Igraine is the mother of Arthur and the wife of Gorlois, Duke of Tintagel. In most versions she is very virtuous and refuses to sleep with Uther Pendragon despite his persistence. Merlin disguises Uther as Gorlois so that he may travel into Tintagel and sleep with Igraine. In this magically induced union, Uther begets Arthur. Malory is insistent that Gorlois died three hours before this union, thereby making Arthur completely legitimate; the exact timing is not terribly important since Gorlois does die that night and Uther marries Igraine. She is later called to Arthur's court to prove his paternity, and ends her days in a convent.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Arthurian Legends. Ed. Ronan Coghlan. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993.
New Arthurian Encyclopedia. Ed. Norris J. Lacy. New York: Garland,1996.
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