Season 3 Episode 8

The Eye Of The Phoenix

Aired Unknown Oct 30, 2010 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
171 votes

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Episode Summary

Arthur embarks alone on a quest to prove himself worthy of the Camelot throne by retrieving the Golden Trident from the Fisher King. With the Prince beyond the protection of the citadel, Morgana takes the opportunity to use her dark magic. She gives him a precious bracelet that contains a Phoenix Eye, insisting that he wears it at all times for protection. However, the magical jewel takes away Arthur's life force and he is left defenceless in the Fisher King's perilous realm. With the help of Gwaine, will Merlin be able to reach Arthur in time and fulfil his own quest to protect the future king of Camelot?moreless

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  • A Brilliant episode that offers a taste of what's to come!

    There are so many fantastic elements to this episode.

    First the quest itself. A journey to the fisher king to take his trident, going through the perilous lands; it doesn't get much more Arthurian. Then you have all the great characters like the guy at the bridge, who knows way more than he's telling. His character totally takes the episode up a notch, him and the fisher king of course. The fisher king offers Merlin a warning to the future that we all know is coming, its great that a long term story arc is being referenced here.

    Then you have the return of GAWAIN!!! Who apparently acts as strength while Arthur is courage and Merlin is magic; obvious but i still like it. Not to mention the relationship of Gawain and Merlin, somehow it feels as though it will rival that of arthur and merlin.

    Then you have lovely Gwen. Finally! She sees Morgana (who is such an awesome character) in action and doubts begin to set in. Nice that the future queen is even more in arthur and merlin's corner now. There's romance, action, adventure, and comedy. This could have been a two hour episode if they had wanted to. This one really sets the bar, i can't wait to see what's next!moreless
  • A solid episode, the feeling of plot advancement is present that is so often lacking.

    This episode is one of those few precious episodes reminding you that the show is of Arthurian legend, not a random quirky medieval drama (admittedly that's not so bad). This episode features a quest which draws one of the knights of the round (you already know) back in to the light, and Merlin obtains a relic tied to Avalon. This quest however is not nearly so important as Gwen's new understanding of Morgana, and I say this because there is no going back from that. For a show with so many filler episodes (episodes that have no consequence) this is a very bold move.

    Now, nitpicks and downsides.

    [Spoilers Ahead]

    1.) Arthur technically cheated his quest, which was in all honesty ridiculously easy. Without the stone it wouldn't have even remotely been a challenge, it was close by (close enough to not require he take rations with him) and since apparently it's possible to stave off a wyvern with as much as a glancing sword across its scales.

    2.) Gawain has almost no role when it comes down to it. He stabs the wyvern, that inexplicably decides to ignore Merlin's command as Dragonlord. That's it. He is a fighter who doesn't fight, so despite his charm, I don't understand why I even saw him.

    3.) The eye of the phoenix is physical proof of morgana's sorcery, that, merlin's knowledge of her nightly expeditions, and gwen's observation ought to be enough to get her banished. But let's not have that get in the way of the ridiculously repetitive "morgana tries to betray camelot" plot creation tool.

    4.) As far as I can tell, the fact that he completed this quest has had no impact. Arthur was not forced to change in character, and the kingdom will likely say "grand" the trident will never be seen again and the task forgotten.

    Why is it all other reviews are always 10's? It was slightly better than a filler episode and by that I mean it was a 6-7. The best episodes there have been were the ones leading up to and the release of the dragon, and the siege of camelot by the undead (3rd season premier). Those were the only 9's and 10's.moreless
  • Arthur must choose a quest to prove himself. Who would have guessed that he's pick the most difficult? And who would have guessed that Morgana would try something? But much is unstereotypical and despite my earlier comments, I loved it.moreless

    I absolutely loved this ep.

    All the tavern jokes made me laugh so hard.

    I loved the whole twisted idea about whose quest it really was, and the "courage, strength and magic" thing. And the fisherking scene.

    Arthur's face when he reached into that spidery hole was asolutely epic.

    Morgana was seriously creepy and katie mcgrath carried it off well. I loved the scene where she drops her goblet and thatt tone "I'm so happy". Sent shivers down my spine!

    The Morgana/Gwen scenes! I saw them before the ep because of utube user rosetyler11 and i was like "No! It can't be!"

    And Gaius' response to Gwen!

    Such a change in the series. Their friendship will never be the same. I can't wait to see what Gwen says to Morgana in ep 11. This was amazing. It was scary (a bit), exciting and funny at times (with a guest appearance of Willow from Willow! [Gretia]). I find myself again wanting to make refrence to the tavern jokes XD

    I still remember the end of episode "Gwaine" with Arthur and Merlin pushing eachother and i absolutely loved his reaction to being rescued in this. Arthur: What the hell are you doing here!? How many times do I have to get it into your thick skull; I am doing this ALONE. (Gwaine appears and saves them) Great! This just gets better and better. Are Gwen and Morgana here too? Are we going to have a surprise party?

    Gwaine: More Wyverns on the way.

    Arthur: I'm not leaving without the trident. It was the whole point of this quest.

    Merlin: Do you want us to help you or do you want to do this ALONE?

    Arthur: MERLIN!!!

    ...And the whole treasure hunt thing...

    And Gwaine's smartass comment when Arthur says he has to put his hand in the spidery hole, then hesitates.

    Gwaine: Come on then. DOn't be such a princess.

    I loved this ep and I thinkk Ive watched it twice :)

  • Pure Awesome!!!!

    One of my absolute favorite episodes to watch this season, and my family strongly agrees.

    Gwaine has to be my favorite new character. I am happy to see Merlin get a friend who truly cares for him. The two of them together make quite the comedic pair, and the humor between them is good in the show.

    This episode reveals just how much Morgana has changed by trying to kill Arthur directly. I was happy to see Merlin use his dragonlord powers again against dragonlike creatures, and also await curiously to find out what the significance of the water from the lake of Avalon is . All in all it was an awesome episode, and the scenes between Gwaine and Merlin ruled the screen.moreless
  • A marvelous Arthurian Quest episode with plenty of action, drama, and comedy. A little more post-mortem about the events was all that was missing in an otherwise exceptional episode.

    What Worked:

    The Trio: Courage, Strength, and Magic – Juxtaposed against the insistence that the Quest be accomplished alone, the real lesson of the Quest was that each of these heroes need each other to be successful. They worked well as a team, excitement escalated when they were united and success seemed a foregone conclusion. Grettir – Warwick Davis was pitch perfect as the mysterious keeper of the bridge. What WAS his real role? How was he connected to the Fisher King? There were many unanswered questions but he was a delight to watch.

    Fisher King/Merlin handoff – One of the most thrilling moments in the entire series as Merlin is reminded again that the time of The Once and Future King is near and that he Merlin is essential. Clearly the Fisher King is handing off responsibility for the land to Merlin. The Fisher King hands Merlin an awesome responsibility and Merlin acts with extreme reverence for the man who stayed alive until the time was right. The way Merlin solemnly kneels to place the Eye of the Phoenix on the King's wrist heartbreaking.

    Gwen Figures It Out – Gwen has always been very sharp and it doesn't take long for her to have the veil lifted from her eyes and see the manipulations of Morgana and what it means. There is a nicely played tension between Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath as the former friends now lie to each other without hesitation.

    Partial Success:

    The Quest – It makes sense that a successor to the throne prove his valor and the reverence which Arthur initially approaches the task is understandable. Even better, it is clear that his Quest was "inspired" by The Fisher King himself. As Grettir said, it was no coincidence that Arthur chose the path. Conversely, when the story shifted the Quest to be really for Merlin to get the vial of water from the Lake of Avalon it is both a compelling plot twist but it trivializes Arthur's Quest. With a little more exposition or post-mortem between Merlin and Arthur, Arthur could have explained that getting a trinket was not the value of the Quest but the instead it was overcoming obstacles and in the end learning to accept the help of others. Arthur certainly did not seem bothered about not revealing Merlin's presence to Uther so it seems he came to peace with what happened. But the audience needed to hear that and hear why rather than fill in the blanks.

    The Perilous Lands – The CGI of what looked like Barad-dûr was very impressive, as were the wyvern and the desolate waste. On the other hand, the unexplained orange light as Arthur trudged through the wasteland made no sense and was a bit distracting. When the lighting was more natural on the next day, this distraction was removed.

    Another Bar Fight? – *Insert Comedic Moment Here* was a little too obvious with yet another bar brawl associated with Gwaine. Yes it was fun and yes it broke up the serious tone of the episode but this was a bit hackneyed to be part of an otherwise excellent episode. What Didn't Work:

    Switching of Episode Order – This episode was originally supposed to air AFTER the events of The Queen of Hearts. It's placement before does provide a nice bit of gravitas mid-season but ultimately it throws out logical progression for Gwen in her relationship with both Arthur and Morgana. In Queen of Hearts Gwen starts to suspect Morgana, confirming her suspicions with the events of Eye of the Phoenix would have been more logical. Further, Arthur kisses Gwen in a lovely matter-of-fact way that makes more sense after they have committed themselves to the relationship per the events of Queen of Hearts. Overall grade 9.5. The Arthurian legend epic Quest, the Fisher King's talk with Merlin, Grettir, and the Trio were a rich treat for a mid-season episode. The muddying of the purpose of the Quest and the trite bar brawl took away from what was a superior episode.

    Upon Second Look Review: Switching EP 8 and EP 10 (Eye of the Phoenix and Queen of Hearts) really was not a good decision. Yes, it provides a more significant episode mid-season versus keeping all the development near the end but they needed to rework the approach to Gwen's scenes if they were going to make such a continuity change. Further, the water in the vial ultimately seemed to be less important. It seemed only a means to an end – to get back Excalibur. Perhaps a little more emphasis on the need to have Excalibur to break the spell over the Immortal Army in EP13 would have been a better payoff. Again, it's left as an exercise for the fan to decide that knocking the Cup of Life over with just any sword would probably not do. It had to be something that could kill the undead (i.e. Excalibur). Ultimately, while the episode was good fun and seemed very important at the time, it loses a little something as the events are not fully savored in the episode or later in the series.moreless
Donald Sumpter

Donald Sumpter

The Fisher King

Guest Star

Warwick Davis

Warwick Davis


Guest Star

Ian Peck

Ian Peck


Guest Star

Eoin Macken

Eoin Macken


Recurring Role

John Hurt

John Hurt

Voice of the Great Dragon

Recurring Role

Emilia Fox

Emilia Fox


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Despite claiming to be fighting fit, Arthur never once seems to wonder why he suddenly felt so drained and then better once he lost the Eye of the Phoenix bracelet, which he doesn't seem to notice as missing.

    • The Wyverns are able to pull doors open (towards them), rather than pushing them.

    • Goof: Merlin and Gwaine have time to stop and talk for some seconds before jumping into the hay while those chasing after them run in unrealistic motion towards them.
      Also, there is no apparent reason for those men not to jump into the hay as well instead of simply looking at them as they escape.

    • It is the second time that the true appearance of a sorceress disguise is revealed by her reflection in a mirror. It happens to Morgause in this episode and it happened to Mary Collins in episode 1x01 The Dragon's Call.

    • According to Arthur's maps, the Perilous Lands are to the north of Mercia and the forest of Anber and to the east of Bidge and the forest of Engred. The Fisher King's castle is called The Dark Tower.

    • Wyverns are creatures of magic and distant cousins of the dragons.

    • The Fisher King was a sorcerer who lived many hundreds of years ago. Legend has it he was wounded in battle and that the wound festered making the infection spread not just through his body, but through his lands as well. His mighty kingdom was reduced to a wasteland and it was referred to ever since as the Perilous Lands, since very few entering them would come out alive. The Fisher King was kept from death by his magic, although the only way to bring prosperity to his lands again is for Merlin to help Arthur become the king of legend. The Fisher King has been waiting for the arrival of Arthur's time as the king who will unite Albion. However, before it happens, Merlin will have to help and the Fisher King gives him water from the Lake of Avalon, which is supposed to be a valuable gift to make it all possible.

    • Just like he told Merlin in episode 3x04 Gwaine, Gwaine has been in Engred (Mercia) since he left Camelot.

    • This episode features a task that princes have to fulfill in order to prove themselves worthy of the throne as well as their worth to their people. Deciding on a quest to complete alone and unaided becomes on of the most important days in a Prince's life. It's been a tradition for hundreds of years.
      Arthur decides to travel north to Mercia and enter the realm of the Fisher King and find the golden trident, spoken of in the legends of the Fallen Kings.

    • According to Grettir, Arthur is 'Courage', Merlin is 'Magic' and Gwaine is 'Strength'.

    • The title of the episode refers to the gem in the bracelet that Morgana gives to Arthur. The eye of the Phoenix or firebird burns with a fire that consumes the life force of anybody it comes in contact with, slowly drawing energy until death.

    • When the Fisher King refers to Arthur as 'the once and future king' who will unite the land of Albion, Merlin replies that he has heard those words before. The Great Dragon told those same words to Merlin in episode 1x01 The Dragon's Call and then Guinevere was alluded to as 'the once and future queen' in episode 2x02 The Once and Future Queen.

    • Goof: The horses that Arthur and Merlin ride are different between takes (they leave Camelot and arrive back on the same ones, but they use different ones during the rest of the episode).

    • The Fisher King is the third character who refers to Merlin as 'Emrys'. Mordred did so in episodes 1x08 The Beginning of the End, episode 2x03 The Nightmare Begins and 2x11 The Witch's Quickening, Taliesin in episode 3x05 The Crystal Cave and then The Fisher King in this one.

    • Goof: Wyverns only have two legs (or even none); however, the ones depicted in this episode have two pairs of legs.

  • QUOTES (33)

    • (Merlin and Gwen watch Arthur in the council room)
      Gwen: What's he actually doing?
      Merlin: Thinking.
      Gwen: About?
      Merlin: You.
      (Gwen elbows Merlin)
      Merlin: (Closing the door) Sush, he has to decide upon a quest.
      Gwen: And crouching on his knees all night is going to help?
      Merlin: Yes, he has to transcend his body so that the quest is revealed to him in a vision.
      Gwen: And you're going to stay here and watch?
      Merlin: Gwen, this is one of the most important days in a Prince's life.
      (Cut to Merlin, who has fallen asleep on the ground, snoring)

    • Uther: What is the quest you have chosen?
      Arthur: I can see but one path, sire. I am to enter the realm of the Fisher King and find the golden trident, spoken of in the legends of the Fallen Kings.
      Uther: You do understand that if you are to prove yourself worthy of the throne, you must complete this task alone and unaided?
      Arthur: I do.

    • Merlin: Who is the Fisher King?
      Gaius: He was a sorcerer who lived many hundreds of years ago.
      Merlin: And?
      Gaius: Legend has it he was wounded in battle. The wound festered and the infection spread not just through his body, but through his lands as well. His mighty kingdom was reduced to a wasteland and has remained that way till this very day.
      Merlin: I don't understand, why is Uther so worried?
      Gaius: Some believe the Fisher King is still alive... kept from death by his magic.
      Merlin: Do you?
      Gaius: Perhaps, perhaps not. But the people of the north call the area the Perilous Lands. Few who have ever ventured there have lived to tell the tale.

    • Merlin: Couldn't you have chosen something a bit easier?
      Arthur: I'm meant to be proving my worth to the people. A quick trip to the Lower Town to collect a bundle of herbs probably won't cut it.
      Merlin: But the Perilous Lands are... perilous. Maybe I should come with you.
      Arthur: What for?
      Merlin: To... help out.
      Arthur: You really don't get it, do you? The task must be completed alone and unaided. That's the way it's been for hundreds of years and it's not about to change for you.

    • Morgause: Tell me, what has Arthur chosen as his quest?
      Morgana: He sets out tomorrow for the Perilous Lands.
      Morgause: How perfect. Present this to the prince as a token of your good wishes. When the time is right, you must make a likeness of the prince and bind it to the gift using the skills that I taught you. When he does not return, you, sister, will take your rightful place as sole heir to the throne of Camelot.

    • (After seeing the old woman Morgana is talking to reflected in a mirror as Morgause)
      Gwen: My lady? Are you all right?
      Morgana: Why wouldn't I be?
      Gwen: I... I thought...
      Morgana: The poor woman didn't have a penny to feed her family. I felt duty bound to help her, Gwen.

    • Gwen: I know you have to go, but...
      Arthur: I'll be careful.
      Gwen: For me.
      (Arthur nods, kisses her and leaves)

    • (Upon Arthur's departure to the Perilous Lands)
      Morgana: You look troubled, sire.
      Uther: He is sole heir to the throne, Morgana.
      Morgana: Don't worry. I'm certain a Pendragon will rule over Camelot for a long time to come (She smirks)

    • Gaius: You're sure it wasn't a jewel?
      Merlin: No. Brighter than that.
      Gaius: And you think it was enchanted?
      Merlin: There was magic there, I could feel it.
      Gaius: You're sure?
      Merlin: And if it came from Morgana, it can only mean one thing: Arthur's in danger.

    • (About Arthur's bracelet)
      Gaius: It's an eye of the Phoenix.
      Merlin: The Phoenix?
      Gaius: Some call it the firebird. Its eye burns with a fire that consumes the life force of anybody it comes in contact with.
      Merlin: Arthur.
      Gaius: The eye will draw energy from him. If it is worn for too long, Arthur will die.
      Merlin: I have to go after him.
      Gaius: This is not a task to be undertaken lightly, Merlin. You'll need help.

    • Merlin: Arthur's in trouble, I need your help.
      Gwaine: What kind of trouble?
      Merlin: He's gone to the Perilous Lands.
      Gwaine: You serious?
      Merlin: Yeah.
      (Gwaine realizes that the men they are running from are close)
      Gwaine: Just now, that sounds pretty attractive.

    • Grettir: Who is it that wishes to cross my bridge?
      Arthur: A knight... on a quest to find the trident of the Fisher King.
      Grettir: Then you must be Courage.
      Arthur: No, I'm Prince Arthur of Camelot.
      Grettir: I'm Grettir. I have to say, you're not as short as I thought you'd be. Before I let you pass, I'll give you a little advice. As Courage, there are two more things you will need to complete your quest: Strength and Magic.
      Arthur: I don't condone the use of magic.
      Grettir: You'd be wise not to dismiss it so freely. The rules in the land that you are heading to are quite different to those in the world that you know.

    • Grettir: That's a very beautiful bracelet.
      Arthur: It was a gift from someone very dear to me. She hoped it would bring me good fortune.
      Grettir: Did she now? How very thoughtful of her (He chuckles and vanishes into thin air)

    • Gwaine: How did you find me?
      Merlin: It wasn't easy, I've been in almost every tavern in Engred.
      Gwaine: So have I.
      (Both laugh)

    • Gwaine: This is it. On the other side of the forest lie the Perilous Lands.
      Merlin: Doesn't look too friendly.
      Gwaine: That's because it's not. Believe me, it's wretched.
      Merlin: How do you know? You've never been there.
      Gwaine: I've travelled to many places, Merlin.
      Merlin: But not to the Perilous Lands. I know that.
      Gwaine: Why?
      Merlin: There aren't any taverns.
      (Gwaine laughs)

    • Grettir: So, Magic has arrived.
      Merlin: What?
      Grettir: There is nothing to be afraid of. Your presence is essential if Arthur is to succeed on his quest.
      Merlin: How do you know about Arthur? Who are you?
      Grettir: I'm the keeper of the bridge. I only wish to see the Fisher King's lands restored and prosperity reign again. Until your mission is complete, this cannot happen.
      Merlin: It is not my mission, it is Arthur's.
      Grettir: If that's what you choose to believe. It is no accident that Arthur chose this path or you chose to follow him.

    • Grettir: (To Gwaine) Finally. Strength has arrived, the trio is complete.

    • Grettir: (To Merlin) The Fisher King has waited many years for this day. Do not deny him what he wishes. And remember, nothing is as it seems.

    • (Wailing can be heard in the distance)
      Merlin: What was that?
      Gwaine: A pheasant.
      Merlin: A pheasant?
      Gwaine: A very big one.
      Merlin: You can turn back if you want.
      Gwaine: I'm not scared of pheasants.

    • Merlin: Why do you want to do this?
      Gwaine: Same reason as you. Help a friend.
      Merlin: Arthur's lucky to have us.
      Gwaine: Not Arthur.
      Merlin: I'd do the same for you.
      Gwaine: I hope so. You're the only friend I've got.
      Merlin: I'm not surprised.

    • Gwen: I'm not sure who else I can talk to.
      Gaius: What is it, child?
      Gwen: It's Morgana.
      Gaius: What's happened?
      Gwen: She had a box. And her eyes... it was like they were on fire. What do I do, Gaius? She's using magic.
      Gaius: Everything may not be as it seems, Gwen.
      Gwen: No, no. I know what I saw. I've known Morgana for so long. I didn't want to believe it. But she... isn't the person I knew. She's changed, Gaius. I don't think she means well to any of us any more.
      Gaius: I wish I could say otherwise but I fear you are right.

    • Arthur: (Coming around) What the hell are you doing here?
      Merlin: Why can you never just say thanks?
      Arthur: Thanks? What, for completely ruining the quest?
      Merlin: It's a good job I was here, otherwise you'd be wyvern fodder!
      Arthur: How many times do I have to get it into your thick skull? I'm supposed to be doing this alone!
      (A Wyvern enters the room squealing menacingly, startling both. Gwaine appears behind the creature's back and kills it)
      Arthur: Great. This just gets better and better. Are Gwen and Morgana here too? Are we going to have a surprise party?

    • The Fisher King: So, Emrys, you are here at last.
      Merlin: So you are still alive.
      The Fisher King: For now.

    • Arthur: Now, I'm sure if we can just reach in here... (Arthur removes a stone and bugs start coming off) ... we'll be able to find something to release the door.
      Gwaine: Go on, then. Don't be such a princess. This is your quest, after all.

    • Merlin: What is it you want?
      The Fisher King: I want an end to my suffering.
      Merlin: You want to die?
      The Fisher King: I have been waiting all these years... for the arrival of a new time, the time of the once and future king.
      Merlin: I've heard these words before.
      The Fisher King: And you will hear them again for that time is dawning. And my time finally can come to an end. This is why you were brought here. For this is not Arthur's quest, it is yours. Arthur thinks the prize is the trident (He lets it fall to the ground) But the real prize... is something far greater.

    • The Fisher King: Water from the Lake of Avalon. I have kept it safe these years, waiting for the right person to claim it. And that is you. You are the one chosen.
      Merlin: What are you talking about?
      The Fisher King: Albion's time of need is near and in that dark hour you must be strong, for you alone can save her. Your powers are great, but you will need help. And that is what I'm giving you. When all seems lost, this will show you the way.
      Merlin: Thank you.

    • The Fisher King: I have given you a gift. Now you must give me one in return.
      Merlin: But I have nothing to give.
      The Fisher King: (Groaning as he stands up) I think you do.
      Merlin: (Retrieving the bracelet from his pocket) If I give you this, you will die.
      (The Fisher King stretches out his arm and encourages Merlin with a nod. Merlin kneels down and places the bracelet on the king's wrist. The eye of the phoenix shines and the king vanishes)
      Voice of The Fisher King: Thank you.

    • Gwaine: This is the border. By Uther's decree, I can go no further.
      Arthur: I'm sorry, Gwaine. There's nothing I can do to change that.
      Merlin: Maybe one day.
      Gwaine: Yeah, when Camelot gets itself a half-decent king.
      Arthur: Careful... he is my father.
      Gwaine: Well, you can't have everything, huh?

    • Merlin: Where will you go this time?
      Gwaine: Think I'll ride south.
      Merlin: You can't keep living like that.
      Gwaine: Yeah, but it's fun trying.
      Merlin: Thanks, Gwaine.

    • Arthur: I'll remember this, Gwaine.

    • Merlin: Got to say, that was a good quest. Did you meet that man on the bridge? Then the wyverns, they were really scary. And the door to the throne room! That was so close.
      Arthur: You do talk some nonsense sometimes, Merlin. What on earth would you even know about it? It's not like you were there.
      Merlin: Of course I was.
      Arthur: You were not there, you have not seen me for days. You've been on a little trip to... pick herbs, or whatever it is you do in your spare time.
      Merlin: Ah, course, if your father was to find out you weren't alone...
      Arthur: Yes, Merlin. So just keep your mouth shut!
      Merlin: Absolutely, sire. Do anything you say. For a price.
      Arthur: What kind of price?
      Merlin: A day off.
      Arthur: Mmm. I think you've had too many of those herbs you've been picking.

    • Uther: Arthur, I don't know what pleases me more: to be in possession of such a precious artefact or know that you have finally proved yourself to be the man I had always hoped you would be.
      Arthur: Thank you, father.
      Uther: I have no doubt that you will one day make a fine king.

    • Gaius: It's from the Lake of Avalon?
      Merlin: That's what he told me.
      Gaius: Interesting.
      Merlin: You think?
      Gaius: Well, it must have some significance.
      Merlin: Maybe... do you believe his warnings?
      Gaius: Well, we already know of one enemy within our walls.
      Merlin: Morgana.
      Gaius: Her abilities are growing. Whether the Fisher King is right or wrong, we would be foolish to ignore his words.

  • NOTES (14)

    • The Perilous lands were Alice Troughton's favourite shot to film of the show.

    • The vial with the Avalon water was originally three times the size is was supposed to be and it looked ridiculous for Merlin to hide it and carry it around so they had to film the scenes without the vial and replace it later.

    • International Airdates:
      Canada: March 5, 2011 on Space.
      France: March 27, 2011 on Canal + Family.
      Italy: April 7, 2011 on Italia 1.
      Poland: April 23, 2011 on Polsat.
      Spain: January 29, 2011 on Antena 3 Neox.
      Turkey: February 27, 2011 on CNBC-e.
      USA: March 4, 2011 on Syfy.

    • Having the chance to work with Warwick Davis was a big highlight for Colin Morgan who declares himself a big Willow fan.

    • As it can be deducted from Bradley James and Colin Morgan's Geek Syndicate interview during the September 5th, 2010 during a BFI event, the airing order of this episode and episode 3x10 Queen of Hearts was swapped. When asked what their favourite episode was, they said episode 10. Colin mentions that it is a The Princess Bride type of adventure and Bradley mentions the 'Perilous Lands'. Both statements fit this episode and not 3x10.

    • According to Barney Curnow from The Mill, to design The Dark Tower they created an initial 3D concept (since 3 takes were going to be needed) starting from the original storyboard for the shot and also several digital matte paintings of the Tower and the Perilous Lands.
      The Wyverns were based on the Great Dragon model.
      The special effect that makes The Fisher King disappear in a whirlwind of rags and dust was done with CG rags and cloth with CG swirling smoke and practical wind-blown elements. Even though this effect has been used before (Mary Collins in episode 1x01 The Dragon's Call, Morgana and Morgause in episode 2x12 The Fires of Idirsholas) this one was closer up and more drawn out than before.

    • This episode is Bradley James and Colin Morgan's favourite series 3 episode.

    • Warwick Davis loves to watch Merlin with his family and he was thrilled to have been offered the role of Grettir. He had a great time with Bradley James and Colin Morgan, whom he defines as 'top blokes, really good guys and very welcoming'.

    • Filming locations:
      Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
      Cardiff, Wales, UK (Studio sets).
      Caerphilly Castle, Castle Street, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan, Wales, UK (Marketplace and covered walkway Merlin and Gwaine run through while being chased. Also Fisher's King castle).
      Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England, UK (Grettir's bridge).
      Trefil Quarry, Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK (Lands surrounding The Dark Tower where Arthur is first attacked by the wyverns).
      Llanwonno Forest, Mountain Ash, South Wales, UK (Perilous Lands).

      According to Shine's location manager Midge Ferguson, the after-effects of forestry operations and a fire at the site left a dramatic and wild-looking landscape which made Llanwonno Forest the ideal setting for the Perilous Lands.

      According to Warwick Davis none of the scenery in Puzzlewood was done by the art department; everything is natural including the bridge his character guards.

    • Emilia Fox found her old woman disguise a terrifying experience since it gave her an unwelcome glimpse into the future. She had never been applied prosthetics before, and the process took up to four hours to be completed. She considers it the best disguise she's ever had on screen.

    • Katie McGrath was disappointed not to have had the chance to meet Warwick Davis.

    • The Great Dragon does not appear in this episode, but John Hurt is credited (for the voice-over which begins the episode).

    • Also Known As:
      France: Les Terres De Perils , meaning 'The Perilous Lands'.
      Germany: Das Auge Des Phoenix.
      Italy: L'occhio Della Fenice.
      Poland: Oko Feniksa.
      Portugal: O Olho Da Phoenix.

    • Broadcasts:
      Sat 30 Oct 2010 at 19:55-20:40 on BBC One.
      Mon 1 Nov 2010 at 19:00-19:45 on BBC Three.


    • The scenes where Arthur is trying to figure out a way into the Fisher King's chamber and finds a trap that releases bugs before rolling under a door resemble scenes from the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

    • The wyverns flying around the Fisher King's castle bear a lot of resemblance to the Nazguls flying around Barad-dur in Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. The castle itself looks a lot like Barad-dur fortress and they are both called 'The Dark Tower'. Also, the Perilous Lands resemble Mordor's devastated landscape and the Eye of the Phoenix has in Arthur the same effect as the ring has in Frodo: draining their strength. Moreover, the hourglass containing water from the lake of Avalon that the Fisher King gives to Merlin to show him the way when all seems lost resembles the light of Earendil that Galadriel gives Frodo to show him the way in dark places, when all other lights go out' in Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of The Ring.

    • The Fisher King: I have been waiting all these years for the arrival of a new time, the time of the once and future king.

      'The Once And Future King' is a title often ascribed to Arthur, taken from the supposed inscription over his grave HIC IACET ARTORIVS REX QVONDAM REXQVE FVTVRVS (Here lies Arthur, the once and future king).

      Also, T.H. White wrote an Arthurian fantasy novel published in 1958 and entitled The Once and Future King.