Season 4 Episode 4


Aired Unknown Oct 22, 2011 on BBC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: When Merlin leaves Gaius' chamber he can be seen wearing a red shirt with a blue scarf and a brown jacket that changes briefly into a blue shirt with a red scarf and a brown jacket as he runs through the forest only to turn back to the initial red shirt with a blue scarf and a brown jacket when he summons The Great Dragon for the first time.

      The sequence where Merlin wears the red shirt with the blue scarf is reused footage from episode 3x13The Coming Of Arthur Part 2, from the scene where Merlin goes seek the dragon's help to go retrieve Excalibur.

    • Footage from episode 3x11 The Sorcerer's Shadow is used in the scene where Merlin lies on his bed before going to meet the dragon for the first time (the corresponding scene in 3x11 being the one where Merlin lies on his bed before meeting the dragon).

    • Goof: Neither Merlin nor either of the knights carry a pack big enough to contain the cauldron, plates and spoons that they can be seen using when they camp.

    • This is the second episode in a row in which Arthur is featured with his trousers dropped.

    • Goof: Despite there's a storm when Borden first shows up at Gaius' door, there's no trace of rain whatsoever in either Merlin's or Gaius's windows.

    • Goof: When Borden first shows up at Gaius' chambers, Merlin can be seen sleeping in his bed (and covered with a blanket). After Borden's visit, Merlin goes back to bed but this time his bed is made and it's covered with a different blanket.

    • Goof: When he is feeding the horses, Merlin's scarf is in disarray. However, it's neatly arranged when he gets back to the campsite.

    • Goof: In the scene where Arthur and the knights wonder which way Borden went and in the scene where Ashkanar's tomb collapses, Arthur's hairstyle keeps changing between takes.

    • When Arthur stops Merlin from going after Borden by grabbing a hold of his clothes, Merlin can be seen wearing a blue undershirt under his red shirt.

    • Goof: The second time that Merlin cooks for the knights, they can be seen sharpening their swords when Arthur tells them that the food is delicious. Then they stand up plates in hand and approach the cauldron. The plates seem to appear out of nowhere, particularly since Merlin could be seen aligning them on top of a tree trunk seconds before.

    • Goof: Sir Percival recovers very quickly after taking a crossbolt in his right leg. He can be seen on his feet walking and then running as if he wouldn't have been wounded at all.

    • Goof: After Merlin blasts him up in the air, Borden rolls on the ground and comes to a stop by a wall. In the next take, he is lying next to a column far away from any wall.

    • The same footage is used both times that Merlin grabs the dragon egg while it lays on the pedestal.

    • This episode marks the first time in which Merlin refers to the Great Dragon by his name (Kilgharrah) since Balinor revealed it in episode 2x13 The Last Dragonlord.

    • The wealth and wisdom of Ashkanar were without equal. He hid the last dragon's egg in his tomb and set up traps to prevent the egg from being robbed. The Triskellion of Ashkanar became both a key and a trap trigger. The tomb had remained untouched for 400 years as did one third of the Triskellion, safe in the vaults of Camelot. Another third of the Triskellion was in the Druids' hands and it remains unknown where did Borden get the remaining third from.

    • Kilgharrah is not longer the last of his kind after Aithusa, a white dragon, is born in this episode.

      Dragon eggs can live for more than 1,000 years. The eggs don't hatch until young dragons are called into the world by the Dragonlords, who are the only ones who have the power to summon them from the egg. To do that, they need to give them a name. Merlin calls the young dragon 'Aithusa', which in dragon tongue means 'light of the sun'.

  • Quotes

    • (About the third of the Triskellion that Borden has stolen from the Druids)
      Iseldir: It is not worth anyone's life.
      Julius Borden: Isn't it? It's cost me 20 years of mine.

    • Gaius: You've a nerve coming back here. You left me in a lot of trouble.
      Julius Borden: Yeah, yeah. Sorry about that. What can I say? Execution didn't really appeal to me. Don't pretend you supported Uther.
      Gaius: Tell me why you're here.
      Julius Borden: (Showing him two parts of the Triskellion) Save your eyesight, Gaius. It's the Triskellion of Ashkanar.

    • Gaius: I want no part of your plan.
      Julius Borden: You don't want to release the last living dragon?
      Gaius: The old ways should die.
      Julius Borden: That is not what you taught me.
      Gaius: It's what I feel now. I believe in the King that Arthur will become and the future he will build.
      Julius Borden: Think about it...
      Gaius: I've given you my answer. Now I think you should leave Camelot sooner rather than later. Arthur may not be his father but he is no friend of the old ways.

    • Merlin: Why won't you help him? This is our one chance of saving the dragons, of helping Kilgharrah preserve his kind!
      Gaius: Borden is not a man to be trusted.
      Merlin: You don't think the Triskellion is real?
      Gaius: That I have no doubt.
      Merlin: Then what?
      Gaius: His motives, Merlin. Even as a young man he was prone to dishonesty ...who knows what path he is on now.
      Merlin: You want the egg to remain lost forever!
      Gaius: I don't want it to get into Borden's hands. The tomb of Ashkanar has lain untouched for more than 400 years. It is my belief it should remain that way.

    • The Great Dragon: I never dared dream of such a moment, Merlin. Until now I believed the egg would never be found. That I would be the last of my kind.
      Merlin: So the legend is true.
      The Great Dragon: This is a chance in 1,000, Merlin. You must retrieve the egg.
      Merlin: I know.
      The Great Dragon: Then what is the matter?
      Merlin: Gaius has forbidden it.
      The Great Dragon: Merlin. You are a Dragonlord. It is a gift passed down from your father. He gave up everything in his life to save me. What do you think he would say? The egg harbours the last of my kind. I beg you, Merlin, in your father's name, promise me that you will do everything in your power to rescue it.
      Merlin: You have my promise.

    • (Merlin is rummaging through Arthur's keys, waking him up)
      Arthur: What on earth are you doing?
      Merlin: (Knocks on wood and pretends) Looking for woodworm.
      Arthur: Before breakfast!
      Merlin: That is when the worms are most active.
      Arthur: Get out.

    • Merlin: (Gathers some clothes from his bed to steal the key from his belt) These need washing.
      Arthur: (Throwing him another bunch of clothes) So do these. Oh, and Merlin, before you go, I need that belt.

    • (Merlin uses magic to make Arthur's trousers drop as the prince is presiding a Council meeting so he can steal a key from his belt)
      Merlin: Allow me to help you, sire.
      Arthur: No! No!
      (Both wrestle on the ground)
      Arthur: Merlin!
      Merlin: Your Majesty!
      Arthur: Merlin!
      Merlin: Your Majesty...
      Arthur: Get off me!
      Merlin: I'm trying to help you, Sire. There we go. Will there be anything else, Sire?
      Arthur: No!
      (Merlin leaves, key in hand).

    • (After Merlin has helped him get inside Camelot's vaults)
      Julius Borden: I'm beginning to like you, Merlin.

    • Julius Borden: Tell me, Merlin... would you say you are a good liar?
      Merlin: If I need to be.
      Julius Borden: (Knocking him out at the entrance door to the vaults, which key Merlin had stolen) You're going to need to be.

    • (Merlin is applying his ear to a goblet placed on Arthur's bed headrest)
      Arthur: Merlin! What are you doing?
      Merlin: (Pretending) Shh... I'm listening for woodworm.
      Arthur: I'm getting slightly concerned about you.

    • Gaius: To my knowledge no one has disturbed the tomb for more than 400 years.
      Arthur: But with this Triskellion, someone could?
      Agravaine: Sire, a dragon's egg can live for 1,000 years . Even today, it could still hatch and another dragon be born into the world.
      Arthur: My father's work to rid the world of these monsters would be undone.
      Agravaine: That must be our fear.
      Arthur: Then we have no choice: we must hunt down this intruder and destroy the egg.

    • Gaius: How could you be so stupid? What were you thinking?
      Merlin: I am a Dragonlord. It's my sacred duty to protect the last of the dragons.
      Gaius: The tomb could have remained closed for another 400 years and the egg would have been completely safe. Now Arthur's riding out, intent on destroying it.
      Merlin: We have to hope that Borden gets there first.
      Gaius: You trust Borden? You really think he is going to release that dragon? I fear to think what he intends for the poor creature. Why couldn't you leave things alone?

    • Merlin: (Willing to push on and stop Borden) Have we lost him?
      Arthur: (Checking the soil for tracks) It's getting too dark to see. We'll find somewhere to hole up for the night.
      Merlin: But we're so close to him.
      Arthur: Unless you can see in the dark, Merlin, there's not much else to do.

    • (Merlin is distributing the stew he's cooked between the knights)
      Sir Leon: Whoa, I'm famished (Merlin adds another spoonful) Thank you.
      Sir Gwaine: (Grabs a hold of Merlin before he leaves) Yeah, I'm hungry as a horse (Merlin adds another spoonful and settles to have whatever is left)
      Arthur: That's a point, Merlin. Have you fed them?
      Merlin: What?
      Arthur: The horses.
      Merlin: Well...
      Arthur: Come on, they  must be starving.
      Merlin: But...
      Arthur: On your toes.

    • (All the knights have eaten while Merlin hasn't had the chance to have a bite)
      Sir Gwaine: (Handing Merlin an empty plate) That was lovely, Merlin. Thanks.
      Sir Percival: (Doing the same) I loved it.
      Sir Leon: (Doing the same) Me too.
      Arthur: (Doing the same) If you're going to wash those up, wash this too (Places cauldron on top of the pile of empty plates)
      Merlin: (Ironically) Thanks.
      Arthur: Oh, hang on. There's still a bit left (Eats the last bits at the bottom of the cauldron) Mmm... Mmm...
      Merlin: Good was it?
      Arthur: A little salty though.
      (Merlin turns to leave and do the washing up)
      Sir Leon: Merlin! There's another plate here (Shows him a plate with Merlin's share of the food).
      (All laugh)

    • Iseldir: You must be wary, Emrys... the legends tell a tale that only the Druids know.
      Merlin: What do they say?
      Iseldir: Ashkanar was a wise man... he knew one day men would come seeking to disturb his rest. The Triskellion is not just a key. It is also a trap.
      Merlin: What do you mean? What kind of trap?
      Iseldir: I do not know, but the legends are very clear. You must beware, Emrys. (Merlin turns to leave) Emrys! There is one other thing the legends say. Only when the way ahead seems impossible will you have found it.

    • (They have lost Borden's tracks)
      Arthur: We don't know which way he went.
      Merlin: (Starts walking) He's heading East.
      Arthur: How would you know, Merlin?
      Merlin: Because I can sense it.
      Arthur: Sense is not a word I associate with you, Merlin.
      Sir Elyan: Hang on... (Points to a track of horse dung) He's right.
      Arthur: He can't be.
      Sir Leon: Well done, Merlin!
      Merlin: Have you ever heard of the word 'sorry'?
      Arthur: No, is it another word you've made up?

    • (Merlin tries to get a bite of the stew he's made while the knights are busy, but Arthur steals the spoon from him when it's halfway to his mouth)
      Arthur: Mmm... this is good! Guys, you've got to try this. Mmm...!
      Merlin: All right, don't tell me. It was too salty.

    • Julius Borden: (About the dragon's egg) Give it to me.
      Merlin: It's not yours to take.
      Julius Borden: You give it to me and I will grant you a half share, Merlin.
      Merlin: No, it must go free.
      Julius Borden: Don't be a fool. Think of the power it will bring us. The lands we can rule over, the riches.
      Merlin: I'm not interested in that.
      Julius Borden: With this dragon at our command, we will live like kings. We will have the freedom and power to do as we wish.
      Merlin: Dragons cannot be used like that. They must be left unshackled, free to roam the earth!

    • Julius Borden: This is your chance. Your chance to escape your meaningless life, your worthless existence.
      Merlin: It's not my life that is pitiable, it's yours. You've wasted it for nothing.
      Julius Borden: I pieced together the Triskellion. I found the path that lead us here. The dragon belongs to me. Now hand it over. You are not going to stop me, boy!
      (Borden tries to hit Merlin with his torch)
      Merlin: Dragons are magical creatures! (Falls to the ground) They belong to no man, they are for the benefit of all.
      Julius Borden: What do you know? You are but a serving boy.
      Merlin: I am the last Dragonlord and I'm warning you... leave this egg alone.
      (Borden tries to hit Merlin and Merlin blasts him away).

    • (Merlin puts the dragon's egg in the safety of his backpack as the tomb of Ashkanar collapses, right before Arthur and the knights arrive.)
      Arthur: What the hell happened?
      Merlin: The tomb was a trap. He set it off. He never got out.
      Arthur: What about the egg?
      Merlin: (Shrugs) It would've perished with him.
      Arthur: Are you sure? We need to be certain!
      Sir Leon: Nothing's going to survive under all that.

    • Merlin: (About the dragon's egg) All the jewels... all the treasures, Gaius, they don't compare.
      Gaius: It was nearly lost because of you.
      Merlin: I'm sorry, Gaius. I was too quick to act.
      Gaius: You have to think things through. Ashkanar did exactly that. He had the foresight to conceal this for more than 400 years. And now it is down to you, Merlin, for you to decide what you intend to do with it.
      Merlin: I've thought about that. I'm going to make sure it goes back to where it belongs.

    • Merlin: (About the dragon's egg) Is it still alive?
      The Great Dragon: It can live for more than 1,000 years.
      Merlin: So you are no longer the last of your kind.
      The Great Dragon: It would seem not.

    • Merlin: When will it hatch?
      The Great Dragon: Young dragons were called into the world by the Dragonlords... only they had the power to summon them from the egg. As the last Dragonlord, this solemn duty falls to you, Merlin.
      Merlin: How do I summon it?
      The Great Dragon: You must give the dragon a name.
      Merlin: (Closes his eyes and invokes his Dragonlord powers) Aithusa! (The dragon's egg unhatches and a white dragon gurgles)
      The Great Dragon: A white dragon is indeed a rare thing... and fitting. For in the dragon tongue, you named him after the light of the sun. No dragon birth is without meaning. Sometimes the meaning is hard to see but this time I believe it is clear. The white dragon bodes well for Albion, for you and Arthur... and for the land that you will build together.

  • Notes

    • Also Known As:
      France: Le Dragon blanc (meaning 'The White Dragon').
      Germany: Die Triskele von Askhanar (meaning 'The Triskellion Of Askhanar').

    • According to Ed Turner, Merlin Production Designer, they took a look at the dragon's eggs in Game of Thrones and then went for something looking absolutely different: smooth and blue, like a duck egg. The dragon egg in this episode was made of kennywood (medium density fiberboard), a sort of wood that can be sand it into a really smooth texture which makes it perfect for modeling and sculpting.
      Neither the cracking and breaking nor the three-dimensional painting to see the dragon inside was physical at all.

    • This episode is Johnny Capps' favourite of series 4 together with 4x07 The Secret Sharer.

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: November 6, 2011 on Ten.
      Canada: January 29th, 2012 on Space.
      France: March 16th, 2012 on Canal + Family.
      Germany: January 25th, 2012 on Super RTL.
      Italy: September 13th, 2012 on Italia 1.
      Sweden: September 29th, 2012 on SVT2.
      Turkey: March 11, 2012 on CNBC-e.
      USA: January 27th, 2012 on Syfy.

    • Colin Morgan was allowed to keep the prop used as the dragon egg.

    • James Callis, who plays Julius Borden, played Merlin in the2010 TV movie Merlin And The Book Of Beasts and also a character called Gaius in Battlestar Galactica. The horse that he rides in this episode is called 'Galactico'.

    • After his character's death in episode 4x03 The Wicked Day, Anthony Stewart Head is not listed in the opening credits (he has been replaced by Nathaniel Parker) although he does appear in the images that go along with them.

    • Despite featured in the opening credits, Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath do not appear in this episode.
      It is the third time that Angel doesn't appear in an episode after 3x09 Love In The Time Of Dragons and 3x11 The Sorcerer's Shadow and the fourth time that Katie isn't featured either after 2x09 The Lady Of The Lake, 2x13 The Last Dragonlord and 3x09 Love In The Time Of Dragons.

    • Filming locations:
      Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
      Cardiff, Wales, UK (Studio sets).
      Clearwell Caves, Lambsquay Road, near Coleford, Gloucestershire, England, UK (Druids' cave).
      Porth yr Ogof, Ystradfellte, Mid Glamorgan, South Wales, UK (Balinor's cave - Outside).
      Sgŵd yr Eira / Fall of Snow, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK (Waterfall).
      Chepstow Castle, 1 Bridge Street, Chepstow, NP16 5, Wales (Stairway inside the tomb of Ashkanar).

    • Broadcasts:
      Sat 22 Oct 2011 at 20:15-21:00pm on BBC One and BBC HD.
      Fri 28 Oct 2011 at 19:45-20:30pm on BBC Three.

  • Allusions