As we say goodbye to MERLIN, it is time to take a quick look back at the series which swept us off our feet and into a magical world of kings and queens, wizards and dragons. In fantasy lore there is no more famous name than Merlin; for everyone has heard of the young warlock and his nemesis Morgana – not to mention King Arthur, who was destined to pull a sword out of stone to unite the kingdom of Camelot. When MERLIN debuted 5 years ago, fans across the globe were struck by the refreshing tale of how a young Merlin (Colin Morgan) came to meet his future king, then known as only Prince Arthur (Bradley James), and the infamous women that would shape their lives: Morgana (Katie McGrath) and Guinevere (Angel Coulby).
When it all just began, Merlin was but a lowly servant, mentored by the King’s private physician Gaius (Richard Wilson) and assigned to serve Prince Arthur. Guinevere, best known as Gwen, was also similarly situated as she served the young princess Morgana, the ward of King Uther (Anthony Head). Magic was forbidden in Camelot and those who found using it were killed on sight. Thus, began Merlin and Arthur’s long journey towards friendship and their appointment with destiny.
In the early years, it was all fun and games for the most part. Arthur had to learn to be a king and Merlin had to learn to be a wizard. There were trials and errors on both sides as each struggled to master their abilities, magical and otherwise, and they had to learn to respect and appreciate each other. While their trust was not lightly given, over the course of the next 5 years, each managed to earn the other’s trust and admiration. Merlin was no longer the clumsy, timid boy yearning for acceptance; and Arthur was no longer the arrogant, self-centered bully cowering before his father. On the flip-side, Morgana went from being a fearful, proper young lady to being a determined, wicked sorceress; and Gwen went from being a quiet wallflower to being an outspoken, radiant queen. For better or worse, each blossomed into their destined roles.
The journey was both painful and inspiring. We watched them rise out of their childish naiveté and become leaders that would galvanize change. They embraced their passions and pursued justice – even the misguided Morgana tried to pursue what she thought was right. It has been a magnificent adventure which introduced Kilgharrah (the Great Dragon), the Knights of the Roundtable, a multitude of allies and enemies, and occasionally, to someone who would mark our hearts forever: RIP Freya (Laura Donnelly), Lancelot (Santiago Cabrera), and Elyan (Adetomiwa Edun).
This final season of MERLIN has been a labor of love, especially after last season’s spectacular finish with the marriage of King Arthur and Guinevere, and Arthur pulling the sword from the stone. The fifth and final season has shown the depths to which Morgana would sink in order to kill Arthur, destroy Camelot, and unmask her sworn enemy: Emrys. She even wrought a powerful spell to turn Gwen against her husband and king, which weighed heavy on many a heart watching Morgana’s evil plot unfold. Then it was even more heart-wrenching as Mordred (Alexander Vlahos) finally revealed his true colors and turned his back on his king and unmasked Merlin as the warlock Emrys. With one episode left, the end to this wondrous journey is in sight. But will it end in tears, or with laughter and rejoicing?
Knowing the classic tales, we fear that the end will bring tears. Our heroes have endured much and we have witnessed many of their greatest moments of triumph and love. For even wizards, warlocks and sorceress are mortal – and kings and queens cannot reign for ever. Life is fleeting and we celebrate the moments we get to share together.
Whether MERLIN ends tears or laughter, we feel privileged to have shared its five year journey. We loved getting to know Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Morgana and all those jaw-droppingly handsome knights. We even held a soft spot for the curmudgeonly King Uther and his faithful friend Gaius. Then we were in absolute awe of the Great Dragon who looked so regal and imposing even in his final days. There has been much to marvel at over the years and we loved every second of it.
Thanks for inviting us along to peer into the magical world of Camelot and those who resided there. Of all that we shall miss, we shall miss finding out what the next chapter would have revealed. Surely there are more grand adventures to be had, if only we could have seen them. Thanks for the memories and know that you’ll be in our hearts forever.
Be sure to savor every second of the final hurrah as MERLIN ends its last season on Friday, May 31st at 10:00 p.m. on Syfy.
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