Activity Overview

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, it’s easy for students to follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enriching.

There are over 50 characters that play humorous, pivotal, or antagonistic roles throughout the novel. Here are 10 of our favorites. Consider having students split up the characters in groups for each book!

Key Characters in "The Once and Future King"

Arthur/ The WartStrong; fair hair; an open face with kind eyes; dressed in a King’s robe of velvet; has a son with his half-sister, Morgause, who is named Mordred.Fair and just; a little naive and lacks the backbone to confront his wife and Lancelot about their affair; develops a new code of chivalry based around might only for right, and tries to wipe out “Force Majeur”, from all kinds of warfare in England“'My idea is that if we can win this battle in front of us, and get a firm hold of the country, then I will institute a sort of order of chivalry… And I shall make the oath of the order that Might is only to be used for Right.'”
MerlynOlder; long white beard and moustache; glasses; pointed hat with a spider hanging from it; flowing robe covered in signs of the zodiac and other cabalistic signs; has talking owl, Archimedes, perched on his shoulder most of the timeLives backwards in time, moving from the future to the past; becomes Arthur’s tutor’ a magician who can work all sorts of wonders; eventually falls in love with Nimue who traps him in a cave; tries to get Arthur to think for himself.“'...I have to live backwards from in front, while surrounded by a lot of people living forwards from behind. Some people call it having second sight.'”
KayEctor’s proper son; two years older than ArthurTenacious; spoiled; more concerned with glory than with honor; ends up becoming humble by the end of Book I; becomes a knight at the Round Table.“‘That would do,’ said Kay, ‘if somebody would not mind cutting it off. It was my griffin.’”
King PellinoreRides a white horse and wears silver armor; has glassesA bit clumsy, and not a very good knight; hunts the Questing Beast as the Pellinore family has been destined to do for generations; realizes that when he stops hunting her, she will die, so he begins his quest for the beast again.“‘There, there,’ the King was saying. ‘I did not mean to leave you altogether. It was only because I wanted to sleep in a feather bed, just for a bit. I was coming back, honestly I was. Oh, please don’t die, Beast, and leave me without any fewmets!’”
MorgauseBlack hair and blue eyes; graceful; a witch; wife of King Lot; mother of the Orkney brothers; shows little to no love for her sonsCarries a grudge against Arthur and his father because Uther raped her mother and killed her father; seduces Arthur in order to bear his child, Mordred; after the death of her husband, King Lot, she tries to seduce the knights of the Round Table.“She was not a serious witch like her sister Morgan le Fay—for her head was too empty to take any great art seriously, even if it were the black one. She was doing it because the little magics ran in her blood - as they did with all the women of her race.”
LancelotUgly, with a twisted face; superhuman strengthSo skilled he becomes known as The Best Knight in the World; worships Arthur; in love with Guenever; feels like there is something missing and wrong inside of him; is able to perform miracles.“All through his life—even when he was a great man with the world at his feet - he was to feel this gap: something at the bottom of his heart of which he was aware, and ashamed, but which he did not understand.”
GueneverBlack hair; fearless, blue eyesLoves Arthur but is in love with Lancelot; kind; often becomes jealous; unable to have children“'How dare you call me Jenny? You are reeking of her still. I am the Queen, the Queen of England! I am not your trull!'”
ElaineEighteen, beautiful, with violet eyesTrapped in a boiling vat of water; in love with Lancelot and tricks him twice into sleeping with her; knows he will never love her like he loves Guenever; bears Lancelot’s son and names him Galahad“In the castle of Corbin, the child Elaine was making ready for her journey. She was coming to capture Lancelot from Guenever, an expedition of which everybody except herself could feel the pathos.”
MordredA cold wisp of a man; crooked shoulder; looks like something out of Edgar Allan Poe’s works; well-dressed; smooth-talkerNever shown love by his mother, Morgause; hates Arthur and secretly plans to overthrow his reign“Mordred, the cold wisp of a man, did not seem to have any age. His years, like the depths of his blue eyes and the inflections of his musical voice, were non-committal.”
AgravaineLooks very old for his age; seldom sober; bully of the family; shifty; fair-haired; son of MorgauseHates Lancelot; partners with Mordred to expose Lancelot and Guenever’s affair “He was shifty, inclined to cry, and frightened of pain. It was because he had a good imagination and used his head more than the others.”

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in The Once and Future King and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the text boxes for Physical Traits, Character Traits, and Quote.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

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The Once and Future King

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