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Thread: Mordred Questions

  1. #1
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    Mordred Questions

    Greetings one and all!

    1. When was Mordred made a Round Table Knight?

    2. Why didn't Lancelot kill Mordred after he slew the old man who told him that King Lot wasn't his real father and that he would cause the destruction of Camelot?
    The second question refers to the GPC scene in 534.

    3. What was the punishment for killing another knight, if any?
    I have fought my fight, I have lived my life,
    I have drunk my share of wine.
    From Trier to Cologne ‘twas never a knight
    Lived a merrier life than mine.

  2. #2
    Can't answer #1

    I imagine that it's because such a reaction to slander isn't sufficient grounds for one knight to kill another. The old man could be deluded, or malicious, but he's 'obviously' telling falsehoods, and besmirching the name of a Knight, and lethal response, while perhaps extreme, isn't outside the remit of Honor. Remember, Lance doesn't know that Mordred is Arthur's downfall.

    The punishment for a killing would depend very much upon the circumstances. A declared challenge over a point of mortal Honour would, I think, be considered 'justifiable'. Death in a battle over something material might require a blood price be paid. Out-and-out murder would be grounds for writs of attainder and hunting down like a common criminal.

  3. #3
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    1. I don't think it is explicitly mentioned, but all the other Orkney brothers got Rounded pretty soon after their knighthoods. Given Arthur's feelings of guilt over Mordred's kidnapping as a baby, I wouldn't be surprised if Mordred was basically enrolled right after his knighting.

    2. womble gave a good answer to this. Remember, Mordred until now has been a perfectly courteous, even chivalric young knight. It is this event that starts him down his dark path. Why would Lancelot outright murder his travelling companion, and, if my point 1 is correct, a fellow Round Table Knight?

    3. My feelings differ slightly here. Death in battle does not need to be recompensed, although that might be done to prevent a feud (see Orkneys vs. De Gales where this was not done). Generally, though, you take your chances and you take your lumps. No fault, as far as justice goes. Knights in stories often have mortal duels over rather minor things, but as long as it is a fair duel, entered willingly on both sides, again, no complaint from the law. Murder would be attacking a sleeping or an unarmed (i.e. unarmored, since most knights would always carry their swords) knight, or striking at them from behind without warning and similar dirty tricks. Of course, in that case, you'd need to have witnesses to swear that this was so, and the accused knight can of course demand a judicial duel to prove his innocence. That might be a bit more difficult if you murder someone in front of the whole court, of course.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Morien View Post
    2. womble gave a good answer to this. Remember, Mordred until now has been a perfectly courteous, even chivalric young knight. It is this event that starts him down his dark path. Why would Lancelot outright murder his travelling companion, and, if my point 1 is correct, a fellow Round Table Knight?

    3. My feelings differ slightly here. Death in battle does not need to be recompensed, although that might be done to prevent a feud (see Orkneys vs. De Gales where this was not done). Generally, though, you take your chances and you take your lumps. No fault, as far as justice goes. Knights in stories often have mortal duels over rather minor things, but as long as it is a fair duel, entered willingly on both sides, again, no complaint from the law. Murder would be attacking a sleeping or an unarmed (i.e. unarmored, since most knights would always carry their swords) knight, or striking at them from behind without warning and similar dirty tricks. Of course, in that case, you'd need to have witnesses to swear that this was so, and the accused knight can of course demand a judicial duel to prove his innocence. That might be a bit more difficult if you murder someone in front of the whole court, of course.
    In most of the sources, Mordred is regarded as an exemplary knight and his conflict with Arthur a real tragedy spurred on by misunderstanding. GPC and Malory, as well as more modern literature have made him a byword for betrayal and vice, but other views were that his administration and approach was more moderate compared to the reckless adventuring, war, and waste of Arthur's court.

    The point of this is that Lancelot turning on his traveling companion and fellow RTK over a commoner who has just gravely insulted the representative of the High King would be ludicrous to the people receiving the story. Modern sensibilities rebel at the obvious abuse, but station had power for good reasons at the time, related to responsibilities and the maintenance of order. It worked, pretty well, until things changed and it didn't.

    My understanding is also that strangers would travel together under oaths of companionship and congeniality. RTKs wouldn't need that, having sworn not to fight each other, but you don't just switch and join a stranger's side against your companion, even if the companion is mortally out of line. You just don't do that!

    Perhaps the local lord, who has jurisdiction and responsibility for capital offenses, might take umbrage at Mordred--if there are people to argue the old man's case, and the lord feels secure challenging a prince, RTK and representative of the High King. Or there's a burial and the appropriate people are paid off. Old men die all the time, right?

    To #3, there's a good breakdown of the system of weregild in Saxons! Morien has otherwise summed it up: there are assumptions of responsibility but humans being humans whenever a relative dies bad blood is generated. Whether an elder in the family stamps it out or not before evil fruit is created is a matter for family circumstances. Paying for or otherwise respecting a fallen foe can go a long way to staving off blood-feuds, but sometimes passions just won't be stilled. This is one of the cycles that dooms Camelot.

    --Khanwulf

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the answers.

    In the Vulgate Lancelot, Lancelot picks up a letter which the old man held, and it explicitly states that Arthur is Mordred's father, and that Mordred will cause the destruction of the Round Table and Camelot. It says that while Lancelot wanted to kill Mordred, he did not do so out of love for his friend (and Mordred's cousin) Gawain.

    Interestingly, **every** list that I've looked at online does not have Mordred as an RTK, which is why I asked when. I cannot find any notation within the GPC where he is made an RTK.
    Last edited by SirUkpyr; 11-09-2018 at 06:30 PM.
    I have fought my fight, I have lived my life,
    I have drunk my share of wine.
    From Trier to Cologne ‘twas never a knight
    Lived a merrier life than mine.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirUkpyr View Post
    In the Vulgate Lancelot, Lancelot picks up a letter which the old man held, and it explicitly states that Arthur is Mordred's father, and that Mordred will cause the destruction of the Round Table and Camelot. It says that while Lancelot wanted to kill Mordred, he did not do so out of love for his friend (and Mordred's cousin) Gawain.
    Why would some letter carry any more weight than the old man's word? Unless it is Queen Margawse's confession, I fail to see why it would matter. And prophesies are just that, prophesies. Some come true, some do not. And if someone is to blame for Camelot's fall, it is Lancelot himself.

    Interestingly, **every** list that I've looked at online does not have Mordred as an RTK, which is why I asked when. I cannot find any notation within the GPC where he is made an RTK.
    http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/mordred.html
    mentions Mordred becoming a Round Table Knight, implying soon after his arrival.

    Malory says he is a knight of King Arthur, which I take to mean a Round Table Knight in the context.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight...he_Round_Table
    lists Mordred as one.

    EDIT:
    GPC says Mordred gets knighted in Winter 531 (or 530, it is a bit contradictory). It is not far fetched to assume that Mordred might get inducted into the Round Table straightaway, since there are openings from the Irish War.

    Also, later in p. 323, with regards to the Grail Quest, it says: "The only knights compelled to go after the Grail are the Round Table knights. (Yep, even Mordred.)"
    So clearly, Mordred is a Round Table Knight.
    Last edited by Morien; 11-09-2018 at 07:12 PM.

  7. #7
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    Good Sir,
    You *again* find the information which I am seeking and failed to find on my own.

    Love the bit regarding the Grail Quest sending all the RTKs (including even Mordred)!!

    And Mordred being an RTK would explain why Lancelot didn't attempt to stop him from killing the old man. It also explains why (per the Vulgate), he did not kill him after even though he wanted to.
    I have fought my fight, I have lived my life,
    I have drunk my share of wine.
    From Trier to Cologne ‘twas never a knight
    Lived a merrier life than mine.

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