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Sir Mordred
Arthurian Literary Character

Sir Mordred appears to have been an historical personage. Tradition makes him the youngest son of Queen Morgause of Orkney. He was raised as a son of her husband, King Lot, but - due to an unfortunate and uninformed encounter - his real father was his own uncle, King Arthur. When the monarch discovered the truth, he tried to have the baby Mordred disposed off. Along with all the children born his birthday, he was set adrift in a large boat. The boat sank but Mordred survived and was washed up an island shore, from where he was taken in by Lord Nabur the Unruly. When he grew up, Mordred travelled to the Court of King Arthur and was reunited with his real parents. He capitalised on the reputation of his brother, Sir Gawain, and was made a Knight of the Round Table. For some time, he was the companion of Sir Lancelot, but the goodly knights influence did not rub off on Mordred. He is portrayed as having torrid affairs with married ladies while beating-up their husbands. He raped some ladies and murdered others. When his family came into conflict with sons of Pellinore, over the death of his father, Mordred was one of those who conspired in the murder of Sir Lamorak. Arthur, however, favoured Mordred and made him regent when he left Britain for the Continent - either campaigning against the Roman Empire or pursuing the treacherous Lancelot. But Mordred was devious. He made alliances with the Saxons, Picts & Scots and faked news of Arthur's death, in order to have himself proclaimed King. He declared his intention to take Queen Guinevere as his wife, but the Queen's reaction is in dispute. She either eagerly agreed or fled to London and barricaded her self in the Tower. News reached Arthur of his son's treachery and he rushed home to reclaim his throne. Mordred's forces were defeated at the Battle of Richborough (or Dover), then at Winchester (or Barham Down) and he was pursued west into Cornwall. The two armies met for the final time at the Battle of Camlann. Mordred and Arthur were amongst the last warriors standing. A single combat led to Mordred being slain, but not before he had inflicted a mortal wound upon his father. One version of his end claims that Sir Mordred survived Camlann and was only later defeated by Sir Lancelot. Having executed Guinevere for compliance in plot against Arthur, the Knight of the Lake then incarcerated Mordred in the dead queen's tomb. He cannibalized his former lover before dying of starvation! His rebellion was continued for a while by his two sons, Melehan and Melou.

 

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