Sir Mordred in The Once and Future King is one of the great bad boys of literature. Dramatist Brian Sibley offers five reasons why the traitorous knight of King Arthur’s fabled Round Table, deserves that accolade…
1. Mordred comes from background of villainy
He is the son of Queen Morgause, a scheming enchantress, known as the Queen of Air and Darkness. Morgause pretends to the world that Mordred is a child of her marriage to King Lot of Orkney, but raises the boy, in secret, to hate his true father, King Arthur, and fills him with a passionate desire to exact vengeance on the English monarch.
2. Mordred is physically and mentally damaged
Born a hunchback, he carries the scars of incestuous birth not just in his misshapen body, but also in his twisted mind. His physical and psychological deformity drives him to hurt and destroy others.
3. Mordred manipulates and controls
Cunning and calculating, he gets others – among them his brothers Agravaine and Gawaine – to carry out his schemes and do his dirty and dangerous work for him.
4. Mordred is emotionally empty
Cold, cruel and ruthless, he has so been eaten away by his anger and hatred that he is incapable of having any understanding of mercy or compassion.
5. Mordred is weirdly attractive
Though weak and far from good-looking, he is sharp and sophisticated and attracts devotees through his eloquence and through his outlandish taste in fetishist clothing. Mordred’s all-black costume becomes the uniform of his followers, the Thrashers, who also wear a badge showing a whip clenched in a scarlet fist.