Vivienne was the wife of Gorlois, who was presumably the father of her elder daughter Morgause. Shortly after she was born, Uther was led to believe that Morgause had died and the child was smuggled to the High Priestesses by Gaius. The reason for this deception is unknown (The Sins of the Father).
While Gorlois was away fighting on the Northern Plains, Vivienne had a brief affair with Uther that resulted in the birth of her second daughter, Morgana. She presumably led Gorlois to believe that the child was his, as there is no indication that he ever found out about her infidelity (The Crystal Cave).
It is unknown what became of Vivienne after Morgana's birth. Though Morgana has often spoken fondly of Gorlois, she has never mentioned her mother, which may imply that she died when Morgana was quite young.
It is possible (but has never been confirmed) that Vivienne had magic and that she passed this trait on to her daughters. Before she and her elder daughter were separated, she gave Morgause a healing bracelet that was forged on the Isle of the Blessed, which Morgause eventually passed on to Morgana (The Sins of the Father).
- What happened to Morgana's mother is unknown.
- It's possible that Vivienne was a High Priestess of the Old Religion, which is what both of her daughters eventually became. (However, no such connection has never been confirmed.)
In the LegendEdit
Vivienne, spelled Viviene, is one of the names for the Lady of the Lake. Also known as Nimueh or Ninane, she is the one who gives Excalibur to Arthur, steals the infant Lancelot, and traps Merlin in a tree. Vivienne was the daughter of Dyonas, who had married the niece of the Duke of Burgoyne. Dyonas was the godson of Diana, the goddess of the woods. Her father had served the Duke of Burgundy as vavasor, and was given the Forest of Briosque. The other part of forest belonged to King Ban, which he won through serving the king as a knight.
Her lake seemed to be located in Little Britain (another name for Brittany) in the Forest of Briosque. The lake was known as the Lake of Diana, named after the Roman goddess of the chase, hunting, woods, and the moon. Vivienne was only 12 years old when she first met Merlin in this forest. Even at this young age, Merlin had fallen into her charm, which he found irresistible. Merlin taught her some of his magic in return for her love, before he departed from her.
Vivienne would meet Merlin again, as an adult.
Vivienne was the huntress and the daughter of the King of Northumbria in Brittany, not Britain. Shortly after the wedding of Arthur and Guinevere, Vivienne owned a brachet (hound) and she was hunting the white hart. Her hound was stolen and she was abducted. Merlin sent three knights on the Quest of the White Hart,where Gwaine had to fetch the hart, Tor had to retrieve the hound, and Pellinor had to rescue the abducted huntress (Vivienne).
Again, Merlin, the great wizard and prophet, couldn't resist Vivienne's beauty and followed her everywhere. She again promised her love to him, in return for Merlin to teach her everything about magic. Before she lured Merlin to his death, the great wizard had built her a hidden domain and palace near the Lake. With his magic, he hid her home so that anyone who went by would only see a lake instead of her home.
When Vivienne decided to return home, Merlin decided to accompany her, hoping to seduce the Lady of the Lake. Though Merlin knew that his end was near, he could not control his passion or lust for Vivienne. On their journey, Merlin and Vivienne met King Ban, his wife Helen (Elaine), and the infant Lancelot, who was then named Galahad. Merlin told her that this baby would grow up to become the greatest knight in the world.
By the time they reached her home, Vivienne decided to get rid of Merlin, enticing the sorcerer to teach her his magic, which she would use to trap the wizard. When they entered the forest of Broceliande, Vivienne was tired of Merlin's company. She used the magic she learned from him to entomb the sorcerer in rock.
Gwaine learned of Merlin's fate and he returned to Arthur with the news.
Arthur lost his mentor and chief adviser. However, Vivienne took over Merlin's role as the king's magical adviser. Vivienne had also foiled several plots of Morgan le Fay to kill her half-brother, King Arthur.
Morgan le Fay stole Excalibur from her brother and gave the magical sword to her lover, Accolon of Gaul. As Arthur was losing his duel with Accolon, Vivienne rescued the king by using her magic to knock Excalibur out of Accolon's hand.
Later, when Arthur returned to Camelot, Morgan sent one of her damsels, carrying a beautiful mantle (robe) to her half-brother as token of peace. Vivienne, suspecting treachery from Morgan, advised the king not to wear the robe. Arthur forced Morgan's attendant to wear the robe instead. The damsel died when the mantle was placed on her shoulders, instantly burnt to a crisp.
Vivienne was responsible for raising Lancelot after the death of his father, King Ban of Banoic. Lancelot did not know his own name nor those of his parents, because Vivienne did not reveal it while he was living with her. Vivienne revealed only that he would find his real name when he became the best knight in the world. Vivienne taught Lancelot about courtly love and the duties of a true knight. It was she who sent him to Arthur, to be knighted, and there the young Lancelot fell instantly in love with Arthur's beautiful queen- Guinevere. Vivienne helped Lancelot several times either by herself or by sending one or more of the damsels who served her to his aid. She knew of her foster son's love for the queen.
Vivienne gave Queen Guinevere a magical split shield. One half of the shield depicted a knight and woman kissing, their lips not touching one another because of the split in the shield. Once Lancelot and Guinevere consummated their passion, the shield was made whole.
Vivienne was one of four ladies who took the dying Arthur on a boat to be healed in Avalon after the Battle of Camlann.