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|“||Well she was a whore anyway||„|
|~ Godwyn's sociopathic disregard for his own mother's death|
Godwyn first appears as a member of the Church in Kingsbridge. He passes himself off as an extremely devout and obedient but also holier-than thou monk who is clearly dissatisfied with his lack of progress in the Church hierarchy. To this end his mother murders the previous head of the Priery, allowing Godwyn to have a chance at becoming the new head, a position he succeeds in winning after blackmailing Sir Roland's bishop son into supporting him. Afterwards Godwyn wastes no time enforcing his very strict religious views on the city, first constructing a wall between the monks and nuns, but is also shown to be greedy and self-involved, seeking to build for himself a palace and using deceit and ultimately murder to ensure that he has the rights to the land.
Following his sabotaging Mother Cecilia and Caris' efforts to build a hospital for the sick, he has his mother murder her own brother to ensure that he does not interfere with his plans and forces the people of Kingsbridge to have Elfric replace Merthin as the head of the bridge rebuilding. After Petranilla frames Caris for murder Godwyn attempts to have her hanged as a witch and after she is turned into a nun he destroys her possessions. He later attempts to abandon Kingsbridge when staying becomes inconvienient. Instead, he becomes one of many victims of the plague, and though he manages to survive he succumbs to insanity followed by catatonia. He only comes out of his catatonia upon learning that his hated cousin Caris has become the new priery head in his absence, which sends him into a psychotic rage. Eventually though, he regains his sanity, and is also made a bishop.
With Caris having left the nunnery by this point Godwyn seizes on the chance to have her hanged for witchcraft, also having Merthin arrested when he comes to Caris' defense. In the end however, things do not go as planned. Sir Thomas vocally condemns Godwyn's actions and cruelty, and the members of Kingsbridge, by this point also fed-up with Godwyn's evil, turn on him, saving Caris and forcing Godwyn to flee. No sooner does he does word come that King Edward is leading his army to Kingsbridge to raze it.
Alone with his mother, Godwyn learns that Ralph Fitzgerald is his half-brother, which causes him to turn on his mother in an instant, deciding that she's now just another whore. When King Edward attacks Kingsbridge, Godwyn attempts to kill Caris himself during the chaos by strangling her. But Caris grabs a nearby cross and slams it into Godwyn's throat. Coughing up blood, Godwyn dies in agony.
Personality and TraitsGodwyn was shown to be a very arrogant and self-entitled individual who was also prone to espousing very narrow-minded religious doctrine whenever he can. He had a very conservative and also misogynistic world-view, and upon becoming the new head of the Priery wastes little time in attempting to force his world-view onto the populace. However for all of this Godwyn was also a hypocrite, who is shown to be greedy and self-centered, and also earlier condones what is in no uncertain terms slavery, an act that disgusts his cousin Caris and was not supported by anyone else who witnessed it. He was also willing to lie and commit murder to get what he wants.
Due to living in a Church and having taken an oath of Celibicy, Godwyn struggles to contain and suppress sexual inclinations, but in failing to do so, hides his lustful feelings behind a veneer of misogyny and in the second episode attempts to rape his cousin while she is unconscious. Fortunately, she awakens before he can do this. As head of the Priery his misogyny manfifests itself in first building a wall separating monks and nuns and also hanging suspected "whores" and leaving their bodies on display.
Through it all, Godwyn was shown to care only about himself, as even his own mother (who goes to murderous lengths to further his career) was forced by him to do things she does not wish to do, namely killing her own brother so as to keep him from interfering with Godwyn's plans. When she later dies, he shows absolutely no sadness or grief and in fact dismisses his late mother as just another whore. In all he was one of the most evil characters in the entire show.
Godwyn is very similar to Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as both are holier-than-thou but ultimately hypocritical control-freaks who act only in the service of their own ego despite claiming to work for God. Godwyn, like Frollo, also lusts after a woman who he later attempts to have executed for witchcraft.