When the Wart first meets King Pellinore, he frightens him so much that the king nearly falls off of his horse. “What, what? ” he exclaims. Pellinore is the first knight that King Arthur meets in T. H. White’s The Once and Future King. He is a rambling, bumbling man that is constantly hunting the Questing Beast, a seemingly unattainable beast. With his strange language, wandering train of thought, and obsession with the Questing Beast, King Pellinore is an eccentric character that adds a sense of humor to the first book of White’s novel.
The knight is sitting on a majestic white horse in armor that gives him a ghostly glow. Pellinore lifts the visor of his helmet to reveal his foggy, horn-rimmed spectacles. As he attempts to clear off the fog, the bumbling knight drops his lance, then his glasses. He dismounts his large white horse, which now seems a bit too majestic for the stumbling knight. As he does, his visor falls back down again. Pellinore proceeds to scramble clumsily back onto his horse and then holds his had out for his lance. “Ah-hah! Whom have we here, what? the knight exclaims once Wart has placed it in his hands. Wart explains that he is in the care of Sir Ector and Pellinore says “Charming fella. Never met him in me life. ” The Wart goes on to say that he is lost, and Pellinore explains that he has been lost for seventeen years. He then mentions the Questing Beast, which he has been hunting all of those seventeen years. Wart inquires of the Questing Beast and the knight instantly perks up. He takes on a proud air as he explains enthusiastically how the Beast looks.
As he speaks, Pellinore’s visor drops multiple times and the king is forced to push it back open, only for it to sag back down again. When Wart asks Pellinore how he follows the beast, his mood drops quickly. He points to his hound, who has wound herself around a tree. He continues to tell Wart about his brachet, his voice getting increasingly sad as he trails into a rant of all the things negative about his hunt. However, when Wart mentions that Sir Ector would gladly offer him a bed with down pillows, Pellinore has a complete turn around.
His eyes “grow wide as saucers” (pg. 25) and, in his excitement, starts to ask Wart many questions as he “bustle[s] about with his many trappings” (pg. 25). “Hark! ” Pellinore cries when a sound drowns out Warts words. Then, absolutely forgetting the prospect of a bed for the night, Pellinore shouts “It is the beast! ” He hurriedly places his glasses on the end of his long nose and his visor shuts on its own again. When he starts after the beast, he is pulled off his saddle by his hound, which is still wound around the tree.
Then Wart watches Pellinore struggle hilariously to unwind himself from the tree before finally setting off after the beast. The first mention of Pellinore shows the humor in his character. This is the first glimpse of the comic relief that comes from Pellinore. The scene perfectly demonstrates his eccentric characteristics. It includes his strange way of speaking, his hunt for the Questing Beast, and his meandering thought process. All of these contribute to the hilarity of Pellinore’s character, which lightens a story filled with so much darkness.
Bibliography; T. H. White’s “Once and Future King”