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Lady Guenivere

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Guenivere

Guenivere is one of the most loved and hated characters in Arthurian lore. Her name literally translates to "white phantom". In Welsh, she is known as Gwenhwyvar which translates to "First lady of Herse Islands". In Germany, Guenivere was known as Cunneware which translates to "Female wisdom"

According to Mallory, Guenivere was said to be the daughter of King Leondergrance of Cameliard. In the Welsh tradition, she was the daughter of King Gogrvan (Ocvran). In Thelwall's play Fairy of the Lake, she was said to be the daughter of King Vortigan. Regardless of which literary source you read, Guenivere was a Princess, therefore and excellent choice for the young Arthur to take as a bride.

Guenivere was said to have embodied the Sovereinty of Britain. No man could be king without her at his side. Arthur was said to have had his faeries abduct Guenivere. Arthur ruled the faerie kingdom and her abduction and wedding to Arthur took place in May (the fae month). She was also said to have been abducted by Modred, Melwas, Meleagent, and Lancelot; all

 

knowing that to have her at their side was to be king. To lose Guenivere was to lose the crown.

No matter what reference you use in regards to Guenivere, she always betrays Arthur in some way. The most common is her affair with Arthur's best friend Lancelot. Some legends say that when Arthur found the lovers, he was so crushed, he gave up hope; thus leading to the Grail Legend.

According to Marion Zimmer Bradley, it was Guenivere that brought Christianity to the Pagan Britain of which Arthur was king. He made a promise to preserve the Old Ways which Guenivere circumvented. She believed that magick caused her miscarriage. This betrayal of Arthur's promise lead to his break with Avalon and the subsequent downfall of Camalot.

As there are many literary references to how Guenivere lived, there are just as many as how she died. The most popular myth

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 is that after her affair with Lancelot was discovered, in remorse, she fled to a nunnery and died in the cloister. A more romantic view is painted in other stories. After discovery, Guenivere was taken prisoner by Arthur's court and tried for treason. Within moments of being burned on the stake, Lancelot rescued her and they disappeared forever.