After all of the excitement of the previous chapter, what awesome delights does the following hold? Dragon slaying, being turned into a golem, tax pontification… if you guessed the last, then you must be White himself, because this is a Sir Ector bit.
“In the autumn everybody was preparing for the winter” (130).
Does this mean that winter is coming? (Oh, sorry, I just had to!)
So the chapter begins with people doing various winter tasks, most of which I assume never happened in the actual Middle Ages (such as, for instance, taking in the daddy-long legs so as to save them from the cold). We also learn at just how awesome Sir Ector is as a lord, how he gives his laborers a bargain and how they love him in turn and so forth.
“In other parts of Gramarye, of course, there did exist wicked and despotic masters—feudal gangsters whom it was King Arthur’s destiny to chasten—but the evil was in the bad people who abused it, not in the feudal system” (131).
Put an end to Crony Feudalism, now! Lol
I am going to guess that White is having some fun at the expense of conservative ideology, otherwise this passage connotes a severely reactionary footing; if that was the case, then White would, in contemporary terms, be a Negative Enlightenment Alt-Right loser. Alternatively, we could say that because this is a Sir Ector chapter, and Sir Ector is a lord, he will, of course, defend the status quo since he has a vested interest in its continuation.
Oh, it is also at this page where White writes a great deal about how healthy and beautiful the landscape of pre-industrial Britain was, about how it doesn’t have factory smoke and the like. Ew.
But back to Sir Ector—he receives a letter from King Uther Pendragon. Turns out that the king is sending some hounds to do some hunting in Sir Ector’s forest and he is less than pleased about this, apparently, annual, occurrence.
“Where the devil were the royal hounds to be kept? Was he, Sir Ector, to turn his own hounds into the street, so as to put the king’s hounds in the kennels? ‘Splendor of God!’ repeated the unhappy master. It was as bad as paying tithes” (133).
He also remarks that it was a confounded piece of tyranny. Sir Ector would make a good Libertarian. Cue the “wat wat wah” noise.
But, Sir Ector thinks to himself that only Robin Wood would be useful in helping the kings huntsmen the proper sport, though he is unsure of the name of Robin Wood, something he thinks is a newly fangled idea that the kids came up with; those darn kids and their proper usage of names and pronouns. It’s a slippery slope, I tell ya!
The chapter ends with Sir Ector penning a submissive response letter to the king while focused on proper spelling, another anachronism for the time, since the fascination with spelling words a proper way is not really an invention until much later. But, whatever, the hounds are coming!