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Book 4, Chapter 11 Notes from The Once and Future King

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The Once and Future King Book 4, Chapter 11

Guenever is at Carlisle, a Northern castle, while Arthur and Gawaine fight Lancelot in France. Mordred has been made the Lord Protector, since Arthur is away. Guenever talks with her maid, Agnes, about her letters from Lancelot and Arthur, which say that Arthur is simply trying to hold onto what is left of his Table by providing justice for Gareth and Gaheris's deaths, but most of the soldiers fight Lancelot to promote themselves. Lancelot has been forced to fight Gawaine, and knocked him down, hurting him badly. Gawaine begged him to kill him, but Lancelot could not do it, and seeing this, Arthur broke down. Guenever pities Mordred, because she believes he was ruined by his mother: "I expect she ate Mordred like a spider." Book 4, Chapter 11, pg. 644 Mordred has been left with Guenever because he is the heir to the throne, so both he and the King should not be fighting at the same time. But Guenever feels uncomfortable alone with Mordred. She has a vague understanding that he has lost his mind. Suddenly, both women feel that Mordred is listening outside the door. They open it, and sure enough, he is there. He enters, and begins to sarcastically and cruelly tease Guenever, pretending simply to be visiting her. It is clear that he was driven mad by his mother-he was so much younger than his brothers that he was raised alone with her, and she was so possessive and yet so cruel that she destroyed him. He has taken on her personality to the point where he seems to be keeping her alive, like a vampire. Guenever is not afraid of him, but she certainly dislikes him. He tells her that he is going to tell the people that Arthur and Lancelot have killed each other, which would create chaos in the country. Horrified, she asks him to have pity on the country people, if not on her. He smiles and says that he does, in fact, pity her. He tells her: "My father committed incest with my mother. Don't you think it would be a pattern, Jenny, if I were to answer it by marrying my father's wife?" Book 4, Chapter 11, pg. 652

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