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The Curse of Cornelius Sigan
Series: 2
Episode Number: 1
Starring: Mackenzie Crook
Colin Morgan
Bradley James
Angel Coulby
Luke Neal
John Hurt
Richard Wilson
Enemy: Cedric
Cornelius Sigan
Setting: Camelot
Cornelius Sigan's tomb
The Rising Sun
Writer: Julian Jones
Director: David Moore
Producer: Johnny Capps
Julian Murphy
Broadcast: 19 September 2009
Format: 1x45
Prod. Code: 2.1
Previous Story: Le Morte d'Arthur
Following Story: The Once and Future Queen
Together we can rule over this land. Arthur will tremble at your voice, he will kneel at your feet.
Cornelius Sigan to Merlin

The Curse of Cornelius Sigan is the first episode of the second series of the British fantasy drama television series Merlin which was first broadcast on the 19th of September, 2009.

Summary Edit

A new servant named Cedric tries to get Merlin's job as Arthur's manservant, claiming that he only desires to work in the royal household and to please Arthur. Merlin discovers that Cedric's real motive is to obtain a jewel from a newly discovered temple in the vaults under the castle, said to be owned by Cornelius Sigan, who once vowed he will return to Camelot to destroy it.


An ancient tomb filled with treasure is discovered beneath Camelot. Merlin is sent to resolve the noise issue caused by the excavation as it is keeping Arthur from sleeping. He is faced with panic as workers flee the site when one of their own is killed by a booby trap.

While Gaius studies the tomb, in particular a large blue heart-shaped jewel set in a sarcophagus at the tomb's centre, a thief named Cedric learns of the treasure by bribing a worker and works his way into the castle in order to gain access to the tomb. By muscling in on Merlin's position as Arthur's manservant, Cedric successfully turns Arthur against Merlin, leaving Merlin once more annoyed and depressed that the prince cannot see him for who he really is.

Gaius realises that the tomb belongs to an evil sorcerer named Cornelius Sigan, who had sworn to destroy Camelot upon his death.

Merlin 201 1


Sigan, fearful that his power and wealth would die with him, found a way to make himself immortal: he stored his soul inside the large jewel, which would then possess the person who removed the jewel from its setting. Gaius' warning proves Arthur and Merlin unfruitful when presented to Uther, as he is too taken with the treasure and too proud to believe in such a myth. The next night, Morgana is awakened by nightmares featuring a raven, which solidifies Gaius' hypothesis of the return of Sigan, as the raven was an emblem of his power.

Once Cedric has stolen Arthur's keys to the tomb, Cedric finds the heart-shaped jewel containing Sigan's soul. By removing it from its setting, Sigan's soul is released and possesses Cedric's body.


Cornelius Sigan's soul possesses Cedric's body

Gaius and Merlin realise the consequences of the jewel being removed the next day and Merlin deducts the only other person with access to the key would be Cedric, and runs to alert Arthur.

Arthur refuses to believe Merlin and after a scuffle with Cedric, Merlin is taken to the cells. That night, Cornelius Sigan, possessing the body of Cedric, casts a powerful spell which animates the gargoyles positioned around the castle in his attempt to destroy Camelot.

As Merlin remains locked in his cell, the creatures cause havoc in the city, killing many citizens. Arthur and his soldiers face off against them, many of them perishing. Gaius, Gwen and Morgana tend to the wounded inside the castle while Merlin uses magic to break out of his cell. As Arthur faces one of the creatures alone in the square, Gwen saves his life twice before taking him inside to tend to his injuries.

Merlin 201 4

A gargoyle

Arthur nervously compliments Gwen on her bravery before thanking her as she leaves to prepare a dressing for his wound. Merlin is told by Gaius that the only way he can stop Cedric is to consult the Great Dragon, to which Merlin is initially opposed. He relents however, and rushes to ask the Dragon for advice. The Great Dragon makes Merlin promise to release him one day in return for a powerful spell which would defeat Cedric, something Merlin reluctantly agrees to do.

Meanwhile, Arthur refuses Uther's proposal to shut off the citadel to protect those with a chance of surviving and rallies his men to leave the castle and face the creatures once more, as it is his duty to Camelot and to himself. Arthur and his men are pushed back inside the square by the creatures and he orders the soldiers to retreat, as he faces the creature on his own. As Arthur's men retreat inside the castle, Arthur is knocked unconscious by the creature. Before it can kill him, Merlin arrives and destroys the gargoyle with his magic.

Merlin finds Arthur's body and encounters Cedric, who tries to entice Merlin to join him in ruling the land with their magic. Merlin is perplexed by the proposal as he is still affected by the lack of respect he receives from Arthur, but yells at Cedric it is better to be a servant to a good man than to rule with an evil one. Cedric tells Merlin if he won't rule with him he, Sigan, will possess his body and align Merlin's magic with his own. The soul of Sigan leaves Cedric's body to inhabit Merlin's to join both magics into one superpower.

Merlin is happy with returning the soul into the jewel

Merlin recites the spell which forces Sigan's soul back into the jewel, bringing safety upon Camelot once more. The tomb of Sigan is covered up once more, with the jewel inside, never to be removed again. Uther comes away from the experience more passionate than ever to eradicate all form of magic from the kingdom while Arthur, in his own way, apologises to Merlin - by giving Merlin his armour to clean.


Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit



The episode aired on BBC One at 18:40 on 19 September 2009. The episode received 5.77 million viewers on its Saturday premier and received 7.2 million viewers on its Sunday BBC3 repeat, bringing the weekend total to 6.49 million.


  • This episode marks the first appearance of the tavern "The Rising Sun".
  • This episode marks the promising of The Great Dragon's release.
  • The Curse of Cornelius Sigan premiered on Syfy UK at 8pm on September 14th 2017, immediately following Le Morte d'Arthur.

See alsoEdit

Transcript Edit

View the transcript here.

Previous story : Le Morte d'Arthur| Following story : The Once and Future Queen

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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