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No one is above the Disir, however royal.

The Disir is the fifth episode of Series 5.[3] It marks the first and last appearance of the Disir.


When three soothsayers from the court of the Disir pass judgement on Arthur for rejecting the Old Religion, the young king sets out with Merlin, Mordred, and a handful of knights to a sacred grove to demand an explanation.

But when Arthur refuses to appease the Disir, his patrol comes under attack and Mordred is critically wounded. Wanting to save the young druid, Arthur must make a difficult decision - accept magic back in Camelot or condemn Mordred to die.

What will he do and why is Merlin so reluctant to come to his aid?



In a dark cave, the Disir are chanting a spell. They dip their staffs into the water and one of the Disir takes a coin from the water, which contains the judgement for Arthur. She later gives it to a man named Osgar and tells him that the fate of Arthur is in his hands and he must honour it. Osgar leaves.

In Camelot, Mordred and Arthur duel with swords as Merlin watches them. Mordred triumphs over Arthur for a short while, but eventually Arthur manages to win. Arthur tells him he fought well and that he may have to start trying soon if he continues to fight like that. Later he and Merlin go to his chambers whilst Arthur tells him that he thinks Mordred will be one of the finest Knights of Camelot. Back in his home, Merlin helps Gaius put books in the bookshelf whilst he is discussing his suspicion towards Mordred with him.

Sir Leon arrives in a council meeting. He tells Arthur and the Knights that the garrison in the forest of Brekfar intercepted Osgar who they tried to apprehend. He attacked them with magic and killed Sir Ranulf. Arthur is clearly upset over losing one of his knights, and orders to highly alert all the men in the Eastern borders. He ends the meeting saying that he will personally lead a patrol which will bring Osgar to justice. He then goes to his chambers where Guinevere resides. She asks him if it is necessary for him to go because she nearly lost him the last time and he has many fine men to avenge Sir Ranulf. Arthur tells her that he was one of his childhood friends not just a Knight. Mordred comes in, and Arthur tells him that he is now ready to accompany him, and that he will join the patrol to the White Mountains. Mordred is very honoured and tells Arthur that he will not regret it. After he leaves, Arthur mentions to Guinevere that he thinks Mordred will make a very fine knight.

As the patrol is getting ready to leave, Sir Percival, Sir Elyan, Sir Leon and Sir Gwaine are making fun of Mordred, pointing out the things he might have left behind. At the same time Merlin asks Arthur if it was a good idea to bring Mordred as he is very young. Arthur tells him that he is a good fighter and deserves to be given a chance. The Knights and Arthur then leave Camelot. Merlin is stopped by Guinevere who asks him to take care of Arthur. After a short conversation he leaves as well. This is surprising from Gwen, because last time she asked someone to look after Arthur, they sacrificed themselves for Arthur (The Darkest Hour). In the woods, the Knights are once again making fun of Mordred, by making him ride backwards on his horse. According to them, it is an ancient tradition of melding one must do on his first patrol.

As they search the forest, they see Osgar nearby. The group separates, with Elyan and Gwaine going together as well as Percival and Leon. The ones who stay with Arthur are Merlin and Mordred. Elyan and Gwaine manage to surround Osgar while he is resting. Gwaine is asking him what he is doing and what his purpose is. Osgar tells them his name and asks them to take him to their king. They point their swords on Osgar's neck and he attacks them, which results in Gwaine piercing the sorcerer with his sword. As the two Knights come near Osgar again, he throws them both agaist trees, making them unconscious. Badly wounded, Osgar makes his way toward Arthur. Both Arthur and Mordred point their swords at him. Osgar informs them that he has been sent by the Disir to pass judgement on Arthur Pendragon. He gives Arthur the coin he received, and informs him that he has waged war with the people of the Old Religion. He tells to them what Lochru said to Merlin: that even as Camelot flowers, the seeds of her destruction are being sown. Before Osgar passes away, he tells Arthur that he still has a chance to change his ways. Soon Mordred sees Merlin building a grave for Osgar. He tells him that sorcerers are not permitted to have marked graves. Merlin tells him that he believes that one day they will have freedom again.

Merlin later applies poultices to Gwaine and says to Arthur that he will make a full recovery. Both Arthur and Mordred compliment Merlin on his physician skills and his cooking skills. They then toast for Mordred, as he has successfully completed his first mission. Merlin does not want to toast with them, and is worried about the judgement that has been cast upon Arthur. Arthur however is not worried, and tells him that he will let the coin be made into a memento of Camelot's success. The Knights arrive back in Camelot in the morning. Arthur seems to be worried about Merlin who has not been smiling for days. They go to Gaius who tells Arthur the coin is a runemark. Gaius tells them the Disir are the highest court of the Old Religion and that they interpret the word of the Triple Goddess. According to him, when they cast judgement it is final. The runemark did not only contain guilt of a man, but also the path that god had chosen for him. Arthur however is determined to choose his own path, but Gaius tells him that only when one repents and appeases the gods they can change their fate.

In his chambers, Arthur asks Merlin why he is being judged like this if he is not a king like his father was. Merlin tells him that this may be because he is worthy to be judged, as there is no need to judge a man who will not listen. Later that night he leaves Camelot to seek Kilgharrah's council. The Great Dragon tells him that it is the Triple Goddess who has decreed the Arthur's fate, and that the Disir are but a mouthpiece of hers. The Runemark itself will predicts Arthur's death according to him. He also mentions to Merlin that the fates of Arthur and Mordred are bound together like ivy around a tree, and that Merlin must kill Mordred when he has the chance.

In Camelot, Guinevere brings food to Arthur. They discuss his judgement. Arthur tells her about Osgar who did not kill him and chose to give him the Runemark instead. He also tells her that he fears that he has put Camelot in danger. Gwen assures Arthur that the only reason the Disir judge him is because they dont know him like she does and lovingly plays with his hair while Arthur thinks over what she had said. Unable to sleep, Arthur later goes to Merlin and Gaius, eager to find out where the Disir are. Gaius is at first reluctant to tell him, but later says that they live at an ancient pool near the White Mountains. Gaius warns Merlin that the pool the place where the Old Religion is the strongest.

As the patrol prepares to leave the next morning, Mordred asks to go with them. Arthur responds that the mission they go on is not for novices. Mordred eventually convinces him to let him come with them, and he along with Arthur, Merlin and the Knights travel to the White Mountains.

They soon find the cave where the Disir dwell. As they near it, Merlin warns Arthur that the place where they are is sacred and that they should not enter the cave armed. Arthur however thinks that he is being ridiculous, and lets his men enter the caves with their swords. On their way in, Percival takes off one the relics hanging on the wall and steps on it. The men soon reach the pool where the Disir are waiting for them.

Arthur introduces himself and says that he has come to know the meaning of the Runemark, whilst throwing the objecting itself at their feet. He asks them to explain why they have judged him. The Disir tell him that they are but the messengers of the Triple Goddess, who has been angered by Arthur's actions. They agree with him that he has been a fair and just king, but point out that he has denied the Old Religion and persecuted its followers. They demand that he must learn the Old Ways and bow to the Old Religion when he does not want to see the destruction of everything he most values and the fall of Camelot, thus wanting Arthur to become an obedient follower of the Old Religion. They also accuse him of coming to them with weapons. This angers Gwaine who tells them to stop speaking like this. The Disir throw him against the cave wall, which leads other men to draw out their swords. One of the Disir throws a staff at Arthur's direction but hits Mordred when he saves Arthur, and wound him badly. She aims at Merlin as well who uses his powers and leads the object away.

The men escape the caves. Merlin examines the wounded Mordred and tells Arthur that he fears that Gaius is the only one who can save his life. On their way to Camelot, they rest for a while. Arthur feels guilty that Mordred saved his life again. They soon return to Camelot. Gaius examines Mordred and tells Arthur that his wound is a magical one, and can only be reversed by the Disir's magic themselves. After Arthur leaves, Gaius tells Merlin that he is the only one who can save him. Merlin is however reluctant to do so, as Mordred is the man destined to kill Arthur and that he cannot ignore what the Dragon advised him to do.

Arthur then decides to travel back to the Disir and ask for their mercy on Mordred. He travels alone with Merlin. When they arrive back at the cave, Arthur apologises to the Disir and asks them to have mercy on Mordred. They tell him to accept the Old Religion, but he refuses so. The Disir tell him to choose wisely, and give him until dawn to decide. At night, while at a campfire, Arthur asks for Merlin's advice. Not wanting Mordred to survive for Arthur's sake, Merlin tells him that "There can be no place for magic in Camelot".

The next morning, the Disir ask if he has changed his mind. Arthur states that he stands by his judgement. Somewhat disappointed, the Disir tell Arthur he has sealed his fate and to leave now. On the way back to Camelot, Arthur discusses what he has done with Merlin. Merlin tells him that it was the right thing to do. They then arrive at Camelot, and to Arthur's surprise and Merlin's horror, Mordred comes out and greets them. Later, while Gauis and Merlin look on from the castle at Mordred and Arthur sparring, Merlin discusses with Gaius and tells him that he condemned Arthur to his destined fate to die at Mordred's hand, since the punishment of refusing magic was the revival of Mordred. Gaius reassures Merlin that it was what anyone would have done, but Merlin still puts on a worried look, while down below Arthur congratulates Mordred for beating him.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


The Disir November 3, 2012 - 8.15pm BBC One.


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  • 'The Disir' is a group of three hooded soothsayers who interpret the word of the Triple Goddess


Video Gallery[]


View the transcript here.

Previous story: Another's Sorrow | Following story: The Dark Tower


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
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