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.
Return to the Gareth Page