morgana_0001The Lady of Shalott, the mysterious and haunting poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, as sung by Loreena McKennitt, is one of my favourite poems / songs. It raises so many questions of why, and what if ..?  Why was the lady trapped in the tower; why did she have to die when she looked out of the window? This was followed by ‘What if it was possible to go back in time and change history (or a legend?) These were the questions that prompted me to write Shalott, which then turned into a trilogy. I discovered that the story behind the Lady of Shalott was the unrequited love of Elaine of Astolat for Launcelot, and as I researched further, so I became as interested in Arthurian characters as in my five teenagers who set off on this adventure only to find that, instead of rewriting the legend, they are in fact rewriting their own destiny.  I found the ‘wicked witch’ and the ‘jealous bitch’ particularly fascinating: Morgana (above) and Guenevere. Below are paintings of Elaine of Astolat: (left) giving a shield and her favour to Launcelot so he can fight incognito in the tourney, and below: ‘down she came and found a boat, beneath a willow left afloat, and underneath the prow she wrote ‘the Lady of Shalott’.  And so she floated down to Camelot, and on the way she died. It was Elaine’s story that led me to write the Shalott trilogy, but it was the wonderful character of the wild and passionate Morgana who really captured my imagination, and led me to write my new book: I, Morgana – PUBLISHED TODAY by Momentum!

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1 Comment

  1. This is one of my favourite poems. I remember reading it as an adolescent and being caught up by the romance and beauty of it. It caught my attention because Anne of Green Gables was obsessed with it and it was featured in one of my favourite short stories. I’ve got Tennyson’s collection and have started introducing my daughter to it.

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