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BBC (ended 2012)

Merlin series 1-4 themed rewatch - Cycle 2 'Merlin and his destiny'

  • Avatar of dpebbleson

    dpebbleson

    [1]Jan 28, 2012
    • member since: 11/06/09
    • level: 23
    • rank: Close Talker
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    (Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended when posting these pictures. Merlin is property of BBC and Shine Ltd. )

    This cycle 2 rewatch is centered around the theme of Merlin's destiny, and the dynamics between Merlin and Arthur. It includes 8 episodes:

    1x01: The Dragon's Call;
    1x04: The Poisoned Chalice;
    1x11: The Labyrinth of Gedref;
    1x13: Le Morte d'Arthur;
    2x12: The Fires of Idirsholas;
    3x08: The Eye of the Phoenix


    4x06: A Servant of Two Masters


    4x07: The Secret Sharer


    Discussion on this cycle will run form 28th January to 2nd March. Together with the ongoing discussion, a list of best quotes and worst goofs for the episodes concerned is to be put forward. All suggestions will be listed at the end of this post and during the last week of the cycle, votation will took place.


    As a reminder of what's to come, this is the schedule for the whole rewatch:

    Merlin --->6 episodes: 1x10, 1x13, 2x09, 2x13, 3x11, 4x04;
    Merlin and his destiny (Merlin-Arthur) ---> 8 episodes: 1x01, 1x04, 1x11, 1x13, 2x12, 3x08, 4x06, 4x07;
    Merlin-Morgana ---> 5 episodes: 1x08, 1x10, 2x03, 2x12, 4x06;
    Uther-Morgana ---> 6 episodes: 1x12, 2x11, 3x01/02, 3x05, 4x03;
    Uther-Arthur ---> 5 episodes: 1x02, 1x09, 2x08, 3x02, 4x03;
    Arthur becoming king of legend ---> 12 episodes: 1x11, 2x06, 3x01/02, 3x12/13, 4x01/02, 4x05, 4x10, 4x12/13;
    Arthur-Guinevere ---> 8 episodes: 1x03, 2x02, 2x04, 2x10, 3x06, 3x10, 4x09, 4x11;
    Knights' cycle ----> 9 episodes 1x05, 2x04, 3x04, 3x07, 3x13, 4x01/02, 4x08, 4x10;
    Gaius ---> 4 episodes: 1x06, 2x07, 3x09, 4x07;
    Visiting Ladies ---> 6 episodes: 1x07, 2x05/06, 2x09, 3x06, 4x11;
    Morgana/Mordred/Morgause ---> 4 episodes 1x08, 2x03, 2x12, 4x01.

    Cycle 1: "Merlin". To be opened by BM. Runs from 7th Jan to 27th Jan;

    Cycle 2: "Merlin and his destiny (Merlin and Arthur)". To be opened by dpebbleson. Runs from 28th Jan to 2nd March;

    Cycle 3; "Merlin and Morgana". To be opened by ADCiNosey. Runs from 3rd March to 16th March;

    Cycle 4: "Uther and Morgana". To be opened by Illegalferret. Runs from 17th March to 13th April;

    Cycle 5: "Uther and Arthur". To be opened by pcdsa. Runs from 14th April to 4th May;

    Cycle 6: "Arthur becoming King of legend". To be opened by legend-dreamer. Runs from 5th May to 15th June;

    Cycle 7: "Arthur and Guinevere". To be opened by fantasyfreak77. Runs from 16th June to 13th July;

    Cycle 8: "Knights". To be opened by ForeverArwen94. Runs from 14th July to 10th August;

    Cycle 9: "Gaius". To be opened by LizzyGlue. Runs from 11th August to 31st August;

    Cycle 10: "Visiting Ladies". To be opened by BM. Runs from 1st September to 21st September;

    Cycle 11: "Morgana/Mordred/Morgause". To be opened by dpebbleson. Runs from 22nd September to 30th September.


    ---


    Possible discussion topics:


    - The development of mutual trust between Merlin and Arthur. They have a rough start, but things start getting better. Why and how?


    - Merlin as the "unsung hero". How does his attitude to never being acknowledge change, if it changes? How he copes with that?


    - Merlin's destiny. How does he find out about it? Through whom - the Dragon, the Druids, Taliesin... Many different characters contribute to shaping up the vision of Merlin's destiny.


    - What role does Merlin play in shaping up Arthur as a future king? What kind of influence does he have over Arthur?


    - Of what kind is Merlin's destiny? Could we put together all the hints scattered throughout the episode to determine what in the end would Merlin's role amount to be. Advisor? Guide? Bringer of freedom and equality?


    - Free will vs. determinism. Is there free will in Merlin's decisions? Is he a puppet of destiny? If so, who is pulling the strings? If not, what are the crucial moments in which Merlin's free choice made him what he is, and what he shall be?



    Have fun!


    Quotes wrote:


    - Gwen: Who'd want to marry Arthur?
    - The Great Dragon: How small you are, for such a great destiny.
    - The Great Dragon: There is no right or wrong. Only what is and what isn't.
    - Merlin: If anyone wants to go and kill him, they can go ahead. In fact, I'll give them a hand.
    - Merlin: I'm not a monster, am I?
    - Merlin: How long have you been training to be a prat, my lord?
    - Gaius: You are special. The likes of which I've never seen before.
    - Morgana: I just don't think chopping someone's head off is cause for a celebration.
    - Hunith: It is every mother's fate to think her child is special and yet I would give my life that Merlin were not so.
    - The Great Dragon: No young man, no matter how great, can know his destiny. He cannot glimpse his part in the great story that is about to unfold. Like everyone, he must live and learn.
    - Mary Collins: There is only one evil in this land but it is not magic. It is you!
    - The Great Dragon: None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it.


    - The Great Dragon: How small you are, for such a great destiny.
    - The Great Dragon: None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it.


    - Arthur: Wait. Let him go. He may be an idiot, but he is a brave one. There's something about you, Merlin. I can't quite put my finger on it.


    - Gaius: (To Merlin) Arthur may give you a hard time, but at heart he's a man of honour. There aren't many who would risk what he did for a servant.
    - Uther: You did the right thing, even though you were disobeying me. I'm proud of you, Arthur. Never forget that.
    - Morgana: Say what you like about the food, but you can't beat our feasts for entertainment.
    - Morgana: (To Arthur) Sometimes you have to do what you think is right and damn the consequences.
    - Morgana: (To Arthur) What kind of king would Camelot want? One who would risk his life for that of a lowly servant, or one who does what his father tells him to?
    - Gaius: As the old proverb says, hard work breeds a harder soul.


    - Gaius: Your destiny is calling, you'd better find out what he wants.
    - Guinevere: Who'd want to marry Arthur!


    - Arthur: I'm glad you're here Merlin
    - Merlin: Listen to me.


    - Arthur:You know me Merlin, I never listen to you


    "There's something about you, Merlin. I can't quite put my finger on it." Arthur about Merlin (1x01)


    "Please, Father. He saved my life. I can't stand by and watch him die." Arthur to Uther about Merlin.
    (1x04)


    "I had no idea you were so keen to die for me.", "Trust me, I can hardly believe it myself." Arthur and Merlin to each other.
    (1x11)


    "Do you have any natural gifts, Merlin?", "No. Well, let me think. I'm not naturally rude or insensitive." Arthur and Merlin to each other.
    (1x13)


    Merlin: We could disguise him

    Arthur: That might work

    Merlin: We could dress him as a women!

    Arthur: That on the other hand...

    Merlin: We could dress him as a servant! (2x12)



    Goofs wrote:


    - When Merlin opens the window in his chamber, the shutter is a two leaf wooden one. However, when the same action is seen from the outside, the window is a one leaf glass one. (The Dragon's Call)


    - After Gaius pronounces Merlin dead, his pulse can be seen beating in his neck. (The Poisoned Chalice)


    - The view from Gauis's chambers keeps changing! (The Dragon's Call)


    - Doesn't Merlin drop the goblet 2 twice? Or does it mysteriously change hands?! (The Poisoned Chalice)


    - *This isn't a goof, but in episode 1x01 when Merlin first enters Gaius' chambers, there is a rabbit mask on a table that reminds me of the rabbit mask from the movie "Donnie Darko".


    - When Merlin is dragging Uther away from a Knight of Medhir, Uther is definitely smirking and trying not to laugh!! (2x12)


    Edited on 03/15/2012 10:58am
    Edited 8 total times.
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  • Avatar of boom-moo

    boom-moo

    [2]Feb 1, 2012
    • member since: 02/05/07
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    1x01 The Dragon's Call

    Every time I rewatch this episode I get reminded why this show is so catchy from minute 1. Merlin, who has magic, arrives to a land where magic is banned under penalty of death (the very first thing he witnesses is a man being killed because of sorcery). Merlin, who is destined to help the future king unite the land of Albion, gets into a fight with a pratty prince Arthur and finds himself in jail. Merlin, who is more powerful than any other before, becomes a manservant and as close to the man that would have him killed as he can get. Despite it all, Merlin firmly believes in the Great Dragon's words about his destiny and immediately assumes his role. Merlin is definitely special in more ways than one.

    Fortunately, he is not alone. Gaius gives him the book of magic that he was given when he was Merlin's age and becomes a father figure. He tries to keep Merlin's magic in check for Merlin's own good but at the same time he encourages that he learns more. The 20th anniversary of the capture of the Great Dragon (which meant the ban of all acts of magic and sorcery) turns out to be the day where Merlin assumes that it is his destiny, him mission to work towards reversing the situation.

    One can't help but wonder how an awfully spoiled Arthur is gonna fit in the picture until an unexpected turn of events forces the prince and the warlock to see each other, to spend time together, to become a team of sorts even if reluctantly. I was sold.

    Quotes:

    Gwen: Who'd want to marry Arthur?
    The Great Dragon: How small you are, for such a great destiny.
    The Great Dragon: There is no right or wrong. Only what is and what isn't.
    Merlin: If anyone wants to go and kill him, they can go ahead. In fact, I'll give them a hand.
    Merlin: I'm not a monster, am I?
    Merlin: How long have you been training to be a prat, my lord?
    Gaius: You are special. The likes of which I've never seen before.
    Morgana: I just don't think chopping someone's head off is cause for a celebration.
    Hunith: It is every mother's fate to think her child is special and yet I would give my life that Merlin were not so.
    The Great Dragon: No young man, no matter how great, can know his destiny. He cannot glimpse his part in the great story that is about to unfold. Like everyone, he must live and learn.
    Mary Collins: There is only one evil in this land but it is not magic. It is you!
    The Great Dragon: None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it.

    Goof: When Merlin opens the window in his chamber, the shutter is a two leaf wooden one. However, when the same action is seen from the outside, the window is a one leaf glass one.
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  • Avatar of pcdsa

    pcdsa

    [3]Feb 4, 2012
    • member since: 01/03/10
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    The Great Dragon: How small you are, for such a great destiny.
    The Great Dragon: None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it.

    I too love these quotes for revealing Merlin's great destiny. And he came to Camelot at the right time; Arthur would have died without him! You do have to wonder though how Arthur survived before Merlin came along. Also Arthur appears as a prat but we get a glimpse of a redeeming quality with this quote:
    Arthur: Wait. Let him go. He may be an idiot, but he is a brave one. There's something about you, Merlin. I can't quite put my finger on it.

    I also love the look Merlin and Arthur give each other after Uther 'rewards' Merlin by becoming Arthur's manservant. How will they ever end up as friends?
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  • Avatar of dpebbleson

    dpebbleson

    [4]Feb 4, 2012
    • member since: 11/06/09
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    I think the first episode is very good, and it seems like a good deal of effort went to it, what with the whole operatic ending. That song is actually quite nice!

    The dynamics between Merlin and Arthur starting out as unsympathetic towards each other is somewhat cliched (e.g. I watched the newest Star Trek film a couple of days ago, and it was pretty much the same between young Spock and Kirk). However, that kind of stuff must be necessary, as it wouldn't be very interesting if they were immediately good friends.

    I like it that Arthur notices something fishy about Merlin right from the start, but sadly, doesn't go through with it later on. Although, the whole first series is more dedicated to the tension about the Reveal than all others - in my humble opinion.

    I've read an interesting theory about world literature at large, and concerning heroes (among other things), that the main two characteristics and tendencies could be 'forza' and 'froda', strength and cunning. In these terms, Arthur is more strength, while Merlin is more cunning; Arthur is a typical knight, a warrior, a fighter, while Merlin is more wise, and resourceful. I think in these terms they pretty much complement each other.

    I'm somewhat surprised that rarely has anyone tried to drive a wedge between Merlin and Arthur, considering it would be to the ruin of both.

    Also, in their dynamics, Merlin seems to be the invisible hand, the unknown helper, and even when Arthur is aware of that help, rarely is anyone else (Gaius apart).

    "The Labyrinth of Gedref" is, as far as I'm concerned, the most important episode concerning the interplay of these two characters.

    As the show goes on, Merlin finds out about his destiny, but he also finds out about Arthur's destiny as well. However, Arthur, as always, remains in the dark about Merlin. Maybe if Arthur at least knew more about Emrys...

    As far as Merlin's role is concerned, I like the fact that almost all of nature knows about him. Almost all magical creatures are acquainted with his role in the future, it seems like he was simply born to become an important person, but has to be told only fragments of his supposed destiny, so as to keep his free will intact.
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  • Avatar of boom-moo

    boom-moo

    [5]Feb 4, 2012
    • member since: 02/05/07
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    1x04 The Poisoned Chalice

    So, only three episodes after getting into a fight in the market Arthur and Merlin not only save each other's lives but are willing to risk theirs in exchange. That is quite some big and development in their relationship if there ever was one! Merlin blindly believes that it is his destiny to help Arthur become the king that will unite Albion and return magic to the land ad he is willing to go to every length to make that possible, even losing his life. Arthur is not aware of any of it but still he has what it takes to risk his life for a servant he's just met. His conversation with Uther about it is one of my favourite parts of the episode:

    Uther: Arthur, you are my only son and heir. I can't risk losing you for the sake of some serving boy.
    Arthur: Because his life's worthless?
    Uther: No, because it's worth less than yours.
    (...)
    Arthur: Please, father. He saved my life. I can't stand by and watch him die.
    Uther: Then don't look. This boy won't be the last to die on your behalf. You're going to be king. It's something you'll have to get used to.

    To this day, we know that Arthur isn't comfortable with having others "less worth" die for him. In this episode we get to see traits in both Arthur and Merlin that already speak volumes of the kind of men they are gonna be, of what a great team they'd make together working towards a goal, of the possibility of that destiny they share being fulfilled.

    Quotes:
    Gaius: (To Merlin) Arthur may give you a hard time, but at heart he's a man of honour. There aren't many who would risk what he did for a servant.
    Uther: You did the right thing, even though you were disobeying me. I'm proud of you, Arthur. Never forget that.
    Morgana: Say what you like about the food, but you can't beat our feasts for entertainment.
    Morgana: (To Arthur) Sometimes you have to do what you think is right and damn the consequences.
    Morgana: (To Arthur) What kind of king would Camelot want? One who would risk his life for that of a lowly servant, or one who does what his father tells him to?
    Gaius: As the old proverb says, hard work breeds a harder soul.

    Goof:
    -After Gaius pronounces Merlin dead, his pulse can be seen beating in his neck.
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  • Avatar of Scop

    Scop

    [6]Feb 4, 2012
    • member since: 01/21/12
    • level: 4
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    This show hooked me from the beginning as well. Love the cinematography and including the talking dragon was a stroke of genius.


    One of the things I found interesting about the market fight was that later in Lancelot, we learned that the test to become a knight is to last one minute with Arthur: The market fight lasted a one minute and twenty seconds. Sure, Merlin was doing a tactical retreat the whole time (from Arthur's point of view, but he lasted longer than Arthur thought he would. Which is probably why he let him go after the fight. The tactical retreat is going to become Merlin's strong point as the show progresses as he's always the one who's pulling Arthur out of situations when he's too hurt to continue.

    I think Arthur's been looking for someone to push back at him because in his mind that's what "love" (platonically) is because that's how Uther expressed his love to Arthur -- do better, be better. Uther always meant that in battle skills. But Merlin's pushing back in a way Arthur doesn't expect. He doesn't challenge his brawn, he challenges his morality, something that Arthur was missing because of his lack of a mother. Merlin's always telling Arthur to be better morally and call him on it when he's being a prat or arrogant. Arthur responds to that by calling Merlin a fool and stupid, partly because that's the way Arthur's father makes him feel and partly because, because with his position as prince, in the timish frame they're in, only a fool would be allowed to berate a prince openly like Merlin does Arthur without it being treason. Even another knight couldn't insult Arthur the way Merlin does openly. It's a privilege he's given Merlin and the only one Arthur can think to give Merlin with in outward front that's still arrogant and believes in the class division.

    One of my favorite lines (though not in this cycle) that I think best represents Arthur's internal struggle occurs in The Moment of Truth when Arthur says to Morgana about Merlin fixing up his armor in Ealdor "You don't have a dog and fetch the stick yourself. No offense, Merlin"
    Meanwhile, he's risking all to help out someone who's, in the American vernacular, his dawg (a.k.a. best buddy)



    Two sides of the same coin
    We have Arthur and Merlin as exact opposites
    Blond/Brunette
    No Mother/No Father
    Fighter/Mage
    Kills magic/Born with magic
    Muscular build/Skinny build
    Royal/peasant
    The differences will initially be what makes it hard for them to communicate but will eventually find what they need from each other within those differences.

    They are the same as both protectors willing to risk their lives for someone else's safety, especially each others. I love the bookending that happens between The Poisoned Chalice and The Labrynth of Gedref with the poisoned drinks both knowingly drink to save the other.


    Edited on 02/05/2012 12:58pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of boom-moo

    boom-moo

    [7]Feb 5, 2012
    • member since: 02/05/07
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    1x11 The Labyrinth of Gedref

    Every action has a consequence. That is a lesson that Melin is learning all too well but a concept that Arthur is yet to grasp. As a prince, he is used to take almost all for granted and when he comes across a unicorn, rare as they are, his first instinct is to kill it. He is indeed a hunter but I think he seeks his father's recognition more than anything. In any case, he unwillingly unleashes a terrible curse that would put him in a tough position: on the one hand, he is to learn what it takes to be king and on the other hand, he is to realize that no action goes without a consequence and that we are responsible for every one of them.

    With the help of Merlin, he gets to realize that he can make amends by accepting Anhora's test. He fails at first (when he is pride is put to test) but proud, arrogant, prat and all, Arthur shows to have redeemable features as well. Unlike Uther, he would ask for help so his people don't go hungry. He cares about his people more than he does about himself but sometimes it is not as easy as swallowing one's pride. Asking for help might cost him his realm and condemn his people to an uncertain destiny.

    Merlin seems to know Arthur better than Arthur knows himself and convinces Anhora to grant him a second chance. By telling the wizard that he has faith in Arthur and trusts him with his life, he only gives Anhora the idea for the second test of wich Merlin will become a very important part. Basically, one of them is to die. Merlin tries to pause and find a way around it but Arthur thinks that the solution is simple and that since it was all his doing, he'll be the one to die. Merlin tries to convince him appealing to his destiny (which at this point means nothing to Arthur) and then at his higher social status: the death of a servant will mean nothing in the great scheme of things compared to that of the prince. However, Arthur disregards Merlin's arguments as he has made up his mind: since the curse was of his doing, it's up to him to fix it. Arthur's "I'm glad you're here, Merlin" says a lot about the way Arthur sees Merlin already, about how much he means to him, about how close a friend he considers him and how dear he holds him. And since he is willing to sacrifice his life to save Merlin's (and the kingdom), he reverses the mistake he made when taking the test for the first time, he proves what truly is in his heart. Lesson learnt.

    Quotes:
    Uther: I would rather starve than beg my enemies for help.
    Arthur: I cannot think of my pride when our people go hungry.
    Arthur: I brought this curse upon Camelot. I'm going to be the one to lift it, or die trying.
    Arthur: (To Merlin) You're a fool. You cannot trust a single word a sorcerer says. You'd do well to remember that.
    Merlin: (About Arthur) I trust him with my life.
    Arthur: (To Merlin) I had no idea you were so keen to die for me.
    Arthur: (To Merlin) You never cease to surprise me. You are a lot smarter than you look.
    Arthur: I'm glad you're here, Merlin.
    Arthur: You know me Merlin, I never listen to you.
    Anhora: (To Merlin) Arthur was willing to sacrifice his life to save yours. He has proven what is truly in his heart.

    Goof: When the unicorn falls dead, there's no arrow in his body.
    Edited on 02/05/2012 9:27am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of illegalferret

    illegalferret

    [8]Feb 11, 2012
    • member since: 05/16/07
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    1x01:Now i have to be honest (and i think i've said this before) i wasn't totally hooked on the show straight away when i first watched this episode. It did however draw me in enough to keep watching. (it was 1x03 and 1x04 that hooked me!) I think it's an interesting start to the series that sets things up well for the long run. Though i agree with Danko, Arthur is suspicious of Merlin but that is quickly forgotten in the rest of the series! I think they took a risk in setting Arthur up as a totally unlikable character but then i suppose it does make their growing friendship so much more interesting in the long run. Unlike his "friend" Merlin is immediately likable, lovable in fact. He is inquisitive and interested in the world around him and wants to try and help people even the man he hates the most. I like his first meeting with the dragon and his reaction to his destiny is brilliant! And though he doesn't like it he starts accepting it very quickly.


    Quotes:Gaius: Your destiny is calling, you'd better find out what he wants.


    Guinevere: Who'd want to marry Arthur!


    Goofs: The view from Gauis's chambers keeps changing!


    1x04: I'm enjoying this re-watching business! Unlike The Dragon's Call i've always loved this episode! The change in the main pair's relationship from epi 1 to this one is staggering, from hating the sight of each other they're now willing to risk their lives for each other. They're certainly not Friends at this point (in my opinion) they are at least beginning to see the benefits of each other and in some way are kind of looking out for each other. This episode also shows you the positive side to Arthur's character (badly missing in epi1) and begins to show the kind of king is going to be, willing to risk his life to save even the lowliest of his people, and his new found ability to stand up for what he believes to be right. As for Merlin you begin to see his true power, that magical ball of light thing is amazing! I don't know about anyone else but Merlin seems at his most powerful in the early episodes of series 1. He does a lot less things instinctively in the later series, he's always saying spells. I want to see move of this powerful Merlin in the next series!


    Goofs: Doesn't Merlin drop the goblet 2 twice? Or does it mysteriously change hands?!


    1x11: I LOVE this episode! It's my joint favourite with 2x12 Merlin and Arthur bicker there way through this episode and it's brilliant! It really shows how important they are to each other and gives us a glimpse of the future with Arthur as the honourable king and Merlin as the adviser. They rely on each and ultimately save the day together. The humour, is brilliantly done. It's not in your face like some other episodes but it's there none the less, the whole rat stew bit still cracks me up, the look they give each other when a hungry Morgana turns up is priceless! The other thing i noticed in this episode is that in the beginning food is everywhere! It's like it's showing how much food Camelot has before the famine, it's subtle but it's there.


    Quote: Arthur: I'm glad you're here Merlin


    Merlin: Listen to me.Arthur:You know me Merlin, I never listen to you

    Edited on 02/11/2012 10:03am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of Scop

    Scop

    [9]Feb 14, 2012
    • member since: 01/21/12
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    I just noticed a small exchange in The Labyrnth of Gedref that I think really defines Arthur's problem with his relationship with Merlin, especially early on. As Arthur's coming back home from having this wonderous experience of waking up after thinking he had sacrificed himself to save Merlin and his people, finding out his willingness to do so had proved him a good man of pure heart, seeing the people joyous with food once more, thanks to him, Uther comes to meet his son and asks him if he's killed the sorcerer.


    "He won't be bothering us again, father." Arthur replies. He's done good, this time. Broken the curse that had befallen the land. Surely now his father laud all the praise on him he truly deserves.


    Uther's response is "Good, Make sure the grain reserves are re-stocked." and walks off. Arthur's reward is ... more work.


    That's the same way Arthur deals with Merlin. Merlin saves his life, he has a moment of deep connection with him, but then falls back on the relationship pattern between him and his father and assigns Merlin more work because that's the only way he knows how to relate. He has no pattern to establish a middle ground between the two extremes. Throughout their relationship, Merlin's been slowly helping him define that new middle ground pattern. But until he can do that he has no other way to relate to Merlin other than ordering him about, and if he can't order Merlin about, he looses his relationship with his friend.

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  • Avatar of legend-dreamer

    legend-dreamer

    [10]Feb 14, 2012
    • member since: 10/02/11
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    Thanks to Danko's discussion suggestions, I have been taking my time to re-watch this cycle's episodes and to make observations regarding the development of Merlin and Arthur's mutual trust in each other.


    When Merlin and Arthur first meet (1x01) they are both unimpressed with the other. Arthur perceives Merlin as a weakling, someone he can bully into submission, a person of lower rank who isn't worth his time or attention. Merlin sees Arthur as a bully and a spoiled "royal prat". After their second meeting and fight in the Market, Arthur is impressed that Merlin stood up to him. He senses something that intrigues him, and that becomes the foundation of future Merlin/Arthur interactions. Now, add to this Merlin learning from Kilgharrah that it is his destiny to protect Arthur. It is understandable why at first Merlin finds it hard to believe that his destiny and Arthur's are intertwined. But as we learn later on, they are both sides of the same coin. They complement and complete the other. By the end of this episode Merlin saves Arthur's life (fulfilling and starting down the path of his destiny) and is made Arthur's man-servant.


    By episode 1x04, Arthur and Merlin have spent some time together. Their relationship is still in the early stages of growth and development. When Merlin drinks the poisoned chalice, Arthur sees how much his servant is willing to risk and sacrifice. Realizing that there is only one solution to save Merlin's life, Arthur disobeys his father and goes on the quest to find the Morteus flower. He saves Merlin's life, just as Merlin has saved his countless times and mostly in the background unseen. Where most royals would have just let their servant die, Arthur has started to value Merlin's companionship.


    "The Labyrinth of Gedref" (1x11) beautifully showcases how willing Merlin and Arthur are to sacrifice themselves for the other. The scene by the seaside is one the best scripted in the whole series. Despite being initially upset that Merlin disobeyed and followed him to the Labyrinth, Arthur is thankful for his presence. As much as Arthur avoids using the word, they have started to form a friendship. There is a growing trust, knowing that each will protect the other. The rank differences of prince and servant are becoming blurred.


    When Arthur is mortally wounded by the Questing Beast (1x13), Merlin feels he has let down his friend/destiny. Arthur pushed Merlin away when they ran into the Questing Beast in order to save him. By the time Merlin looks down, Arthur has been injured. He quickly uses magic to kill the beast hoping that Arthur has just been knocked unconscious. In order to help Arthur fulfill his destiny of uniting Albion, Merlin is willing to strike whatever bargain is necessary to save his life. When that bargain saves Arthur's life and takes his mother's, Merlin is set to re-bargain for his mother's life to be saved. Merlin continually proves himself to be a stalwart friend.


    It is interesting to see how much the theme of personal sacrifice runs through this first season. Next post will be the last four episodes of this re-watch.


    Quotes: 1x01-"There's something about you, Merlin. I can't quite put my finger on it." Arthur about Merlin


    1x04-"Please, Father. He saved my life. I can't stand by and watch him die." Arthur to Uther about Merlin.


    1x11-"I had no idea you were so keen to die for me.", "Trust me, I can hardly believe it myself." Arthur and Merlin to each other.


    1x13-"Do you have any natural gifts, Merlin?", "No. Well, let me think. I'm not naturally rude or insensitive." Arthur and Merlin to each other.


    *This isn't a goof, but in episode 1x01 when Merlin first enters Gaius' chambers, there is a rabbit mask on a table that reminds me of the rabbit mask from the movie "Donnie Darko".

    Edited on 02/15/2012 3:08pm
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  • Avatar of dpebbleson

    dpebbleson

    [11]Feb 20, 2012
    • member since: 11/06/09
    • level: 23
    • rank: Close Talker
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    Finally I get to comment on the rest of the cycle!


    2x12: Here we had the seeds of what would later be those episode in which Merlin is actually more resourceful than Arthur, the one who solves the problems etc. But the high point of the episode, is that even the afterworld Arthur would have Merlin as his servant Also as regards this episode, it'd be good to point out that Arthur is left in the dark about the most of it. As much as it showcases their friendship, it also shows how much Merlin is hiding from Arthur: the release of the Dragon, the poisoning of Morgana, let alone the magic itself.


    3x08: In this episode I don't think there's so much interaction between Merlin and Arthur, as there is the story of how they're connected in various ways. Interestingly enough, two sides of the same coin have in this episode been expanded to three sides of... a some rather interesting type of coin


    4x06: I like it how Arthur doesn't doubt Merlin at all; also I feel it's somehow a missed opportunity not to have a darker Merlin at least temporarily turning on Arthur


    4x07: The Agravaine issue between Merlin and Arthur, which would later serve to strengthen Arthur's trust in his servant. But right now, it only shows how Arthur is essentially blinded by family ties, as he was regarding Morgana. Merlin is more wary, but then again, Merlin hasn't got much of a family in Camelot.

    Edited on 02/20/2012 6:19am
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  • Avatar of Scop

    Scop

    [12]Feb 24, 2012
    • member since: 01/21/12
    • level: 4
    • rank: Thighmaster
    • posts: 144

    HTML clipboardThe.Fires.of.Idirsholas


    Okay, so what's the Trope about the evil villian giving the hero the Impossible choice where the villian is dangling two of the hero's friends, and the hero can only save one? "Which one will you choose?" Bwahahaha!


    Destiny is much more a Capital B than that! No, not only must Merlin choose which of his friends to save (Arthur or Morgana), but to save one, he has to kill the other himself. Every time I watch this episode it's a tugger. This is the one where both Merlin and Morgana make their choice and they both grow up.


    This is also the first time that Merlin pulls Arthur out of a battle (at the Castle of Idrsholas) and the first time Arthur is really relying on Merlin. From this point on, Arthur knows Merlin can keep his wits about him when the world around goes wacko. Arthur still might yell and pick on Merlin after this, but it's not ever again as bad as it was in The Witches Quickening, and it sets up the "If I wasn't a prince we'd probably get on" chat they have in The Last Dragon Lord.


    Merlin gets to find the traditional third way out when Morgouse shows up. He bests her here, not with magic, but with wits, showing an inner strength against her she wouldn't have guessed.



    dpebbleson wrote:


    Here we had the seeds of what would later be those episode in which Merlin is actually more resourceful than Arthur, the one who solves the problems etc. But the high point of the episode, is that even the afterworld Arthur would have Merlin as his servant Also as regards this episode, it'd be good to point out that Arthur is left in the dark about the most of it. As much as it showcases their friendship, it also shows how much Merlin is hiding from Arthur: the release of the Dragon, the poisoning of Morgana, let alone the magic itself



    That's the saddest bit for Arthur. All three of them, Arthur, Morgana and Merlin have a different version of the reality of that day. Arthur thinks he's the last bastion against the Big Bad that's coming to kill his father and his friends and he must protect them, meanwhile, what's really going on is he's alone with two sorcerers who are dragging his father around. The real battle isn't between knights in the hallway, it's happening in the council chamber.



    The ironic thing for Merlin is that after he saves Camelot from the onslaught of the knights wrought by Morgouse, he get's to out do her distructiveness by releasing the dragon.


    Oh, destiny... what a tease

    Edited on 02/25/2012 3:26am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of illegalferret

    illegalferret

    [13]Mar 11, 2012
    • member since: 05/16/07
    • level: 25
    • rank: Coconut Phone
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    2x12My other favourite ever episode


    The episode is almost entirely carried by just 3 characters and their interaction with each other. Merlin and Arthur are fabulous in this epi! They bicker their way through it like friends! There is very little master/servant stuff here as they battle to save the king and Camelot from Morgause, they act as equals which is nice to see. Interestingly it's Arthur not Merlin who notices that what ever's going on seems to be linked to Morgana. In an unusual but very welcome character shift Arthur is suspicious of why Morgana is fine whilst everyone else is asleep. Though he initially buys Merlins excuse about potions he soon reverts back to questioning Morgana. Merlin on the other hand trusts Morgana and it takes the Dragon and a Knight of Medhir to convince him she is the source of the illness. The combination of humour (dragging Uther around the castle ), peril (Morgause and the Knights) and real moral dilemma (murdering Morgana) make this an absolute classic and a game changer in the series. From here on in no more nice Morgana!!


    Fave quote: (ok it's a long quote between 2 people...)


    M: We could disguise him


    A: That might work


    M: We could dress him as a women!


    A: That on the other hand...


    M: We could dress him as a servant!


    Goof:


    When Merlin is dragging Uther away from a Knight of Medhir, Uther is definitely smirking and trying not to laugh!!


    3x08:


    Now this is an interesting one! It has a lot going for it, yet at the same time a few plot holes! Positives first, Gwaine's back, yay!! He makes this episode a bit different from the normal Merlin/Arthur quest thing and it's nice that he's Merlin's friend, Merlin needs more friends other than just Arthur! Another thing good is the cinematography, visually it looks fabulous! The Keeper of the Bridge is a wonderfully interesting character, he's ambiguous and mischievous a brilliant combination! We need more of him! I liked how Guinevere found out about Morgana (even if she promptly forgets next time out ) It made sense that she noticed something was up being so close to Morgana and all!


    The thing that bugs me is that Arthur doesn't seem to realise something's up when his strength fails or when it suddenly comes back! I know he's not meant to be the sharpest crayon in the box, but this is a step too far!!


    I love how the episode links to the series final and that you don't know what the water is for, it's a nice little step up The Fisher King is another interesting character, well acted in my opinion. He's kingly and noble and speaks in riddles!


    Quote:


    Grettir: Then you must be courage,Arthur:No, i'm Prince Arthur of Camelot


    Goof:


    Not strictly a goof, but Merlin's horse through most of the episode only has 1 eye!

    Edited on 03/22/2012 12:56pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of legend-dreamer

    legend-dreamer

    [14]Apr 13, 2012
    • member since: 10/02/11
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 1,468

    Here are my final thoughts for the Cycle 2 "Merlin and His Destiny" re-watch, a shortened version of my original "essay".


    Despite the fact that certain episodes press a re-set button, there has been some development of Merlin and Arthur's trust in each other.


    2x12- Merlin deals with his hardest choice, to kill Morgana and end the sickness or watch Camelot fall. Knowing what his destiny is, there was no way around the necessity for his poisoning Morgana. Merlin shows his soft-heartedness by giving Morgause the bottle of the poison he used. In this he accomplishes all he hopes for: end the source of the sleeping sickness, stop the siege by Morgause and the Knights of Medhir and hopefully save Morgana's life.


    He also offers his help to Arthur on how to disguise Uther and being willing to fight alongside him. Their banter at the Coucil Chamber door is classic Merlin and Arthur.


    QUOTES:


    ARTHUR: If I need a servant in the next life...

    MERLIN: Don't ask me.

    ARTHUR: Ha-ha!


    3x08- This episode emphasizes how Merlin and Arthur are two sides of the same coin. In order for Arthur to complete his quest, magic, strength and courage are needed (as Grettir tells Arthur before he crosses the bridge). The quest, as the Fisher King points out, was really intended for Merlin. By discovering the Fisher King, Merlin is given the vial of water from Avalon, and Arthur "finds" his trident. I really love Gawain, Merlin and Arthur in this episode (Strength, Magic and Courage).


    4x06- Even though the long-awaited hug was a quick edit on screen, this was a ground-breaking episode because Arthur spoke from his heart what he thinks of his servant and friend. For a change, Merlin is the one injured and Arthur is the one trying to protect both their lives. Despite all Merlin's perceived faults and failures, Arthur would go to any length to find his lost, injured servant. Their trust and friendship has developed into something like a brotherly bond. Even Morgana recognised the fact that Arthur trusts Merlin without question and decided to use it for her own purposes. Morgana is still trying to figure out why Merlin is so willing to protect Arthur, one of the many aspects of his destiny as Emrys that she doesn't know about.


    4x07- This episode defintely puts a strain on Merlin as he watches Agravaine manipulate Arthur into thinking Gaius is a traitor. It is an interesting paradox that Merlin is trusted by Arthur, but out of necessity he can't reveal who he truly is. He uses his "anonymity" to protect their intertwined destinies. Gaius' speech to Arthur at the end sets up and prepares Arthur for future events as all the destinies seem to be preparing to collide (Merlin="Emrys", Arthur="Once And Future King", United Albion).


    QUOTES:


    ARTHUR: Merlin! I've had my heart broken enough already today. I don't want to lose another friend.


    GAIUS: Contained within this great kingdom is a rich variety of people with a range of different beliefs. I'm not the only one seeking to protect you. There are many more who believe in the world you are trying to create. One day you will learn, Arthur. One day you will understand...just how much they've done for you

    Edited on 04/16/2012 2:39pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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