Mary Stewart, the author, re-tells the original legend to show where she found the source for this first book of the Arthurian Saga. She ends this chapter by telling us that Uther Pendragon would reign fifteen more years without ever seeing his son, Arthur. Just as Merlin predicted, Arthur would be give to him to raise on the night of his birth at Tintagel, and he would care for ........



Merlin's character is presented in a completely unexpected way. The legend portrays him as a mysterious enchanter, but Mary Stewart presents him as first a boy and then, a man who has feelings and regrets and hurts just like we all do. He is a lonely little boy who is bullied, laughed at, and not accepted even by his own grandfather.

He is forced to grow up quickly and behave like a man, because he is powerless to stop the god who leads him. And yet, through it all, he develops strong relationships with the people around him and even falls in love. As a man, he comes to enjoy his solitude, because he knows that his powers separate him from people who fear him. Finally, he is not afraid of dying, because he has received through his Sight, glimmers of his death and he knows it will be just a long limbo of sleep.


As Merlin's father, he is unknown and unknowable in the beginning, because Niniane refuses to reveal his identity. So, for Merlin, he is a mysterious figure to whom he cannot put a face. However, we soon learn as Merlin does, that he is an extremely honorable man who accepts his responsibilities as the true King of Britain. He becomes a fast friend to his son and uses his abilities to help Britain. In the end, he lies buried in the midst of the Giant's Dance, a true monument, because he was a giant of a man and a king.


Merlin's mother is a mysterious character as well. As a young girl, she has an affair with Ambrosius, who is her father's enemy, but, even though she loves him, she remains loyal to her father and refuses to run away with Ambrosius to Less Britain. She endures her father's ridicule towards her and her bastard son with the hope that once her father is............

The complete study guide is currently available as a downloadable PDF, RTF, or MS Word DOC file from the PinkMonkey MonkeyNotes download store. The complete study guide contains summaries and notes for all of the chapters; detailed analysis of the themes, plot structure, and characters; important quotations and analysis; detailed analysis of symbolism, motifs, and imagery; a key facts summary; a multiple-choice quiz, and suggested book report ideas and essay topics.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone". TheBestNotes.com.