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  • Jo-Anne Blanco

Morgan le Fay Locations: Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall. (C) Jo Anne Blanco
Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall is famous for being (allegedly) the birthplace of King Arthur. Less well known is that Tintagel Castle is also the home of Morgan le Fay. As Morgan’s role in literature shifted in the late Middle Ages and was made more closely associated with Arthur, she was transformed from the mystical goddess/fairy queen figure of Avalon into Arthur’s half-sister, the daughter of Arthur’s mother Igraine by her first husband Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. Tintagel Castle was Gorlois’ stronghold and thus in later Arthurian tradition became the birthplace and childhood home of Morgan le Fay.

In many versions, it is at Tintagel where Morgan’s lifelong enmity with both Merlin and Arthur begins. When Morgan is a young child, legend has it that Uther Pendragon, in love with the married Igraine, is magically disguised by Merlin to look like Gorlois so he can seduce Igraine and sire Arthur, while Gorlois is killed in battle that same night by Uther’s men. Morgan never forgives Merlin or Arthur for this betrayal of her mother and father – and while Arthur clearly isn’t to blame for any of it, her fury at both him and Merlin is still totally understandable.

Here are some pictures I took of Tintagel Castle when I was last there. It really is magnificent: beautiful, haunting and atmospheric – even with hundreds of tourists milling about! The cave beneath the castle is named Merlin’s Cave; it is said that he still walks there and sometimes his voice can be heard echoing inside. Given that Morgan has more of a connection to Tintagel in the legends than Merlin, I think she should have a place named after her there as well. Since she is famous as the Queen of the Isle of Avalon, maybe we could re-name Tintagel Island as Morgan le Fay Island or Morgan le Fay Isle? Or better still: Morgan’s Island.

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