Merovingian (The Matrix)
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|The Matrix character|
|First appearance||The Matrix Reloaded|
|Created by||Wachowski Brothers|
|Portrayed by||Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions)|
|Voiced by||Robin Atkin Downes (The Matrix: Path of Neo)|
The Merovingian (also known as The Frenchman) is a fictional character and a supporting antagonist of the films The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. He is portrayed by Lambert Wilson in both films and voiced by Robin Atkin Downes in The Matrix: Path of Neo. He also played a prominent role in The Matrix Online role-playing game.
The Merovingian provides a safe haven for exiled or obsolete programs in the Matrix, as an alternative to deletion. Being an exile himself, the Merovingian's services are not condoned by either the Redpills or the Machines, but they are overlooked unless in direct conflict with either of their goals.
Backstory and role
There is not much revealed about the Merovingian's origin, but from what both he and the Oracle say, he was a program made to regulate behavior amongst the "Bluepills" and report back with results. After the collapse of the first Matrix, he became obsolete as the newer versions presented an illusion of choice to the hard-wired humans, causing the behavioral manipulation to be more indirect than the Merovingian's more straightforward methods. Instead of accepting deletion, he retreated into the programming of the Matrix, disguised as a human, and resolved to aid other programs who have become obsolete. He is seen as a hero to exiled programs, and as an impulsive and selfish opportunist to others. He is disillusioned by the idea of choice amongst humans, which resulted in his program becoming obsolete in the Matrix, and believes that the only governing principle of the universe is that of cause and effect.
In The Matrix Reloaded, the Oracle tells Neo that he must find a program known as the Keymaker in order to reach the Source, the Machine mainframe. However, the Keymaker is being held captive by the Merovingian, who will not let him go willingly. Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity visit the Merovingian at an upscale restaurant, Le Vrai, where he is holding court with his wife Persephone. He ridicules the three for not knowing the reason they want the Keymaker and sends them away, but Persephone betrays him and takes them to his mountain chalet, where the Keymaker is being held. As Morpheus and Trinity flee with the Keymaker, several of the Merovingian's henchmen attack Neo, who quickly kills or incapacitates all of them. The Merovingian witnesses the end of the fight and then escapes before Neo can follow, leaving him temporarily stranded at the chalet, although not before hinting that there were more instances of the One besides Neo.
In The Matrix Revolutions, Morpheus and Trinity learn from the Oracle that the Merovingian has put a price on their heads for taking the Keymaker from him. Accompanied by Seraph, they enter the decadent Club Hel to bargain with him for the release of Neo, who has become trapped in a gateway between the Matrix and the Machine world. The Merovingian offers to free him in exchange for the Oracle's eyes; an irritated Trinity responds by initiating a Mexican standoff, putting a gun to his head and threatening to kill him unless he lets Neo go - a deal that the Merovingian accepts.
The Merovingian is named after the Merovingian dynasty of Frankish royalty. His wife Persephone is named after Persephone, the Greek goddess of renewal and companion of Hades, Greek god of the Underworld. The Merovingian has the role as the guardian of the virtual afterlife where exiled programs can seek refuge from deletion. He owns a nightclub named Club Hel, as a reference to the Nordic guardian of the afterlife, Hel.
- The Matrix Reloaded
- The Matrix Reloaded, 2003
Merovingian: (to Neo) I have survived your predecessors, and I will survive you.