Category Archives: The Once & Future King

The Sword in the Stone

He who pulleth this sword, shall be king of all England

The Sword in the Stone-Part one of The Once and Future King by TH.White

I must thank the director of  X Men United.  It is through the movie that I came to know about this wonderful book. So adored by Magneto and Charles Xavier, each seeing a different version in his POV.

One of the scenes in X2  shows Magneto(portrayed powerfully by Sir Ian McKellen), the mutant who has power over all metals and who can create magnetic fields, reading a copy of this book. And at the end, Charles Xavier(Patrick Steward) mentions this to his students. Curious, I ordered a book through flipkart and lost myself in the Arthurian legend.

Having finished book one, I must vouch for this excellent classic. I am a guy who has never heard or read about King Arthur(only a brief idea is in my mind, having read about him some where).  I was floored. It is a book of potential and one can realize why when one goes through this book. The first of the five part series, it is a delightful, adventure laden, mysterious, ecstatic one.

To any one not yet acquainted with the book, ths was written by Terence Hanbury White or better known as TH.White. It retells the story of King Arthur, the most just king to rule England, his conquests, boyhood, his mysterious tutor Merlyn, who lives time backwards and hence has knowledge of everything that ought to happen, the ultimate fall of the king at the end.

The narration is so enchanting, captivating that you jump head long  into the adventure with the characters. This first part tells the boyhood years of King Arthur or Wart as he is known then.  His raising, his brother Kay who trains as Aa knight and the Wart, unknown of his great destiny, trains as his squire to be.

In the process, destiny chooses the Wart as in one of his sojourns he comes upon the magician Merlyn, who agrees to be his tutor. Merlyn is accompanied by his trusty Archimedes(a delightful bird!).  Both take refuge in Sir Ector’s(foster father of the Wart) castle.

There starts the education of Wart. For six years, Merlyn trais n him on all that he knows. Education in those times was delightful, we come to know. As it is mostly outdoor activity, getting transformed into birds, fishes, ants and various others. The Wart is thus trained by Merlyn and in the process, understands each living being’s nature and learns to love them, as only a king who can bestow equal love and affection can rule all. The Wart innocently believes that these are part of the training for being a squire to his brothewr Kay and Merlyn lets that belief stay.

Meanwhile, king Pellinore (the meeting between him and the Wart is a hilarious read), a friend of Sir Ector, brings news about a sword stuck in a stone and anvil which no one can pull out and if at all one does so, can become ruler of all England. And the pace is set..

At last there arrives the day when Kay, the knight get’s to show his training and the Wart is given toe job of finding a sword.  In the process, he chances upon the sword with the legendary words that belies him to pull it out. The rest is….magic.

Yes, prepare to fall under the spells of  Merlyn.  I shall be back with the rest in no time!



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