When I say Lady of the Lake what do you think of? Maybe it’s Excalibur and King Arthur. Arguably, it’s the most popular story involving the magical Fae. It was an episode of the BBC’s Merlin that got me thinking about her and the various versions adapted by film and print. As it turns out, The Lady isn’t so simple, and #ImmortalMonday is going to take a closer look.
Also known as The Lady of Avalon, whether there is one or more behind the name that makes up the legend depends on the author and story rendition. She’s been known by many names: Nimue, Viviane, Elaine, Niniane, Nyneve, and Evienne to name a few. She’s been called a water Nymph, a magical Fae, Celtic divinity and a woman of strong character. She’s been both ally and villain.
The Lady and Lancelot
When Lancelot’s father died, it was the Lady, Viviane, that stole Lancelot away to raise as her own in her underwater dwelling, curing him of his madness. He was baptized in a magical pool and trained to be the greatest of all knights. He was known as Lancelot du Lac’s, meaning “of the Lake.”
The Lady and Merlin
Merlin became enchanted by the Lady Viviane and decided to teach her all of his magic in exchange for her love. Viviane is strong and Merlin’s vision of the future is clouded. He doesn’t let that stop him and he teachers her until she is more powerful than the old wizard himself and she traps him in a tree, or cave, or something of the like depending on which version of the story you read.
Off With Her Head!
The magical lady of the lake is said to grant the Excalibur sword to those who are worthy, and with it, its scribing power. That is, the power to escape death. It’s possible that she lived comfortably under the water as a water deity, or the water may have simply acted as a portal for her to another world. Luck would run out for her, though, when Sir Balin would bicker with her over an enchanted sword and an existing family feud. Both were blaming the other for close personal losses, in the end, Sir Balin would revert to violence and behead the Lady.
A tragic ending to a romanticized tale. How do you picture The Lady of the Lake? Friend or foe? Green like the lake water? Or the flesh tone of your average person?
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