In T.H WhiteÃÂs version of the Arthurian legend, White clearly shows the importance values and knowledge a king or leader must have in order to have any form of success within a community. White demonstrates this through the interaction of his two characters Merlin and Arthur. Merlyn the great wizard isolates Arthur in the beginning stages of life to endure Arthur into a world of experience. Merlin knew in order to teach the boy or any leader he or she must know what it is like to be in other situations with other points of view of life, as Arthur was taught by Merlin when he was transformed into other animals. He or she must also know how to survive on their own and take control when they are lost, as in when Arthur found his way back to the castle of Sir Ector with Cully. He must also have a basic education, more then the average follower or subject, which Arthur was tutored by Merlin.
Book one show the upbringing of Arthur, preparing him to be a renowned ruler.
When Arthur was being taught by Merlin, he was transformed into other animals with magic, to learn the difference of lifestyles, and to appreciate all that surrounds him. His first adventure was when he was transfigured into a Pike. Within the beginning of his experiences Merlyn takes exact charge and percission in what he wants to teach the young boy. The very first experience Merlyn choose Arthur to endure was one that was surprising and one of the most showing of ArthurÃÂs potential to be king. Arthur and Kay (ArthurÃÂs Adoptive brother)set out with a Cully bird when the bird was not ready to hunt yet, and in attempts to capture a hawk the boys let the cully free which made them losing the bird. When the bird set flight Arthur and Kay went out to search for it. After long searching Kay deserts his brother leaving Arthur alone. Arthur knew to take responsibility and for the bird and to find it. In attempt to, Arthur ended up getting lost in the forest and had to take care of himself and try to find his way back. The author was relying on this to indicate that a leader or a king must stand up and take charge of the matter instead of leaning on others and depending on them. A leader or king can be afraid, but they must not let fear overcome their need for survival. Nowadays, to take charge in a group or to lead the way is a strong quality of leadership. To be fearful and stand back, both in ArthurÃÂs times and now, revealed that you were not a leader and could not easily survive on your own or help in the survival of others, which is a necessity of a king. Within this experience, Arthur and Merlin swam through the moat around Sir EctorÃÂs castle (His adoptive father) and in the process saved another fish. This small occurrence alone showed Arthur all that surrounded him, and began to treasure everything encircling him more.
Another landmark of MerlynÃÂs lessons was when the wizard turned Arthur into a merlin and made him bond with the other birds within the mews, hearing all that they said and how they felt, which most likely helped him in the future when he needed them to hunt. This is similar to the preparation of our leaders, although we donÃÂt have magic to transform into other animals, we learn more about how otherÃÂs feel and react towards what we do. The author also uses Merlyn as advancement of ArthurÃÂs education. Arthur learns not only how to survive physically through the lessons of his foster home, but how to come up with the solutions to survive mentally with the lessons of his mentor, Merlyn. Since he was a child, Arthur only wanted to be taught with magic, not to study within the castle, but Merlyn knew that he would not make it as a successful king and leader of the country if he did not know how to solve basic problems with his mind. He had to be more advised then the others around him. This is similar to todayÃÂs rulers, whereas, if someone is to become a king, he gets the finest education and teacher in that area. If someone is to become a president, then they shall go to college and study up on politics and law and such, to be well informed before making crucial decisions.
This book distinctly reveals significant knowledge and values that should be present in a king or leader. White shows these values in disguises, but makes sure that they are caught and accounted for. The need for a strong education, basic survival tactics to stay in control of situations, and the knowledge of how others see the world around them are substantial to being a dignified leader or king. The world of Arthur and the world of today may seem to be completely and solidly different, but if you read between the lines, they are clearly based on the same principles and have the same structure for success and survival.
White, T.H. The Once and Future King.