The Queen of Air and Darkness

The Queen Of Air And Darkness

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The Queen of Air and Darkness

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The Queen of Air and Darkness, originally titled The Witch in the Wood, is a novel by English writer T. H. White. It is the second book in his epic work, The Once and Future King. It continues the story of the newly-crowned King Arthur, his tutelage by the wise Merlyn, his war against King Lot, and also introduces the Orkney clan, a group of characters who would cause the eventual downfall of the king. First published in 1939, it was re-released under the new title after some editing.


The title comes from a poem by A.E. Housman. It refers to Morgause, Witch-Queen of the Orkney Islands. She has four sons but does not care for them, and prefers her magic. She serves as the main antagonist for this book and as a secondary antagonist for the next book, The Ill-Made Knight.


The Queen of Air and Darkness is the second book in the four-part work The Once and Future King which chronicles White's own version of the legend of King Arthur. Although it is the shortest book in the series, it is a vital point in the story for several reasons:

  • Arthur invents the idea of the Round Table, which was central to the plot of the third and fourth books.
  • Arthur also defeats barons those rebelling against him, thereby securing his role as king.
  • Arthur's understanding of "might vs. right" is explored more deeply in this book.
  • The Orkney faction is introduced. These four children (Gawain, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth)......
  • ...

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