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Any advance by Arthur would be a surefire way to ruin the peace conference. Maybe Alined wants war.
Gaius to Merlin

Sweet Dreams is the tenth episode of the second series of Merlin, which was first broadcast on the 28th of November 2009.


Dignitaries from the Five Kingdoms descend on Camelot for peace talks, but what King Alined really wants is war, and he'll do everything in his power to stir up hostilities, even if it means using magic.

Alined's jester Trickler puts a spell on Arthur to make him fall madly in love with rival King Olaf's daughter Vivian. Chaos reigns in the palace and Camelot is once more poised on the brink of war. Can Merlin free Arthur's heart before the prince loses his head in battle?


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Trickler brews a love potion to make Arthur fall in love with Vivian.

It is a momentous time in Camelot when five kings from the surrounding kingdoms arrive for a series of peace talks. Amongst these arriving are King Olaf and his beautiful daughter, Vivian, and King Alined and his trouble-making jester, Trickler. Alined, thirsty for war, devises a plan which would enchant Arthur into falling in love with Vivian, angering King Olaf and bringing war to Camelot.

After showing the Lady Vivian to her chambers, Arthur finds her rude when she comments negatively on the quality of her room and insults Gwen in his presence. Outside the room, Arthur and Gwen laugh at Vivian and Arthur wishes Gwen luck with her before sharing a tender glance and departing. He also disregards Vivian as rude to Merlin, who comes to the conclusion that he only really thinks so because of Vivian's comments regarding Gwen.

That evening, a great feast is held and Trickler amazes everybody with his tricks, for which he secretly uses magic. He cleverly steals a strand of Vivian's hair and makes a love potion, which he then drops into Arthur's eyes as he sleeps.

When Merlin enters Arthur's chambers the next morning, he is surprised to find Arthur already dressed and acting out of character. Arthur, enchanted by the vision of Vivian, reveals to Merlin he wants to express his feelings, not caring how it will be received by his father or the rest of the kingdom. Merlin, surprised Arthur is being so open, assumes he is referring to Gwen and agrees to take a bunch of flowers and a love note to her.

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An enchanted Arthur attempts to woo Vivian.

Upon finding Gwen's house empty, Merlin happily leaves the flowers and the note on her table before leaving. He returns to the council chambers and tells Arthur he has carried out his plan, much to Arthur's delight. As Gwen and Vivian walk in their direction, Arthur continues to profess his love while Merlin, still surprised, mentions it may still be impossible for Arthur and Gwen to be together as she is a servant.

After receiving a slap to the face, Merlin realises Arthur lusts after Vivian, and the flowers and note are still in Gwen's house. Rushing to Gwen's, Merlin finds her musing over the flowers and holding the note. Gwen tells Merlin her faith in Arthur's feelings for her have been restored.

Merlin tells Gaius of Arthur's sudden change in character. Gaius reminds Merlin that if Arthur is caught with Vivian, her father would be furious, prompting Merlin to remember Arthur's mission of wooing Vivian by the end of the night.

At Vivian's door, Arthur holds a tray of food and a rose, pleading for her to let him inside, only to be rebuffed. Merlin arrives and advises Arthur his advances are unwanted and they both leave. As Arthur lies in bed, disheartened, Merlin suggests he return to his old love, Gwen. Arthur states he didn't have an old love before Vivian and then finds a lock of blonde hair by his pillow, disregarding it as evidence of Merlin's poor cleaning.

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Merlin must stop Olaf from finding an enchanted Vivian in Arthur's room.

Merlin realises Arthur is enchanted and concludes Alined and Trickler must be behind the scheme. Gaius orders Merlin to break the spell before Arthur involves himself in potential war with Olaf. Trickler, who realises the enchantment between Arthur and Vivian has only worked one way, sneaks into Arthur's room and cuts a lock of his hair before using the same potion on Vivian.

The following morning, Trickler enters Vivian's room to find her utterly besotted and sends her to Arthur's chambers. Meanwhile, in the courtyard, Gwen notices Arthur looks troubled. When asked, Arthur tells Gwen the gesture he made was not received well. Gwen, assuming Arthur is talking about her, assures him it was, leading Arthur to believe Vivian holds hope for the two of them to be together.

Trickler passes on the message of Arthur's romantic intentions to Olaf, who becomes enraged and storms towards Arthur's room. However, Merlin casts a sleeping spell on Vivian and hides her in Arthur's wardrobe just Arthur, Olaf, Alined, and Trickler arrive. Olaf accuses Arthur of hiding Vivian in his chambers, but apologises and departs after failing to find her anywhere.

Merlin returns the still sleeping Vivian to her room while Alined chastises Trickler for the failed plan. Gwen, believing still Arthur wants another chance to prove his love for her, slips a note under his door stating she will wait for him to meet her at sunset. Arthur assumes this is a note from Vivian, and scales the wall of the castle to get into her room.


Olaf challenges Arthur to a duel for Vivian's honour.

While Gwen waits by candlelight in her home, Merlin and Gaius find a counterspell to break Arthur and Vivian's enchantment. Merlin rushes Vivian's room to find Arthur and Vivian kissing. He tries to use the spell to break the enchantment, but fails.

Meanwhile, when Arthur and Vivian fail to attend the treaty signing, Olaf, Alined, and Uther decide to search Vivian's chambers. Enraged by the sight of Arthur kissing his daughter, Olaf challenges him to fight to the death, a challenge Arthur agrees to because he believes he would die for Vivian's love. In her house, a saddened Gwen blows out the candles.

In the morning, Uther tries convincing Arthur not to fight but gives up when his son becomes adamant he will win in the presence of Vivian. Still upset, Gwen continues her duties for Morgana and is told Arthur is to fight to the death over Vivian, which upsets her even more. As she leaves Morgana's room, Arthur and Merlin encounter the upset Gwen. Arthur asks if she will wish him luck, to which Gwen angrily says she wishes he were more honest with her.

The challenge begins, Uther stating it is to take place in three stages; fighting with the quarterstaff, the mace, and the sword. Noticing Arthur is still swooning over Vivian, who is seated next to Morgana, Uther asks a final time if he understands the conditions before the fight begins.

Arthur, unable to focus on the fight at hand, narrowly lives through the first stage of the duel. He is treated by Gaius, who concludes he has broken a rib and must not continue. Arthur simply replies that the mace is his forte and while Vivian is in the crowd he can win. Gaius advises Merlin he must find someone to break the enchantment before Arthur dies.

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Gwen's kiss frees Arthur from the enchantment.

Merlin tells Arthur's story to the Great Dragon, who chuckles at the concept before telling Merlin the only person who can break the spell is the person whom Arthur truly loves. Merlin rushes to find Gwen at her house, still upset. She refuses to help Arthur, but upon learning about the spell agrees to follow Merlin.

Gwen approaches Arthur in his tent as he prepares for the final stage of the challenge and passionately kisses him. Arthur is initially shocked by Gwen's advances, but the enchantment evaporates. As Arthur realises it is Gwen kissing him, he enthusiastically reciprocates. Arthur then asks Gwen where he is and is told he is fighting Olaf to the death, and he is losing. Gwen implores Arthur to win the fight and live for her.

As Arthur stares into the arena, Arthur asks Merlin to take care of Gwen if he dies in battle as, although she is seen as a dispensable servant to everyone else, she is anything but to him. The fight continues and Arthur ultimately disarms Olaf, but refuses to kill him as it is not the way to attaining peace.

The fight over, Gwen returns to her home to find a single rose on her table and Arthur, who states he thought he should deliver it himself. Arthur apologises to Gwen for hurting her and assures her his feelings for Vivian weren't real and he has never loved another apart from Gwen. She accepts all of this, realising she had similarly hurt Arthur in the past. However, despite Arthur professing his feelings, Gwen tells him he will find another person to love and that she cannot be his Queen. Arthur refuses to believe this and states things can change, but Gwen states until they do, she remains a servant.


Arthur and Uther wave goodbye to a still-enchanted Vivian.

As the kings leave Camelot having signed the peace treaty, Alined punishes Trickler by shackling him and making him run all the way home. Olaf leaves with the still enchanted Vivian in tow, and as Merlin and Arthur return inside the castle, Merlin smugly remarks he is aware of what happened with Gwen in the tent. Arthur doesn't deny it, but still threatens Merlin with death if he tells anybody about it.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast


Release & Reception

  • Air date 28 November 2009. 6.02 viewers.


To view the Sweet Dreams gallery, click here.


View the transcript here.

See Also

Series 2
The Curse of Cornelius Sigan  • The Once and Future Queen  • The Nightmare Begins  • Lancelot and Guinevere  • Beauty and the Beast  • The Witchfinder  • The Sins of the Father  • The Lady of the Lake  • Sweet Dreams  • The Witch's Quickening  • The Fires of Idirsholas  • The Last Dragonlord

Mini-episode: Children in Need special

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