Morgause was the eldest daughter of Vivienne - who was also the mother of Morgana, thus making Morgause and Morgana maternal half-sisters. She was a skilled warrior, a powerful sorceress and a High Priestess of the Old Religion. Morgause was eventually badly wounded by Merlin and Gaius, and a year later, physically weakened, she chose to be sacrificed by Morgana at the Isle of the Blessed, so the spirits of the dead could enter the human world and attack Camelot and the villages around it, claiming that it was her "final gift" to her sister, and that it would "bring their enemies to their knees".
Morgause was the half-sister of Morgana Pendragon; it is currently unknown if she had any other siblings, however this is more on the unlikely side. Morgause was born into one of the noble houses of Camelot, the house of Gorlois - though the man himself is not her father as Morgause and Morgana referred to one another as "sister" once Morgana's true parentage (that of Uther) was known; her mother, Vivienne, the wife of Gorlois, is also implied to be Morgana's mother, and they both inherited their magical powers from her. For some unknown reason, Gaius was asked to smuggle the infant Morgause out of Camelot and give her to the High Priestesses of the Old Religion. Gaius did so, and swore an oath to never reveal his actions to anyone while Uther was led to believe that Morgause had died, also due to an unknown reason. Morgause studied magic for many years, eventually becoming a very powerful sorceress, acting to take her revenge on King Uther Pendragon.
First Visit to CamelotMany years after her birth, Morgause returned to Camelot, now a grown woman. Dressed as a knight, she killed five guards to get into the castle, where she revealed herself to the court and challenged Arthur Pendragon to a duel. Despite the fact that he did not wish to fight Morgause, Arthur agreed. The next day, Morgause defeated Arthur in their duel, but left him alive so that he would accept her next challenge. She also introduced herself to her half-sister, Morgana, though she kept their relationship a secret. She also gave her a bracelet with magical healing powers to relieve her of her nightmares, saying it belonged to her mother, thus implying that it was also Morgana's mother. Gaius found the bracelet and informed Uther that only Morgana's half-sister would be able to wear such a bracelet besides herself, revealing Morgause's true fate and admitting to Uther that he made a oath which he was only breaking now because he feared Morgause's intentions.
As she was leaving Camelot, Morgause told Arthur that she knew something about his mother, giving Arthur incentive to come see her. Despite the fact that his father tried to prevent him from leaving, Arthur went to meet her, accompanied by Merlin. When they reached her, Morgause told Arthur to place his head on a chopping block so she could kill him. He did so, and Morgause told him the whole thing had been a test of his character. As his reward, Morgause used her magic to summon either Ygraine's spirit or the illusion of Ygraine, who told Arthur the secret of his birth; he had been conceived by magic because Uther had wanted an heir and as a result she had died. Enraged at his father for his presumed selfishness and without knowing all the details, Arthur returned to Camelot and attempted to kill Uther. But just as he was about to deal the fatal blow, Merlin burst into the hall and convinced him that Morgause had tricked him. Morgause was upset that her plans had failed while her deceit further cemented Arthur's mistrust of magic (The Sins of the Father).
Assault on Camelot
Morgause later awoke the Knights of Medhir to kill Uther. She also approached Morgana and won her trust by playing on the fact that if Uther discovered that she had magic, he would have her executed. She then placed a spell upon her, binding her life to a sleeping spell which she placed on Camelot. The spell put everyone in Camelot to sleep, with the exception of Morgana, Arthur and Merlin (who were away when she cast the spell). Merlin, after visiting The Great Dragon, learned of how to stop the Knights, by destroying the source of the enchantment (which was Morgana), and so he reluctantly poisoned Morgana with a type of poison called hemlock.
Morgause, upon hearing her sister's telepathic screams, confronted Merlin and demanded he tell her what he used to poison her sister so she could heal her. Merlin refused to do so unless she killed the Knights. Morgause chose her sister over her chance to kill Uther, and used her magic to kill the knights. Merlin then showed her the hemlock, but Arthur and the Knights of Camelot soon burst into the room. Surrounded, Morgause used her magic to take Morgana and herself away from Camelot and saved her life. The sisters were united to start planning the attack of Camelot (The Fires of Idirsholas).
Return to CamelotWith Morgana's help, Morgause later cast a powerful enchantment on Uther using a mandrake root and his tears. The spell caused Uther to see hallucinations of people whom he had caused to suffer either during the Great Purge or afterwards. These include his wife, Ygraine, begging Uther for something and a small child whom Gaius revealed to be one of the many children Uther had killed simply because they may have inherited magic from their parents. The spell gave the impression to the people of Camelot that their king may be losing his mind and would be unfit to rule. Morgause was later seen working with King Cenred to move against Camelot and watched the siege of Camelot with him. She was enraged when Merlin thwarted her and Morgana's plan, though she did not know that Merlin was the person that prevented the fall of Camelot (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Morgause later visited Morgana, who had just discovered that she was Uther's illegitimate daughter. Unlike Morgana, Morgause was delighted by this since it meant she was of the royal line, albeit unrecognized and illegitimate, which meant Morgana could potentially take the throne when Uther died, provided that Arthur did not stand in the way. Morgause had apparently been previously unaware that Uther was Morgana's father (The Crystal Cave).
She helped Morgana with her plan to kill Arthur by getting Cenred to kidnap Gwen's brother Elyan and giving her a magical ring to guide Cenred's warriors to Arthur, she nearly killed Arthur with a fire spell before Merlin exploded the fire before it could harm Arthur (The Castle of Fyrien).
Morgause later met up with Morgana in a crowded market disguised as a poor old woman. She gave Morgana the Phoenix Eye to give to Arthur for his quest to claim The Fisher King's trident so it would kill him (The Eye of the Phoenix).
When Morgana had a dream of Gwen becoming Queen of Camelot alongside Arthur she gave Morgause a message informing her of this. They secretly met at night in the castle where Morgause told her about different types of possible futures and told her to make sure this one would never happen. Morgana later tried but failed (Queen of Hearts).
The Queen's SisterThanks to her spy, Morgana, Morgause discovered when Arthur and Merlin set out to find the Cup of Life. She told Cenred to get the Cup for her. Cenred's men succeeded in collecting the Cup and Morgause made Cenred's army immortal. However she betrayed Cenred and caused one of his own men to attack and apparently kill him. Morgause was later involved in a brief ceremony where Morgana was crowned Queen of Camelot, after her immortal warriors defeated Camelot's army. Morgause manipulated Guinevere and Sir Leon into leading them to Arthur who had escaped Camelot along with Merlin, Elyan, Gwaine, and Gaius. Lancelot and Percival intervened allowing the group to escape.
Morgause later attacked Merlin when he attempted to retrieve the Cup of Life. Gaius arrived in time to prevent her from killing the young warlock and attacked her with his own magic catching her off guard. Merlin then defeated Morgause by smashing her against a pillar with his magic, incapacitating her. A devastated Morgana rushed into the room and cradled her sister as Morgause had a year ago before bringing the room crashing down with magical screams of anguish. A later search through the rubble found no trace of Morgana or Morgause leaving their fate unknown (The Coming of Arthur).
DeathAlthough Morgause survived the attack from Merlin and Gaius, she was left with serious scars on the right side of her face, along with various other unspecified health problems. Morgause and Morgana were seen travelling to the Isle of the Blessed a year after their attack on Camelot, where Morgause was sacrificed by Morgana to break the veil between the spirit world and the world of the living in order to attack Camelot. She said that there was nothing left for her in the living world and she wanted to make her passing her final gift to Morgana (The Darkest Hour).
Morgause was highly intelligent, astute, powerful, arrogant, vengeful, and Machiavellian. Her manipulative and carefully scheming ways were shown by her use of Arthur's curiosity about his mother to try to turn him against Uther. She also used Morgana's hatred of Uther and her vulnerability to persuade her to join her evil plots.
Morgause was so consumed with hatred and rage as a result of the persecution of sorcerers by Uther that she would stop at almost nothing to destroy him completely. Morgause was largely callous and cold towards others, viewing most of them as tools to be used to gain power and disposed of when they served no further use.She was contemptuous of almost all others and, though she evidently cared about Morgana, she was more dominant in their relationship, although this changed a little during Morgana's first reign as Queen when they treated each other more like equals.
Despite her ruthless nature, Morgause did have a softer side. When she found out Morgana was dying, she abandoned her attempt on Uther's life in order to save her half-sister. She later attempted to kill Merlin for poisoning Morgana and also acted as a confidante to her sister. Morgana appeared to be the only other person for whom Morgause had any real affection.
Though she was well acquainted with King Cenred, who was clearly attracted to her, Morgause treated him as a puppet and kept him interested with her looks and charm. She had no real affection for him, though, and her treacherous nature was exemplified when she had him killed. Morgause was very confident in her own abilities, passing straight into Camelot and killing five guards on the way before challenging Arthur to a duel.
She also seemed confident that she could defeat him, which she did. Morgause also arrogantly informed Merlin that she wouldn't see him again as she prepared to kill him and was caught off guard by the arrival of Gaius which resulted in her defeat.
Morgause, like many other magic users, loathed Uther for his tyranny and his persecution of magical beings. As a result of Uther's ban on all things magical, Morgause lost all contact with her family when she was a young child. She then learned that the King betrayed Vivienne's husband Gorlois by having an affair with her, resulting in the birth of Morgause's half-sister Morgana, from whom she was separated first due to Gaius who smuggled her out of Camelot for an unknown reason and remained to be separated from Morgana due to Uther Pendragon who years later started the Great Purge and the war on magic after Arthur's birth.
Morgause genuinely cared for her half-sister Morgana, who seemed to be the only person for whom she had any affection. The two were originally believed to be half-sisters though this remains ambiguous. Morgause first met Morgana when she arrived in Camelot and challenged Arthur to a duel and gave her a healing bracelet to help her sleep at night. Morgana felt she recognized Morgause from somewhere when they met, most likely from an early childhood memory or perhaps due to the mere fact that they were half-sisters. Morgause later persuaded Morgana to betray Uther and help her bring down Camelot.Morgause displayed how much she cared for Morgana by abandoning her attempt on Uther's life to save her after she was poisoned by Merlin. When Morgana returned to Camelot she remained in contact with Morgause and met with her many times. They sometimes displayed affection for each other by hugging and Morgause kissed Morgana on the cheek at one point. She appeared surprised when Morgana revealed she was Uther's daughter but her surprise was quickly replaced by delight since it meant Morgana was technically of royal blood. Morgause watched proudly as Morgana was crowned Queen of Camelot. When Morgause was badly injured by Merlin and Gaius, Morgana was devastated and cried over her body, magically transporting the both of them away. Despite her love for her half-sister, Morgause often seemed to be using Morgana as a puppet and was clearly the more dominant one in the relationship since she was older, more experienced and used to manipulation. Morgause seemed to be the one driving many of their joint schemes, while Morgana became utterly devoted to her and participated wholeheartedly. Morgause survived the attacks by Merlin and Gaius, but was left so weakened that she decided the best course of action would be to use herself as a blood sacrifice to bring down Camelot, thus leaving the path open for Morgana to take the throne. Morgana was evidently disturbed and unhappy about killing her sister, but Morgause was determined to use her inevitable death to benefit her and persuaded her to go through with it.
Morgause was an associate of King Cenred who was clearly attracted to her. He called her "My Lady" and also commented on her courage and bowed to her on one occasion. Though Cenred was polite to Morgause, she frequently threatened him whenever he failed her. Cenred appeared to think she was only bluffing and did not seem intimidated by her threats. However, he was later proven wrong when Morgause caused one of his warriors to turn against him and the man apparently killed him. Morgause obviously thought she was superior to Cenred despite him being a king and she frequently gave him orders which Cenred usually obeyed. Nevertheless Cenred was willing to stand up to Morgause if he thought it was necessary and told her that he had given up on the siege of Camelot after Morgana's skeleton army was destroyed.
Morgause claimed to have known Queen Ygraine of Camelot very well, saying she was a woman of honour. It is possible that Ygraine knew Morgause's mother, and as it is known that Vivienne spent time in Camelot, this would lend credence to the theory that Vivienne is Morgause's mother. It is, however, possible that Morgause only made this up as part of her schemes, particularly since she could not have known Ygraine for very long as she was still a child when she died, and also because Morgause was smuggled out of Camelot as an infant.
ArthurMorgause never aimed to harm Arthur if his fall wasn't necessary for her plans to succeed. She spared him when she defeated him in a duel and she also displayed sympathy towards him about his mother's death (The Sins of the Father). However it can be assumed that she did so in order for her plans to come to fruition. She wanted to make him get rid of Uther so that she could achieve her vengeance. Later on when she found out Morgana had been poisoned she interrupted Arthur from saving her and teleported out of Camelot. After Morgana discovered the truth of her birth, Morgause was the mastermind behind most of her sister's plans to get rid of him and seize the throne. She even directly tried to kill Arthur, creating a column of fire that would have definitely killed him, had it not been for Merlin's magic (The Castle of Fyrien).
MerlinMorgause didn't pay much attention to Merlin and only thought of him as a serving boy. In his first attempt to pass her a note she was suspicious and threatened to kill him (The Sins of the Father). Later on, after she summons the Medhir Knights to raid Camelot, she realizes that he is responsible for her sister's poisoning and decides to call her attack off in order to save Morgana (The Fires of Idirsholas). After Morgana's return, both of them were bitter and clearly held a grudge against Merlin. Although Morgause noticed something different about Merlin, she failed to realize his gift and her attempts to kill him were foiled, first by Kilgharrah (The Tears of Uther Pendragon) and then by Gaius (The Coming of Arthur). After her death, Merlin expressed his satisfaction to Morgana over his achievement to gravely injure Morgause.
AbilitiesMorgause was an extremely powerful sorceress, and after the death of Nimueh, she replaced her as Camelot's most dangerous enemy. She was able to summon an apparition of Arthur's mother, and later reawaken the Knights of Medhir as well as put the whole of Camelot into a deep sleep; the only beings immune to this spell were Kilgharrah and Morgana, but the latter was only immune because she was the source of the magic. Morgause also demonstrated the ability to magically transport herself and Morgana by forming a whirlwind around them, and was able to conjure a massive column of fire that would have killed Arthur if Merlin had not stopped her. She easily overpowered Merlin when he attempted to spill blood out of the Cup of Life, slamming him against the wall with a non-verbal spell, and it was only because of the intervention of Gaius that Merlin managed to defeat her. However it should be noted that Morgause merely caught Merlin off-guard rather than defeating him in direct conflict, making it unclear how the two would compare if they had to fight each other directly using their magic.
When Morgause captured Merlin, she used a powerful enchantment on his chains to the point that he was unable to break free by using his magic. Morgause was also capable of telepathy as she used it to contact Morgana on one occasion. It is possible that her magic extends to a form of mind reading, as she was quick to guess at Merlin's hidden reasons for sacrificing everything for Arthur. However, she may instead be skilled at interpreting body language, particularly since she was forever ignorant of his magic. It is possible that Morgause also had the gift of a seer, since she possessed the magical bracelet before giving it to Morgana, her half sister.
In addition to being extremely powerful in magic, Morgause was also an expert Swordswomen, being able to kill five Camelot guards with ease, and was the only known person besides Lancelot, Helios, and Albin who has managed to defeat Arthur in combat. Arthur claimed this was because of his chivalry since he disarmed her at one point in the duel but then allowed her to pick up her sword. This was the only time Morgause displayed her skill with a sword and just like Morgana she relied mainly on magic to fight her enemies later in her life.
- Series 2
- The Sins of the Father
- The Fires of Idirsholas
- Series 3
- The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part One
- The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part Two
- The Crystal Cave
- The Castle of Fyrien
- The Eye of the Phoenix
- Queen of Hearts
- The Coming of Arthur: Part One
- The Coming of Arthur: Part Two
- Series 4
- The Darkest Hour: Part One
- A Servant of Two Masters (Mentioned only)
- The Secret Sharer (Appears in a dream) (Deleted scene only)
- Lancelot du Lac (Mentioned only)
Morgause was the half-sister of Arthur who married Lot. In most versions she was the mother of Gawain, Gaheris, Agravain, Gareth, and often Mordred (in some versions, he is only her nephew, son of Morgana, though she typically has a hand in raising him, usually leading to no good).
According to the Enfaces Gawain, Lot was her page with whom she had an intrigue, as a result of which Gawain was born.
In Malory, she is Lot's queen who, as the result of an amatory encounter with Arthur (who did not know they were related), gave birth to Mordred.
Often presented as a promiscuous character, Morgause was slain by her son Gaheris who found her in bed with Lamorak, whose father, Pellinore, had slain Lot.
Though most legends present her as Arthur's sister through his mother, Ygraine, in some lesser-known versions, she (and presumably Morgana, as well) is unrelated to Ygraine, being, instead, Arthur's half-sister on Uther's side.
In this tradition, Morgause is shown as Uther's daughter in Mary Stewart's Arthurian novels. It it likely that the writers of BBC's Merlin drew some inspiration on this in their choice of making Morgana Uther's daughter, as they did mention Mary Stewart's classic 1970s Merlin books in an interview.
- Many people speculated before Series 4, that Morgause had died after her duel with Merlin and Gaius in The Coming of Arthur: Part Two. However, she returned in the next episode, injured from those events.
- Both Morgause and Morgana used a sort of aging spell to disguise themselves as old women (The Eye of the Phoenix and Another's Sorrow/A Lesson in Vengeance).
Deleted SceneIn an unreleased deleted scene from The Secret Sharer, Morgana, who is lying on the brink of death following her encounter with the old Emrys, sees her sister in the Spirit world and is given a magical coin that revives her. Morgana will use this coin in the episode Lancelot du Lac to summon Lancelot's spirit.
|Series 2 Enemies|
|The Curse of Cornelius Sigan: Cedric † • Cornelius Sigan † • Living Gargoyles|
The Once and Future Queen: King Odin • Myror
The Nightmare Begins: Serkets • Uther Pendragon †
Lancelot and Guinevere: Kendrick • Hengist • Wilddeoren
Beauty and the Beast: Troll † • Lady Catrina (indirect) † • Jonas • Uther Pendragon (indirect) †
The Witchfinder: Aredian • Uther Pendragon †
The Sins of the Father: Morgause † • King Odin • Uther Pendragon †
The Lady of the Lake: Halig • Freya (indirect) †
Sweet Dreams: King Alined • Trickler • Lady Vivian (indirect) • King Olaf
The Witch's Quickening: Alvarr • Morgana † • Mordred † • Enmyria • Kilgharrah
The Fires of Idirsholas: Morgause † • Morgana † • Knights of Medhir • Kilgharrah
The Last Dragonlord: Kilgharrah • Asgerd
|Series 3 Enemies|
|The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Morgause • Cenred • Morgana • Serkets • Undead Skeletons • Ghost Boy |
Goblin's Gold: Goblin • Gaius (indirect)
Gwaine: Dagr • Ebor • Cylferth • Sir Oswald (indirect) • Sir Ethan (indirect)
The Crystal Cave: Morgause • Morgana
The Changeling: Sidhe elder • Grunhilda • Elena (indirect)
The Castle of Fyrien: Morgause • Cenred • Morgana • Fermin
The Eye of the Phoenix: Morgause • Wyvern • Morgana
Love in the Time of Dragons: Manticore • Alice (indirect)
Queen of Hearts: Morgause • Morgana • Uther Pendragon • King Odin
The Sorcerer's Shadow: Gilli • Tindr • Nollar • Morgana
The Coming of Arthur: Morgause • Morgana • Cenred • Jarl
|Series 4 Enemies|
|The Darkest Hour: Morgana • Morgause • The Dorocha • The Cailleach • Agravaine • Wilddeoren • Wyvern|
The Wicked Day: King Odin • Morgana • Agravaine • The Gleeman • Geldred
Aithusa: Julius Borden • King Odin
His Father's Son: Morgana • Agravaine • Queen Annis • King Caerleon • Derian
A Servant of Two Masters: Morgana • Agravaine • Fomorroh • Merlin (indirect)
The Secret Sharer: Morgana • Agravaine • Alator • Orn
Lamia: Lamia • Agravaine
Lancelot du Lac: Morgana • Lancelot (Shade) • Agravaine • Dochraid
A Herald of the New Age: Shrine Boy • Elyan (indirect)
The Hunter's Heart: Morgana • Agravaine • Helios
The Sword in the Stone: Morgana • Agravaine • Helios • Aithusa • Nathair