The Lais of Marie de France

by

Marie de France

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The Fairy Lady Character Analysis

The fairy lady appears mysteriously in an extravagant tent on the meadow where Lanval wanders one day. She is attended by two damsels dressed in purple. The lady offers to become Lanval’s lover and to enrich him with as much gold and silver as he could possibly want, as long as he keeps their relationship secret. If Lanval merely thinks of her, she appears to him. When Lanval gets in trouble with King Arthur because of Queen Guinevere’s false accusation, the Lady appears on horseback at the last moment and testifies on his behalf. Then she and Lanval ride off to Avalon together, never to be heard from again.
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The Fairy Lady Character Timeline in The Lais of Marie de France

The timeline below shows where the character The Fairy Lady appears in The Lais of Marie de France. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
V. Lanval
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...to their lady’s tent, an extravagant structure topped with a golden eagle. Inside, a beautiful fairy lady rests among priceless linens, wearing only her shift. The lady tells Lanval that she has... (full context)
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Lanval and the fairy lady linger together until evening, but before he goes, the lady tells him that whenever he... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...Lanval quickly says something he comes to regret: that he enjoys the love of a fairy lady he prizes above all others, and that even the poorest of that lady’s servant girls... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...hears her described, he knows that his beloved has come, and he is saved. The fairy lady explains to King Arthur that the queen was wrong and that Lanval had never sought... (full context)