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Free Study Guide-The Once and Future King-T.H. White-Free Book Summary
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Lancelot’s cousin and Lionel’s brother. He is a theologian who takes the Holy Grail Quest very seriously as a mystical and spiritual journey. Although he is not pure, he is able to find the grail because of his seriousness of mind. He reappears later in the novel to defend Guenever at a joust, and is dubbed a misogynist. He is one of Lancelot’s most faithful knights.

King Pelles

Lancelot performs a miracle in his kingdom by saving his daughter Elaine. Pelles is somewhat insane, but basically kind. He discovers Lancelot later in the novel when the knight has had a nervous breakdown and become a “Wild Man.”


Pelles’ daughter who is saved from a magic spell by Lancelot. She tricks the knight and seduces him, thus making him impure and unable to find the Holy Grail. She has his child, named Galahad. She and Guenever fight over Lancleot’s affections, and when Lancelot chooses Guenever, Elaine kills herself.


Lancelot’s son. He is named after Lancelot (Galahad is the knight’s given name) and his raised by his mother Elaine. He is a strange, holy, chaste young man, and the other knights of the Round Table mistake his purity for arrogance and dislike him. He is the only one who is allowed to take the Holy Grail, and he disappears, presumably to Babylon, with it in tow. He unhorses Lancelot to be dubbed, temporarily, the best knight in the world.

Sir Bliant

King Pelles’ friend who discovers Lancelot during his Wild Man phase and rescues him.

Percivale (Percy)

One of Pellinore’s son, he is completely pure and holy. He is allowed, along with Bors and Galahad, to find the Holy Grail.

Pellinore’s daughter

She remains nameless throughout the novel, but she accompanies Percy, Galahad, and Bors in the final stages of the search for the Grail. She is a virgin, and she sacrifices herself to save a girl dying of measles by bleeding herself to death. Her dead body is placed in a boat; this boat meets Lancelot and shows him the way to the Grail.


One of Pellinore’s sons, he is seduced by Queen Morgause when the witch is an old woman. Agravaine and Mordred find the two in bed together and kill both in a fury.


Another Pellinore, he comes to the Round Table ready to avenge his brother’s death and is dissuaded by King Arthur. He finds a way to be peaceful with the Orkney brothers and temporarily heals the rift between the two families.

Sir Mador de la Porte

He is the first to accuse Guenever of having an affair with Lancelot (and thereby committing treason against King Arthur. Because Arthur has yet to set up a system of justice in England, he must fight to defend his accusation. He is to initially fight Bors, but Lancelot arrives at the last minute to defend Guenever and easily kills Sir Mador.

Sir Meliagrance

He is in love with Guenever, kidnaps her and holds her hostage in his castle. Lancelot comes to save her and breaks into Guenever’s chamber to make love to her. Meliagrance discovers evidence of the love-making and accuses the Queen of treason. Lancelot defends her a second time and kills Meliagrance.

Sir Urre

A Hungarian knight who arrives at Camelot with wounds that can only be healed by the best knight in the world. Lancelot is put to the test and heals Urre’s wound, thereby performing a second miracle (the first was saving Elaine).

Thomas of Warwick

A young page that makes his appearance in the last pages of the novel. King Arthur, close to death, asks him not to fight in the war against Mordred. He also asks that Tom spread the word about the goodness that was once Camelot. Tom agrees, is made a knight by Arthur, and leaves, presumably to start the Arthurian legends.

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