Who was the Lady of the Lake?

Explorations in Arthurian History

The Lady of the Lake doesn't really appear in historical investigations. She is thought to have been based on lake fairies in Welsh stories.

Geoffrey of Monmouth says the leader of the maidens of Avalon was Morgan Le Fay. Later legend traditions say that the Lady of the Lake was the leader in Avalon.

Explorations in Arthurian Legends

The Lady of the Lake in popular conception is the high priestess of an older religion and the woman who gave Arthur Excalibur and then took it back when Bedivere threw it back into the lake. She is also said to have intervened when Morgan Le Fay gave Excalibur to Accolon, who tried to kill the king with it.

Many traditions, chief among them Marion Zimmer Bradley, say the Lady was responsible for educating Lancelot. Bradley also presents the Lady, whom she names Viviane, as the high priestess of a very old religion, centered in Avalon.

She is known by many names, including Vivien and Nimue; she is also said to be

the one who locked Merlin away with his own spell.

See also

Literature of the LegendsSir Thomas Malory

Literature of the LegendsMarion Zimmer Bradley and Mary Stewart

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Who was the Lady of the Lake?

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Did Perceval see the Holy Grail or didn't he?

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