Morgan le Fay and Lyones

Lyones, says Loomis, has marked connections to Morgain le Fay. Like Morgain, she lives on the island of Avylyon (Avalon). Gringamore, who is Lyones's brother in Malory's Gareth, rules Avalon and is actually the lover of Morgain in the legend of Erec and Enide. Loomis cites Dr. Brugger's proof that Lyones is a Latinized version of Lothian, and so the origins of Lyones lie in Morgause and ultimately, in Morgain. This complicates matters, for it would make Gareth guilty of an incestuous relationship with his aunt, or even his mother (180-2). Be reassured, however, that Morgain appears everywhere in Arthurian legend--not as herself, of course. She is, as it were, the ancestor of many Arthurian women and damsels. Loomis indicates that as long as the stories in which she appears are short and disconnected, everything is fine. But when authors start putting the legends together, her nature and actions conflict with themselves, and she has to be divided up into many characters. Morgan le Fay has many variations on her name: "Arthur's sister was evidently reputed to be the wife of Loth, Urien, and Neutres. Since the same woman could not have three husbands at once, the author of the Huth Merlin gives Arthur three sisters, leaving the first nameless, assigning to the second the name of Morgue (a back formation from Morgain), and to the third the name Morgans. The first sister, the wife of Loth, is in other romances called Morcades or Morgause. It seems fairly obvious that Morgans, Morgue, and Morgause are but three forms of the same name and that they served conveniently as an escape from the dilemma created by the variety of Morgain's marital relations" (53). But she has not only been divided into these three sisters; Loomis believes her to be the most "diversified" character in Arthurian romance. This is why she can play so many parts in Malory alone--she is Arthur's sister, lover, best friend, worst enemy, destroyer, healer, and so on.

For more about Morgain, see Caliburn's page on Morgan le Fay.

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