The books > The White Knight wears a horses suit: why?

Discuss Lewis Carroll's books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" here!
Frumious Bandersnatch
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The White Knight wears a horses suit: why?

Postby Frumious Bandersnatch » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:45 am

Just a curious thought I was hoping someone had the answer to: in the first chapter of Through the Looking-Glass there is a picture of the White knight sliding down a poker; this picture presumably belongs to a passage on the following page which states "The White knight slides down a poker. He balance's very badly." However, the picture clearly shows a man wearing a upper body suit of a horse; yet there is no mention of a horse chess piece. We can guess accurately that the man is indeed the White knight because he has the same shoe buckles from his picture. Perhaps it has something to do with the chapter where Alice meets the White knight. This is my second reading of the book and I cannot remember everything quite yet.

So, friends of the Alice books, tell me: why is the White knight wearing a horses suit in the picture of him sliding down a poker? And does the poker symbolize anything in particular? DIS:-/
Last edited by Frumious Bandersnatch on Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Beautiful Soup
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Postby Beautiful Soup » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:42 am

'The White Night' is really called 'The White Knight', with a K
`the white knight is sliding down the poker. he balances very badly'
http://illustratedlookingglass.blogspot.co.uk/

A knight is a chess piece in the shape of a horse, or to put it another way, the horse-shaped chess piece is called 'a knight'. It represents a human knight mounted on horseback - even though you can't see the human

Carroll has interpreted this as being the knights wearing horse-shaped helmets, as shown in Chapter 8 'It's My Own Invention', in which me meet the White Knight
`Well, we must fight for her, then,' said the Red Knight, as he took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something the shape of a horse's head) and put it on.


http://illustratedlookingglass.blogspot ... ntion.html

In that chapter you can also see John Tenniel's illustrations showing the White Knight both before and after he removes his helmet

http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illustr ... ss/8.1.jpg

http://assets.chitanka.info/content/img ... jat-37.png

You can also see his helmet hanging from his horse

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ahQpTVuFaRc/T ... niel+2.jpg

According to the White Knight, he invented the helmet himself
....Alice changed the subject hastily. `What a curious helmet you've got!' she said cheerfully. `Is that your invention too?'

The Knight looked down proudly at his helmet, which hung from the saddle. `Yes,' he said, `but I've invented a better one than that....


A poker is a tool used when tending an open fire in a fireplace. It is there because the chess pieces are all in the hearth of the fireplace

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Thank you!

Postby Frumious Bandersnatch » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:25 pm

Well thank you for such a detailed and thorough explanation Beautiful Soup! I forgot to add the K in Knight for some reason. My honest mistake. I will edit and change it to the correct spelling.

It's most excellent to have such knowledgeable Alice scholars on here!

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Treacle
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Re: The White Knight wears a horses suit: why?

Postby Treacle » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:51 pm

It may be a coincidence, but the White Knight's remarks about his horse head helmet correspond to the remarks about the hobby horse in a Morris dance-play in Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh, a 1957 murder mystery.


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