Uriens of Gore
Malory lists Uriens as one of the kings bound to Uther by marriage to Morgan le Fay. Malory relates
for our further understanding that Uriens is Sir Ewain's le Blanchemain's father. Later in Book 1 Chapter
12, when describing the eleven kings arrayed against Arthur, Malory calls him Urience, father of Uwain but it is
evident they are the same and the change is one of misreading the way the name was used in the sources.
Malory does not make the chronology clear as to when Uriens marries Morgan, but we can make some conjectures.
Following Arthur's marriage and the defeat of the five kings, Morgan plots against Arthur and Uriens to place
Accolon of Gaul and herself on the throne. Uwaine stops Morgan from killing Uriens in his bed.
From the story line, Uwaine must be a newly established young knight, giving us a probable age
of around sixteen. From my chronology, Arthur is nineteen which would place Uriens and Morgan's wedding
about two years after Uther and Igraine's. Uther sent Morgan to a nunnery at the time of his marriage to Igraine
and married off Igraine's other daughters. Morgan is too young for marriage but it is possible that she was betrothed
to Uriens. Two years later, Uther is in his sickbed and close to death. He leaves it only at Merlin's
insistence to defeat his enemies at St. Alban's. This period matches our guess as to the date of the marriage
and makes good political sense. Morgan marries Uriens either by assent of Uther or by force. Uriens would have
taken these steps to secure his potential rise to power.
We do not hear from Uriens again until after the war with Rience and the interment of Lot and the
eleven kings. Malory states that Uriens (Ewaine's father) and Morgan came to the funeral. But perhaps he
was there all along. With Malory's common misreading or understanding of his diverse sources and his
regular name changes (even here with Ewaine versus Uwaine), it is probable that Uriens (Urience as he is
called at the time of the rebellion of the eleven kings) is none other than Rience. Both are from North Wales
(Malory makes a distinction stating that Uriens is from Gore). Both have rebelled against Arthur. We can
note that Uriens disappears just as Rience appears, then after his defeat, Uriens reappears and Rience is
missing as circumstantial evidence (but circumstantial evidence adds up). We can see similar name
variations in Malory's text, especially whenever he seems to be trying to rectify conflicts in the
story. Malory continues to mention a King of North Wales as Arthur's enemy but he makes no
clarifications so that we can identify him.
Uriens is named a knight of the Round Table after the war of the five kings. His name is
not mentioned in that conflict and was probably one of the nobles sent a message to come to Arthur's
aid. It is shortly after this conflict that Morgan attempts her betrayal. Uriens goes hunting with Arthur
and Accolon. They are separated during the hunt from the hunting party and chase a hart across country
until it is taken by one of the hunting dogs at the edge of a great water. Our group of warriors is on foot at
this point, having ridden their horses to death and nightfall is rapidly approaching. A silk draped ship on
the waters pulls into the shore and the warriors are greeted and feasted
by twelve damosels. After the meal, they are separated into private chambers.
When Uriens awakes, he finds himself back in Camelot in his chamber. We do not
know what Uriens did during that day or so when he found himself mysteriously
transported back to Camelot; but Morgan's plan continues afoot and when she
deems that Accolon has defeated and killed Arthur, she moves to complete her
plan and slay Uriens. It is noteworthy that she attempts to do the murder
herself. For up to this point, she has always relied on the hands of others to
do her deeds. Yet, we find her taking Uriens' own sword to murder him in his
sleep. We know that Morgan did not love him or Arthur. What we do not know is
how much she hated Uriens, for it must have been great to force her to bloody
her own hands. Uwaine stops his mother in the act and is convinced by her to
keep the attempted murder secret. When Arthur returns from the abbey where his
wounds were treated, he forces Uriens to expel his son from court as a possible
accomplice to Morgan's plot.