The Sword in the Stone: Disney's Version vs. T.H. White

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The story of King Arthur is widely known, either his beginnings told in The Sword in the Stone or how he led the Knights of the Round Table. While there are many version of his story T. H. White’s written version and Disney’s animated version of The Sword in the Stone are two of the most recognized versions. Most movies have the ability to embody the original intent of the book they were based upon. Disney’s movie version of T. H. White’s rendition of The Sword in the Stone, however, while portraying the correct story, does not truly convey enough elements of White’s version to be effective in telling the original story. The characterization and Merlyn’s ‘lessons’ within the movie inhibit the film from being an effective portrayal of the book.
Disney’s rendition of T. H. White’s novel greatly misrepresents many supporting characters of the story. In the film, Wart’s foster father, Sir Ector, was depicted as completely unsupportive of everything relating to Wart. When Wart returned late from his Fish Lesson with Merlyn and tried to explain himself Sir Ector says: “That’s three demerits for being late, and three more for the fish story. Now hop it to the kitchen” (The Sword in the Stone). Another example of Sir Ector’s disapproval is how fast he was to reassign the duty of Kay’s squire to Hob, removing Wart from that title and putting him further down in the hierarchy of that time as a Page: “You said aplenty, boy! All that popping off just cooked your goose! Kay, from now on, young Hobbes is your squire. Ha! Did you hear that, Wart? Hobbes is going to be Kay's squire, hm-mmm” (The Sword in the Stone). Sir Ector’s quickness to punish Wart for every little thing he does shows how unsupportive he was of Wart. Sir Ector’s characters wa...

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...it to be a king, and the lessons in the film do not convey this fact or give him the chance to prove himself as a worthy King.
Disney’s representation of the Sword in the Stone does not depict the characters or the various lessons in a manner that successfully conveys T. H. White’s book version. Although the movie does hit the major points of Arthur’s beginning of becoming king, the over exaggeration of the characters takes away from those messages and the morals of the original story are important concepts for children to learn. By removing the original morals, the story loses its importance to the intended audience of children.

Works Cited

The Sword in the Stone. Dir. Wolfgang Reitherman. Perf. Rickie Sorensen, Sebastian Cabot, Karl Swenson. Walt Disney Productions, 1963. Film.
White, T. H.. The Sword in the Stone. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1958. Print.

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