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Free Study Guide-The Once and Future King-T.H. White-Free Book Summary
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Chapter 43

Summary and Notes

Lancelot spies a ladder propped outside of Guenever’s room and he climbs it, Rapunzel style to make love to her. The conversation between them is only imagined, and the author admits that neither he nor Malory can truly know what was said. An interesting statement, considering that the entire book is fictional.

He breaks the bars on her window with his bare hand, cutting it to the bone. It is implied that they make love at this point for the first time in many years.

The next morning, and anxious Sir Meliagrance barges into Guenever’s room to see why she is sleeping so long. Lancelot is gone, but the blood from his hand is all over the sheets. He accuses her, in extreme fury, of being a traitress to King Arthur.


His staff comes running when they hear his accusations: a wounded knight has been sleeping with the queen.

Lancelot arrives and coldly reminds Meliagrance that if he is to accuse the Queen of treason, it means that he will have to fight the knight himself. Meliagrance, in a furious passion, does not heed his warning, and throws down his glove.

Lancelot accepts the challenge, and Meliagrance asks, strangely, if they can continue to be friends until the duel. Lancelot agrees, and Meliagrance opens a trap door that Lancelot is standing on; the knights is thrown into the dungeon.

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