NIA JONES tells us about the legendary wicked Arthurian character Morgan Le Fay for Spooky Isles’ Wicked Women Week
Morgan Le Fay, also known as Famurgan, Morgaine, Morgana or Morgen, was a powerful priestess, benevolent fairy and dark sorceress. In the Arthurian legends, Morgan Le Fay was one of the half-sisters of King Arthur, daughter of Ygerna and her first husband, Gorlois..
‘Le Fay’ is an ancient word for a fairy and to this day, apparently, the Breton name for a water-nymph is a ‘Morgan’. She is likely to have originated from Welsh Celtic mythology, presented as the wife of King Urien and the mother of Yvain, some have linked her to the Welsh goddess Modron, who is described in the Welsh Triads as the daughter of Avallack, wife of Urian of Reghed, and mother of Owain.
According to Arthurian legend, Morgan le Fay was able to fly and transform herself into shapes; she hatched a wicked monstrous ruse so that she could replace Guinevere as Queen. She betrays her first husband, Uriens, and imprisons her half-brother Arthur with an evil knight. She steals Excalibur and hands it to the man she truly loves, Sir Accolan.
She then forces Arthur to duel him, but, Nimue, the Lady of the Lake saves Arthur, helping him to regain Excalibur so that he can defeat Sir Accolan.
Morgan le Fay is forced to flee in defeat, her evil plans thwarted. Many believe she died, but in reality she merely escaped far into the forest. Later, Arthur later finds her and the two are reconciled. Morgan le Fay ends her days on the Isle of Avalon, where she takes her dying half-brother to be healed after his last battle.