★★★★★/★★★★★ Merlin created by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy.
In a land of myth, and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy. His name… Merlin.
Please listen to the perfect Arthur/Guinevere song Winter Song while reading the review.
Now look at these knights:
(Sir Gwaine, Sir Lancelot, Sir Leon, Prince/King Arthur, Sir Percival, and Sir Elyan )
This series follows Merlin as a young man, and his relationships with prince Arthur, a servant Guinevere, a ward Morgana, court physician Gaius, and a few other lads aka men above, and much, much more. Here he encounters his true self, a dragon, a ruthless leader, fear of death, and a destiny he can no longer run from. All we know for sure is that he will kick some butt.
There is nothing I can possibly say about this show that has not been said a million times, yes the ending was not completely what we expected because there were some unanswered questions, but it was brilliant, and I love seeing Merlin as something more than a very old magician.
The characters are the best part of the series:
- Merlin is a sassy old thing:
Arthur: I warn you, I’ve been trained to kill since birth.
Merlin: Wow. And how long have you been training to be a prat?
Arthur: You can’t address me like that.
Merlin: Sorry. How long have you been training to be a prat, my lord?
He has to live up to the expectation of helping Arthur bring up the golden age of Albion, but he must hide his powers, for in this land magic is forbidden by Uther Pendragon, the current king. As such he pretends to be dim-witted, but he is a good sorcerer, a noble friend, and his happiness is of utmost importance.
- Arthur is a cute little idiot with a heart of gold. Ever heard of King Richard the Lion-Hearted? Well Arthur is an older version, more mythical, less Crusade-war-waging, but with a strong heart nonetheless. He is compassionate, and kind, but arrogant. And as the series progresses he becomes more complex. He sometimes pays attention to his father, but knows deep inside even his father can be wrong.
Uther: Never. The law is the law. The Code bends for no man!
Arthur: Then the Code is wrong!
- Guinevere is a lovely and strong woman, that is extremely kind and caring, but who will gear up when need to and will try as hard as she can to save those she cares for, no matter the cost. She is different to legend, as in here, instead of being a princess, she is a chambermaid to Lady Morgana.
- Morgana begins as a very nice lady, and then turns into the evil version that is sometimes depicted. But she is not evil for the sake of evilness, she has a reason, various, and what she does makes sense in an anti-hero way. One of the best things she said on the entire show was this:
“ Only a madman hears the truth as treason.”
- Gaius is a mentor to Merlin, he discovers his magical abilities and tries to help him as best he can. He is very knowledgeable and all around fantastic. He is constantly teasing Merlin for his occasional idiocy, and is perhaps the only logical voice throughout the series.
- Kilgarragh the Great Dragon is as stated, a great dragon, and also the last of his kind. He was tricked and imprisoned by Uther, and as such holds a lot of resentment. He knows of the future, and is the one to tell Merlin of his destiny and that of Arthur, as well as Morgana and Mordred.
There are of course other characters worthy to be mentioned, such as every single knight of the Round Table aka the ones shown at the beginning of this review. Note that they were not all of noble birth, and that they all added different things to the story, often times to bring in our lovely characters their true selves.
Now to the villains:
- Nimueh: based off of The Lady of the Lake, but in a more evil-with-a-purpose kind. She is the original antagonist in the first season. She practiced the Old Religion, and was one of the greatest sorcerers ever, she has a personal vendetta with Uther, as should every sorcerer, considering he hunted them down during the Purge.
- Mordred: A Druid, a hunted people that also practice the Old Religion. When we first meet him he is a child, on the run, and not evil at all, but extremely powerful, one of the few that knows the identity of Merlin. He is not the same as his historical counterpart, as this show deviates quite a bit from it, and I was quite thankful for this, as his reason for doing what he does in the end makes sense, not more than the original, but sense nonetheless.
- Morgause: A skilled sorcerer and warrior of the Old Religion. She is half-sister to Morgana, and as such is always looking to protect her, even if Morgana did not know of their relationship. At the beginning she hoped for a more peaceful way to bring magic back to Camelot, but this was not made easy, and in the end failed.
A thing I greatly appreciated in this was the racial diversity, not only is Guinevere a woman of colour, but there are also knights, and regular people, that are of different ethnicity, and not slaves. The show could have gone with the usual route:
However it stood to how diversity still existed, and how slavery was more of a conquered people issue rather than ethnicity/cultural at the time, considering there was even a time in which only non-Christians could be traded, even white-Europeans.
There are only five seasons, and I am sad that more could not come to fruition before the last season, because I wanted more, much more. But it will return,
“for when Albion’s need is greatest, Arthur will rise again.”
This is how I interpret it: Morgana is Ravenclaw, Merlin is Slytherin, Arthur is Gryffindor, and Guinevere is Hufflepuff.