I know it sounds stupid at first, but it is something that I was thinking about while rewatching some episodes of Merlin. We are told from the beginning that Arthur is supposed to be the once and future king, a fair and just ruler that will bring peace and magic to the land, unite the lands of Albion and merge the old and the new religion. Arthur dies at the end of the series, and while he does Merlin says to Kilgharrah that they “accomplished nothing of what was foretold”; Arthur never does anything other than knight some commoners and marry a servant. Between season 4 and 5 there are 3 years of peace, but it was never stated anywhere that Albion was united, and the persecution of the druids may have been stopped, but magic users were still being persecuted, and we never even saw the old and the new religion coming together.
So Arthur never does any of it, but Gwen does, and in my opinion she is the true once and future king. This theory may seem a stretch, but hear me out. 1. We know that prophecies are tricky, the majority of people that talk about destiny seem to know what they are talking about, but we find out pretty soon that that is not the case. All the visions of Morgana in season one seem to show horrible things, it always looks like Arthur is going to die, but in the end he never does. And when Merlin looks into the crystal of Neahtid he sees some scenes that make him think that Morgana is going to kill Uther, when in reality she just was going to see her sister. So it‘s totally possible that the seers in the past misjudged the prophecies, seeing Arthur as the king, and not considering the queen at his side. 2. It is told that it‘s Gwen‘s destiny to become queen, but why? Who told Merlin? Why is it so important for her to become queen? The druids never talk about her, neither does Kilgarrah. But it is clearly stated that for some reason she is supposed to become queen, almost necessary. Also one of the episodes in which Gwen is kind of the main focus, is called „once and future queen“. I initially thought it was just a cool name for the episode, but what if it‘s not just that? Also Morgana specifically dreamt of Gwen becoming queen, not of her marrying Arthur, and that was a prophecy, not a simple vision. 3. Arthur is supposed to be this great and just king, but it does not seem that way at all, sometimes he seems just like his father, just a little less vengeful. While Gwen guides him in the right direction, is clearly more intelligent than him (since se finds out about Merlin‘s and Morgana‘s magic without anyones help), is a very good queen even before she becomes it (like when she stood up to the council and Agravaine), she is just and compassionate (she never condemned magic users, and let Sefa go even after she found out that she was a traitor), is a good tactician and and inspiring ruler. Everyone accepts her as the queen even if she is a commoner, that means that they must respect her a lot, and not just because she married the king. 4. Arthur never does anything remarkable, but Gwen does: she lifts the ban of magic, she brings peace to the land (so I assume that she united the kingdoms), she changes Arthur for the better and talks him out from being a total idiot that blindly follows his father‘s ideas. 5. Emrys and the once and future king are supposed to be two sides of the same coin, but honestly Merlin and Gwen are quite similar: they both come from nothing but at the end of the series they are probably the two most powerful people in the land; they often behave in a very similar way with Arthur, telling him that he is a great man, better than his father, inspiring him to be good; they are both really kind and selfless, extremely courageous and they bond immediately, like they become friends even before Arthur and Merlin do, they just are a great duo and seem to be the only two people in camelot that know what is going on; they both don’t get the recognition they deserve, Arthur seems to be the one that gets all the praise in the end, while Gwen and Merlin are in his shadow fulfilling the prophecy.
Or maybe Arthur and Gwen are the once and future king together, like without Arthur Gwen would have never become queen, and without Gwen, what the prophecy told would never have happened.
What do you think? Is gwen the once and future monarch, or is is this theory kind of stupid? Let me know what you think (also sorry for my bad English, it’s not my first language <3)