The Once And Future Bore


I found T.H. White’s classic, The Once And Future King, too silly to continue reading.  I gave it about a 100 pages, but it was way too lightweight for my tastes.  I don’t mind a good children’s story, and I have reviewed several books in this blog that are, or could be considered to be, children’s books.  That said, the operative word here for me is not “children’s” but “good.”  White’s book doesn’t clear the bar as far as this big kid is concerned.

White does lots of silly things that irritated me.  For one, he gives you little asides from a modern point of view, like when he says “Just as in a modern shooting…” Or when he describes Eton school, and then says, well actually, that won’t be founded for a few more hundred years.  Like that.  Not for me.  I assume others find it endearing, like he’s a grandfather telling a story of knights and princesses to a child.  Different strokes for different folks.

Another irritation:  There’s this hawk, see?  And the hawk refuses to cooperate… out of spite.  Yes, spite.  Not only do we swing suddenly into and out of an avian point of view, but the point of view of an embittered bird of prey.  Too much / too little for moi.

And the glib anachronisms!  People (and I will generous include children in that term) really find this amusing?  Like household electricity in the time of King Arthur?

Now, I very much enjoyed Fool (reviewed here), which is also about a medieval kingship and is also very silly (probably sillier).  And as far as children’s fantasy books go, I very much enjoyed Hunger Games (discussed here).  I suppose the difference is that I liked the main characters of Fool and Hunger Games, and I found the humor in both stories actually funny.  As far as White’s story goes, I found it profoundly unfunny, and couldn’t get into the story itself, partly because there was no great drama or characters present (at least for the desert of the first 100 pages), and partly because the combination of White’s sense of humor with his bizarre way of story-telling kept me always at several armslengths’ distance.


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