Season 1 Episode 8

The Beginning Of The End

Aired Unknown Nov 08, 2008 on BBC
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Episode Summary

When a druid and his boy apprentice are caught in Camelot, Morgana and Merlin hide the boy from Uther's guards- but the druid is executed. Uther declares that anyone harbouring the boy will be dealt with severely. They must try and smuggle the boy from Camelot without being caught. But why does the Great Dragon insist that Merlin should not help?moreless

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  • A young druid boy and his teacher come to Camelot and are attacked by the guard. The teacher is executed for his use of magic but the boy is hidden by Merlin and Morgana. In the end Arthur returns him to his people but at what cost?moreless

    Disappointing variance on the Mordred part of Arthurian legend. Mordred is the half brother of Arthur in most versions of the tales. Somehow we have Mordred now as a young druid boy. Of course legend has it that Arthur kills Mordred eventually but is fatally wounded in the battle. So forgetting all that...

    Sort of a one trick tale of protecting a small innocent boy from the evil king who wants to execute him. Uther's one track mind is getting a little old but in the Arthurian legend Uther was not the best or brightest of rulers. At least in this version he "seems" to care for his people, at least the ones he isn't executing on a regular basis.

    It is understandable that Merlin would eventually come around and help save the boy. One with good intentions always try to do the right thing no matter the consequences and it would hardly seem right to execute a small boy at this point. Even the dragons warning of the future wouldn't necessarily dissuade a man of good moral values.

    Sort of a slow story versus some of the others before it. Definitely the weak link in the episodes so far. We see the Black Knight next week. It should be another rousing Merlin episode and maybe will make up for this one. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • Sometimes, apparently, you actually SHOULD listen to your father...

    ...or your magic coach. Or your dragon; which ever comes first.

    You know those days when you should have just stayed in bed? Well, they don't know it yet, but Arthur and Merlin just had one of them!

    I really enjoyed this episode, and I assume it will serve as the opening of the door to the destiny that will be Arthur's, and to the shaping and molding of that destiny which will be Merlin's task. Morgana, it seems, is going to be less than the simpering, grateful ward. She certainly seems to be able to manipulate Arthur at her whim. I do have to admit though, I was surprised at the relatively small role Gaius had in this episode, not to mention his lack of insight into what was going on. It did seem rather out of character, based on everything that has gone on to date with respect to his guidance and education of Merlin. Hmmm. Writer's block?

    Whatever. I am enjoying my legend, however unconventionally it may be unfolding...moreless
  • 'What if... magic isn't something you choose? What if it chooses you?' (SPOILERS)

    Is this really The Beginning Of The End? It seems that way when a druid and his boy apprentice are found in Camelot. Merlin hears the wounded boy crying out for help and, finding an unlikely ally in Morgana, hides the boy from the guards. The druid is not so lucky and is duly executed, with Uther decreeing that anyone found harbouring the boy will face a similar fate. They must try to smuggle the boy out and back to his people without being caught. However, the Great Dragon has some suitably cryptic warnings for Merlin, stating that he should not help the boy. If the boy lives, Merlin will not fulfil his destiny to protect Arthur. For the boy is Mordred, future nemesis to Arthur... Quite weighty questions are brought up in a solid and entertaining if not exactly spectacular episode.

    The past few episodes have had stellar guest turns. This episode, it goes back to the core cast and their varying reactions to the crisis. Colin Morgan ably leads from the front, even if his scene with Gaius where he asks 'would you do something bad to stop something worse from happening' was written quite preachily. It's an old moral dilemma: if you know a child is going to grow up and do truly evil things, do you nip it in the bud and kill the child? Of course, showing the killing of a young boy isn't family entertainment- plus the Arthurian legend goes nowhere without Mordred- so of course the child escapes. But there is a delicious little moment where you think he might actually sit back and watch the child get caught.

    There's another good turn by Katie McGrath. Inexplicably drawn to the druid boy, she takes her life in her hands to flout Uther's laws by harbouring the child. She has several strong scenes, nicely fiery against Uther's paranoia. Anthony Head is as dependable and strong as ever as the anti-magic Uther: his scene where he learns of Morgana's betrayal is very strong indeed. His final warning to her was nicely menacing too. Again, it was some of the writing that let him down this week. Bradley James puts in another decent turn as well- although the set-up of Uther forbidding something and Arthur tacitly doing it is starting to wear a little thin. Angel Coulby and Richard Wilson aren't given a lot to do but they do the best with what they're given. John Hurt is as good as ever as the voice of the Dragon, actually being given something of some consequence to say this time round.

    This is a very different episode and the show's to be commended for giving a slower, more character-based episode a crack. It's quite difficult to say anything (either positive or negative) about Asa Butterfield's performance as Mordred as it's almost literally phoned in. Apart from his last line- the reveal of his name- everything else is done telepathically. I did like the shattering mirror when the druid Cerdan was executed. There were a couple of broadly comic strokes- the business with the keys and the boots that were made for walking (with nobody in them)- which just about worked although the whole key thing did start to annoy after a while.

    The direction of the action sequences and the various escape attempts are handled with some style by Jeremy Webb, but Howard Overman's patchy and often preachy script is the stumbling block here. Still, some interesting points raised and some good performances on show.moreless
Asa Butterfield

Asa Butterfield


Guest Star

Alun Raglan

Alun Raglan


Guest Star

Jamie Kenna

Jamie Kenna


Guest Star

John Hurt

John Hurt

Voice of the Great Dragon

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (17)

    • Goof: At the beginning of the scene where Arthur is puzzled by the jangling sound of the keys, he asks Merlin for bread. No bread can be seen on the table as Arthur looks around for the origin of the sound; however, at the end of the scene Merlin picks up a piece of bread from the table and offers it to him.

    • Morgana wears Gwen's red dress in this episode.

    • Morgana tells to Arthur: 'And this is how you will rule when you are king? You are not like your father.'. It is the second time she appeals to Arthur's unlikeness with Uther . In episode 1x04 The Poisoned Chalice she told him: 'And 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?'.

    • Goof: Merlin's bag of supplies to heal Mordred is more full when he is about to leave Gaius' chambers than when he arrives to Morgana's ones.

    • Goof: When Arthur is searching Morgana's chambers and Merlin casts a spell to make Mordred's boots tiptoe back and forth, the boots are placed in a different position when they hid behind the column than when they start tiptoeing towards the blind for the second time.

    • We learn that there are two secret ways ouf of Camelot: there's a secret door behind a shield at the far end in the armoury leading to lower town and the burial vaults have a tunnel that leads beyond the city walls.

    • It is not revealed how saving Mordred might lead to Arthur's death.

    • Uther eats and dines with his thick leather gloves on.

    • Goof: Arthur's footsteps echo loudly so the guards should have listened to them as they were playing cards when keeping Mordred's cell. Also, the cards depict clubs and spades even though such patterns originated in France at a later stage.

    • Goof: Merlin informs Morgana about the secret door behind the shield at the far end in the armoury. When Morgana and Mordred try to escape, she goes straight for the shield that covers the door even though there are a lot of them and Merlin didn't describe it. Also, there are two keys in the key-ring and she gets the right one at first try.

    • Goof: After Mordred is hurt by the guard, his wound doesn't bleed until he is seen in Morgana's chamber.

    • Goof: When looking for Mordred, the guard tells Morgana to keep the door locked. She says she would of course do it but she doesn't lock it.

    • Goof: The fierce attack of the guard would have caused a way more severe hurt to Mordred's arm than a superficial cut. Also, it is unlikely that a trained guard would have charged against the child instead of against the man.

    • Goof: It is unlikely that Merlin is able to pull the grate off the wall using just a hook and his physical strength.

    • It is revealed that Merlin has many other names, Emrys among them.

    • When talking about Mordred's impending execution, Gwen says: 'I know how it feels to face the threat of execution'. In episode 1x03 The Mark of Nimueh, Gwen was accused of sorcery and faced being burned at the stake.

    • Mordred only physically speaks one line during the episode (his final line, revealing his name to Arthur). All other communications are done telepathically.

  • QUOTES (23)

    • Iseldir: We are forever indebted to you, Arthur Pendragon, for returning the boy to us.
      Arthur: You must not let it be known that it was I who brought him to you.
      Iseldir: We will tell no one, you have my word.
      (The druids turn to leave)
      Arthur: Wait. I don't even know your name. At least tell me your name.
      (The boy looks at Iseldir)
      Iseldir: It's alright.
      Mordred: My name is Mordred.
      Arthur: Good luck, Mordred.

    • Guard: My lord, I regret to report that the druid boy has escaped from the dungeon.
      Uther: What? How?
      Guard: My lord, he was assisted by some accomplices. The guards are searching Camelot as we speak.
      Uther: Find him and his accomplices and kill them.
      Guard: Yes, my lord.
      (The guard leaves the chamber)
      Uther: If I discover that you were somehow involved in freeing this boy, the consequences will be extremely severe.
      Morgana: My lord, you know I respect you too much to ever betray you like that.
      Uther: I made a promise to your father that I would protect you. But if you cross me again, I will break that promise without a second thought.

    • Mordred: (telepathically to Merlin) Goodbye, Emrys. I know that some day, we'll meet again.

    • (Merlin lies on his bed; Mordred contacts him telepathically)
      Mordred: Emrys. Emrys. Where are you, Emrys? Emrys, help us. Please. They're coming. I'm scared, Emrys. They'll kill me. Don't do this. Don't ignore me. I know you can hear me. I thought you were my friend. We are the same. I don't want to die. Emrys. Emrys! EMRYS!
      (Merlin bolts off the bed)

    • Morgana: I've come to apologise, my lord. You have been generous and kind and fair, and I owe you everything. I truly don't know what came over me. I acted without thinking of the consequences. My behaviour was unforgivable.
      Uther: I'm glad you've seen sense. Dine with me. Let's put this unfortunate incident behind us.

    • Gwen: You're risking so much for this boy. You don't know anything about him. You don't even know his name!
      Morgana: There's a bond between us.
      Gwen: Stronger than the bond you have with Uther?
      Morgana: It's like nothing I've ever felt before. Perhaps I was always meant to help him.
      Gwen: How can that be?
      Morgana: I don't know. I can't explain it.

    • Gaius: I assume it's the plight of the druid boy that's causing your forehead to wrinkle like a lizard's elbow.
      Merlin: Would you let something terrible happen if it meant you'd stop something even worse happening in the future?
      Gaius: I suppose it depends on what the terrible and even worse things were.
      Merlin: One of them's bad. Really bad. And the other... it's unthinkable.
      Gaius: Sounds as if you've already made your decision. You can only do what you believe to be right, Merlin. I just hope it doesn't involve putting yourself in terrible danger.
      Merlin: For once, you don't have to worry. I'm going to do nothing.

    • Merlin: I need to know why you told me not to protect the boy.
      The Great Dragon: You seek my counsel and yet you choose to ignore it.
      Merlin: Just tell me why!
      The Great Dragon: If the boy lives, you cannot fulfil your destiny.
      Merlin: What's he got to do with my destiny? You said it's my destiny to protect Arthur.
      The Great Dragon: Then you have the answer you seek.
      Merlin: You're telling me that little boy is going to kill Arthur?
      The Great Dragon: It seems that is up to you.
      Merlin: No. You can't know that for certain.
      The Great Dragon: You have it in your power to prevent a great evil.
      Merlin: There must be another way. The future isn't set in stone.
      The Great Dragon: You must let the boy die.

    • Arthur: We're going to break the druid boy out of the dungeons.
      Merlin: You can't do that!
      Morgana: We have to. Uther's going to execute him at dawn.
      Merlin: I mean... it's too dangerous. You've already been caught once and if the king catches you a second time, he'll never forgive you.
      Morgana: I'm not worried for myself.
      Arthur: Merlin's right. When my father finds out the boy's escaped, he will suspect you being involved.
      Merlin: It's suicide.
      Arthur: You must go to my father and apologise. Dine with him. He cannot hold you responsible if you're with him when the boy escapes.
      Morgana: You need me if the plan's to work. You can't do this on your own.
      Arthur: Merlin will take your place.
      Merlin: Me?
      Arthur: I'm going to take the boy out through the burial vaults. There's a tunnel that leads beyond the city walls. Get my horse from the stables and meet me there. There's a grate that covers the entrance to the tunnel. Bring a rope and a grappling-hook to pull it off.
      Merlin: No, no. I can't.
      Arthur: Merlin! Do you understand? If you're not there to meet us, we'll surely be caught.

    • Morgana: You can't let your father execute the boy.
      Arthur: You're lucky he's not executing you! Are you telling me he really was behind the screen when I came to search your chambers?
      Morgana: (nodding) I know you think your father's wrong to execute him.
      Arthur: What I believe doesn't matter. My father's made up his mind. He won't be talked out of it. I tried.
      Morgana: Then the time for talking is over!
      Arthur: Whatever you're thinking, it's not going to happen.
      Morgana: We have to get the boy back to his people...
      Arthur: No. Forget it.
      Morgana: I can't believe you'd let an innocent child die.
      Arthur: It's too late. He's been caught. I have no choice.
      Morgana: And this is how you will rule when you are king? You're not like your father.
      Arthur: I will not betray him.
      Morgana: If I know you at all, you won't stand by and let this happen. Please. If you won't do this for the boy, do it for me.

    • Arthur: Perhaps imprisonment is a more suitable punishment for the boy. I mean, he's so young.
      Uther: It will allow him time to become more powerful, more dangerous, until he strikes against us.
      Arthur: We don't know he's going to strike against us. He's yet to do anything.
      Uther: It is enough that his people conspire to overthrow me. This is harsh but necessary. I take no pleasure in killing the boy.
      Arthur: Then spare him, for Morgana's sake. She's clearly grown attached to the boy and if you execute him, I fear she'll never forgive you.
      Uther: I do not seek her forgiveness! She has betrayed me.
      Arthur: Yet you're sparing her.
      Uther: She has the promise I made her father to thank for that. The boy enjoys no such privilege. He will be executed at dawn. Is that clear?

    • Uther: All this time, you've been hiding the boy in my own palace. How could you betray me like this?
      Morgana: I would not see him executed.
      Uther: I've treated you like a daughter! Is this how you repay me?
      Morgana: I did what I thought was right.
      Uther: You think it's right to conspire with my enemies against me?
      Morgana: How can this child be your enemy? He's just a boy!
      Uther: He's a druid!
      Morgana: Is that such a crime?
      Uther: His kind would see me dead and this kingdom returned to anarchy and you would help them.
      Morgana: Then punish me, but spare the boy. I beg you.
      Uther: Make arrangements for the boy to be executed tomorrow morning.
      Morgana: No, please! He's done nothing!
      Uther: Let this be a lesson to you. Do you hear? I want him executed at dawn.
      Arthur: Yes, father.
      Morgana: What have these people done to you? Why are you so full of hate?
      Uther: (grabbing Morgana by the throat) Enough. I will not hear another word. Do not speak to me until you are ready to apologise for what you've done.

    • Morgana: I feel like I've put you in danger without stopping to ask how you feel about it. I'm sorry.
      Gwen: I know how it feels to face the threat of execution and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    • Gaius: The search for this druid boy is becoming a real nuisance. With all the extra security around the castle, it's taking me twice as long to do my rounds. Is that everything?
      Merlin: Morgana's hiding the druid boy in her chambers.
      Gaius: When you say that Morgana is hiding the druid boy, I take it that means you're helping her.
      Merlin: Sort of.
      Gaius: Merlin, you promised me you wouldn't get involved.
      Merlin: I know. I'm sorry. I had no choice.
      Gaius: Every guard in Camelot is searching for this boy and you're harbouring him right under their very noses. Can't you see how dangerous that is? What were you thinking of?
      Merlin: So I'm supposed to hand him over to the guards to be executed?
      Gaius: You think you can save this boy? What happens if you're caught? Who's going to save you?
      Merlin: You're saying it's wrong to harbour a young magician?
      Gaius: The difference is, Merlin, that your magic is still secret, though it's a wonder how considering how careless you are.
      Merlin: The boy's hurt. He's really sick. I've tried to treat him. We need your help.
      Gaius: So now you want me to risk my neck too? I wish the boy no harm but it's too dangerous.
      Merlin: If you don't, we might as well hand him over to the guards because he'll die anyway. You didn't turn your back on me. Please don't turn your back on him.

    • The Great Dragon: The young warlock. No doubt you're here about the druid boy.
      Merlin: How did you know?
      The Great Dragon: Like you, I hear him speak.
      Merlin: Why does he call me Emrys?
      The Great Dragon: Because that is your name.
      Merlin: I'm pretty sure my name's Merlin. It always has been.
      The Great Dragon: You have many names.
      Merlin: Do I? How does the boy know who I am? I've never even met any druids.
      The Great Dragon: There is much written about you that you have yet to read. You should not protect this boy.
      Merlin: Why? He has magic. He's just like me.
      The Great Dragon: You and the boy are as different as day and night.

    • (Merlin treats Mordred's wound; Mordred speaks to him telepathically)
      Mordred: Thank you, Emrys.
      Merlin: Emrys? Why do you call me that?
      Mordred: Among my people, that is your name.
      Merlin: You know who I am? How?

    • (With Merlin and Mordred hiding behind the screen, Arthur enters Morgana's chambers)
      Morgana: Arthur. To what do I owe this pleasure?
      Arthur: Don't get all excited, it's not a social call. I'm looking for the druid boy. I'm going to have to search your chambers.
      Morgana: You're not searching my chambers!
      Arthur: Don't take it personally, I have to search the entire castle. It'll only take a few minutes.
      Morgana: I'm not having you mess up my things!
      Arthur: I'm not interested in your things. I'm just looking for any evidence that the druid boy is in the castle.
      (Merlin spots the boy's boots)
      Morgana: Perhaps the boy is hiding in your chambers. They're usually such a mess, you'd never know.
      Arthur: It's not my fault I have such a lazy idiot for a servant.
      (Merlin casts a spell and the boots begin to walk on their own)
      Morgana: If you can't even find your own servant, what chance have you got of finding the boy?
      Arthur: Really? I'm touched by the confidence you have in my abilities and, as much as I'd like to stay and talk, the sooner we get started, the sooner it'll be finished.
      Morgana: Well, I'll save you the trouble.
      Arthur: If I could find him, I would.
      Morgana: The druid boy's hiding behind the screen. I'm sure your father would love to know you wasted your time by rifling through my things. Go on.
      Arthur: So you can have the satisfaction of making me look a fool?
      Morgana: In my experience, you don't need any help looking like a fool. What are you waiting for? Take a look.
      Arthur: Why don't you just go back to.. brushing your hair, or whatever it is you do all day.
      (Arthur walks out)
      Morgana: Bye, Arthur. Good luck with the search.

    • Uther: What news of the hunt for the druid boy?
      Arthur: We have conducted an extensive search. The boy is nowhere to be found.
      Uther: You mean you failed to find him.
      Arthur: Perhaps he's already left the city.
      Uther: You're telling me that a wounded boy is able to evade the guards and escape the city? Nonsense. Someone's hiding him. I want him found.
      Arthur: He's just a boy. What harm can he do?
      Uther: He's a druid and that makes him dangerous.
      Morgana: The druids would see your father's kingdom destroyed.
      Arthur: I had no idea you were such an authority on druids.
      Uther: Morgana is right. Double your efforts.

    • Merlin: How is he?
      Morgana: He's sleeping. He's very pale. I'm worried he may have lost a lot of blood.
      Merlin: Has he said anything at all?
      Morgana: Nothing. He won't even tell me his name.
      Merlin: You know, for a moment there, earlier, I thought you were going to hand us over to the guards.
      Morgana: I'm glad you have so much faith in me, Merlin.
      Merlin: No, no! Sorry, I meant... you're the king's ward. You're taking a huge risk helping the boy.
      Morgana: I wouldn't see an innocent child executed. What harm has he ever done anyone?
      Merlin: Uther believes he has magic and that makes him guilty.
      Morgana: Uther's wrong.
      Merlin: You believe that?
      Morgana: What if... magic isn't something you choose? What if it chooses you? (off Merlin's look) Why are you looking at me like that?
      Merlin: Nothing.
      Morgana: Why are you helping him?
      Merlin: (after a pause) It was a spur of the moment decision. What do you think we should do with him? He can't stay here.
      Morgana: We have to find a way to get him back to his people.

    • Merlin: Do you know much about the druids?
      Gaius: Very little. They're very secretive people, especially now they're being hunted by Uther. (pause) Merlin, please tell me you haven't got yourself mixed up in this.
      Merlin: Me? No. Mixed up in what?
      Gaius: For someone with such a big secret, you are a terrible liar.
      Merlin: Well, I haven't done anything.
      Gaius: Merlin...
      Merlin: I heard the boy calling out. He was nowhere to be seen but I could hear him, like he was inside my mind.
      Gaius: Yes, I've heard of this ability. Druids look for children with such gifts to serve them as apprentices. While they're searching for this boy, you must be especially careful, otherwise it'll be your head on the chopping block.
      Merlin: I'm always careful. You know me.
      Gaius: Yes, Merlin. Unfortunately I do.

    • Uther: People of Camelot, the man before you is guilty of using enchantments and magic. Under our law, the sentence for this crime is death. We're still searching for his accomplice. Anyone found harbouring the boy is guilty of conspiracy and will be executed as a traitor. Let this serve as a warning to your people.
      Cerdan: Let your fear of magic turn to hate. I pity you.

    • Arthur: The druid was only in Camelot to collect supplies. He meant no harm. Is it really necessary to execute him?
      Uther: Absolutely necessary. Those who use magic cannot be tolerated.
      Arthur: The druids are a peaceful people.
      Uther: Given the chance, they would return magic to the kingdom. They preach peace but conspire against me. We cannot appear weak.
      Arthur: Showing mercy could be a sign of strength.
      Uther: Our enemies will not see it that way. We have a responsibility to protect this kingdom. Executing the druid will send out a clear message.

    • (Merlin and the injured Mordred burst into Morgana's chamber)
      Morgana: Have you forgotten how to knock, Merlin?
      Merlin: The guards are after him. I didn't know what to do.

  • NOTES (38)

    • Emrys is the Welsh name for Merlin in the Welsh versions of the legend.

    • Angel Coulby, Colin Morgan, Katie McGrath and Jeremy Webb (episode director) recorded an audio commentary for this episode.

    • The episode director, Jeremy Webb, makes the voice over for one of the guards that try to arrest Mordred and the druid at the beginning of the episode.

    • The guard that is thrown against a wall jumped off a trampoline and landed on a padded wall so he wouldn't hurt his back.

    • The first scene that Colin Morgan filmed under the orders of Jeremy Webb is the one where he first hears Mordred and gets him into the castle.

    • The guard who knocks on Morgana's door as they are looking for Mordred made his first tv work in this scene.

    • Due to the restrictions applied to the time slot the show airs on just a small amount of blood could be shown on Mordred's arm.

    • Crowd multiplication was used in the square for the scene of the beheading.

    • Colin Morgan and Katie McGrath filmed the execution scene at a studio set window. Their eye line is actually the studio floor.

    • Several different cuts were done for the scene execution but in the end they decided not to show any of it and let it just be implied because having the boy metres apart made it too powerful.

    • 3 mirrors were shattered in Morgana's chamber until it broke as they wanted. The actors had a hard time not laughing because they didn't know how it'd break and the final result was shocking.

    • Anthony Head is a vegetarian but as in this episode, there's almost always meat on his plate.

    • All the scenes with a sick Mordred in Morgana's chamber were shot in a row because Asa Butterfield wasn't available in France for many days.

    • Restrictions about how many hours kids can work made them use a French double for Asa Butterfield, mostly in those scenes where he runs with his hood on. The double is slightly shorter and he was used for example in the scene with Merlin inside the castle, as they run up the stairs. Other times, a small woman was used as well.

    • The scene with Mordred's boots walking on their own was filmed one week and a half later than the action that goes on in Morgana's chambers.

    • Jeremy Webb, the episode director, read some web talk about the episode and realized that the scene between Arthur and Morgana in her chamber when he is looking for Mordred was one of fans' favourites. He reckons that the episode needed some light scene like that one cause it's a pretty heavy and dark one.

    • In the scene where Gaius makes Merlin study some basic anatomy, the camera was left rolling because Richard Wilson gave Colin Morgan an anatomy speech himself that wasn't scripted and didn't make it to the final cut because of his funny tone.

    • What Merlin puts in Mordred's wound is actually aloe vera.

    • Jeremy Webb sent some stage notes to John Hurt since he couldn't direct him in his scenes.

    • A whole new part of the set, the behind the blinds space where Mordred is kept, was built in Morgana's room for this episode.

    • A crew member stood at the end of Arthur's bed with a fishing rod to film the scene where Merlin steals the keys from Arthur.

    • The scene where Merlin, Morgana and Gwen plot who and how to snuggle Mordred out of the castle was one of the first to be shot.

    • The scene where Morgana and Mordred snuggle out of the castle through the armoury was one of the first scenes Katie McGrath and Asa Butterfield filmed together.

    • Katie McGrath wanted to keep the key she uses in this episode but she wasn't allowed.

    • The scene where Morgana and Mordred hide in a house after having left the castle was filmed in day light even though it was supposed to be night, so they had to block up every window.

    • Some 10 takes were needed for the scene where Arthur plots Mordred's escape through the burial tunnels because Bradley James kept getting his speech wrong.

    • The scene with Morgana and Gwen right before Morgana dines with Uther was filmed the last day. The director thought that the audience needed to understand Morgana's motivations to help Mordred.

    • Artificial tears didn't work for Katie McGrath (they just turned her eyes red) so the actress curled with her iPod for some 15 minutes until she got in the state where she could cry herself.

    • The cell where Mordred is kept is a studio set but the corridor Arthur walks to reach it belongs to the real dungeons of Pierrefonds castle.

    • The armoury set in this episode was redressed in episode 1x12 To Kill the King as the cell where Morgana is kept.

    • The colour of Asa Butterfield's eyes was enhanced in the last scene.

    • The scene in which Morgana and Arthur quarrel after she's been caught sneaking out of the castle with Mordred was shot on July 27, 2008.

      In that scene, Uther was supposed to hit Morgana giving her a back hand but it seemed a bit too much for Uther to kill a man, want to kill a boy and hit a woman all in one episode, so the script was modified.

      The armbands that Anthony Head wears left Katie McGrath's shoulders blue for 3 days.

      Also in the same scene, a crew member was kneeling in front of the seat Morgana is pushed against and holding it in upright position so Katie McGrath wouldn't fall.

    • Uther can be seen dining with his leather gloves one. It was Anthony Head's election to play Uther with gloves, so it would seem that he is so paranoid about magic that he doesn't want to touch anything with his skin. However, food tends to stick on the gloves.

    • The scene where Merlin and Morgana test each other about what magic means to them was played in two different ways. In the first cut Merlin was smiling a lot and it looked flirty. It is one of Katie McGrath's favourite scenes with Colin Morgan.

    • Broadcasts:
      8 Nov 2008 at 19:20-20:05pm on BBC One.
      1 Sep 2009 at 19:00-19:45pm on BBC Three.

    • Filming locations:
      Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
      Cardiff, Wales, UK (Studio sets).

    • Also Known As:
      France: Le Début de la Fin.
      Germany: Jedes Ende besitzt einen Anfang, meaning 'Every End has a Beginning'.
      Italy: L'Inizio della Fine.
      Poland: Początek Końca.
      Portugal: O Começo do Fim.
      Spain: El Principio del Fín.
      The Netherlands: Het Begin van het Einde.
      Ukraine: Початок кінця.

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: June 21, 2009 (Channel 10).
      France: December 30, 2009 (V TV).
      Germany: November 21, 2009 (RTL).
      Italy: January 6, 2009 (Italia 1).
      Poland: April 25, 2009 (Polsat).
      Spain: July 10, 2009 (Neox).
      The Netherlands: May 16, 2009 (KRO).
      Turkey: October 25, 2009 (CNBC-e).
      Ukraine: June 27, 2009 (1+1).
      USA: July 26, 2009 (NBC).


    • Mordred: My name is Mordred.

      Mordred is one of the earliest figures associated with Arthurian legend- he is referred to in the Annales Cambriae completed between 960 and 970. He is known as the traitor who fought Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, where he was killed and Arthur wounded. Mordred's lineage often varies but in most tellings of the story, he is Arthur's illegitimate son with his half-sister Morgause. In Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, Mordred assumes the throne whilst Arthur is away waging war on the Empire of Rome and marries Guinevere, forcing Arthur's return to Britain.

    • Merlin: Why does he call me Emrys?
      The Great Dragon: Because that is your name.

      Early Welsh tellings of the Arthurian legends refer a character known as Myrddin Emrys, elements of whose character are later reflected in Merlin. Other names used for Merlin in earlier literature include Myrddin Wyllt, Merlin Ambrosius and Merlinus Caledonensis.

    • Gaius: Merlin, you are a riddle wrapped up in a mystery.

      The phrase 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery' was used by Winston Churchill to discuss Russia in a radio broadcast in October 1939. It has since passed into common usage to describe a person or situation that is complex and difficult to solve. The full quote is 'It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma'.