It’s wonderful to come across parts of the Arthur legend I had never heard. Somehow I had missed the story of Mordred and Guinevere and the tower of London, and it's my new favorite part.
Mordred was conceived not very long before Arthur married Guinevere. He is presumably young enough to be her son. He is one of her most consistent enemies, using any chance he can get to accuse her and Lancelot of infidelity. He and his brother Agravain were responsible for trapping the lovers, which led to her being tied to a pyre to be burned. Despite all this, he decides that the best way for him to seal his claim on the throne is to marry her. He decides to marry her, and then he Believes her when she agrees that despite the decades of enmity between them, and his sure blame in the current war between her husband and her lover, she would love nothing more than to marry him. His lack of awareness about women, and about Guinevere, in particular, is astonishing. She has been married to the greatest King England will ever know for her entire adult life, and she has been loved by the greatest knight the world has ever known for most of that life. She has watched flames rise around her. She has watched as her Husband King and Her lover Hero knight have been set upon each other, by this sneaky, gossiping, coward, who now lays claim to the throne and wants to marry her.
Mordred is so out of his league with Queen Guinevere it is Awesome. She lowers her lashes and asks him if she may go to London to prepare for their joyful union, and he doesn’t think twice. Maybe he’s too vain to see it? Maybe he really just does not know who he is dealing with? Perhaps his story of women is such that he feels she has no options left, and will just take up with the most powerful man around. Whatever it is, I can’t say how much I enjoyed watching Guinevere setting herself up in style on Mordred’s dime in the Tower of London. It’s defensible, it’s so very very public, it is the perfect place for a queen besieged.
Mordred is so mad he’s apoplectic. He comes at her with siege weapons and sweet words and none of it budges her. She lets it be known far and wide that he’s the worst, and she’d rather be dead than marry him. It’s excellent. It’s one of the few moments where sneaky snaky Mordred gets tricked himself and gets publicly shamed. I finished that little episode and sat back and applauded Her Majesty. Well Played Guinevere, Well Played.