The Candle in the Wind is book 4 in T.H. White’s fantasy series The Once and Future King. The Knights of the Round Table are now all middle aged and King Arthur is an old man. The Orkney Brothers have chosen to seek out Sir Lancelot and King Arthur to have their revenge. Agravaine and Mordred lead the accusations.
The Candle in the Wind is truly a tragedy. It is by far the most depressing book in the series. Sir Lancelot and Queen Guenevere are in love but must hide it from everyone. King Arthur knows of the love affair between his wife and his best friend but must pretend it does not exist. The Orkney Brothers set out to unveil the truth everyone already knows. Knights are forced to fight against their friends, mentors, and students.
In addition to Sir Lancelot and Queen Guenevere’s tragedy, there is the tragedy of King Arthur’s round table. Since book 3, The Ill-Made Knight, the table had been breaking and now it has been completely split. King Arthur’s sense of justice and law that had been instilled on him from Merlyn since he was a kid has not manifested the way King Arthur would have liked. You can’t help but wonder, “what if?”. What if Mordred was never born? What if Arthur had never met Morgause? What if Mordred had run away like his brothers?
Hmmm…..I would be okay if the series just ended right here with The Candle in the Wind. The very last scene should have been a good ending for The Once and Future King. But alas, it seems that some scholars have dug up author T.H. White’s unpublished manuscripts and found book 5, The Book of Merlyn. I must read book 5 before deciding whether that was a good idea, but for right now, I’m going to say it was a bad idea.