The story begins dear readers in a land of myth and time of magic. The plot twists are snakelike and positively spiky like a freshly grown wild prune berry growing wild in a wild bush. You pluck one and plop it into your mouth, the thorns grating along the inside of your tastebuds and the roof of your mouth. Delightful? Not exactly. But adventurous? For sure.
For those of you seated right now who don’t know what show and to what experience I am referring, it is Merlin. It’s old, but I guess like the wild foothills of the interweb is still in its infancy and like many shows before it, it has since been canceled due to a story ending befitting of King Arthur himself and his merry men (I’m sorry. I think I’m getting a bit overexcited here. That was Robin Hood- but great show too.). Knights of the round table then.
Merlin (played by Colin Morgan) is a warlock (boy wizard with magic shooting from his brows- like Spock but with rounder ears) who arrives after a long and arduous journey to the kingdom of Camelot after his mother arranges for him to stay with the court physician, Gaius (Richard Wilson kind of like a stubborn Dumbledore, I’m talking Richard Curtis pre-Gambon era, but endearing and stern in equal measure. I think actually, he’s dutiful to his ‘One foot in the grave’ role here.) The King, Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head- Brits, in my opinion, make the best villains thou wretched mongers.) has banned magic for twenty years in something known as the Great Purge. The Great Purge is like Stalin’s Russian same name equivalent too (coincidence?), which also imprisons the last of its kind, a gigantic dragon as epitomized by John Hurt in his crumbly, gravel tones deep below the fabric of the earth we know to be called above ground. So ‘deep under the kingdom’ then. Merlin is told by this Dragon that his destiny is tied to that of Uther’s son, Arthur, a goodly king who will deliver fairness and justice to the land of Albion, uniting Camelot with its magical inhabitants.
This is before the meeting between the two characters. Amid the swashbuckling action scene that could give Pirates of the Caribbean a lesson or two in cheeky sided jibes and fine thrusting action, it is revealed that Arthur can be testing and overconfident leading Merlin to believe Arthur is arrogant and self-obsessed. It is in this arrogance, where Merlin becomes his manservant and gradually, a friend through mutual respect for each other’s company. He also befriends a serving girl, ‘Guinevere’ (Angel Coulby).
Throughout many adventures which threaten the safety and security of the Kingdom and the intricate lives of the characters, such as a goblin whose hunger for gold coins leads it to shapeshift into a princess to capture Arthurs poisoned heart and a storyline with an epic duel on horseback with a poisoned jousting stick meant for Arthur, ultimately, Uther’s actions in the Kingdom go awry, causing his ward, Morgana (Irish beauty Katie McGrath who used to work in the wardrobe and costume department of the show but was promoted, I’m sorry if I’m killing the magic here) to turn to Morgause (Emilia Fox) an evil witch and a whole bunch of other bad wuju to plot against Uther and Camelot. It’s not a stereotypical good vs bad show. More good vs bad and then a subset of bad which turns out to be good with good projecting itself as ominous (ie John Hurt). Merlin must, in the end, work together with Arthur to save Albion and does so in a way that leaves you asking if there is yet another stomach-churning twist out there and in the fashionable, flavorsome words of Oliver Twist, leaves you asking,
‘Please, sir. Can I have some more sir?’