as Robin Hood. He leads Arthur and Kay on an adventure.
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