Book two – The Queen of Air and Darkness Chapters 1 – 7

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BOOK TWO The Queen of Air and Darkness

Chapters 1 – 7

1. Trace the family relationship between Queen Morgause of Lothian and Orkney with King

Uther Pendragon. What is King Arthur’s connection to Queen Morgause? How do

Morgause’s sons, Gawaine, Gaheris, Gareth, and Agravaine, feel about the Pendragon


2. Study the following passage from the story and use it to answer the following three


You, see it is a question of the people, as well as of the kings. When you said

about the battle being a lovely one you were thinking like your father. I want

you to think like yourself, so that you will be a credit to all this education I have

been giving you–afterwards, when I am only an old man locked up in a hole.”

(Pg. 224)

3. What is Merlyn trying to encourage Arthur to do?

4. Why does Merlyn refer to himself as “…an old man locked up in a hole”? (Pg. 224)

5. Merlyn and Arthur discuss the reasons for fighting wars. According to Merlyn, what is

the destiny of Man? What question that Arthur asks makes Merlyn happy?

6. Find an instance of both anachronism and foreshadowing on page 226.

7. It is clear that Merlyn does not approve of wars; why does he tell Arthur, “There is one

fairly good reason for fighting–and that is, if the other man starts it.” (Pg. 232)

8. Describe King Conor’s death. What is the life lesson taught by the legend of his death?

9. In Chapter 6, Arthur begins to formulate his code of chivalry. What does he conclude

about the philosophy of Might is Right? For what reasons does Arthur believe Merlyn is

helping him to win battles, when Arthur knows Merlyn disapproves of war?

10. Briefly discuss the basic elements in Arthur’s plan to create an order of chivalry which

upholds the premise of Might for Right instead of Might is Right.

11. Why do Gaheris, Gawaine, Gareth, and Agravaine decide to try and catch a unicorn?

12. Briefly describe the mythology of unicorns, which helps the boys know how to catch


13. Which of Queen Morgause’s four sons is the leader? Which one is the most compassionate?
Chapters 8 – 14

1. Describe the round table Arthur wants for his knights. Where does Arthur find a suitable table?

2. How does Merlyn answer the King when Arthur suggests that a good reason for starting

a war might be to force people to accept a new way of life that might be good for them?

What Merlyn’s answer to Arthur’s question?

3. Define comic relief. Find an example of comic relief in Chapter 9.

4. Briefly summarize the parable about the man who comes face to face with Death. State the life lesson Merlyn is teaching Arthur with this parable.

5. Merlyn tells King Arthur that Arthur’s tombstone will read “Hic jacet Arthurus Rex

quandam Rexque futurus.” (Pg. 287) Translated into English, this means, “the once and

future king.” Why do you suppose White selects this phrase for the title of this novel?

6. King Arthur fights the battle of Bedegraine in a new way. White writes that “Arthur

began with an atrocity and continued with other atrocities.” (Pg. 298) List three ways

Arthur alters the traditional way of fighting a battle. What literary term does White use

throughout the description of the battle?

7. What is a Spancel? How does Queen Morgause plan to use the Spancel when she visits

King Arthur?

8. Throughout these chapters, Merlyn is trying to remember something important that he

needs to tell Arthur. In Chapter 14, he finally remembers. What does Merlyn wish he

had remembered to tell Arthur? How do you think Merlyn’s failure might affect Arthur’s


9. Who is Mordred? Why do you think White ends this second book with the following

passage: “…but it seems, in tragedy, that innocence is not enough”? (Pg. 312)

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