June 10, 2008

Review:The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone
by T.H. White

If ever a book was destined to made into a Disney movie this book is it. It was funny and corny in the same way that the Disney version is. I haven't seen the movie in a long time but there are scenes that popped into my head as I read them and made me smile. All the humor and fun were a pleasure to read. It starts to feel sluggish about 200 pages in but in the end it is all brought back together beautifully.

More than telling a story about the beginnings of King Arthur, I think this book was a treatise about the importance of learning. The Wart could not have become King Arthur without all that he had learned from Merlyn, no matter how silly or boring the reader may find it. Here is a quote that I think encapsulates this message perfectly:
"The best thing for disturbances of the spirit," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love and lose you moneys to a monster, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then-to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the poor mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you."

I happen to agree with that. And I offer my recommendation of this book to anyone 10 and older.


Trish said...

How fun! I love this movie (I can't think of a Disney cartoon I didn't like--except Cars). I thought that I had read this one, but I'm thinking maybe I didn't. Maybe I'm thinking of Idylls of the King (which isn't quite as fun if I remember correctly).

Jeane said...

I loved it too, and the "learning parts" were my favorite bits. Are you going to read the sequels too? (The Ill-Made Knight and there's two others I think).

Petunia said...

Trish-I'll be reading the Idylls of the King too but I can't imagine it would be similar.

Jeane-I definitely want read more by White, and in order would be best. I know one is called The Once and Future King.

Anonymous said...

Lol oddly enough I didn't like the Disney movie, even though I've liked pretty much all of them! I haven't read this, but I did read "The Once and Future King" which was amazing.

C. B. James said...

The Once and Future King was one of my childhood favorites.

It acutally includes The Sword in the Stone, but it's a darker version of it. According to Wikipedia this is the result of White's experiences during World War II.

I recommend The Book of Merlin which is one of the sequals.

Julie said...

I had to read this book in a college lit class and I fell in love with it. It is a very readable book and totally captivating!

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Rhinoa said...

I'm hoping to read this for the Arthurian Challenge as well at some point. I loved the Disney film as a child and am looking forward to reading the original tale.