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Thread: Year 512 & 513: Nineve's death. May Babies and Merlin's comments

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2009
    Helsinki, Finland

    Year 512 & 513: Nineve's death. May Babies and Merlin's comments

    First of all, since May Babies happens after Nineve's death, it should be Merlin and NIMUE. It also always baffled me that Merlin would cooperate with Nineve and then badmouth her in 513 after she had died.

    Re-reading Malory, I noticed something that shows that the Merlin quotation in GPC was based on an mistaken identity:

    Here is what Merlin actually says:

    In the meanwhile came Merlin unto the court of King Arthur, and there was told him the adventure of the sword, and the death of the Lady of the Lake.
    "Now shall I say you, said Merlin; this same damosel that here standeth, that brought the sword unto your court, I shall tell you the cause of her coming: she was the falsest damosel that liveth. Say not so, said they. She hath a brother, a passing good knight of prowess and a full true man; and this damosel loved another knight that held her to paramour, and this good knight her brother met with the knight that held her to paramour, and slew him by force of his hands. When this false damosel understood this, she went to the Lady Lile of Avelion, and besought her of help, to be avenged on her own brother."
    "AND so this Lady Lile of Avelion took her this sword that she brought with her, and told there should no man pull it out of the sheath but if he be one of the best knights of this realm, and he should be hard and full of prowess, and with that sword he should slay her brother. This was the cause that the damosel came into this court. I know it as well as ye. Would God she had not come into this court, but she came never in fellowship of worship to do good, but always great harm; and that knight that hath achieved the sword shall be destroyed by that sword, for the which will be great damage, for there liveth not a knight of more prowess than he is, and he shall do unto you, my Lord Arthur, great honour and kindness; and it is great pity he shall not endure but a while, for of his strength and hardiness I know not his match living."
    So "the falsest lady" is NOT Nineve, but the damosel (earlier described as: "a damosel the which was sent on message from the great lady Lile of Avelion.") with the cursed sword, which Balin took!

    This is somewhat of a relief to me, since it absolves Nineve at least in part of what she was being accused of in GPC. It seemed very strange that Merlin would be leading Arthur to Nineve to get Excalibur and then call her the falsest lady ever afterwards.

    This still leaves the problem of Balin's mother getting burned (as accused by Balin) because of Nineve. GPC tries to make this into an euthanasia with poison instead. Malory doesn't expand on that story, so we don't know what was behind it, but I'd be tempted to make Balin's mother an actual witch, who deserved to burn. So everything Balin is accusing Nineve of, would be more true about his own mother.
    Last edited by Morien; 10-19-2017 at 02:02 PM.

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