You Need To Know About The Woman Behind The Tale Of King Arthur

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Blink and you'll miss it — in the latest trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Excalibur is thrown into a lake and a ghostly hand below the surface catches it. Throughout the trailer, we hear snippets of a prophecy that sound an awful lot like it was spoken under water: "The born king will come. It is inevitable."
That hand — and that voice — belong to the Lady of the Lake, the woman who was said to have sent Excalibur, the legendary unbreakable sword, to Arthur in the first place.
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According to Celtic lore, the Lady of the Lake was an enchantress who lived in an underwater castle in a lake somewhere in Britain (more than one real-life lake has been cited as her home). She was known as Vivienne and Nimue, among many other names, since details in legends this old tend to vary.
The Lady was believed to have given Excalibur to Arthur when the druid Merlin, his trusted advisor, brought him to her lake. They arrived at the water's edge and her hand, holding the sword aloft, broke through the surface. Excalibur and its equally magical scabbard were said to have protective powers — the story goes that Arthur only fell in battle when the scabbard went missing.
After Arthur's death, Excalibur was returned to the Lady of the Lake. Legend has it that the sword remains in her keeping, deep under water, to this day.
But the Lady of the Lake wasn't some passive side character in this story. Often depicted as a water deity or nymph, the Lady of the Lake was also said to have seduced Merlin, learning his most powerful spells, imprisoning him, and, in some legends, killing him. And despite her loyalty to King Arthur, she was often depicted as morally ambiguous (if not completely evil). We'll have to wait and see if she stirs up this much drama in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, but if you ask us, this all-powerful, duplicitous enchantress deserves her own movie.
As we said before, the Lady isn't a huge part of the trailers, but according to King Arthur's IMDb page, she'll at least play a role in this imagining of his origin story. After all, in the traditional King Arthur myth, she's kind of what started it all.
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