22 June 2009

Watching "Merlin"

Sometimes you wonder why they bother.

In the case of the latest TV series concerning Merlin (Yes, there have been a few before and there will be more after), you wonder why they bothered using characters from the Arthurian legend and then giving them a completely different story.

Last night's episode turned into a good case in point.

So far, we've got a teenage Merlin in the court of Uther, which would be all right. Merlin did go to Uther as a boy, helped him get rid of a couple of dragons, and then later helped him get into Ygraine's bed to sire Arthur. Not in this version, though.

In this version, the teenage Arthur is already there helping his father with the more physical work of running the realm. Ygraine is nowhere in sight but her daughter, Morgana is there (at least, in the original story Morgana is one of Ygraine's daughters). Not only that, but Guinevere is there, not as the daughter of a local king, but as the daughter of a blacksmith. Gwen works in the castle as Morgana's maid.

Last night's episode got a bit silly, foisting what was supposed to be an awful choice on Merlin. A young Druid boy, full of magic, was under sentence of death. Merlin was warned that if the boy was allowed to live, he would kill Arthur. Merlin can't allow this to happen because it is his destiny to bring Arthur to a greater destiny. The dragon under the castle has told Merlin all this.

What we know, that the Merlin in this story does not know, and we have no way of knowing what the dragon in this version knows, is that, yes, Mordred does kill Arthur. He doesn't do this until long after Arthur has achieved his great destiny, though.

So the whole destiny issue was a furphy.

Morva Shepley

No comments:

Post a Comment