The Lady of the Lake began appearing by this title in the French chivalric romances by the early 13th century as the fairy godmother-type foster mother of the hero Lancelot.
Who was the Lady of the Lake?
Who was the mysterious woman who not only gave King Arthur his magical sword Excalibur, but kidnapped Sir Lancelot as a child only later to cure him of his madness? The Lady of the Lake may have been a Celtic goddess in origin, perhaps even related to the Gwagged Annwn, the lake ferries in modern Welsh folklore. According to Ulrich, a fairy raised Sir Lancelot from birth and was the mother of Mabuz, identical to the Celtic god Mabon. There are several “Ladies of the Lake” mentioned throughout Arthurian Legend, with even Morgan Le Fay being named as one of them, in particular as she is one of the maidens on the barg that takes King Arthur to the mystical Isle of Avalon.
Who was the mysterious woman who not only gave King Arthur his magical sword Excalibur, but kidnapped Lancelot as a child only later to cure him of his madness?
The Lady of the Lake’s character is super ambiguous, even in her most early appearances in the legends and stories. In the French Vulgate Estoire de Merlin, she loves the enchanter and seals him in a beautiful tower, magically constructed, so that she can keep him always for herself. She would visit him regularly and ended up giving her love to him. In the continuation to the Vulgate Merlin, known as the Suite du Merlin, the relationship is very different. When Merlin shows her a tomb of two lovers, magically sealed, she enchants him and has him cast into the tomb on top of the two lovers, whereupon she reseals the tomb and Merlin dies a slow death.
The Lady of the Lake in 20th–21st century
Modern authors of Arthurian fiction adapt the Lady of the Lake legend in various ways, often using two or more bearers of the title. Versions of the Lady (or Ladies) of the Lake appear in many other works of Arthurian fiction, including novels, films, television series, stage musicals, comics, and games. Though her identity may change, her role as a significant figure in the lives of both Arthur and Merlin remains consistent.
‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’: The Lady of the Lake continues.
“The Haunting of Bly Manor is a sweeping, epic love letter to Gothic romance, but it’s not just an adaptation. It’s also might just be the best original piece of Gothic storytelling since people were still wearing petticoats.” BY HALEIGH FOUTCH
We get glimpses at the Lady, and the lake, throughout the season. We finally see the Lady in action at the end of Episode 4, but out of frame and out of focus, the Lady trudges behind a drunken Dani while the kids hurry to distract their au pair from danger. And oh boy, that danger becomes imminently clear in the next episode, when we witness Peter’s death at the hands of the Lady in the Lake, who rounds the corner on her ritual walk, snatches him by the neck, snuffs out his life without missing a step, and drags his body back into the water with her.
However, it’s not until Episode 8 when we finally learn the truth of the Lady in the Lake; who she was in life. No Spoilers here. To find out more about The Lady of the lake in the Haunting of Bly Manor, tune into NETFLIX to find out more of her story.