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  • While I was watching Arthur’s bane and saw the dragon advising Merlin that he has to guide Arthur, this idea struck me. Have Arthur really ever listened to Merlin? Was it even possible for Merlin to guide Arthur. He might be Arthur’s friend, but certainly did not have any such official position to advise and guide him. Arthur considered him as a friend, was concerned about him but he was still a servant. That is why, when Arthur was poisoned, Merlin was thrown into jail by a mere accusation, unlike other knights. That brings to the question, is it even possible for Merlin to guide Arthur? Except for emergencies, when Arthur is injured or unconscious, Arthur never really follows merlin.  Yes for a servant, Merlin says a lot of colorful stuff to his boss on his face and gets away with it, But that is not equivalent to offering advice. Mostly I have seen, when he tries to advise Arthur, he gets rebuffed.

    Next point how is it possible Merlin is always accompanying Arthur in extremely perilous journey too?  Is it because Arthur takes him all the time or because a servant should go with master during war too? I mean what would he need a servant for when he is out to fight Morgana like in this episode?

    Offtopic but I noticed an interesting thing this time, Merlin conjured a snake with Arthur semi-conscious and he was hoping Arthur would remember it. It seems makers had it planned Merlin should reveal himself before the Finale. I don’t know why it did not happen. It would have made more sense

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    • This is a good question. Given that Arthur had no problem with servants/peasants/commoners due to the fact that he knighted commoners and married a serving girl, there must have been some other reason why Merlin often didn't succeed in guiding Arthur.

      On a cynical note, it was done that way because Merlin was supposed to remain being just Arthur's servant in order to build up tension, since only the viewers and very few characters knew who Merlin really was.  The silly banter was so intensively emphasized that a listening Arthur would have taken away the usual master and servant-relationship. Also, Arthur needed to do at least some things on himself in order to not appear to be totally dull. They have failed in doing so because Arthur was always influenced by others and hardly noticed and realised anything, but it would have been worse if he had always asked for Merlin's advice or if he had always listened to him.

      The constant reset-button with Arthur hopping from one side to another by sometimes ackowledging Merlin and then dismissing his advice or warning again was quite annoying. It often seemed as if the characters suffered from amnesia all the time.

      But it's not only Arthur's fault. In my opinion, they also very much overdid Merlin's submissive behaviour and his constant attempt to play the fool. There was a reason why Uther thought that Merlin was an idiot, and there's a reason why Arthur often thought that Merlin was some kind of a weird person: sometimes wise, sometimes silly and stupid. When a person behaves much too submissive, the other one won't take you seriously anymore and naturally feel superior to you.

      I enjoyed Merlin's behaviour towards Arthur in The Crystal Cave when they returned to Camelot, showing him his bad mood and dismissing Arthur's attempt to behave like Merlin's master again. Sadly, this was only one of thevery rare occasions. Merlin hardly stood up for himself, so Arthur must have had a hard time to accpet him as a friend rather than a kind and well-serving servant.

      Their whole relationship, from the beginning to the end, was the thing that obviously most fans loved but it was the very thing that was the most irritating to me on the show. Always up and down, most of the time silly, never really building up. To me they weren't close friends and they had no chemistry, probably because their relationship actually didn't evolve.


      Why Merlin always accompanied Arthur on every mission is as much a miracle as the fact that Arthur always went on missions himself when he was king already. There was a reason why Uther stayed in Camelot and sent his men. A kingdom without a king is as worthless as a door without a door handle.

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    • Why Merlin always accompanied Arthur on every mission is as much a miracle as the fact that Arthur always went on missions himself when he was king already. There was a reason why Uther stayed in Camelot and sent his men. A kingdom without a king is as worthless as a door without a door handle.

      It made no sense for Merlin to accompany Arthur whenever he left the castle, be it for a hunting trip or for a dangerous mission. If Arthur was supposed to be away for at least a few days, then maybe he might bring his servant to attend to him but there's no reason why he would want to have Merlin tagging along with him on routine patrols. He certainly wasn't bringing Merlin along for the ride because he thought that he would be an asset in combat. It's not like Merlin didn't have a mountain of chores to keep him occupied in Camelot and even Arthur would have to see that it's unreasonable to condemn him as a "lazy idiot" if he's constantly dragging him away from his duties in the castle for no better reason than to tag along and be told how useless he was.

      Short of Merlin using magic to implant a suggestion in Arthur's mind that he should bring him everywhere, I can't see why Arthur wouldn't leave him behind.

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    • ^^ But Merlin never really used magic to subdue Arthur, it would go against his principle and he would become bad magician then, he only did it once, in the finale episode of season4 and even then Arthur recovered by  next morning.

      That is exactly why this issue baffles me. Poor writing, character buildup maybe, but how can Arthur trust Merlin to take him away with him all the time, in missions where servant is really not needed and listen to him once and the flop over and  call him useless idiot other times. I doubt trained warriors like him and his elite knights would make   good tasty food priorities on missions far more important.


      FImber btw, loads of young kindgs actually took part in some adventures. I guess its coz of hot blood and youth. Its only when they become wise and old do they stay back. I think even Uther commanded his army and headed missions in his time. Maybe not the stupid missions Arthur always does, like retrieving a dragon egg, but more important ones.

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    • That is exactly why this issue baffles me. Poor writing, character buildup maybe, but how can Arthur trust Merlin to take him away with him all the time, in missions where servant is really not needed and listen to him once and the flop over and  call him useless idiot other times. I doubt trained warriors like him and his elite knights would make   good tasty food priorities on missions far more important.

      If Arthur was going on a visit to a neighbouring kingdom or something, and expected to be away for a period of at least several days, it would make sense for him to want to bring Merlin with him to attend him. However, it would be a different story when it comes to patrols, fighting monsters, etc, because he had no reason to believe that Merlin would be anything but a liability in a combat situation. Even going on hunts would be a stretch. Yes, there were usually people coming along as beaters and to carry back any dead animals but you wouldn't expect the Prince/King's manservant to be part of that because he simply wouldn't have the time.

      Look at Merlin's duties as Arthur's servant; he cleaned his chambers, prepared and served his meals, did his laundry, prepared his baths, cared for and walked his dogs, was responsible for his horses and stables, and was responsible for maintaining his armour and weapons. He also acted as his squire during training sessions and tournaments, and was loaned out to visitors in need of a servant. In addition, he acted as Gaius' assistant, gathering medicinal plants on a regular basis, doing chores in their quarters and cleaning out the leech tank. Riding out with Arthur would easily take up most of a day, making it impossible for Merlin to complete half of his chores, so it would make no sense for Arthur to drag his servant away from his duties when he clearly did not consider him to be an asset on such trips. He even said that he didn't know why he brought Merlin along.

      Had Uther appointed Merlin to be Arthur's squire, it would make sense for him to be dragged along whenever Arthur was out and about. If Arthur found him more a hindrance than a help, it could be handwaved because the job was given to Merlin as a reward for saving Arthur's life, so he was allowed to keep it even if he was deemed useless enough to be fired under other circumstances. However, his job as Arthur's manservant should have been an indoor one.



      FImber btw, loads of young kindgs actually took part in some adventures. I guess its coz of hot blood and youth.

      That, and a King couldn't allow himself to be seen as a coward leaving other men to do all of the fighting, not in his youth, at any rate. It's why Uther often sent Arthur on missions, despite the risk to his life. He could have kept him safe inside the castle - or at least tried to - but that would make Arthur look weak, and people wouldn't want to follow a weak King. They just needed a balance between having Arthur risk his life when the Prince/King needed to be seen to take an active role in the defence of the kingdom, and avoiding unnecessary risk. Uther forbidding Arthur to save Merlin in The Poisoned Chalice is an example of this stance.

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    • Fimber wrote:
      Their whole relationship, from the beginning to the end, was the thing that obviously most fans loved but it was the very thing that was the most irritating to me on the show. Always up and down, most of the time silly, never really building up. To me they weren't close friends and they had no chemistry, probably because their relationship actually didn't evolve.

      Only in the episode Sword of The Stone Arthur let Merlin convinced and guided him to believe that he is the great king. Only that time that Merlin's opinion really mattered to him. Only in that time too Merlin showed his strength and said so many wise words to guide Arthur. 

      That is why one of my favorite episode (despite the bad ending) was The Diamond of The Day, when Merlin was no longer being submissive. He was the one taking charge and leading their journey, he was taking charge for all the fights and diversions of the enemy. He was also very confident and showed his true power without acting like fool in front of Arthur. He became the leader and that was really really cool to me.

      Although I love them very much, I also sometimes hate and get very irritated whenever Arthur called him idiot, buffon, useless, lazy and so many bad names. It seemed like Arthur never really appreciate Merlin whatsoever. Maybe it seemed like Arthur just used Merlin as servant and sometimes friend or company to keep him entertained. Even after so many times Merlin's word proven right, Arthur still didn't trust him or belive in his words whenever there was something weird going on. 

      But despite of that, I still love the relationship between them. I mean (although Merlin supossed to guide Arthur and Arthur should have listened to Merlin) , Arthur enjoyed Merlin's company because he was the one that is not kissing up to him. Arthur said in The Once and Future Queen that he wanted other not treat him special because he was the prince. Merlin is not like other servant, he didn't try to kiss his a** or tried to impress Arthur. And maybe Arthur like being insulted once in a while and Merlin did it all the time. Maybe that is why Arthur always took Merlin everywhere. Because he enjoyed being with Merlin, enjoyed their laugh and sharing insults between them. 

      Maybe that is just how their relatinship suppose to be. Arthur may not acknowledge Merlin as his advisor. Merlin also didn't want to be Arthur's advisor. They just want to be friends. Friends that can share laughter, insults, jokes, and nobody get hurt by doing it because you can understand each other. You know that your friend doesn't really mean to hurt your feeling. It is just as simple as having fun. I have friend like this in my real life. And it is just terrific. 

      And in the reality also, I have seen Bradley and Colin becoming best friends too. Their relationship is just like that too, although not as severe as in the series. Bradley become the one that speaks out more, Colin completes his sentences sometimes. They share mild insults and jokes. It is wonderful.

      At least this is my opinion about Arthur and Merlin friendship. 

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    • A Lurker in the Woods
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