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“Mordred's a-hungry.”
   — Mordred Deschain described himself

Mordred Deschain was the son of Roland Deschain (White Father), the Crimson King (Red Father), Susannah Dean, (White Mother), and Mia (Red Mother).

Mordred was a Were-Spider, able to transform at will from a boy into a deadly, spider-like monstrosity. As a result of his accelerated growth, he lived with an extreme and persistent hunger, a condition worsened in his spider state by an accelerated metabolism.


Mordred is described as resembling a human generally, with black hair, fair skin and "bombardier-blue eyes," eyes he shares with his "white" father, Roland. However, Mordred was also born with a full head of hair and a set of small, white teeth, a hint of his inhuman nature. Mordred's body grows at an accelerated rate, aging swiftly in the short time he had been alive; each time he eats, he grows. This continues until Mordred reaches the Can'-Ka No Rey, when he matures to a young man in his early 20s. He additionally bears a peculiar red birthmark on one of his heels. This Mark, like Roland's guns, is a sigul of the Line of Eld (thus it allows entrance to the Dark Tower). Due to his lack of preparedness for climate and his abrupt growth, Mordred goes about with little to no clothing until he manages to take Dandelo's clothes to protect himself from the snows of Empathica.

Mordred demonstrates rapid cognitive awareness and powerful psychic ability, able to understand quickly, as well as read and control the thoughts of those around him. While he has a minor share in the bond connecting Roland's ka-tet, Mordred is especially connected to Susannah, though while she can sense his presence and fears him, she is resistant to his mental commands. Mordred states that his thoughts in human form are not the same as his thoughts while in his spider form, as the humanoid guise retains more sophisticated thoughts and emotions. When he is about to change from human to spider form, Mordred's skin gives off a red flash, and his eyes turn from blue to black.

In his alternate form, Mordred resembles a typical, albeit abnormally large spider with red eyes. His mark remains, although it relocates to Mordred's underside and takes an hourglass shape, akin to the marking on a black widow spider. His human face can be found on the creature's dorsal side; the eyes of this face are their usual blue. This face is also his weakest spot, containing the "dual body's brain." Spider Mordred's mental capabilities are far more crude, primal and savage in this form, as he himself admits, with any higher-order thinking being deemed "a bitter joke." His metabolism in this form also speeds up, and early on he avoids transforming in order to save energy (although he must be in spider form to eat). After changing back to human form, Mordred is left ravenously hungry; human food cannot satisfy him (though he will consume it in desperate times), and he must subsist on a diet of blood and meat.

In terms of thinking and emotions, Mordred, in any form, is full of hatred and anger, agreeing with the Crimson King's desire to destroy the Tower, and frequently aggravated by his body's limitations. He is also quick-witted and cunning, toying with Walter O'Dim for a while as the latter thought he could mask his true intentions from the child. When Mordred consumes a sentient being, he will gain the knowledge and memories of that being. Mordred had once wondered whether he would also be able to absorb the powers of any people who had the Touch should he happen to consume them, though he had his doubts.

In rare moments, as technically being two beings at once (he is termed a "twin" due to this), Mordred shows other emotions, including "sadness and loneliness," as well as once longing to join the ka-tet and acknowledge Eddie, Susannah and Jake as his siblings by ka. He holds a twisted love-hate for Roland as his parent and despite his early, brief desire to join the ka-tet, even if he had been accepted, Mordred would have vehemently refused to accept the gunslinger as his leader. Roland himself understands and accepts that Mordred is his own child but does not allow himself to pity the boy, due to the immense threat the were-spider poses to him and his companions. Mordred is, as Roland observes, still a child in many ways, unaccustomed to the world and how to survive in it, which ultimately leads to his demise.

Role in the Dark Tower Series[]

Mordred was conceived with help from a Demon Elemental (disguised as an Oracle) and the Speaking Demon. The disguised Elemental took Roland's sperm in The Gunslinger and the Speaking Demon implanted it in Susannah in The Waste Lands. The baby was transferred ("faxed") to Mia using one of the machines in the Dogan.

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Baby Mordred

After Susannah and Mia were brought to the Fedic Dogan, Mia delivered Mordred, whereupon his first act was to consume his mother alive. Susannah managed to injure Mordred in his spider state during her escape, shooting off one of his legs. Mordred then sought refuge within the tunnels and was brought nourishment by Nigel.

Walter O'Dim attempted to manipulate him in order to get a hold of his birthmarked spider leg, to open the door of the Dark Tower. When Walter and Mordred finally met, however, the young boy sensed Walter's intentions and proceeded to kill him in rather brutal fashion, psychically forcing Walter to rip out a few of his own organs before the child killed him. Mordred then continued to follow the ka-tet to Thunderclap and beyond, intent on being the one to kill Roland himself.

Mordred would later eat the remains of Dandelo and his horse Lippy, not realizing until too late that the latter's remains were toxic. This would cause Mordred to greatly sicken and begin slowly losing control of his transformation abilities.

Modred Spider

Transforming Mordred (by Ky-Kem on Tumblr)

While in pursuit of Roland, Patrick and Oy, Mordred's Red Father, the Crimson King, spoke to him telepathically from the balcony of the Dark Tower, telling him to kill the last of Roland's Ka-tet, for which he could rule the chaos by the Crimson King's side after the Tower fell. Aided by the Crimson King, Mordred finally made his attack. However, Mordred failed and was slain by Roland in the fields of Can'-Ka No Rey, with the help of Oy, who sacrificed his life to warn and protect Roland. Mordred's remains were then immolated by the group's campfire.

Mordred in Arthurian Legend[]

Mordred Deschain is based upon the Arthurian Legend of Mordred, a knight of Camelot. In its earliest, original versions, Mordred (Medraut in Welsh) was the nephew of King Arthur. He was the child of King Lot of Orkney and Lothian, and Queen Morgause/Queen Anna, one of Arthur's half-sisters. He was also the brother or half-brother of Sir Gawain, Sir Agravain, Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth.

Mordred became a knight of the Round Table, but when Arthur was on campaign, Mordred seized the throne of Camelot and seduced Arthur's queen, Guinevere. When Arthur returned, Mordred declared war on his uncle.

In one version of the legend, Mordred's motive for rebellion is much clearer. Arthur learns from the wizard Merlin that a child born in early May would be his undoing. To avert this prophecy, Arthur ordered all children born during that time to be executed. King Lot was killed attempting to protect his son, but Mordred managed to survive the slaughter. He is taken in by Arthur and raised like the king's own son. As an adult, upon finally learning the truth of his father's death, Mordred turns on Arthur. He succeeds in gravely wounding Arthur and causing the king's removal to Avalon. However, Arthur, as in all versions of the tale, avenges himself by killing his nephew at the Battle of Camlann.

Later tellings of the legend recast Mordred as the illegitimate son of King Arthur, when the king is tricked into having an incestuous affair with Morgause. Arthur has a vision of his death at Mordred's hands yet allows his son to be trained as a knight. Guinevere is seduced by Sir Lancelot rather than by Mordred, and her adultery causes Arthur's knights to turn on one another. Mordred seizes this chance to claim power in Camelot and uses it to finally destroy Arthur, though at the cost of his own life.