The Once and Future King

by: T. H. White

Book III: “The Ill-Made Knight,” Chapters 21–29

Summary Book III: “The Ill-Made Knight,” Chapters 21–29

Overall, The Once and Future King is more sympathetic to what Arthur is trying to achieve than to the perfection represented by the Holy Grail. Both Galahad and Bors are very holy and noble, but they also seem selfish. Bors refuses to fight his Lionel, even though other people die as a result of Lionel’s sins. Gawaine tells us that Galahad defeats his own father, Lancelot, and is generally cold to the other knights. White’s vision of the otherworldly perfection of the Holy Grail feels very clinical: the Holy Grail’s champions may be perfect, but we feel very removed from them.