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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Ross N: Damn, I wanted to write up this series - I went to school with Katie McGrath (Morgana) so I was looking forwarded to being outrageously biased.

(For the record I have not seen any episodes or spoken to Katie in about two years, so I cannot comment on exactly how outrageous said bias would end up being).

Silent Hunter: You're welcome to alter the entry.

Ross N: It seems fine so far. :)

Bobby G: I'm really not convinced that Morgana is Ms. Fanservice. She's not particularly fanservicey, certainly no more so than Nimueh.

Blork: I'm not so sure about a few examples listing Uther as evil. Yes, his distrust of magic is taken too far, but it's not entirely unjustified (there are a grand total of three non-evil characters with magic powers and he doesn't know about any of them) and he is portrayed as genuinely caring about his kingdom and his son, to the extent that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to save Arthur.

Otempora: I'm inclined to agree — he pets the dog as often as he kicks it.

Ross N: Hmm... I'd say he leans more towards Lawful Evil, but I could see an arguement for him being Lawful Neutral.

Mr B Little: I'd say he's more Well-Intentioned Extremist then anything else.

Roa: Well, as a French-speaking troper, I just couldn't watch Merlin. It would make me remember too much of Kaamelott, which is a very successfull series in France, based upon nearly the same premises.
Pyromaniac1337: "This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major network." Since when did CBC not count as a major network? Just because it isn't major in the US doesn't mean it isn't a major network. NBC isn't that big outside of the US, and CBC has been buying British shows (such as Doctor Who and Torchwood) for years. Could that sentence be changed to "This is the first time in several years a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major American network."?

"Arthur was raised by Uther in earliest Geoffrey of Monmouth myths, as well as featuring the Dragon in the basement. Arthur and Merlin were same age in some the rarer early versions. And God forbid that they don't give us a Monochrome Cast."

I am aware of G of M's version - that's why I can live with Uther raising Arthur. As for Dragon in the basement - surely you are not referring to the red and white dragons Merlin (also known as Ambrosius) finds under King Vortigern's tower and uses as a visual aid in his prophecy of death and destruction to Vorty. I also indicated that Merl and Art as agemates was something I could live with - however I am unaware of any precedent for it. Not Geoffrey surely as Merl is a young man before Arthur is even born. As for the monochrome cast - well paint me politically incorrect for disliking a faux multi-culti a ancient Britain. Mind you I'd have less problem if at least the presence of the Black Blacksmith and his daughter was mentioned as being unusual. While it is very possible that there were a few 'people of color' in Britain a century or so after the Roman withdrawal they undoubtedly got more than a second glance!

stardust rain: "But it takes so MANY liberties that frankly if they just changed the names they'd have a totally original fantasy going here - which as far as I am concerned would be no problem."

And that differs from other Arthurian myths how exactly? There is no consistent characterisation for Arthur or Merlin or anyone at all for that matter. Lancelot was originally rash and impulsive, holding many a Berserk Button before he fladerized into a Marty Stu. Merlin can be either The Dumbledore or a Trickster Mentor or a Big Bad (according to Mark Twain), depending on the writer. Sometimes he's The Antichrist, sometimes...less so. There is no "original" Arthurian Legend. There are over two dozen sources written down, and they've been hodgepodged into a sprawling, clustering confusing contradiction of a story. The one percieved as correct is the Malory version, which also derives from the earlier versions even more than the show.

The Dragon in the basement seems to be derived (and inversed) from the Welsh myth of the white (Saxon) and red (Celtic) dragons, which Uther finds a cave where they constantly fight, bringing chaos to the land. He kills the white one and chains up the red one, builds Camelot on top of it. The same myths feature Uther finding a child wizard Merlin, where the boys are closer age-wise.

Then there's Gwen, whose presence is less anachronistic that you'd think and there were certainly more than 'a few' coloured people in England. Word of God has claimed that the series takes place in a fantasy land where race doesn't matter, which, okay, is taking the easy way out. Presuming that this wasn't the case, the whitewashing of historical Britain is wrong, wrong, with a side of wrong. Africans and Asians were documented to have been an intergral part of English society as early as the Roman invasion, and there are records of them having fought in the Battle of Hastings. If Uther was a Roman King (like in many versions), Tom's presence would have made perfect sense, especially since some of the world's best iron-working was done first in Meroe and later in West Africa. Futhermore the English legends features black knights Palamedes, Segwarides and Safir.Sagramore features in the story The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell. Which makes Gwen working for Morgana more than possible.

Ah the joys of Politically Correct history! The presence of persons of color as servants and in the lower echelons of society is of course well known. What is untrue is that they were either a large or influential segment of the population. There were white people in Africa and Asia too but nobody argues that they were anything but marginal.

We also have the determined confusion of 'African' which in Roman terms meant Punic or Berber (dark skinned but Semitic in feature) and 'Ethiopian' which was what we today call 'African'. Ethiopians were present in Roman society as servants but the Roman Empire never extended into sub-Saharan Africa so no 'African' in our sense troops. Besides many of the troops documented in Britain were of Central Asian origin. In fact aspects of the Arthurian Myth were drawn from Sarmatian sources.

The Palomides and brothers Safire and Segwarides derive from the 12th c. romances, at a time when the Moorish occupation of Spain and the Crusades were current news making the inclusion of Saracen knights an interesting twist in contemporary terms. Note all three convert to Christianity. Now if they'd put in these three knightly brothers....

As it happens the trouble isn't so much a black character as making Guinevere that character. Shifts in characterization are one thing but this goes pretty far - and I mean the Blacksmith's daughter thing as well as ethnicity. Frankly I'd probably be fine with the whole thing if it didn't savor so strongly of pandering to PC.

The Deleter: I'm not getting involved in this argument, but I vote that all the Natter under the Sadly Mythtaken bit be removed. It's damn annoying to read people arguing freely on trope pages, as if to say "Hey! This is what Tv Tropes is all about!", rather than adding to pages and being constructive. Keep it to the disscusion pages, or don't argue at all.

Daibhid C: Agreed. Also I've tightened up the Mr. Fanservice entry; I haven't removed any actual information, but I've turned it into an entry, rather than a conversation.

I've cut the following Natter from Ho Yay:
  • Wait, which interviews are these? Everything this Troper's heard says it's not deliberate, and they all seemed a little creeped out by the whole slash thing.
  • Bradley has said many times that he treats the slash as a compliment, Johnny Capps (producer) says he recognises the 'homoerotic' elements and wont do anything to destroy them.
  • Just for the record, I've seen a few of their interviews; Bradley and Colin sit, shall we say, suggestively close to each other. My WMG theory? The slash is just an unintentional side-effect of the fact that Bradley and Colin are swordfighting in real life.

And from Politically Correct History:
  • Well, Arthur was pre-medieval times and there was contact with the Romans who were also in contact with North Africans... Oh, whatever.
  • There's also a number of black (or at least darker skinned) ancillary characters. A knight in one episode, some random background villagers. Seems like the producers just don't care. The same thing happens in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, for what it's worth.
  • There's a magical slash dragon and everyone has perfect teeth. After a certain point, it seems churlish to penalise the show for multi-racial casting.
  • Guinevere the black peasant girl making and presenting a sandwich to her father. Frankly, after that, This Troper thinks they're doing it with the explicit intention of tormenting the history buffs. To quote myself: 'A sandwich? A SANDWICH?!'
  • She's also the daughter of a black Smith, so it may just be a visual pun.

And from Sadly Mythtaken
  • Shown Their Work - Except that they don't, they just go back to an earlier version of the legend, serve it with a side of more recent versions, and practically cite their sources while they're doing it with character names and the like. So Yeah...
    • Please. There were not any blacks in England at the time, Merlin is way too young, it would have been pronounced Uter, not Uther, Artorius not Arthur, it turns everyone not at all badass, Guinevere isn't a princess, the clothing is highly anachronistic, and it is all kiddy, and it goes on and on. Hardly staying true to the original source.
    • Which original source? Also, there WERE black people in England at the time.
    • While in all likelihood there were black people in England in the 12th century, there is NO WAY a black woman would have been working for the KING's ward. Yes, it's racism, but people were racist.
    • It's frigging Arthur Myth, there is no "original". It's all so damn poluted that you can pick and choose what ever the hell you want and make it your own. While, yes, there are some that are more...accurate than others, the actual chance of getting anything anywhere near correct are so mind bogglingly inconceivable that you pretty much should just screw the details and have a good time with the whole thing. That's what this show is doing.
  • But it takes so MANY liberties that frankly if they just changed the names they'd have a totally original fantasy going here - which as far as I am concerned would be no problem. Arthur and Merlin agemates instead of mentor and pupil - okaay. Arthur raised by Uther as prince - yeah. A dragon in the basement of Camelot? Guinevere a black Blacksmith's daughter - that's a bit farther than I care to go thank you.

Why does this show have it's own page, but the critically acclaimed miniseries starring Sam Neil doesn't?