Rebellious. Ambitious. Seductive. Sinister. While this may seem like a bit of a vocabulary test, they are actually words that can best describe the character of Morgan Le Fey of Starz’s ill-fated fantasy drama Camelot.
In this 2011 retelling of the classic Celtic tale of King Arthur, Morgan (as played by the illustrious Eva Green) is the shunned daughter of an unfeeling king and longs for only one thing: to sit on the throne that is her birthright.
When we first meet Morgan, she had been banished for some 15 years from her home after her father, King Uther, not only orchestrated the murder of her mother but married another and made her his queen. Uther then claims he doesn’t have a daughter, inciting even more resentment and rage from his eldest child.
In revenge, Morgan takes her father’s life, only to learn she has a younger half-brother who is now the only male heir, and with greater ties to the throne than herself. This, of course, fills her to the brim with fury and ignites a chain of events that test her pursuits and power.
While some adaptations peg Morgan (also known as Morgana) as an evil sorceress hell-bent on Arthur’s demise, our witchy villain is portrayed here more as a victim of circumstance, one who succumbs to the darkness to advance her justifiable ambitions of being queen. Honestly, wouldn't an emotionally abusive and distant father and secret stepbrother taking away all that you've ever wanted drive you to do a few bad things?
Throughout the show, we learn Morgan's banishment led to her instruction in a few dark arts; however, as Morgan does use powerful black magic to execute her plans, it’s really Morgan’s mastery of manipulation that is the real magic in this reboot.
For a great portion of this magical TV series, Morgan uses her silver tongue (with the help of her most trusted women servants) to scheme her way back onto the throne. We see this first when she allies herself with her father's most trusted enemy, King Lot, in an attempt to have the two kingdoms — Lothian and Pendragon — united in taking down the newly re-instated at Castle Camelot. It’s clear that Morgan is not entirely in love with the idea of following through with her plan to marry King Lot and hand over the kingdom of Pendragon to him, but she manipulates the warrior king into thinking that by helping her he will have the best of both worlds — a claim on her and the kingdom of Camelot.
Not all of Morgan’s schemes come to fruition, but when incorporated with her bag of shape-shifting tricks, she is able to create an impressive level of chaos. In assuming the face of King Arthur’s beloved mother Igraine or his lover Guinevere (who was married to his knight Leontes), Morgan wrought the most damage. In the guise of her hated stepmother, Morgan was able to gain the trust of many — including the all-powerful Merlin — and used that trust to sow seeds of doubt and sprout the roots of intrigue to crumble Camelot from the inside out. And as Guinevere, Morgan may have very well succeeded in her plans through a romp of mistaken identity with Arthur; if she would not ever be a queen, she'd potentially birth a legitimate king herself.
Camelot may have only lasted only one season before its cancellation, but its witchy Morgan Le Fay cast quite the spell in the brief time she was on screen.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.