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Whose side are you on, Morgana? Are you with Uther? Or are you with me? Are you prepared to help me bring about his downfall?"
"I am.
Morgause and Morgana.

The Fires of Idirsholas is the twelfth episode of the second series of Merlin. It was broadcast on the 12th of 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, and with Morgana on her side, they are almost unstoppable....



The Knights of Medhir awaken.

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 Arthur and his men out to the site to investigate, despite the prince's skeptical nature.

Privately, Gaius reveals to Merlin that 300 years ago, seven Knights of Camelot were seduced by the sorceress Medhir. The knights swore to serve and became a force to be reckoned with, 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.

Camelot Sleeping Enchantment

Arthur and Merlin return to Camelot to find everyone asleep.

Meanwhile, Morgause contacts her half-sister Morgana and they meet in secret. Their common hatred for Uther strengthens Morgana's conviction that he must be defeated. She thus agrees to help Morgause, but is still unsure of Morgause's true plan and intention.

Morgause places a sleeping enchantment on Morgana and uses her body in a magical ritual. Morgana wakes back in her chambers the next morning and finds that the people around her are coming down with a strange sickness renders them weak and tired and eventually causes them to fall asleep.

When Arthur and Merlin return, they are horrified to find everyone in a state of unbreakable slumber. Working their way through the castle, they find Gwen collapsed on the floor of Morgana's chambers. Arthur places her on Morgana's bed and then nearly attacks Morgana, who is hiding behind a curtain.

Arthur interrogates Morgana about what happened and why she is the only person unaffected, but Merlin deflects his suspicions by claiming that Gaius gave Morgana potion before he became ill that protected her from the illness. Assuming that her magic is protecting her from the enchantment, Merlin promises Morgana that he won't say anything to Arthur.


Merlin and Morgana drag Uther to safety.

The trio go in search of Uther and find him asleep in his chambers. They later spot Morgause and the Knights of Medhir riding toward the citadel, at which point they rush to hide Uther by dragging him to Arthur's chambers. The situation worsens as Merlin and Arthur both begin to succumb to the enchantment.

Merlin volunteers to find some clothes to disguise Uther as a servant, but actually seeks help from the Great Dragon. The Dragon initially denies him assistance because Merlin failed to keep his promise to free him, but agrees after Merlin swears on his mother's life that he will release him. The Dragon reveals that the only way to break the spell over Camelot is to kill its source: Morgana.

Horrified by the task set to him, Merlin hesitantly takes a bottle of hemlock from Gaius' chambers 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 in the corridors, however, and Arthur takes it upon himself to delay them from getting near his father.

While he does so, Merlin and Morgana drag Uther to safety. 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 realises Merlin poisoned her.

Morgana, Arthur, Merlin, and a sleeping Uther are forced into the throne room. Arthur decides to fight the Knights on his own while Morgana and Merlin lower Uther into the cart.

With Arthur fighting for his life and both himself and Arthur moments away from falling asleep, Merlin secretly poisons some water he gives Morgana to drink. After initially refusing, Morgana accepts the water and begins to choke. Merlin apologises and holds Morgana in his arms as she succumbs to the poison.

Hearing her sister's cries telepathically, Morgause rushes to her aid and accuses 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 her attack. Morgause threatens to kill Merlin, but after realising Morgana will die as well, she relents and calls off the Knights.

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' chambers, 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.

Merlin212 2033

Merlin breaks the Dragon's chain.

Merlin retrieves a sword he stole from the one of the Knights of Medhir and goes to free the Great Dragon. He asks what the Dragon's intentions are once released and wants him to promise not to 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 flies away, ready to attack Camelot.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast


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. However, since the hawk was never shown the audience was led to believe Morgause delivered it with magic.

Production Errors


  • 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.


To view the The Fires of Idirsholas 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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