Friday, September 21, 2012

BBC's Merlin

I am watching the BBC TV show Merlin. There are a lot of difference between the show and the traditional Arthurian legends. I'm only on the 4th episode so I am not an expert but so far:

1) Uther appears to have always raised Arthur, leaving out Sir Kay and the sword in the stone.
2) Merlin is about the same age as Arthur, or probably a bit younger, which would appear to make it impossible that he was involved in Arthur's conception, which traditionally Merlin was.
3) They've left out the bit where Merlin met Uther when he correctly diagnosed the reason his castle walls kept falling down - 2 dragons fighting under the foundations. In this version Merlin never was Uther's court magician and magic is outlawed.
4) Morgana seems to be Arthur's foster sister, not his half-sister.
5) Guinevere, whose name means something like "White enchantress"* and is always described as fair is actually dark in this version. And that bugs me just because of the name. Also in this version she's a servant.
6) Arthur is a big jerk.

*depending on who you ask.
And so on.

I can't decide if I am enjoying a refreshing reinterpretation of a story I've heard many times, or if I am just incredibly offended. I don't guess Merlin would care about my indignation, if he ever existed at all it was certainly hundreds of years ago. He's probably doing fine without my help. But it's a real pity to
miss out on all the sword and the stone stuff. Maybe they'll work it in later somehow, but it is supposed to be what identifies Arthur as Uther's son, which has already happened in this version. Alas. And I can't help really wishing they'd gone with T.H. White's interpretation and included a talking hedgehog. There are not many shows that could not be improved by the addition of a talking hedgehog.

I'm not even half way though the 4th episode so I may rant about this some more another day.

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