Reading the Classics: Review of T.H. White's "Once and Future King"

My favourite cover of the book by John Howe
Many are aware of this book without realizing it. If you know Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" then you know T.H. White's "Once and Future King", and while many are acquainted with the first book in this series, not many have read all five. The Sword in the Stone was re-edited and re-written when the books were collected the first time, The Book of Merlyn was only discovered among T.H. White's effects and published posthumously, and though many people would peg this as just another Arthurian retelling, it certainly stands out as the best in my mind. Every detail of the legends is recaptured, but what makes this retelling different is- at last- Arthur is depicted as the king who never wanted to rule, surrounded by knights who have personal issues, supported by a teacher who is tormented due to his knowing everything that must happen to Arthur and is powerless to shield him from all ill-will. 

I missed out on this book when I was younger and have only recently read it for the first time. This book is astonishing: the humour of Monty Python with the sentiment of Jane Austen. It reads more like a historical fantasy rather than an epic one, due to the attention to dates and historic detail of Arthurian Albion. The language is ornate and exquisite and the story ranges from whimsical to tragic without flaws. There are some mistakes in the editing, but that's just Voyager being careless. I recommend this book to any adult fantasy lover. A new favourite for me at last.


  1. I have this on my wish list thanks to your recommendation. Look forward to my turn to read the books.


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