The Once and Future King by T.H. White

April 19, 2010
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The Once and Future King by T.H. White is the story of the Wart and his learnings from Merin as he prepares him for the future. It takes place in medieval times at the castle Wart lives in. The story stretches from the time they find Merlin to the day of Kay’s knighthood.

Wart, Kay, and Merlin are the main characters of the story. Wart is an orphan boy who lives in the castle. He is modest and doesn’t ask for much of anything. He spends most of his time with his brother, Kay, who is the son of the Lord of the caste. Kay is stubborn, arrogant, and spoiled. Kay is destined to be a knight, Wart to be his squire. One day, on an adventure, they find Merlin, a goofy wizard who lives in the forest. He has magical powers and travels backwards in time instead of forwards. He is brought to the castle and hired as the boy’s tutor.

The story is basically the adventures of the Wart as Merlin transforms him into creatures, each with their own different society. For example, the ants live in a strict, undisturbed society, where the odd people are eliminated, while the geese run free, with no government or defined rules. On these adventures, Wart learns things needed for his future.

The Once and Future King has much political reference in its story and the created society. This story was written during World War II, so T.H. white used some of the modern societies at the time as basis for the animals’ cultures, such as the ants being comparable to Nazi Germany.

This book has the underlying theme that the most unlikely people are capable of extraordinary things. You could say this because of what Wart accomplishes with Merlin and what he becomes in the end of the story.

This book is very enjoyable. It would be enjoyed mainly by people who are studying or have studied the Arthurian legend, or who are interested in it. It wouldn’t be recommendable, however, for people with an undeveloped vocabulary because of the advanced vocabulary in the story. This is a very good book and I would easily recommend it.

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