Season 4 Episode 12

The Sword In The Stone Part 1

Aired Unknown Dec 17, 2011 on BBC



  • Trivia

    • Despite the title, Excalibur is not featured in the episode.

    • Goof: Isolde doesn't bleed at all from her sword wound, not even right after suffering the injury.

    • Goof: When dressed as a commoner, Arthur switches from wearing sandals to rain boots and back to sandals again.

    • In the scene where Tristan examines Arthur's sword, a stain on Arthur's shirt is only visible in the frontal takes whereas it disappears in the side ones. Likewise, rain is only visible in the frontal takes whereas there is no sign of it in the side ones. At the end of the scene, Merlin ruffles Arthur's hair in a side take but Arthur's hair is back to normal in the frontal take that follows.

    • After Cenred was killed by Morgause in episode 3x12 The Coming Of Arthur, Part 1 Cenred's kingdom has become Lot's kingdom.

    • The Nathair snake comes from the Mountains of Asgorath. It's harmless most of the time but it can cause pain beyond all imagining under the influence of magic.

    • Arthur's favourite food is herb crusted capon. As per episode 3x02 The Tears Of Uther Pendragon Part 2 he also likes pickled eggs.

    • This is the third episode in series 4 after 4x03 The Wicked Day and 4x04 Aithusa in which Arthur is featured with his trousers dropped/removed.

    • This episode is set around the time of the feast of Beltane, which places it some 6 months after Uther's dead which happened shortly after Samhain.

  • Quotes

    • Arthur: What's taking so long?
      Merlin: It's the feast of Beltane. The king must look kingly.
      Arthur: I'm not gonna look kingly in my undergarments, am I?
      Merlin: Have a little... patience. Think of something pleasant!
      Arthur: You in the stocks?
      Merlin: Wait one... second...
      Arthur: One! What have you got there?
      Merlin: (Hiding something behind his back) Nothing. My hand. My other hand.
      Arthur: (Retrives what Merlin is hiding) Why are you putting another hole in this belt?
      Merlin: I was uh... enhancing it for comfort and ease of use.
      Arthur: Are you saying I'm fat?
      Merlin: No. I'm just saying that the belt is one hole shy of perfection.
      Arthur: Ridiculous! (Arthur struggles to put the belt on but it's too tight)
      Merlin: Don't be too hard on yourself, a little extra padding goes with the job with all the feasts and banquets and ceremonies...
      Arthur: All right, Merlin, do what you have to. Not a word of this to anyone, understand?
      Merlin: Trust me. If there's one thing I'm good at it's... keeping secrets.

    • Arthur: Ah, my favourite... herb crusted capon.
      Merlin: Easy now, we don't want any more holes in that belt!
      (Sir Percival almost chokes on his drink and Arthur pretends to laugh amused)
      Merlin: (To Gaius) Wine?
      (Gaius nodds)
      Arthur: Merlin? (Grabbing a fist of Merlin's clothes and pulling him closer) It's a good job you don't have anything of any actual importance to keep secret, isn't it?

    • Merlin: Are you all right?
      Arthur: No one likes to be called fat, Merlin.
      Merlin: Sorry. It's Gwen, isn't it?
      Arthur: I look for her in the room, she's not there. Then I remember why.

    • Sir Elyan: This is your doing.
      Agravaine: Stand aside. There's nothing you can do about it now.
      Sir Elyan: I can kill you for the traitor that you are!
      Agravaine: Brave words, Elyan. And they shall be your last.
      Morgana: (Blasts Sir Elyan away) We don't have time to play soldiers, Agravaine.

    • Gaius: How did this happen? How did they get in without being detected?
      Merlin: Agravaine was planning something.
      Gaius: It seems your worst fears have been realised, Merlin.

    • (Merlin takes a wounded Arthur to safety after he has been fighting the invading Southron army)
      Arthur: Been hiding in the broom cupboard as usual, Merlin?

    • Arthur: (Realizing that he's been betrayed by his uncle) Agravaine... (Intends to charge against him)
      Merlin: (Stopping him) It's no good. Arthur! There are too many of them. You can deal with your uncle later. All right?

    • Helios: The city has fallen. Camelot is ours.
      Morgana: And? Taking Camelot was the easy part, Helios. I want Arthur. Where is he?
      Helios: He's right here, my lady. In the palace. He's nowhere left to run.

    • Merlin: They're coming for Arthur. If they find him they'll kill him.
      Sir Percival: We must get him to safety while we still can.
      Sir Gwaine: Arthur will never abandon his people. He'd rather die.

    • Merlin: We need to get Arthur out of here whether he likes it or not. Can you give him some kind of potion or something to knock him out?
      Gaius: I don't have anything strong enough. In my chambers perhaps, but the Southrons have control the palace.
      Merlin: There must be something.
      Gaius: I'm sorry, Merlin. Maybe there's something you can do. Arthur won't go willingly. But what if he was to lose his will?
      Merlin: Are you suggesting magic?
      Gaius: Can you do it?
      Merlin: I can try.

    • Merlin: Gather your things, Gaius.
      Gaius: You go, Merlin. I'll just slow you down.
      Merlin: Gaius, no.
      Gaius: You must know it's for the best.
      Merlin: No, if you stay here...
      Sir Gwaine: (Pushing Merlin towards the exit) No time to argue. I'm sorry.
      Gaius: Look after our King, Merlin.

    • (Gaius and Sir Gwaine have stayed behind to buy Arthur some time to escape)
      Gaius: It seems your victory is short lived, Morgana.
      Morgana: Prepare the horses. We're going on a hunt.

    • Sir Percival: They'll come after us. They know Arthur's still alive.
      Sir Elyan: Then we have to make it across the border. Find sanctuary anywhere we can.
      Merlin: I know a place. Ealdor.

    • Merlin: We need to find you some kind of disguise. You're too conspicuous in those clothes.
      Simpleton Arthur: Whatever you say. I'm entirely in your hands.

    • Agravaine: Camelot is now under our control. Some knights have fled to the woods, but those that did not escape are either in our dungeons or dead.
      Morgana: Very good. Have the people of Camelot welcomed me as their Queen?
      Agravaine: They will swear allegiance to no one but Arthur.
      Morgana: I expected no less. Burn their crops. Let's see how they feel when their children begin to starve.

    • (Simpleton Arthur is getting changed into commoner clothes)
      Merlin: In your own time, obviously.
      Arthur: Sorry, Merlin. Some of these things are a little on the tight side.
      Merlin: Beggars can't be choosers, Sire.
      Arthur: No, you're right. I probably should learn to think before I speak, shouldn't I?
      Merlin: It'd be a start.

    • (After Simpleton Arthur has changed into commoner's clothes, too small for him)
      Merlin: You look like a total turniphead.
      Arthur: Well, shall I try something else? There's... there's plenty more here.
      Merlin: No, no. That... that will do absolutely fine.

    • Morgana: Do you know what this is? (Snake hisses) No? It's a Nathair... from the Mountains of Asgorath. Harmless enough most of the time but with a little persuasion it can cause pain beyond all imagining. So you have a choice. Tell me where Arthur is... or sample the delights of my little friend here.
      Sir Elyan: I'll tell you nothing.
      Morgana: I was hoping you'd say that.
      (She uses a enchantment on the snake and Sir Elyan screams in agony under its torture)

    • (Sir Elyan is screaming in agony under torture)
      Agravaine: Good God. Will it never end?
      Helios: (Avidly eating a chicken leg) What's wrong? Don't have the stomach for it?

    • (After torturing Sir Elyan for information)
      Morgana: Arthur travels to Ealdor. You will leave without delay. And Agravaine? Fail me again and you'll be taking Elyan's place.

    • Sir Gwaine: (About Sir Elyan) What have they done to him?
      Gaius: This is the work of the Nathair serpent. He's been tortured to the limit of human endurance.

    • Morgana: I thought I told you to leave at once.
      Agravaine: My men are all ready to depart.
      Morgana: Then what are you waiting for?
      Agravaine: I... I just wanted to say goodbye.
      Morgana: Consider it done.
      Agravaine: And to ask you to take care.
      Morgana: Why? I have nothing to fear.
      Agravaine: Despite all that you've achieved, Morgana, you must remain cautious. There is danger at every turn. You can trust no one. Not even Helios.
      Morgana: No one except you. Is that it?
      Agravaine: I am your one true ally, my lady. I am your one true friend. I will do anything for you. You know that.
      Morgana: I am grateful for your loyalty, Agravaine. That is why I have entrusted this mission to you.
      Agravaine: I understand. Of course I do. I only wish it did not take me from your side, where I can best protect you.
      Morgana: Find Arthur, and you need never leave my side again.

    • Tristan: (About King Lot) He doesn't take kindly to strangers, I can tell you. Likes to decorate his fortress with their heads.

    • Tristan: (About Simpleton Arthur) What's wrong with your friend?
      Merlin: He's a simpleton. He can't help it.
      Tristan: Look after him, do you?
      Merlin: Without me, he wouldn't last a day.

    • Merlin: Could we not come with you? I mean, I would be grateful for the company, to be honest.
      Simpleton Arthur: I'm very annoying.
      Merlin: Sorry. Please?
      Tristan: Don't push it, boy. You're lucky I let you go with your lives.
      Merlin: I can pay you. With gold.
      Tristan: Well, why didn't you say so before?

    • (Finding Arthur's clothes)
      Agravaine: What kind of coward would deny who he is?

    • Merlin: You're smugglers?
      Isolde: We prefer to think of it as free trade.
      Merlin: It's forbidden. By edict of the King if you're caught you could be killed.
      Isolde: Caught? Tristan and Isolde? I don't think so. We're too quick and too smart for the half-wit king in Camelot.
      (Simpleton Arthur is hugging a tree)
      Merlin: You don't say.

    • Merlin: More soup?
      Simpleton Arthur: Yes, please (After Merlin has served it) Thank you.
      Merlin: A please and a thank you, all at the same time. That's amazing.
      Simpleton Arthur: Is it?
      Merlin: Well, let's just say manners are not your strong point.
      Simpleton Arthur: Really? In what way?
      Merlin: Rude, thoughtless, insensitive. And that's when you're in a good mood.
      Simpleton Arthur: I'm sorry to hear that.
      Merlin: I don't think you realise how hard I work for you. I know you're the King, but it would be nice if you could do one small thing for yourself, as a... gesture, a mark of respect.
      Simpleton Arthur: I'm sorry to have been a disappointment, Merlin. I'll try harder in future.
      Merlin: I'll look forward to that. On the other hand, why wait? That pot will need rinsing out as well.
      Simpleton Arthur: Of course.
      Merlin: And when you're done with that, the horses need a rub-down too.
      Simpleton Arthur: My pleasure.

    • (Arthur wakes up and Merlin's enchantment has worn off)
      Arthur: (Kicking Merlin awake) You'd better have a damn good explanation for this, Merlin! (Merlin keeps quiet) Fine, I'll just carry on kicking you.
      Merlin: You're back!
      Arthur: What do you mean, I'm back? You're talking gibberish!

    • Arthur: Let's assume for one moment you know what you're doing, it doesn't explain why I look like a village idiot.
      Merlin: It's the perfect disguise. No one would ever suspect you of being, you know... who you are.
      Arthur: I'm sorry, Merlin, I'm not going around looking like this.
      Merlin: You have to. You've got to keep in character!
      Arthur: Character? What character?
      Tristan: (To Merlin) You! We leave as soon as the horses are watered. Explain it to the simpleton, would you?

    • Tristan: Simpleton!
      Merlin: He's talking to you.
      Arthur: I don't answer to that name.
      Merlin: You're in character, remember?

    • (About Arthur's sword)
      Tristan: How did you come by it?
      Merlin: I won it in a card game. I gave it to him as a present and he won't be parted from it. Makes him feel safe.
      Tristan: I hope for your sake that's true. I'd hate to think I was riding with a Knight of Camelot.
      Arthur: (Pretending to be a simpleton) Aye!
      Isolde: A Knight of Camelot? Look at him!
      Tristan: You're right. The knights may be stupid, but they're not that stupid.

    • Merlin: Pack your things, Simpleton!
      Arthur: Call me that again and I'll run you through.

    • (Fighting the Southron army, after having covered for Tristan and Isolde)
      Merlin: Who will cover us?
      Arthur: Don't be a simpleton, Merlin.

    • Tristan: They were after you. Who the hell are you?
      Arthur: My name is Arthur Pendragon.
      Tristan: The King of Camelot?
      Arthur: At least, I was...
      Tristan: I've lost everything I've worked for for some good-for-nothing king!
      Arthur: That's something coming from a smuggler.
      Tristan: I wouldn't have to be one if it wasn't for your damn taxes, would I?
      Arthur: Those taxes help protect the people of this land.
      Tristan: My people are dead, you call that protection?

    • (After Isolde has been wounded in a swordfight)
      Tristan: Isolde... We had a deal. Partners for life, remember?
      Isolde: When have I not kept my promises?
      Arthur: We need to keep moving. There'll be more coming soon.
      Tristan: Then go. There's nothing stopping you.
      Merlin: Come with us to Ealdor. You'll be safe there.
      Tristan: I'm choosy about the company I keep.
      Merlin: He saved my life, Tristan (To Arthur) Thank you.
      Tristan: But none of this would have happened if wasn't for them.
      Arthur: She's injured. She needs shelter and rest.
      Tristan: Very well. But know this, Arthur Pendragon... I do this for her. You and your kind bring nothing but misery to this land.

    • Gaius: Have you come to gloat, my lady?
      Morgana: Is that any way to treat an old friend? I'll forgive you, after all you're not looking your best.
      Sir Gwaine: Can't you see he's starving? We all are.
      Morgana: Of course you are, after you killed so many of my men. I'll have the kitchen prepare you a feast.
      Sir Gwaine: I think not of myself, but of Gaius. He can't survive long without food.
      Morgana: Oh, Gwaine. So handsome, so selfless. Of course you shall have some supper... as long as you're prepared to sing for it.

    • Arthur: You knew Agravaine was betraying me.
      Merlin: I couldn't be sure... but I did have my suspicions.
      Arthur: I feel like such a fool. I put such trust in him. All this time, I was blind to his treachery as I was to Morgana's.
      Merlin: You were deceived. It could happen to anyone.
      Arthur: Yet it keeps happening to me. I cared about these people. I don't understand. What have I done wrong? Why do they hate me?
      Merlin: No, they don't hate you, they just... crave your power for themselves.
      Arthur: Perhaps. But would they still want that power if I was the King my people deserve? Maybe Tristan was right.
      Merlin: Tristan was angry and... afraid. He needed to blame someone but it's not you that's to blame.
      Arthur: You seem very sure about all this.
      Merlin: All I know is that for all your many faults, you are honest and brave and true-hearted. And one day you will be the greatest King this land has ever known.
      Arthur: Well... good to know I have the support of my servant, at least.
      Merlin: I'm not alone. Believe me.

    • Sir Gwaine: (As he fights a Southron man) Is that all you have? I was promised a decent fight. You're a very angry man,
      I can see that. It must be hard... being so ugly.

    • Arthur: I'm sorry I brought this... misfortune upon you.
      Tristan: Well, I may have lost my cargo but I still have my beloved Isolde.
      Arthur: Then you're richer than you know.

    • (About Gwen)
      Merlin: How's she been?
      Hunith: As well as can be expected but a broken heart takes time to mend.

    • (Gwen is arranging Arthur's bandage when he wakes up)
      Arthur: Guinevere.
      Gwen: Hello, Arthur.
      Arthur: What are you doing here?
      Gwen: It's as good a place as any. I've missed you.
      Arthur: And I you.
      (They join in a tight hug)

  • Notes

  • Allusions