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Morgause was a skilled warrior, a powerful sorceress and a High Priestess of the Old Religion. She was Morgana's half-sister, but there is evidence that suggests they may not be actually related, unless they share the same mother. Morgause was eventually badly wounded by Merlin and Gaius (The Coming of Arthur). A year later, she appeared very crippled and sacrificed herself for Morgana at the Isle of the Blessed.

Biography

Early life

Morgause was the half-sister of Lady Morgana Pendragon; it is currently unknown if she had any other siblings apart from Morgana. Morgause was born into one of the noble houses of Camelot, the house of Gorlois. Her mother is said to have been Vivienne, the wife of Gorlois. It is implied by Morgause in the episode The Sins of the Father that Morgana's mother Vivienne is also Morgause's mother and they both inherited their magical powers from her.

Despite being Gorlois' daughter, Uther ordered Morgause to be killed with all the other magical children, however he spared her half-sister Morgana, who was only a baby then, because Morgana was his daughter.

For unknown reasons, Gaius was asked to smuggle Morgause (who was merely a child then) 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. Uther was led to believe that Morgause had died.

Morgause studied magic for many years, eventually becoming a very powerful sorceress.

First visit to Camelot

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Morgause reveals herself to Arthur. (The Sins of the Father)

Many 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.
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Morgause Arthur fights in a duel

The next day, Morgause defeated Arthur in their duel, but left him alive so he would her and accept her next challenge. She also introduced herself to her half-sister, Morgana, though she kept their relations a secret. She also gave her a bracelet that belonged to their family that had magical healing powers that would help ease her nightmares, saying it belonged to her mother, 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. As she was leaving Camelot, she 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 his manservant and friend Merlin. When they arrived at her domain, she 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 Ygraine's spirit, which told Arthur the secret of his birth: he had been conceived by magic because Uther wanted an heir and she had to die as a result. Enraged at his father for his selfishness, 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. Her manipulations, meanwhile, have deepened Arthur's hatred of magic and therefore Merlin will probably have an even harder time when he has to tell Arthur he's a warlock. (The Sins of the Father)

Assault on Camelot

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Morgause later awoke the Knights of Medhir to kill Uther. She also approached Morgana, and got her on her side. She then placed a spell upon Morgana, binding her life to a sleeping spell that 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, and reluctantly poisoned Morgana with 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 showed her the hemlock, but Arthur and the Knights of Camelot soon burst into the room. Surrounded, Morgause used her magic to take Morgana away from Camelot and saved her life. The sisters were united to start planning the attack of Camelot. (The Fires of Idirsholas)

Return to Camelot

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Morgause arrives at Cenred's castle.

At the start of the series with the aid of her half sister she casts a powerful enchantment on Uther using a mandrake root and his tears. The spell causes Uthur to hallucinate seeing people who have died because of his choices and actions before and during the purge. These include his wife frightened and bleeding, begging Uther not to harm her and an unknown drowned boy; who is revealed by Gaius to be one of the many children Uther had killed simply because they may have inherited magic from their parents. The spell gives the impression to the people of Camelot that their king may be losing his mind and possibly turn on him as a result. She has also been working with King Cenred to move against Camelot. Morgause later watched the siege of Camelot along with King Cenred and was enraged when Merlin thwarted her and Morgana's plan, though she didn't actually know that Merlin was the person that prevented the fall of Camelot. (The Tears of Uther Pendragon)

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She later visited Morgana in Camelot and discovered that she was Uther's illegitimate daughter. Unlike Morgana, Morgause was delighted to discover this since Morgana could take the throne when her father died unless Arthur stopped her. Morgause's reaction to the news suggests that she was 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. (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)

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Morgause uses the cup of life

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 sister

Thanks 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.

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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).

Death

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Morgause sacrificing herself in order to release the Dorocha

Although 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 sacrificed herself to break the veil between the living and the dead in order to attack Camelot. She said that there was nothing left for her in this world and she wanted to make her passing her final gift to Morgana (The Darkest Hour).

Personality

Morgause was highly intelligent, powerful, arrogant and Machiavellian. An example of her manipulative nature would be her taking advantage of Arthur's interest in his mother to try to turn him against Uther. This almost resulted in Arthur killing his father. She also used Morgana's hatred of Uther to persuade her to join her. She is consumed with hatred and rage as a result of the persecution of sorcerers by Uther whom she will stop at nothing, except the safety of Morgana, to destroy.

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 also considered herself superior to everyone else apart from Morgana who was the only person that she treated as an equal. 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 attempted to kill Merlin for poisoning Morgana and also acted as a confidant to her sister. Together they plotted to bring down Uther. Morgana appears to be the only person in the world, apart from herself, whom Morgause cares about. She also knew King Cenred, who was attracted to her. Morgause was capable of using her beauty to seduce others most commonly using this on Cenred. However Morgause was treacherous and caused one of Cenred's own warriors to turn against him and apparently kill him.

Morgause was very confident in her own abilities, striding straight into Camelot without attempting to be subtle about it 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. Ironically if she actually died she wouldn't be seeing Merlin again as Gaius pointed out just before he attacked her.

Morgause was intrigued by Merlin but remained unaware of his magical powers, thinking he was just a servant. However she began to suspect that he was hiding something. It is unknown if Morgause noticed Merlin casting a spell on her to defeat her. (The Coming of Arthur: Part 2) If she actually saw Merlin casting the spell she would have discovered Merlin's magical powers. However spoilers for Series 4 show that Morgause is still unaware that Merlin has magic, showing that she did not see Merlin attacking her and possibly instead thought that Gaius was the one who attacked her.

Relationships

Uther Pendragon

Morgause, like many other magic users loathed Uther. This was not at all strange as he was the cause of all her sufferings. Because of Uther's ban of all things magical, Morgause lost all contact with her family when she was naught but a girl. Morgause may also be aware of the fact that Uther got her father killed. She then learned that the king betrayed his best friend Gorlois by having an affair with her mother Vivienne. This resulted in the birth of her half-sister Morgana, whom she never got to know until recent years, once again because of Uther Pendragon.

Morgana

Morgause genuinely loved her half sister Morgana; indeed Morgana was the only person in the world that she truly cared about bar herself. The two were originally believed to be half sisters but there is a possibility that suggests they are not actually related. Morgause first met Morgana when she challenged Arthur to a duel and gave her a bracelet to help her sleep at night. Morgana felt she recognised Morgause from somewhere when they met, most likely from an early childhood memory as they both lived in the house of Gorlois during the Great Purge and the The War against magic.

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 Morgana could become Queen after Uther died. 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. Her screams of anguish caused the room to collapse and Morgana escaped, taking Morgause with her just as Morgause had done for her over a year earlier.

Despite her love for her half sister, Morgause often seemed to be using Morgana as a puppet; however considering manipulation was a natural part of her personality she may not have been consciously aware that she was doing it. Morgause never acted as though she was superior to Morgana which was unusual since she saw everyone else, including King Cenred, as inferior to her. She probably thought of herself as Morgana's mentor and confidant rather than her superior.

Morgause survived the attacks by Merlin and Gaius, but was extremely crippled and when planning to take revenge on Camelot again by summoning creatures known as the Dorocha, Morgause convinced Morgana to sacrifice her to summon the Dorocha.

Cenred

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 didn't 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 Cenred 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.

Ygraine

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 also possible that Vivienne was a lady-in-waiting of Ygraine. It is, however, possible that Morgause only made this up as part of her plot. It is also possible that Ygraine and Vivienne were related and were possibly sisters.

Appearances

Series 2
Series 3
Series 4

Abilities

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Morgause casting a very powerful spell, conjuring a column of fire.

Morgause 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 (Although 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 still appears ignorant of his own magic.

In addition to being extremely powerful in magic, Morgause was also an exceptionally skilled swordswoman, being able to kill five Camelot guards with ease, and was the only known person besides Lancelot and possibly Morgana who has managed to defeat Arthur in combat.

Interestingly, despite her training in the Old Religion, Morgause is one of the few 'professionally-trained' magic users- such as the druids- that Merlin has encountered who has been unaware of his identity as Emrys, suggesting that her study of magic has focused more on what is relevant to her schemes rather than more generic information.

Legends

Morgause was the half-sister of Arthur who married Lot. She was the mother of Gawain, Gaheris, Agravain, Gareth, and Mordred. 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. Morgause was slain by her son Gaheris who found her in a relationship with Lamorak, whose father, Pellinore, had slain Lot.

Behind the scenes

External links

Series 2 Enemies
The Curse of Cornelius Sigan: Cedric † • Cornelius Sigan † • Living Gargoyles
The Once and Future Queen: King OdinMyror
The Nightmare Begins: SerketsUther Pendragon
Lancelot and Guinevere: KendrickHengistWilddeoren
Beauty and the Beast: Troll † • Lady Catrina (indirect) † • JonasUther Pendragon (indirect) †
The Witchfinder: AredianUther Pendragon
The Sins of the Father: Morgause † • King OdinUther Pendragon
The Lady of the Lake: HaligFreya (indirect) †
Sweet Dreams: King AlinedTricklerLady Vivian (indirect) • King Olaf
The Witch's Quickening: AlvarrMorgana † • Mordred † • EnmyriaKilgharrah
The Fires of Idirsholas: Morgause † • Morgana † • Knights of MedhirKilgharrah
The Last Dragonlord: KilgharrahAsgerd
Series 3 Enemies
The Tears of Uther Pendragon: MorgauseCenredMorganaSerketsUndead SkeletonsGhost Boy
Goblin's Gold: GoblinGaius (indirect)
Gwaine: DagrEborCylferthSir Oswald (indirect) • Sir Ethan (indirect)
The Crystal Cave: MorgauseMorgana
The Changeling: Sidhe elderGrunhildaElena (indirect)
The Castle of Fyrien: MorgauseCenredMorganaFermin
The Eye of the Phoenix: MorgauseWyvernMorgana
Love in the Time of Dragons: ManticoreAlice (indirect)
Queen of Hearts: MorgauseMorganaUther PendragonKing Odin
The Sorcerer's Shadow: GilliTindrNollarMorgana
The Coming of Arthur: MorgauseMorganaCenredJarl
Series 4 Enemies
The Darkest Hour: MorganaMorgauseThe DorochaThe CailleachAgravaineWilddeorenWyvern
The Wicked Day: King OdinMorganaAgravaineThe GleemanGeldred
Aithusa: Julius BordenKing Odin
His Father's Son: MorganaAgravaineQueen AnnisKing CaerleonDerian
A Servant of Two Masters: MorganaAgravaineFomorrohMerlin (indirect)
The Secret Sharer: MorganaAgravaineAlatorOrn
Lamia: LamiaAgravaine
Lancelot du Lac: MorganaLancelot (Shade) •  AgravaineDochraid
A Herald of the New Age: Shrine BoyElyan (indirect)
The Hunter's Heart: MorganaAgravaineHelios
The Sword in the Stone: MorganaAgravaineHeliosAithusaNathair
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