I swear I got depressed just reading this part, but you can’t exactly skip over it, so here we go. Igraine, we love you and you deserved better than this. I hope you got a happy ending. (I mean, we’ll never know, because Malory doesn’t tell us, but whatever I’m not upset /s)
Last week I made the mistake of looking up exactly how many chapters there were in this book, and…let’s just say I had a mini existential crisis. I forgot how long this book was, oh my God. Let’s just say we’re going to be doing this for a while. o_o (Also, on that note, I need to find some way of getting all of this organized, maybe make a separate page for it or something, but we’ll see about that.) Anyway, onto the story!
Then Ulfius was glad and rode on more than a pace until he came to King Uther Pendragon and told him he had met with Merlin. ‘Where is he?’ said the king.
‘Sire,’ said Ulfius, ‘he will not dwell long.’ Then Ulfius was aware that Merlin stood at the porch of the pavilion’s door. And then Merlin was bound to come to the king.
When King Uther saw him, he said he was welcome. ‘Sire,’ said Merlin, ‘I know all your heart, every part. So you will be sworn unto me as you be a true king anointed, and to fulfill my desire, you shall have your desire.’ Then the king swore upon the four evangelists. ‘Sire,’ said Merlin, ‘this is my desire. The first night that you shall lie with Igraine, you shall have a child with her, and when it is born it shall be delivered to me to nourish as I shall have it. For it shall be to your worship and the child’s profit, as great as the child is worth.’ [GAH RUMPELSTILTKIN RUMPELSTILTSKIN
EXCEPT SOMEHOW CREEPIER][He’s doing everything for the baaaby][This is a soap opera]
‘I will,’ said the king, ‘as thou wilt have it.’ [And Igraine is given no choice in whether she wants to keep her son or not. Characters like Uther make me done with life]
‘Now make you ready,’ said Merlin. [And I’ll be honest with you, characters like Merlin, too? I didn’t grow up with the T.H. White stories, which I think are in part responsible for a lot of the affection people feel for the character today.] ‘This night you shall lie with Igraine in the castle of Tintagel, and you shall be like the duke her husband, Ulfius shall be like Sir Brastias, a knight of the duke’s, and I will be like a knight that is called [*squints*] Sir Iordanus, a knight of the duke’s. But be careful that you do not make many questions with her or her men, but say you are diseased and so hasten to bed, and rise not in the morn until I come for you.’ [I assume ‘diseased’ does not mean the modern sense of the word? Maybe something like ‘slightly sick’ or ‘tired’? But then you never know, Lancelot slept with Guinevere when he had blood pouring out of his hand and he didn’t even notice.] [Also, I AM QUESTIONING ULFIUS’ NOBILITY.] So this was done as they devised.
But the duke of Tintagel saw how the king rode from the siege of Tarabyl, and therefore that night he issued out of the castle at a postern for to have distressed the king’s host. And so through his own issue the duke was slain before the king ever came to the castle of Tintagel. [*mutters to self* A postern is a small side door in the castle…I forgot that after looking it up yesterday. Maybe I should just start putting it down as ‘side door’ so I stop being perpetually confused? But then, if not a perpetually confused moth, what am I?]
So after the death of the duke King Uther lay with Igraine over three hours after his death, and begat Arthur on her that night. And Merlin came to the king at day and bade him make ready, and so he kissed the lady Igraine and departed in all haste. [I feel awful reading what happened to Igraine, I’m serious] But when the lady heard tell of the duke her husband, and that by all records he was dead before King Uther came to her, then she marveled who that might be that lay with her in the likeness of her lord.
Then all the barons by one assent prayed the king to make peace between the lady Igraine and him, and the king gave them leave, for he would be pleased to make peace with her. So the king put all his trust in Ulfius [Oh, look, my favorite character. >:-( ] to entreat between them, so at last the king and she met together because of the entreaty.
‘Now will we do well,’ said Ulfius. ‘Our king is a lusty knight and wifeless, and my lady Igraine is a passing fair lady. [‘lusty’ means passionate, I think?] It would bring great joy unto us all and it might please the king to make her his queen.’ [He’s talking to the barons.] Unto that they all agreed and moved it to the king. [Mate!! Why!! Does Ulfius!! Even care!! What’s at stake in it for him?]
And immediately, like a lusty knight, he assented thereto with good will, and so in all haste they were married in a morning with great mirth and joy. [WAS IGRAINE SHARING IN THAT JOY WITH YOU *chokes on swear words*] And King Lot of Lothian and of Orkney wedded Morgause that was Gawain’s mother, and King Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elaine. [Why all the Elaines though?] All this was done at the request of King Uther.
And the third sister Morgan le Fay was put to school in a nunnery, and there she learned so much that she was a great clerk of necromancy. [I LOVE THIS. I’M JUST ENVISIONING ASSASSIN NUNS RIGHT NOW AND IT IS AMAZING.] And afterwards she was wedded to King Uriens of the land of Gore, that was Sir Yvain’s le Blanchemain’s father. [That is the Sir Yvain, the knight with all the cute animals and the magic ravens. Morgan was his mother in this story, and sadly, I don’t remember him making much more than a cameo? I don’t remember the lion (or the magic ravens) showing up in here. Which makes me very sad. But we’ll see!]
Even though Malory never specified what happened to Igraine, I have to say I love Chretien’s version where Gawain just found her and Morgause chilling in a magic castle twenty years after they faked their death. (Yeah, Chretien’s version of the grail story was delightfully weird and I wish he had finished it.) Both she and Morgause had to go through so much, and I love an ending for them where they’re able to get away from the people who hurt them and leave all of that behind. And live in a magic castle. The best happy endings involve magic castles.
Do you like Morgan and Yvain (plus his cute pet lion)? Do you hate Uther as much as I do? Do you think Igraine got her magic castle in the end? Do you like the story so far?