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I want you to bring me peace. You must right the wrong that was done to me.
Shrine Boy to Elyan

A Herald of the New Age is the tenth episode of the fourth series of Merlin which was first broadcast on the 3rd of December 2011.


The Camelot Knights stumble across an eerie shrine deep in the forest, its chilling atmosphere betraying a dark history best left undisturbed.

But when Elyan ignores Merlin’s warning, his actions spark a chain of events more frightening than anyone could possibly have imagined… Can a grievous wrong be put right? Or will the past demons change the future forever?


While Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of Camelot are out in the forest, the group discover a Druid shrine, erected for the sake of a troubled soul of a young Druid boy unable to find peace due to its unjust death. Merlin, made uneasy by a strange presence, warns the others not to touch anything, but Elyan, thirsty since Gwaine had drunk all his water, drinks from a small well. However, in doing so, he disturbs and frees the tormented spirit.


Arthur uses Merlin as a training Dummy.

Later, Gaius explains that Merlin was right to be cautious of the shrine, explaining that the Druids would erect them to offer some level of peace to tormented soul unable to find peace in the other world. He explains that the magic used on a shrine is very delicate and easily disturbed and asks if any of the group touched anything since it would release the spirit. Unaware of Elyan's actions, Merlin says no one did and Gaius warns him not to go near the shrine again.


The Shrine Boy appears in front of Elyan

The spirit, dripping wet and deathly pale, begins to appear to Elyan, unseen by others. Initially he does not speak, first appearing to Elyan while he is in his bedroom, then begins to exert his influence on him during the knights' training session, causing him to fly into a rage. Having been told by Gwaine that salt at the foot of the bed would ward off evil spirits, Elyan desperately puts a ring of salt under his, which would later confirm to Merlin that Elyan had been possessed. The spirit, appearing a third time, then speaks to Elyan and tells him that he wants peace, but in order to get it Elyan had to kill the King to balance the injustice done to him while alive. Now under the spirit's power, Elyan agrees and goes to Arthur's rooms at night, attacking him. Although he catches Arthur off guard, Arthur's superior skill saves him and the guards come in, causing Elyan to flee.


Arthur wakes up

Merlin in Shrine

Merlin near the druid shrine

Whilst trying to escape the castle, Elyan is apprehended by the other Knights of the Round Table and thrown in the dungeons. The spirit reappears to tell him that he has failed him, which drives Elyan to torment. It is suspected that he was motivated by revenge for Arthur banishing his sister, and Agravaine tells Arthur he has to put him to death to show attempts on the King's life would be severely punished. Merlin, knowing that Elyan was not acting of his own accord, defends Elyan's case, leaving Arthur conflicted. Planning to exorcise the spirit, Merlin frees Elyan from the dungeon and tried to give him a sedative to allow him to try and remove the spirit, but the spirit warns Elyan and so he knocks Merlin out.

Gaius and Merlin return to the shrine to find clues on the spirit and Merlin is drawn to the well; his magic allows him to hear terrible wailing and the sounds of battle. He tells Gaius that something terrible had happened there and Gaius shows him a number of cross bow bolts he had found, which reveals that the camp must have been attacked.

Making his second attempt on Arthur's life, Elyan, armed with a crossbow, kills three knights. He fires at Arthur, but Arthur realises the danger in the nick of time and dodges the shot. Now completely under the spirit's power and speaking with the Druid boy's voice instead of Elyan's, he engages Arthur on in a sword fight. Arthur's skill again allows him to defeat Elyan. However, Arthur, having heard the child's voice instead of Elyan's, begins to realise that Merlin had been correct and that Elyan was in fact possessed. He then allows Elyan to flee.

Gaius explains to Arthur the tormented soul is seeking vengeance for its unjust death, which is preventing it from finding peace. He comments that when the Purge was at its height, Uther was merciless in his persecution of the Druids and many were killed, and that the boy may have been one of these.

Gaius informs Arthur that in order to appease the restless spirit, the perpetrator of the injustice done to it in life would have to atone for his crime. Believing Uther to have been responsible, Gaius tells Arthur he has no choice but to put Elyan to death since it is impossible for Uther to redeem himself due to his death.

Arthur Frees Druids

Arthur Frees Druids

Arthur sets the druid child free

Arthur says nothing, but at night, he slips out of the castle, only to be tailed by Merlin. Arthur catches his servant, but allows him to accompany him. Arthur travels to the site of the shrine and summons the spirit. He kneels before it and casts aside his sword, then reveals that it had not been Uther who led the raid on the Druid camp, but he himself. Arthur, filled with remorse, explains how he had led it in youth and inexperience and was still haunted by the memory. Promising that the Druids would be treated with the respect they deserved in future, Arthur finally gives the child's spirit peace, and so the spirit forgives him. The spirit releases Elyan, who, confused and disoriented, then faints. Merlin then tells Arthur that Elyan will make a full recovery.


Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit



View the transcript here.

Behind the SceneEdit

  • The scene of Elyan's escape from the dungeons, featuring Adetomiwa, Edun and Colin Morgan was shot in the depths of the Pierrefonds while, outside in the square, another unit was shooting Princess Mithian's arrival.[1]



  1. Merlin Hypnoweb - Les anecdotes du tournage

See alsoEdit

Series 4
The Darkest HourThe Wicked DayAithusaHis Father's SonA Servant of Two MastersThe Secret SharerLamiaLancelot du LacA Herald of the New AgeThe Hunter's HeartThe Sword in the Stone
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