4.11: The Hunter's Heart

Dave

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Morgana finds a powerful ally in the Southron warlord Helios. Together they hatch the perfect plan to force Camelot to its knees.

With the kingdom - and Arthur - preoccupied by the arrival of the beautiful Princess Mithian, it falls to an absent friend to raise the alarm: Guinevere.

But with past wounds still raw, can love really conquer all? Or is a deadly arrow destined to fly straight into the heart of Camelot?
 

Jo Zebedee

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I was watching it with four kids around me (babysitting), so I lost a lot of it; but I quite liked it, at least things moved on. Plothole city as ever, what? an ENTIRE army run past the lake. The great warlord wines and dines the wench - I know it's family entertainment, but honestly.
 

TL Rese

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yup, i agree that it was good to see the plot move on. i actually quite liked the new girl, mithian - was she actually in the arthurian legends, or just someone the writers made up for this episode? i thought she and arthur seem to make a better match - they have fun together, have a lot of similar interests, etc. you can see why she and arthur would get together. but what does arthur and gwen have in common? - nothing, really. maybe i've missed the episodes that really develop arthur and gwen's relationship? or maybe these episodes don't exist? it feels more like we're told that arthur and gwen are in love, rather than really seeing it.

anyways, i'm out of the country for the holidays, so will be missing the rest of the episodes =(
 

Dave

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I sort of zoned out a little during this one.
Me also. I thought it was because I was exiled to the spare room to watch it (X-Factor finals being on the other channel) but I did partly think, yawn, not another Princess! (Although I has warmed to her charm by the end of the episode.)

...at least things moved on. Plothole city as ever, what? an ENTIRE army run past the lake. The great warlord wines and dines the wench - I know it's family entertainment, but honestly.
I'm tending to avoid thinking about those things now because the story IS moving on a pace (a two-parter as well!) I don't see it myself, but Gwen must actually be stunningly beautiful - Kings and warlords fall at her feet. That explains why he wined and dined her rather than what he did with all the other women from the village. I'm quite surprised he didn't have her guarded though.

I thought I understood the Agravaine/Morgana relationship but now I'm confused again. I thought they both had the same goals because of what Uther did to Arthur's mother, but it seems Morgana has some hold over Agravaine to do her bidding. I get that she is a powerful magician, but she needs him more than he needs her.

My main problem is that right NOW is the time for Merlin to tell Arthur about his magic. We know from Mithian that Arthur trusts Merlin more than anyone else. They now have a relationship which is not one of a King and servant, but almost as "matey" as the knights relationship. More than that, there is a real threat to Camelot through the siege tunnels which must be stopped. Merlin has told Arthur of the threat, but he dismissed it through lack of evidence, so Merlin just goes back to making beds - at the very least I'd be packing my own bag - but what possible harm could it do now to tell Arthur if they are all going to die anyway.

Still, next week's looks good!
The trailers are always good, but sometimes they are better than the actual episode.
 

Mouse

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I don't see it myself, but Gwen must actually be stunningly beautiful - Kings and warlords fall at her feet. That explains why he wined and dined her rather than what he did with all the other women from the village.
Same. Unfortunately the actress just isn't that pretty, her eyes are too close together. Sometimes she looks quite good, but she most definitely does not look as beautiful as she's supposed to.

I agree with TL Rese in that Mithian seemed a better match. (She was also much prettier.)

I also don't get the whole Agravaine/Morgana relationship.
 

purple_kathryn

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The whole hiding the magic thing is really frustrating but then if Merlin did reveal his magic (and Arthur accepted it) then they would be an unstoppable force I suppose and a lot of the episodes involve Arthur/Merlin/Camelot etc being saved at the last minute.

I think they (the writers) have written themsevlves into a corner with this.
 

HareBrain

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I agree with that. The writers made Merlin's magic extremely powerful, but gave it both a limit and a potential cost, in that casting a spell in the open might bring severe consequences.

If Arthur accepted Merlin's magic, both limit and cost would be removed, making the whole setup unbalanced and removing most of what tension there is. They just can't do it until the very end of the whole run, which means that, while viewing figures are high enough to justify new series, the basic setup can't change (unless a new limit or cost can be invented, though this will be hard to do without it seeming really artificial).
 

Ursa major

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What's that old phrase? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


The trouble is that Gwen needs that extra-special something to explain why Arthur would put his love for her above his duty to his kingdom. (Something very extra-special: Arthur's love survives Gwen's apparent betrayal**.) And I don't just mean beauty. Suppose Gwen was incredibly beautiful (which the actress isn't, though she's not bad looking***); she is still a serving girl****. A prince or king might have such a woman as a mistress, but she would rarely become queen. Marriages in the distant past were often dynastic, driven by the need to consolidate power or avoid a conflict likely to threaten the survival of the dynasty. (The match set up in this episode demonstrated, until it fell apart, this dynamic.)

So Gwen must, at least in Arthur's eyes, offer much more than mere beauty. Yet, as TL Rese pointed out, that spark just isn't there. Or if it is, it's so low powered that the viewer can't see it, despite all the screen time the two characters have shared. Sadly, the love is a given, and has all the narrative truth of the average soap opera relationship, i.e. absolutely none.




** - We know that magic was involved, but it didn't seem to be the only reason for Gwen's actions; and Arthur knows nothing of this magic, so this is not affecting his judgement.

*** - Though she needs to work on her smile, which is often rather too insipid.

**** - If Arthur really was as besotted as he appears, why is Gwen serving anyone? She may not have appeared in public as Arthur's inamorata, but once Uther dies, Arthur would have set her up with a servant of her own. (Publicly, she may have been seen as his mistress, so the truth - that they were destined to marry - could still have been a secret to everyone but the couple themselves.)
 

Overread

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I still think that the writers/directors have a significant problem with the depiction of time passing through an episode. They seem to randomly shift from episodes being a few days through to being weeks long and its only via the sudden changes in relations that we are able to get a hint at that (unless Arthur really was that charming for the 2 days that the Mithian appeared to be present for). I think things would go more strongly if they could put in key time shifts so that we can see that - yes a week or month has gone past and that is why relations are changing so fast before our eyes.

I also share the sentiment that Mithian appeared to be a far better match than Gwen - at the moment Arthur's love for Gwen kind of just appears as a puppydog love in that its got no real founding for it (save for the legend which only Arthur, the dragon and Guyas (sp) are aware of). It's not just a beauty point, its the relationship itself and as viewers we've seen affection, but we've not really seen the pair have much in the way common between them to really seal that drawing longing for each other.


As for the idea of Merlin revealing his magic; I've a feeling that this series or maybe another one after are going to be about Arthur securing his kingdom and his seat of power. However thereafter that point the legend is supposed to end up with him founding another kingdom - the greater one; and also least not forget that Arthur is supposed to unit all of Britannia under a single banner. It would be a suitable spot to shift the scale (IF they could get the budget) to having Arthur challenging and fighting with more powerful lords and kings from further afield and we've already seen that Uthur's quest against magic had limits in how far it reached outside of his own kingdom and neighbours.
Then would be a suitable spot for more magic in Camelot (maybe merlins unveiling) and also for a certain sword to make a reappearance in a more permanent manner (not just one-off appearances).



Of course they could always pull a Daggerspell trick on us and have Merlin, Arthur and most of the cast magically build this new kingdom in some alternate reality - transporting them to a world and a time when magic is far more abundant and powerful - when they have new neighbours to fight and such; but I think that might be pushing the limits somewhat ;)
 

Jo Zebedee

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I think they made a mistake with Gwen; in mythology she was a powerful dynastic choice as well as Arthur's love, and a strong ally. To have her as a serving girl was always going to present problems, and yes, make it all hard to believe.
 

Dave

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Correct me if I'm wrong, and I do forget, but I don't think we ever saw Gwen's mother. There was just the Blacksmith father who Uther had executed and then later along came brother Elyan, never mentioned before.

Anyway, who is to say that her mother does not descend from an ancient and powerful dynasty of Kings?

Although checking Merlin - Wiki (I didn't realise there was such a thing) she apparently mentioned that her mother was a maid is Sir Leon's household. So much for that theory, and possibly a second mistake then?
 

Overread

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Actually I keep forgetting when and where Elyan appeared from - I think I either missed or forgot his token appearance episode. But yes as far as I recall we've never seen nor really heard much if anything about Gwen's mother - all we knew was she's the serving girl to Lady Morganna and the Blacksmith's daughter.
 

reiver33

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My wife is more of a fan than I am, but I've caught most episodes.

Gwen isn't that attractive. She just isn't. Moreover, making her base-born completely stuffs any idea of her marrying Arthur, who (as part of his supposed nation-building) would be looking for a dynastic match. I'm not going to get into the strange multi-ethnic nature of this Britain, but ignoring her status as a 'blackamoor' is junking the whole context of Middle Ages racism. As an (ahem) 'aside' then she'd be fine - as Evil Uncle suggested - but you don't marry a serving girl. Is Uthur had been up to form he'd have made sure Gwen was married off (or raped) to 'sully' her in Arthur's eyes.

However, returning to the question of the 'seige tunnels' - I take it these are hidden access points allowing the defenders to sally forth and/or bring in supplies? In terms of allowing an enemy to slip these are somehow different from the multiple 'secret' tunnels that allow Evil Uncle, Morganna, et al to come and go as they please?
 

Overread

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I assume that the evil uncle (can't remember his name now) doesn't need to sneak in and out that often for his meetings; at least through hidden passageways. As for the siege tunnels I assume some of the already known about entrances and exists are some of those same tunnels and that the map details more of them; they might also be substantially bigger; thus allowing a large number of people to move through at once (I'm assuming that they are intended as exit points so as to allow the defenders to exit in large numbers to flank an invader).

Ps I'm pretty certain that anyone after realistic middle ages isn't going to get anywhere close to it from Merlin series.
 

Ursa major

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I'm not going to get into the strange multi-ethnic nature of this Britain....
As has been discussed before in Merlin threads, the period when Arthur is supposed to have flourished is some time during the centuries immediately after the Roman withdrawal**. So while the population of Britannia would never have been as diverse as, for example, those of Rome and Alexandria, it would probably have been more so than in the England of the later Middle Ages.

The existence of people from elsewhere in the Roman Empire (or just beyond its borders) is therefore far less anachronistic than, say, the armour that's being worn by the knights. (And don't knights come from a later time?)



** - We'll set aside the "history" mentioned in the TV series, a history in which the Romans don't seem to have taken part, at least not by name. (Although speaking of names: the name, Gaius, would seem to be of Roman origin.)
 

Jo Zebedee

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Yes, the sort of chainmail they're in is closer to Norman ie 11th century than dark ages, as is the chivalric conventions they use all the time; the favours, the heraldry etc.
 

Dave

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You are taking this far too seriously. It clearly isn't any period in history in this reality. Not only that but have you ever seen those mountains in England? And when did you last see giant Hamsters? Or that French castle they all live in? As for the siege tunnels, by that look of that map the ground beneath them must resemble Swiss cheese!
 

ctg

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You are taking this far too seriously. It clearly isn't any period in history in this reality. Not only that but have you ever seen those mountains in England? And when did you last see giant Hamsters? Or that French castle they all live in? As for the siege tunnels, by that look of that map the ground beneath them must resemble Swiss cheese!
Don't forget that massive cavern for holding a great western dragon.That must count for something, no?
 
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