You see there is only one constant. One universal. It is the only real truth: Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.”
― The Merovingian[src]
The Merovingian (sometimes called The Frenchman) is an old, powerful program that resides within the Matrix. Self-described as a "trafficker of information", the Merovingian behaves much as a leader of a powerfully organized crime syndicate. He and his wife Persephone operate a smuggling ring providing a haven for exiled programs in the Matrix. The Merovingian is described as an "Operating System" by The Kid in his blog incorporated in The Matrix Online, although this presumably describes his role pre-Exile rather than his current function.
The Merovingian's history seems deeper than his appearances and material trappings. Described by the Oracle as "one of the oldest of us", the Merovingian came to the Matrix "long ago" with his wife, Persephone.
Preferring to speak in French and live an opulent life, the Merovingian desired to take the place of the Oracle. Rama Kandra begged him to save his daughter Sati from deletion in exchange for the termination code for the outer shell of the Oracle. At some point, the Merovingian most likely saved Seraph from deletion. And when Seraph later realized the Merovingian's true evil intentions, Seraph betrayed him and sided with The Oracle and began acting as her bodyguard, protecting The Oracle from her enemies such as The Merovingian and, possibly, from Agents. Also at some point in his life, an exiled program called The General betrayed The Merovingian. He also implies that he has frequently encountered and fought the various Ones up to Neo, and survived each encounter.
Meeting at the Le Vrai Restaurant
At the Le Vrai restaurant, the Merovingian met with Neo, Trinity, & Morpheus to discuss the situation of the Keymaker. Prior to their conversation, he secretly ordered a cake to be delivered to a woman sitting across from their table. While she received her cake, The Merovingian talked about the concept of causality to Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus.
He explained that every cause has an effect and every effect has a cause. Citing the woman as an example, he told them about the code implanted in her cake, and after one small bite, it caused her to have an orgasm and she excused herself from her table. After she left, the Merovingian told Neo that the Keymaker is his and no one can see him or use him. His intentions were to block the Nebuchadnezzar crew from obtaining the Keymaker to get to the Source.
After the Merovingian left to use the washroom, Persephone betrayed him and led Neo and the others to the key maker for his release. In the process, she killed Abel with a silver bullet and told Cain, who had witnessed it, to go tell the Merovingian what she had done.
Upon hearing what had happened, The Merovingian went to the chateau to check on the Keymaker, finding that the others had released him and Persephone had helped just as Cain said. Confronting them, Persephone taunted him about causality and also implied that she knew that he had gotten a fellatio from the woman he seduced earlier in the washroom, and left him to deal with Neo and the others without her.
Angry at what was happening, The Merovingian ordered The Twins to retrieve the Keymaker. As the Keymaker fled from the Twins, Morpheus and Trinity followed while The Merovingian ordered six of his henchmen fight Neo.
After Neo defeated his henchmen, the Merovingian, after bitterly cussing out Persephone for her treason due to it, eventually, being "the end of [Merovingian]" under his breath. Told him that he has survived Neo's predecessors as he will survive against Neo. The Merovingian left through the entrance door and, though Neo tried to stop him, managed to get away by entering a separate room as well as rewriting the code to have the door he left through be changed to a cliffside.
Encounter at Club Hel
Shortly after the car chase, Neo was trapped in Mobil Avenue station, controlled by The Trainman, who was affiliated with the Merovingian. Morpheus, Trinity, & Seraph fought their way into Club Hel to negotiate with the Merovingian. When they got to him, The Merovingian demanded the eyes of the Oracle in return for Neo. Trinity refused and grabbed a gun from a henchman.
The trio went into a brief fight with The Merovingian's henchmen, ending up with everyone at gunpoint. Trinity asked him to give them Neo or everyone would die right then. The Merovingian agreed and let them have Neo. He wasn't seen afterward, but Smith's comment about Sati being the "last exile" may imply that Smith ended up assimilating The Merovingian. However, it's a possibility that he's back to normal after Smith's defeat from Neo.
A New Matrix
The Merovingian is a prominent character in The Matrix Online, being the leader of the Merovingians alongside the Machinists and the Zionites. Not only does he have red pills in his employ, but he also makes use of Exile programs, such as The Effectuator. He uses the Exile known as Flood as the mission controller for the red pills who have joined his cause.
It was heavily implied that it was the Merovingian that hired the mysterious Assassin that killed Morpheus. He is still looking for a kill code for the Oracle, even working together with The General who betrayed him previously.
I'm so sick and tired of his bullshit...on and on...pompous prick...”
Arrogant and passively rude, The Merovingian is a strong proponent that causality is the true nature of existence within the Matrix, not choice. As a result, his ideology directly conflicts with the efforts of the Oracle. In fact, the Merovingian's behavior strongly suggests that he despised the Oracle so much as to want her termination, suggesting that Trinity can bring him the "eyes of the Oracle" as a ransom for Neo's release from Mobil Avenue. He has been known to momentarily abandon his hatred if it means his survival, as evidenced by the fact that when he decided to just give the Zion operatives Neo even without the eyes of the Oracle after he and his men were held at gunpoint by Trinity. On a similar note, he is also implied to have a very cynical concept of love. Aside from his seduction of a woman by implanting a certain code into her cake despite Persephone being his wife. He also openly compares love with insanity when Persephone warns him that Trinity's love for Neo is going to drive her to risk destroying everything to save Neo during his confrontation with her.
Persephone has said that the Merovingian used to be "like Neo" when she spoke of initially falling in love with him. As the Merovingian's power lies more in subtle rather than gross manipulation of information, he may not be a previous One. That said, he was still capable of some degree of gross manipulation of information, as evidenced by how he eluded Neo's pursuit by rewriting the door to lead to an adjacent cliff instead of the kitchen. Most assume Persephone is saying that the Merovingian was not always a cynical hedonist, but was once driven and purposeful.
- Historically, the Merovingians were the ruling dynasty of the Franks from the 5th through 8th centuries. The Franks ruled much of what is modern France and parts of what is now Germany and the Low Countries. Merovingian Francia was one of the most powerful successor states of the Roman Empire and it is from this state that the modern nation of France ultimately descends. The Merovingian Kings were noted by their exceptionally long hair, especially in contrast to the short-haired Romans.
- The Merovingian dynasty was characterized by continuous instability, in large part due to its practice of partible inheritance wherein upon the death of the king, all male offspring received a portion of the kingdom to rule independently. This practice resulted in frequent civil wars as each heir attempted to subordinate or conquer the others and sapped Merovingian power as the nobility took advantage of the civil wars to aggrandize themselves. By dynasty's end, the Merovingian king was little more than a figurehead. Pepin the Short ended the reign of the Merovingians by cutting off the King and his son's hair. They lived out their days in a monastery.
- The Merovingian was presumably named after the Merovingian dynasty because it is a power from a distant period in French history, just as the Merovingian himself is a power from a distant period in the Matrix's history who has adopted a French persona. Additionally, the Merovingians ruled what is now France during the Early Middle Ages, a period commonly known as the Dark Ages and popularly held to be a period of barbarism, superstition, and feudalism, and it may be that this name is intended to associate the Merovingian (with his personal army of supernatural beings) with these qualities.
- The Merovingians may be referenced because those conspiracy theorists who credit the enormously disputed claims of the book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" believe that the Merovingian dynasty were literal descendants of Jesus of Nazareth.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo
- Enter the Matrix
- The Matrix Reloaded
- The Matrix Revolutions
- The Matrix Online
- The Matrix Resurrections