The Once and Future King Summary

T.H. White
- 1958
This book is good to read when you feel enchanted.

Key Takeaways

  1. White’s interpretation of Arthurian legend is unique for its combination of poetic grace and a modern sense of humor, bringing the old tales to new life.
  2. The novel explores deep themes such as the nature of good and evil, the pursuit of justice, and the quest for personal integrity.
  3. Merlin’s teachings to young Arthur (the Wart) are filled with both timeless wisdom and insights that are relevant to contemporary readers.


The story is structured around Arthur’s rise from a young, unknown boy to the king of England and the founder of the Round Table.

Merlin’s role as a mentor to Arthur is central, providing wisdom that shapes the young king’s ideals and decisions.

The narrative spans the entirety of Arthur’s life, culminating in his reflective and tragic old age, where the ideals of the Round Table are tested.

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