Morgan le Fay in Malory's le Morte

   The youngest of Igraine's daughters. Following Uther's wedding of Igraine, she was sent to school in a nunnery where Malory states she became a great clerk of necromancy. It seems strange to read that a nunnery taught necromancy, therefore, it is more likely that we have a gender issue. Morgan becomes very learned and wise, receiving an education beyond that expected of a woman. Thus, in many men's eyes she would have been the female equivalent of a wizard.
   Based upon backward reasoning of the apparent chronology of Malory, Morgan was probably married to Uriens at about the time of Uther's death. Uther sent her to a nunnery at the time of his marriage to Igraine and never explicitly states when she was married but her son Uwaine is grown and close to knighthood at the time of Arthur's war with the five kings. There is a slight possibility that she may have been intended to stay in the nunnery and was forced to leave to marry Uriens due to Uther's looming death. She must have been young when she married Uriens, probably between thirteen and sixteen. She first meets Arthur when he sends for Igraine to verify his parentage. She is described at that meeting as being as fair a lady as any might be. Malory does not provide any indications of her feelings toward Arthur; but during the burial of Lot and the eleven kings, we learn that she had carried on an affair with Accolon of Gaul and wished her brother dead. Arthur, in his naivety, places Excalibur into her care. She makes a duplicate of it with an enchantment but more likely, when Arthur places it in her trust, she realizes that she might be able to have her desires and begins to plot Arthur's and Urien's death. She has a copy of Excalibur made secretly and presents the scabbard to her lover, Accolon, to protect him.
   Following the war with the five kings, Morgan is ready to put her plans into action. Arthur, Uriens, and Accolon go on a hunt (probably northeast along the Severn). They complete the kill near nightfall and on foot at the water's edge. The hunters see a ship draped in silk that sails to the shore. Twelve maidens greet the men and invite them on board where they are served a rich meal and afterward taken to separate chambers. A soporific is given to them to make them sleep. Each of the men will be transported while drugged, Uriens to Camelot, Accolon to the grounds of Ontzlake's manor, and Arthur to Damas' prison. Malory does not clarify why Morgan did not just kill Arthur and Uriens; but we can assume that it was necessary for Accolon to kill Arthur in ritual combat to assure support when Morgan would declare him as Arthur's replacement and herself as his queen. Uriens is delivered into her hands for personal vengeance.
   But her plans go awry. With the help of Excalibur, Accolon nearly defeats Arthur but with a small enchantment from Nimue, Arthur regains Excalibur and defeats him. Accolon confesses the plot to Arthur and receives partial forgiveness; for even though Arthur is sore wounded, he takes Accolon to a nearby abbey where they will be treated. Arthur will recover but Accolon dies four days later. Like an arrogant fool, Arthur sends his body to Camelot to be delivered to Morgan as a present from Arthur and with the news that Arthur had regained his sword.
   In the mean time, Morgan believes that her scheme can not fail and thinking Arthur dead at her lover's hands, she determines to end Urien's life. She sends one of her ladies to get Urien's sword; but the lady informs Uwaine of his mother's plans. Morgan steals into Urien's chambers where he is asleep and boldly moves to his bedside. When she raises the sword to smite him, Uwaine leaps forward and stays her hand. Had she not been his mother, he would have slain her on the spot; but she claimed that she had been tempted to the act by a devil and would not act further if he did not reveal what had happened. He agrees to the covenant if she will leave and never return.
   To make her misery worse, the news of Accolon's death and the arrival of his body at the church, as well as Arthur's recovery of Excalibur reaches her. She realizes that she is undone. Hiding her pain at the death of her lover, she plans how to escape Arthur's justice and revenge herself.
   Uwaine has not revealed to anyone what happened, giving Morgan the chance to escape. She goes to Guenever and asks for her leave to ride in the country. Instead, she rides almost non-stop to the abbey of  nuns where Arthur is still being treated for his wounds. When she arrives, Arthur is asleep. Due to her status, she enters Arthur's chamber and takes the scabbard, unable to take Excalibur because he holds it unsheathed in his hand while asleep. Arthur awakes to find the scabbard missing. With Ontzlake, he sets out in pursuit of Morgan. Morgan discovers that Arthur is pursuing her and that he will overtake her and her escort. She passes through the forest and reaches a plain with a nearby lake. Wishing her brother ill, she throws the scabbard out as far as she can into the lake and with enchantment conceals her group into the shape of a great marble stone. Arthur is unable to find her or the scabbard and returns to the abbey.
   Morgan proceeds toward her domains. On the way, she finds a knight leading another bound knight. She discovers that the bound knight is a cousin of Accolon's that is accused of adultery and is to be drowned. For her lost love and because he swore he was innocent, she releases him and lets him bind and drown his accuser. She sends him afterward to Arthur to tell him the story.
   She makes her way into Gore where she is able to fortify her lands. In an attempt to head off any reprisal by Arthur, she sends a rich mantle embellished with precious stones to Arthur to atone for her offense. But Nimue saves Arthur, for the mantle is laced with poison or acid and when Arthur makes the bearer put it on, she fell down dead and burnt to coals. Arthur is so wroth that he calls Uriens to him and banishes Uwaine from the court believing that someone must have aided her and Uwaine was suspect.

more to come ...