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Summary and Notes
Fifteen years suddenly pass. Lancelot is at Camelot, and the three major characters are all middle-aged.
This is an interesting device that White uses. He allows a huge amount of time - really, the last years of the three characters’ youth - to pass in one sentence. To narrate this time period thoroughly would probably be redundant. The reader can infer, then, that all is resolved between Guenever and Lancelot, and that Arthur is still in a state of friendly denial.
A new generation has come to Camelot. To these youths, Arthur, Guenever and Lancelot have become the stuff of legends: romantic, revolutionary, dashing, and almost mythical. This is the author’s way of explaining the plausibility of Arthur being a real king yet so deeply legendary. As he ages, the public’s perception of him becomes less focussed and more steeped in fiction.
Moreover, it is made clear in this chapter that Arthur’s revolution (Right is Might) has been successful and has changed the country radically in the twenty-one years he has ruled. Although White notes that much of the success of this revolution was steeped in violence - it was necessary to strong-arm such rebels as Sir Bruce sans Pitie into submission - Britain under Arthur is a kinder, gentler nation.
This chapter is replete with historical detail, and will be interesting to the medieval scholar, but describing the detail here is not necessary. What is crucial to understand is that England pre-Camelot was a lawless, brutal place, and now under Arthur has reached an unprecedented “pitch of civilization.” This is why the young idolize Arthur; two of this new generation are Gareth and Mordred, the author notes ominously.