“For Merlin, overtalked and overworn,
Had yielded, told her all the charm, and slept”
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Most Arthurian legends feature Merlin’s love-interest, Vivien. She usually appears as The Lady of the Lake and ruler of Avalon, but sometimes she is described by other names such as Nimue – Niviane – the daughter of a vavasor named Dionas – a princess of Northumberland – or the Queen of Sicily. And like the great magician himself, her character has undergone several important changes throughout history.
In the majority of early versions Vivien meets Merlin by a spring in the Forest of Broceliande, Brittany. They fall in love, share a relationship, and exchange supernatural knowledge. The Lady of the Lake is associated with water, the essential essence of life, and she quenches the lonely old man’s thirst for companionship. She also gives King Arthur the magic sword Excalibur, and raises Lancelot in Avalon after the death of his father. …
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