|Lake of Avalon|
|Appearances:||The Gates of Avalon|
The Lady of the Lake
The Coming of Arthur: Part Two
Lancelot du Lac
The Dark Tower (episode)
The Diamond of the Day: Part Two
The Lake of Avalon was a gateway to the world of Avalon, the home of the immortal Sidhe. It was only accessible to those with powerful magic, possibly beyond the abilities of most human sorcerers. The lake was the only known gateway to the fallen outside of the Pool of Nemhain, and was the final resting place of Freya, Lancelot, Elyan, and Arthur Pendragon.
When a Sidhe named Aulfric killed another Sidhe under unspecified circumstances, the Sidhe elder punished him by stripping him of his immortality and exiling him from Avalon. Aulfric had no hope of changing his fate, but sought to win passage back to Avalon for his daughter Sophia, who had had no part in his crime but been banished alongside him all the same.
Because the elders would only agree to reopen the gateway if they offered it the soul of a mortal prince, Aulfric and Sophia journeyed to Camelot and enchanted Prince Arthur. They then took him to the Lake of Avalon, where they attempted to sacrifice him by drowning him. Their plan was thwarted, however, by Merlin, who seized Sophia's staff and used it to kill both her and her father. He then dove into the lake and pulled Arthur to the surface (The Gates of Avalon).
When the Great Dragon learned that Uther had wielded the magical sword Excalibur, he ordered Merlin to take it far away from Camelot, to a place where no mortal man would ever find it. Following these instructions, Merlin retrieved the sword from the armoury and cast it into the Lake of Avalon, where it remained for the next three years (Excalibur).
When Merlin's lover, Freya, was dying, Merlin carried her to the Lake of Avalon, which he knew would remind her of her childhood home. The setting comforted Freya, who was pleased that he'd remembered, and her final moments were spent on its shores. Though he hadn't been able to heal her, Freya assured Merlin that he'd already saved her, that he'd made her feel loved, and with her last last breath promised him that one day she would repay his kindness. She died seconds later in Merlin's arms.
Heartbroken, Merlin placed her body in a boat lined with ferns and used his magic to set it adrift on the lake. When the boat was some distance away, he used his magic to set it aflame, thereby giving Freya a Viking funeral. He watched the boat burn for a moment, and then returned to Camelot (The Lady of the Lake).
Twenty years after the Sidhe elder implanted a Sidhe into the infant Princess Elena, transforming her into a changeling, Elena traveled to Camelot with her father, Lord Godwyn, to arrange a marriage between her and Prince Arthur. Though it was soon apparent that neither Arthur nor Elena had any interest in one another, Uther and Godwyn remained determined to unite their kingdoms through the match, prompting Elena's nursemaid, Grunhilda, (a pixie in disguise), to meet with the Sidhe elder at the Lake of Avalon.
Grunhilda informed the elder that the marriage between Arthur and Elena would proceed as planned, revealing that the Sidhe had anticipated the match and turned Elena into a changeling in preparation for it. Once Elena was married to Arthur, the fairy inside her would emerge and take her over completely, thereby allowing a Sidhe to become Queen of Camelot. Fortunately, their plan was thwarted by Merlin and Gaius, and Arthur and Elena ultimately chose to call the wedding off when they admitted that neither of them had feelings for the other (The Changeling).
When Merlin accompanied Arthur on his quest to recover the Fisher King's trident, the Fisher King gave him a glass vial containing water from the Lake of Avalon. He warned him that Albion's time of need was near and that Merlin alone could save her, but that he would need help, and the water would provide that help (The Eye of the Phoenix).
When Morgause and Morgana conquered Camelot with their immortal army, Merlin took the vial with him when he, Arthur, and their allies went into hiding. He experimented with the water using his magic and various spells, but whatever help it could provide remained a mystery until he accidentally broke it. The water took on an ethereal glow and formed a small puddle in a crevice of rock, through which he was able to contact his deceased lover Freya.
Freya explained that the Cup of Life had not only made Morgana's army immortal but transformed them into the living dead, and there was only one thing that could slay that which was already dead: the sword Excalibur, which Merlin had hidden at the bottom of the Lake of Avalon. As per her instructions, the next day Merlin asked the Great Dragon to take him to the lake, where Freya retrieved the sword from its resting place and returned it to him, thus providing him with the help he and Arthur needed to retake Camelot (The Coming of Arthur).
After Morgana ordered the Shade Lancelot to commit suicide, Arthur ordered that the former knight be given a proper burial. Merlin took Lancelot's body to the Lake of Avalon, where he placed it in a boat lined with twigs and flowers. He then used his magic to free Lancelot's soul from Morgana's control. The spell he used restored Lancelot this true self and unexpectedly revived him for a brief moment, which the former knight used to thank Merlin before he quietly passed on. Merlin then set the boat adrift and used his magic to set it aflame (Lancelot du Lac).
Sir Elyan was given a similar funeral roughly three years later, after he died rescuing his sister Guinevere from the Dark Tower. With the entire court of Camelot in attendance, the boat containing Elyan's body was set adrift on the lake. A knight then fired a flaming arrow into the boat, setting it alight (The Dark Tower).
When Arthur was fatally wounded in the Battle of Camlann, Merlin took him the Lake of Avalon to be healed by the Sidhe. They were confronted along the way by Morgana, and though Merlin killed her before she could do Arthur any more harm, the delay she caused in their journey was a costly one, and Arthur ultimately died before they could reach their destination. Heartbroken, Merlin cast Excalibur back into the lake, where Freya caught it in her hand and drew it back under the water. He then placed Arthur's body in a boat and set it adrift on the lake (The Diamond of the Day).
In The LegendEdit
Avalon is classically portrayed as an island. Known as the "Isle of the Blessed," it is first mentioned in the 1136 work of Geoffrey of Monmouth (not to be confused with Geoffrey of Monmouth, the character in Merlin), Historia Regum Britanniae as the island where Excalibur was forged, and where Arthur was later taken to recover from the wounds he suffered in the Battle of Camlann. In the 1150 work Vita Merlini, Geoffrey describes Avalon as the home of nine sisters, the chief of whom was the enchantress Morgana.
Avalon is derived from Latin "Insula Avallonis", cognate with Welsh "Ynys Afallon" , meaning the "Isle of the Apple Trees".
By 1190, Avalon had become associated with Glastonbury, and particularly Glastonbury Tor – which was, at one time, a legitimate island surrounded by marshes – when monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have found the bones of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. This discovery has since been proven a hoax, however Glastonbury Tor remains of superstitious significance to some Neopagans and the local community.