Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Morgraine Le Fay
Morgaine Le Fay (Battlefield)
Morgaine Le Fay (Battlefield)
 Name: Morgaine Le Fay; one version of her was also known as Hester Stanton

 Format: Television show and Book

 Time of Origin: Complicated; one version originated from another dimension while another was encountered on Earth in 1936

 Appearances: "Battlefield", "One Fateful Knight", "Wolfsbane" and "Legends of Camelot"

 Doctors: Seventh Doctor, Eighth Doctor and Tenth Doctor; the Fourth Doctor dealt with the aftermath of a crisis caused by a manifestation of Morgraine.

 Companions: The Brigadier, Ace and Harry Sullivan, Donna Noble; Sarah Jane Smith also helped the Fourth Doctor deal with the aftermath of one of Morgraine’s attempts at conquest.

 History: Morgaine Le Fay easily marks one of The Doctor’s most complicated enemies, given that he has encountered at least two different versions of her from two different realities, each one presenting him with an equally challenging foe and no indication of a connection to the other. Despite their different origins, both of them retain links to variations of the legend of King Arthur, Morgaine being either his half-sister or a scorned lover - precise accounts vary depending on various versions of the legend - who raised her son Mordred to attempt to take over Arthur’s throne, only for Mordred to be slain in the final battle and Arthur to be taken to the mystical land of Avalon (Some sources claim that a reformed Morgaine was one of the people to take Arthur to Avalon). Although these versions of the legend are obviously of uncertain reliability, The Doctor has encountered variations of Morgaine on more than one occasion that each share some similarities with the original tales.

Video - Battlefield
 The Seventh Doctor encountered a variation of Morgaine for the first time from his perspective when investigating a distress call being broadcast from a lake in Carbury, the signal being sent out in all temporal directions; the signal was even being sent sideways in time to other realities. Arriving in 1997 near the lake, The Doctor made contact with a division of UNIT that was currently investigating the signal, but before he could do more than establish his identity - Brigadier Winifred Bambera subsequently contacting The Doctor’s old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart for his assistance - The Doctor discovered a lone knight called Ancelyn, soon revealed to be one of the knights opposing Morgaine’s forces, here known as the S’Rax. Although The Doctor was momentarily confused when Ancelyn ‘recognised’ him as Merlin - knowing The Doctor by his manner rather than his aspect and aware that he ‘rode the ship of time [that] deceived the senses by being greater within than without’ - he soon concluded that he was dealing with the aftermath of a situation that he would become involved in at some point in his future, but further speculation was ended when Mordred confronted them (Although he was shocked to see The Doctor, believing that Merlin had been sealed for all eternity in the ice caves) as Morgaine came to this reality.

 During her time in this world, Morgaine demonstrated a strong sense of honour and respect in her dealings with her enemies; although a ruthless woman who vowed to see ‘Merlin’ submit to her victory, when she discovered that Mordred had stationed his men in a graveyard to honour the soldiers of the World Wars she ordered a temporary cease-fire so that they could pay their respects to the dead to atone for his mistake, later repaying Mordred’s bill at a bar by restoring the sight of the bar-owner’s blind wife. While Morgaine prepared for her assault by summoning an ancient demon known as the Destroyer, The Doctor discovered a message that his future self had left him - ‘Dig hole here’ in Gallifreyian - that allowed him to locate a passage to a spaceship hidden in the lake, he and Ace subsequently recovering Excalibur from the ship. While the Brigadier eliminated the Destroyer with the silver bullets that The Doctor had recommended he use, he and Ace attempted to return Excalibur to awaken Arthur - having concluded that the legends were simply distorted versions of the tales and Arthur merely lay in stasis in the ship - but closer inspection revealed a note from The Doctor’s future self that stated that Arthur had died in the final battle... as well as revealing Morgaine now controlled a nuclear missile. As Ancelyn and Mordred fought, The Doctor confronted Morgaine to coldly inform her that there was no honour in nuclear warfare, with its faceless mass destruction of innocents, prompting her to deactivate the missile and accept imprisonment for her and Mordred after learning of Arthur’s death.

Although Ace assumed that the mysterious Muldwych - a red-haired man with some unspecified connection to The Doctor, whom the Seventh Doctor encountered in "Birthright" and "Happy Endings" - was the ‘Merlin incarnation’ - the version of The Doctor who would come to be known as Merlin - the Eighth Doctor swiftly discovered that he was actually the ‘Merlin’ Doctor during the early days of his eighth life (Muldwych’s true origins thus remaining a mystery; given the references that it was breaking the laws of time for him and The Doctor to meet, it’s possible he may be an alternate Doctor, or possibly some variation of The Valeyard - a darker possible future Doctor without actually being evil - given Muldwych’s attempt to steal the Seventh Doctor’s TARDIS and his subsequent expulsion from the ship ("Birthright")). Having landed in a castle in another dimension ("One Fateful Knight") - his TARDIS piloting skills limited due to him still being confused over his recent regeneration - just in time to help with the birth of the infant Arthur - half-jokingly introducing himself as Merlin when asked if he was a wizard before learning where he was - The Doctor learned of the existence of another Merlin, swiftly establishing that this Merlin was a Time Lord he had known back on Gallifrey who intended to give Arthur and his people access to advanced technology, with Morgaine coming to Earth to form an alliance with Arthur.

Video - Battlefield
 Learning that Merlin had manipulated Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere to provoke war with Morgaine, The Doctor attempted to dispose of her in a desert by materialising the TARDIS around her and taking her to a desert, but his subsequent attempt to talk with Guinevere was interrupted when Merlin arranged for The Doctor’s TARDIS to materialise inside his, Merlin trapping The Doctor in a stasis field before using a chameleon circuit to assume The Doctor’s appearance and trick Guinevere into killing Arthur. Unfortunately for Merlin, Morgaine was able to escape the desert The Doctor had left her in, abducting Merlin - believing him to be The Doctor - and burying him beneath the Arctic. To save Arthur from Morgaine’s revenge, The Doctor took Arthur’s body across realities to his own version of Earth, subsequently leaving the messages that his past self would discover during the events of "Battlefield" before departing, confident that events would unfold as they had before.

 The Doctor’s most recent encounter with Morgaine was with a drastically different version of her; indeed, there is reasonable evidence to suggest that she merely thought she was Morgaine rather than actually being so in reality, but she was nevertheless a dangerous adversary regardless of the uncertainty about her mental state. This version of Morgaine was better known as Lady Hester Stanton, a member of the prestigious Leffy family before her marriage, an upper-class woman in the 1930s who lived in a manor with her son George after her husband’s death some years ago. Under unspecified circumstances, Hester became convinced that she and George were the reincarnations of Morgan Le Fay and Mordred, and sought to create a situation that would allow her to establish George as king. To achieve this goal, Hester cast a spell that somehow influenced the German werewolf Emmeliene Neubeurger to come to England - she believed she was seeking escape from Nazi persecution as part of an operation to use werewolves as secret assassins, but it is uncertain how much Hester’s spell altered her memory - having been influenced to believe that Hester and George were her cousins, the blood of a werewolf serving as a crucial catalyst for Hester to fully access Morgaine’s power to control the land. With command of the land, and hence the plants, Hester would be able to essentially starve Britain in its entirety until George was appointed King, making it practically impossible to rise again her.

Book - Wolfsbane
(Jacqueline Rayner)
 However, Morgaine’s plans were hindered by the arrival of three unexpected additions; the Eighth Doctor - albeit a Doctor currently suffering from total amnesia with no memory of his Time Lord heritage following the destruction of Gallifrey ("The Ancestor Cell") - Harry Sullivan - temporarily separated from the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith after the Eighth Doctor’s crippled TARDIS apparently drew its past self off course long enough for Harry to leave the ship - and Godric, a young man from King Arthur’s time who had been captured by a dryad while out walking and only released after Hester’s spell ‘revived’ the land. Learning that Godric had discovered the Holy Grail shortly before his imprisonment by the dryad, The Doctor observed that the Grail had a negative effect on unnatural creatures and those with impure thoughts or actions. With this in mind, The Doctor determined that their best chance for success was to wield the Grail against Hester when she attempted to cast her spell, reasoning that the unnatural power she would be controlling at that point would make her highly susceptible to its influence. Although The Doctor was unable to take the Grail himself - his ‘sin’ of destroying Gallifrey, albeit to save the universe, caused the Grail to knock him out when he tried to take it - Harry and Godric were able to successfully use it against Hester, sending her and the Grail falling into a chasm that was created when she lost control of her powers.

 With Hester defeated and George having been left mad by his mother’s death, Harry was subsequently reunited with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah. They had initially arrived at a point a month in Harry’s relative future, where they spent a few days working to put the land back to ‘sleep’ after Hester’s spell woke it up, as well as helping Emmeline get to safety. The Eighth Doctor had left a grave for Harry in the local churchyard to stop people looking for him in case they found the Grail, but once Sarah confirmed the grave was empty she had been able to find further evidence that she and the Fourth Doctor would go back and save Harry. Not wanting to visit the ‘other’ Doctor and learn what sin he might have committed to make the Grail repel him so violently, Harry instead asked the Fourth Doctor to take Godric back to his own time. When last seen in December 1936, George had become apparently hopelessly insane, ranting about his status as the ‘true’ King of England and proclaiming that anyone who angered him would have their heads impaled on spikes.

Book - Legends of Camelot
Legends of Camelot
(Jacqueline Rayner)
 Some lives later, the Tenth Doctor found himself dealing with the ‘source’ of the legend of Arthur and Morgraine when he and Donna Noble were caught in a rift in reality known as the Druse. Discovering a book about a Time Lord fairy tale, The Doctor explained that Arthur and Morgwen were actually the names chosen by two ancient entities that served as champions for Might and Magic respectively. He further speculated that Morgwen’s status as the agent of Chaos was the reason so many myths gave Morgraine a different name or combined different individuals into one for the purpose of the relevant narrative, making it harder to pin down Morgwen’s role. According to this myth, Merlin, the Champion of Neutrality, stopped their war from tearing reality apart by trapping them both in the Druse, a pocket dimension where their game couldn’t damage the wider universe. This game forced the two to compete through champions rather than direct combat, although Morgwen constantly tried to ‘reset’ the game to prevent Arthur from conclusively defeating her (this may also explain Hester’s connection to Morgraine, suggesting that she served as another manifestation of Morgwen rather than a reincarnation of the original Morgraine).

 After the TARDIS crashed into the Druse’s prison, The Doctor and Donna found themselves on a planet that was essentially ‘replaying’ the Arthurian legend, making the natives relive the legends, with shards of the Druse’s energy dispersed into various key figures from the myths. This allowed The Doctor to retrieve the shards, which commonly manifested in the form of the swords belonging to key characters who had fulfilled their most significant roles in the legends, such as the sword belonging to Arthur’s foster father Sir Ector, the original sword in the stone, or Sir Gawain’s sword after his marriage. Their efforts received further aid when the psychic paper began to display notes in The Doctor’s handwriting, The Doctor speculating that these were instructions from his future self.

 Although the initial quest for the shards appeared straightforward, apart from time jumping forward to allow The Doctor and Donna to basically ‘skip’ intervening stages such as travelling to key locations or waiting for key dates, The Doctor soon realised that something else was going on. By the time they had collected the sixth shard, The Doctor had seen enough to confirm to his own satisfaction that Donna had become the host to Morgwen herself as the ‘real’ Morgwen had been notably absent and Donna had failed to ask key questions, such as whether the shards could affect them. Morgwen was able to suppress Donna’s awareness of her and trap The Doctor in an enchanted sleep, but the appearance of the Holy Grail disrupted Morgwen’s spell long enough to wake The Doctor up, allowing him to confront Morgwen-in-Donna and reveal her true agenda. Morgwen tried to claim via Donna that she only wanted to break people out of their current cycles where their devotion to ideals of honour could lead to such mistakes as brothers killing each other, but The Doctor rejected the idea that Morgwen wanted anything more than power over others.

 Determined to escape the cycle, Morgwen and the true Arthur departed their hosts with the goal of ending the game by breaking the current world, but since Merlin still set the rules, The Doctor and Donna had time to collect the final four shards (the swords of Galahad, Lancelot, Mordred and obviously Excalibur) before the game could run its course. With the TARDIS having escaped being used by Arthur and Morgwen by using the HADS to travel a few minutes into the future, The Doctor was able to use the ship to drain their power and escape the pocket dimension while sealing the original cracks. Donna was concerned that this would leave Arthur and Morgwen aware of their current prison, but The Doctor was confident that Merlin would use the chance to trap both entities in a deeper dream that accommodated their apparent escape.
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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