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The prophets speak, of Arthur's Bane.
Lochru to Merlin

Arthur's Bane[13] is a two-part story[14] consisting of the first and second episodes of the fifth series of Merlin They broadcasted on the BBC on the 6th and 13 October 2012.[15]


Part One

As the forces of fate cast a shadow over Camelot, Merlin must confront his darkest fears. Camelot basks in the halcyon days of a new golden age. But even as she flowers, so the dark seeds of her destruction are being sown... For in the frozen wastelands of the north, men are disappearing without trace. In search of answers, King Arthur and his knights must undertake a dangerous mission to the unknown. As the sun sets on the icy plains, Merlin finds himself locked in a battle unlike any he has fought before; a battle with fate itself.[16]

Part Two

As dawn breaks across the icy tundra, Merlin and Arthur are close to exhaustion. With each tortured step, the fortress of Ismere looms ever nearer and Merlin's fear intensifies. What game is Mordred playing? And what powerful secrets are Morgana and the druid Ruadan searching for amongst its twisted catacombs? It seems like this time, not even Merlin can stop Arthur from walking right into the lion's den… For in this bleak and transient wilderness, only one thing is certain: the great trial for Albion has finally begun.[17]


Part One

The Knights are attacked.

Merlin searches for Guinevere under Arthur's orders, but can't seem to find her, which Arthur is not happy about. Soon after that, the Queen herself comes down the stairs with her new servant Sefa and apologises to Arthur for being late. The Queen and King enter the Council Chambers after that, along with Merlin and Sefa following them. Arthur then welcomes all the Knights, Gaius and Guinevere to the meeting of the Round Table. He informs them that Sir Gwaine and sixty of the finest Knights of Camelot have gone missing in Ismere. Sir Elyan had led a search party for them, but it was an unsuccessful journey; it was as if the Knights had vanished from the Earth.

Morgana and Ruadan.

Sir Gwaine, injured from an attack by a wolf, is soon found by Morgana, who takes him with her to the Fortress of Ismere nearby. She leaves him, and goes to talk to Ruadan. They talk about Arthur's Bane, although they do not know what it is. According to Ruadan, the Diamair (the key to all knowledge), holds the answer to their question. Ruadan tells Morgana that the Diamair is beneath the Fortress of Ismere, to which Morgana skeptically replies that they have been searching for three months and have found nothing. Ruadan then states that 'patience is the stepping stone to wisdom'. Gwaine is then brought to them, and, expecting to be killed, tells Morgana to get on with it and kill him. She says that she will, but that he shall help her to find something first. At the same time, Percival and many other men work beneath the Fortress. Meanwhile Arthur, Guinevere, Elyan, Gaius and Leon are discussing how to save the missing Knights. Arthur has heard that the Fortress of Ismere has been occupied. Elyan tells him that he also has heard many rumours, and that all of them have the mention of Morgana in common. Guinevere proposes they go from the west through Queen Annis' lands. Arthur decides that they will leave at dawn and that no one must know of their plan.

Mordred kills Arthur in a vision

The Knights then ride out of Camelot. Meanwhile, Gwaine and Percival are working in the dungeons. Percival says he found the other Knights, and what they all are searching for is a key. Morgana will not rest before she has found it. At the same time, Leon, Eylan, Merlin and Arthur have arrived near Queen Annis' lands, and decide to take separate roads from then on. As they meet again, Elyan shows them a village with a large number of dead people. While they examine the village, Merlin hears his name being called, and goes to a cave nearby where the dying Lochru lies. He goes to him, and notices a symbol on his hand. Lochru awakes and tells him about Arthur's Bane and that he must act quickly. As he dies, Merlin sees a vision of a battle where Mordred is walking towards the injured Arthur and then stabs him with a sword.

Annis and Arthur talk.

Merlin is then awakened from the vision by Arthur. He is clearly upset by what he has seen, and decides to seek the Great Dragon's council. He finds out that the symbol is the Mark of a vates, the symbol of a druid seer. He also tells the Dragon of Arthur's Bane and the vision he has seen. Kilgharrah than tells him that he has been singled out for a reason and that he alone can keep Arthur safe.

The next day, Arthur, Merlin and his Knights arrive at Annis' castle. Annis welcomes them with a feast. Annis tells Arthur that the Saxons are rounding up many men and taking them to Ismere and that Morgana is tearing the citadel apart to find something. This tells Arthur that his men may still be alive.

Sefa and Ruadan.

Merlin is then forced to perform, and he juggles with four eggs much to the crowd's pleasure. Later that night, he tries to warn Arthur not to go to Ismere, but Arthur does not listen to him. In Camelot, Sefa leaves the castle and goes to a fortress to meet with Ruadan. She tells him Arthur and his men are going to Ismere through Queen Annis' lands. It is then revealed that Ruadan is Sefa's father.

The next morning, Arthur, Merlin and the Knights continue their journey. At the same time, Guinevere informs Sefa that she saw her leave the city. Ruadan arrives back to Ismere at the same time and tells her that Arthur is approaching from the west in less than a day. Morgana then orders him to prepare for battle.

Merlin saves Arthur.

The Knights, Merlin and Arthur are staying in camp for the night. Arthur tries to cheer up Merlin. Meanwhile, Morgana rides out from the citadel with her army. They approach Arthur and his men by the next morning. Arthur tries to flee, but it is impossible; the Knights must now stay and fight. Leon faces Ruadan, who badly injures him. Arthur comes to his rescue, but is hit by him as well. Merlin drags the unconscious Arthur off the battlefield. As Arthur awakes later, they continue their journey.

Gwen realises they have been betrayed.

Meanwhile in the dungeons of the Fortress, the men are sleeping. Gwaine awakes, as he sees a strange blue light flickering nearby. At the same time Merlin and Arthur are making their way to Ismere. Leon, Elyan and other Knights who were with Arthur and Merlin arrive back to Camelot and inform Gaius and Guinevere about what happened. They realise someone betrayed them. At the same time Merlin tells Arthur about what Lochru told him. Arthur tells him that he will save his men at any cost. In the dungeons, Gwaine once again notices the blue light and goes to investigate. He is then knocked unconscious by two guards.

Mordred returns.

As Merlin and Arthur wake up the next morning, they hear Morgana and her men riding by. They continue their journey, and are soon caught. At the same time in Camelot, Sefa is brought before Queen Guinevere. She is questioned by her, as she knows she heard what was said in the meeting and that she left the citadel. Sefa does not deny this, and is forced to tell Guinevere that she met with her father. Guinevere then sentences her to death and orders her to be taken to the cells.

In the dungeons, Gwaine is approached by a strange blue creature who heals him. In the morning, Merlin and Arthur are finally freed from the web and are approached by Ragnor and his men. They are saved by Mordred, who tells them that their fate should be decided by Morgana. Mordred tells Arthur he saved him many years ago, and at the same time Merlin realises who he is and reveals his name: Mordred. Mordred looks Arthur in the eye with strange manner and says "Hello Arthur."

Part Two

Morgana and Aithusa held captive.

As Morgana sleeps, she sees her and Aithusa chained and being held captive at the bottom of a large well. She awakens from her dream after Aithusa squeals, and is clearly horrified by what she just saw. She calls for the dragon, who comes to her room a few moments later. Morgana tries to comfort her and tells her that everything will be all right, as they will soon know what Arthur's Bane is and Camelot will be theirs. At the same time, Merlin and Arthur are going towards Ismere with Ragnor, Mordred and the rest of the Saxon soldiers. Arthur and Merlin argue, which angers Ragnor. He hits Arthur and tells them both not to speak and move faster.

In Camelot, Sefa sees from the prison window a rope

Gaius and Sefa

being prepared for her execution. A moment later, Gaius comes to visit her in the prison chamber. He offers her a potion which would make her death easier to bear. Sefa does not take the potion, but asks Gaius to help her speak to the Queen, which he eventually agrees to.

Near Ismere, Merlin, Arthur and the other men are resting for the night. Ragnor and Mordred are sitting by the fire, and Ragnor is tormenting Merlin with the food he has roasted. Mordred tries to reason with him, but Ragnor does not listen, as he is eager to get to Ismere so he can get his money.

Meanwhile in the dungeons of Ismere, the Diamair is watching over the sleeping Gwaine. As she hears men coming, she hides and dims the light around Gwaine so that the soldiers do not notice him when they walk by.

Mordred speaks to Merlin.

As the new day dawns, Mordred approaches Merlin and gives him bread. Merlin asks him why he is acting like this, and Mordred explains that he does it because he owes a debt to Arthur. He also confronts Merlin about him fearing him, and says to him that his secret is safe with him. When Merlin asks what Morgana is looking for, Mordred reveals to him that it is the Diamair, the key to all knowledge.

In Ismere, Morgana is clearly upset that the Diamair has not been found, as Arthur is approaching which means they are running out of time. Ruadan also informs Morgana that his daughter Sefa has been arrested and sentenced to death. Morgana feels sorry for her, and tells Ruadan that they must make sure her sacrifice was not in vain.

Mordred, Ragnor, Arthur and Merlin are continuing their journey towards the Fortress of Ismere. The exhausted Arthur falls down and Merlin tells Ragnor to stop and that Arthur needs water. Ragnor kicks Arthur and drags him up, and Merlin offers to help him continue the journey. It is revealed that this was merely an act by Arthur, as he now has obtained a dagger.

Arthur aims for Mordred.

In Camelot, Sefa is brought before Guinevere and Gaius. She apologises for her actions and pleads for her life. She explains that she did all this for her father and that she does not wish to die. This however does not make Guinevere change her mind, and Sefa is send back to the prison. Gaius then tries to reason with her, and Guinevere reveals that she does not mean to execute Sefa, but to lure her father Ruadan to Camelot instead.

As Merlin, Arthur, Ragnor and Mordred are continuing their journey towards the fortress, Merlin makes goods fall off a wagon. This makes Ragnor even more mad as he now tries to kill Merlin. Arthur attacks him and several of his men. Him and Merlin take a few weapons from the wagon and escape. As the Saxons are approaching fast, they have to jump over a large gap. Arthur jumps first, and Merlin, after a few moments of hesitation follows him. Arthur shoots the approaching Saxons with the crossbow, while Merlin uses an axe to break some of the icy ground near him. As Mordred nears the other side, the ground falls off, making it impossible for him to jump to the other side. Arthur aims him the crossbow, but soon lets him leave unharmed. This angers Merlin, who thinks he should have killed him.

The Diamair speaking to Gwaine.

In the dungeons of the fortress, Gwaine awakes and notices the Diamair sitting next to him. He thanks her for saving him and asks from her who she is.The Diamair says she is the last left of her kind and that the rest of her kin were hunted down and killed. He then advises Gwaine to rest, and he falls asleep once again. At the same time Ruadan is approaching Camelot. He gets inside the castle, and frees Sefa from prison, defeating a few guards on his way. Guinevere hears the warning bells and is informed by Leon that Ruadan has come to Camelot.

Ruadan goes to free Sefa.

Elyan and a few other knights catch Ruadan and Sefa. Ruadan attacks them, and is stabbed with the sword by Elyan. He then conjures a large fire, which enables him and his daughter to escape. They manage to flee from Camelot. Sefa pleads with her father to heal himself. Ruadan conjures a message on a paper, which Sefa then attaches to a raven nearby. Then Ruadan embraces his daughter for the last time and dies. As Sefa hears the Knights of Camelot, she flees, leaving the dead body of her father behind. In the Fortress of Ismere, the raven arrives with the message for Morgana. She reads Ruadan's message, and finds out that Arthur is on his way to Ismere and that she will soon find the Diamair and the Pendragons will be no more. At the same moment, Merlin and Arthur arrive at the fortress of Ismere.

The dungeons of the fortress.

In Camelot, Gaius and Guinevere are examining Ruadan's dead body. Gaius finds a piece of paper inside a locket that is on Ruadan's neck. According to him, it is a prayer in the Druidic runes and is a call for victory over the enemies of the Old Religion. The Druids had blamed Uther, and believed Arthur was the same, since the laws concerning magic had not altered under his rule. This makes Guinevere realise that Ruadan thought it was his duty was to fight Arthur, and Gaius mentions that there are some who do believe that a Druid will kill Arthur.

Meanwhile, Mordred and the rest of the Saxons arrive at the fortress of Ismere while Merlin and Arthur witness from afar. Merlin, noticing Mordred together with the Saxons, tells Arthur he should have killed him when he had the chance. They use the garbage shaft to get inside the fortress. They use a wagon to get to the dungeons where the Knights are working, and go to find them. Morgana notices from the window that the Saxon army has arrived in the fortress. She ignores Ragnor who is trying to tell her how many men he brought, and goes straight to Mordred who she instantly recognises. She is very happy to see him.

At the same time Arthur and Merlin find Percival in the dungeons. He tells them the men are scattered around and that Gwaine has not been seen for a few days. Arthur gives him a sword and tells him to get more weapons and find the others, while he and Merlin will go search for Gwaine. Percival then knocks out a Saxon guard.

Aithusa attacks Merlin.

Morgana and Mordred are dining, and talking about how hard their lives have been. Mordred mentions that he and the Saxons had Arthur within their grasp and lost him. This makes Morgana very angry, and she shouts at him. Mordred tries to calm her, and at the same time they hear the warning bell which means that Arthur is in the fortress. As the Diamair hears the bell, she wakes Gwaine. They hear Merlin and Arthur approaching. The Diamair hides, while Gwaine attacks Arthur with a torch. Arthur is able to catch his weapon. At the same time, Merlin notices the Diamair and looks at her as she escapes. Percival has succeeded in his mission, and leads a group of men against the Saxon guards. Merlin, Arthur and Gwaine are making their way out of the dungeons. They hear a roar from nearby and see Aithusa coming towards them. All of them escape, as Aithusa is breathing fire at them. Merlin tells Arthur to get Gwaine to Percival, while he will lure the Dragon the other way. He soon finds Aithusa and recognizes her. She breathes fire at him, but he protects himself with a spell. He asks her what happened to her, and realises she cannot speak. He then hears Arthur calling for him and commands the Dragon to leave.

Mordred stabs Morgana.

As Arthur is looking for Merlin, he is approached by Morgana and Mordred. Morgana then attacks him with her dagger. Arthur tries to reason with her and asks her what happened to him, which only makes her attack him more. She is preparing to kill him as Merlin enters the room. She pushes him against the wall and then continues her attack on Arthur. At the same time, Mordred is coming closer to her and stabs her as she is about to say the spell that will kill Arthur. Before she collapses, Morgana utters his name. Mordred then helps Arthur up and escapes with him. Merlin falls unconscious. He meets the Knights, and hands Arthur over to them. All of them leave the dungeons. At the same time, the Diamair heals the wounded Merlin. She tells him that Morgana will never find what she is searching for, and Merlin realises that she herself is the Key to all Knowledge. Merlin asks him what Arthur's Bane is, and the Diamair says that it is Arthur himself.

Arthur knights Mordred.

In Camelot, Arthur knights Mordred in front of the Queen and the court. As Mordred comes from the Throne Room, he is approached by Merlin. He helps him take off his cape, and mentions to him that things would be very different if Arthur knew he had magic. He then asks Mordred why he saved Arthur's life, and Mordred responds that the love that binds them together is stronger than the power they wield, which is something Morgana had forgotten.

Gaius and Merlin then dine. Merlin tells him that Mordred troubles him, and that the Great Dragon had said Arthur would be killed by a Druid. Gaius tells him it is not certain that it is actually him. Merlin says that he feels the great trial for Albion has begun. At the same time, the wounded Morgana escapes with Aithusa.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast



View the transcript here.

Release & Reception

  • Arthur's Bane: Part One premiered in October 6, 2012 - 7.45pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. 7.12 million views.
  • Arthur's Bane: Part Two premiered in October 13, 2012 - 8.25pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. 6.99 million views.

Deleted & missing scenes

  • The scene when Arthur and the Knights arrive at a raided village has been slightly cut to remove the view of a gibbet with several female hanging bodies. In the final version it can be seen just the fabric of a gown fluttering, out of focus. Behind the scenes pics reveal the full impact of what the original scene should've been. (#1, #2).

Behind the Scenes

  • Alexander Vlahos revealed that, in the scenes that take place in the snowy quarry, he wore a scarf to cover the military cut he still had from filming the series Privates.[18]


  • Mordred returns in this season premiere of Series 5, however he is played by a different actor, Alexander Vlahos.
  • Unlike the four previous seasons, there are only five names listed in the opening credits as opposed to the original six; these are (in order seen): Colin Morgan (Merlin), Angel Coulby (Gwen), Bradley James (Arthur), Katie McGrath (Morgana), and Richard Wilson (Gaius). The other difference in the credits is the clip that originally had Uther in it has been removed and has been replaced with Gaius.
  • Arthur's Bane: Part One is the first episode in which Morgana, since becoming a High Priestess, isn't seen using magic.
  • In the Italian version, only 2 years passed from Series 3 to Series 4, as stated by Morgana in this episode and in The Dark Tower.
  • Error: When Arthur & Merlin sneak to the Morgana's castle, Merlin was ahead of the Arthur at first, while Arthur exits sooner.

See also


Series 5
Arthur's BaneThe Death Song of Uther PendragonAnother's SorrowThe DisirThe Dark TowerA Lesson in VengeanceThe Hollow QueenWith All My HeartThe Kindness of StrangersThe Drawing of the DarkThe Diamond of the Day