Dec 18, 2012

Merlin 511: The Drawing of the Dark

"There are some paths woven so deeply into the fabric of the world Merlin that nothing can be done to change them."

It finally happened: Mordred has broken with Arthur and Morgana knows who Emrys is!!! The end is nigh indeed! The only thing missing is for Arthur to find out about Merlin, and based on the previews for next week I'm afraid that won't be until the final episode. *sigh*

Excellent episode! A story featuring a Druid girl wounded during an attack against Camelot soldiers finally got the ball moving on bringing the season series to its end (sniff!). At last we have the answer to the puzzle that is Mordred: is he just faking it to be close to Arthur in Camelot? Or does he truly believe in Arthur's vision (and the king himself) but something happens to make him break away and become the enemy? 

Dec 16, 2012

Merlin 510: The Kindness of Strangers

Drat! I saw this late, I'm reviewing it even later and my brain is all fuzzy because of a nasty cold that's allowing me to give Rudolph a run for his money! :o(

So in this episode Arthur is all lovey-dovey with Gwen, they're both obviously super relieved she's no longer Morgana's evil puppet! This of course leads to some funny moments with Merlin trying to help Arthur be romantic... not very successful I might add! :p

Dec 2, 2012

Merlin 509: With All My Heart

Well, now that we know that this is the final season of Merlin *sob*, I was doubly relieved to see this episode addressing the issue of brainwashed-Gwen so we can (hopefully) move on to more interesting things, like Arthur finding out about Merlin! Unfortunately as of this episode he still has no clue... And this would have been the perfect occasion for Arthur to HAVE to accept Merlin's sorcery as it was the only way to save Gwen! *sigh* Well, at least we got some good laughs with both aged "Emrys" and a female version, the "Dolma"! :p

Merlin as the aged Emrys (or Dragoon the Great) and in drag as the Dolma! :p

Nov 25, 2012

Merlin 508: The Hollow Queen

Hmmm... Merlin seems to be alternating between really good episodes and "meh" episodes (last week's) lately, and this was another good one! 

Although she still doesn't know Merlin is "Emrys" (and thus her mortal enemy), Morgana does realise he has done a lot to protect Arthur and foil her plans on many occasions and so finally launches a direct assault on him as a prelude to a plan to assassinate Arthur. She knows him well enough to find the perfect lure for a trap and he falls for it hook, line and sinker! Took me a while to see it coming and there were some moments that truly surprised me and had me going "woah!". Merlin really had me worried there! 

Nov 23, 2012

Merlin 507: A Lesson In Veangeance

Aha! Finally an episode in which Angel Coulby (Gwen) has something to do! Plus it's always great fun seeing Emrys (i.e. "old" Merlin) again, speaking in riddles! :o)

Nov 11, 2012

Merlin 506: The Dark Tower

This week's episode follows the pattern of a traditional quest to rescue -as Gwaine says- "a maiden in a tower, a damsel in distress" (to which he adds: "I was born for this moment." cocky much? lol!). The maiden in question is Guinevere, taken by Morgana to the Dark Tower. Except Gwen is no longer a maiden now that she's married, right? ;o)

The Dark Tower is place to be feared, where many young knights have met their end. Even better, to get there Arthur and his knights (and Merlin) must find a way through the Impenetrable Forest  followed by the Dolorous Plains, a desert full of the remains of dead knights. Hmmm... a princess -well, queen- in a tower at the other side of a forest of thorns? Sleeping Beauty anyone? Although poor Gwen can't sleep in this tower... :p

Nov 4, 2012

Merlin 505: The Disir

Ahhh, now that's more like it! After last week's uninteresting outing, Merlin is back with an excellent episode that really gives Bradley James (Arthur) and especially Colin Morgan (Merlin) a chance to show us how good they are! But at the same time it's a very frustrating episode as we don't appear to be any closer to Merlin revealing his true nature to Arthur! If anything that moment has just been significantly pushed back. :o(

Oct 28, 2012

Merlin 504: Another's Sorrow

Morgana convinces Odin to attack Nemeth, an allied kingdom of Camelot's, capturing its king and the princess Mithian (to whom Arthur was briefly engaged in season 4).  She then coerces Mithian into "escaping" to Camelot for help and leading Arthur into a trap (to "rescue" her father) so Odin (who hates Arthur for having killed his son, but the sentiment is mutual since Odin is responsible for Uther's death). For a moment I thought Gwaine would finally be clued in to Merlin's secret, but no such luck. Poor Merlin needs more friends in the know! And how on earth has Morgana not figured it out yet?! Perhaps she will once she is strong enough to match him (something he mentions to Gaius at the end that has him worried)? It's hard to compare their magic because we always get to see a lot more of hers than his!

After last week's magnificent episode (Merlin confronting Uther's ghost!), this episode didn't inspire me too much, until Merlin stopped Arthur from killing Odin (in battle, not murder!) by telling him:
"Think about what you're doing. What good will this achieve? How many times have you talked about uniting this land? Will killing this man make that dream any closer?"
Merlin gives Arthur some good advice.

Yay! First mention (that I can remember) in this series of Arthur's dream to unite the kingdoms of Britain! So, is "High King" Arthur a possible future? ;o)

For a more detailed (and hopefully more inspired) review than mine, head on over to Billie Doux.

Elements from Arthurian Legend:

Not much this time other than the usual (Camelot, the Knights etc.), except for the possibility of a unified Britain and a High King Arthur.
Also, I seem to remember one of Morgan Le Fay's (here Morgana) magical abilities was that of altering her appearance, and here she did that by appearing to be "old".

Oct 22, 2012

Merlin 503: The Death Song of Uther Pendragon

Halloween must be just round the corner... Merlin gave us a truly spooky ghost story! ;o)

Glad as I was to see Uther gone and Arthur finally King of Camelot, I have missed seeing Anthony Head (Giles!!!)... so it was wonderful to have him rejoin the family in a ghostly form! Poor Arthur, missing his father and still desperate for his approval, only to be put down by Uther (ghost) because, well, he's not Uther's clone! Arthur is a much better man (and King) than Uther ever was -as Merlin keeps telling him- and believes in a more just Camelot and doesn't want to rule through fear. Uther accuses him of destroying his legacy by appearing weak, allowing commoners to become knights and marrying a serving girl.  

Uther is not happy with Arthur's rule in Camelot!

And then he finds out about Merlin!!! This has to be one of my favourite moments in the whole series, Merlin facing down Uther:

Oct 16, 2012

Merlin 501-2: Arthur's Bane

Merlin's back, YAY!!! They're starting with another bloody two-parter that leaves you hanging at the end of the first episode and you know all the good stuff was saved for the second part so boo! So I'm just going to group them as one for the blog! ;o)

still angry!
As a general impression, I'd say that wasn't a bad season opener... and yet I felt something was lacking. Can't quite put my finger on it. Three peaceful years have passed since Arthur's coronation and wedding to Guinevere, and suddenly Morgana's back (she spent 2 mysterious years "in darkness" with the young dragon... future flashbacks?) and causing trouble in the icy north! Several of Arthur's men have gone missing and of course he heads north to rescue them, only to get into trouble himself with the Saxon troupes guarding Morgana's new lair. She has all these captured men digging away beneath the castle searching for the "Diamair, the key to all knowledge" which will tell her what "Arthur's Bane" is. Merlin in the meantime is the recipient of a vision in which a grown Mordred pierces Arthur with a sword. Battle of Camlann anyone? And then kind of freaks out when he discovers Mordred among the Saxon captors!!!

Mordred killing Arthur?!

Sep 22, 2012

Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell

We've reached the final volume in the Warlord Chronicles trilogy, with Arthur finally the undisputed leader of the British (while his nephew Mordred remains King of Dumnonia in name only, guarded in his palace with no real power, kept alive basically until he marries and produces an heir). It's time for one of the key events in Arthurian lore: Mount Badon! From the author's website:
"If Arthur existed (and I am quite certain he did) then he was probably the great British war leader who won the battle of Mount Badon. No one knows where it was fought, or how it was fought, but we do know that the battle took place and it was the one great defeat inflicted on the English invaders of Britain. In Excalibur we follow Arthur and Derfel to that enormous struggle and incredible victory. It not only throws the Saxons back, but reunites Arthur and Guinevere. He might hope now to be left alone, to have a time of peace after gaining a great victory, but new enemies arise to destroy all he has achieved. First is Mordred himself, the crippled king who owes everything to Arthur and now tries to kill his benefactor. Mordred’s ally is Nimue who has come to hate her mentor, Merlin. And so the story ends as it has always ended, at Camlann . . . ‘and so my lord was gone. And no one has seen him since.’"

Sep 15, 2012

Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell

Second volume in the Warlord Chronicles trilogy, the story starts moments after the ending of the first volume with the aftermath of the terrible battle of Lugg Vale against Kings Gorfyddyd of Powys and Gundleus of Siluria. The warring British kingdoms are now unified in their fight against the Saxons, From the author's website:
"At the end of The Winter King Arthur fought the battle that forces unity on the warring British kingdoms and now he sets out to face the real enemy – the English (it is one of the great ironies of the Arthur stories that he should have become an English hero when, if he existed at all, he was a great war-leader who opposed the invading Sais). First, though, Merlin leads a perilous expedition into the mysterious west to retrieve a cauldron, one of the treasures of Britain – this cauldron story is almost certainly the root of the holy grail strand in the Arthur tales. The treasures of Britain, Merlin believes, will bring the old Gods onto the side of the British in their struggle against the Saxons (and the Christians, whom Merlin hates). But the treasures will also set Briton against Briton – especially as Guinevere, now Arthur’s wife, wants to make a magic of her own. ‘Chaos was now thick across Britain, for someone had spilt the Cauldron’s power and its horror threatened to engulf us all.’"

Sep 5, 2012

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

First book in the Warlord Chronicles trilogy, in which we discover Arthur as a fully-fledged warrior through the eyes of one of Merlin's pupils, former Saxon-slave Derfel, who will become one of Arthur's trusted lieutenants. From the author's website:
"‘Once upon a time, in a land that was called Britain, these things happened . . . . and I was there, and this is how it was.’ The Winter King, like the rest of the trilogy, is narrated by Derfel (which is pronounced Dervel), one of Arthur’s warriors. This first book tells how after the death of Uther, High King of Britain, the country falls into chaos. Uther’s heir is a child, Mordred, and Arthur, his uncle, is named one of the boy’s guardians. Arthur has to fight other British kingdoms and the dreadful “Sais” – the Saxons – who are invading Britain. Arthur is supposed to marry Ceinwyn, a princess of Powys, but falls disastrously in love with Guinevere – ‘There have been many more beautiful women, and thousands who were better, but since the world was weaned I doubt there have been many so unforgettable as Guinevere . . . and it would have been better, Merlin always said, had she been drowned at birth.’"

Sep 4, 2012

The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell

oops! Wrong order in bottom 2! :p
Although Bernard Cornwell may be better known for his Sharpe novels, on his website he confesses that his Arthurian trilogy are his favourite amongst his own novels!

From Bernard Cornwell's website:
"Once upon a time, in a land that was called Britain, these things happened . . . " well, maybe. The Warlord Trilogy is my attempt to tell the story of Arthur, ‘Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus’, the Once and Future King, although I doubt he ever was a king. I suspect he was a great warlord of the sixth century. Nennius, who was one of the earliest historians to mention Arthur, calls him the ‘dux bellorum’ – leader of battles or warlord.
Bernard Cornwell's Britain is that of the fifth and sixth century, a dark time when the Britons, after having been recently abandoned by the Romans who "civilised" them (many Britons still held to all things Roman), were facing wave after wave of Saxon invasions. Invasions which would inevitably lead to the Saxon colonisation of Britain. And they weren't alone: the Irish, fellow Celts, were constantly raiding along the western shores, and the north was frequently under attack from the tribes beyond Hadrian's wall. In fact some Britons had already abandoned the fight and found refuge across the sea in Brittany / Armorica. It was a Britain without any unity, divided into smaller kingdoms regularly at war with each other. It was a Britain in the midst of a religious conflict as well: that of the ever-growing Christianity against what little remained of Druidism (almost extinguished by the Romans) and other religious beliefs also imported by Rome (such as Mithraism).

Sep 2, 2012

SG-1: Avalon

The two-parter Avalon is the opening episode of Stargate SG-1's 9th season. In it they had to establish new characters General Landry (hew head of Stargate Command) and Col. Cameron Mitchell (new head of SG-1).  These introductions include some very cool flashbacks to the battle above Antarctica 2 years before (in which Mitchell is supposed to have saved SG-1 in an F-302) and some great reparté between the two newcomers. ("I'm here to join SG-1" "Colonel, you're here to LEAD SG-1")

They also had to introduce us to the new "big baddies" of seasons 9 and 10: the Ori, basically "evil Ancients". And in so doing we ended up discovering an alien element to the Arthurian legend! ;o)

Aug 30, 2012

Stargate SG-1: seasons 9 & 10

The Stargate SG-1 series picked up the story about a year after the events in the film Stargate and during 8 seasons gave us the adventures of the flagship team SG-1 lead by Col. Jack O'Neill (2 'l's please!) acompanied by Samantha Carter (astrophysicist in the Air Force), Daniel Jackson (anthropologist/archaeologist) and Teal'c (Jaffa). 

Teal'c, Jack, Sam and Daniel