Merlin often ended up in the stocks, usually because of Prince Arthur Pendragon. The first time Merlin got put in the stocks it was as punishment after mistakenly picking a fight with Prince Arthur over his prat-like behavior towards a servant before Merlin knew he was the Prince of Camelot. From that first meeting with Arthur, Merlin has continued to point out Arthur's prattiness and, once he became Arthur's servant, Arthur has treated Merlin much the same as he treated the manservant Merlin stood up for (and possibly replaced), though over the years their relationship has grown into one of mutual respect, companionable mockery, nearly brotherly affection, and absolute trust. Merlin has ended up in the stocks on several other occasions when covering for Arthur to Uther by taking the blame for Arthur's absence from various events. Merlin also first met Guinevere while in the Camelot stocks for the first time, at which point she praised his bravery and called Arthur a bully (The Dragon's Call).Stocks were devices used in medieval times as a form of physical punishment involving public humiliation. The stocks partially immobilised its victims, who were often exposed in a public place, such as the site of a market, to the mockery of those who passed by. Since the purpose was to punish those offenders who acted against the standards of conduct of the time, anybody could assault, revile or aim filth, like tomatoes, at the victim.
- Merlin being put in the stocks was a running gag in Series 1, but it has not happened since then.
- The stock gag was mentioned by Arthur in episode 12 of Series 4 when Merlin tells him to think of something pleasant and Arthur replies "You in the stocks?".
- The scenes involving Merlin being pelted with rotten vegetables while in the stocks were a challenge because Colin Morgan, the actor who plays Merlin, is reportedly allergic to tomatoes.
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