FANDOM


  • Arthur is mortally wounded and Merlin makes a dangerous deal with Nimueh, thus repeats Uther's mistake when he agrees to the Life-for-Life-rule...

    Please discuss here :-)

      Loading editor
    • The episode is significant for two reasons. a) Nimueh's character is totally butchered as one track villainess who willingly did whatever she did, thereby starting  the proverbial ball to roll.

      second is,  to find out how powerful merlin exactly is. First he survives a mortl blast from a high priestess of old religion and then he summons magic to kill her. Maybe it was partly fuelled by adrenalin rush/rage upon seeing dead Gaius, but , full extent of his power is felt for first time. Did that mean inspite of being a high priestess, Nimueh was not born of magic? as such Magic did not form core of her existence?


      Third, the way it was complelety glossed over that Merlin tried to mettle with forces beyond his understanding and refused to pay for the consequences.

        Loading editor
    • Mind you, I was convinced that Arthur wouldn't die. The legend had not even begun and so it wasn't surprising that Arthur was rescued from the realm of death. The only exciting thing was to see how he would be saved.

      At first I thought that Gaius will suddenly come up with a cure but soon it was clear that Merlin had to get involved with Nimue and do some questionable business. I do wonder, however why Gaius didn't tell Merlin everything he knew when Merlin was about to go to the Isle of the Blessed. Didn't Gaius witness the consequences  that a deal with Nimueh will have? He should have told Merlin about somebody dying when he wants magic to help healing Arthur.

      Basically, Merlin did what Uther did when he asked for magical help back then. Nimueh seemed to be the driving force behind killing somebody in exchange for saving or creating a life whereas she seemed to have been unaware of who will have to die when he talked to Uther earlier in this season. Why did she lie?

      I loved the letter that Gaius wrote to Merlin. Richard Wilson's voice in the background was so very touching and the entire scene was beautiful. Like a father would talk to a son.

      Another great scene was Uther caring about Arthur so much and carrying him across the courtyard. Kudos to Anthony Stewart Head for carrying Bradley. How did he manage to do that?

      I agree Rubelle when you say that Merlin's extent of power was demonstrated here for the first time. Too bad it took 4 more seasons to show him using a similar great power. I think that Nimueh was born with magic too. She was a High Priestess, wasn't she? I've always believed that such a status is only given to those who are born with magic.

      I wonder why Uther didn't ask Gaius to use magic when Arthur was almost dead already. He asked him to heal Morgana with magic later.

        Loading editor
    • Personally, I think this is the best episode from Series 1.

        Loading editor
    • Rubelle wrote:

      Third, the way it was complelety glossed over that Merlin tried to mettle with forces beyond his understanding and refused to pay for the consequences.

      I agree, Rubelle.  As a matter of fact, Merlin only got out of this situation because he has magic and was able to kill Nimueh. If he hadn't been a powerful sorcerer Gaius would have suffered the consequences of Merlin's deal with Nimueh. He was lucky to have been so powerful, unlike Uther who couldn't kill Nimueh in order to restore the balance.

      This is what strikes me most about the whole thing. Since "The Sins of the Father", Uther was called a hypocrite because he used magic back then and allegedly was responsible for Igraine's death - but Merlin did the right thing and saved the day, even though he too ignored all warnings and almost killed his own mother and Gaius. Does the fact that he was in the lucky position to kill the offender (Nimueh) make his actions morally right and Uther's action morally wrong only because he wasn't a powerful sorcerer? Not to mention that Uther didn't have a problem with magic back then before Igraine died.

      This is a good example for seeing much too similar or even the same situations totally different depending on who the person in question is. Imagine Uther could have killed Nimueh and Igraine would have survived - none of the events would have ever happened and magic would still be allowed. No Great Purge, no persecution of sorcerers...

      And what would have happened if Merlin couldn't have killed Nimueh and if either Arthur, Hunith or Gaius had died? Merlin doesn't have Uther's temper and he was born with magic himself, but I doubt that he just would have let go off this all. He even wanted everyone dead who threatened Arthur, as was evident when he wanted Mordred's death or killed those who wanted to harm Arthur.

      Merlin wanted to save Arthur and ignored the consequences. Uther wanted to have a son and ignored the consequences - both were unaware that a loved one would die, both were being tricked and pushed over the edge. And both times it had to do with Arthur and Nimueh.

      Yes, Lurker, I too wonder why Gaius didn't tell Merlin that someone close to him will have to pay the price. He knew that Nimueh was the one who chooses a victim and he also should have known that she wouldn't kill Merlin, one of her ownkind and equally powerful (more powerful, actually). Obviously, the one who has to die has to be an innocent person and Merlin, as the one who made the deal, wasn't innocent in that case.

      This epsiode was truly great. It showed different sides of past happenings and clarified some situations, like the fact that Igraine didn't die accidentally or wasn't a random choice but was chosen by Nimueh deliberately. It also showed that Gaius knew about this and obviously didn't blame Uther for Igraine's death (unlike Merlin, who forgot about his own knowledge and also his own doings in "The Sins of the Father" all of a sudden).

      Entire season one was filled with all the shades of grey without pointing a finger at only one of the main characters and without black & white descriptions of situations and characters. I wish they had continued that way.

      The question is: why did it all happen in the first place? Nimueh told Merlin that Arthur was never meant to die at her hands. This implies that she had foreseen Merlin asking for her help and maybe even triggered the whole situation to make Merlin doing exactly this. Did she want to have Gaius out of the way or did she want to drag Merlin on her side? And what about the Questing Beast? It showed up when Igraine died and it showed up and wounded Arthur here. Ever since the Questing Beast died, the Life-for-a-Life dogma vanished because there were several occasions when someone who would have died for sure was being healed either by Merlin, the druids, a sorcerer.... Or was this dogma only Nimueh's doing?

      Lurker, I think Uther didn't ask Gaius for magical help because it wasn't planned at that time that he would ask for magic later when Morgana is about to die. In my opinion, it was just overlooked in "The Crystal Cave" that he should have demanded the same treatment for Arthur in season one. Or maybe, since he knew of the Questing Beast, he thought that asking for magical help would be invane because perhaps he had tried back then when Igraine was being chosen to die and his wish was denied. On the other hand, Uther refusing to use magic in this situation with Arthur proved that he really though that magic was evil and didn't just use it when it was convenient for himself. This was changed only later when Morgana was fatally injured.

      I too loved the scene when Gaius wanted to sacrifice himself for Merlin and also Uther being devastated over Arthur's upcoming death. No idea how he managed to carry him :-D It is said that people in medieval times were much stronger than we are today.

      And I agree with Alfons. This was one of the best epsiodes of season one, and to me, one of the best of the entire show.

      I only disapprove of Gwen telling Arthur that he was a much better man than Uther. She has every right to think that but it was rude and tactless to tell it to the son of the one she dislikes. I wouldn't dare to speak ill of a family member of someone else, no matter my personal feelings.

        Loading editor
    • As a matter of fact, Merlin only got out of this situation because he has magic and was able to kill Nimueh.

      In terms of characterisation, I think that the only reason he was able to kill Nimueh without coming across as a much darker character than the writers intended him to be was that, despite previously indicating that she hadn't known that Ygraine would be the one to die if magic was used to create Arthur and that she wouldn't have helped had she known, in this episode, we were expected to believe that she deliberately sacrificed Ygraine's life, and was apparently too stupid to see that the consequences for this would be dire. The Excalibur angle made much more sense, and it also made Uther's crusade against all magic users more understandable if Ygraine's death was the unintended backlash of a spell intended to do something good rather than a deliberate action on Nimueh's part.

      Imagine if Nimueh wasn't capable of choosing who would die to save Arthur, that her role in this episode was solely to give Merlin the Cup of Life and warn him that the price for saving a life was that a life would be taken, but Merlin was able to do this, and had made the choice to murder Nimueh because he didn't like the price he would have to pay to save Arthur when it was his time to die.

      I think that Merlin was let off the hook too easily in this episode.

      It would have been much better dramatically and in terms of his character if he had either lost his mother as a result of his attempt to play God - no way were they going to kill off Gaius - or made the choice to shoot the messenger, despite Nimueh being incapable of controlling who would die in Arthur's place, and preferably indicating future neutrality towards Arthur and Merlin.

        Loading editor
    • ReganX wrote:The Excalibur angle made much more sense, and it also made Uther's crusade against all magic users more understandable if Ygraine's death was the unintended backlash of a spell intended to do something good rather than a deliberate action on Nimueh's part.


      I think that this is what Uther believed - he probably thought that it wasn't Nimueh's deliberate choice but the Old Religion/magic's fault. Or maybe he just was unsure whether or not Nimueh had the power to choose. But either way, magic was behind it all and he certainly knew that Nimueh at least knew that someone close to him would die.

      So Nimueh betrayed him when not telling him about the very likely possibility that Igraine might be the price, and magic was evil because it was tempting and seduced him. The terribe result was a tragedy coming out of something which was supposed to be good.

      Even if he knew that Nimueh chose Igraine deliberately, she represented the Old Religion as a High Priestess and used Uther's trust in order to kill an innocent person and to bring misery upon Uther. I would say that this would be even more reason for him to condemn all magic, especially since Nimueh used to be his friend and was supposed to be a trusted person. She proved that magic couldn't be trusted and that it corrupts really everyone, even Uther himself.

      However, "Excalibur" and "Le Morte d'Arthur" showed us two different stories about the same happening, and back then I was convinced that there was a reason to it and that they slowly pushed Uther onto his way to redemption - which might have been the case indeed. To me it seemed that Nimueh was supposed to be the one who triggered it all an lied, which gave Merlin the opportunity to be some kind of a mediator when knowing and considering all sides of the whole story.  We were always supposed to believe that magic/the Old Religion deserved a second chance, redemption and forgiveness for all the cruelties, including Igraine's death (by Merlin's presence only) - so Uther deserved a second chance, redemption and forgiveness too.

      Oddly, with the show progressing, they proved that the Old Religion/magic/the Triple Goddess was/were indeed an entity and a quite cruel one, and moreover something that couldn't be trusted (even Merlin was deceived, tempted and tricked by it). Nevertheless, Uther was being shown to be the bad guy in the end. Sad.

        Loading editor
    • Merlin did not know of Uther's mistake up until "The Sins of the Father".

      - He was only following an advise from a manupilating dragon.

      - Receiving help from Nimueh, who he still remembers from the Cara incident.

      To me he was not making a mistake because he has magic, and believes in it to solve his problems. There is a conflict between ExcaliburLe Morte d'Arthur and The Sins of the Father.

        Loading editor
    • To me he was not making a mistake because he has magic, and believes in it to solve his problems.

      Uther once believed that magic could solve his problem by enabling his barren wife to give him a son. He ended up wishing that he hadn't sought a magical solution to his problem.

      Merlin was using magic that he did not truly understand so, storywise and in terms of character development, I think that he should have had to suffer the consequences of tampering with the Balance of Life and Death. If nothing else, it would have been a much-needed lesson about the need for extreme care when it came to messing with powerful forces. It was a major cop-out on the writer's part to not only let him get away without having to lose somebody dear to him thanks to his choice to use magic to save Arthur, but to let him sacrifice an unwilling victim and act like it was okay by rolling back on what had been established in Excalibur and presenting Nimueh as having deliberately sacrificed Ygraine and Hunith, for no other reason than that she could.

        Loading editor
    • Selecasticon wrote:
      Merlin did not know of Uther's mistake up until "The Sins of the Father".

      - He was only following an advise from a manupilating dragon.

      - Receiving help from Nimueh, who he still remembers from the Cara incident.

      To me he was not making a mistake because he has magic, and believes in it to solve his problems. There is a conflict between ExcaliburLe Morte d'Arthur and The Sins of the Father.


      That is true. And to me, all would have been fine if Merlin hadn't suddenly forgotten about it all later in "The Sins of the Father". As you've stated already, there is a conflict between those three epsiodes, and ReganX has pointed out some inconsistencies too.

      In season one and two, up until "The Sins of the Father",  I thought that the storyline was about the consequences of decisions without pointing a finger at just one person but by demonstrating all the shades of grey and also Merlin's own mistakes that broaden his mind and show him that he too was tempted by his powers/by magic and that things weren't always as they seemed to be. Sadly, they changed it in "The Sins of the Father" when they made Merlin claiming that Uther sacrificed Igraine willingly. Moreover, Gaius obviously didn't think it was necessary to clarify the situation to Merlin even though he knew the truth and witnessed the past happenings first hand. Yet he let Merlin believe that Uther sacrificed his own wife. Merlin should have remembered that he too ignored every warning and was willing to pay "any price" (his words) in order to have Arthur being healed. He had the nerve to blame Uther and ignored his own actions.

      That was not only hypocritical but also illogical. Both he and Arthur put the word of a sorceress who slaughtered her way to the throne room and killed many innocents in the process over the word of Uther and over all logic and own experience. Neither Arthur nor Merlin could have been sure that Igraine was real and not only a trick by Morgause. And even if Igraine was real, Merlin should have immediately remembered what he was willing to do and what he indeed did when he saved Arthur, thus comparing his own actions to Uther's actions when he asked for magical help back then.

      But no, Merlin played the innocent one and blamed another of whom he knew nothing about. Uther slaughtering sorcerers over guilt makes no sense if he allegedly sacrificed Igraine willingly. Why should he feel guilty then? And by not sacrifing her willingly but being convinced that Nimueh(the Old Religion) killed Igraine, he surely didn't blame entirely himself when Igraine was killed by magic and when he wanted her to be alive. Either way, it wasn't all only about guilt.

      Shame that neither Arthur nor Merlin thought about it more carefully but ignored logic instead.

        Loading editor
    • This is one of my absolute favourites. I found it incredibly awesome when Merlin and Nimueh had a showdown at the Isle of the Blessed. Especially Merlin's quote: "You should not have killed my friend!!!" Loved this episode. :D :D :D :D

      The Questing Beast made me jump though especially when it leapt into view. O.O

        Loading editor
    • I absolutely hate the inconsistencies created by the three episodes: Excalibur, Le Morte d'Arthur and The Sins of the Father. These three episodes are the main reason I believe there should be a prequel spin-off explaining the circumstances of the Great Purge, including Gaius' relationship with Alice and Nimueh, Morgana and Morgause's birth and whether Vivienne was a priestess of the Old Religion. This episode left me with a lot of mixed feelings. I also expected Merlin's duel with Nimueh to be a bit longer and more epic.

        Loading editor
    • 194.228.149.129 wrote:
      I absolutely hate the inconsistencies created by the three episodes: Excalibur, Le Morte d'Arthur and The Sins of the Father. These three episodes are the main reason I believe there should be a prequel spin-off explaining the circumstances of the Great Purge, including Gaius' relationship with Alice and Nimueh, Morgana and Morgause's birth and whether Vivienne was a priestess of the Old Religion. This episode left me with a lot of mixed feelings. I also expected Merlin's duel with Nimueh to be a bit longer and more epic.


      I agree. As a matter of fact, "The Sins of the Father" was the epsiode that created the inconsistency whereas it still makes sense that in "Le Morte d'Arthur" Nimueh was the one who killed Igraine. She simply could have lied to Uther in "Excalibur" in order to burden his conscience even more.  Maybe she just didn't expect Uther to freak out when Igraine dies and maybe she had personal reasons for killing her but the show didn't bother to explain later, especially when "The Sins of the Father" ignored the previous storylines all of a sudden and made Uther sacrificing Igraine willingly.

        Loading editor
    • Fimber wrote: I agree. As a matter of fact, "The Sins of the Father" was the epsiode that created the inconsistency whereas it still makes sense that in "Le Morte d'Arthur" Nimueh was the one who killed Igraine. She simply could have lied to Uther in "Excalibur" in order to burden his conscience even more.  Maybe she just didn't expect Uther to freak out when Igraine dies and maybe she had personal reasons for killing her but the show didn't bother to explain later, especially when "The Sins of the Father" ignored the previous storylines all of a sudden and made Uther sacrificing Igraine willingly.

      Based on what we know of Uther's love for Ygraine, that would be like going out in the rain without a coat or umbrella and then being surprised when you get wet.

      That's why it never made sense to me that Nimueh would deliberately sacrifice Ygraine's life if she had the option of choosing somebody else. The Excalibur angle made the most sense to me, and there was a comparison to be drawn between Uther and Nimueh, who were perpetuating a cycle of vengeance that traced back to a tragedy that resulted from them both making an error in judgement by using magic to bring a life into the world that wasn't meant to be there. They were shouldering similar burdens; Uther knowing that his beloved wife died because he sought magical help to have a son, and Nimueh knowing that her attempt to help sparked the Great Purge that resulted in the deaths of her friends. Story wise, I found it very effective.

        Loading editor
    • ReganX wrote:

      Fimber wrote: I agree. As a matter of fact, "The Sins of the Father" was the epsiode that created the inconsistency whereas it still makes sense that in "Le Morte d'Arthur" Nimueh was the one who killed Igraine. She simply could have lied to Uther in "Excalibur" in order to burden his conscience even more.  Maybe she just didn't expect Uther to freak out when Igraine dies and maybe she had personal reasons for killing her but the show didn't bother to explain later, especially when "The Sins of the Father" ignored the previous storylines all of a sudden and made Uther sacrificing Igraine willingly.

      Based on what we know of Uther's love for Ygraine, that would be like going out in the rain without a coat or umbrella and then being surprised when you get wet.


      Yes, we know that but maybe Nimueh didn't see it coming. Surely, a lot of people lost loved ones but the majority didn't start a Great Purge and killed countless sorcerers/people because of it.

      Maybe it was the writers intention that Nimueh didn't like Igraine. Or maybe it was a test for Uther. Perhaps Nimueh was in love with him, perhaps she hated him due to whatever reason. Or maybe the entire Great Purge was indeed planned by the Old Religion, as weird as it sounds, given that Merlin's birth was planned in ancient times already which was necessary in order to help Arthur whose birth obviously was planned too and which caused the Great Purge...

      Who knows, maybe Uther was supposed to accept really everything that the Old Religion did, even when losing his loved ones, in order to prove himself worthy. Like God demanded Abraham to kill his son Isaac in order to prove his faith in and love for God (not comparing Uther to Abraham or the Old Religion to God but only trying to think of some motives of a very mighty power and/or entity, given that the Triple Goddess demanded unconditional submission from Arthur). The Old Religion might have tested Uther's worship for them that way and then abandoned him when he didn't submit but fought the Old Religion instead.

      And in case that this was the original intention of the show, it would make sense that Nimueh had Uther believe that it wasn't she who chose his wife but really the Old Religion that chose Igraine - but not due to some personal reasons but only randomly. That way she could make Uther believe that things just happen and that in the end, the Old Religion is the almighty power and the very thing that should be respected and accepted, if not being worshipped since it has the power over life and death but supposedly no evil intentions. It would show Uther that humans are imperfect and make mistakes but that the Old Religion doesn't and that every attempt to fight fate is supposed to be pure arrogance of minor human beings/mortals. That way she probably thought that Uther wouldn't condemn her but keep her in the castle by his side, plus he wouldn't think that magic corrupts but that it was just the way "nature" works and that there is no one to be held responsible.

      Too bad that Uther saw it differently and decided to not submit and to fight the Old Religion since he put his own kind over magic and its evil powers and indeed held the Old Religion itself responsible for what happened.

      When Merlin fought Nimueh in "Le Morte d'Arthur", he told her that he didn't want to have anything to do with her kind, which showed that he saw things differently too and disagreed with the dogmas of the Old Religion but obviously, at that point of time, wanted a better world with a mercyful and fair religion. He could have been the one to bring it on and to change the Old Ways into a new religion with magic that coexisted peacefully and respectfully with mortals/humans.

      From this point of view, even Gaius' decision to stay in Camelot makes sense because he too was wary of the Old Ways but agreed with the "good" magic only and knew that Uther wasn't evil but only tried to fight what he thought was wrong, opressive and evil from the core. He didn't have to approve of the Great Purge, of course (and who could?) but he might have realised that the Old Ways and its dogmas were indeed not desirable anymore but that a new time had to come, something between Uther's hatred and Great Purge and the cruel Old Ways of the Old Religion.

      Hadn't they changed it all later, starting with "The Sins of the Father" and continuing it in later seasons with Merlin suddenly changing, with Morgana becoming a comic strip-evil witch and with Uther being an evil psychopath all of a sudden in his last appearance while turning Arthur into a naive and sometimes even dumb king who didn't really know what to do and what was right and wrong, thus turning the show into a shallow action drama full of immature characters and black & white stories, the differences between "Excalibur" and "Le Morte d'Arthur" would have made perfect sense and could have been the beginning of a very intelligent and fascinating plotline.

        Loading editor
    • Ok interesting posts... um, I would say that Merlin did make some very odd decisions in this episode yes :/

        Loading editor
    • When I watched this episode I was surprised Gaius survived. I mean, that part about Merlin killing Nimueh and having Gaius back in return seemed like a forced Deus Ex Machina to me.  It was very confusing how the person who would die in the life and death bargain was selected, and even less clear how Merlin killing Nimueh out of rage could change the matters about what seemed to be very complex magic issues. I mean, if Nimueh's death was always an option to solve the problem, why didn't the dragon tell Merlin to kill her from the very beginning? I know nobody knew this would happen, but that's exactly the problem here, what happens when he kills Nimueh and Gaius is brought back to life goes completely against the logic of the story.  So it feels forced. 

        Loading editor
    • With this episode and The Disir I don't know what the show was trying to say about magic and the Old Religion. Nearly everything bad that happened to the characters in the show happened because of people who practiced the Old Religion. Nimueh seemed to take joy in the vengeance she was bringing to Uther's kingdom showed little regard for the lives of innocents. She goes full-on Vader on Merlin asking him to join her in ruling the world. The Pendragon dynasty continued, but was finally terminated by the ways of the Old Religion. And it's just painful to me that the show ended without exploring the rules and laws under which magic was to be practiced when Merlin and Arthur built the Golden Age of Albion.

        Loading editor
    • A Lurker in the Woods
        Loading editor
Give Kudos to this message
You've given this message Kudos!
See who gave Kudos to this message