There are a lot of things about the series Merlin that I love. I loved them then; I love them now. Ideals of integrity, devotion, and friendship done against wonderful backgrounds of forests and castles … studies on relationships, parent/child, brother/sister, good vs evil, difficult choices … etc. So much is hidden in the anticipated story-line resolutions. All of these themes contribute to the maturing of our hero, who starts the story as a naive country boy newly arrived in the city; a city that is dangerous for anyone with his special abilities. Through 5 seasons we watch this young actor display humor, sorrow, joy, anguish, loyalty and devastation. Merlin does not acquire his maturity easily … he takes us on his journey filled with hope and arrives at the end with acceptance that not all things are within his power.
There are interesting philosophical questions presented to us. … I love that Merlin is placed in so many moral dilemmas. I love that his magic does not come easily … that he has to practice … that he often doesn’t get it right the first time or two. I love that Gaius does not have unlimited knowledge … that he very often has to find an answer in one of his many books. I love that Merlin is given different advice by different people, both of whom he respects, and is left on his own trying to evaluate the “right” thing to do. I love that frequently the “right” thing leads to the opposite of the desired result. There is so much irony … so much that cannot be traced to only one good choice. (Like life, is it not?) Did Merlin make the right decision? Did he make the wrong decision? Which decision would have led to the preferred outcome? Does the preferred outcome end up being the best outcome? Can we know that answer … even if we are writing the script ourselves?
There are so many of these kinds of questions raised. This is a story of the heart, and for that I am grateful. It is also a story ripe with ethical examinations … and Colin helps us understand these … helps us experience the anguish of heavy decisions that can affect all he holds dear. We are not standing aloof as an observer only, we suffer with him.
These pages will follow my journey through Merlin … my discoveries … my impressions … my continuing admiration for the talents that brought this series to the screen … both in front of and behind the cameras.
I can’t imagine that anyone is concerned about spoilers at this point in time. Merlin is a few years behind us now and most everyone interested has seen it. In any case, I will not be avoiding any revelations of plot. (If that concerns the reader, please be warned.)
Being in the U.S., I was late coming to Merlin. (It was being shown in the UK and released here after a one-year delay.) Serendipity led me to the land of myth and time of magic. When it was promoted I saw previews occasionally. I thought I had no interest in watching a boy wizard’s adventures, therefore refrained from dipping my toe in the water. As time went on I faced a decline in income and decided to “tighten my belt” (as in “The Labyrinth of Gedref”). As a consequence I reduced my cable options to the lowest selection. Happily, among my limited viewing choices was BBC America. So, one lazy Saturday afternoon I found a marathon on BBC of the first series/season of Merlin. Oh, well, I decided, it could be a diverting afternoon’s entertainment … and there began my now six or seven year odyssey into the world of Colin Morgan. My viewing life had changed within the first few moments of the first episode, and it changed forever!
From the first episode … What a treasure, this young actor seemed. I was enchanted from the moment Gaius asked, rather gruffly, “Who are you?” Merlin’s shy answer , “I’m … Merlin … ” with that slight hesitation, denoting so much. “Merlin, Hunith’s son, but you aren’t due ’til Wednesday”. Merlin’s reticent reply: “It is … Wednesday”, again with that small hesitation, and the diffident manner in which he said it … not really wanting to correct his mentor, so being rather circumspect and careful in his response, right down to the lowering of his eyes … told me this person was something special. I have simply grown and grown in my admiration of his talent, his manner as a person, his dedication to his chosen craft, and just all around kindness and generosity to others on screen and off.(That event then led to my pursuit of all things Colin Morgan. Of course, “Parked” and “Island” came up … and not wanting to wait for the US distributions, I bought an all region dvd player and ordered both films from Amazon UK. Those films will be talked about on subsequent pages; these pages are dedicated to Merlin.)