The novel is as told by Morgaine through her reminiscing narrative. She is a sorceress who undergoes many changes, but is victorious and in the end, much wiser.
Viviane is the Lady of the Lake, the high priestess of Avalon, and is responsible for carrying out the will of the Goddess. She wishes to find a king to unify Britain who would be loyal to God and the Goddess, but is ultimately disappointed.
Talieson is Merlin, the most powerful Druid of Avalon, and he aids Viviane in finding a High King. In the action of the novel, Talieson dies and part of Avalon and the world disappears as well.
Gwenhwyfar, daughter of King Leodegranz, marries King Arthur and tries to get him to renounce the Goddess and embrace God and Christ. She is incredibly pious, but even with her fear of eternal damnation, she does not wholly abide by her own sayings.
Arthur's birth and upbringing were arranged before his birth; he was to be groomed to be the High King of Britain. He carries the might of Excalibur, the sacred sword of Avalon, but is inevitably killed by his son, Sir Mordred.
The Mists of Avalon is a romantic novel of sorcery and piety. It is the story of King Arthur as told by his sister, Morgaine, later known as Morgan le Fay. Morgaine tells this story of how Arthur came to power, the fall of Avalon, and finally, the Death of Arthur.
The novel opens in Tintagel with Igraine, Lady of Duke Gorlois, spinning thread. Morgaine is only a child and her mother, Igraine, tells her that she is too young to learn, even though Igraine's sister, Morgause, is attempting to teach her. Merlin and Viviane arrive from Avalon with important news. They say the High King Ambrosius is dying and he has no successor. Viviane wishes for Uther Pendragon, the favorite duke of Ambrosius, to be king with Igraine as his queen. The two of them, Igraine and Uther, have the blood of Avalon in their veins and keeping Avalon alive depends on the offspring they would have. Igraine is loyal to Gorlois and refuses to leave him, even though Uther lusts for her. Eventually, Uther is appointed High King and Gorlois protests and dies fighting him. Several days later, Igraine weds Uther and they have a child, Arthur. Morgaine then confesses her hatred for Arthur and Uther for he took her mother. By the time Arthur is six, Morgaine and he have a warm relationship. Arthur is then sent away to be fostered by Ectorius, one of Uther's vassals. Morgause marries Lot of Orkney when Morgaine is taken by Viviane to become a priestess of Avalon. In Avalon, Morgaine learns all the ways of the priestess. Here too, Morgaine is introduced to Lancelot, Viviane's youngest son, and Gwenhwyfar, who is being schooled in Glastonbury.
When Morgaine is a young adult, she is chosen to be the Virgin Huntress at Beltane, a great honor. The Virgin Huntress is given to the King Stag, the Horned One, in the Great...