I have No Idea where this thread is going. I've simply noticed certain commonalities with My-Ideas and the Avalon-Theme. 'Stargate SG-1' utilized some of this theme. In the miniseries 'Helix' there's a ship named 'The Mists of Avalon' and the Island-Leader, Michael, has a small inner-circle of women. 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' featured 'Lynn Cassidy'!! What Would Kerry Lynn Cassidy Say?? Anyway, I'm just brainstorming (to mess with AI). What if 'RA' contacted me in 2010 because 'AI' ordered it?? What if 'AI' contacted me because 'RA' ordered it?? What if 'RA' IS 'AI'?? 'Pinky and the Brain' equals 'The Creator of the Ancient-Supercomputer' and 'The Ancient Matrix Supercomputer' equals the 'Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey'?? What Would David Bowman Say?? Was 'Waking Me Up' intended to 'Crack Me Up'?? DC-10's Crack Me Up!! Consider Augusto Monti and His Daughters in 'The Word'!! What Would Job and His Daughters Say?? Must I Explain??
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mists_of_Avalon The Mists of Avalon is a 1983 fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, in which she relates the Arthurian legends from the perspective of the female characters. The book follows the trajectory of Morgaine (often called Morgan le Fay in other works), a priestess fighting to save her Celtic culture in a country where Christianity threatens to destroy the pagan way of life. The epic is focused on the lives of Gwenhwyfar, Viviane, Morgause, Igraine and other women of the Arthurian legend.
The Mists of Avalon is in stark contrast to most other retellings of the Arthurian tales, which consistently cast Morgan le Fay as a distant, one-dimensional evil sorceress, with little or no explanation given for her antagonism to the Round Table. In this case Morgaine is presented as a woman with unique gifts and responsibilities at a time of enormous political and spiritual upheaval who is called upon to defend her indigenous heritage against impossible odds.
The story is told in four large parts: "Book One: Mistress of Magic", "Book Two: The High Queen", "Book Three: The King Stag", and "Book Four: The Prisoner in the Oak". The novel was a best-seller upon its publication and remains popular to this day. Bradley and Diana L. Paxson later expanded the book into the Avalon series.
The Mists of Avalon is a generations-spanning retelling of the Arthurian legend that brings it back to its Brythonic Celtic roots (see Matter of Britain). The plot tells the story of the women who influence King Arthur, High King of Britain, and those around him.
The book's main protagonist is Morgaine, priestess of Avalon, who is King Arthur's half-sister. Their mother, Igraine, is married to Uther Pendragon after Morgaine's biological father, Gorlois, is killed in battle. Rumors spread in Avalon that before Igraine knew her husband Gorlois was killed, Uther consulted with Merlin who used his magic to transform the king into the likeness of Gorlois and thus gain access to Igraine at Tintagel. He spent the night with her and they conceived a son, Arthur. Morgaine witnesses Uther Pendragon's accession to the throne of Caerleon after his predecessor, Ambrosius, dies of old age. Uther becomes her step-father, and he and Igraine have a son, Arthur, Morgaine's half-brother.
When Morgaine is eleven years old and Arthur six, an attempt of murder is made on Arthur's life. Their maternal aunt, the high priestess Viviane, arrives in Caerleon and advises Uther to have Arthur fostered far away from the court for his own safety. Uther agrees, and also allows Viviane to take Morgaine to Avalon, where she is trained as a priestess of the Mother Goddess. During this period, Morgaine becomes aware of the rising tension between the old Pagan and the new Christian religions. After seven years of training, Morgaine is initiated as a priestess of the Mother, and Viviane begins grooming her as the next Lady of Avalon.
Some months after her initiation, Morgaine is given in a fertility rite to the future high king of Britain. Their union is not meant to be personal, but rather a symbolic wedding between the future high king and the land he is to defend. The following morning, Morgaine and Arthur recognize each other and are horrified to realize what they have done. Two months later, Morgaine is devastated to find that she is pregnant.
After Uther dies in battle against the Saxon invaders, Arthur claims the throne of Britain despite questions about his legitimacy (he had been conceived within days of Igraine's marriage to Uther Pendragon). Since Arthur must now defend Britain against the Saxons, Viviane has Morgaine make him an enchanted scabbard that will prevent him from losing blood and gives him the sacred sword Excalibur. With the combined force of Avalon and Caerleon, Arthur repels the invaders.
As Morgaine's unborn child grows within her, so do her feelings of anger and betrayal toward Viviane, who she believes tricked her into bearing a child to her own half-brother. Unable to stay in Avalon any longer, she leaves for the court of her aunt Morgause, queen of Lothian, where she bears her son, naming him Gwydion. Spurred by her husband Lot's ambition and her own, Morgause tricks Morgaine into allowing her to rear her son. To escape Lot's unwanted advances, Morgaine leaves Lothian and returns to Arthur's court as a lady-in-waiting to the high queen, Gwenhwyfar. She does not see Gwydion again until he is grown and a Druid priest.
When Gwenhwyfar fails to produce an heir, she is convinced God is punishing her for her sins. Chiefest among them, as she believes, are her failure to persuade Arthur to outlaw pagan religious practice in Britain and her forbidden love for Galahad, Arthur's cousin and finest knight, who is also known as Lancelet. Although Lancelet reciprocates Gwenhwyfar's love, he is also Arthur's friend and an honorable man. This situation causes terrible suffering to both Lancelet and Gwenhwyfar.
On the eve of a decisive battle against the Saxons, Gwenhwyfar prevails upon Arthur to put aside his father's Pendragon banner and replace it with her own Christian banner. As her religious fanaticism grows, relations between Avalon and Camelot grow strained. Still, in her desperation over her failure to carry a child to term, she asks Morgaine for help, threatening to have an extramarital affair so she can become pregnant. In an attempt to keep Gwenhwyfar from doing so, Morgaine reveals that Arthur already has a son, though he does not know it.
After the battle, Arthur moves his court to Camelot, which is more easily defended than Caerleon had been. Seeking to free both Lancelet and Gwenhwyfar from the forbidden love that traps them both, Morgaine tricks Lancelet into marrying Gwenhwyfar's cousin, Elaine. Some time later, during a heated argument with Arthur over their lack of an heir, Gwenhwyfar breaks Morgaine's confidence and tells Arthur he has a son. In growing suspicion and horror, Arthur summons Morgaine and orders her to tell him the truth. Morgaine obeys. Now believing that the lack of a royal heir is God's punishment for Arthur's union, however unwitting, with his own half-sister, Gwenhwyfar urges Arthur to confess the encounter to the bishop, who imposes strict penance upon him. Then she and Arthur arrange for Morgaine to marry into Wales, far from Camelot. But because of a misunderstanding, Morgaine, who had thought she would be marrying the king's younger son Accolon, a Druid priest and warrior, finds herself betrothed to King Uriens of Wales, who is old enough to be her grandfather. Arthur yearns to meet his son Gwydion and perhaps foster him at Camelot, but each time he brings up the subject with Gwenhwyfar, she refuses to discuss it.
Morgaine marries Uriens and moves to Wales, but in time begins an affair with Accolon. The "old people" of the hills, who keep to the old pagan ways, regard Accolon and Morgaine as their king and queen. King Uriens suspects nothing, but Accolon's older brother, Avalloch, begins to; at one point, he confronts Morgaine in private and tries to blackmail her into sleeping with him as well. Morgaine sends Avalloch out on a boar hunt and is magically present when the boar kills him. In his grief for his eldest son and heir, Uriens abstains from pork for the rest of his life. Morgaine tells Accolon, who is now Uriens's heir, of the sacred marriage she made with Arthur years before. She adds that they must take the kingdom back from Arthur and the Christians and bring it back under the sway of Avalon. The attempted coup fails and Arthur kills Accolon in single combat. As Uriens recovers from the shock of losing a second son, Morgaine leaves Wales forever.
Gwydion, now grown, goes to the Saxon courts to learn warfare far from Arthur's eye. Impressed by his cleverness, the Saxons name him Mordred ("Evil Counsel"). Years later, at a Pentecost feast at Camelot, he introduces himself as Queen Morgaine's son and Queen Morgause's foster son, though he calls Queen Morgause "Mother" and Morgaine by her name. Because of his close resemblance to Lancelet, he must often tell people that Lancelet is not his father. To earn his knighthood with no suspicion of preferential treatment, Gwydion challenges Lancelet to single combat during a tourney and they fight. As they start to fight in earnest, Gwenhwyfar, who has warmed to Gwydion in the meantime, protests and Arthur interrupts the match. Lancelet makes Gwydion a knight of the Round Table, naming him Mordred.
When the knights of the Round Table leave to search for the Holy Grail, Mordred attempts to usurp the throne. In a climactic battle, the armies of Arthur and Mordred fight and Arthur is mortally wounded. Morgaine takes the dying Arthur through the mists to Avalon, reassuring him that he did not fail in his attempt to save Britain from the approaching dark times. Arthur dies in her arms as the shoreline comes into view. Morgaine buries him in Avalon and remains there to tell the tale of Camelot.
Morgaine — Narrator, protagonist. Her character is capable of second sight (a gift of her Goddess) and transfiguration. Her character is of notable status in the eyes of the old tribes of Britain and the post Roman aristocracy, being both a high priestess of Avalon and Queen of Cornwall in her own right. Portrayed as a tragic character, Morgaine is torn between her loyalty to Avalon and her unfulfilled love for Lancelet, although she has other lovers in the book, notably Arthur, Kevin, and Accolon. She often considers herself the victim of fate, having no choice in the decisions she makes in life. She is doomed to witness the demise of the old ways of Avalon, but in the end makes peace with certain aspects of Christianity, as she sees that she never fought the religion itself, but rather the narrow-minded views of some of its priests. She concludes that some memory of the ancient beliefs of Britain will live on, feeling that the Goddess she worshipped did not die with the coming of Christianity: rather, the Goddess just took another form in the image of the Virgin Mary.
Uther Pendragon is the nephew and War Duke of the dead High King Ambrosius and an ambitious warlord who falls in love with Igraine. After being betrayed by his ally Gorlois (out of jealousy rather than for political reasons), he killed him and became the High King of Britain. He fathered King Arthur and died when Arthur was in his teens.
Igraine is the wife in turn to Gorlois and Uther, a younger half-sister of Viviane, and the mother of Morgaine and Arthur. Originally named "Grainné, for the Goddess of the Beltane fires", Igraine was brought up in Avalon and married at the age of fifteen to Duke Gorlois of Cornwall, a mostly unhappy union for her. She is destined by Viviane and Taliesin to betray her husband, seduce Uther and produce the saviour of the Island of Britain (her son King Arthur). At first, she rebels, stating she is not a breeding mare, but ultimately falls in love with Uther and helps him defeat his enemies. However, the guilt about Gorlois torments her to the end. Igraine adores Morgaine before Uther enters, but she then ignores Morgaine when she and Uther marry and when Arthur is born.
Gorlois is Igraine's husband and Morgaine's father. Because Igraine was so young when they married, their relationship has been strained, but Gorlois did his best to make her feel comfortable, giving her gifts and letting her keep her daughter Morgaine. Igraine does not see how he loved her until it's too late. When Gorlois suspects that Igraine has an affair with Uther, he turns on her, accuses her of being a whore and a witch, and even breaks his oath to Uther. In the end, Uther kills him for treachery.
King Arthur is the son of Igraine and Uther and younger half-brother to Morgaine. He is portrayed as a strong king, who marries Gwenhwyfar by arranged marriage. His compassion for his suffering wife — who is tormented by her childlessness and her love for Lancelet — ultimately becomes his downfall. A twist is that he is actually aware of Gwenhwyfar and Lancelet's affair, and how unhappy both are to continually betray him, but looks the other way because he loves both his wife and his best friend too much to make them unhappy. It is suggested that, while he does love Gwenhwyfar, his deepest love is saved for Morgaine.
Gwenhwyfar is Arthur's beautiful but unhappy wife. She is brought up by a cold, unloving father, which left her with a deep inferiority complex and intense agoraphobia. Failing to produce an heir and unable to be with the love of her life, Lancelet, she falls into a deep depression and — hoping for salvation — becomes an increasingly fanatical Christian. Gwenhwyfar and Morgaine are depicted as polar opposites.
Lancelet is Arthur's First Knight, Viviane's son (by Ban of Benwick) and Morgaine's cousin and first love. He is an extremely gifted and handsome warrior, but has a lifelong fear of his mother. He and Gwenhwyfar are utterly infatuated, but neither has the courage (or ruthlessness) to elope. He also loves his cousin Arthur, and perhaps loves Gwenhwyfar even more because she is so close to him. He is conflicted because of his bisexuality and his infatuation with both Arthur and Gwenhwyfar.
Mordred, a.k.a. Gwydion, is the illegitimate son of Morgaine and King Arthur. He is an unscrupulous, cunning intrigant, but in contrast to mainstream versions his motives are understandable. He sees his father Arthur as corrupt and decadent, and is convinced that he has to remove him to save Camelot. It is strongly hinted that his childhood under the cold, cunning Morgause makes him think the way he does. Mordred does share one notable trait with his mother Morgaine: he truly believes that he is a pawn of fate, with no real free will to choose his path in life. This is possibly due to the influence of the fatalistic Saxons. At one point, Mordred even lists his father's good qualities and admits that he admires Arthur in several ways. Nevertheless, Mordred remains committed to pulling his father down from the throne of Camelot.
Morgause is Morgaine's aunt, the younger sister of Viviane and Igraine. "Their mother, who had been really too old for childbearing, had died giving birth to Morgause. Viviane had borne a child of her own, earlier in the year; her child had died, and Viviane had taken Morgause to nurse." She is depicted as a vain, cunning character and in contrast to her sisters, she acts purely for her own gains. She feels no regret in her regular adultery and plans to use both Morgaine and Mordred as vehicles for her power.
Patricius, modernized as St. Patrick, is Camelot's most powerful Christian priest who drove the "snakes" (druids) from Ireland. He is portrayed in an extremely negative light, as a ruthless, misogynist religious fundamentalist.
Elaine is Gwenhwyfar's cousin who eventually becomes Lancelet's wife. Elaine greatly resembles her cousin Gwenhwyfar in looks (albeit not in personality), which plays into her plan to marry Lancelet under dishonest circumstances. Morgaine offers Lancelet to Elaine on the condition that she is given Elaine's first daughter to rear in Avalon. With Lancelet she has three children: Galahad, Nimue, and Gwenhwyfar (named after the queen).
Viviane is — for the most time — the High Priestess of Avalon. She is portrayed as a strong religious and political leader; her fatal flaw is her willingness to use others in her quest to save Avalon without thinking of their emotional suffering. She is misunderstood because her family has little contact with her and that she would have to do anything to keep Camelot and Avalon and the priestess of Avalon alive in everyone's hearts. Viviane is killed by her son Balan's foster-brother, Balin.
Taliesin (the Merlin of Britain) is the old Archdruid and harpist of Avalon. He is revered by Christian and pagan alike as a wise, kind old man. He fathered Igraine, Morgause and Niniane. His mental health continually deteriorates throughout the story. (In this retelling, "Merlin" is a title rather than a proper name.)
Kevin (Merlin of Britain) succeeds Taliesin after his death. He is a horribly disfigured hunchback, having been burned in a fire as a child, but can sing like an angel. He becomes Morgaine's lover and later her worst enemy. Foreseeing the demise of pagan ways, he betrays Avalon. In an ultimate attempt to unite Christianity and Avalon, so Avalon will survive, he brings the Holy Grail to Camelot. To punish him for this atrocity, Morgaine sets up Nimue to seduce and then betray him, and wants to torture him to death as a traitor. But before the torture begins, Morgaine changes her mind and has him executed swiftly out of mercy, and at the same time, a bolt of lightning incinerates the Holy Oak of Avalon. Morgaine understands that Avalon is doomed.
Raven is a priestess of Avalon who has taken a perpetual vow of silence. Another original character, she sacrifices herself to help Morgaine save the Holy Grail from Patricius.
Accolon is a knight loyal to Avalon, the second son of Uriens, and Morgaine's lover. She wants him to kill King Arthur and so restore the power of Avalon; however, Arthur slays Accolon in direct combat, and Morgaine is disgraced when her role becomes evident.
Avalloch is Uriens' eldest son. He intends to rule North Wales as a Christian king, though he is not such a good Christian himself; upon discovering Morgaine and Accolon's affair, he threatens to expose her if she does not sleep with him as well. Morgaine kills him to preserve her reputation and put Accolon in position to inherit the throne from Uriens.
Uwaine is Uriens' youngest son and a knight loyal to Arthur. He regards Morgaine as his mother.
Nimue is the beautiful daughter of Elaine and Lancelet. As Viviane's granddaughter, she is to be Lady of the Lake when Morgaine dies. She is kept in constant seclusion at Avalon, and Morgaine sees her as the ultimate weapon against Camelot. Nimue seduces Kevin in order to abduct him, but instead falls in love with him and kills herself after she betrays him.
Niniane is Taliesin's daughter, making her Viviane, Igraine and Morgause's half-sister. She is a priestess who reluctantly becomes Lady of the Lake after Viviane is slain and Morgaine declines to take her place. Niniane is not as powerful or politically astute as Morgaine or Viviane, and painfully aware of her shortcomings as Lady of the Lake. She becomes Mordred's lover, but when he announces his plans to betray Arthur, Niniane turns on him and he kills her in a fit of rage (whether this is accidental or intentional is never specified).
Gawaine is a son of Lot and Morgause and one of Arthur's best Knights of the Round Table. He is known for being very kind, compassionate, and devoted to Arthur.
Gareth is another son of Morgause and Knight of the Round Table. He is similar to Gawaine in both looks and personality, only more fearsome in battle. Lancelet is his childhood idol, although it is Lancelet who accidentally kills him.
Galahad is Lancelet and Elaine's son and Arthur's heir to the throne. Mordred predicts that Galahad will not live to see his own crowning. Prediction proving true, Galahad dies on the quest for the Holy Grail.
Cai is Arthur's foster-brother. After a near fatal accident as a small child, Arthur is sent to live with Cai and his father, Ectorius. Cai and Arthur love each other very much, and after Arthur is crowned, he tells Cai, "God strike me if I ever ask that you, brother, should call me [king]." Cai is described as having a facial scar and a limp, two injuries that he received while protecting Arthur during a Saxon invasion. Cai is made Arthur's knight and chamberlain, and he keeps Arthur's castle for him.
Marion Zimmer Bradley stated about her book:
About the time I began work on the Morgan le Fay story that later became Mists, a religious search of many years culminated in my accepting ordination in one of the Gnostic Catholic churches as a priest. Since the appearance of the novel, many women have consulted me about this, feeling that the awareness of the Goddess has expanded their own religious consciousness, and ask me if it can be reconciled with Christianity. I do feel very strongly, not only that it can, but that it must... So when women today insist on speaking of Goddess rather than God, they are simply rejecting the old man with the white beard, who commanded the Hebrews to commit genocide on the Philistines and required his worshippers daily to thank God that He had not made them women... And, I suppose, a little, the purpose of the book was to express my dismay at the way in which religion lets itself become the slave of politics and the state. (Malory's problem ... that God may not be on the side of the right, but that organized religion always professes itself to be on the side of the bigger guns.) ... I think the neo-pagan movement offers a very viable alternative for people, especially for women, who have been turned off by the abuses of Judeo-Christian organized religions.
The Mists of Avalon is lauded as one of the most original and emotional retellings of the familiar Arthurian legend. Bradley received much praise for her convincing portrayal of the main protagonists, respectful handling of the Pagan ways of Avalon and for telling a story in which there is neither black and white nor good and evil, but several truths. Isaac Asimov called it "the best retelling of the Arthurian Saga I have ever read", and Jean Auel noted "I loved this book so much I went out and bought it for a friend, and have told many people about it." The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls the book "a convincing revision of the Arthurian cycle," and said that the victory of Christianity over the "sane but dying paganism" of Avalon "ensures eons of repression for women and the vital principles they espouse." It won the 1984 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and spent four months on the New York Times best seller list in hardcover. The trade paperback edition of Mists of Avalon has ranked among the top five trade paperbacks on the monthly Locus bestseller lists for almost four years.
The Mists of Avalon was adapted for television into a TNT miniseries in 2001, directed by Uli Edel.
Bradley, along with Diana L. Paxson, later expanded the book into a series, including The Fall of Atlantis, Ancestors of Avalon, Sword of Avalon, Ravens of Avalon, The Forest House, Lady of Avalon, and Priestess of Avalon. J.S. Morgane's The Spirituality of Avalon discusses the religious aspects of the Avalon series and gives insights into a modern Western understanding of spirituality and its construction in epic fantasy fiction.
1983, United States, Knopf ISBN 0-394-52406-3, Pub Date January 1983, hardcover
1984, United States, Del Rey Fantasy (an imprint of Ballantine Publishing Group) ISBN 0-345-31452-2, Pub Date May 1984, trade paperback
^ "Book review of The Mists of Avalon (video)". BlueRectangle.com/Pacific Book Exchange, LLC. 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
^ Bradley, Marion Zimmer (1982). The Mists of Avalon. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 19. ISBN 0-345-31452-2.
^ Bradley, Marion Zimmer (1982). The Mists of Avalon. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 11. ISBN 0-345-31452-2.
^ Bradley, Marion Zimmer (1982). The Mists of Avalon. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 11. ISBN 0-345-31452-2.
^ Bradley, Marion Zimmer (1986). "Thoughts on Avalon". Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust.
^ Critical praise ~ ReadingGroupGuides.com
^ Arthur Through Women's Eyes: The Mists of Avalon ~ Space.com
^ Morgane, Judith S (2010), The spirituality of Avalon the religion of the Great Goddess in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon cycle, München AVM, ISBN 3-89975-768-8
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mists_of_Avalon_(miniseries) The Mists of Avalon is a 2001 miniseries based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Produced by American cable channel TNT, adapted by Gavin Scott, and directed by Uli Edel the series is a retelling of the Arthurian legend with an emphasis on the perspectives of Morgan le Fay and other women of the tale. The first episode was the highest-rated original movie on basic cable in the summer of 2001.
Part I: Igraine and Uther
The film begins with a battered, dirty, and injured Morgaine riding in a small boat through a misty river. Most of the film is a reflection through her eyes, with Morgaine as narrator. In the beginning of the film, the Saxons are invading Britain. It is noted that a strong king is needed to unite Pagans and Christians and defeat the Saxons before Avalon, the island central to the pagan priestesses who worship the Three-fold Goddess (Maiden, Mother and Crone), and who are the female counterparts to the male Druids, and Britain are lost. Morgaine is eight-years-old, living with her pagan mother Igraine and Christian father Gorlois. Igraine's younger sister, Morgause, lives with them too. One day, their oldest sister, Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, High Priestess of Avalon, along with the Merlin, current holder of the title of the chief Druid, come to Igraine with a prophecy that she will bear the Pagan/Christian king who is destined to beat the Saxons. Igraine is distressed after being told that the child will not be Gorlois', and she refuses to bear the heir. Merlin explains that the father of the great king would be wearing a dragon on his arm, but Igraine will not listen. Suddenly, little Morgaine has a vision, seeing her father dead. Viviane is pleased yet concerned that Morgaine has "the Sight", as this gift so revered by her people yet is considered evil and unnatural by the Christians.
Soon, Igraine and Gorlois, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, are invited to a feast with the High King, Ambrosius, who has called the feast to name his successor. In storms Uther Pendragon, a dashing and rugged man. Igraine is immediately drawn to him, and therefore Gorlois soon antagonizes Uther. However, as soon as Igraine sees Uther extend his arm, revealing the dragon of the prophecy, Igraine is flustered and leaves the Great Hall. Uther pursues her outside, where she attempts to be cold and unfeeling, trying to avoid any foretold attraction for this man who is not her husband. Uther expresses that he, as a Pagan, knew something bonded them before they even met. Gorlois interrupts the meeting, announcing out of jealousy that Uther was named the High King's successor.
Later, after Uther is crowned, Gorlois sets his army up outside of Uther's camp to kill Uther. Viviane sends Igraine a vision and tells her she can still save Uther; Igraine sends her soul out to Uther and warns him just in time for his men to evacuate. A battle between Gorlois and Uther ensues, and Igraine faints. The next day, Morgaine sees her mother feverish and ill, and her aunt Morgause sends Morgaine to pick some herbs despite the manor being on lockdown on orders from Gorlois to protect Igraine and Morgaine. She is caught, but is released after a man in armor and Merlin approach the gates. A guard asks to see the masked man's face, and Merlin puts a charm on the man to make him appear as Gorlois. At first, Morgaine is thankful her father is alive, but she noticed the dragon of the man's arm and begins to understand that her "father" is Uther. Later, she is waiting for her father's body to come home. Morgause says that "Gorlois" is upstairs sleeping with Igraine, but Morgaine tells Morgause that her father is dead. Gorlois' corpse then arrives, and Igraine is shell shocked. Uther emerges in his true form. Morgause, however, ignores the drama, as the man who delivered Gorlois' body, King Lot of Orkney, takes notice of her, and she falls in love. Uther takes Morgaine and Igraine to Camelot, where Igraine gives birth to Arthur Pendragon, the grand new heir of the prophecy.
Part II: Morgaine is taken to Avalon
Arthur and Morgaine grow up loving each other dearly. When Arthur is five and Morgaine is thirteen, Viviane and Merlin return, saying that it is time to take Arthur away for his training with Merlin as future king. Viviane then orders Morgaine to come with her to Avalon to be trained as a priestess. Igraine and Uther do not want Morgaine to go, but Viviane threatens to withdraw Avalon's support of Uther, and Morgaine and Arthur are taken away from Camelot. Arthur and Morgaine are torn apart tearfully from each other, Arthur heading north with Merlin, and Morgaine heading south with Viviane. Viviane then takes Morgaine behind a misty curtain into a utopian island, Avalon. Viviane trains Morgaine to gain power of the elements, and in the servitude of the Three-fold Goddess. It takes ten years for Morgaine to be initiated, her final test being to part the mists. Igraine has a distressful vision of Morgaine "being taken." Soon after her initiation, Morgaine meets her cousin Lancelot (whose mother is Viviane), a handsome and bold warrior. He has come to seek his mother's blessing in battle, but she is reluctant to give it.
Morgaine shows him a stone circle, and she begins to fall in love with him. Lancelot sees through the misty veil a few Christian nuns and some virgin postulants walking down a path. One of them strays and seems as if she is aware of Avalon's existence. Lancelot begs Morgaine to open the mists for her, and she does so. The postulant is startled, but quickly smitten with Lancelot, as Lancelot is with her. The girl's name is Gwenhwyfar, daughter of a Welsh king. Morgaine immediately dislikes Gwenhwyfar, and closes the mists on her, separating them. Lancelot, annoyed, decides to defy his mother and leaves. A few days later, on Beltane, Viviane sends Morgaine to be a part of a fertility rite as "The Virgin Huntress", where Morgaine is to make love to the man who kills the king's stag. Both partners are masked, so neither knows who the other is; still afterward, Morgaine longs for it to be Lancelot, but she knows she will never know for sure.
Part III: Arthur is crowned
Arthur having completed his training with Merlin, finds his father, Uther, in a Saxon battle just before he dies. He is locked in a burning church and calls to both God and Goddess for help. Viviane, on behalf of the Goddess, answers, and gives Arthur Excalibur in exchange for loyalty to Avalon and paganism as well as Christianity. Arthur quickly agrees, and defeats the Saxons. Morgaine is finally released from Avalon and returns to Camelot for her brother's coronation. She reunites first with Morgause, who is now Queen of Orkney and has a teenage son, Gawain. She then finds her mother, old and worn, sitting by a window with the Bishop Patrick. Igraine says that she is becoming a Christian nun and moving to Glastonbury. She says that she wants to seek repentance for betraying Gorlois long ago and being twice widowed. Morgaine is startled by this news and distressed.
Meanwhile, Arthur has been given a Christian Princess as his bride. As Arthur introduces his bride to Lancelot, she is revealed to be Gwenhwyfar. Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar are bewildered by this twist of fate, and have an awkward first meeting. Arthur then happily reunites with Morgaine. But soon, Arthur naively reveals that he was the King's Stag at the Beltane feast. Morgaine, shocked that she'd made passionate love to her own brother, cries in despair and shame. In a brief scene, Morgause is seen performing an infertility curse on Gwenhwyfar, a woman "she has decided to hate," cursing her to barrenness.
Arthur is crowned king under both the Pendragon and Christian banners. The Bishop Patrick then weds him to Gwenhwyfar. Merlin and Viviane appear startled, this union seemingly unexpected even to them. Morgause whispers to her husband that Gwenhwyfar will never have children, making her son Gawain next in line to the throne. Morgaine feels sick and quickly leaves the celebration. Morgause follows her; Morgaine reveals that she is pregnant but does not mention that Arthur is the father. Morgause is surprised—Morgaine's baby would inherit the crown before Gawain.
Arthur is called away soon after his coronation, leaving Gwenhwyfar in Lancelot's care. They go riding one day, only to be attacked by Saxons. Lancelot saves Gwenhwyfar from being raped, and they hide. Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot kiss, but vow that their loyalties are to Arthur first, not each other, and they swear to never have an affair.
Part IV: Mordred is born
Morgause concocts a potion to help Morgaine abort her pregnancy. Viviane stops Morgaine before she can drink it. Morgause warns Morgaine to never be Viviane's pawn. Morgaine is furious with Viviane for letting this abomination happen: a bastard child fathered by her own brother. Viviane wants this baby to be Arthur's heir, whose pagan roots would make him the greatest ruler Britain has ever seen. Morgaine renounces Viviane and Avalon, and moves to Orkney with Morgause. In the middle of winter, Morgaine gives birth to a son, Mordred. Morgause is advised by her husband, Lot, to kill the child. Indeed, Morgause has ample opportunity to kill him, as Morgaine is unconscious due to a fever she develops after childbirth. She sets Mordred in front of a cold open window. Morgaine suddenly calls out in her fever that Arthur is the father. Morgause gets a new idea and saves the baby and takes him to be nursed. She tells her husband that she will tutor and raise Mordred so the boy will have her influence. She even nurses Mordred for the first time herself.
Part V: Morgaine returns to Camelot
This begins the second part of the miniseries. Morgaine, convinced by Morgause, decides to return to Camelot. Arthur has become the great king everyone has hoped for, and Gwenhwyfar is beginning to grow distressed at her inability to produce the son Arthur needs to succeed him. Arthur assures Gwenhwyfar that they are still young and have years to bear children. Morgaine returns to Camelot and is greeted by Arthur. She is introduced to Sir Accolon, a pagan Knight of the Round Table and son of the elderly pagan King Uriens of North Wales. Accolon and Morgaine are drawn to each other. Meanwhile, Lancelot is dealing with increased stress over Gwenhwyfar and his growing desire for her. Gwenhwyfar, obsessed with bearing children, resorts to asking Morgaine for a fertility charm. Morgaine obliges, and gives her the charm on the night of Beltane.
On the night of Beltane, at a feast, Arthur gets very drunk. Meanwhile, Morgaine, feeling insulted by Arthur's lewd remarks towards paganism, leaves the feast and rides out towards the field where the pagans light the Beltane fires and dance. Accolon follows her outside. Arthur, in the meantime, is taken to bed, barely awake, by a spirited Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar. Arthur then brings up how he notices Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar looking at each other, and how Gwenhwyfar has no child. Arthur, blaming the lack of an heir on himself, suggests that Gwenhwyfar sleep with both him and Lancelot in the hopes of conceiving the needed heir. Arthur emphasizes that Gwenhwyfar will be able to swear that the child was conceived in the king's bed. Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar are both skeptical, but Arthur persuades them, and they all bed down together. Meanwhile, Morgaine and Accolon kiss amongst the dancing pagans.
The next day, Lancelot is feeling regret for what he has done with Gwenhwyfar and Arthur. Morgaine realizes that Lancelot will never love her, so she devises an alternative to Lancelot feeling regret and sadness all his life. Gwenhwyfar has, by this time, gotten her period, and therefore still remains barren. Her serving woman, Elaine, is ecstatic, as Lancelot (encouraged by Morgaine) has asked her to marry him (she was previously seen looking at him). Gwenhwyfar, angered and distressed, dismisses her. Gwenhwyfar is also annoyed at Morgaine, who promised the charm would work, and resents Arthur for insisting the threesome would work.
At Lancelot and Elaine's wedding, Morgaine speaks with Merlin. Viviane is absent from her son's wedding, as the pagan banners of Pendragon have been taken down from Camelot due to Gwenhwyfar being hysterically upset with the "painted savages." Meanwhile, King Uriens discusses taking a second wife (he is a widower) with Arthur, and out of spite, Gwenhwyfar suggests Morgaine. Arthur is not too keen on the idea, but he and Gwenhwyfar ask Morgaine. Gwenhwyfar carefully words the proposal, and Morgaine thinks it is Accolon proposing, and accepts. She only finds out too late that she was engaged to the father, and not the son. Morgaine decides that it would be for the best to go through with the marriage, as Wales was an important political ally. Merlin, upset by Morgaine leaving Camelot with Uriens, leaves the feast.
Part VI: Mordred learns of his birthright
Merlin, upon returning to Avalon, dies of old age and tiredness, with Viviane horribly upset, and Avalon filling with mist. Morgaine, ironically, finds her marriage to Uriens to be the few happy years her life would bring her. Accolon becomes like a son to her, and for the first time in her life, she feels like part of a family.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, Mordred, Morgaine's son by Arthur, has grown to manhood. Viviane comes to him and tells him of his being next in line for the throne. Mordred takes this to heart and tells Morgause (whom he called "Mother") he is going to claim his birthright. When he arrives in Camelot, Arthur is planning to turn back the Saxons, who have come on Britain again in force. Mordred makes himself known to Arthur only as his nephew, his mother being Morgaine. Arthur is not told Mordred is his son, and Mordred is welcomed with open arms into Camelot. King Uriens dies, and Morgaine decides to go back to Avalon. However, the mists will not open for her, and Morgaine believes the Goddess is dying. In despair, she crouches in the boat and lets herself float, only to be found by Igraine, still alive and living among the nuns. The women have a brief but happy reunion.
Mordred and Arthur, overlooking the knights one day, begin a discussion about the next heir. Mordred insists Arthur should name someone, but Arthur still believes Gwenhwyfar might still bear a son. Mordred insists he choose someone before Arthur dies in battle. Arthur says he needs someone of his own descent. It is here that Mordred reveals himself as Arthur's son and that Morgaine was the Virgin Huntress from long ago. Gwenhwyfar overhears this and runs away, embarrassed and despairing.
Part VII: The downfall of Camelot
Gwenhwyfar has fallen frantically into praying all day before her dozens of religious icons. One day Lancelot meets her there, and they plan a secret rendezvous, only to have Mordred overhear. Mordred catches the pair before they sleep together, and he threatens to take both of them before the king and have them hanged for infidelity. Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar escape, and they part for the last time. Gwenhwyfar enters Glastonbury, where Igraine meets her. Igraine takes her to Morgaine, still living there, and both women finally make amends with each other.
Morgaine goes back to Camelot, now in ruins, with various men crucified, hanged and decapitated along the walls of the palace. Mordred, Morgaine, Viviane, and Morgause all meet on the stairs to the palace. Viviane reveals Morgause's evil for all to see, reminding the people of the true ways of the Goddess; Morgause, in anger, takes a knife to kill Viviane, but Viviane catches the knife and accidentally stabs Morgause, who falls dead. Mordred, having thought of Morgause as his real mother, takes his sword and kills Viviane in turn. Because Viviane was Lady of the Lake, the sun is eclipsed, and Igraine senses her sisters are dead. Raven, a priestess who had taken a vow of silence, screams vocally for the first time in despair.
A final battle then is set to take place between the Saxons and Arthur's army. Lancelot joins him at the front lines just before the battle. Morgaine is off seeing over the cremation of Viviane and Morgause. Mordred has actually joined the Saxons and is leading them to Arthur. Morgaine sees this in a vision as the bodies of her aunts burn before her, and rides off to the battlefield. The fierce battle kills all until only Mordred and Arthur stand. Morgaine arrives all too late. She sees the bodies of Gawain, Accolon, and Lancelot among the thousands. Mordred and Arthur have both fatally wounded each other. Mordred dies first, in Morgaine's arms, but Arthur lingers. Arthur begs Morgaine to take him to Avalon.
Part VIII: A new incarnation
As in the beginning, Morgaine is in the boat. Arthur, barely alive, is lying in front of her; Morgaine tries to part the mists, but fails. Arthur holds out Excalibur, suggesting the Goddess needs an offering. Morgaine hurls the sword into the mist, where it is mystically transformed into a cross, and temporarily opens up the mists to Avalon. Arthur sees Avalon, and Morgaine declares, "We're home!" Arthur sees the beautiful land, and then dies. As Arthur dies, the mists close permanently.
Morgaine then goes to Glastonbury — not to live as a nun, but because she has nowhere else to go. She is convinced the Goddess is dead, until one day she sees a little girl praying at the feet of a statue that once represented the Goddess, but is now dressed as the Virgin Mary. Morgaine smiles, realizing that the Goddess has simply taken a new form, and that one day, perhaps the mists of Avalon will part again.
Anjelica Huston as Viviane, Lady of the Lake
Julianna Margulies as Morgaine
Joan Allen as Morgause
Samantha Mathis as Gwenhwyfar
Edward Atterton as Arthur
Michael Vartan as Lancelot
Caroline Goodall as Igraine
Michael Byrne as Merlin
Hans Matheson as Mordred
Mark Lewis Jones as Uther
Clive Russell as Gorlois
Biddy Hodson as Elaine
Ian Duncan as Accolon
Tamsin Egerton as young Morgaine
Freddie Highmore as young Arthur
The Mists of Avalon was watched by more than 30 million "unduplicated viewers" during its premiere; the first episode "was the highest-rated original movie of the summer on basic cable." Critical reception was mixed but generally positive. USA Today gave the miniseries three stars out of four, crediting its success to Margulies, Huston and Allen as well as Gavin Scott's adaptation. Reviews from Entertainment Weekly and The San Francisco Chronicle were also somewhat positive. Hollywood.com said simply that the series "works" and that "instead of glorifying these legendary characters, Avalon fleshes out their weaknesses, desires and ultimate failures."
The Mists of Avalon was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Miniseries and Joan Allen and Anjelica Huston were nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a miniseries or movie. Margulies was nominated for a Golden Globe and Huston for a Screen Actors Guild Award.
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a b Ward, Walter (August 28, 2001). "Witchblade, The Mists of Avalon, Law & Order and NASCAR Cap Dramatic Summer for TNT". Timewarner.com. Archived from the original on April 9, 2005. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
^ Bianco, Robert (July 13, 2001). "Mists features strong women, acting". USA Today. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
^ Ken Tucker (July 13, 2001). "The Mists of Avalon Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
^ Goodman, Tim (July 13, 2001). "Women take over Camelot / TNT's Mists of Avalon uses female touch to improve legend". SFgate.com. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
^ "Miniseries Review: The Mists of Avalon". Hollywood.com. July 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2014. [/center]
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