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BBC (ended 2012)

Rewatching Merlin Week 3 - Episode 1x09 Excalibur

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    dpebbleson

    [1]Jan 16, 2010
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    Seeing as we have 9 long months of hiatus ahead, rewatching Merlin seems like a great idea to deal with the withdrawal. Everyone is most welcome to join and leave their comments on the episode that is currently being rewatched. I think it is interesting how perspectives change once the show has progressed and we've gotten the chance to know the characters better. It is also funny to realize how we are able to catch up on new things when we watch the episodes over again.

    People who found interesting to put their views in common so far are:

    Episode Rewatching Thread wrote:boom-moo.

    illegalferret.

    ericsprau.

    merlinrules09.

    dpebbleson.

    TheCloser4eva.

    Episodes Rewatched so far wrote:1x01 The Dragon's Call (boom-moo).

    1x11 The Labyrinth of Gedref

    Rules are as follows:

    1. We got started on the first Saturday of 2010 and a new thread with a new episode choice will be open every Saturday. We are following the order in the list above to open threads and we are selecting the episodes in a random order, so all 26 episodes of both series are up to be picked anytime.

    2. Everyone should copy and paste the information in this entry (Introduction and Rules) when opening a new thread. Make sure to add the episode of your choice in the list above. Keeping track of the turns and our progress will be useful when we have rewatched a bunch of episodes already and having the rules at hand will be useful for those who join us half way through.

    3. Agreed that we all sometimes just don't have the time or the inclination to leave comments, I'd like to make clear that it's not compulsory to rewatch and/or comment on every single episode.

    4. Anyone is most welcome to join at any time. I will make sure to add new members to the list so they have their chance to choose an episode.

    5. If you don't own the DVDs or the episodes, don't let that stop you from joining. Feel free to pm me so I can give you a link to a site where to watch them online

    6. Should anyone have any doubt, do not hesitate to pm me.

    This week we are rewatching one of my favourite episodes: Excalibur

    Thank you and enjoy!!

    Edited on 01/16/2010 10:49am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of dpebbleson

    dpebbleson

    [2]Jan 16, 2010
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    Since I had the honour of starting this thread, I feel the need to comment on the episode. I consider it a pivotal episode in many aspects.

    It's very good, has great directing, Tristan's gloomy character is really creepy.

    We get to see more of Nimueh, and her relationship to Uther.

    We get to see Uther actually risking his life for someone - after all, son is a son...

    Excalibur is introduced, and so is the Lake, so it anticipates the Lady of the Lake in an episode belonging to the second season.

    Uther realizes that Merlin is actually a worthy person, and can serve with a great benefit to Arthur. I also think Uther realizes that before Arthur himself, as he is more pragmatic.

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    boom-moo

    [3]Jan 16, 2010
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    I agree this episode is really good since it makes out a lot of Uther's character. It was really shocking to me to find out that Nimueh was once in good terms with Uther and that the spark for his hatred of magic derives from the death of his wife. And of course, that he agreed to use magic for Arthur to be born. I don't think Uther knew that as a consequence Ygraine would die (as Morgause wants Arthur to believe later on) but I guess Nimueh warned Uther about the Old Religion law that states that 'to create a life another one has to be taken' so I wonder if Uther didn't ever feel the least remorse about someone dying for him to have a son. I understand that Uther is many times misunderstood since being a king requires taking really harsh decisions at times (as we recently realized when rewatching 1x11), but I think that in this case he crossed the line.

    It is really touchy to realize how big his love for his son is, even bigger than his love for Camelot and that is a big deal for Uther.

    To this point (end of series two) we still don't know what the consequences of Uther yielding Excalibur would be. However, the BBC site for Merlin has a pdf version of the script for this episode and there are differences between it and what finally aired on tv, the most substancial of them being the following:


    The Great Dragon: The sword is in the world. It cannot be unmade. But now a curse will forever lie upon it.
    Merlin: What do you mean?
    The Great Dragon: The sword forged by Arthur is now destined to be used against him. It will bring about his doom.
    Merlin: What do you mean? Is Arthur going to die?
    The Great Dragon: Everything dies, warlock, it is only the manner of death that is in question. Your actions have made that choice for Arthur. What's done cannot be undone.
    (The Great Dragon turns and is gone. A worried Merlin stands there a moment, taking in what he's heard).

    The implication here is that Arthur would be killed with Excalibur, whereas in the episode the implication is that Uther wielding the sword would bring great evil.
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    pcdsa

    [4]Jan 17, 2010
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    Great choice, another one of my favourites even though there is only one Merlin / Arthur scene.

    What I loved:

    1. Great Dragon forged Excalibur. He is my second favourite character - he has some of the best lines - 'It may surprise you Merlin that my knowledge of your life is not universal.' Because you only see him for about 1 or 2 minutes in any episode (if we're lucky) they have to make it count.

    2. All the scenes with Excalibur. That name is so evocative - loved the music they used - the sense of wonder / beauty.

    3. Progressed the story: Uther / magic / Nimueh. You could understand both their actions even though you can't condone them.

    3. Uther's love for Ygraine and Arthur - his willingness to die for him.

    4. Geoffrey of Monmouth and his scene with Merlin 'I'm sort of in a hurry' and GoM's reply 'You young people always are!'

    5. Gaius swiftly leaving when Arthur comes in to challenge Uther at the end. This only came to my attention during the audio commentary.

    6. DVD extra of the Black Knight featurette - when Colin says 'He's gonna burn!' Hilarious!!!

    boom-moo wrote:
    However, the BBC site for Merlin has a pdf version of the script for this episode and there are differences between it and what finally aired on tv.

    Boom-moo, could you provide a link for the pdf version of the script. I've been on the BBC website and could not find it. I'm glad they didn't go down the original plan - I don't want Excalibur to be used against Arthur. I think in one version of legends, he left Excalibur behind and that's why he was killed by Mordred - though I'm not sure.

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    boom-moo

    [5]Jan 17, 2010
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    pcdsa wrote:
    Gaius swiftly leaving when Arthur comes in to challenge Uther at the end. This only came to my attention during the audio commentary.
    This cracked me up, he was so afraid of Arthur's reaction after having been drugged into sleep But aww, how very lovely it is the Uther/Arthur scene that follows? And the foot work!
    pcdsa wrote:
    Boom-moo, could you provide a link for the pdf version of the script. I've been on the BBC website and could not find it. I'm glad they didn't go down the original plan - I don't want Excalibur to be used against Arthur. I think in one version of legends, he left Excalibur behind and that's why he was killed by Mordred - though I'm not sure.
    I can't find it either now. As far as I remember it was listed under Episodes/Links/BBC Writer's Room but now there's an interview with Julian Jones.

    However, I downloaded it when it was available so if anyone is interested, just pm me your email address and I'll send it to you
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    ericsprau

    [6]Jan 17, 2010
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    I will re-watch and post some more during the week. For now I just wanted to let everyone know that I WILL be posting my re-watch for the week on Friday. To the others that are still following along, please respect the fact I lost my slot last week to forces beyond my control and let the planned order proceed as scheduled.
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    boom-moo

    [7]Jan 17, 2010
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    ericsprau wrote:
    For now I just wanted to let everyone know that I WILL be posting my re-watch for the week on Friday. To the others that are still following along, please respect the fact I lost my slot last week to forces beyond my control and let the planned order proceed as scheduled.
    Eric, don't worry. I let the others know that you were busy and of course you can take your turn next week. I sent some pms back and forth with the next available person in the list to keep the thread running. I'd appreciate if you can open your re-watch on Saturday rather than on Friday to maintain the agreed schedule but if it is impossible for you to do it on Saturday then go ahead with Friday, people have almost always stopped discussing by then. Plus we are a bunch of hours ahead of you so it'll be almost Saturday for us anyway Thank you
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    pcdsa

    [8]Jan 18, 2010
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    boom-moo wrote:
    I can't find it either now. As far as I remember it was listed under Episodes/Links/BBC Writer's Room but now there's an interview with Julian Jones. However, I downloaded it when it was available so if anyone is interested, just pm me your email address and I'll send it to you

    I did a google search using the information you gave and found it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/insight/downloads/scripts/merlin_s1e9.pdf

    Thanks though!

    I'm gong to re-rewatch the episode to see how this script is different from the final cut.

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    boom-moo

    [9]Jan 18, 2010
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    Glad you found it I did back then and I should have actually typed things down. Come back when you are done and we will discuss those changes together
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    illegalferret

    [10]Jan 19, 2010
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    Good choice! I love this episode too! Rewatched a few days back and its just as brilliant as i remember it. The way it helps the viewer to understand where Uthur hated of magic come from and this all helps to make him such a fasinating character. You should like him because he likes randomly executing magical people. But his love of Arthur makes you still quite like him! The little glimps into Arthur's birth and well done. It now really makes me want to see The Sins of the Father! I also love how at no point in this episode is the sword, forged by a large dragon friend, refered to as Excalibur!

    Sorry this was not more in depth but due to a lack of a computer i couldn't post straight after i watched it, so i'm trying to think back nearly 48 hours! Which is a long time in my world!!!

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    pcdsa

    [11]Jan 19, 2010
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    boom-moo wrote:
    Glad you found it. Come back when you are done and we will discuss those changes together


    As you mentioned earlier the biggest change in the script was the final Merlin / Great Dragon scene - which I'm glad they made. The original script would have ruined the wonder of Excalibur - leaving a bad taste.

    Another big difference is that they cut a lot of Morgana's scenes e.g with Gwen and her dialogue with Arthur (see below). Maybe because they wanted to drop their romance mid series. Though I didn't see her concerns other than sisterly I know some shippers may disagree.



    MORGANA is at her dressing table. She looks sick, she hasn't slept. GWEN enters with her breakfast and lays it before her.

    MORGANA - I'm not hungry.

    GWEN - You must eat something.

    MORGANA - I can't.

    We hear the drum beat start, MORGANA looks to the window.

    MORGANA - (shrugs - lifeless) If he dies, I fear for the future.

    GWEN - Arthur will win. He will live to be King.

    MORGANA - How can you be so sure?

    GWEN - Merlin is looking out for him. He won't let him die.

    MORGANA smiles at GWEN's sweet faith in Merlin but obviously doesn't share it.



    And



    ARTHUR stands in the window alone, he stares out at the BLACK KNIGHT. We can sense his doubts... He hears a noise and quickly turns to the door. He finds MORGANA watching him.

    MORGANA - (for once showing her true emotions) I don't want you to fight tomorrow.

    ARTHUR stares at her, surprised by her conviction.

    ARTHUR - Why not?

    MORGANA - (feeling some kind of premonition) I don't know what it is ... Please - I'm begging you.

    ARTHUR - (smiling) You're worried about me.

    MORGANA - No. It's not me. It's your father. Can't you see what you're doing to him?

    ARTHUR - (doubtful) My father?

    MORGANA - Obviously. He cares about you. (betraying her own emotions) He loves you, Arthur. He doesn't want to lose you.

    ARTHUR - (recognising) And I feel the same. But ... I have to do this.

    A moment, they hold each other's stare. Tears are forming in MORGANA's eyes.

    MORGANA - I understand.

    She turns and goes. ARTHUR bows his head and sighs.



    Also I liked the little change where they reinforced the Merlin / Arthur relationship in the Merlin / Guinevere scene:

    MERLIN - 'It's for the love of Camelot.' was replaced in the final cut by 'He will understand. You did it for Arthur'

    GWEN - 'Mmm ... Yes.' was replaced by 'I knew you were proud of him really.'
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    boom-moo

    [12]Jan 19, 2010
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    illegalferret wrote:
    I also love how at no point in this episode is the sword, forged by a large dragon friend, refered to as Excalibur!
    Really? I don't know what to make of it. It is so clearly stated in the title that I didn't see the point in not mentioning it at all. I thought that at least the dragon would have mentioned it to Merlin (I so love when epic and old legendary names are thrown in) but I guess that disclosing it him is gonna be left for whenever the topic is revisited, if revisited.
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    dpebbleson

    [13]Jan 19, 2010
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    Look at the following quotation I found:

    "According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Excalibur was originally derived from the Latin phrase Ex calce liberatus, "liberated from the stone"."

    There is also a prevailing interpretation of it meaning "cut steel". I think they still wouldn't call it Excalibur in the episode, because the whole episode about finding it hasn't been told yet. So far it is a magical sword with potential of becoming Excalibur; however, once Arthur gets it from the lake - or the stone - it will get its mythical name. There is no Excalibur without Arthur wielding it, I presume.

    Btw, I'm sorry I can't participate in this forum more these days, as I've been under a lot of academic pressure of reading tons of texts (mostly boring, I should add), finishing papers etc. not to bore with all that, but as soon as I am "liberated" I'll catch up with the discussions. Even this I am writing in a pause, after which several strenuous hours are ahead of me.

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    dpebbleson

    [14]Jan 19, 2010
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    Look at the following quotation I found:

    "According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Excalibur was originally derived from the Latin phrase Ex calce liberatus, "liberated from the stone"."

    There is also a prevailing interpretation of it meaning "cut steel". I think they still wouldn't call it Excalibur in the episode, because the whole episode about finding it hasn't been told yet. So far it is a magical sword with potential of becoming Excalibur; however, once Arthur gets it from the lake - or the stone - it will get its mythical name. There is no Excalibur without Arthur wielding it, I presume.

    Btw, I'm sorry I can't participate in this forum more these days, as I've been under a lot of academic pressure of reading tons of texts (mostly boring, I should add), finishing papers etc. not to bore with all that, but as soon as I am "liberated" I'll catch up with the discussions. Even this I am writing in a pause, after which several strenuous hours are ahead of me. 

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    boom-moo

    [15]Jan 20, 2010
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    pcdsa wrote:
    Another big difference is that they cut a lot of Morgana's scenes e.g with Gwen and her dialogue with Arthur (see below). Maybe because they wanted to drop their romance mid series. Though I didn't see her concerns other than sisterly I know some shippers may disagree.
    I think that Morgana's concern for Arthur in Valiant wasn't merely sisterly (they acted it out really well with those long stares in the scene where she helps him get dressed for battle), but I don't see it that way in this episode. Not sure if it's cause the writers had decided to drop their romantic storyline together, but I see a further and deeper concern here about all the implications that Arthur's death could bring. Maybe the fact that he won't be dead because of a tournament but because of a family revenge brings about other concerns to peoples' minds.


    dpebbleson wrote:
    According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Excalibur was originally derived from the Latin phrase Ex calce liberatus, "liberated from the stone"."
    There is also a prevailing interpretation of it meaning "cut steel". I think they still wouldn't call it Excalibur in the episode, because the whole episode about finding it hasn't been told yet. So far it is a magical sword with potential of becoming Excalibur; however, once Arthur gets it from the lake - or the stone - it will get its mythical name. There is no Excalibur without Arthur wielding it, I presume.
    Thank you so much for this, it makes a lot of sense now!
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    pcdsa

    [16]Jan 20, 2010
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    boom-moo wrote:
    I think that Morgana's concern for Arthur in Valiant wasn't merely sisterly (they acted it out really well with those long stares in the scene where she helps him get dressed for battle), but I don't see it that way in this episode. Not sure if it's cause the writers had decided to drop their romantic storyline together, but I see a further and deeper concern here about all the implications that Arthur's death could bring. Maybe the fact that he won't be dead because of a tournament but because of a family revenge brings about other concerns to peoples' minds.

    Yes series 1 definitely started with a possible romance. Then it turned to sibling rivalry and concern. Not sure about your last statement though because would people have known about the family revenge? Uther definitely would have kept it a secret. Morgana's concern, from her talk with Guinevere, was more about the future if Arthur died.

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    boom-moo

    [17]Jan 20, 2010
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    Sorry, I wasn't clear enough. I meant the writers' minds. It's as if in 1x02, where the possibility of Arthur's death was motivated by a tournament, the consequences are reflected as the loss of a skilfull, strong and brave man and a distressed woman whereas in 1x09, where the possibility of his death was motivated by a family revenge, the consequences are reflected as the loss of a future king and a distressed kingdom. Even though Morgana's talk with him is used to convey it in both episodes, I see a subtle difference between them.
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    pcdsa

    [18]Jan 21, 2010
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    boom-moo wrote:
    Even though Morgana's talk with him is used to convey it in both episodes, I see a subtle difference between them.

    In 1.02 it was more long looks as you said before than words. But both scenes seemed to me about her concern for him. Not about the future consequences in 2.09. The deleted scene with Guinevere mentions it but it did not come across when she spoke to Arthur in the final cut.

    dpebbleson wrote:
    "According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Excalibur was originally derived from the Latin phrase Ex calce liberatus, "liberated from the stone"."

    That's interesting because most versions say that Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake. The sword from the stone is a different one - which got broken and was replaced by Excalibur.

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    boom-moo

    [19]Jan 21, 2010
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    pcdsa wrote:

    boom-moo wrote:
    Even though Morgana's talk with him is used to convey it in both episodes, I see a subtle difference between them.
    In 1.02 it was more long looks as you said before than words. But both scenes seemed to me about her concern for him. Not about the future consequences in 2.09. The deleted scene with Guinevere mentions it but it did not come across when she spoke to Arthur in the final cut.
    I know the scene with Gwen didn't make it but to me, the idea was conveyed all the same when he speaks of duty and she shows a deeper concern, something beyond her premonition. I'm not sure I can explain, but I sense a feel to both dialogues that makes them slightly different. Guess it's a matter of interpretations after all
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    dpebbleson

    [20]Jan 21, 2010
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    pcdsa wrote:

    boom-moo wrote:
    Even though Morgana's talk with him is used to convey it in both episodes, I see a subtle difference between them.

    In 1.02 it was more long looks as you said before than words. But both scenes seemed to me about her concern for him. Not about the future consequences in 2.09. The deleted scene with Guinevere mentions it but it did not come across when she spoke to Arthur in the final cut.

    dpebbleson wrote:
    "According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Excalibur was originally derived from the Latin phrase Ex calce liberatus, "liberated from the stone"."

    That's interesting because most versions say that Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake. The sword from the stone is a different one - which got broken and was replaced by Excalibur.

    I remember that in that animated film, "The Sword in the Stone" it was taken from the stone. In the film "Excalibur" it was also taken from the stone, but then thrown into the lake, and than the Lady of the Lake returned. Or not. Wait, I might be mistaken. Now I seem to recall that she gave it away for it to be returned to the lake at the end of the film. And it being in the stone was to prove Arthur is the heir to the throne. I wonder if they would use something like that in "Merlin"? I remember I also read some novelization of the legends of King Arthur (but not Malory, I did Malory at the faculty, and haven't read it completely, neither do I remember the plot, except the basic stuff) . In the novelization, which I read several times as a kid, I don't remember what happens with it either. My memory is on short circuit

    These legends are so numerous, that there is no definitive version, just the version that was favored at a time.

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