The Fires of Idirsholas is the twelfth episode of the second series of Merlin which was broadcast on 12 December 2009. It marks the second appearance of Morgause, the departure of Morgana and the release of the Great Dragon.
When the fires of Idirsholas burn for the first time in 300 years, Gaius fears a sorcerer has revived the deadly Knights of Medhir. Morgause returns, hell-bent on ending Uther's reign, with Morgana on her side, they are almost unstoppable....
Inside the ruined castle of Idirsholas, Morgause performs a magical ritual in the presence of seven motionless figures clad in black. Upon the completion of the ritual, a fire erupts in the centre of the room, animating the figures. In Camelot, Uther is brought word by a farmer that smoke was seen to be rising from the citadel of Idirsholas. Worried, Gaius warns Uther that the old legend says that the Knights of Medhir would ride again if the fires of Idirsholas burn. Uther orders the man be given food and a bed for the night as a reward and sends his men out to the site to investigate, despite the prince's skeptical nature.
Gaius reveals to Merlin that 300 years ago, seven of Camelot's finest knights were seduced by the sorceress Medhir. The knights became a force to be reckoned with as they swore to serve Medhir, destroying everything in their path. The knights were only stopped when Medhir was killed, as without her magic, they became lifeless. When Arthur, Merlin and a group of soldiers arrive at Idirsholas, they are ambushed by the knights and it is only with the secret use of Merlin's magic that he and Arthur survive. Merlin's arm is cut by something in the battle and Arthur insists on using his shirt to bandage the cut despite Merlin's complaining proudly stating that it is his first battle wound. They decide to return to Camelot to regroup and devise another attack.
Meanwhile, Morgause contacts her half-sister Morgana and they meet in secret. Their common hate for Uther strengthens Morgana's conviction that he must be defeated. She thus agrees to help Morgause, but still unsure of Morgause's true plan and intention. When Morgana awakes, she finds that the people around her are coming down with a strange sickness which renders them weak and tired and causes them to eventually fall asleep. When Arthur and Merlin return, they are horrified to find everybody in a state of unbreakable slumber. Working their way through the castle, Arthur and Merlin struggle to understand the enchantment cast over Camelot. After placing a sleeping Gwen on Morgana's bed, Arthur almost injures a hiding Morgana, believing her to be an enemy. Suspicions about Morgana's health in the wake of the enchantment arise, though Merlin is successfully able to deflect such suspicions by saying that Morgana took a potion before Gaius became ill, hence her health. They then rush to find and keep Uther hidden, fearing that he would be sought after by the intruders (Morgause and the Knights of Medhir). The situation worsens as Arthur and Merlin both begin to succumb to the sickness. Merlin volunteers to 'search' for the potion that Morgana took.
While Merlin searches for the potion, he encounters and eludes a Knight before seeking out the Great Dragon's help. Merlin is initially denied assistance, the Dragon only agreeing to help when Merlin makes a promise on his mother's grave that he will release him. The Dragon says that the only way the spell over Camelot will be broken is if Merlin kills the source of the magic, Morgana. Troubled by the task set to him, Merlin hesitantly takes a bottle of hemlock from Gaius' quarters and returns to Morgana and Arthur, who are attempting to transfer a sleeping Uther to a cart outside the castle. They are ambushed by the Knights however, and Arthur takes it upon himself to delay them from getting near his father.
While he does so, Morgana stumbles and falls at the feet of a knight. Merlin ignores her pleas for help and Morgana is almost killed but the knight surprisingly stops as if he recognises his victim. He pursues Merlin instead, but is defeated by Arthur. Morgana, Arthur, Merlin and a sleeping Uther are forced into the throne room where Arthur plans to fight the Knights on his own while Morgana and Merlin lower Uther into the cart. While Arthur fights, Merlin secretly poisons the water he offers to Morgana. After initial refusals, Morgana eventually accepts the water and begins to choke. Merlin apologises as Morgana succumbs to the poison.
Hearing her sister's cries telepathically, Morgause rushes to her aid, accusing Merlin of murder. She demands to know what poison Merlin has used, but Merlin replies that Morgause will only gain such information when she stops the attack. Morgause threatens to kill Merlin, but after realising Morgana will die as well, she relents and halts the attack. Surrounded by Arthur, the reawakened Uther, and knights of Camelot, Morgause uses magic to escape with Morgana. Uther thanks Arthur, but admits that Morgana's abduction hangs over his head. He remarks that Morgause must not be allowed to get away with what she has done. In Gaius' quarters, it is obvious that Merlin is still troubled by his actions. Gaius attempts to comfort him by saying that although they both cared for Morgana, she chose to use her gifts for evil. Merlin reluctantly agrees and leaves, saying he needs to do something.
After taking a sword from a Knight, an artifact of the Old Religion, Merlin returns to the Great Dragon. He asks what the Dragon's intentions are once released, but the Dragon cryptically replies that there is only one road he can take. Merlin asks the Dragon to promise to not harm Camelot, but the Dragon simply replies that he believes enough bargains have been made. Merlin wields the sword and frees the Dragon, who roars in triumph and escapes to freedom ready to attack Camelot.
- Colin Morgan as Merlin
- Bradley James as Arthur
- Katie McGrath as Morgana
- Angel Coulby as Gwen
- Richard Wilson as Gaius
- Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon
Release & Reception
Air date : 12 December 2009. 6.01 million viewers.
Behind the Scenes
- In the original script it is said that a hawk would give the letter that Morgause sent to Lady Morgana but it was never shown so it led the audience to believe it was Morgause's magic that delivered the letter.
- The horse on the carriage was not affected by the magic of the sleeping enchantment. This is possibly either a plot-hole, that Morgause intended on using it in case of the need to escape with Morgana, or the spell didn't work on animals.
- When Merlin, Arthur and the knights are riding out of Camelot, if you look up Merlin and Arthur aren't Colin and Bradley.
- Gaius tells Merlin the knights were around 300 years ago, though other episodes say Uther created the knights.
- Originally, the writers intended to have Morgana reappear in front of Arthur and Merlin in the next episode under unknown circumstances. However, they later changed their mind and made this her last appearance in Series 2.
- The episode marks the release of the Great Dragon.
- The episode marks the departure of Morgana before her role as a villain in Series 3.
- Characters: Knights of Medhir, Morgause, Joseph
- Locations: Castle of Idirsholas
- Magic: Animation Spell, Elemental Magic (Fire spell)
- Creatures: The Great Dragon
- Hemlock Poison, Hemlock poisoning
|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