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King Uther Pendragon
Voice of the Great Dragon
Geoffrey of Monmouth
A scene from episode 1x01 The Dragon's Call depicting Merlin's chamber windows at night is used in this episode right before Gaius' first attempt to find the Griffin in his books.
Colin's microphone is clearly visible attached to his lower back when he jumps over the fallen tree trunk escaping from the Griffin.
The Seal of Nobility that Merlin fakes for Lancelot is that of Richard, fourth son of Sir Eldred of Northumbria.
Goof: Lancelot's device is: "Azure, two swords in satire gules with a label of three points gules". (On a blue background, two red crossed swords with a red label with three hanging bars). It is the wrong device though. His 'father's' device (Sir Eldred of Northumbria'a) would be the one Lancelot uses whereas Sir Eldred's sons would add some changing elements to the original device to tell apart the sons from the father. The label would be for the eldest son. Lancelot said he was a fifth son. Instead of a label, he should have an annulet (a ring) on his device. Also, the device is a colour on a colour (red on blue). However, one of the colours should be a 'metal' one either gold/yellow or silver/white.
Two crew members and a camera can be seen at the back as Merlin and Lancelot walk along the corridor after meeting Gwen.
Goof: No one seems to have heard of a Griffin before and Gaius has to do some research to find out about the beast. However, from episode 1x01 The Dragon's Call, a big statue of a Griffin can be seen on one of the corridors outside Morgana's chambers.
Goof: A hourglass is used to time Arthur's contestants. However, the earliest known record of hourglasses in Europe dates from the 14th century.
Goof: Lancelot's shirt is stained with blood (and consequently torn) after his first fight with the Griffin. However, after Gaius cures him, his shirt is intact.
Goof: As Arthur takes off pieces of his armour and puts them on his shield which Merlin is carrying, he places the sword with its hilt facing Merlin's left arm. However, when Arthur turns around and explains Merlin about the First Code of Camelot, the hilt of the sword is facing Merlin's right arm.
Goof: Right before Arthur and Lancelot's broom fight, a broom appears and disappears. Then it can be seen in Arthur's hand as he motions to leave it leaning on a pilar, and back again in his hand in the next take.
Goof: Arthur and Lancelot's broom fight is a mix of several takes joined up, and not a continued action. Arthur's hair, more exactly his bangs, change from take to take when there's not fighting action going on.
Greensward and Willowdale are villages to the north of the valley where Camelot is placed.
Goof: The griffin in Gaius' book has some lion like long hair feature around its neck that the alive griffin lacks.
Lancelot saves Merlin's life and then Merlin returns the favour.
Goof: Gwen remembers all of Lancelot's measures by heart even though she doesn't take them down and she is having a conversation with him as she measures him.
Gwen is very good at seamstress work. She seems to develop a crush for Lancelot, which is returned the same way.
We learn that the first code of Camelot is a secret bond of trust. It states that only those of noble blood can serve as a knight. Uther created the knights to protect the kingdom and he knew he'd had to trust each of his knights with his life so he chose them from the families who'd sworn allegiance to him. The knighthood is the foundation of Camelot.
Geoffrey of Monmouth is the court genealogist.
Lancelot finds out about Merlin's secret, making him the second person who finds out about if after Gaius.
Goof: Gwen uses a measuring tape on Lancelot even though they didn't exist at the time.
Goof: Merlin lights candles in his chamber even though it's broad day light outside as it can be seen through the windows.
Goof: When Lancelot looks out of Gaius' chambers window, the leaf of the window is to his left side on a close shot, and to his right in the long one.
Goof: Lancelot's sword gets broken in several pieces when fighting the griffin. However, when he throws it away before running for his life, the sword is as long as it was before it got broken.
Goof: The mushroom Merlin picks from the woods is clearly not rooted to the ground.
Goof: Arthur throws Lancelot a broom. As it is on the air, the brush disappears only to be back in place when Lancelot holds it.
Goof: When Lancelot goes to the rescue of Arthur, he throws down his lance before going down from his horse but on the next shot the lance isn't to be seen on the ground. Similarly, in the following scene, after hitting the griffin he turns back and the lance is no more in his hand and it can't be seen on the path in front of him.
(Merlin and Gaius watch Lancelot leave Camelot)
Merlin: Perhaps you were right, Gaius. Perhaps I should have never got involved.
Gaius: No, Merlin, I was wrong. Lancelot needed you and you needed Lancelot. Your destinies were entwined.
Merlin: Will he ever return?
Gaius: That I cannot say.
Merlin: Til next time then, Sir Lancelot.
Merlin: They'll restore your knighthood, of course they will. You killed the griffin.
Lancelot: But I didn't kill the griffin. You did.
Merlin: That's ridiculous.
Lancelot: 'Brechdan An Weal'. I heard you. I saw you. Don't worry. Your secret's safe with me, but I cannot take the credit for what I did not do. There'll be no more lies, no more deceit.
Merlin: What are you going to do?
Lancelot: The only thing I can do.
(Lancelot attempts to enter the chamber but is stopped by guards)
Uther: What is this?
Lancelot: (to the guards) Let me speak.
Uther: Wait. I will hear him.
Lancelot: Forgive me, sire. I have come to bid you farewell.
Arthur: What is this, Lancelot?
Lancelot: I lied to you both and now there is conflict between you. I cannot bear that burden, as you should not bear mine. I must start again, far from here, and maybe one day fate will grant me another chance to prove myself a worthy knight of Camelot.
Arthur: But, Lancelot, you've already proved that to us.
Lancelot: Well, I must prove it to myself. (bows) Your highness. (bows) Prince Arthur.
(Lancelot leaves the chamber)
Arthur: I confess it, sire. I released him and I'll take the consequences but surely Lancelot's actions change things!
Uther: His actions change nothing. He broke the Code!
Arthur: He lay down his life for me! He served with honour.
Uther: I see you feel strongly about this, Arthur. Under the circumstances, a pardon perhaps...
Arthur: No. Not good enough, father. You must restore Lancelot to his rightful place as a knight of Camelot.
Uther: Never. The law is the law. The Code bends for no man!
Arthur: Then the Code is wrong!
Lancelot: I'm sorry to disturb you, my lady.
Gwen: Lancelot. What are you doing here?
Lancelot: I have no time to explain. I need weapons, armour, the best you've got.
Gwen: What's this all about?
Lancelot: Arthur stands in mortal peril. I must do what I can to protect him. It's my duty, knight or not.
Gwen: You really believe that, don't you?
Lancelot: Yes, my lady.
Gwen: Lancelot, I don't believe I've ever met your like before.
Lancelot: Guinevere, if I should not return...
Gwen: Don't go, Lancelot. Please.
Lancelot: But go I must.
(Arthur visits Lancelot who is imprisoned in the dungeons)
Arthur: I should have known. How could I have been so stupid? You don't sound like a knight. You don't even look like a knight!
Lancelot: I'm sorry.
Arthur: I'm sorry too. Because, Lancelot, you fight like a knight. And I need... Camelot needs...
Lancelot: The creature?
Arthur: We could not kill it. I've never faced its like.
Lancelot: I faced it myself, sire, some days past. I struck it full square. I wondered how it endured.
Arthur: There are those who believe this creature, this griffin, is a creature of magic. It's only magic can destroy it.
Lancelot: Do you believe this?
Arthur: It doesn't matter what I believe. Use of magic is not permitted. Knights must prevail with steel and sinew alone.
Arthur: There's a horse waiting outside.
Lancelot: Thank you. Thank you, sire.
Arthur: Lancelot, take it and never return to this place.
Lancelot: No, no... please... It's not my freedom I seek. I only wish to serve with honour.
Arthur: I know.
Lancelot: Then let me ride with you, sire.
Arthur: I cannot . My father knows nothing of this. I release you myself but I can do no more. Now go, before I change my mind.
Merlin: Is it true? The griffin can only be killed by magic?
Gaius: Yes, Merlin, I'm certain of it. If Arthur rides out against it, he'll die.
Merlin: He must be stopped. Uther must see reason.
Gaius: Where magic is concerned, our king is blind to reason, and yet... magic is our only hope.
Merlin: You're not suggesting...
Gaius: (nodding) It is your destiny, Merlin. The true purpose of your magic.
Merlin: You saw it, Gaius. I can't go up against that thing.
Gaius: But if you do not, Arthur will surely perish.
Merlin: No, no. This is madness. I don't have magic that powerful. There must be another way.
Gaius: This is the only way.
Merlin: Do you even care what happens to me? 'Oh, just do this, Merlin. Do that, Merlin. Go and kill the griffin, Merlin, I'll just sit here and warm my feet by the fire!'
Gaius: Merlin! Merlin, you are the only thing I care about in all this world. I would give my life for you without a thought. But for what? I cannot save Arthur. It is not my destiny. You know that.
Merlin: I'm sorry.
Gaius: I don't know what else I can say.
Merlin: I'll say it for you. We have two hours to find a way to kill that thing.
Uther: You said your knights were the best in the land. You proved that today.
Arthur: All I know is that it's still out there.
Uther: Let's not wait for it. This kingdom has been menaced by this creature for too long. We finish this now.
Gaius: Sire, if I may?
Gaius: I've been researching this creature, sire. I believe it to be a griffin.
Uther: A griffin? What's in a name?
Gaius: A griffin is a creature of magic.
Uther: I don't have time for this, physician.
Gaius: It is born of magic, sire, and it can only be killed by magic.
Uther: You are mistaken. It is a creature of flesh and blood like any other. Arthur proved that today.
Arthur: I'm not so sure, father. I think there may be some truth in what he says.
Uther: What truth?
Arthur: The griffin was unharmed, sire. Our weapons seemed useless against it.
Uther: Useless? I think not. No, it's tasted our steel once. The next time will be its last. When will your knights be ready to ride again?
Arthur: An hour, maybe two.
Uther: Good. We finish this tonight.
(Merlin visits Lancelot who is imprisoned in the dungeons)
Merlin: I don't know what to say to you, Lancelot.
Lancelot: You're not to blame.
Merlin: Yes, I am. I pushed you. I made you lie.
Lancelot: The choice was mine. My punishment is mine to bear and mine to bear alone.
Merlin: I wish there was something I could do.
Lancelot: There is. You can stop blaming yourself.
Geoffrey of Monmouth: These credentials are faked. The seal itself is faultless, a forgery of the highest possible standard but a forgery it must be. There is no record of the fifth son of Lord Eldred of Northumbria. Therefore, he...
Uther: Lied. Do you deny?
Lancelot: No, sire.
Uther: You've broken the First Code of Camelot. You've brought shame upon yourself and upon us. You're not worthy of the knighthood bestowed upon you. You never were and you never will be. Get him out of my sight.
(The guards take Lancelot from the chamber)
Uther: You contest my judgement?
Arthur: His deception was inexcusable, but he meant no harm, sire, I'm sure of it. He only wished to serve.
Uther: The First Code is a sacred bond of trust. It is what binds the knights together. How can you trust a man who's lied to you?
Merlin: You know what? I think our Sir Lancelot might have eyes for you, Gwen.
Gwen: Don't be silly.
Merlin: So what if he did? Would it really be so bad?
Gwen: He's not really my type.
Merlin: Oh, there's a surprise. Sometimes, Guinevere, I wonder if you'd know what your type was if it was standing right next to you.
Gwen: You're probably right.
Merlin: So, come on, just for the sake of argument. If you had to: Arthur or Lancelot?
Gwen: But I don't have to and I never will.
Merlin: You are no fun, Gwen.
Merlin: Look at him, Gaius. Does Lancelot not deserve this moment?
Gaius: I never said he didn't, but destiny and desserts are not the same thing. You played God, Merlin. You set him on a path of your choosing. Tonight might have brought him triumph but who knows what the future holds?
Merlin: Yeah. I don't know what it said on your invitation but on mine it said 'celebration'.
Uther: You do us a great honour, Sir Lancelot. Knighthood is the very foundation of Camelot.
Lancelot: The honour is all mine, sire.
Uther: Your father would be very proud.
Lancelot: Yes, sire.
Uther: I have not seen Lord Eldred for many years. Longer than I'd imagined, it seems. Last time I saw him, he only had four sons.
Lancelot: Well... here I am.
Uther: Indeed you are, and I've kept you too long already. Enjoy the celebrations.
Arthur: I'd hunt this thing down if I could, but I can't track a creature through the air.
Uther: You don't have to track it. First Greenswood, then Willowdale. The creature's heading south towards the mouth of the valley.
Arthur: To Camelot.
Uther: You must prepare your knights, Arthur.
Arthur: Have faith, father. We'll be ready.
Merlin: He's trying out for the knights.
Gaius: The First Code of Camelot has never been broken for any man. What have you done, Merlin?
Merlin: OK, I bent the rules a little. But the rules were wrong. They're unfair.
Gaius: You bent the rules. Using magic?
Merlin: It was nothing, honestly. More of a trick than actual magic.
Gaius: Your magic is not a toy, Merlin. It's not for you to use or abuse as you see fit.
Merlin: I know, I know.
Gaius: Then why did you do it?
Merlin: I owe Lancelot my life. I'm paying for that debt the only way I can by giving him the opportunity he deserves. If you want to punish me for it, go ahead.
Gwen: I think it's great Merlin's got you this chance. We need men like you. Well, not me, personally but, you know, Camelot. Camelot needs knights. Not just Arthur and his kind but people like you and me.
Lancelot: Well, I'm not a knight yet, my lady.
Gwen: And I'm not a lady.
(Merlin enters, holding out a scroll)
Lancelot: What's that?
Merlin: This is your seal of nobility.
Lancelot: I don't understand.
Merlin: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lancelot, fifth son of Lord Eldred of Northumbria.
Lancelot: No, Merlin. No.
Merlin: Oh, right. So you don't want to be a knight, then?
Lancelot: Of course I do!
Merlin: But what? The rules don't allow it? Damn the rules. The rules are wrong.
Lancelot: But it's a lie. It's against everything the knights stand for.
Merlin: You have as much right to be a knight as any man. I know it.
Lancelot: But the rules, Merlin...
Merlin: We're not breaking the rules. We're bending them, that's all. You get your foot in the door, but after that, you'll be judged on merit alone. And if you succeed, if they make you a knight, it'll be because you have earned it, noble or not. I can't change the way things are done around here, but you can. If you let me help you.
Merlin: Why do you want to be a knight so much?
Lancelot: When I was a boy, my village was attacked by raiders from the Northern Plains. They were slaughtered where they stood. My father, my mother, everyone. I alone escaped. I vowed that day that never again would I be helpless against the face of tyrrany. I made swordcraft my life. Every waking hour since that day, I devoted to the art of combat. When I was ready, I set forth for Camelot. And now it seems my journey ends. Everything I fought for, wasted.
Merlin: Hear my words. Whatever it takes, I will make this right.
Merlin: You're not a nobleman by any chance, are you?
Lancelot: A nobleman? No. Good lord, no. Why do you ask?
Merlin: It's just that...
Gaius: The First Code of Camelot states that only those of noble blood can serve as a knight. Uther created the knights to protect this kingdom from those who would wish to destroy it. He knew that he would have to trust each of his knights with his life, so he chose them from the families that had sworn allegiance to him.
Gaius: And thus the First Code of Camelot was born, and ever since that day only the sons of noble families have served as knights.
Merlin: That is not fair!
Gaius: Fair or unfair, that's the way it is. I'm sorry, Lancelot. Truly I am.
Arthur: Grumant's the third to fail this month. How am I supposed to defend Camelot with rubbish like that?
Merlin: Well, I think I might be able to help.
Arthur: You? You haven't the faintest idea what it takes to be a knight. Courage. Fortitude. Discipline.
Merlin: No. No, of course I don't. But I do know someone who does.
Merlin: He saved my life.
Arthur: That's blown it for starters.
Merlin: No, no. He's really good. Honestly.
Arthur: That's great, Merlin. I'm sure he's terrific but you forget the First Code of Camelot.
Merlin: The what?
Arthur: The First Code. Only those of noble blood can serve as knights. So, unless your friend is a nobleman...
Merlin: Oh, he is a nobleman.
Arthur: Is he?
Arthur: Very well, bring him to the training ground tomorrow and make sure he brings his seal of nobility.
Arthur: Right, you jumped-up dung beetle. This is it. The final test. Pass this and you're a knight of Camelot. Fail, and you're no-one. You face the most feared of all foes, the ultimate killing machine. You face me. Your challenge is to last one minute, free combat. Grumant, second son of Wessex, your time starts now. (Arthur defeats him with a single blow) Take him away.
Lancelot: Ever since I was a child, I've dreamed of coming here. It's my life's ambition to join the knights of Camelot. I know what you're thinking. I expect too much. After all, who am I? They have their pick of the best and bravest in the land.
Merlin: They are going to love you.
Lancelot: They are?
Merlin: Yes! I've seen you in action. You could shame the great Arthur himself.
Lancelot: I hardly think so.
Merlin: In fact, do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to talk to him right now.
Uther: What creature could have done this?
Arthur: We found no tracks in or out. What the villagers say must be true. It has wings and...
Arthur: And it took no livestock. Only people. Whatever it is, it has a taste for human flesh.
Uther: Post sentries in all the outlying villages. Put the look-outs on full alert. If this thing should make for Camelot, we must be ready!
Also Known As:
Germany: Lancelots Wunsch, meaning 'Lancelot's Wish'.
Bradley James and Santiago Cabrera are both graduates from Drama Centre London although they didn't study there at the same time (Santiago left 4 years before). They both also share a passion for football.
Ed Fraiman (episode director) and Johnny Capps (executive producer) recorded an audio commentary for this episode.
One of the CGI crew members run through the forest chasing after Colin Morgan and Santiago Cabrera pretending to be the Griffin, so they would get a clearer picture of how the action was happening and what they were reacting to.
Despite the trunk was high and wet and they were running at full speed, the stunt coordinator allowed Colin Morgan and Santiago Cabrera to jump over it. They landed on a padded surface. The original idea was for them to jump into a loch.
Santiago Cabrera was the first name on the producers' dream list for Lancelot.
The image of the destroyed village a CGI, they just filmed a valley and the rest was put in in post production. Anthony Head and Bradley James shot the scene where they overlook the valley in the car park of the unit base.
The first scene that Santiago Cabrera did for this episode is the one where he looks out of Gaius' chambers window into Camelot which was filmed against a green screen.
A street was built near Pierrefonds as an approach road to the castle. Just half of it is built up to the first level, higher than that, there are just board panels.
The library set is the Council chamber (throne chamber) redressed with bookshelves. The windows are the back are a bit of a give away.
The Knights that Arthur is training are mostly local French men, who appear in a variety of episodes. They don't usually like it when they are downgraded from knight to peasant though.
All the armours are made of plastic so all the jingling noises are added in post production.
When Lancelot is back from cleaning the stables, he originally said the line: 'Best day of my life'. Johnny Capps regretted cutting that line off.
The broom stick fight scene between Arthur and Lancelot required enormous rehearsal since no stunts or doubles were used at any time. It was filmed at the evening hours of a really hot day. At some point they run out of sunlight so part of it had to be lighted to make the scene consistent. It was framed at 25 and 50 frames per second, to slow down or ramp up. It gives the impressing that it is accelerated but the faster it goes is normal speed.
A huge spotlight had to be used to light the entrance of the main square of the castle when the peasants seek for refuge, since they had run out of daylight already.
The shot of Lancelot falling on the floor when he is fighting against Arthur needed several takes because the helmet kept falling out of shot.
It took 12 hours for the electricians to light the room (Pierrefonds Great Hall) where Lancelot is knighted.
The feast scene was shot downstairs, right below the Great Hall, at 03:15am.
The Council chamber has wooden creaky floors so the foot steps on stone are recorded apart and synchronized with the image in post production.
A remote controlled smoke machine is used to catch the spotlights light in such a way that it imitates the sunrays that come through the windows.
The big CGI sequence with the Griffin had to be shot in just one day. It implies organizing visual effects and CGI crews, stunts, actors and extras. Due to the limited budget on the show, the shots of the Griffin are expensive so they filmed a lot on crane to get the Griffin's point of view instead of much of the Griffin itself.
There was a small crowd of spectators watching puzzled as Arthur and the Camelot Knights were screaming and charging at thin air when they were filming the fight with the Griffin. Bradley James nearly knocked the camera with the spear.
CGI creatures are usually filmed in forests because they can show less of them using shadows. The Griffin however appears in broad day light, so the CGI on its fur and feathers was complex to be done.
Griffins are supposed to be half lion half eagle, but it was decided to make it look half crow to make it more terrifying.
Gwen's house door can't be opened further than half way because it's a studio built set.
20 light bulbs flickering make the impression of a fireplace in Gwen's house.
The Old English spells are provided by Pauline Rachel.
Big smoke machines were used to give a sense of fog, anticipation and mystery when Merlin runs out of the castle to join Lancelot and help Arthur fight the Griffin.
The scene where Lancelot defeats the Griffin was filmed during a very cold night.
Johnny Capps, one of the producers of the show, gathered all the extras in the main square to record the screaming sounds that can be heard in the background when Arthur fights the Griffin.
25 people from The Mill worked on the Griffin.
Ed Fraiman, the episode director, rode a tracking vehicle on the shot where Lancelot rides towards the Griffin. The shot was done reversing up a hill at massive speed.
18 Oct 2008 at 17:55–18:40 on BBC One.
25 Aug 2009 at 19:00–19:45 on BBC Three.
Santiago Cabrera spent 3 days doing some mental preparation for his role of Lancelot.
Angel Coulby wasn't supposed to hold the measuring tape at the top of Santiago Cabrera's leg, but she didn't realize about it until the scene was done. They both had a laugh about it afterwards.
Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
Surrey, UK (Studio sets).
Burnham Beeches, Beeches Road, Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, England, UK (Forest where Merlin is picking mushrooms, attacked by a Griffin and rescued by Lancelot. Fallen tree behind which Merlin and Lancelot hide from the Griffin).
This episode is Julian Jones' (Merlin writer) favourite episode from season 1.
Australia: May 31, 2009 (Channel 10).
France: December 9, 2009 (V TV).
Germany: October 31, 2009 (RTL).
Italy: December 30, 2008 (Italia 1).
Poland: April 4, 2009 (Polsat).
Spain: June 19, 2009 (Neox).
The Netherlands: April 25, 2009 (KRO).
Turkey: October 4, 2009 (CNBC-e).
Ukraine: June 20, 2009 (1+1).
USA: July 5, 2009 (NBC).
The Great Dragon does not appear in this episode, but John Hurt is credited (for the voice-over which begins the episode).
Gaius: I've been researching this creature, sire. I believe it to be a griffin.
The griffin is a creature from legend, with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle (sometimes, as here, presented with the forelegs of an eagle and the hindlegs of a lion). However, far from being a vicious predator with a hunger for human flesh, it was thought to be a majestic creature- as the lion was the king of beasts and the eagle king of birds- and it was often seen as a symbol of divine power. In T.H. White's novel The Once And Future King (1958), the young Arthur and his stepbrother Kay do battle with a griffin.
Harry Potter fans may have been wondering if the griffin is the same thing as a hippogriff. A hippogriff is the result of the union between a griffin and a horse. Hence, a hippogriff has the body of a horse and the head and wings of an eagle.
Uther: Take this seal to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the court genealogist.
Geoffrey of Monmouth (c.1100-c.1155) was a real-life clergyman- consecrated as Bishop of St. Asaph in 1152- who was a major figure in the development of British history and the popularity of the tales of King Arthur. His work Historia Regum Britanniae (c.1136) was a history of Britain which included information about Arthur and Uther and also suggested the link between Arthur and Merlin. Geoffrey also wrote two works specifically about Merlin: the Prophetiae Merlini (or the 'Prophecies Of Merlin'- a series of dark apocalyptic narratives- written before 1135) and the Vita Merlini (or 'The Life Of Merlin'- a retelling of the older Welsh traditions of Myrddin- written c.1150).
Merlin: (to Guinevere) If you had to: Arthur or Lancelot?
This refers to the Arthurian legend in which Guinevere has a love affair with Lancelot and has to choose between them.
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