History Series / Merlin

17th Apr '15 2:59:16 PM StFan
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[[quoteright:316:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/merlin-series_4014.jpg]] ->''In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name...''Merlin. -->--'''The Great Dragon''' '''''Merlin''''' is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on September 20th, 2008 and ended December 24th, 2012. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur]]). The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''Series/TheXFactor'' and, following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naïve young wizard or warlock, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]] (Creator/RichardWilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther (Creator/AnthonyHead), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret. Other main characters of the series include Morgana (Creator/KatieMcGrath) and Guinevere (Creator/AngelCoulby). Morgana, Uther's ward, struggles with visions of the future and her emerging magical powers, which gradually turns her against Uther. Guinevere works as Morgana's servant, is close friends with Merlin, and eventually becomes Arthur's main love interest. There is a [[Characters/{{Merlin}} character sheet]] and a [[Recap/{{Merlin}} recap page]] for the series. Tropes relating to those should go there. [[SimilarlyNamedWorks Not related to]] the [[Film/{{Merlin}} 1998 miniseries starring]] Creator/SamNeill, besides having the same source material. ---- !!''Merlin'' provides examples of the following tropes: [[index]] * Merlin/TropesAToC * Merlin/TropesDToH * Merlin/TropesIToP * Merlin/TropesQToZ [[/index]] ----
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[[quoteright:316:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/merlin-series_4014.jpg]] ->''In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name...''Merlin. -->--'''The Great Dragon''' '''''Merlin''''' is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on September 20th, 2008 and ended December 24th, 2012. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur]]). The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''Series/TheXFactor'' and, following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naïve young wizard or warlock, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]] (Creator/RichardWilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther (Creator/AnthonyHead), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret. Other main characters of the series include Morgana (Creator/KatieMcGrath) and Guinevere (Creator/AngelCoulby). Morgana, Uther's ward, struggles with visions of the future and her emerging magical powers, which gradually turns her against Uther. Guinevere works as Morgana's servant, is close friends with Merlin, and eventually becomes Arthur's main love interest. There is a [[Characters/{{Merlin}} character sheet]] and a [[Recap/{{Merlin}} recap page]] for the series. Tropes relating to those should go there. [[SimilarlyNamedWorks Not related to]] the [[Film/{{Merlin}} 1998 miniseries starring]] Creator/SamNeill, besides having the same source material. ---- !!''Merlin'' provides examples of the following tropes: [[index]] * Merlin/TropesAToC * Merlin/TropesDToH * Merlin/TropesIToP * Merlin/TropesQToZ [[/index]] ----[[redirect:Series/{{Merlin2008}}]]
18th Dec '14 6:28:11 PM 102372
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->''"In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name...''Merlin''"''.
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->''"In ->''In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name...''Merlin''"''.''Merlin.

The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive, young wizard or warlock, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]] (Creator/RichardWilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther (Creator/AnthonyHead), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret.
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The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive, naïve young wizard or warlock, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]] (Creator/RichardWilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther (Creator/AnthonyHead), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret.

There is a [[Characters/{{Merlin}} character sheet]] and an [[Recap/{{Merlin}} episode guide]] for the series.
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There is a [[Characters/{{Merlin}} character sheet]] and an a [[Recap/{{Merlin}} episode guide]] recap page]] for the series. series. Tropes relating to those should go there.
1st Dec '14 6:04:15 PM fusilcontrafusil
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The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive, young wizard or warlock, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]] (Richard Wilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther (Anthony Head), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret.
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The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive, young wizard or warlock, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]] (Richard Wilson), (Creator/RichardWilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther (Anthony Head), (Creator/AnthonyHead), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret.
1st Dec '14 6:03:25 PM fusilcontrafusil
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The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive, young wizard or warlock, Merlin, who goes to live with his mother's (Hunith) old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]], Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther, the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur, from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon, who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret. Other main characters of the series include Morgana and Guinevere. Morgana, Uther's ward, struggles with visions of the future and her emerging magical powers, which gradually turns her against Uther. Guinevere works as Morgana's servant, is close friends with Merlin, and eventually becomes Arthur's main love interest.
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The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive, young wizard or warlock, Merlin, Merlin (Creator/ColinMorgan), who goes to live with his mother's (Hunith) old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]], Gaius]] (Richard Wilson), Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good, but finds that King Uther, Uther (Anthony Head), the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur, Arthur (Creator/BradleyJames), from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon, Dragon (voiced by Creator/JohnHurt), who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret. Other main characters of the series include Morgana (Creator/KatieMcGrath) and Guinevere.Guinevere (Creator/AngelCoulby). Morgana, Uther's ward, struggles with visions of the future and her emerging magical powers, which gradually turns her against Uther. Guinevere works as Morgana's servant, is close friends with Merlin, and eventually becomes Arthur's main love interest.

[[SimilarlyNamedWorks Not related to]] the [[Film/{{Merlin}} 1998 miniseries starring Sam Neill]], besides having the same source material.
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[[SimilarlyNamedWorks Not related to]] the [[Film/{{Merlin}} 1998 miniseries starring Sam Neill]], starring]] Creator/SamNeill, besides having the same source material.
1st Dec '14 5:49:25 PM fusilcontrafusil
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'''''Merlin''''' is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on September 20th, 2008 and ended December 24th, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''Series/TheXFactor'' and, following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur]]). The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season.
to:
'''''Merlin''''' is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on September 20th, 2008 and ended December 24th, 2012. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur]]). The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''Series/TheXFactor'' and, following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur]]). The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season. commissioned.
15th Sep '14 11:21:44 PM 102372
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->''"In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name... ''Merlin''"''. -->-- '''The Great Dragon''' '''''Merlin''''' is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on 20th September, 2008 and ended 24th December, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''TheXFactor'' and following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur).]] The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season. The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive and young wizard or warlock, Merlin, who goes to live with his mother's (Hunith) old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]], Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good but finds that King Uther, the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur, from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position as Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon, who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret.
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->''"In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name... ''Merlin''"''. -->-- '''The -->--'''The Great Dragon''' '''''Merlin''''' is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on 20th September, September 20th, 2008 and ended 24th December, December 24th, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''TheXFactor'' and ''Series/TheXFactor'' and, following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur).]] Arthur]]). The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season. season. The series focuses on the story and journey of an idealistic, naive and naive, young wizard or warlock, Merlin, who goes to live with his mother's (Hunith) old friend [[TheObiWan Gaius]], Camelot's greatest physician. Merlin hopes to find a way to use his powers for good good, but finds that King Uther, the ruler of Camelot, has banned magic and executes anyone found practicing it. Merlin saves the life of Uther's heir and only son, Prince Arthur, from an evil witch. He is then rewarded with the position as of Arthur's servant. Merlin also encounters the Great Dragon, who prophesies that Arthur, when he becomes King of Camelot, will someday create the fair and just kingdom of Albion. He tasks Merlin to guide and protect Arthur. Merlin must use his magic to combat [[MonsterOfTheWeek magical enemies]] and protect Camelot while keeping his true nature and identity a secret.
7th Jul '14 5:10:55 AM StFan
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'''''Merlin''''' was a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on 20th September, 2008 and ended 24th December, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''TheXFactor'' and following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur).]] The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season.
to:
'''''Merlin''''' was is a Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on 20th September, 2008 and ended 24th December, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''TheXFactor'' and following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur).]] The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season.
25th Apr '14 5:31:39 AM LongLiveHumour
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'''''Merlin''''' was a BBC1 series that first aired on 20th September, 2008 and ended 24th December, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''TheXFactor'' and following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur).]] The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season.
to:
'''''Merlin''''' was a BBC1 Creator/{{BBC}}1 series that first aired on 20th September, 2008 and ended 24th December, 2012. The timeslot and intended audience were the same as for ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/RobinHood''. It was picked up by Creator/{{NBC}} to air in January 2009. This is the first time in several years that a British TV show has been bought for broadcasting by a major US network. It got a second series, after having done very well against ''TheXFactor'' and following a third series, a fourth and fifth were commissioned. It follows Merlin of KingArthur fame in the early stages of his career (except that [[PragmaticAdaptation he's younger than Arthur).]] The series had a total of five seasons with thirteen episodes per season.
28th Feb '14 12:11:51 AM despoa
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Splitting into subpages.
[[foldercontrol]] [[folder: A-B]] * AbhorrentAdmirer: Grunhilda, to Gaius. Vivian, to Arthur (by the end of the episode at least). * AbortedDeclarationOfLove: Arthur seems to be on the verge of telling Guinevere that he loves her in the series three finale. However, she interrupts him after he makes the mistake of saying "if I never see you again..." which only compels her to insist that they ''will'' meet again. * AbusiveParents: Uther. It is obvious that many of Arthur's insecurities stem from being raised by an emotionally distant and cold father. The same could be said for Morgana and her emotional, mental and psychological issues. Although Morgana was never really mistreated by Uther, the way Uther talked about magic users like Morgana definitely contributed to Morgana's FaceHeelTurn in season three. * ActingForTwo: EveMyles in "The Dragon's Call" playing both Lady Helen and Mary Collins. ** Also Colin Morgan has portrayed a total of ''three'' different characters including standard Merlin, Dragoon/Emrys, and Dolma. How he manages to pull off making all three different characters with different quirks is amazing. * ActionDad: Uther. He's always involved in the action in regards to Camelot. * ActionFashionista: Morgana. * ActionGirl: Morgana and Morgause, who are later [[DarkActionGirl Dark Action Girls]]. Gwen to a lesser extent. Also Enmyria, the bandit girl in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E11TheWitchsQuickening The Witch’s Quickening]]'', and [[Literature/TristanAndIseult Isolde]] in ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E13TheSwordInTheStonePartII The Sword in the Stone Part II]]''. * ActionHero: Merlin, Arthur and all of the Knights at the Round Table. They all use combat as a way to solve problems and missions. * AdaptationalAngstUpgrade: Perhaps not so much an "upgrade" as a "shift" in what the main characters angst about. Arthur has [[WellDoneSonGuy Daddy Issues]], Morgana grapples with fear of her growing magical powers, Guinevere is given a RagsToRiches story, Merlin has to hide his true identity while making SadisticChoice after SadisticChoice. eTheir legendary counterparts had [[BecauseDestinySaysSo Depressing Destinies]], BrotherSisterIncest and [[LoveTriangle Love Triangles]] to contend with. * AdaptationalAttractiveness: In the original Arthurian legends, Merlin is portrayed as an [[WizardClassic old, eccentric and zany wizard]]. But in this version, [[PrettyBoy Merlin]] is [[MrFanservice youthful, attractive and appealing to the female audience]]. * AdaptationalVillainy: Obviously it depends on what source material you're working with, but the likes of Morgana, Morgause, Mordred, Nimueh and Agravaine can be portrayed much more sympathetically in various legends and other adaptations than they are in this series. * {{Adorkable}}: Merlin and Gwen (especially in her early appearances). ** Princess Elena ** In the series 4 premiere, Gwaine and Percival trying to swipe a chicken. ** Mordred rides a horse in reverse because the knights told him it's tradition. * AdultFear: Think about this from Gaius's point of view. Merlin is like a son to him. He probably fears more for Merlin's life than Merlin himself does. A lot of the time, he doesn't even know the whole story of what Merlin's up to. So it makes perfect sense that he's constantly pestering Merlin about keeping his magic secret- he's terrified that Merlin isn't taking his warning seriously enough, and he knows that if Merlin is caught in the act just once, he's as good as dead. ** Think of all the times when Gaius has to lie and say Merlin's at the tavern. He covers for Merlin, but half the time even he doesn't know where Merlin is or what he's doing. He's just hoping that, whatever the situation, Merlin's going to make it back home. ** Cast members expressly said that we could expect most of the conflicts of series 5 to center around AdultFear types of issues, and that it would be “a lot darker” in tone. They were right. * AdultsAreUseless: Uther's the bloody ''king'', for crying out loud. Though he apparently was ''very'' good at killing everyone with magic. ** Subverted with Gaius. Played straight with everyone else even if, in typical showbiz fashion you [[DawsonCasting shave a few years]] off the actors real ages they're still in their late teens (Merlin) to mid twenties (Gwen) so maybe "Authority Figures Are Useless" would be more accurate. * AllJustADream: Episode [=3x10=] opens with Gwen becoming Queen of Camelot with Arthur as king, but it is shown that it is just a dream of Morgana's [[spoiler: though this dream comes true in the series 4 finale]]. * AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Everyone except Merlin and those who know his secret, like Gaius and Lancelot. * AllTrollsAreDifferent : Lady Catrina, "Beauty and the Beast". * AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: Series 3 and 4 both use this for the finale. * AlienBlood: Troll blood is green, apparently. * ALightInTheDistance: Arthur in the caves, looking for the mortaeus flower. * AlmightyJanitor: Merlin. Big time. * AlmostKiss: Arthur and Gwen in ''The Castle of Fyrien'' and at the end of ''Queen of Hearts''. They actually ''do'' manage to get there earlier in the latter episode, but are interrupted just as they're getting started. ** Alvarr and Morgana in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E11TheWitchsQuickening The Witch’s Quickening]]''. * AloofDarkHairedGirl: Morgana. ** Freya could count as well. * AlwaysSaveTheGirl: Arthur, Merlin and Lancelot have all been willing to give up what is most important to them in order to save Guinevere; respectively, his entitlement to the throne, his magical secret, and his life. * AlwaysSecondBest: Arthur and Lancelot have this mentality in regards to each other, each believing that the other is "the better man" in everything from their skills in combat to how Guinevere feels about them. * AmbitionIsEvil: Morgana's thirst for power and to become Queen of Camelot and gain entitlement to the throne at any cost, including trying to kill her own half brother (Arthur) and turning against her own former best friend (Gwen) is simply nothing but pure evil. Morgana's hunger for power turned out to be her ultimate downfall. * AnachronismStew: It pretty much turns Anachronism Stew UpToEleven, but somewhat justified in that it's probably not set in ''our'' timeline at all (though this may have been {{Jossed}} by the closing moments of the GrandFinale). When the creator was criticized for it, he pointed out that it isn't supposed to be historically accurate. People complain about the tomatoes, he said, but oddly enough no one's commented on the dragon. ** Knights in plate armour and huge stone castles in pre-Saxon England. *** Although weirdly the plate armour tends to only cover one shoulder, and [[ArmorIsUseless often doesn't hold up to anything]]. And no one appears to use [[ShieldsAreUseless a shield]], unless they're in a tournament. ** Gaius' medical knowledge being far too advanced for the time period. ** Gwen's kidnappers use [[InstantSedation chloroform]]. I mean, "compound of hog's wart." ** In ''Lady of the Lake'', Arthur appears to be having pre-packed deli meat for breakfast. Oddly enough, in the same episode, when Merlin steals the original meal and replaces it with food from a cupboard in Gaius's quarters, one of the components is a shriveled, close-to-rotten whole apple... an uncomfortably realistic detail of medieval life. ** Parodied in the 2009 ChildrenInNeed special, in which the kingdom is invaded by "magical items" like microwaves, hairdryers and mobile phones. See it [[http://youtu.be/vJhixrsFO1Y here]]. ** French chivalry in the middle of dark age Britain. Although you can't blame them for that one, that was in the original myths. ** And let's not forget the infamous aluminium beer cans on the table in ''Lancelot and Guinevere''. ** As well as the coat hangers, which didn't appear in that form until the 1900s. * AndStarring: John Hurt as the voice of the Dragon. * AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: By Arthur, to Merlin, about Guinevere. ** Another more subtle one by Lancelot, also to Merlin, ''also'' about Guinevere in [[Recap/MerlinS04E02TheDarkestHourPartII The Darkest Hour Part II]]. * AntagonisticOffspring: Morgana towards Uther. * AntiHero: Almost everyone can be considered Type III, due to the show being in the Middle Ages where killing and not losing sleep over it is the norm. Adjusting, most of the knights and Arthur are Type I or Type II with a side of HeroAntagonist. ** Even adjusting for DeliberateValuesDissonance, Merlin is an ''extremely'' dark Type III. He's not vicious enough to move into Type IV, but GoodIsNotSoft is in full play here. * AntimagicalFaction: Personified in King Uther. * AntiVillain: Several of the villains in the series. Uther was a genocidal tyrant but he also genuinely loved his children and cared about his people. Morgana, Mordred, and most of the Villains of the Week attack Camelot because of its laws that persecute them. * AnyoneCanDie: The first three episodes of Series 4 see the deaths of [[spoiler: Morgause, Lancelot and Uther]]. ** Series 5 kills off, in order: [[spoiler:Elyan, Mordred, Gwaine, Morgana and Arthur]]. * ApologisesALot: Merlin. * AppliedPhlebotinum: Oh, Gaius. * ArchEnemy: Merlin to Morgana and vice versa. According to The Great Dragon, Morgana is [[DarkMessiah the dark]] to Merlin's [[TheMessiah light]] and the hatred to Merlin's love. * ArcSymbol: The Round Table. Hints of it turn up throughout the first four seasons - Arthur gathers villagers in a circle around him and tells them that they're all equal, his knights form a circle around him when he asks for volunteers to help him fight the dragon; and he gathers all his closest allies around a circular stone table while they're on the run and tells them that it symbolizes the way they all worked together. Finally appears in season five in the hall of Camelot Castle, with everyone gathered around. * ArmourIsUseless: DependingOnTheWriter. * ArmyOfTheDead: Used several times. One time with skeletons, one time with technically undead (the Cup of Life was used to make an army immortal, and they counted as undead), and one time with actual spirits. In the latter case, it wasn't so much an army as a swarm of angry ghosts attacking at random, but the spirit is the same. * ArrangedMarriage : Arthur and Elena. * ArtisticLicense: ** Despite centuries of characters added with the retelling of the Arthurian myths this TV show opted to still add the character Gaius who was made up for the series. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'' Gaius states that a staff had Ogham script on it, then show the page. The script shown does carry the same format as Ogham in that there is a line connecting all the letters and it is a series of lines, but the props department then embellished the script by making it much more TV friendly (most of Oghams' letters are a series of 1-5 dashes connected on a line, the script shown only had the vaguest basis on Ogham. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' Gaius talks about a magic stone that has been lost for 1000 years. Said stone has writing on it, in Anglo Saxon runes, which are from two hundred years after the time period of Arthurian myth. 1000 years before THAT the writing the writing would have been in the Euboean alphabet. Or at least cuneiform. * {{Asexual}}: [[WordOfGod The creators have said]] that Merlin is mostly non-romantic. Although you can hardly blame him for being put off romance considering what happened [[Recap/MerlinS02E09TheLadyOfTheLake the last time]]. * AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: The FlashForward to Guinevere's crowning. ** [[spoiler:Arthur's crowning in 4x03.]] ** [[spoiler:Then Gwen's actually happens in the season finale.]] * AwfulTruth: The circumstances of Arthur's birth. * AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Arthur and Merlin may insult each other like no tomorrow, but deep down, they really do care for each other and are willing to sacrifice themselves to protect the other. ** Ditto for Arthur and Morgana in season one. * AutomatonHorses: In a sense. They're used a lot, but we never see them getting groomed or fed or watered. ** Merlin mucking out the stables is a running gag, though. In ''Aithusa'' Merlin has to forgo his own dinner to feed the horses. And in ''Sword in the Stone Part 1'' Merlin has [[spoiler:simpleton!]] Arthur rub down the horses. So caring for the horses is definitely there, but LawOfConservationOfDetail often {{Hand Wave}}s it. * BackForTheFinale: At the end of series three we get reappearances from [[spoiler:Lancelot, Elyan, Gwaine and Freya]]. * BadBoss: Arthur can appear as it towards Merlin, but it's mostly for comedic effect. Morgana to Agravaine, and it's played seriously. * {{Badass}}: Numerous characters in the series could qualify. But Merlin is the most powerful character in the entire series, so he qualifies the most. * BadassAdorable: Merlin, OH SO MUCH. * BadassBeard: Gwaine, Leon, Balinor. ** Also Merlin in his Dragoon disguise. * BadassBoast: In ''Aithusa'', when Gaius' power hungry and traitorous former pupil scoffs at Merlin's assertion that the Dragon's egg should not be used as a tool, Merlin comes up with this gem [[spoiler: just before he blasts him into a wall]]. The OhCrap look on the man's face just makes the scene. -->'''Merlin''': I am the last Dragon Lord. And I am warning you - leave this egg alone. * BadassBookworm: Merlin. He reads and researches alot and spends a lot of time with his nose in a book when he is not saving Arthur or doing chores for Gauis. * BadassBystander: Watch the fight scenes in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'' carefully. There's a blonde girl in there that ''kicks ass''. ** Although it's debatable as to what extent they could be called "bystanders", Sir Owaine and Sir Pellinore in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E09Excalibur Excalibur]]'' take up Sir Tristian's challenge to a duel in order to prevent Arthur from doing so, and go to certain death as a result. * BadassCape: The red capes with a embroidered golden dragon of the Camelot knights, though it ironically makes them a literal RedShirtArmy. * BadassCrew: The Knights of the Round Table. * BadassFamily: The Pendragons. Uther, Arthur and Morgana are all trained in combat and master swords people. However, they are also a BigScrewedUpFamily. * BadassGrandpa: Gaius. * BadassInCharge: King Uther until season four. ** Arthur [[spoiler: when he becomes King in 4x03]] ** Guinevere [[spoiler: when she becomes Queen in 4x13. She is the current sole ruler of Camelot after Arthur dies in the series finale.]] ** Queen Annis ** Morgana briefly [[spoiler: when she is crowned Queen at the end of season three.]] * BadassInDistress: ''Everyone'' on this show has needed rescuing at some point, and [[WorldOfBadass everyone is a badass in their own way]]. Even Merlin, who can stop time and kill you just by looking at you, has needed rescuing at least twice. * BadassLongcoat: ** Arthur's got a brown one. ** Uther has one, too. ** Tristan wears one that's similar to Arthur's. * BadassLongrobe: Merlin in his Dragoon disguise. * BadassNormal: Arthur. ** Uther is pretty badass too. ** Also, Lancelot. Episode 2x04 might as well have been called "The Lancelot Show." ** Gwaine kicks ass and takes names and he does it with style. * [[BadassPrincess Badass Queen]]: Guinevere. ** Queen Annis. * BadassPrincess: Morgana. * BadBadActing: Merlin in episode 3x07 when he finally [[HintDropping takes a hint]] and leaves Arthur alone with Gwen. --> '''Merlin''': The wolves! ** When Arthur announces his engagement to Princess Mithian, [[ShipperOnDeck Merlin]] manages an [[TheUnSmile unsmile]] at best. * BanOnMagic * BalancingDeathsBooks: Basic rule of the Old Religion is a life for a life (it seems that the life of the person most important to the one who asks will be taken, hence Igraine dies because of Uther's request for a son, and Hunith nearly dies because Merlin asks for Arthur to be spared). * BarBrawl: A ''Medieval'' bar brawl at the beginning of 3x04. * BarSlide: When Gwaine first appears in 3x08, he's being slid across the bar. * BastardBastard: Morgana. She is the illegitimate daughter of Uther and Vivienne. * BattleButler: Merlin, even if Arthur doesn't realize it. * BattleCouple: Morgause and Cenred, with a little FoeYay and BelligerentSexualTension thrown in, although it's averted in 3x12.[[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness And how.]] ** Tristan and Isolde in 4x13. ** King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. * BattleOfWits: Often between arch enemies Merlin and Morgana, who are the two most powerful characters in the series. Before Arthur and Gwen become King and Queen, Merlin was the one person who prevented Morgana from completely destroying Camelot. * BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: In the first episode, Merlin [[DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife angsts about having no purpose for his abnormal power]]. The Dragon gives him one, and what follows is endless [[KickTheDog killing and questionable decisions]]. * BeautifulDreamer: Almost every character has watched either Merlin or Guinevere sleep at one stage or another. The most notable examples are when Merlin lends Gwen his bed in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' and then stays by her as she sleeps, and when Arthur finds Gwen under a sleeping spell in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E12TheFiresOfIdirsholas The Fires of Idirsholas]]'' he watches her for a few moments after putting her on Morgana's bed. * BeautyIsBad: With few exceptions [[spoiler:Freya, Mithian]], every single beautiful woman on the show ends up being a villain, or is at least meant to be perceived as unsympathetic. ** Subverted marvellously with [[spoiler:Princess Mithian]]. You'd think they would have made her as unpleasant as possible so Arthur would come and throw himself at Gwen again but she's actually rather nice. * BeautyMark: Gwen, of the nice kind. * BecameTheirOwnAntithesis: Arguably the premise of the show. The CharacterDevelopment is blatant with Morgana, and with Lancelot during his shade episode. ** Merlin also changed rather dramatically as well. He became progressively darker and edgier. Surprisingly, he did not do a FaceHeelTurn the way Morgana did. * BecauseDestinySaysSo: The CentralTheme of the series. * BeleagueredAssistant: Several times Merlin had to help bail Arthur out of some sticky situations. Particularly in the episode ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'', where poor Merlin had to deal with the consequences of a spellbound Arthur courting Sophia. In this one episode alone, Merlin got placed in the stocks ''[[RuleOfThree three]]'' times! * BerserkButton: Even if you ''are'' an incredibly powerful sorceress, do not try to kill Gaius with magic in front of Merlin. Of the two who have tried so far, one was telekinetically hurled into a pillar at neck-breaking speed, and the other was [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome struck in the face by lightning]]. ** It is generally considered a bad idea to harm Morgause in front of Morgana. She doesn't like it. At all. ** Mess with a certain maid-servant and you'll have to deal with her best friend (a powerful warlock), her boyfriend (the crown prince), and a team of the best knights in the land. Best to just leave her be... ** Also... messing with Merlin will result in [[TheGoodKing Arthur]], [[PapaWolf Gaius]], [[GiantFlyer The Great Dragon]], [[KnightInSourArmor Gwaine]], [[KnightInShiningArmour Lancelot]] ''and'' [[MamaBear Gwen]] unleashing hell on you. ** As ''Lancelot du Lac'' has demonstrated, [[spoiler:kissing Gwen, the love of his life]], is the best and quickest way to drive a composed and compassionate Arthur into a [[CrazyJealousGuy blind,]] [[MurderTheHypotenuse murderous rage.]] ** And we can't forget Uther, where magic is concerned. ** It is also generally a bad idea to mess with Hunith, Merlin's mother. ** Also, we cannot forget Arthur when he is called fat and later, actually turns out to be fat! * BewareTheNiceOnes: Merlin, whenever someone close to him is threatened. ** Gwen, [[MamaBear when Merlin is threatened.]] ''"GET AWAY FROM HIM!!!"'' ** Mordred, especially in Series 2. Yikes! ** A seemingly all-powerful Future Merlin, standing triumphant over her on the field of battle, a staff in hand and a look of utter TranquilFury, literally becomes the stuff of nightmares to Morgana in Series 4. --> '''Morgana''': Help me, Emrys! Please! --> '''Merlin''': Is this ''really'' what you wanted, Morgana?! ** Morgana, herself. She was once one of the nicest characters on the show, but even then demonstrated she could be a dangerous adversary. Unfortunately, she became not so nice later on. * BewareTheQuietOnes: Mordred. When Mordred was a child, he didn't talk much, if ever. But he smashed a mirror with his powers when he was angry and upset over one of his kind being executed. That was a clear sign to not mess with this kid. * BigBad: ** Season 1: Nimueh ** Season 2: Morgause ** Season 3: Morgause and [[spoiler:Morgana]] ** Season 4: [[spoiler:Morgana]] ** Season 5: [[spoiler:Morgana...do we see a pattern?]] * BigBadEnsemble: Morgana was paired up with a different cohort once per season; first with Morgause, then Agravaine, and at the very end with Mordred. Then there were the MonstersOfTheWeek, who were usually out to seek revenge against King Uther, who was himself something of a villain. * BigBadassBattleSequence: "The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part Two". Specifically, the siege on Camelot. * BigBrotherInstinct: Kilgharrah's treatment of Merlin in Series 2 is best described as a come and go fondness. In Series 3, [[spoiler: after becoming spiritual brothers, Kilgharrah burns up Serkets trying to kill Merlin, doesn't want him to leave the cave until he's fully recovered, and allows him to ride him despite the fact that the series 3 finale shows he detests being used as a horse.]] He still occasionally treats him like an idiot, but given that we have only one [[spoiler: talking]] dragon to draw references from, this could have been a normal big brother relationship among dragons. ** Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, especially Gwaine and Lancelot, are fiercely protective of Merlin. Justified in that he physically looks small, fragile and scrawny and is also a few years younger than all of them, but still funny considering he could kill all of them easily with just a wave of his hand. ** Arthur, after barely knowing Mordred a few weeks, is already showering him with attention, praising him and going to insane lengths to save his life - lampshaded by Merlin and Gwen. "The Disir" ends with an adorable moment of them sword-fighting and then Arthur lifting Mordred up in the air, goofing off like a big brother with his little brother. It's oddly fitting, considering in the myths Mordred was supposed to be Arthur's son. ** Merlin also had this towards young!Mordred, Daegal and Gilli. * BigBrotherMentor: Arthur probably fancies himself as this to Merlin, though Gwaine or Lancelot probably fit the bill better. ** Arthur ends being one for [[spoiler: Mordred. Gwen points out he's growing fond of the boy, and Arthur couldn't shut up on what a promising knight Mordred is]]. * BigDamnHeroes: Merlin and Arthur, usually. Occasionally Morgana, Gwen, Gaius and Lancelot. ** Every good character in The Coming Of Arthur Part Two. * TheBigDamnKiss: Arthur and Gwen's first kiss came complete with dramatic lighting and an orchestra of violins. ** Heck, it's more noteworthy when one of their kisses ''isn't'' a [[TheBigDamnKiss Big Damn Kiss]]. * BigEntrance: Morgause and Mithian both get fairly impressive entrances onto the show. Tristan de Bois as well when he interrupts Arthur's crowning ceremony by leaping through a stained glass window on horseback. * BigFancyCastle: Castle Camelot - which is actually Pierrefonds, a ''real'' BigFancyCastle. * BigNo: [[spoiler:When Gaius dies for Merlin and Merlin rushes to his side only to find him dead ''already'', Merlin says "Nnnnnnoooooo!" twice. Except that Gaius wasn't '''actually''' dead.]] ** Morgana lets out an absolutely humongous one when [[spoiler: Morgause is apparently killed; seriously, we're not kidding, it '''''LITERALLY''''' brings the roof down. Literally.]] * BigScrewedUpFamily: As of the end of series three, the Pendragons definitely qualify, what with Uther and Arthur's strained relationship and the fact that Morgana is not only [[spoiler: Uther's illegitimate daughter and Arthur's unacknowledged half-sister, but actively trying to kill them both]]. Both of Arthur’s [[EvilUncle uncles]] tried to avenge Ygraine’s death: Tristan by coming back from the grave to kill Uther and [[spoiler: Agravaine by plotting with Morgana]]. * BilingualBonus: The spells are in Anglo-Saxon. * BillingDisplacement: Angel Coulby is credited before Bradley James in the opening credits; a little strange considering Arthur is the show's {{Deuteragonist}}. Speculation is that Angel went first because she was the most established cast member at the inception of the show, or that the names are simply in alphabetic order after Colin Morgan. ** In the episode ''Another's Sorrow'' James Fox is ranked before Janet Montgomery, even though Montgomery is in nearly every scene of the episode and Fox's role barely constitutes a cameo. * BitCharacter: Geoffrey of Monmouth, who started out as the court genealogist, but who now also serves as MrExposition whenever Gaius isn't around, and is trotted out whenever the writers need someone to preside over a coronation or wedding. He even seems to be a member of the council, and is the one who backs up Guinevere in ''The Darkest Hour''. ** Also Audrey, the head cook of Camelot's castle kitchens, and Isildur, a druid leader. Both have appeared in [[RuleOfThree three episodes each]]. * BitchInSheepsClothing: Sophia. ** And more recently, [[spoiler:Morgana.]] ** Lamia. * BittersweetEnding: The end of series three. Though [[spoiler:the Knights of the Round Table and Guinevere return to Camelot in triumph, the hug that Arthur and Guinevere share is clearly marked by their sadness over Morgana, and Merlin's smile fades as he watches them, no doubt reminded of Freya.]] ** [[spoiler: The entire series pretty much ends like this, Morgana has finally been defeated for good and Camelot is safe, but Arthur was killed in the process along with Gwaine. In addition, the epilogue shows that ''everybody'' Merlin once knew is now dead. Nevertheless, the fact that Merlin is still alive means he's waiting for the day when Arthur will rise again at the day of Albion's greatest need.]] *** [[spoiler: Its worse when you think about it. The Golden Age may never have come to pass since Arthur was supposed to bring it about. Albion is not united so other kings may invade thinking Gwen weak. The Saxons are still a threat. Gaius can only have a few years left. Magic users would still hate Camelot. Merlin is no longer around to help protect Camelot. Arthur's whole return may have been made up by The Great Dragon to comfort Merlin or he might have been wrong. He was wrong on other things. ]] * BlackAndGreyMorality: Uther hunts down anyone related to magic, even healers, even children. He's a cruel dictator. Getting rid of him would be a good thing. However the villains trying to kill him, [[spoiler: Morgana and Morgause]], have some evil tendencies in a WellIntentionedExtremist way. They will kill others, but only if they have to to get to Uther or [[spoiler: Arthur]] later. * BlackDudeDiesFirst: Tom, Gwen's father, is arguably the first significant death in the series. * BlackKnight: Sir Tristian in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E09Excalibur Excalibur]]''. * BlackMagic: Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh and Mordred all practice Dark Magic. * BlingOfWar: Morgana's "action gear" involves a shiny metal corset of some kind. Unless she were shot directly in the stomach, it's utterly impractical. * BloodlessCarnage: Plenty of people die in this series, but you will rarely see any of them actually bleed. * BluffTheImpostor: Arthur does this to goblin-possessed Gaius - he talks casually about Merlin's uselessness and impending death sentence, and when "Gaius" isn't bothered, Arthur knows something's up. * BodyMotifs: There's a large emphasis on hands and eyes. Magic-users have [[SupernaturalGoldEyes Golden Eyes]] when they perform magic, whilst [[HeldGaze Held Gazes]] and HoldingHands denotes love and trust. * BoisterousBruiser: Arthur. He is hot headed, courageous and impulsive. * BondingOverMissingParents: Merlin and Gwaine bond over their dead fathers, Arthur and Elena bond over their dead mothers. ** And Merlin and Arthur bond over one of them having a missing father and the other a missing mother. * BookEnds: In the first episode of series two Guinevere saves Arthur's life from a flying gargoyle in the castle courtyard by tackling him to the ground. In the last episode of series two Arthur saves Guinevere's life from a flying dragon in the castle courtyard by tackling her to the ground. ** In the first episode of series three Merlin is witness to a hug between Arthur and Morgana; in the last episode he watches a similar embrace between Arthur and Guinevere. ** In both the opening and the closing two-parters of Series 3 Camelot was attacked by an army of immortal soldiers sent by Morgause and Cenred. ** Arthur is [[spoiler:crowned King]] at the beginning of series 4; Guinevere is [[spoiler:crowned Queen]] at its conclusion. ** The beginning of Series 1 sees Merlin walking on a road to Camelot; [[spoiler:the end of Series 5 sees older!Merlin walking on a road in the same manner, waiting for Arthur.]] * {{Bookworm}}: Merlin. He is always reading and researching a lot. * BoyMeetsGirl: Merlin meets Freya, he falls in love with her, Freya falls in love with him and they are so incredibly happy. [[spoiler: Except it [[StarCrossedLovers ends in tragedy when Freya ends up dying.]]]] * {{Brainwashed}}: This happens to Arthur in at least three episodes, with the first case bordering near BrainwashedAndCrazy. In the third case, [[spoiler:it's by Merlin]]. Then it happens with [[spoiler: Gwen]] in season 5. * BrainwashedAndCrazy: In ''A Servant of Two Masters'' in series 4, Merlin [[spoiler:is bewitched by Morgana to kill Arthur, but is thankfully a terrible assassin.]] ** The knights in "Lamia". They start fighting each other, being ''incredibly'' disrespectful to Merlin (to whom they're usually [[CoolBigSis Cool Big Brothers]], and threatening Merlin and Gwen for speaking out. ** In season five, Morgana is at it again, this time with [[spoiler: Gwen]]. * BreakTheCutie: Morgana. Goes through a season of terror only to have [[spoiler: the one person in Camelot she could trust poison her.]] Ouch. Not to mention being [[spoiler: trapped in a pit for about two years straight. With a growing dragon. And in chains.]] ** Averted by Merlin, thanks to being an IronWoobie. But let's face it, half the reason he hasn't gone into total breakdown is because of his potential to be a terrifying WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds if he did. ** Guinevere in ''Lancelot du Lac'', in which [[spoiler: she is enchanted into betraying Arthur by Morgana, is banished from Camelot and none of her friends are there to see her off except Merlin. Not even her own brother wants to see her. The cherry on top? Only the audience and the villains know she was enchanted, so she believes everything is her fault]]. This isn't so much BreakTheCutie as smash her to bits, stomp on the pieces, and grind them to dust. As if that isn't enough, she gets [[spoiler: enchanted AGAIN by Morgana to kill Arthur and was probably tormented a bit while she was held captive.]] ** Aithusa. Being trapped in a pit you outgrow and end up barely able to even move in at all will do that to you. * BreatherEpisode: ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', which was a romantic comedy of sorts jammed between a Witchhunt episode, Arthur almost killing Uther, Merlin losing his first love and Morgana's StartOfDarkness. ** 3x03 Goblins' Gold, which comes after the dramatic two-part series opener where Morgana returns and Camelot is nearly destroyed. * BreathWeapon: The Great Dragon and Aithusa both shoot fire from their mouths as a defence weapon. * BrickJoke: the Sidhe staff Merlin takes from Sophia in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'', which he uses again in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]''. ** It doesn't appear again until ''The Changeling'' in series 3. ** Mmm, rat. ** Gaius constantly telling Arthur that Merlin is in the tavern when he disappears to do his magical thing. * BrokenBird: Freya, Morgana, Gwen, and Merlin (as a RareMaleExample) are all examples. * BrokenMasquerade: In series 3, Uther indirectly admits he knows Gaius was a sorcerer in the past, when he asks him to do anything, even ''magical'' to save Morgana. * BrownEyes: Gwen, Morgause and Freya. * BuffySpeak: Merlin is the biggest offender. * BuildingOfAdventure: Lots of crazy stuff goes down in Castle Camelot. * BullyingADragon: Quite literally, in one case. Metaphorically, it often happens elsewhere. Merlin tries to play this in the first episode by warning Arthur he doesn't want to see what he's capable of. But since he can't use his magic in public, it was a pretty futile threat, and Merlin just ends up getting his ass kicked. ** Although in the literal example, said dragon ''does'' take a shot at incinerating Merlin, and Merlin magically blocks the fire. * BurnTheWitch * ButtMonkey: Merlin, especially when "helping" Arthur with his training exercises. ** Morgana [[spoiler:Pendragon]] as well. Even before [[spoiler:her HeelFaceTurn]], the writers did not seem to like her. [[/folder]] [[folder: C-D]] * CallBack: In the pilot episode Merlin says of Arthur: "I said you were a prat, I just didn't know you were a royal one." In the final episode of the first series, on saying goodbye to Arthur, they have the following exchange: -->'''Arthur:''' ''You know, sometimes I don't think you know who I am.'' -->'''Merlin:''' ''Oh, I know who you are. You're a prat. And a royal one.'' ** Arthur and Gwen's conversation at the end of 3X10 is filled with allusions to the one they had at the conclusion of 2X02; particularly repetition of the words: "when you/I am King, things will be different." ** In 2x04, Merlin tells Arthur that everyone can see his feelings for Gwen and that even a "blind man could see it." Morgana repeats a similar line to Arthur in 3x10. ** Merlin giving Morgana flowers in 2x03 and later in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3PiFk0rM_U deleted scene]] in 3x01. ** Merlin's conversation with Morgana in 3x07: -->'''Morgana:''' Why are you telling me this? -->'''Merlin:''' Because I don't understand why anyone would want to hurt their friends. -->'''Morgana:''' No, you just ''[[spoiler:poison them.]]'' ** In 1x13, Morgana pulls Merlin behind a pillar to warn him about Arthur being in danger. In 3x02, Morgana pulls Merlin behind a pillar once more, [[spoiler:but only to threaten him not expose her villainy by reminding that Uther would have him executed if ''she'' revealed to him that Merlin poisoned her.]] ** In 2x12, Morgana recalls to Morgause her assassination attempt on Uther in 1x12. ** Merlin and Arthur's conversation on horse in 4x01 alludes to 2x01: -->'''Arthur''': Yes, that you're a clotpole. -->'''Merlin''': That's my word. ** In 4x05, Queen Annis says with almost reluctant admiration "There is something about you, Arthur Pendragon..." which seems very reminiscent of something Arthur himself to Merlin in 1x01. *** On the same note, Arthur's line in 1x01 was "There's something about you, Merlin." Perhaps coincidentally, Gwen delivers the exact same line to Merlin in 4x08. ** The scene where [[spoiler:Gwen sentences her servant to death]] mirrors the scene where Gwen is dragged before Uther. ** At the end of 3x02, Uther presents Morgana to the court as the person who turned the tide of the battle and saved Camelot, causing everyone present to applaud her bravery. Morgana was, of course, the traitor who initiated the whole thing. Episode 5x07 ends with Arthur congratulating Gwen for rooting out the traitor who had been trying to kill him (she was, of course, the traitor.) The episode ends with the court cheering "Long live the Queen!" ** In 2x13, Arthur advises Merlin with "No man is worth your tears", to which Merlin replies "You're certainly not". In the GrandFinale, Merlin breaks down when [[spoiler: Arthur is dying and Arthur tries to calm him.]] * CameBackWrong: [[spoiler: Lancelot]], thanks to Morgana. * CardboardPrison: Not only Camelot's dungeons, but also its "impregnable" vaults. * CassandraTruth: Merlin lives this trope. In every season and most episodes therein, Merlin usually has foreknowledge of the (dis)loyalties of basically everyone. But he can't ever ''prove'' this because it variously involves a) exposing himself as a wizard, b) selling out someone he would rather not, or c) being pitted against someone who Uther and/or Arthur trust implicitly. You would think, considering everything Merlin says turns out to be true, people might just start giving him the benefit of the doubt. ** More conventionally, there's one instance of Merlin bursting into the throne room and insisting he's a wizard. ** Surprisingly, [[spoiler:Arthur finally catches on to this in the season 4 finale. He realizes that Merlin knew, and has always known, about such betrayals. Arthur, meanwhile, always sees the best in people right up until they stab him in the back. He finds it quite frustrating that the people he treats as friends are so willing to betray him. He predictably reacts quite badly to Merlin's confession of having magic at first.]] ** Also obviously Morgana [[spoiler: due to her powers as a seer]] which ultimately are often ignored especially by [[spoiler: Arthur]] who [[spoiler: frequently dismisses them as nightmares or taking it as a sign of romantic attraction that she dreams about him (this is entirely shippers choice although it does seem to be rather obvious in season 1!)]] This is subverted by the fact that Gauis and Merlin often [[spoiler: use these dreams to their own advantage to help Merlin protect Arthur-often without telling her and again almost always attempting to brush it off as just a dream]] * CastFullOfPrettyBoys: King Arthur and all of the Knights at The Round Table are all resident {{Hunk}}'s. It also helps that the titular character (Merlin himself) of the series is a real PrettyBoy. * CastingGag: [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Giles the ex-black sorcerer outlaws sorcery entirely.]] * CatapultNightmare: Despite suffering from at least one nightmare per episode, Morgana has surprisingly few of these. However, most recently she flung herself upright from a dream about Gwen becoming Queen of Camelot. She later does this when Agravaine bursts into her hut in Series 4, though, she's not waking from a nightmare, she's just scared. * CatchPhrase: Arthur's "Shut up, Merlin." You can thank Merlin's MotorMouth for that. * CentralTheme: BecauseDestinySaysSo and YouCantFightFate. ** The CentralTheme of Series 4 is ThePowerOfTrust. * CelticMythology: Season 4 begins on Samhain, [[TruthInTelevision traditionally held as the time when the veil between our world and that of the spirits is at its thinnest]]. It's a night of remembrance for the dead, and a time to take stock and prepare for the coming winter. The [[BloodMagic blood sacrifices]], not so much. * ChangedMyMindKid: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'', Will refuses to fight against Kanen's men, but he pulls this off in time to save Merlin. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E13TheLastDragonlord The Last Dragonlord]]'', Balinor refuses to help Camelot initially due to his legitimate grudge against Uther, but changes his mind. * ChangelingTale: Unsurprisingly, "The Changeling", even though they tweak the traditional definition of what a changeling is. * CharacterTitle: ''Merlin'', obviously, but also episodes themselves such as ''Lancelot'' and ''Gwaine.'' * CharacterizationMarchesOn: Before becoming something of a regular in the third series, EnsembleDarkHorse Sir Leon had a few scenes in the second. One of his first appearances involves him violently tearing apart Gaius's study in the search for evidence of magic. The sight of him smashing bottles and ripping down tapestries is completely at odds with the gentler character of later episodes, who is also on good enough terms with Gaius (in a DeletedScene) to confide in him that the knights have no confidence in Uther's ability to rule. * ChronicHeroSyndrome: Merlin. ** He can be excused for it though since most of the people he is trying to save will soon be burnt at a stake. ** Arthur, too. * ChekhovsGun: The vial of water from Avalon's lake. ** The as-yet unnamed Excalibur. * ChekhovsGunman: The fact that Freya was cremated on the waters of the same lake that Merlin threw Excalibur into seems mightily suggestive. ** [[spoiler: In "The Coming Of Arthur Part 2" she is pretty much confirmed to be the Lady of the Lake.]] * {{Chickification}}: Gwen in series two, later in season three she's regaining her reputation as a BadassNormal ([[spoiler:fending off an intruder with a poker, joining the men on their rescue mission, lighting a fire when Arthur cannot]]), whilst still remaining within the boundaries of what a slight young woman would realistically be capable of. ---> '''Gwen''': I ''am'' the blacksmith's daughter, remember? ** But still reverts to "StayInTheKitchen and make bandages" for the series finale, and whilst season four has her defending Merlin from an enemy and having a sword fight with [[spoiler:Morgana]], season five has her playing this trope fully. * TheChick: Gwen. She is the female centrepiece of the series. * ChildMage: Mordred as a child. * ChildhoodFriends: Merlin and Will. * ChildrenAreInnocent: Initially played straight with Mordred, who despite being supposedly destined for evil, is at first just an ordinary (if telepathic) little boy. His morality becomes more and more ambiguous with each subsequent appearance, as Uther's persecution drives him to become more and more vengeful. Although he is defending himself against adults, it's still pretty scary for a kid who was raised by an extremely pacifistic people to kill without remorse. * TheChosenZero: Merlin's immediate reaction to being told that Arthur is the destined King who will save the land is "There must be another Arthur, because this one's an idiot!" * ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Geoffrey of Monmouth. * CityOfAdventure: Camelot. * ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: When Arthur is [[spoiler:trying to draw Excalibur]], Merlin says that he needs to truly believe he can in order to do it. Subverted since Merlin was just trying to boost Arthur's confidence: once Arthur is sold on Merlin's story, Merlin covertly uses magic to make the task extremely easy for Arthur, thus reinforcing the idea he was trying to instill. * ClosetShuffle: In Camelot, cabinets are not meant for storage. They're meant as convenient hiding places for Merlin. * ClothingDamage: Nimueh must have been dragged through a hedge at some point as the bottom half of her dress is ripped in a way that exposes Michelle Ryan's legs. Well, she ''has'' been living in a cave for twenty years! ** Also Freya's dress, but it can be explained since she's been Halig's prisoner for who-knows-how-long. * CloudCuckooLander: Uther, after being rescued from Morgana's first takeover of Camelot. * ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Merlin and Arthur usually wear blue and red respectively, as a near-literal example of RedOniBlueOni. SpiritedYoungLady and RebelliousPrincess Morgana wears bright, jewel-like colours such as reds, blues, purples, and greens, whilst the gentler ShrinkingViolet Guinevere wears almost every shade of pastel imaginable: lavender, peach, pink, and light blue. By series four, the bad guys (Morgana, Agravaine, Helios, and [[spoiler: Shade!Lancelot]]) wear black, whilst those with magical powers are usually delinated by the colour green, particularly Mordred and the other Druids, who wear green cloaks. * CrystalBall: Not "balls", but there have been at least three examples of crystals that show the future: Morgause's crystal, the Crystal of Neahtid, and the Crystal Cave. * CoconutSuperpowers: Merlin's ability to slow down time. ** And the shapeshifting magic used by the bad guys in "Gwaine." * CombatPragmatist: Merlin repeatedly uses magic to gain an advantage by turning the things around him against his opponent. * ComeOutComeOutWhereverYouAre: Said word-for-word by baddie Kanen in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * CommonEyeColors: Arthur and Mordred's matching baby blues seem... suggestive. ([[MythologyGag Mordred was Arthur's illegitimate son]] in [[Literature/LeMorteDarthur Sir Thomas Mallory's telling]] of the Arthurian legends.) In Series 5, this takes a different direction as Mordred's eyes [[spoiler:matches ''Morgana's'']]. * ComfortingComforter: A variation of this at the end of series two. When all of Camelot is put under a sleeping spell, Arthur picks up Guinevere from the floor and places her on a bed. * ComicallyMissingThePoint: The show does this quite often, particularly with Merlin himself. -->'''Arthur:''' You can't leave him here [on the floor]! We have to get him onto the bed. -->'''Merlin:''' Why? He's asleep. He's not going to know. -->'''Arthur:''' Merlin! -->'''Merlin:''' Alright, I'll get him a pillow. -->'''Arthur:''' He's ''the king!'' -->'''Merlin:''' You're right....''two pillows!'' * [[CompositeCharacter Composite Object]]: As with many modern retellings, Excalibur is combined with the Sword in the Stone (the oldest versions of the tale describe them as two very distinct swords - when Arthur breaks the latter in battle, he gains the former from the Lady of the Lake). * ConflictingLoyalty: Merlin, most especially in series 2. His destiny is clearly to stand by Arthur, but Arthur's views on magic, even if only impressed upon him by Uther, can make for some not inconsiderable moral tension. ''The Sins of The Father'' showcases this dilemma to particularly heart-breaking effect. ** Morgana to some degree as well regarding Uther and his ruthlessness towards magic. Made all the worse when she finds out [[spoiler:that she's a seer and has magic herself]] ** Arthur also has moments where he butts heads with Uther, usually when the latter is being too harsh, accusing an obviously innocent person of witchcraft, or not taking good enough care of the people of Camelot. * ConspicuousGloves: Uther, who never took them off. * ContinuityNod: In ''The Castle of Fyrien'', Morgana pointedly refuses to let Merlin pour her a drink. ** In ''The Darkest Hour'' Part 2, Arthur leads his knights back to the cave of the Wildrynn and tells them to smear themselves in berries to mask their scent. * CoolChair: The throne(s) of Camelot. * CoolOldGuy: Gaius. * CoolSword: [[{{Excalibur}} The most iconic ever.]] * CoolVersusAwesome: Immortal undead soldiers versus the Knights of the Round Table. * CostumePorn: Morgana's entire wardrobe, including dresses that wouldn't look too out of place at a cocktail party, as well as the gowns of various ladies and princesses that turn up throughout the series and Guinevere's [[spoiler:[[http://oi52.tinypic.com/1055w5c.jpg coronation gown]]]]. [[http://24.media.tumblr.com/fbb6b879859cfb6bde093c16b63c6f6a/tumblr_mfrospBtOC1qlp5jzo1_500.jpg The decoration on Arthur's armor]] is remarkably intricate although it won't show unless in close-up. * CradlingYourKill: Merlin with [[spoiler: Morgana's body in 2x12.]] He also holds [[spoiler: Morgana]] as she's dying in the series finale. * CrazyJealousGuy: Arthur in 4x09 when he [[spoiler: when he walks in on Gwen and Lancelot making out. His first instinct is to [[MurderTheHypotenuse try and kill the guy who had been one of his most loyal knights]] and had shown him mercy in the tournament earlier. And then by the end of the episode, he banishes Gwen from Camelot.]] ** Merlin can be this at times as well. He demonstrates jealousy toward anyone who poses a threat to his relationship with Arthur, such as Cedric and Princess Mithian, and is willing to share Arthur with only [[PlatonicLifePartners one other person in the world]]: Guinevere, who happens to be his own very close friend. * CrazyPrepared: Myror just ''happened'' to be carrying a retractable, needle-tipped lance along with him. ** If the spell translations are to be believed (hinges on WordOfGod here), Merlin is too. Half the spells are so tailored to the situation that either he's making them up as he goes or he really does learn spells ''just in case'' he wants a magnetic sword, he needs to drop bed covers on someone, or he needs to throw a bench. * CreepyChild: Mordred. Also, a hallucination Uther suffers at the beginning of Series 3. ** The ghost child from ''A Herald of a New Age'' that possesses Elyan. * CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Merlin may appear to be a clumsy, idiotic servant, but once his magic unleashes on you, you better run. * CrusadingWidower: Uther * CurseCutShort: Watch Arthur carefully when Uther tells him that Elena is his prospective bride. He clearly mouths: "What the f...?" * TheCutie: Merlin, OH SO MUCH. ** Gwen in the earlier seasons. ** Freya. She's highly endearing. * CuteBruiser: Mordred as a young child. * [[CuteClumsyGirl Cute Clumsy Guy]]: Merlin. His clumsiness is a defining and signature characteristic of his and adds to his adorkableness. * [[CuteWitch Cute Witch / Cute Warlock / Cute Wizard]]: Merlin and young!Mordred. ** Alice is also pretty cute, despite being older. * CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon: Non-lethal version. In "The Death Song of Uther Pendragon", Arthur warns Merlin to keep quiet about the spirit-summoning horn he intends to use. Merlin points out that Arthur is making said threat while holding a spoon. Cut to outside the room, and Merlin suddenly shouts in pain. * CycleOfRevenge: A CentralTheme. * DarkActionGirl: Morgana, Morgause and Nimueh. * DarkAgeEurope: Played with, but given the lack of religion and Gauis' knowledge, isn't always true to the trope. It works out fairly well, though, because quite frankly, [[{{Squick}} no one wants to see]] DarkAgeEurope. * DarkerAndEdgier: Series 2. Especially 2x12. ** And then Series 3, with its (hallucinations of) drowned children. ** Series 4. The opening episode alone might be darker than the previous three series put together. ** Series 5 promises this but only time will tell *** Gwen's torture in the Dark Tower and her subsequent SanitySlippage, Merlin becoming increasingly ruthless, ([[WhatTheHellHero and getting called out on it]]), and Morgana really stepping up the evil this season with MindRape and ColdBloodedTorture becoming the norm, I'd say they've succeeded in making a show that's definitely not family-friendly. * DeadpanSnarker: Various characters have their witty and humorous moments, such as Arthur, Gwaine, Gauis, Gwen, etc. But Merlin is probably the biggest embodiment of this trope. He always has a witty and sarcastic comment, joke or catch phrase to say. * DeadStarWalking: This show ''loved'' bringing in reasonably big-name guest stars only to kill them off almost immediately, including: [[spoilers: Phil Davies, James Callis, Gary Lewis, Holliday Grainger, Sarah Parish, Charles Dance, Eve Myles, John Shrapnel, Julian Rhind-Tutt and John Lynch, among others]]. * DeathGlare: [[spoiler:Merlin and Morgana]] spend a lot of series three doing this to each other. * DeathByChildbirth: Igraine, Arthur's mother. * DeathByOriginStory: Arthur's mom, Ygraine, died giving birth to him. The catalyst for Uther's magic ban and a major part of the series' premise. * DeathBySecretIdentity: Oh boy. Almost all the people who [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade have discovered Merlin's secret are dead]]. Most [[OneShotCharacter One Shot Characters]], were they [[MonsterOfTheWeek Villains Of The Week]] such as Edwin, Sophia, Aulfric, Tauren, Sigan, Catrina, Jonas, Aredian, Grunhilda, and more recently, [[spoiler: Borden, Lamia]]; or [[VictimOfTheWeek Victims Of The Week]] such as Will, Freya, Balinor, the Fisher King and Daegal, have died within the episode. And then we have the few who lasted longer, such as Nimueh, [[spoiler: Agravaine]], and more recently, proving that AnyoneCanDie, [[spoiler: Lancelot]] and Alator. ** As of the series finale, [[spoiler: Mordred, Morgana and Arthur]] have joined the list. ** In fact, it's quicker to name the characters that ''haven't'' fallen prey to this trope: it's a short-list of Hunith, Gaius, Gilli and (eventually) [[spoiler:Guinevere]]. * DecemberDecemberRomance / NewOldFlame: Alice and Gaius, as shown in ''Love In The Time Of Dragons''. * DecompositeCharacter: It's tricky when dealing with legends, but in most cases the Lady of the Lake is usually Nimueh or Vivian. Here, they are three totally different characters: a druid girl called Frey is the Lady of the Lake, Nimueh is a High Priestess and Vivian is a completely unrelated princess. * DecoyDamsel: Nimueh purposely plays this trope in ''The Poisoned Chalice'', in order to gain Merlin and then Arthur's sympathies and trust. ** It's also been used by Sophia, Catrina, Lamia, and Morgana. Mithian was also one in ''Another's Sorrow'' to lead Arthur into a trap, but was coerced into doing so. * DefrostingIceQueen: Morgana seems to be heading this way [[spoiler: [[AvertedTrope and then heads all the way back.]]]] * DeggansRule: Passed with the inclusion of Elyan as Guinevere's brother. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: Arthur can be sexist and elitist at times. ** The entire attitude toward killing on the show. What, you thought that the PG rating would put rose colored glasses on? Nope. If someone's trying to kill you, you kill them. The only two exceptions are when Mordred kills soldiers because he's a child, and when it's in cold blood, like Arthur executing King Caerleon. ** Merlin calling Morgana out in the Series 3 opening for killing can come across as hypocrisy, but if you notice his main problems are that she's killing innocents and her actions will only cause more hatred against magic. *** However, it should be noted that the show is set in a time when battle was considered glorious and killing someone when there were justifiable reasons was acceptable. This is an accurate portrayal of the era. * DeliberatelyCuteChild: Mordred. Or Deliberate Woobie. This troper firmly believes the big blue puppy-eyes and the woefulness was put on to convince the Power Quartet to help him. * DemotedToExtra: Especially in Season One, the show had a habit of taking the names of reasonably significant Arthurian characters, like Pellinore, and giving them to random knights, [[RedshirtArmy who were then killed]]. ** In series four and five, [[CanonForeigner Gaius]] is given virtually nothing to do except [[MrExposition provide exposition]] and exist as a [[TheConfidant sounding board]] to Merlin. True, that was always his role, but he was also given several character-centric episodes in the past. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as the introduction of the knights of the Round Table at the end of series three meant that the show was juggling LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, and one of the themes of the season was passing on the torch to the younger generation. ** Gwaine became this in series four and five - oddly enough, he got more screen-time and characterization as a guest star than as a series regular. * DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: "I want you to swear that you will keep your oath." Because no one will expect you to [[ShapedLikeItself keep a promise unless you promise to keep it]]... * DesignatedVillain: {{Invoked}} with Mordred. As several characters point out in-show, Mordred is an innocent who shows Merlin nothing but kindness, but Merlin is still determined to end him because he believes Mordred will kill Arthur. ** [[spoiler: And he's right. Although weirdly, it turned out to be so much of a SelfFulfillingProphecy as a YouCantFightFate]]. * DeusExMachina: [[spoiler:Morgana looks like she's pretty much out for the count in the season four finale, but the white dragon Merlin hatched decides to drop by and heal her.]] ** The Vilia * DevilInPlainSight: A frequent trope for this show. Most of the time the "devil" is someone (rather easily) gaining Uther's or Arthur's trust. * DisappearedDad: Merlin's father. Technically, he's less "disappeared" and more "dead" now. * DiscOneFinalBoss: [[spoiler:Nimeuh in the literal sense (though more "Season" than "Disc"); Morgause in the sense of being the "half-way point" villain and having lasted two whole Seasons.]] * DisguisedInDrag: Sir Leon in episode 3x13. Yes, really. [[spoiler: Gwen dresses him up to escape Camelot]]. And Merlin himself in 5x09, when he's ''already'' in disguise as the old sorceror. * DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler:Aredian the witchfinder.]] * DisposableWoman: This show has a bad track record of woman-shaped plot devices. They are as follows: ** Ygraine, whose death begins Uther's reign of terror against all those who practice magic. ** Freya, whose death provides Merlin with plenty of manpain (and who dies in order to fetch Excalibur from the bottom of Lake Avalon). ** Isolde, whose death motivates Arthur to get back with Guinevere. ** Kara, whose death spurs Mordred into turning against Arthur and Camelot. ** Valdis in ''The Death Song of Uther Pendragon'' who Arthur saves from execution before she gives him the episode's PlotCoupon and promptly dying anyway. ** Alice, a non-fatal example, is Gaius's old girlfriend who rolls into town under the thrall of a manticore. She needs Gaius to dispose of the manticore and break her out of prison, then promptly disappears, never to be seen or heard from again. * DisproportionateRetribution: ** [[spoiler: Uther wanted an heir but his wife was barren. Nimueh cured his wife's sterility but to keep the balance of life and death she died in childbirth]] and for this Uther has mounted a genocidal campaign against ''all'' magic users. Particularly disproportionate if [[UnreliableNarrator Nimueh]] is telling the truth that [[spoiler: she didn't know it would be Ygraine that would die]] ** We also have the episode where Arthur killed a unicorn and the keeper of the unicorns cursed Camelot. All the crops rotted overnight and all the water turned to sand. ** No mention of "The Lady of the Lake" when [[spoiler: a sorceress cursed Freya to turn into a bloodthirsty, killing Bastet every night for accidentally killing said sorceress's son in self-defense]]? ** Also the dragon's attack on Camelot. Uther slaughtered his entire kind, and in response he attempts to raze the city to the ground, leaving Uther untouched as his subjects die. Well, it's the exact same thing that Uther did to him, but he was still killing innocents. * DistantFinale: [[spoiler:The epilogue is in modern day.]] * DistractedByTheSexy: Happens frequently with Merlin: [[MeetCute every time he first meets a woman]] he's momentarily dumbfounded by their beauty. However, when things get serious, he plays the [[NotDistractedByTheSexy reverse trope]]. In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E09TheLadyOfTheLake The Lady of the Lake]]'', after Freya goes back to her human form for the last time, she's completely naked. The moment Merlin realizes this he takes off his jacket and covers her without even trying to sneak a glance. Happens again in ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E11TheHuntersHeart The Hunter's Heart]]'', when he finds Gwen injured in the forest. She's wearing something that looks like a harem woman outfit, but he's [[IgnoreTheFanservice focused on healing her]]. * DistressedDamsel: A lot of the girls featured in the show veer between this and DamselOutOfDistress , often in the same episode. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur}} Le Mort d'Arthur]]'': Hunith is the victim of Merlin's DealWithTheDevil when his agreement with Nimueh to spare Arthur's life backfires on his mother. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere}} Lancelot and Guinevere]]'': Morgana and Guinevere, despite being in considerable danger manage to escape their captors with a ShowSomeLeg ploy. Guinevere then switches between the two poles: on the one hand, she has a YouShallNotPass moment to ensure Morgana's escape and keeps up a convincing performance of a high-born lady to trick her captor into thinking that she's Morgana, on the other hand, the fact that she trips over is what gets her captured in the first place, and after Lancelot faciliates her escape, she's re-captured again off-screen. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E09TheLadyOfTheLake}} The Lady of the Lake]]'': The titular lady is Freya, who is a frightened and vulnerable runaway who relies completely on Merlin to protect her. Even as a giant flying panther she's fairly helpless. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E06TheChangeling}} The Changeling]]'': A strange case of a damsel who isn't even ''aware'' that she's in distress. Elena was possessed as a baby by a member of the Sidhe, and it isn't until she's twenty years old that Merlin and Gaius exorcise it from her body. She remains completely unaware of this. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E09LoveInTheTimeOfDragons}} Love In The Time of Dragons]]'': Alice is under the sway of the Manticore, needing Gaius to not only rescue her from its power, but from the dungeons once she's exposed as a witch. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E11TheHuntersHeart}} The Hunter's Heart]]'': Again, Guinevere flips between the two poles: she handles herself well when taken captive by Helios, manages to escape and evade his men with important information and disguises herself from Morgana, but is then turned into a deer, shot with an arrow during a hunt, and has to be healed by Merlin. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E04AnothersSorrow}} Another's Sorrow]]'': Mithian is coerced by Morgana into leading Arthur and his knights into a trap, though she's resourceful enough to get a warning out to Merlin. However, she's otherwise helpless throughout the entire ordeal, and badly burned by Morgana's magic. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E06TheDarkTower}} The Dark Tower]]'': Guinevere is kidnapped by Morgana and has psychological torture inflicted upon her. Though she holds out for longer than expected, she's eventually broken. ** Morgana in general fluctuates between the two states. DependingOnTheWriter she can be a fighter in her own right (1x10), to being held with a knife to her throat (2x07). This remains the case even ''after'' her FaceHeelTurn, depicted as a fierce opponent (4x01) as well as a terrified woman held in a pit for two years (5x02). * DistressedDude: There are actually far, ''far'' more [[DistressedDude Distressed Dudes]] than [[DistressedDamsel Damsels]] in the show; so many that it would be impossible to list every example. Here's a quick run-down: ** Merlin: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice}} The Poisoned Chalice]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E06AServantOfTwoMasters}} A Servant Of Two Masters]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E04AnothersSorrow}} Another's Sorrow]]'' ** Uther: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E06ARemedyToCureAllIlls}} A Remedy To Cure All Ills]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E01TheTearsOfUtherPendragonPartI}} The Tears of Uther Pendragon]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E09LoveInTheTimeOfDragons}} Love In The Time of Dragons]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E03TheWickedDay}} The Wicked Day]]'' ** Gaius: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E07TheWitchfinder}} The Witchfinder]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E03GoblinsGold}} Goblin's Gold]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E07TheSecretSharer}} The Secret Sharer]]'' ** Elyan: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E07TheCastleOfFyrien}} The Castle of Fyrien]]'' ** Mordred: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E08TheBeginningOfTheEnd}} The Beginning Of The End]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E05TheDisir}} The Disir]]'' ** Gwaine and Lancelot were both introduced by helping out Arthur/Merlin, getting critically wounded, and having to seek help back in Camelot. All the knights were enchanted in ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E08Lamia}} Lamia]]''. ** Arthur: Practically every single episode. He's the target of [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E01TheDragonsCall}} dozens]] [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E02Valiant}} of]] [[{{Recap/MerlinS02E02TheOnceAndFutureQueen}} assassination]] [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E04Gwaine}} attempts]], and is regularly [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur}} poisoned]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E05TheCrystalCave}} shot]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E08TheEyeOfThePhoenix}} knocked out]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon}} hypnotized]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E07TheCastleOfFyrien}} held prisoner]], and [[{{Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams}} put under enchantments]]. * DisturbingStatistic: While discussing a tournament Arthur is about to compete in, Merlin [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwU0b5S8E4U keeps talking about]] how many people died the last time, just on the first day. * DoctorsOrders: Gaius gives Uther orders. * DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Happens more often than you'd think. Sometimes stumbles into HoYay. ** In 3x09 that Manticore was a little too pleased with being milked. *** Also from that episode, Merlin holding the ring for Arthur to practice joust with. * DoubleEntendre: Cenred does not only think with his "sword". * DragonRider: Merlin gets to have a shot early in Series 3. ** And then again in the final episode of the same series. * DramaticIrony: And how! The fact that Merlin has to hide his magic makes this happen all the time, with Arthur laughing at how useless Merlin is (when Merlin can't admit to saving his butt all the time) or with, one episode, Uther commenting on how useful he is to the fight against sorcery. * TheDreaded: By Series 4, Merlin literally becomes the stuff of nightmares towards [[spoiler: Morgana]]. * DreamingOfThingsToCome: Morgana * DressingAsTheEnemy: In 2x04, Merlin and Arthur disguise themselves as two of Hengist's thugs to rescue Gwen. In 5x02 (part two), Arthur and Merlin acquire the uniforms of a pair of Morgana's guards to find the others. * DroppedABridgeOnHim:[[spoiler:Agravaine]] seems to be leaning this way. Sure, his death scene is an important moment in Merlin's character arc, but it's not about him, it's about Merlin. His death scene has nothing to do with him, he's just there to advance Merlin from BewareTheNiceOnes to GoodIsNotSoft, and he's only mentioned once afterward in passing. * [[{{Druid}} Druid Boy / Druid Girl]]: Mordred and Freya. * DudeNotFunny: InUniverse. Merlin's reaction in 4x10 when the Knights make fun of his warnings about the Druid Shrine being cursed. * DudeWheresMyRespect: Merlin, despite bravely following Arthur into dangerous situations time and time again, is still treated like a lowly servant. * DuelToTheDeath: Arthur is often challenged to these. * TheDutifulSon: Arthur. Much to his own detriment. [[/folder]] [[folder: E-F]] * EarlyBirdCameo: Used in a curious way; a number of significant knights, including Pelinore and Bedivere, have been ''killed'', before we even get a Round Table. ** Particularly odd in Bedivere's case considering most of the legends agree that he was the ''last'' surviving member of the Knighthood of the Round Table (and the knight who returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake on Arthur's insistence). ** Cenred is first mentioned in 1x10. [[spoiler:Guess who appears in ''3x01''.]] ** Though when you think about it, there are quite a few explanations for the 'deaths' of those knights: it could merely be a dramatic subversion of EarlyBirdCameo by in turn averting the OneSteveLimit, or the legends of Arthur's court be rather inaccurate, or perhaps one or two of those knights could end up being resurrected (without turning evil) later on. *** Or they could be the fathers of the historical versions. "Sir Bedivere" could also be what Bedivere Junior is called. * EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first few handful of episodes introduced a number of things that were dropped later on in the series, including ShipTease between Arthur/Morgana and Merlin/Gwen, Merlin's ability to slow down time and to cast spells without any incantations, a telepathic bond between Merlin and Arthur, and a scene in which Gaius seems to be on relatively friendly terms with the Great Dragon - a connection that has not been alluded to since. ** Considering that Uther frequently calls upon Gaius' knowledge and counsel regarding magical creatures, it is incredibly likely that Gaius was called upon to deal with the Dragon in the past. Given that Uther executed all of the Dragonlords, those with knowledge of Dragon-lore are practically non-existent. ** In the first episode Arthur was portrayed as a near-homicidal asshole, gleefully attacking Merlin with a ''flail'' because of an insulting comment and throwing ''knives'' at a servant for his own amusement. Later episodes toned his jerkiness down considerably. * EasilyForgiven: {{Subverted}}. Morgana pretends to forgive Merlin for poisoning her, but still carries a pretty hefty grudge. * EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette: Morgana. Contributes to her ethereal beauty. ** Merlin. He has very dark (almost black) hair which contrasts with his ultra pale skin. It's especially noticeable in later seasons. ** Freya. * EggMacGuffin: [[spoiler: The whole point of ''Aithusa'' is to find a Dragon's egg.]] * EldritchLocation: The Valley of the Fallen Kings. ** The Dark Tower, very much so. In addition to the stories young knights are apparently told to scare them away from it, it is surrounded by an impenetrable forest that, in addition to being nigh impenetrable, reverses directions so you can only get out if you have help. It also looks terrifying and Queen Mab gives Merlin some rather disturbing advice: --->'''Queen Mab''': You must beware, Emrys. The Tower is not a real place. It is the heart's rest, the mind's deepest fear, the stillness in the hummingbird's eye. * EmbarrassingCoverUp: Whenever Merlin needs to disappear for a noticeable amount of time, Gaius invariably claims that Merlin's been spending said time at the tavern. Mind you, he'll be missing for ''days'' and Gaius will default to this excuse. * EmpathicEnvironment: In 2x09, it's raining [[spoiler:as Freya dies]]. * EnfanteTerrible: [[spoiler:Mordred]] * EntendreFailure: After Uther catches Arthur with Guinevere he laughs and says: "I know about the temptations of serving girls!" Given how the rest of that conversation goes, Arthur has no idea what he means. * EsotericMotifs * EternalSexualFreedom: There's no indication that Hunith lost any prestige for having a child out of wedlock or any indication that Merlin received any persecution for being a bastard child. In fact, when they discuss it in ''Sins Of The Father'', Arthur treats it like Merlin lost his father. Justified in that it's a family show and they couldn't ''say'' the word "bastard", much less discuss what it means. It's also a FantasyCounterpartCulture, so they can have whatever moral views the writers decide. ** Even more so with Morgana, not only [[spoiler:illegitimate daughter of Uther (and who therefore would not, by the way, be eligible for the throne), but the result of an adulterous affair with the wife of his best knight, Gorlois. Kings ''could'' legitimate their children (usually if they had no other heir), but he never does, and once she committed high treason by seizing the throne for herself, she'd have forfeited any chance]]. * EvasiveFightThreadEpisode: Arthur has won in combat against practically everyone...but never decisively against [[TheRival Lancelot]]. Even in 4x09, he needed magical help from Merlin in order to overcome him. * EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Uther truly loves his children. Morgana and Morgause dearly loved one another. Agravaine seems to genuinely care for Morgana. In fact, many of the villains, even the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monsters of the Week]] were acting out of love for another (Sophia and Aulfric, Mary Collins, etc). * EvenTheGuysWantHim: Arthur, apparently. According to the (male) villain in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'': --> Every woman in the land is attracted to this boy- I'm almost attracted to him myself. * EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Curiously averted (for the time being). ** Guinevere, of royal blood in most of the legends, is reimagined as a commoner and servant. In fact, she and Arthur seemed to have almost swapped roles as traditionally Arthur was raised as a commoner. ** Morgana has been the legal ward of King Uther since early childhood but apparently has not been granted the title of princess, as she is always addressed as the Lady Morgana. In Series 2, Vivian is the daughter of a king (as was [[spoiler: [[AllTrollsAreDifferent the real "Lady Catrina"]]]]) but both are also known as Lady rather than Princess. *** Actually, this is endemic to the show, and not just with the ladies. Even Uther is frequently addressed as "My Lord" rather than the correct "Your Majesty". (And Arthur, by the way, should be "Your Highness".) *** While technically correct, such terms as "Your Majesty" were not commonly used towards royalty until Henry VIII. ** Series three features a Princess Elena, but she turns out not to be your typical princess - [[spoiler: She's possessed by a Sidhe, which makes her very clumsy and gives her disgusting personal habits.]] ** In series four, the trope is finally played straight with the visiting Princess Mithian. She falls for Arthur, but he rejects her affections because he is still in love with Gwen. * EveryoneCanSeeIt: Arthur is ''not good'' at hiding his feelings for Gwen. Not good. At all. * EvilChancellor: Agravaine. * EvilFeelsGood: Morgana looks positively orgasmic every time she plots against her family and friends, performs dark magic, or takes an innocent life. * EvilIsDeathlyCold: The Dorocha appear as demonic, screaming skeletons made of smoke. They can kill any mortal by touching them, seemingly freezing them to death. * EvilIsNotWellLit: Most of Agravaine and Morgana's scenes in series four take place in a dark little hovel in the woods. * EvilMakeover: As of series four, [[spoiler:Morgana]] wears [[WomanInBlack a gothic black dress]] and green eye-shadow with dark eyeliner, as well as having wild hair. * [[EvilSorcerer Evil Sorcerer / Evil Sorceress]]: Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh, Mordred. * EvilVersusEvil: Uther Pendragon vs Nimueh and other Villains. * ExactWords: {{Subverted}} in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]''. After Arthur is mortally injured by the Questing Beast, Merlin makes a deal with Nimueh for his life. He makes it ''very specifically clear'' that he is bartering ''his'' life for Arthur's, but that doesn't stop nature & the universe from trying to take Merlin's mother's life instead. [[spoiler: although it may have been because Merlin is immortal, and, therefore, he couldn't DIE in Arthur's place]] ** Played straight with the High Priestesses. A High Priestess cannot be killed with a mortal blade but [[NoManOfWomanBorn there are ways to go around this]] * ExcaliburInTheStone: In The Coming Of Arthur Part 2. * [[ExpectingSomeoneTaller Expecting Someone Shorter]]: After identifying Arthur as 'Courage', Grettir tells him "you're not as short as I thought you'd be." * {{Expy}}: To the first series of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': the superpowered teenager who can't reveal his secret (Merlin and Clark); his father figure who knows his secret (Gaius and Jonathan); his male best friend who will one day learn his secret (Pete and Arthur), his female best friend with {{UST}} (Gwen and Chloe); his future enemy pre-FaceHeelTurn (Morgana and Lex); said enemy's antagonistic father (Uther and Lionel). And later, his ally who knows his secret (Lancelot and Oliver) with a team of warriors (Knights of Camelot and the Justice League). ** Writer Julian Jones has admitted that their version of ''TristanAndIsolde'' is based on ''MrAndMrsSmith''. ** Queen Annis bears more than a passing resemblance to Boudicca, and there's some speculation that Princess Mithian was based on the more familiar characterization of Guinevere, being both high-born and in a (temporary) ArrangedMarriage with KingArthur (the show's ''real'' Guinevere being a servant girl widely known as Gwen). ** Though not strictly a character, the Mage Stone in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' is clearly The Philosopher's Stone, presumably changed in order to avoid comparisons with ''Literature/HarryPotter''. ** The Cup of Life is clearly the Holy Grail. * FacelessGoons: In season 3, Cenred's armies all wear balaclavas over their heads. * FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Morgana in series 3.]] * TheFairFolk: The Sidhe. * FakeBrit: Morgana is played by Irish actress [[KatieMcGrath Katie [=McGrath=]]], and Merlin is played by Northern Irish actor Colin Morgan. Morgana, however, retains her Irish accent. This decision occurred during casting, where the [[http://merlin.wikia.com/wiki/Katie_McGrath producers did not want two Irish-speaking leads]] - had Colin Morgan not been able to fake a decent English accent, he would've retained his Irish one and Katie McGrath would've had to put on a convincing English accent or not get the part. Gwaine is also played by an Irish actor (Eoin Macken). ** All three actors - Morgan, [=McGrath=] & Macken - were [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtXD7XFeeI interviewed on Irish television together]] so their real accents can be compared and contrasted. * FallingChandelierOfDoom: In 1x01, Merlin makes one fall on Mary Collins. * FamousLastWords: Coincidentally (or not, though it's likely the writers just forgot) both [[spoiler:Arthur and Lancelot]] have the exact same last words: they each say "thank you" to Merlin before they die. * FanNickname: The Slash Dragon for the dragon and lately, "Smirkgana" for Morgana. King Giles for Uther * FanServicePack: Guinevere is prettied up. [[http://oi39.tinypic.com/2lwm890.jpg The difference is obvious]]. * FantasticRacism: Uther's pogrom against magic users. * FascinatingEyebrow: A particular skill of Richard Wilson's, so naturally Gaius uses it a fair bit. Sometimes his face seems to be stuck this way. * FauxActionGirl: Morgana. She is presented as a feisty girl with a sword, but she never accomplishes anything. Read [[http://zahrawithaz.livejournal.com/1893.html this.]] ** Also Isolde. Were you hoping that she'd be as tough as she looked? Sorry, she gets knocked out in less than three seconds and is carried around for the rest of the episode. In fairness, she made up for it in the following episode, [[spoiler:even if she was killed by the end]]. * FeetOfClay: Out of universe example: Merlin is repeatedly referred to as the [[TheArchmage most powerful sorcerer ever]] and frequently shows his [[MundaneUtility skill with housework]], but as soon as he is faced with an injury, a troll, other magical creature, a sticky hiding-in-the-cupboard situation, or heaven forbid one of those other witches/wizards who are obviously infinitely less powerful than him, such as Nimueh, Edwin, Cedric/Cornelius Sigan, then he immediately either forgets his 'amazing abilities' or finds himself completely outdone. ** More a case of UnskilledButStrong. Merlin possesses a great deal of raw, instinctive power, but lacks training, enabling his [[WeakButSkilled less powerful but experienced opponents]] to gain the upper hand. Best demonstrated when fighting Nimueh: Merlin tries an incantation, and she laughs it off and sticks a fireball in his chest. Then Merlin gets [[BerserkButton ripshit pissed]] and [[spoiler: blows her into LudicrousGibs through sheer willpower.]] * FemaleGaze: KatieMcGrath and Creator/AngelCoulby have to put up with a few [[CleavageWindow CleavageWindows]], but it's overwhelmingly the men that are ogled by the camera. Remember the days when Arthur would get dressed behind a screen? Well now the camera just follows him behind it. And when he's not around, there's usually a knight wandering around with his shirt off. * FingerlessGloves: Gaius wears them. * FisherKing: In episode 8 of Series 3 (''The Eye of the Phoenix''), Arthur must travel to the Perilous Realms which is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, affected by it's [[FisherKing King]] who was wounded in battle, but "The wound festered, affecting not just his body, but his kingdom as well, rendering it a wasteland." In universe, this seems to be his title, rather than a term for what he caused, but it's still sound. * FiveYearPlan: According to the cast and creators in recent interviews, the show was always designed to span five years, with the actors' contracts ending after that point and the four leads ready to move onto new projects. The announcement as to the show's end came as no surprise to most of the fan-base, though as [[http://www.hypable.com/2012/11/26/an-open-letter-to-the-bbc-merlin-cancellation/ this (somewhat melodramatic) open letter points out]], the way in which the showrunners went about dealing with it was decidedly strange. * {{Flanderization}}: Merlin used to be quite good at hiding his magical abilities by rationalizing (or completely avoiding) the odd situations he often found himself in because of them. Nowadays not an episode will go by that doesn't have Merlin getting caught in compromising positions ([[HoYay usually with a dose of subtext]]), and having to explain himself with increasingly bizarre excuses. By this stage, Arthur thinks that he's an alcoholic weak-bladdered cross-dresser who prowls around the castle at night, is obsessed with pest infestations, and has serious mental problems. ** Arthur started out as an arrogant prat, but he was also observant, intelligent and quick-thinking, and wasn't afraid to defy his father. In later seasons, he was given crippling Daddy Issues, would dismiss Merlin at every opportunity, and was utterly oblivious to magic even when it was happening right before his eyes. To add insult to injury, it became a RunningGag that he wasn't even able to dress himself. It's actually quite shocking to go back and watch him in the first seasons, in which he immediately takes Merlin's word that a magic-user is on the loose in the ''second'' episode, and for him to correctly identify a small hurricane as magical in the ''tenth''. * FlirtyStepsiblings : Arthur and Morgana in series 1. Abandoned in series 2, leading to [[TheReveal the revelation that]] [[spoiler: they actually share a father, which retroactively gives their banter shades of BrotherSisterIncest]]. * FlowerMotifs: Gwen is often associated with flowers, whether she's picking them, receiving them, or wearing them in her hair. This seems to be a deliberate contrast to Morgana, who wears jewels. * FriendVersusLover: Notably avoided between Merlin and Guinevere in regards to Arthur, [[OneTrueThreesome who are more than happy to share him]]. * {{Foil}}: Morgana to Merlin in series three, described by the dragon as "the shadow to your light, the hate to your love." ** Lancelot to Arthur. In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere Lancelot and Guinevere]]'', Lancelot's presence highlighted both Arthur's faults and his virtues. On the one hand, when Arthur realizes that there may be something between Lance/Gwen he pulls a massive sulk and makes an off-handed comment that he's only there because Morgana begged him; whilst Lancelot graciously admits defeat and bows out of the LoveTriangle before there's any more trouble. On the other hand, the fact that Lancelot leaves in the middle of the night without even saying goodbye highlights Arthur's honesty with Gwen when he tells her that nothing can ever happen between them. *** In the DVDCommentary Bradley James said that in the campfire scene he wanted Arthur to be snoring loudly, just to highlight how superior Lancelot was to Arthur. ** Gwen to Morgana. It's similar to the situation with Lancelot and Arthur: she usually makes both Morgana's faults and virtues come to light .This is specially noticeable in 1x12 (while Gwen refuses to get revenge on Uther for killing her father, Morgana tries to have him assassinated; but Gwen's situation also highlights Morgana's compassion and friendship with her) and for the whole of Series three, with the obvious good girl/bad girl dynamics and both of their 'Coronation' Scenes in [[LightIsGood 3x10]] and [[DarkIsEvil 3x12]]. * FollowTheLeader: The show is essentially [[RecycledPremise repurposing the premise]] of ''{{Smallville}}'' for the Arthurian mythos. Both shows feature the untold adventures of a well-established hero and his supporting cast when they were teenagers, with a mix of TeenDrama and MonsterOfTheWeek elements, designed to appeal to the same TargetAudience and PeripheryDemographic. The similarities have been acknowledged by the cast & crew in interviews. To whit: ** The teenage hero is [[PowerCreepPowerSeep developing]] special powers hithertofore used only instinctively which he must master ''and'' hide for fear of discovery, surreptitiously saving people around him with them without them knowing. The hero is told of the great [[BecauseDestinySaysSo destiny]] that awaits him [[ScrewDestiny whether he likes it or not]], and has to deal with conflicting messages from his peers and mentor figures about how to use his powers. Many of the canonical character relationships are also inverted at the beginning of the show. Both works feauture an [[{{Adorkable}} socially]] [[HollywoodNerd awkward]], [[ChronicHeroSyndrome reluctant but chronic hero]] who comes from humble origins that are [[TheReveal actually fantastical]] (Merlin/Clark); a friend-destined-to-be-[[FaceHeelTurn nemesis]] (Morgana/Lex Luthor); misdirected love interests (Gwen & Merlin/Chloe & Clark); lovers initially disinterested in their destined spouse (Arthur & Gwen/Clark & Lois); an [[RaceLift ethnically-recast]] female lead (Gwen/Lana), a loving and sternly cautious [[ParentalSubstitute father figure]] contrasting an ambiguously motivated supernatural mentor (Gaius & Jonathan Kent/The Dragon & Jor-El's recording); a PluckyGirl who won't keep her mouth shut (Morgana/Lois); a faithful female friend (Gwen/Chloe); future allies who initially dislike each other (Clark & Oliver/Merlin & Arthur); awkward friends from radically different social classes (Merlin & Arthur/Clark & Lex); the rich friend is heir to a vast empire but has misgivings about it (Arthur/Lex) and has an extremely powerful WellIntentionedExtremist father and is both a potential ally and an implicit threat to the hero if he were to discover his secret (Lionel Luthor/Uther Pendragon). ** Oddly enough, they got accused of doing this with Series 5 and ''{{Series/GameOfThrones}}'', as it features snow, Gwen learning politics, and a more multi-stranded story line. The creators pointed out these tropes are hardly original to Game of Thrones, although they do envy their production budget. * ForegoneConclusion: [[spoiler: Morgana and Mordred]] becoming evil; Lancelot and Guinevere's mutual attraction; [[spoiler:Arthur and Guinevere]] getting married, [[spoiler:Arthur's death by Mordred]]. * ForeignLookingFont: the book of spells given to Merlin by Gaius. At first glance it looks like Old English (which is what they do the verbal part of spells in). Closer inspection reveals it's modern English, with this trope. * {{Foreshadowing}}: At the conclusion of 1X08, Arthur asks the young Druid boy for his name and is told: "[[spoiler: My name is Mordred.]]" A strange, somewhat uneasy look comes over Arthur's face as the boy is lead away; all history fans who knows what Mordred is to become scream in horror. But the ominous chanting and drum-beats are just overkill. ** Also, in the first episode, Gaius mentions Morgana's nightmares; in ''Valiant'', she gives Arthur a very heartfelt warning before the tournament. A few episodes later, it's revealed that she's a seer and has been dreaming about the future. (The first example may also qualify as a BrickJoke - at the time it seemed like the sleeping draft was just a lead-in to an awkward comedy scene). ** In 1X10 Arthur rallies together a group of villagers in the defense of their homes: they stand in an obvious circle in which Arthur calls them all equals: a collection that includes peasants, servants and women. ** Near the end of 03x07: "Camelot was built on trust and loyalty. It will never be defeated, so long as we stay true to those ideals." Anyone who knows anything about how Camelot ''will'' be defeated knows how true that statement is. ** In 1x5, Gaius has this line: "I would give my life for you without a thought." [[spoiler: Guess what happens a few episodes later.]] ** A couple in 2x09, fulfilled in the episode. The first, when Merlin brings Freya food (she [[spoiler:eats like an animal]])and the second, when he is stealing a dress for her and tells Gwen that, since it's infested with moths, he'll have to burn it. [[spoiler:Cue Freya being cremated while wearing it]]. ** When Gwaine first meets Gwen in 3x04, he says: "you look like a princess to me." ** In 1x05 Merlin points out Arthur and Lancelot to Gwen and jokingly asks: "Which one would you chose?" She laughs and replies: "I don't have to chose, and I never will!" [[DramaticIrony Oh man...]] * TheFourLoves: The show features all four amongst its central cast. Merlin/Arthur are Storge, the Knights of the Round Table are Phileo, Arthur/Guinevere and Merlin/Freya are Eros, and Lancelot embodies Agape in his love for Merlin and Guinevere. * FourTemperamentEnsemble: Merlin is sanguine, Arthur is choleric, Gwen is melancholic, and Morgana is phlegmatic. In fact, Morgana growing out of her place in the ensemble arguably is part of the drama of series two. ** Alternatively, Gwen is sanguine, Arthur is choleric, Morgana is melancholic, and Merlin is phlegmatic. * FramingTheGuiltyParty: The Witchfinder. * FreudianTrio: In the trio of Merlin, Arthur and Gwen, Merlin is TheSpock / Superego (Calm, secretive, has made at least one SadisticChoice in which he sacrificed a dear friend in order to save a greater number of people) to Arthur's TheMcCoy / Id (Arrogant, aggressive, impulsive, is driven by his emotions, usually puts the individual before the bigger picture to Arthur's) and Gwen's TheKirk / Ego (TheHeart, motherly, adored by both men as a LoveInterest/[[LikeBrotherAndSister Sister Figure]]. See TheSpock. ** In the PowerTrio of Merlin (Magic), Arthur (Courage) and Gwaine (Strength), Merlin is TheKirk / Ego (Balanced, neutral, the mediator between the opposing personalities of Arthur and Gwaine, friends with both Arthur and Gwaine) to Arthur's TheSpock / Superego (Stoic, serious, strategic, noble, courageous) and Gwaine's TheMcCoy / Id (Fun-loving, roguish, carefree, rebellious, daredevil). *** Merlin could be seen as the Ego mediating between the magical power respresented by the wise Gaius (Superego) and the human world of the impulsive Arthur (Id). * FriendlyRivalry: Arthur and Gwaine. * FriendshipMoment: All the time between the main four, especially between Merlin and Arthur. * FunctionalMagic: Definitely Rule Magic and Device Magic and possibly also Inherent Gift, at least with Merlin himself (Gaius is astonished at Merlin performing magic without having been taught). * FutureBadass: Merlin, [[spoiler: who becomes the most powerful sorcerer on Earth, Emrys.]] [[/folder]] [[folder: G-H]] * GambitRoulette: Nimueh succeeds with one in "[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]" with a plot to force Merlin into drinking poison by switching Arthur's chalice with a poisoned one, disguising herself as a serving girl, and telling Merlin that she witnessed the visiting lord of another kingdom spike the chalice that he presents to Arthur as a gift. The gambit hinges on Merlin ''taking'' the poisoned chalice from Arthur instead of knocking its contents onto the ground, and on Uther forcing Merlin to drink from it to prove his accusation (though knowing what she does about Uther, this would probably fall into a BatmanGambit). Of course, what Nimeuh ''doesn't'' count on is Arthur successfully finding the cure, and she only refrains from killing him BecauseDestinySaysSo. * GeniusDitz: Merlin abilities come from simple instinct, not years of patient study. --> '''Merlin''': I could move objects like that before I could even ''talk''. * GenreSavvy: PlayedForDrama with Lancelot. He knows where he stands in the LoveTriangle, and he also knows that breaking it off early is the only chance Gwen has at happiness. Which makes it all the more tragic when [[spoiler: that, along with everything else about him, gets twisted around in ''Lancelot du Lac'']]. ** Merlin is the most aware character in the series. He always knows what is going on around him. * GeographicFlexibility: In the first two series it appears that Guinevere's cottage is a reasonable distance away from the castle. In series three, Morgana is not only able to see it from her bedroom window, but at a close enough range to watch the kidnapping that she's staged. * GetOut: Arthur when sacking Merlin in ''Valiant'' after the servant's suspicions made him look bad in front of the court. * GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Arthur gets donkey ears. Funny. Arthur can't speak without braying. Hilarious. But then a sympathetic Gwen begins to stroke his ears, and suddenly [[FantasticArousal Arthur looks remarkably...]]''[[FantasticArousal contented.]]'' ** When Helios captures Gwen, he has her [[BatheHerAndBringHerToMe bathed and dressed in a slave outfit]] and brought to his room. There's a bed in the corner, which Guinevere eyes worryingly, and when a servant comes in, he says (paraphrased) "I said no interruptions." Given how the show was unafraid to imply sex, Gwen was most likely a temporary, (albeit luckily unused) sex slave. ** When Merlin disappears on a secret quest with a young Druid, Gwen tells Arthur that he's gone away to meet with a girl he's been seeing, and is met with much skepticism. When Merlin gets back - in the company of a cute young guy - Arthur asks Merlin to tell him about the girl he was visiting ... and about why he's ''limping.'' * TheGhost: King Lot is mentioned a couple of times at the end of series 4, but is never seen on-screen. ** Also, an odd variation concerning Arthur's dogs. He apparently has several, and on occasion tells Merlin to look after them, but they're never seen on-screen. * GiantFlyer: The Great Dragon, Aithusa and Freya (in her Bastet or winged panther form). * GivingTheSwordToANoob: Merlin doesn't have much experience in sword fighting. However, in 3x13, Merlin retrieved Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake (Freya) in order to defeat Morgana's immortal army. Kilgarrah had told Merlin that in the wrong hands, the sword was capable of doing great evil. But at that particular and crucial moment in time, the sword was used by Merlin to defeat the enemy (Morgana's immortal army), even though the sword is meant for Arthur. * GilliganCut: 'I think I'm starting to get the hang of this whole deception lark...' * GirlNextDoor: Gwen. * GirlyBruiser: Morgana and Morgause are both feminine and pretty handy with a sword as well as combat. * GlamourFailure: Magical disguises are always exposed if one stands in front of a mirror. This is best seen in "The Dragon's Call" and "The Eye of the Phoenix." ** Though not commented upon, Merlin's Dragoon disguise holds up when he looks in the mirror. This may be because his spell is much more powerful - he even has trouble undoing it, whereas Morgause had been concerned that her spell wouldn't hold. * GoOutWithASmile: Lancelot ''almost'' achieves this when he faces death with the knowledge that Guinevere has escaped - up until he realizes that she's been recaptured. But then Arthur saves them both anyway. ** In 4x02, [[spoiler: Lancelot does it again when he sacrifices himself to close the veil.]] ** And then, in 4x09, [[spoiler: he does it ''again'' when Merlin brings him back for a last moment before he dies for the second time - this time probably for good.]] ** [[spoiler: Arthur dies smiling in the GrandFinale]] * GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[spoiler: Morgana]], the last two eps of season 3. And season 4. * TheGoodKing: [[spoiler: Arthur in season 4 and 5.]] * TheGoodChancellor: Despite not having any rank at all, Merlin fits this trope perfectly. It's so prevalent that Princess Mithian is able to figure out that Arthur values his opinion above all others after being in Camelot for ''one day'', and asks him for his support. * GoodColorsEvilColors: Arthur and Merlin wear red and blue. As of series 4, the bad guys wear black. Guinevere is steadily making her way through every shade of pastel that the costume designer can come up with. ** Morgana has interesting wardrobe changes throughout the course of ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E11TheWitchsQuickening The Witch’s Quickening]]''. When she takes her own initiative or is sabotaging Camelot, she wears green. When she is being manipulated or subjected to the men around her, she's wearing white. ** And when she's just being ObviouslyEvil, she wears [[LadyInRed red]]. Lots and lots of red. As of Series 4, her makeup has been gothed up a bit. ** There might be a bit of {{Foreshadowing}} and FridgeBrilliance in the use of [[PurpleIsPowerful purple]], [[ColorCodedPatrician the royal colour]], in some [[GracefulLadiesLikePurple female characters]]. In the first series, Morgana has a few [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season1/promo/1000/morgana/hires/24.jpg purple]] [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season1/promo/1000/morgana/hires/6.jpg dresses]], with only the first one appearing briefly in Series 2 (as she drifts further apart from the crown). In Series 3 she has [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season3/promo/3013/episode/hires/67.jpg another one]], which could indicate her intentions to get the throne. Then we have Gwen, whose [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season2/promo/2000/gwen/hires/46.jpg first purple dress]] appears in Series 2, when she starts having some scenes about the possibility of being queen. In Series 4 she has [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season4/promo/4000/maincast/hires/26.jpg another one]], but the best example is her [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season4/promo/4013/episode/hires/34.jpg Queen gown]], which is bluish-purple. A possible example would be Freya, since the dress Merlin gets for her is a purple one of Morgana's , and that is the dress Freya wears when she becomes the [[SupernaturalIsPurple Lady of the Lake]]. Both Gwen and Freya wearing one of Morgana's dresses in Series 2 might be another sign showing that, whether Morgana ever had royal qualities or not, she's losing them, while Gwen and Freya are gaining them. * GoodIsNotDumb: Arthur. Even if he does not believe Merlin's warnings in Series 4 that [[VillainWithGoodPublicity Agravaine is a villain]], he nonetheless will ''still'' investigate the validity of the claims before reprimanding Merlin for accusing his Uncle of treachery. ** He also came ''this'' close to arresting him for treason in episode six. He actually wisely went behind his back on this, making sure there was no other possibilities, and ''then'' confronted him, notably with a hand on his sword. If Agravaine weren't a ManipulativeBastard on level with [[ASongOfIceAndFire Petyr Baelish]], he would have had him then and there. * GoodIsNotSoft: Merlin oh so much. He befriends nearly everyone he meets and bonds tightly with them, and is putting his life on the line just by being in Camelot because he believes that when Arthur becomes the Once and Future King, magic will return to Albion peacefully. Yet when the time comes to kill the monster, he will. No regrets, no hesistation, just "You threatened my friends. Bye." followed by instant death. Best demonstrated in the series 4 finale, when he is cornered, unarmed, and there's no way out except to use his magic. He tries to talk them down, even though he knows it's futile, but fails. When they finally close in, he flicks his eyes and kills five guards without hesitation. ** Guinevere, who is usually quiet and sweet-natured, but doesn't suffer fools or villains lightly. * GoryDiscretionShot: Combined with BloodlessCarnage in episode 9, during Owain and Tristan [=DuBois=]'s otherwise violent (well, for bulky, armor-weighted knights) battle. * GoToYourRoom: Uther to Morgana in 2x10. --> "You will go to your chambers!" * GrandRomanticGesture: {{Invoked}} throughout ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'' after Arthur is made to fall in love with Princess Vivian. He tries to woo her with increasingly elaborate measures, from taking her a roast chicken to scaling the castle wall to visit her bedroom to fighting a duel to the death with her overprotective father. It's {{subverted}} at the end of the episode: once Guinevere has broken the spell with a TrueLovesKiss Arthur thanks her by bringing her a simple red rose. * GreatOffscreenWar: Uther versus the High Priestesses. Bits and pieces are mentioned: the High Priestesses created the lamias as weapons against the Ancient Kings but lost control of them, there was a temple on the Isle of the Blessed that fell to Uther's forces, but it's all very vague. * GreyAndGreyMorality: Dips into this a bit. If we didn't know Arthur was going to be a the greatest king ever, and that killing Uther would impede that then we would probably be cheering for the magicians. ** Also some magicians want to kill Arthur as well. * TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: The guards are frequently distracted by objects that not only fall over for no reason, but then proceed to start moving ''under their own power''. The fact that the doors then often magically shut behind them also seems to go unnoticed. ** Then there was the time in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'' when a cloaked and hooded figure limped through the castle gates at night, right ''between'' the guards that were on duty about a metre away on either side, who stare at the figure in alarm. They...do absolutely nothing. *** What about when Arthur was captured by Cenred and they let him keep his armour? * GuileHero: Merlin. In the beginning, Merlin depends on [[ActionHero using his magic to solve problems and combat the enemies]], but as the series progresses, he seems to use manipulation along with his magic. * GuiltFreeExterminationWar: {{Subverted}}, as despite their big words, both Uther and Arthur feel remorse and guilt for their actions against magic-users. * HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Arthur. ** Ygraine. She had a pure and good heart, like her son. * HarsherInHindsight: An in-universe example. In "The Witchfinder", one of the women affected by the [[MushroomSamba belladonna-laced]] eye-drops claims to have seen drowned faces in the well who were screaming at her. We later find out in "The Tears of Uther Pendragon", that during the [[ThePurge Great Purge]], Uther actually ''did'' have people accused of magic drowned within wells, including ''children''. * HatePlague: Lamia infects the knights with this. * HaveYouTriedNotBeingAMonster * HealingMagicIsTheHardest: Seems to be the case for Merlin. He could not heal Arthur in 3x05, and has difficulty with healing spell again in 5x07. * TheHeart: Merlin. He is the centrepiece as well as the emotional aspect of the series. He brings everyone together and had helped to form all of the major, important relationships on the show. Merlin is also the main influence for Arthur going from an icy, arrogant, entitled, selfish and spoiled RoyalBrat to a [[CharacterDevelopment much kinder, caring, understanding leader and king.]]. ** Gwen also shares this role with Merlin although to a lesser extent. * HeartbrokenBadass: Merlin, Merlin, Merlin. It's a miracle [[HurtingHero the guy]] hasn't [[HeroicBSOD broken down]] in [[IronWoobie four series.]] * HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: {{Subverted}}; they're always present in combat. ** Unless you're Arthur, who almost never does. * TheHero: Merlin is ''THE'' hero of the series. He is the protector of Camelot and all of its inhabitants. * HeroesPreferSwords: Arthur and all of the Knights of Camelot use swords as their WeaponOfChoice. Merlin uses a combination of magic and a sword at times. * HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler: Arthur, after learning the truth about his birth. He tries to kill his own father, then breaks down in tears in front of Merlin, Gaius and Sir Leon. Ouch.]] ** Surprisingly avoided with Merlin, although any more ConflictingLoyalty episodes during series 3 might finally push him over the edge. ** Arthur again, [[spoiler: after finding out that Morgana has usurped the throne, and she is his real sister. Well, half-sister.]] Uther as well. ** Arthur has another (sensing a pattern here) after [[spoiler:Agravaine's betrayal is revealed. Combined with Morgana's betrayal last season, he begins to question his ability to be king. After all, what good is he as a leader if he is such a horrible judge of character?]] ** Arthur has another one (hello... major pattern here!) when it turns out he's to fat for his belt... he also has one when he's dealing with his past and the massacre of the Druid camp. ** Arthur has a huge one in the series finale when [[spoiler: he discovers that Merlin is actually a sorcerer.]] ** Merlin has many of these throughout the series, but the most notable one is in the series finale [[spoiler: when Arthur dies. Merlin ends up losing it big time.]] * HeroicSacrifice: In 4x02, Arthur fully intended to sacrifice himself so that the veil between the human and spirit world would close. [[spoiler: Merlin knocks him out last minute and tries to take his place. Only for Lancelot to step up and do the deed.]] * [[spoiler: TheHeroDies: Not Merlin himself, but Arthur dies in the finale.]] * HeterosexualLifePartners: Arthur and Merlin. With bonus HoYay. Lots and lots of HoYay. -->The Dragon (about Merlin and Arthur): That your's and Arthur's path lies '''together''' is but the ''truth''. * HeWhoFightsMonsters: Uther ** Also, Merlin later on in the series. * HiddenBadass: Merlin. At first, Merlin seems to be a scrawny, weak and incompetent servant but in reality, he is actually very strong and powerful due to possessing magical abilities. Merlin is arguably the most powerful character in the series. ** Also, Mordred. * HideousHangoverCure: Gaius', according to himself. * HideYourPregnancy: Emilia Fox as of "Queen of Hearts". This is probably why Morgause was flung into a wall, buried under rocks, deformed, put in a cart, and stabbed to death! * TheHighQueen: As of the end of series four, [[spoiler:Queen Guinevere Pendragon]]. * HilariousOuttakes: Finally appeared on the series 3 box set. [[CrowningMomentofFunny And they were worth waiting for.]] * HoldingHands: A frequent motif between Guinevere and Lancelot. Lancelot turns Gwen's handshake into [[IKissYourHand a chance to kiss her hand]]. They touch each other's hands through the bars of a grating whilst Gwen is being held captive. When they are facing death together, there is a close-up on their linked fingers. Finally, Arthur notices that there's something between them when he sees that Lancelot has offered Gwen his hand to help her to his feet, and is rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb. ** There is focus on Arthur and Gwen's hands when he [[spoiler:helps her to her feet after crowning her Queen of Camelot]]. ** Happens also with Merlin and Freya, when he's helping her escape from Halig, when he tells her he has never known anyone like her, and when they kiss for the first time. ** A darker example in "The Dark Tower". Morgana alternates between cruelty and kindness when she has Gwen hostage in an attempt to brainwash her. Morgana holding out her hand to Gwen and getting Gwen to take her hand in turn are vital steps on the road to inducing StockholmSyndrome. * HomoeroticSubtext/ HoYay: With all of the male characters but the strongest subtext on the show is between Arthur and Merlin by far. Even Eoin Macken, who plays Gwaine, mentions how much homoeroticism exists between Colin and Bradley's characters on the show. * HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Uther. Among other things, he's chummied up to a knight who was trying to kill his son, invited two murderous Sidhe into his castle, married a troll, flirted with a shape-shifting witch, indulged the whims of a con-artist witchfinder, hired a man who tried to kill him to avenge his parents' deaths, and (in the third series) doted on the woman who was hell-bent on destroying him and taking over his kingdom. It goes both ways, as he's also banished both Gwaine and Lancelot, two accomplished and loyal knights, and is constantly belittling, alienating or even trying to execute Merlin and Guinevere, the two people in the world who would give their lives for his son without a second thought. ** Arthur isn't much better. Season 3 and 4 has him professesing his undying trust towards first [[spoiler: Morgana and then Agravane]], only to find they've both been trying to kill him the whole time. (After ignoring Merlin's warnings about the very fact). You'd think the guy would learn better after a while. * HotWitch: Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh. * HugeGuyTinyGirl: Arthur and Gwen. She stands about level with his shoulder. ** As well as Percival and Lamia in 4x08. * {{Hunk}}: Arthur, Lancelot, Percival, Gwaine and Elyan. Basically all of the Knights at the Round Table are Hunk Central. * HypercompetentSidekick: Agravaine, nuff said. ** Merlin too. Throughout the entire series he's always the one killing the monster and saving Arthur from his own stupidity. ** Series 4 is more of a duel between the two of them than Arthur and Morgana. Arthur spends most of the series being puppeted and Morgana dwells more on her petty vendettas than anything that will actually help her, leaving Merlin and Agravaine to do anything actually beneficial. To further the parallels, they seem to be the only ones actually aware of how competent the other is.[[note]] While Morgana dismisses (or pretends to dismiss) Merlin as a mere serving boy, Agravaine's actually smart enough to get him out of the way before abducting Gaius and watch him in case he does something. Later, Merlin states that Agravaine is far too dangerous to be left alone and his treachery should be exposed before he does real damage, and Gaius basically tells him that he's overreacting and refuses to confirm Agravaine kidnapped him to Arthur.[[/note]] * {{Hypocrite}}: A deliberate and fascinating example is King Uther. After [[spoiler: enlisting the help of a sorceress in order for his barren wife to conceive]], he set about killing and terrorising everyone who practised sorcery (even those who did so for perfectly innocent reasons) even though [[NeverMyFault he had no one to blame for his wife's death except himself]]. The real kicker is when Morgana gets sick in series 3, and he actually coerces Gaius into using magic to save her. You'd think this act of blatant hypocrisy would make him decide to ease up on the sorcerers a bit from then on, but you'd be wrong... ** Later on in series 3, there was a sorcerer going around healing people miraculously who was [[spoiler: Gaius's former lover]]. Uther wanted Gaius to see if sorcery was involved in the healings and it is implied he would have executed whoever did it. The fact that he was willing to use magic to miraculously heal Morgana is made even more hypocritical because of that in retrospect. ** The reason he hates magic in the first place is because he made a deal with a sorceress to concieve a son with his barren wife. Furthermore, he describes his deceased wife as "my soul" and yet we later find out that he had an affair with his best friend's wife, and that (as he says to his son) "I know about the temptations of serving girls." [[/folder]] [[folder: I-J]] * IDidWhatIHadToDo / KillTheOnesYouLove / ShootTheDog: [[spoiler:Merlin poisons Morgana -- who was unaware that she was the vessel of the Knights of Medhir -- because [[IDidWhatIHadToDo he did what he had to do]] in order to save Camelot, but at the price of killing his friend and someone he cared about. Many fans, while praising the acting of Colin and Katie, did not agree with Merlin's actions.]] * IdiotBall: Morgana seems to have read the EvilOverlordList, but it looks more like she's trying complete each item rather than avoid the mistakes. One example: Morgana says, "So, you have failed me again," to Agravaine no less than three times. ** Uther is frequently called upon to ignore perfectly reasonable warnings or explanations in order to keep the plot moving. * IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing: Arthur wasn't entirely sure that his plan to smear himself in Gaia berries to confuse the Wilderen would be successful. Merlin is not hugely pleased when he finds out. ** Arthur also gets a moment of this when [[spoiler: his father starts dying]]. ** Arthur in 4x11 when faced with marriage to a lovely princess or seeking out the woman that (he thinks) betrayed him, tells Merlin that he has no idea what to do. * IHaveYouNowMyPretty: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCmsHh6fxQg Yeah... looks like they're going to spend the rest of season 4 messing with poor Gwen.]] * IJustWantToBeNormal: Merlin, at the start of the series. ** Occasionally, Arthur. * IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight: Merlin tries this on [[spoiler:Morgana]] in 3x02. [[spoiler:It doesn't work.]] * ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou: Arthur begins to fall for Guinevere after she calls him out on his rude behaviour and he realizes that she's the only one who doesn't just tell him what he wants to hear. ** Also the reason why Arthur and Merlin get along so well. * IdTellYouButThenIdHaveToKillYou: Merlin tries to {{lampshade}} this in "The Coming of Arthur" when Arthur refuses to tell him the destination of their latest secret mission. Arthur responds by telling him that ''yes'', he ''would'' have to kill him if he divulged that information. * IllPretendIDidntHearThat: In ''The Secret Sharer''. Also said by one of the knights in verbatim to Gaius in Goblin's Gold. * ImmortalityInducer: Morgause creates an army of immortals by dripping soldiers' blood into the Cup of Life. However, this also gives her the ability to control them. * ImprobableWeaponUser: In 1x10, Gwen attacks one of Kanen's men with a shovel. It's a good idea. * InelegantBlubbering: Nobody on this show cries nicely. Which makes {{Tear Jerker}}s that much worse. * InfinityPlusOneSword: [[LateArrivalSpoiler Excalibur]]. * InfoDump: Uther's speech on the balcony in the first episode. He's been king for twenty years? Check. There's a dragon under the castle? Check. Magic is outlawed? Check. Thanks writers! * InformedAbility: Uther's ability to stamp out or indeed recognize magic in his kingdom. Basically, he can be as competent at this in the back-story as the writers need him to be, and as incompetent at it in the present as the writers need him to be. ** Gaius describes his past love thusly: --> ''I was just a novice, but Alice's power and ability was uncanny. She had the gift. Soon she had mastered every aspect of sorcery, healing above all.'' ** She spends the entire episode helplessly under the Manticore's power, and all of her healing occurs off-screen. * InformedAttribute: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'' the main villain remarks about how every girl in Camelot is attracted to Prince Arthur. Though Arthur's attractiveness is the general consensus among fans, the show never shows Arthur being unusually popular with the girls of Camelot, possibly because of his station. ** Though as Bradley James has pointed out on more than one occasion, there only seem to be a total of ''two'' women in Camelot, one of which is his sister. As of series 4, this has been whittled down to ''one''. ** Excalibur is described constantly as a powerful and dangerous sword that can '''only''' be wielded safely by Arthur. Yet not only is it used by both Uther and Merlin in two separate episodes with no drastic consequences, by the time Arthur ''finally'' gets his hands on it at the end of series four, nothing particularly exceptional is done with it. He can't even defeat [[TheBrute Helios]] without help. The sword lives up to its reputation of being able to kill the dead, but it's neither as awesome in the right hands ''or'' as dangerous in the wrong ones as its maker would have you believe. ** Because of the change in actors, Mordred's youthfulness is often mentioned throughout series 5 in a bid to remind viewers of the significant age difference between Mordred and the other characters. However, Alex Vlahos is only two years younger than Colin Morgan, and very much looks the same age as him (and everyone else). ** Likewise, Merlin is described as weak and scrawny. Maybe in the first and second series that was true, but the actor has since filled out and it barely applies. Loose clothing seems to shake this somewhat, but whenever you see Colin Morgan out of costume it's blatant that he's just as big as some of the other knights that are described as muscular. * InNameOnly: ** Take everything you thought you knew about Arthurian Legend and throw it out the window. Arthur is a Prince right from the start, there's a dragon under the castle, Merlin is Arthur's servant who is around his age rather than much older, magic is outlawed, Morgana is not a villain, Gwen is dark-skinned... Then again, the [[KingArthur Arthurian Mythos]] has been doing this with every iteration of King Arthur since before the written word, so it's tradition. *** As of series 3, Morgana is, in fact, a villain - and, to be fair about that, the seeds of her FaceHeelTurn were planted with the introduction of Mordred in series 1. ** For further deviations from previous versions, however, a number of the named Knights of the Round Table are killed off over the course of the series, well before the Round Table is formed. (EG: Owain and Pellinore at the hands of the Black Knight.) * InnocentBlueEyes: Merlin, Arthur and Mordred (when he was a child. Mordred's eyes become IcyBlueEyes as he gets older. * InterClassRomance: Gwen (poor servant) and Arthur (rich royalty). * IntergenerationalFriendship: Gaius with Arthur and Gwen. Merlin falls into the LikeASonToMe category with Gauis. * InterspeciesFriendship: Merlin, who is a warlock and a Dragon Lord, is friends with Arthur, Gwen, Lancelot and Gwaine, who are all humans. * IOweYouMyLife: Merlin's main reason to help Lancelot become a knight. * IronicName: The villain called Valiant used underhanded tactics to cheat in a tournament. ** It's unclear if it is intentional, but a Pendragon (meaning "son of the dragon") nearly wipes out the dragons and Dragonlords. * ItsForABook: Merlin uses a variation of this, ("it's for homework") in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E05Lancelot Lancelot]]'', to excuse his unlikely interest in the library. * ItHasBeenAnHonor: Arthur says this to Merlin just before battle in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * ItsQuietTooQuiet: Arthur to Merlin in the forest in episode 3x12. * InSeriesNickname: The Great Dragon often calls Merlin "Young Warlock". ** Kilgarrah's nickname is The Great Dragon. ** Arthur's nicknames include "Clotpole" and" Dollophead", both coined by Merlin. ** Almost everyone calls Guinevere "Gwen", with the exception of Arthur. * IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Lancelot, upon seeing that Gwen and Arthur are close, decides to not get in the way of their relationship. * IWillWaitForYou: The trope is first invoked when Arthur claims that he ''can't'' expect Guinevere to wait for him, but in series 3 Gwen tells him that she will "count the days" until he becomes King, at which point he can change the customs that keep them apart. ---> '''Arthur''': ''[[CallBack I can promise you that when I am King, things will be different]]. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming We can be together]].'' ** Turns out [[spoiler: Merlin is still waiting for Arthur to rise in the ''present day''. At the very end of Season 5, we see him walking past a bus. [[WhoWantsToLiveForever He does not look happy about still waiting]]]]. * JerkAss: Uther. The Dragon has his moments too, though one could argue that being chained up in a cave for twenty years will do that to you, but it is no reason to destroy Camelot. Just take Uther and go! You'd have done us all a favour. ** To be fair to the dragon, even after only watching the first season, I'd have said, at least once: "Tell me the truth kid, you come down here to ask my advice so you can go do the opposite." The dragon isn't quite that blunt...yet in the first season. ** [[spoiler: Morgana is starting to fall under this category too. Her animosity towards Uther (and Merlin) is understandable but her treatment of Arthur and Gwen is down right cruel.]] * JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Arthur * JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: Morgana. Possibly justified, since in-show, she was with Morgause a whole year and was probably thoroughly indoctrinated in that time - but from the viewer's perspective, she ended one series as conflicted and unhappy, and returned at the start of the next series as pure evil. * JustEatGilligan: So many of the problems on the show could be solved if Merlin would just let one of the ''many'' people who want to kill Uther succeed, putting Arthur on the throne and allowing him to become the great king he's supposed to be. But this never happens only because of Merlin is a weird brand of TechnicalPacifist, who regularly kills Mooks and nonhuman villains but has moral qualms about letting Uther die. ** But if Uther were killed by magic, Arthur would likely become just as fanatically anti-magic as his father when he gains the throne. The Dragon says as much in ''Sorcerer's Shadow''. [[spoiler: And it finally happens in 4x03.]] ** Morgana’s FaceHeelTurn could have been avoided if Merlin had told her about his magic or at least treated her better. Her bonding with Mordred and Morgause was mostly caused by her confusion and sense of loneliness. * JustFriends: Merlin was teased with Gwen by Morgana in 1x03 and Lancelot in 1x05 because of Gwen's obvious crush on him and Merlin's semi-obliviousness to it. When Merlin secretly helps Morgana in 2x03 [[spoiler:when she discovers that she is a seer]], Arthur is under the belief that Merlin is in love with Morgana and warns him Uther would have his head for it. * JustHitHim: ''All.The.Time.'' [[/folder]] [[folder: K-L]] * KickTheDog: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]'', Arthur rushed to get the flower to cure Merlin, despite his father telling him not to. However, as soon as he came back, his own father imprisoned him for disobeying him. Even when Arthur begged his father to at least deliver the flower to Merlin, he crushed the flower, told him to get another servant and dropped the flower just out of Arthur's reach. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS03E09LoveInTheTimeOfDragons Love In The Time Of Dragons]]'' Uther is poisoned by a witch who was under the thrall of a magical creature. Despite Gaius saying that the woman had no choice (and implying that she was forced to do magic), Uther decides to kill her anyway, as she still practiced magic even if it was out of her control. This is on top of his hypocrisy earlier of being willing to heal Morgana with magic but wanting to execute whoever was healing other people. * KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:King Uther]]. And by the time the series wraps up, the list includes [[spoiler: Elyan, Lancelot, Gwaine, Mordred, Morgana, and Arthur]]. And that's not even counting the smaller characters! * KillEmAll: The ending. Three main characters kick the bucket. In fact, given [[spoiler: that the very last scene [[DistantFinale shows a (VERY) old Merlin walking down a rural street in modern times]] every single person in the series, Gwen, the knights, and everyone else, have all been dead for centuries.]] * KillItWithFire: Or rather, drive it off with fire. The flying ghost skull Dorocha can pass through solid matter and are totally immune to harm. They even negate magic. Fire, however, disperses them for a while. * KillerRabbit: Young!Mordred. As a child, he was cute, adorable but very creepy and dangerous. * KingArthur: Or rather Prince Arthur. ** [[spoiler: As of 4x03, King Arthur.]] * KissingUnderTheInfluence: Arthur and Vivian in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', as a result of the enchantment placed upon them. ** [[spoiler: Lancelot and Guinevere in Lancelot du Lac]] * TheKlutz: Merlin. See [[CuteClumsyGirl Cute Clumsy Guy]]. * {{Knighting}}: Happens quite often, usually by Uther, but most notably by Arthur in "The Coming of Arthur" when he does this to the new knights of the Round Table. * KnightErrant: Lancelot and Gwaine, before they became Knights of Camelot. * KnightKnaveAndSquire: The PowerTrio of Merlin (''Magic''), Arthur (''Courage''), and Gwaine (''Strength''), with Merlin as ''The Squire, Arthur as ''The Knight'' and Gwaine as ''The Knave''. * KnightTemplar: Uther, at least in regards to magic. * KnightTemplarParent: Uther in regards to both Arthur and Morgana. * KudzuPlot: Especially anything involving the Druids. It's difficult to gauge just how much they know about Merlin's destiny, what they plan to do about it, and why they keep calling him "Emrys". * TheLadysFavour: Gwen gives Arthur a handkerchief for him to wear during a tournament, for luck. ** As does Morgana for Sir Owain in his fight against the undead Tristan. *** A deleted scene for "The Shadow of the Sorcerer" reveals that the sash Arthur was wearing around his arm in the melee came from Morgana. * LaResistance: And they're [[HeroAntagonist the bad guys]]. ** Until ''The Coming of Arthur'' when Arthur and his loyalists become LaResistance. * LadyAndKnight: Played remarkably straight with Lancelot and Guinevere, even though they ''aren't'' a lady or a knight when the show begins. However, Lancelot always makes a point of referring to Gwen as "my lady" and by the end of the third series he's been permanently knighted and by the end of the fourth season, [[spoiler: she is "my lady" as she's Queen!]] ** There's a little of this with Gwen and Gwaine as well. * LadyInRed: Nimueh, Freya, Morgana, and Morgause. * LadyOfBlackMagic: Morgause initially, then Morgana. * LadyOfWar: Queen Annis, Morgana, Morgause and also Guinevere, although to a lesser extent as Morgana. * LargeHam: A number of characters, including Creator/GeorgiaMoffett as Lady Vivian. ** Nimueh, especially in early episodes where every time she was defeated she would stand over her bubbling cauldron thingy and yell "Merlin!" ** Merlin, when masquerading as Dragoon. He's quite obviously enjoying every minute of it. * LastOfHisKind: The Great Dragon. [[spoiler:And Merlin in 2x13, when he becomes the last Dragon Lord]]. ** [[spoiler:As of ''Aithusa'', Kilgarrah is no longer the Last Dragon]]. * LeftForDead: The third season premiere had Morgause decide that the best way to keep Merlin from foiling her plan to conquer Camelot was to leave him in magical chains to be killed by poisonous beasts while she went on her way. Of course, the titular character of the show escapes, much to her surprise. * LegendaryWeapon: ''Excalibur'', which Arthur is going to rip out of that stone as revealed by the series trailer, and Lancelot's sword, Arondight. * LethalJokeCharacter: In-Universe. Out of any number of elite knights, it's Merlin who ends up getting dragged along whenever Arthur goes on a solitary mission. Arthur seemingly does this because Merlin makes him laugh and provides moral support. He's completely unaware that Merlin is the only reason he ''survives'' these missions. * LetThemDieHappy: Merlin brings [[spoiler: Freya to the lake so that she dies in a place similar to her home]]. * LetsGetDangerous: Gwen and Morgana in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain: Gaius insists on this to Merlin when forced to romance a troll. ** Don't forget [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship Gwen and Morgana]]. * LightFeminineAndDarkFeminine: Guinevere (light) and Morgana (dark), somewhat ironically considering the actresses, who are mixed-race and uber-pale, respectively. The trope is somewhat played with, considering Guinevere is aligned more with love and romance, whilst in the later seasons, Morgana is practically {{asexual}}. * LikeASonToMe: Gaius sees Merlin more of a son [[spoiler: than his nephew]]. * LikeBrotherAndSister: ** Gwen and Merlin's relationship is like this. (At least, ever since the peculiar about turn in the series 1-2 transition saw the previously hinted Merlin/Gwen relationship effectively killed.) ** Arthur and Morgana are put into this in Series 2. According to [[WordOfGod Bradley James]], the reason why they put a halt to [[SlapSlapKiss Arthur/Morgana]] was to not get the impression of BrotherSisterIncest (since she is like his [[FlirtyStepSiblings sister-in-law]]), and because they wanted to start the [[StrangledByTheRedString Arthur/Gwen romance]]. ** And as of Episode 3/05, [[spoiler: it turns out they actually are half-siblings.]] * LineageComesFromTheFather: The Dragonlord abilities are said to be passed from father to son. * LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: At the start of the show, Arthur is the best knight in Camelot by a long shot and Merlin has virtually no magical training. As such, in the earlier seasons it would often be Arthur going out to slay the monster while Merlin figured out his spells at home and turned up for the final blow. As Merlin started to get more experienced though, he was more proactive in fights and took out way more guys than Arthur. By seasons four and five he was the main powerhouse of the group, and in season five finale [[spoiler: curbstomps an entire army, Morgana who's the closest in power to him, and a dragon]] all at once. Arthur gets one level-up ([[spoiler:Excalibur]]), and that's it. And even at the start of the show before his development, it's clear Merlin would beat Arthur in a fight if the gloves were off. * LineInTheSand: Arthur gives one in the Series 3 finale to Merlin, Gaius, Gwen, Lancelot, Percival, Gwaine, Leon and Elyan. They then proceed to each stand up and give a speech about why they refuse to leave Arthur, one by one, until it reaches Merlin who remains seated and jokes, "[[CrowningMomentOfFunny Actually I don't really fancy it.]]" * LipLockSunBlock: Arthur and Gwen's first kiss. * LiteraryAgentHypothesis: With the court genealogist Geoffrey of Monmouth; the real Geoffrey of Monmouth was a 12th-century bishop who named the character of Merlin, and was one of the earliest writers of tales of King Arthur and his father Uther, along with a whole host of other legendary British kings. * LittleDeadRidingHood: Morgana narrowly avoids this fate in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E03TheNightmareBegins The Nightmare Begins]]'' after escaping to the forest in a bright red hooded cloak. * LongLostSibling: Gwen's brother Elyan. ** And in a way, Morgause to Morgana. * TheLoad: ** SubvertedTrope with Merlin. He's the king's clumsy manservant who can't hold a sword to save his life, and yet the Knights of the Round Table all insist on bringing him along on dangerous missions. However, when the Knights turn their backs, Merlin turns out to be an extremely badass mage who has singlehandedly saved all of Camelot multiple times and is the only reason Arthur survives these dangerous missions. Problem is, magic's illegal on pain of death, so no one is aware of this except the audience. ** DependingOnTheWriter, Guinevere. On one hand, her quick mind has proven useful on several occasions, on the other, she's still a relatively small and untrained peasant girl who often winds up being a DistressedDamsel. * LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters * LockedInTheDungeon: Every single major or recurring character (except Percival) has spent at least one night in Camelot's dungeons. Every single one. * LookBehindYou: Arthur pulls this on Merlin when they're arguing over who gets to drink from a poisoned goblet. * TheLostLenore: Freya to Merlin. In the backstory, Igraine to Uther. * TheLostWoods: Jam-packed with magical critters and evil bounty hunters lurking behind every tree. * LoveAtFirstSight: Lancelot toward Guinevere. Notably {{averted}} with Arthur and Gwen, who knew each other for years before starting to take notice of each other. ** Also, with Merlin and Freya. ** Played with between Arthur and Mithian. Were you to watch the beginning of ''The Hunter's Heart'' completely out of context, you'd probably assume that this trope was being played straight, what with their initial MeetCute and BirdsOfAFeather similarities. They're obviously ''attracted'' to each other at first sight, and find themselves increasingly well-suited to each other as the episode goes on, but Arthur's prior feelings for Guinevere puts a halt to their relationship before it ever really gets started. * LoveRuinsTheRealm: Averted. Though the likes of Agravaine argue that Guinevere is unsuitable, she ends up being a very effective Queen. * LoveTheme: Arthur and Gwen have a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQn97hB3XJ8 very lovely motif]] that recurs throughout the series. * LoveTriangle: Gwen, Arthur and Lancelot: TriangRelations Type 1. ** More like a Type 7, since they both like her, in addition to her liking them. * LoveableRogue: Gwaine. Also doubles as the PluckyComicRelief / ThePrankster of the Knights. ** Even more so in Season 4. * LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:Uther and Morgana.]] [[/folder]] [[folder: M-N]] * MagicAIsMagicA: While the magic system is not as fleshed out as it could be, there is definitely a rule that one sort of magic cannot affect a being of another magic. And every kind of magic is practiced in a different language. ** Magic A: Human magic. The language is Old English. Gaius mentions at one point that Merlin's powers protected him from getting harmed by the Sidhe, and his wooziness in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates of Avalon]]'' seemes to stem less from getting a bolt of magic to the chest and more from getting thrown into a wall. ** Magic B: Sidhe magic. The language is Old Irish. Any time we see Merlin engage them, he uses one of their own staffs. ** Magic C: Dragon magic. The language is Homeric Greek. The dragon was immune to Merlin's magic [[spoiler: until he became a Dragonlord]] and the enchantment Morgause put on the chains to make them unbreakable didn't seem to stop Kilgharrah from breaking them. ** Magic D: Troll magic. We don't know very much about this one, as it only appeared [[Recap/MerlinS02E05BeautyAndTheBeastPartI two]] [[Recap/MerlinS02E06BeautyAndTheBeastPartII episodes]]. * TheMagicComesBack: Merlin's ultimate goal for Camelot. * MagicFeather: [[spoiler:The sword in the stone, apparently. At least, the "pulling it out makes you a king of Camelot!!!" part is.]] * MagicIsEvil: When Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh and Mordred all use magic. * MagicKnight: ** By Series 3, Merlin seems to use sword and sorcery equally well together to take down his enemies. It's likely he picked up fighting techniques purely in self-defense from a combination of always being attacked and Arthur's insistence upon using Merlin as a sparring partner (or practice dummy). ** Morgana knew how to use a sword effectively before she ever discovered that she had magic. ** Morgause is a witch and also a very skilled swordswoman. * MagicStaff: Merlin has the BoomStick he appropriates from the Sidhe though he seldom uses it. Alator and the three women representing the Triple Goddess are also staff users. * TheMagicVersusTechnologyWar: In Camelot magic is a crime, leading to Gaius to occasionally urge Merlin to seek solutions through more ordinary means. * MagneticHero: Merlin is definitely this. He repeatedly befriends everyone, no matter their standing. * TheMagnificentSevenSamurai: ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * TheMainCharactersDoEverything: As a prince, Arthur has several duties (such as training the other knights and going on quests) that seem way outside the jurisdiction of someone of his status. Moreso, Merlin and Gwen are meant to be Arthur and Morgana's manservant/handmaiden, but seem to have a lot of other duties to perform, such as serving the royal family at the dinner table and cleaning out the stables. * TheManBehindTheMan: Merlin is this to Arthur, so much it's practically a CentralTheme. Arthur's going to rule all of Albion, the greatest kingdom that ever was or ever will be? Yep. He's the ChosenOne? Yep, so much that he has a ChosenOne chosen to protect ''him''. Merlin on the other hand: is partially responsible for Morgana and Mordred's villainy via SelfFulfillingProphecy, got Arthur and Gwen together, made friends with Lancelot and Gwaine and ignited the idea of commoners being knights, put the sword in the stone, put the lady in the lake, convinced the dragon to forge Excalibur, and is responsible for a lot of Arthur's CharacterDevelopment into the Once and Future King he was supposed to be in the first place. * MamaBear: Morgana's strong attachment towards Mordred causes her to become very protective of him and a willingness to do anything for him in order to keep him from harm's way. * ManHug: Sadly, [[RuleOfFunny but hilariously]] subverted by Arthur at the end of 2x06. ** But thankfully, played straight with Merlin and Gwaine in 3x08. ** Also one between Uther and Godwyn in 3x06. ** And [[spoiler: ''finally'' one between Arthur and Merlin in 4x06. And it was Arthur who went for it, no less.]] * [[MasterSwordsman Master Swordsman/Master Swordswoman]]: Uther, Arthur, Lancelot, Leon, Gwaine. Also Morgana and Morgause. * MauveShirt: Sir Leon. [[spoiler: Admit it, when they said he was dead at the beginning of 3x12, you actually believed it.]] * MayDecemberRomance: Implied between Uther and Catrina. ** A deleted scene from series four has [[spoiler: Agravaine]] confessing his love for Morgana. * MeaningfulName [[spoiler: the name that Merlin bestows upon the baby dragon turns out to mean 'Light of the Sun' in dragon-speech.]] ** Merlin means '''sea fortress''' or '''fortress of the sea'''. ** Arthur means '''noble'''. ** '''Emrys''' means [[spoiler: 'Immortal']] ** The name ''Pendragon'' means '''Chief Dragon''' or '''Head Dragon'''. * MeetCute: It's played with. Whenever Merlin meets a pretty girl, he shows interest, evident with his encounters of Gwen, Morgana, Nimueh, Lady Catrina, and Freya. Colin Morgan lampshades it in an [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-270aU8pobk interview]]. * TheMedic: Gauis. He is the court physician. ** Also Merlin, he has learned some medical experience from Gauis. * MedievalEuropeanFantasy * MemeticBadass: Merlin (Emrys) is this to the Druids. [[invoked]] * MerlinSickness: Averted, Merlin doesn't have it in this version. ** Although it's hinted that Taliesin might. Though it might be his close proximity to the crystal caves, he also makes several pointed remarks about time and memory that suggest he's intimately aware of the future. * MindControlEyes: Arthur, in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]''. ** This is also present in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E01TheCurseOfCorneliusSigan The Curse of Cornelius Sigan]]''. * MissingTrailerScene: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRiEJnU3lZY&feature=related In the official trailer for series three]], there is a scene with Uther and Arthur embracing while wearing their crowns. It doesn't appear in any episode or deleted scene. * MistakenForCheating: Gwen * MixAndMatchCritter: Naturally includes a few of the traditional mythological ones. Arthur also makes one up to find an excuse to leave the castle, simply by listing random animal bits as he thinks of them. --> "It is said to have the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle ...and the ...face of a bear." * ModestRoyalty: In stark contrast to Uther and Morgana, Arthur usually wears simple tunics or battle-stained armour. * TheMole: Agravaine. And previously, Morgana to a point. * MomentKiller: Poor Arthur and Gwen have to suffer through dozens of these. Possibly the most hilarious was when a quiet moment between them at Gwen's house is interrupted by Merlin crashing through the door and shouting: "There's an assassin in Camelot trying to kill you!" The WTF expression on their faces is priceless. * MonsterOfTheWeek: This was a big part of the first series, and the BigBad only appeared in 4 of the 13 episodes. From series 2 onwards the writers concentrated more on a singular villain ([[spoiler:Morgause, Morgana and Agravaine]], though occasionally a one-off monster will appear for a {{Filler}} episode. * MonsterVision: In 2x09, [[spoiler:right before the Bastet kills the couple and the guards, we see the scene through its eyes]]. * MoodWhiplash: ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere Lancelot and Guinevere]]''. One minute, Gwen's in mortal danger, declaring her undying devotion to Lancelot. Next, some of the funniest banter of the entire series. ** Done deliberately in ''Queen of Hearts''. At first, Uther thinks it's hilarious that Arthur has been making out with a serving girl in the woods (and gives him a congratulatory pat on the back because of it), but he soon turns nasty on realizing that his son is serious about Gwen and ends up banishing her from Camelot in the very same scene. In fact, the entire episode is made of this trope considering Arthur and Gwen go from loafing about in the sun to having Uther accuse Gwen of witchcraft and ordering that she [[BurnTheWitch be burnt at the stake]] in the space of a day. ** Also in ''Excalibur''. It goes from light-hearted banter between Gwen and Merlin about washing Arthur's socks to a freaking undead knight bursting through the window. ** ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E01TheDarkestHourPartI The Darkest Hour Part I]]'' has Arthur, Merlin and the knights investigating an empty village, tension is mounting and they don't even know what the monster looks like. Then they are startled by Gwaine taking a large bite from an apple. It switches back as Elyan finds the village people dead, covered in frost. ** ''The Witchfinder''has a terrifying scene where the Witchfinder in question tells Uther that there is a sorcerer in the room. The music is chilling, a [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds still sympathetic Morgana]] looks petrified and then he points at our hero and [[BurnTheWitch accuses him of using magic.]] And then music stops and you have Arthur's reaction. --->'''Arthur:''' *with a look on his face of pure skepticism* ''Mer''-lin. You ''can't'' be serious. * [[EvilMentor Morally Ambiguous Mentor]]: The Great Dragon knows a lot and likes to talk big about Merlin's glorious destiny, but as the first series goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that he is also ruthless, utterly selfish, and carries some major grudges. ** And as of the second series, Merlin sees (through a soothsaying crystal) [[spoiler: the Dragon helping to burn Camelot]] to the ground once he releases him. And then the Dragon asks for Merlin's end of the bargain... [[IdiotBall Which Merlin honours in the finale.]] [[spoiler: Fire ensues. Lots of fire. Lots.]] ** Gaius is also morally ambiguous (though by no means evil). He focuses on Merlin's safety to the point of denying help to other magicians who need it, including Mordred and Morgana, which brings him into conflict with Merlin's ChronicHeroSyndrome. It's also implied he betrayed Nimueh and his other fellow magic-users to Uther as a young man. * MotorMouth: Merlin. Once Merlin gets talking, especially when he is either excited or panicked, he just can't stop. Hence, Arthur's catch phrase "Shut up, Merlin." * MrExposition: All things considered, Gaius's full name could well be Gaius Exposition. * MoralDissonance: Arthur in 3x12, when he threatens to kill an innocent druid boy who's obviously scared out of his wits unless he answers his questions, and then continues to hold a sword to the kid's throat long after it's clear that he's no threat and the Druids intend to give him what he came for anyway. Seriously, the kid's what, ten? Not cool, buddy. ** Although Merlin calls him out on it. And as [[spoiler: these are Druids and he's the son of a magic-hating king, he might have felt the need to make an example.]] ** Merlin and Morgana have a huge NotSoDifferent thing going on. Anything she's done, he's done as well. Attempt to murder an innocent to prevent a prophecy, take away free will, betray a close friend, the works. [[note]] Although it's not really a double standard, as Merlin spends a long time angsting over these decisions, and Morgana is positively gleeful to do them whenever she has the chance.[[/note]] ** When given the opportunity to prevent Morgana from assassinating Uther, Merlin is conflicted (since Uther is a tyrant and assassinating him is pretty justifiable), but ultimately decides that he would be a "murderer" if he didn't do everything he could to save him. However, he casually kills Mooks and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman sapient, named non-human villains]] on a regular basis, despite knowing a harmless sleep spell. * MotiveDecay: Morgana initally wanted revenge against Uther for the genocide against her people, as of late she's more interested in [[spoiler:offing her half-brother]] so that she can claim the throne of Camelot. ** Although [[spoiler: she technically gets her revenge in the season three finale, as her betrayal breaks Uther's spirit]] so it's more of a case of her first objective is completed, onto the next one. She also ''claims'' she wants the throne so she can bring magic back to Camelot, rather than just for the power. * MrFanservice: Bradley James' (Arthur's) shirt collar becomes progressively more open with each episode. Episode one? Could barely see his clavicle. Episode 9? A good third of his (admittedly quite nice) chest is exposed. The first episode of series 2 is reliably following this pattern, with ''multiple'' shots of Arthur bare-chested and then the [[FanService bath scene]]. ** In the cast commentary of the series 2 premiere, Bradley and Colin count the number of times Bradley appears shirtless. Apparently he needs to be shirtless to put a key in the drawer. *** Series 3 got off to a good start with him taking his shirt off quite early on in the first episode. **** And then for every episode since. (Except 3x04, "Gwaine" - in this one, Gwaine gets plenty instead.) *** Also Arthur is pants-less in two consecutive episodes, 4x03 and 4x04. Pants-less Arthur seems to be the new shirt-less Arthur. ** Cenred wears awfully tight leather. ** Merlin's [[{{Adorkable}} adorkable]] smiles and expressions are their own form of fanservice. As is his general [[TheCutie adorableness]] and [[MagneticHero likability]]. Also, his InnocentBlueEyes which are [[PuppyDogEyes large and puppyish]], his [[FunctionalMagic magical abilities]], his [[TheSmartGuy intelligence]], his [[PluckyComicRelief sense of humour]], and his [[WideEyedIdealist naive, optimistic, happy and quirky personality]] are all seen as fan service for the fangirls. On another note, Merlin was the first male character in the show to get a ShirtlessScene, before they caught on to what the fangirls wanted. Let's not forget that he is also Camelot's resident PrettyBoy. Merlin, as a character, is Mr. Fanservice Central. *** There are also A LOT of people (meaning: fangirls) who think his [[PowerMakesYourVoiceDeep Dragon Lord voice]] is total hotness. *** Fangirls even frequently gush about how sexy Merlin/Colin's ears are. His ''EARS''. **** Let's not forget Merlin's cheekbones. Dear God, his cheekbones. ** The first episode of series 5 gave the fangirls some wonderful shots of Gwaine and Percival hot, sweaty, and shirtless. * MsFanservice: Nimueh and Morgana. ** To some, Morgause as well, whether in her red dress ''or'' her armor. ** Guinevere, especially after she becomes Queen and starts wearing dresses and outfits that show off more of her [[CleavageWindow upper assets]]. * MuggingTheMonster: A very common trope in this series. Merlin is a small, untrained peasant boy who often goes unarmed, so he looks like a good target for attack. But as those who are unlucky enough to try soon find out, Merlin goes unarmed because he is completely capable of killing you with a thought. * MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Gwen's reaction after [[spoiler: Arthur witnesses her and Lancelot kissing the night before her and Arthur's wedding.]] Made all the worse because [[spoiler: only the audience knows that she was under a spell the entire time and she actually believes that she willingly betrayed Arthur even if she doesn't understand why.]] -->''Gwen'': I was drawn to him, I couldn't stop myself, I don't know why!! * MysteriousParent: Igraine, possibly Gorlois. * MysteriousProtector: {{Inverted}} with Merlin's alter-ego Dragoon. Though he's trying to save Gwen's life, his plan involves him making everyone believe that he's their enemy. * MythologyGag: Guinevere's remark about having to never choose between Arthur and Lancelot. However, recent episodes suggest this was more {{Foreshadowing}}. ** An early episode also has her sarcastically mutter: "Who would want to marry Arthur?" Well, actually, Gwen... ** 1x10: "In this circle, we are all equal." ** The frequently shown long, rectangular table (which always has Uther sitting at its head) is also an allusion to the Round Table. They contrast the tyranny and elitism of Uther with the fairness and equality of Arthur's future reign. ** Arthur's and Morgana's flirty repletion in Series 1 is possibly a reference to how in some of the myths Arthur was tricked into sleeping with Morgana so she could conceive a child with a right to the throne. * MySignificanceSenseIsTingling: Merlin is often instinctively aware of magical activity around him, most notably in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' with the {{Expy}} of the Philosopher's Stone, and in "The Tears of Uther Pendragon" when he recoils in the same moment that Morgana drives the staff into the ground in order to raise the dead (and even [[BreakingTheFourthWall Breaks The Forth Wall]] while he does it, considering he seems to be staring straight at the camera). He also seems to sense that there's something a bit off about the bracelet that Arthur is wearing when he leaves for his quest in "Eye of the Phoenix." * NakedPeopleAreFunny: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLQCi8Pfp7g This scene]]. Arthur usually has no problem strutting around his chambers naked, but when Gwen is there to see him, HilarityEnsues. * NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Lamia. Anyone whose name has "Mor" as its first syllable. * TheNeedsOfTheMany: A CentralTheme. Uther and Merlin will usually adhere to this line of thinking; Arthur will usually chose his friends, family, or personal honour over the greater good (so far it's worked out for him). * NeverFoundTheBody: [[spoiler: Morgana and Morgause in the series 3 finale]]. * NeverTrustATrailer: More like "Never Trust A Promotional Picture." In the promo pictures for 3X13, Arthur was shown [[spoiler:holding Exacalibur]], something he never does in the episode itself. * NewNeighboursAsThePlotDemands: There seems to be no shortage of other neighbouring kingdoms. * NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: Merlin, although since he's unsure of even his own powers, its justified that he can get away with this. * NiceGuy[=/=]NiceGirl: Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot and Mithian are all genuinely sweet-natured and friendly people - though the first two are also cases of GoodIsNotSoft as the series goes on. * NiceHat: The official servant's ceremonial clothes include a huge feathered monstrosity of a hat. Gwen even comments, "nice hat," in between giggles. * NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: Freeing the dragon is not Merlin's best idea ever.]] Merlin's treatment of [[spoiler: Morgana and Mordred is a contributing cause of her FaceHeelTurn and his StartOfDarkness.]] To some extent perhaps, [[spoiler: Merlin trying to heal Uther - even though Uther's death isn't his fault, Merlin/Dragoon's price to gain peace for the magic-users may be lost.]] ** Works to Merlin's benefit [[spoiler: when lifting the dragon's egg causes the tower in which it was hidden to collapse.]] Evokes a [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat Nothing Could Survive That]] from one of the knights. ** Uther's crusade against all magic only seems to create more enemies than it eliminates. By killing all the minnows in the pond, he's effectively left the sharks. And they are clearly ''not'' happy. ** [[SelfFulfillingProphecy Everything that happens in 3x05 and 5x05]]. ** In the last episode, Gwen successfully manages to feed a spy false information and send Morgana looking for Arthur and Merlin in the wrong place. [[spoiler: Gwaine and Percival then think it's a good idea to chase after her, get captured and tortured and tell her where they ''really'' are, allowing Morgana to stop Merlin getting Arthur to Avalon in time.]] * NiceJobBreakingItHerod: Inverted. Uther's genocide of the dragonlords actually ''causes'' the birth of Merlin, who is destined to undo all his work. * NiceToTheWaiter: Arthur flip-flops with this in regard to Merlin. While he clearly assumes he's the superior and constantly insults and berates Merlin while Merlin's trying to do his job, he has shown that he cares about the common people and occasionally shows Merlin some measure of affection and respect. ** He's also willing to risk his life to protect or save Merlin without a second thought. ** Mithian shows that she's a genuinely nice person through her treatment of Merlin, a servant. * NobleDemon: Uther might be a genocidal tyrant but he's also a loving parent and a brave warrior who will put himself in harm's way to protect his kingdom. * NoHeroToHisValet: The show is built on this trope. As Arthur's manservant, Merlin sees him at his worst - and most vulnerable. * NoManOfWomanBorn: You can't kill a HighPriestess with a mortal blade. As the show demonstrates, however, this is quite easy to poke holes in if you're feeling creative. Lightning, wall-smashing, and magical blades have all been used to dispatch high priestesses. * NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Katie [=McGrath's=] native South County Dublin accent. Interestingly the accent is so unfamiliar outside of Ireland that some fans assumed it was a deliberate move to highlight Morgana's MysteriousPast. * TheNotLoveInterest: Merlin and Arthur. ** Throughout series one the most important person in Gwen's life was Morgana. ** Morgana and Morgause. * NotSoDifferent: Said almost word by word by Agravaine to Merlin. They're both close to Arthur and both betray his trust one way or another. * NotThatTheresAnythingWrongWithThat: A variant. Agravaine is quick to say that he personally has no problem with Arthur's relationship with a servant when he advises him to break things off with Gwen. * NotWhatItLooksLike: Merlin frequently gets walked in on in various compromising-looking situations, usually by Arthur or Gwen. Not only does he have to explain that it's not what it looks like, he usually can't even tell the truth and so has to come up with another (comedically improbable) excuse. While they usually don't believe him, they trust him enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. * NowLetMeCarryYou: Mordred is glad to take care of an injured Morgana, in thanks for her previously caring for him. [[/folder]] [[folder: O-P]] * ObfuscatingStupidity: Deconstructed. All the characters who aren't Lancelot, Gaius, or Gwen seem utterly convinced Merlin's a moron. Merlin is occasionally bumbling and clueless, but since he keeps his more deductive, perceptive, and wiser side hidden from the other characters, when it shines through they acknowledge it then immediately forget it. You'd think that since he's ''always right'', someone would catch on, but StatusQuoIsGod. * ObliviousGuiltSlinging: Uther to Morgana. ** This happened several times to Merlin, whenever someone (usually Arthur or Uther) complimented him for helping them in the fight against magic. * ObliviousToLove: Guinevere is a little oblivious to Arthur's feelings for her between episodes 2.02 and 2.04. She's astonished by their FirstKiss and gobsmacked by the fact that he came to rescue her from Hengist's fortress. By 2.10 she seems to have caught on... * OccultDetective: Gaius and Merlin. ** Some fans would say also Merlin and Gwen, who have teamed up on more than one occasion to investigate the fantastical mysteries in Camelot, earning them the FanNickname of "Camelot's Detective Agency." * OddCouple: Arthur and Merlin. They have vastly different backgrounds and personalities yet they have a very strong and unbreakable bond. * OddFriendship: Arthur and Merlin again. Merlin and all of the Knights at the Round Table could count as well. * OfCorsetsSexy: Guinevere's corsets get more and more noticeable as the seasons go on, until we reach [[http://oi42.tinypic.com/2v8h0f6.jpg this]]. [[http://disparue.org/gallery/6/merlin/2/206/images/merlin206_0778.jpg They]] [[http://angelcoulby.net/gallery/albums/userpics/10003/gs2_15.jpg also]] [[http://disparue.org/gallery/6/merlin/3/313/images/merlin313_0420.jpg present]] [[http://disparue.org/gallery/6/merlin/3/310/images/merlin310_0289.jpg a case of]] CostumePorn. * OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: How about the entire Golden Age of Camelot? It (apparently) occurs offscreen in the TimeSkip between seasons 4 and 5. * OffscreenTeleportation: In the season four finale, Merlin magically throws Morgana backward, at the same time knocking down part of the ceiling. Morgana is apparently knocked out. What can't be more than ten seconds later, Morgana has completely vanished, even though she was already badly injured and in a castle full of hostile soldiers. * OffTheRails * TheOjou: Guinevere, especially before she became Queen and Hunith, despite not coming from wealth. * OlderAndWiser: The changing of the OpeningNarration in Series 4, a subtle indication that the Great Dragon considers Merlin as a young man, rather than a "boy". * OminousLatinChanting: So far, the second series breaks into this at the slightest provocation. * OneDialogueTwoConversations: Between Gwen and Arthur in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', when, without Gwen's knowing, Arthur's been enchanted to fall in love with Lady Vivian. -->'''Gwen''': What is it, Arthur? You look like you have something on your mind. -->'''Arthur''': You read me like a book. I've made a fool of myself, that's all. That's everything. -->'''Gwen''': I'm sure that is not true. -->'''Arthur''': You have a good heart, Guinevere, but I'm afraid it is. I have made a gesture, but it was not well received. -->'''Gwen''': You sure? -->'''Arthur''': Pretty sure. -->'''Gwen''': Then you are wrong. -->'''Arthur''': You are very close to the lady in question. -->'''Gwen''': Your token was much appreciated. But the situation is delicate, and it is not always easy to express what is really in one's heart. -->'''Arthur''': You think there's hope? -->'''Gwen''': There is always hope. -->'''Arthur''': If only I had some way of knowing. -->'''Gwen''': Indeed, My Lord. * OneSteveLimit: There have been two Tristans on the show; Sir Tristan de Bois and Tristan (of Literature/TristanAndIsolde fame). ** There have also been two Caras (though one was spelled Kara): One in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]'' [[spoiler: though she is Nimue in disguise]] and the other in ''[[Recap/MerlinS05E11TheDrawingofTheDark The Drawing of The Dark]]'' ** There have been three Marys: Mary the tavern-keeper, Mary Howden, and Mary Collins (though the last was never named on-screen). * OncePerEpisode: Merlin cries. Morgana gives an evil smirk. Arthur mocks Merlin. [[HardHead Arthur gets conveniently knocked out]]. ** And in the first season especially, [[MonsterOfTheWeek a monster appears]] Camelot's best knights try to fight it and fail, Gaius does some research and tells Merlin "It can only be killed by magic," Merlin uses his magic powers to slay the monster, and everything is back to normal. * OnlyAFleshWound: Averted every single time. If you get stabbed, you'll pass out pretty quick from blood loss. Even a small wound has to be treated and can be infected if you aren't careful. They ''do'' use this to knock people out at plot-convenient moments, but to their credit it's always realistically played. * OnlyFriend: Will is implied to have been Merlin's before he came to Camelot. ** Gwaine tells Merlin that he is the only friend he's got in 3x08. *** Arthur also considers Merlin to be his only true friend, despite being surrounded by many people. * OnlyOneName: Merlin, Nimueh, Freya, Lancelot, Percival, Gauis, Elyan, and Guinevere (although subverted in Gwen's case [[spoiler: after she marries Arthur and becomes a Pendragon.]] * OohMeAccentsSlipping: Colin Morgan. In the episode ''Lancelot & Guinevere'', his Irish accent slips through a bit in this line: --->'''Merlin''': Is it really that hard to admit you like her? * OpeningNarration: As seen at the top of this page. * OppositesAttract: Arthur and Guinevere. ** As far as friendships go, this also applies to Arthur and Merlin, with the former being a rich and cynical blond, and the latter being a poor but optimistic brunet. * OurDragonsAreDifferent: Intelligent and talkative. * OurMonstersAreDifferent: The traditional Manticore is a reddish lion with a head resembling a bearded man's, either a scorpion's tail or a dragon's tipped with poisonous barbs and three rows of razor-sharp teeth in its mouth. Here, it's a tiny frilled lizard with a man-ish head. * OurTrollsAreDifferent: Green skinned, greedy and love to eat rotting fruit and vegetables. Able to use potions to take on human form and enchant humans. * OutOfCharacterAlert: {{Subverted}} when Arthur offers up his right to the throne if Uther only spares Guinevere's life. Uther declares that this is something that Arthur would never say were he not under an enchantment - only Arthur ''isn't'' under a spell, and he ''does'' mean it. ** Played straight in season 4 when Arthur breaks up with Guinevere at Agravaine's insistence. Though Arthur claims it's his own choice, Gwen immediately realizes that someone else put him up to it. * OutOfOrder: 3X08 ("The Eye of the Phoenix") and 3X10 ("Queen of Hearts") were switched around in order to boost ratings, which did some pretty serious continuity damage to Morgana and Guinevere's relationship. And ironically, "Queen of Hearts" ended up being the highest rated episode thus far. ** 2x07 ("The Witchfinder") was originally meant to be 2x04, but was pushed back. * OverlyLongTongue: Grunhilda in "The Changeling". [[{{Squick}} Ew.]] * ParentalAbandonment: None of the four main characters has a complete set of parents: Arthur, Morgana and Gwen have all definitely lost a parent. The status of Gwen and Morgana's mothers remains unknown, but they are presumably also dead. Merlin's father [[spoiler: is not a straight-up example as he was forced to abandon Hunith to flee from Uther before he even knew that she was pregnant, and thus has no idea that he has a son. Then he died when Merlin finally met him.]] ** Morgana views [[spoiler: Uther keeping the secret that he is her real father]] explicitly as this. *** Which is Morgana's view, but probably shouldn't be anyone's else's. [[spoiler:Her father dotes on her in not just "I'm giving you riches, be nice", but actually and very willingly spends a lot of time with her; he even spends a whole year having the kingdom searched and sacrificing a lot of men to retrieve her, he also listens to her advices, something he's not always done for Arthur, and while he has on occasions "punished" her for standing up to him, he has also acknowledged that this standing-up to him is vital to him running a fair and just kingdom. Plus, it's not like Arthur hates or even dislikes her, and like the prince would throw her out had he the chance.]] In short, Morgana is literally living like a princess and she is set for a life as such, but she's ready to kill [[spoiler:her father]] because he won't jeopardize his position (and hers, as been pointed in the SuccessionCrisis entry below ). [[spoiler:Yes, Uther is a hypocritical tyrant on many levels, but while his treatment of magical people or even of Morgana's "father" (Gorlois) are very slow in turning her against him, as soon as he declines recognising her as his daughter, she immediately tries to kill him.]] Spoiled child's tantrum, much? * ParentalFavouritism: Played with, for either Arthur ''or'' Morgana could be described as Uther's favourite. Although Arthur is considered the most important of Uther's children (being the heir to the throne), Uther excessively dotes on Morgana and gives her far more leeway than he does Arthur. In light of recent events, this has come back to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard bite Uther]] in more than one way. * ParentalSubstitute: Gaius is this towards Merlin. * {{Patricide}}: [[spoiler:Morgana has a definite hand in finally killing Uther]]. * PersonOfMassDestruction: Merlin and Morgana. Any high-level mage, especially if they get creative, can raise hell. * PetTheDog: Sophia and her father come across as standard villains, but at the conclusion of the episode there is a surprisingly touching scene in which Sophia's father gives up his immortality in order to secure his daughter's. ** Uther genuinely cares about his children. * PhraseCatcher: "When you are king, things will be different" to Arthur. * [[PietaPlagiarism Pietà Plagiarism]]: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'' when Uther carries Arthur across the courtyard. ** Happens again with Percival carrying Merlin in 04x01, and [[spoiler: Merlin in Emrys form carrying a mortally wounded Arthur in series finale.]] * PlatonicLifePartners: Merlin and Gwen. * PleaseSpareHimMyLiege: Happens often to Uther, most heartbreakingly when Arthur begs for Guinevere's life after Uther has her pegged as a witch. * PlotTriggeringDeath: Two of which serve as BookEnds: Ygraine's death, which served to turn Uther against magic and start the conflict of the series, and Kara, who turned Mordred against Camelot. * PluckyComicRelief: Merlin, Gwaine, Arthur, especially as a PowerTrio. * PoliticallyCorrectHistory: Comments have been made on the ethnicities of Gwen (Guinevere) and Lancelot but there have been black people in Britain since the Romans conquered it and southern Europeans tend to be darker than those in the north (in reference to Lancelot, not Gwen). In fact, Gwen's physical appearance may just be one of the least anachronistic aspects of the show: her darker skin and curly hair suggest that she is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silures Silurian]] (no, not [[Series/DoctorWho that]] kind of Silurian). ** All the angsting over Arthur being in love with a servant girl. Love marriage is a rather modern phenomenon especially for royalty. A true prince of that (or most) ages would marry for politics and have Gwen on the side for romance. * PoisonIsEvil: {{Inverted}}, as it is first the heroic Merlin who uses it for morally-dubious means (killing Morgana in order to break a fatal spell upon Camelot). Later Morgana plays this trope straight when it comes to killing a man who would have otherwise been able to identify her as the traitor. * PoisonedChaliceSwitcheroo: Arthur does this to Merlin. However, he did it to ensure that Merlin wouldn't get the poison and that he would, to save his friend's life. * PoisonousFriend: [[spoiler: Merlin, in a very literal sense.]] ** Also, [[spoiler:Morgana]], but [[ForegoneConclusion we all saw this coming.]] * PosthumousCharacter: Igraine and Gorlois. * PowerGlows: The eyes of magical people/creatures briefly glow during spellcasting. * PowerIncontinence: Merlin initially. As he points out in the first episode, he's never studied magic, or knows any spells, but his power... ''just sort of happens''. ** Morgana is a better example. She has no control over her seer powers at any point, and has to wear a special bracelet to keep them away unless they are really important, such as prophecies. When she first uses actual magic, she has no control over it, and even after [[spoiler: training for a year with her half-sister]], she still loses control once and tosses Merlin into a wall. ** Mordred as well. It doesn't look like he meant to break those mirrors. ** Alternately, you could say Merlin is notable for averting this, since all the other inherit magic users need training to get control of it, whereas Merlin was able to move objects at will even before he could talk. * ThePowerOfLove: The Dragon instructs Merlin to use this to break the enchantment that has left Arthur infatuated with Vivian. [[spoiler: A TrueLovesKiss from Gwen does the job.]] * ThePowerOfTrust: Is a CentralTheme in season 4, when Arthur [[spoiler:finally assumes the throne.]] He spends most of the season under the pretence that he can trust no one. In a cruel twist, [[spoiler: his uncle]], the one person that he really can't trust, actually uses this to get him to mistrust everyone else. When he realizes this in the finale, he goes in complete HeroicBSOD, and it takes [[spoiler: pulling the sword from the stone]] to make him believe he can be a king again. * PowerNullifier: [[spoiler:In the season 4 finale, Merlin uses a mandrake doll placed under Morgana's bed to (temporarily at least) completely block her magical powers. Needless to say, she [[OhCrap reacted poorly]] when she tried to use her magic later.]] Also a CallBack to Season 3 when Morgana [[spoiler: put a doll beneath Uther's bed and made him go crazy]]. ** In Series 5, [[spoiler: Morgana has a magic-eating slug to de-power Merlin in the GrandFinale.]] * PowerTrio: Merlin ("Magic"), Arthur ("Courage") and Gwaine ("Strength"). Arthur, Gwen and Merlin also form a trio. * PrettyBoy[=/=]{{Bishonen}}: Merlin. In contrast to Arthur and all of the Knights of Camelot who are all {{Hunk}}'s. * PrettyInMink: Morgana. * PrimaryColorChampion: Merlin. He is always seen wearing TheHero colours of red and blue (similar to that of Clark Kent). If he is NOT wearing those colours, you will know that something is wrong with him (like when he was brainwashed by Morgana and was wearing the purple shirt in 4x06 for example). * ProfessionalKiller: Myror * ThePromise: played straight many times, from Freya to Merlin ("Someday I will repay you"), Arthur and Gwen ("I can promise you that when I am King, things will be different"), Merlin's promise to the Dragon that he will free him, and mentioned with Uther's promise to Gorlois about taking care of Morgana. [[spoiler: And every promise has been kept, or at least it has been hinted that they will]]. ** Lancelot was not able to keep his promise to Guinevere that he would rescue her from Hengist's fortress. Though he tries his best, it is Arthur who saves her. This leads to Lancelot's decision to leave in the middle of the night, feeling himself unworthy. ** Arthur broke his promise to Guinevere that her home was hers for life when he [[spoiler:banished her from Camelot]]. Yes, there were mitigating circumstances, but the promise was still broken. * ProperLady: Morgan, Guinevere and Mithian. * TheProphecy: The prophecy about Merlin helping Arthur become the great king who will unite all of Albion. ** And the prophecy that Morgana is now spending all her time trying to prevent happening: that Emrys (Merlin, though she doesn't know it) will be "her destiny and her doom." * ProphecyTwist: The series ending. [[spoiler: After five series and ten year in-show worth of promise that Arthur is the one who will bring magic back and lead Albion to a golden age, it's Guinevere who will achieve those things. Arthur merely makes it possible to happen by making her his queen, repeals the oppression on the Druids (magic is still banned), and maintains cordial diplomatic relationship with leaders like Queen Annis.]] * TheProtagonist: The story and series centres on Merlin, his journey and his relationship with other characters. * ProtagonistCenteredMorality: Too many examples to list, but there's a lot of this. For instance, Merlin repeatedly [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman kills supernatural antagonists]] in cold blood, even when said enemies have understandable or admirable reasons for opposing him; these slayings are portrayed as triumphant or even humorous. The best example, though, has to be when Merlin [[spoiler: frees the dragon to fulfill a vow and save his mother's life,]] despite being perfectly aware that it will put everyone in Camelot at risk (including other people's mothers, who apparently aren't important). Sure enough, [[spoiler: hundreds of civilians die.]] Merlin never displays any real remorse, most of his angst during the carnage has to do with his daddy issues (at one point he actually ''pretends'' he's worried about the people in Camelot, to hide that he's ''actually'' sulking about his mystery dad), and the narrative generally treats the event as a tragic inevitability rather than an act of reckless, destructive selfishness. Of course, if the MonsterOfTheWeek [[UndignifiedDeath had done the same thing for the same reasons...]] * {{Protectorate}}: For Merlin, it is Arthur and Guinevere, the former [[BecauseDestinySaysSo because of his destiny]] and the latter because of their pre-existing friendship and her eventual relationship with Arthur. His protection also extends to anyone with magical abilities, such as Mordred and Freya. ** Arthur's {{Protectorate}} is Camelot and its people. * PublicDomainArtifact: Excalibur in the episode of that name. Also, who wants to bet that [[spoiler:the Cup of Life in "Le Morte d'Arthur" is actually the Holy Grail?]] ** We've now also seen the Round Table. * PublicExecution: Tons of 'em, either by [[OffWithHisHead beheading]], hanging or [[BurnTheWitch pyre]]. In fact, the very first thing Merlin sees on arriving in Camelot is a magic-user getting his head cut off. * PunctuatedForEmphasis: ''Lancelot du Lac'' has the scene where Arthur is rather calmly confronting Gwen after [[spoiler: catching her kissing Lancelot the night before their wedding]], coldly trying to supply reasons for why she did it. When she fails to come up with a rational, coherent answer, he ''just snaps'': -->'''Arthur''': Then forgive me! Because I must be really stupid! WHAT! WERE YOU DOING!!! * ThePurge: Known as "the Great Purge", this is the time in which Uther had all those who possessed magic executed. * PutOnABus: Unfortunately, Asa Butterfield (Mordred) won't be in Series three because of scheduled filming conflicts. Also doesn't appear in Series four, [[spoiler: and is too young when season five rolls around.]] [[/folder]] [[folder: Q-R]] * RagsToRiches: Guinevere [[spoiler: when she goes from being a poor maid servant to the sole ruler and Queen of Camelot after she marries King Arthur.]] * RavenHairIvorySkin: Merlin and Morgana. * ARealManIsAKiller: Arthur describes himself as "the ultimate killing machine" and this is in no way an InformedAbility. In fact, it's almost disconcerting to see him kill another man (albeit one who was trying to kill ''him'') without a moment's hesitation in the very second episode of the show. * RealMenHateAffection: At the end of ''Beauty and the Beast'' Arthur thanks Merlin for his help in getting rid of a troll, and reaches out to pat him on the back. Merlin misinterprets the gesture and tries to hug him, only to get a resounding ''no'' from Arthur. [[spoiler: Finally averted in Season 4, when Arthur hugs Merlin in relief on finding him alive after being captured by Morgana]] ** {{Averted}} between Merlin and Gwaine. On getting separated in ''The Eye of the Phoenix'', Gwaine hugs Merlin once they're reunited (Arthur only pats him on the back). * ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Nimueh. Her actual age is unknown but she is clearly at least a generation older than she looks. ** [[spoiler: Merlin in the DistantFinale. It takes place in modern times and he looks quite old, but whether or not that is a magical disguise Merlin is way older than he looks.]] * TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Merlin gets to tell [[spoiler: Uther's ghost]] a piece of his mind in 5x03. Earlier, under the Dragoon guise, he says some scathing things to both Uther and Arthur. * RebelliousPrincess: Deconstructed with Elena in 3x06. * RedIsHeroic: The red capes of Camelot knights. Though it's also ironically RedShirt for knights who are not main characters. * RedOniBlueOni: Merlin is the Blue Oni to Arthur's Red Oni. While Merlin is logical, intelligent and practical, Arthur is impulsive, hot headed and passionate. ** Lancelot is the Blue to Arthur's Red. ** Merlin is the Blue to Gwaine's Red. ** Gwen could be considered as the Blue to Morgana's Red. * RedemptionInTheRain: At the end of [[spoiler:''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'', when Gaius comes back to life.]] * RedShirt: Rather literally, in regard to the various knights and guards of Camelot. ** RedshirtArmy: How many times have we seen knights get killed? Geez. * ReducedtoRatburgers: A ''RunningGag'' * RefugeInAudacity: Probably the only reason Merlin keeps his job is because of this. -->'''Arthur''': What are you doing? -->'''Merlin''': Looking for woodworm -->'''Arthur''': Before breakfast? -->'''Merlin''': That's when the worms are most active. * ReligionIsMagic: Merlin and dragons (as well as various magical beings) are creatures of Old Religion, which appears to be a form of paganism. * RememberTheNewGuy: ** The writers take advantage of a year's TimeSkip between series three and four to introduce Arthur's uncle Agravaine as though he's been present in the kingdom all along. Even though he's never been mentioned before, there are lines like: "I promised your mother I'd always be there for you," and "I've known him since I was a child," though there's no indication where he's been all this time. ** A similar thing happened with Guinevere's brother Elyan and Morgana's half-sister Morgause, even though these examples were partially justified in that the former siblings were estranged for years, and the latter were deliberately kept apart. * RequisiteRoyalRegalia: There have been at least three different crowns worn by the Kings of Camelot. Uther had two: a simple circlet and a more elaborate one (which was only seen at the beginning of the first series), whilst Arthur wears a large golden one with Fleur-de-lis spikes. The crown for the Queen of Camelot (as worn by [[spoiler:Morgana and then Guinevere]]) is larger and covered in jewels. ** Most kings, queens and princesses that guest star on the show wear some sort of crown or coronet to indicate their status. * ReptilesAreAbhorrent: ** In the second episode, the villain uses a shield with snakes that come to life. ** Morgana uses a miniature Hydra to take control of Merlin's mind. ** Lamia is definitely abhorrent. * ResetButton: The writers have done this a lot with regards to the progression of Merlin and Arthur's friendship, causing enormous fan frustration. One episode they're starting to trust each other, the next, Arthur is treating Merlin just like he did back at the beginning of series one. Alas, even with a complex story arc, it seems that StatusQuoIsGod in many ways. ** This is also the case with the Uther/Arthur relationship. No matter how many awful things Uther does, Arthur continues to fight for his approval and affection. The worst example is when Uther almost has Guinevere burnt at the stake despite his son's pleas, yet by the very next episode Arthur is worrying about whether he should fight (and potentially injure) Uther in a tournament. ** Averted ''heavily'' in Series 4 [[spoiler: with the death of Uther.]] ** Also averted in Series 4 with the Arthur and Merlin relationship. Arthur finally calls Merlin his friend, admits he's right, seeks out his advice and even goes as far as to investigate whether [[spoiler: DevilInPlainSight Agravaine is betraying him]] purely because he knows that Merlin would not defy him unless the situation was grave. When he ''does'' treat him as a stupid manservant in A Herald of the New Age, it's clearly demonstrated as being out of character. * RevengeBeforeReason: Uther. * RhymesOnADime: Queen Mab. * RidiculouslyCuteCritter: [[spoiler:Aithusa. Don't you dare claim you didn't say "''Awwwww,''" when he hatched]]. * RiskingTheKing: Arthur's HonorBeforeReason nature often leads to him personally going on dangerous missions, even if it's not a wise thing to do. * RivalsTeamUp: Arthur and Lancelot team up in order to defeat the Wildren ([[RodentsOfUnusualSize giant rats]]). Somewhat {{subverted}} in that they don't ''realize'' that they're rivals until a few minutes later when Arthur notices Lancelot holding hands with Guinevere. * RodentsOfUnusualSize: The Wildren. * RomanceOnTheSet: Bradley James is dating Georgia King (Elena). * RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: Gwen and Morgana, at first. Becomes Morgana and Morgause, though they're half-sisters. * RoyalBrat: Both Arthur and Morgana have their moments, though neither one holds a candle to Lady Vivian. * RoyallyScrewedUp: It's revealed in series three that the Pendragon men have a history of mental illness, one which King Uther ultimately succumbs to after his [[spoiler:illegitimate daughter]] betrays him and takes the throne. * RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: ** The series shows Prince Arthur to be not only the Camelot's heir apparent, but also the day-to-day commander of the kingdom's armed forces. He not only leads them in battle, but also recruits the knights and oversees their training. He also seems to be the closest thing that the kingdom has to a sheriff or chief of police. If any "crime" occurs, it's usually Arthur that's sent to investigate. ** It's heavily implied that his father King Uther was this as well in his youth. He does prove himself quite handy with a sword. ** The first episode that showcases Guinevere as Queen makes a point of demonstrating how active she is: she gives advice at a council meeting, she rules the kingdom in her husband's absence, and she ferrets out a traitor that was leaking information to her enemies. * RuleOfFunny: Why Merlin doesn't use magic while trying to kill Arthur in "A Servant of Two Masters." ** It could be argued that it was because [[spoiler:Morgana]],who doesn't know about Merlin's magic, was the one controlling him. ** Alternatively, Merlin was still in there somewhere and didn't want to actually kill Arthur, or be arrested before he could.[[note]]But that's highly doubtful.[[/note]] [[/folder]] [[folder: S-T]] * SadisticChoice: When Merlin claimed the the wine from a visiting king was poisoned, Uther calmly gave the cup to Merlin to drink. If it was poisoned, Merlin would die. If it wasn't poisoned, Merlin would be given to the infuriated visiting king to do whatever he wishes to Merlin. ** In another episode, Merlin and Arthur were given two cups, one with poison. All the liquid in the two cups had to be consumed, and neither cup could be drunken from by more than one boy. They [[TakeAThirdOption TookAThirdOption]] by combining the liquids into one cup, which was then definitely poisoned. Merlin would have drunken from it, but Arthur sacrificed himself. ** Towards the end of series two, Merlin is given the choice of either allowing Camelot to be destroyed by some freaky enchantment placed on Morgana or ''personally trying to kill her''. '''Ouch'''. ** It looks like Gwen's headed for one in 3x07, where she must choose to save the life of either Arthur or [[spoiler:her estranged brother Elyan. This is instantly nipped in the bud when she tells Arthur of the deal.]] * SadlyMythtaken: The show takes several, uh, liberties with traditional Arthurian legend. It also sometimes uses less familiar versions of the legend (preferring Monmouth to Mallory). ** Frankly they could remove all Arthurian references by changing the characters' names without damaging the series in the slightest - it's just that far from the conventional narrative. ** By the end of the third series, the characters and their storylines are mostly headed toward their familiar legendary roles. * SamusIsAGirl: [[spoiler: Morgause, who waltzes into Camelot, kills five guards, enters the Great Hall, [[ThrowingDownTheGauntlet challenges Arthur to a duel]] which he accepts, ''then'' removes her helmet. ''Win''.]]. * SarcasticConfession: Morgana [[spoiler:telling Arthur where she's hidden Mordred.]] * SatelliteLoveInterest: ** Deliberately an InvokedTrope between Arthur and Vivian, the latter being a RoyalBrat who only exists to flounce around in pretty clothes. The two of them are put under a [[LovePotion Love Spell]] that makes them act like SickeningSweethearts, much to the bafflement of everyone else. ** But notably {{subverted}} with two more of Arthur's [[RomanticFalseLead Romantic False Leads]]: Princess Elena and Princess Mithian. Both are brought to Camelot (at different times) to join in an ArrangedMarriage to Arthur, but instead of treating them as mere impediments to his happiness with Guinevere, both are likeable and developed characters. Elena's importance to the narrative has less to do with her relationship to Arthur as it does her role as an UnwittingPawn in [[TheFairFolk The Fair Folks']] attempt to take over Camelot, and though Mithian's function ''was'' simply as a LoveInterest to Arthur, she was also a three-dimensional character who ended up being popular enough to return to the show in the next season. ** But played straight with Freya, Merlin's [[TheLostLenore Lost Lenore]]. ** BaseBreaker Guinevere is often accused of being "just a love interest" by detractors, and though it's true that most of her screen-time does indeed centre on herShe gets ''one'' scene in which she's permitted to share details of her past (and even that is more of a MythologyGag that establishes her affinity for lakes), the rest of the time she only exists so that Merlin can be her [[TheCaretaker Caretaker]], enjoy openly using his magic in front of her, and experience manpain when she dies. It's especially glaring when he takes her to a lakeside in order to [[LetThemDieHappy Let Her Die Happy]] and she mutters: "you remembered..." Well of course he remembered - her love of lakes is the only personal detail she ever shares with him! ** BaseBreaker Guinevere is often accused of being "just a love interest" by detractors, and though it's true that most of her screen-time does indeed centre on her relationship with Arthur, the ultimate purpose of her CharacterArc was to become Queen of Camelot -- and it's unclear how her cynics expected this to happen ''without'' a relationship with Arthur arising (as you may have guessed, a lot of DieForOurShip was at work here). Her CharacterDevelopment involved a significant boost in confidence brought about by Arthur's love for her, and many of her strongest scenes [[note]]outsmarting the Witchfinder, freeing Sir Leon, confronting Agravaine, withstanding Morgana, trapping Ruadan[[/note]] occurred when Arthur was completely absent. And by the end of the series, [[spoiler:she assumes control over Camelot after Arthur's death]] with confirmation by WordOfGod that she successfully ruled over the Golden Age [[spoiler:in his stead]]. She could be described as a case of a SatelliteLoveInterest in the sense that she's NeverASelfMadeWoman, '''but''' her character was given plenty of personal development and independent power as a ''direct result'' of her role as Arthur's LoveInterest. * SayMyName: We get a few between the boys, but none of them beats Arthur's holler of (say it with me now!) '''GUINEVEEEEEEEERE'''. ** Very true, although Merlin's whole ''Arthur! [[AccidentalInnuendo Go]] [[HoYay faster!]]'' thing kind of has its own merits... ** And the way Merlin pronounces ''Freya'' is quite lovely. ** Arthur's constant shouting of "MERLIN!" * {{Scatting}}: In 2x09, after kissing Freya for the first time, Merlin can't stop humming. While eating. * SchiffOneLiner / WhamLine: 1x08. -->'''Mordred:''' My name is ''Mordred''. ** Immediately followed by OminousLatinChanting. If ''that'' does not say wham... ** "There can be no place for magic in Camelot." in 5x05. * ScarsAreForever: Uther's forehead. * SceneryPorn: Plenty of this in the series. * ScrewDestiny * ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: Uther, ordering the use of magic if necessary to save Morgana. * ScrewThisImOuttaHere: In 5x08, it only takes Merlin taking out one of the bandits for the rest of them to realize they've bitten off more than they can chew. Daegal's impressed. * SecretKeeper: Outside Merlin's village, the only two people who know his secret (thus far) are Gaius and Lancelot. ** For a long time, the only people who knew about Morgana's prophetic dreams were Gwen, Gaius and Merlin. That now includes Morgause, and possibly the men under her command. *** Arthur and Gwen's secret love affair is swiftly becoming the worst-kept secret in Camelot. Merlin was pretty much in the know right from the start, followed by Gaius. Lancelot and Gwaine were quick to catch on as well. As of the third series Morgana has figured it out and spilled the beans to Morgause. * SecretRelationship: Arthur and Gwen, up until the end of series three. * SecretTestOfCharacter: After Arthur had killed a unicorn, the keeper of the unicorns tested him on a few occasions, to see if he was pure-hearted. The first test was seeing if he would let a thief who was stealing food go, despite the rules. The second test was if he would forgive the thief, after he found out that the thief had stolen more than enough food. The third test was to see whether Arthur would sacrifice himself for Merlin, by taking the poison. * SeenItAll: Nimueh. * SelfFulfillingProphecy: Morgana [[spoiler: turning against Camelot seems to be one of these. The Dragon warns Merlin about her turning evil, and as a result Merlin drives her away.]] ** Merlin's attempts to [[spoiler: prevent the potential future which he has seen in ''The Crystal Cave'' lead to this.]] ** Morgana's schemes to break up Arthur and Gwen only cements their relationship. ** Merlin tries to prevent Mordred from escaping the Camelot knights and seems to cements the child's hate [[spoiler: although in season five, Mordred doesn't appear antagonistic toward Merlin.]] ** The entire show is this trope. Interestingly enough, after ''The Crystal Cave'', Merlin becomes GenreSavvy enough to recognize this and uses it to his advantage a couple of times, advising Arthur more often so that he will become the king he's prophesied to be. -->'''Merlin''': You may be destined to rule Camelot but you have a choice as to how you do it. * SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Merlin and Arthur, with Merlin being the Sensitive Guy to Arthur's Manly Man. ** Lancelot and Arthur, with Lancelot being the Sensitive Guy to Arthur's Manly Man. ** Merlin and Gwaine, with Merlin being the Sensitive Guy to Gwaine's Manly Man. *** Thus it is no surprise that the Sensitive Guys (Merlin and Lancelot) get along perfectly, whilst the Manly Men (Arthur and Gwaine) do nothing but snark at each other. * SeparatedByTheWall: In 3x08, Merlin accidentally activates a trap and gets separated from Gwaine and Arthur by a falling stone door. Then the three of them press their heads against it trying to communicate but failing. * SequelEpisode: ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E05Lancelot}} Lancelot]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere}} Lancelot and Guinevere]]'' and ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E09LancelotDuLac}} Lancelot Du Lac]]'' encompass Lancelot's StoryArc. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice}} The Poisoned Chalice]]'' is a direct continuation of ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E03TheMarkOfNimueh}} The Mark of Nimueh]]'' regarding Nimueh's plans for Merlin. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E02TheOnceAndFutureQueen}} The Once And Future Queen]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E03TheWickedDay}} The Wicked Day]]'' and ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E04AnothersSorrow}} Another's Sorrow]]'' contain King Odin's subplot. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E08TheBeginningOfTheEnd}} The Beginning Of The End]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E05TheCrystalCave}} The Crystal Cave]]'' and ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E05TheDisir}} The Disir]]'' each have Merlin trying to deal with the inviolate nature of fate. Each time he builds on his experiences of the time before in order to make a different and more morally ambiguous decision. * SheCleansUpNicely: Elena, especially when that [[spoiler:sidhe was removed from inside her.]] ** Guinevere in the [[spoiler:dream sequence of her coronation]]. And in [[spoiler: season five, with those rich dresses.]] * ShiningCity: Camelot * ShipperOnDeck: Gaius, apparently...at least if his little chat with Gwen in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E13TheLastDragonlord The Last Dragonlord]]'' is anything to go by. Merlin also actively encourages Gwen/Arthur. In early series one Gwen of all people seemed to be encouraging Arthur/Morgana. * ShipTease: Arthur/Gwen, Gwen/Merlin, Merlin/Arthur, Morgana/Merlin, Gwen/Morgana, Arthur/Morgana, Arthur/Lancelot, Merlin/Lancelot: pretty much any way you want to pair things, so far. ** A lot of the reason the show has such a harmonious fandom is that there is subtext for every ''possible'' ship. [[{{Squick}} Even]] the [[IncestIsRelative incestuous]] and [[MayDecemberRomance huge-age-differenced]] ones. And the show ''knows'' this. Many, many fans simply ship the main four characters (Merlin, Arthur, Gwen and Morgana) as "one big [=OT4=] orgy". ** The trailer for season 4 contains [[spoiler:a passionate kiss between Guinevere and Lancelot]], a scene that ends with Arthur storming in on them and attacking Lancelot. Out of everything else featured in the trailer, it's this scene that is currently generating most of the debate in the fandom. * ShirtlessScene: As the series has progressed, it has become more and more apparent that Arthur is never going to be able to rule Camelot effectively if he really has quite such a debilitating allergy to clothing as the now practically mandatory per-episode use of the "and then Arthur gets naked" scene seems to imply. Not that this is in any way a bad thing... ** Also, Gwaine. Thank you, gods of FanService! *** Thus far we have had [[ShirtlessScene Shirtless Scenes]] from Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Uther, Leon, and that random shape-shifting bad guy in "Gwaine". Takes a little longer for Lancelot and Percival to strip off. Yet to whip his shirt off is Elyan. ** In 4x07, Agravaine gets one, too. * ShooOutTheNewGuy: Agravaine ticks all the prerequisites of this trope. He pops up completely unannounced in series 4, [[RememberTheNewGuy having been integrated into the court]] during the TimeSkip with no explanation as to where he was beforehand. He's the well-respected EvilUncle of Arthur, who speaks of him as though he's known him all his life, even though he didn't get so much as a ''mention'' in any of the prior seasons. He has a close working relationship with Morgana, though their history together is never explained. Actor NathanielParker is PromotedToOpeningCredits by the fourth episode after his introduction, and appears in every episode of that season (to add insult to injury, regulars KatieMcGrath and Creator/AngelCoulby had to sit out a few episodes). And he proceeds to do absolutely nothing of note except feed information to Morgana and act ObviouslyEvil. The writers never gave him any clear background or meaningful motivation, and they eventually DroppedABridgeOnHim in the final episode. By the time season five rolled around, it was difficult to remember that he'd ever existed at all. ** The show also had Alvarr, who only appeared in one episode, but who was toted as extremely important to the series as a) the leader of a group of renegade druids which included Mordred, b) a {{Chessmaster}} who could easily manipulate and control those around him, c) a LoveInterest to Morgana (complete with a LoveTriangle given the presence of his druid girlfriend), d) a pivotal reason as to why Morgana turns against Uther, and e) as someone who survived the episode in which he appeared, escaping from the dungeons with Morgana's help with the implication that they would meet again. He was never seen or mentioned again. * ShoutOut: The ornamental Celtic mask that is on the cover of the ''[[TheWarlordChronicles Winter King]]'' can be seen on Arthur's table in the background in the first series finale. ** Which is in turn oddly similar to the helmet from [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Hoo Sutton Hoo]]. ** Several episodes are named after famous Arthurian texts: "Le Morte d'Arthur" is named after Sir Creator/ThomasMalory's compilation of Arthurian tales, ''The Once and Future Queen'' is a play on T.H. White's ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', ''The Coming of Arthur'' is the first chapter/poem in Tennyson's ''Idylls of the King'' (as well as a chapter title in Roger Lancelyn Green's more contemporary retelling of the legend) and ''The Wicked Day'' is a quote from Malory's ''Literature/LeMorteDarthur'', as well as the title of the fourth book in Mary Stewart's ''Merlin'' series. ** The goblin giving Arthur donkey ears (and braying) is reminiscent of Puck giving a donkey head to Bottom in ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream''. It is also similar to something that happened to King Midas of ClassicalMythology and in the book ''Pinocchio''. ** In "His Father's Son", two armies meet on the battlefield and each send out a champion, one of which is much larger than the other. Sounds a lot like the story of [[DavidVersusGoliath David and Goliath]] in Literature/TheBible. ** Merlin being the one who puts Excalibur into the stone and afterwards orchestrates Arthur's retrieval of it is reminiscent of [[Discworld/MenAtArms Discworld]]'s commentary on the SwordInTheStone trope. * ShownTheirWork: Merlin's magic incantations are [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Welsh Middle Welsh]], written for the show by the Welsh department at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberystwyth_University Aberystwyth University]], Wales. * SingleTear: Merlin when he kisses Freya for the first time. * SlapSlapKiss: In season one, this seems to be set up between Arthur and Morgana. ** And Arthur & Merlin. *** That is probably going to remain unresolved, though after [[spoiler: Arthur marries Gwen]] in the series four finale. * SiblingTeam: Morgana and Morgause. * SiblingYinYang: Arthur and Morgana, naturally, but also Gwen and Elyan. * SilkHidingSteel / Proper Lady: Arguably, Gwen: patient, gentle, devoted to her loved ones but doesn't hesitate to take up arms when Camelot or someone she cares for is in danger. Although she does not fill the housewife image that usually accompanies the trope, she considers her job as a servant a worthwhile one and makes this ''very'' plain to Arthur when he is dismissive of her. * SinsOfOurFathers: Subverted in "A Herald of the New Age". The spirit of a druid boy killed during Uther's reign possesses Elyan and compels him to take revenge upon the king. Merlin assumes the spirit wants revenge against the deceased Uther and is [[spoiler:targeting the current king, Arthur, instead. When Arthur goes to make amends, he reveals that he actually led that particular raid when he was younger. Though he tried to spare the women and children, things got out of hand and he froze up instead of calling it off.]] * SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: A bit of an odd mix. Doing the right thing frequently makes everything worse, and the heroes often have to do morally ambiguous things to save the day. On the other hand, things like love, honour and justice are strongly present and presented as good things, and there is the constant hope that one day, when Arthur is King, those things will be what rules the land. ** The series' ending is plain depressing. [[spoiler: Arthur dies ''because'' Merlin tries everything to save him and because Arthur himself does what he thinks is right for Camelot. Merlin's magic and contribution is recognized but it is not confirmed on screen that the ban on magic is lifted post Camlann.]] * TheSmartGuy: Merlin. He's probably the most intelligent, wise and logical character in the series. [[GeniusDitz You'd never guess, though...]] * SmoochOfVictory: A strange variant of this where Gwen had kissed Merlin, after he had woken up from the poison. * SmugSmiler: Morgana and Agravaine. * SmugSnake: Morgana. * SoHappyTogether: In ''Lady Of The Lake'', Freya and Merlin are planning to leave Camelot that same night, they share a kiss, Merlin leaves with a big smile on his face...and then we find out Freya is going to [[BreakHisHeartToSaveHim escape without him to keep him from losing the good life he has.]] ''Ouch''. ** In ''The Last Dragonlord'', Merlin happily talks to Balinor about a family union with Hunith in Ealdor. Sure enough, Balinor dies shortly afterwards. * SoMyKidsCanWatch: NathanielParker (Agravaine) apparently joined the cast because his children were fans of the show. * SquishyWizard: ** Merlin can defeat an entire raiding party with one spell, but he absolutely sucks in a sword fight. *** Unless, of course, he has a sword that makes people ''explode''! ** Averted with Morgana and Morgause, both of whom are skilled with the sword, though Morgana's magic isn't quite as strong. Both are even able to defeat Arthur in fair fight (Morgause does so on screen, while Morgana at least claims that she can). * SpellMyNameWithAnS: The man known to anyone who's ever taken an English literature course as Gawain is here called Gwaine for no particular reason. (Medieval literature was less concerned with spelling conventions, and his name is even spelled ''Wowan'' at one point in ''Literature/SirGawainAndTheGreenKnight'', but Gawaine isn't an overly utilized spelling.) ** Likewise, the traditional spelling of Nimue, is here spelled with an h: Nimueh. * SpitTake: In 3x04, Merlin does one after Gaius says "You must remember that not all masters are as good to their servants as Arthur." * SpotOfTea: Merlin and Gaius drink it often; when Merlin comforts Gwen in ''The Castle of Fyrien'' he brings her a cup of tea. * StatusQuoIsGod: Oh, so very much. Whenever anything looks like it's going to change, the writers just hit the old ResetButton. ** Averted in series 4. Gwen and Arthur ship de-anchors, Arthur starts asking Merlin for advice, [[spoiler: Uther dies and Arthur finally becomes King of Camelot]], we've seen the first step towards lifting the ban on magic (Arthur ending the persecution of the druids), AnyoneCanDie, and Guinevere [[spoiler: gets banished from Camelot for cheating on Arthur on the eve of their wedding and doesn't return until the end of the season, where they are married and she crowned]]. * StarCrossedLovers: Gwen and Lancelot. Also pretty much everyone else, eventually, I expect. ** Merlin and Freya so much. * TheStarscream: Morgana beginning in Series 3 becomes this to Uther. ** In Series 4, this ends up repeatedly being [[FatalFlaw her downfall]], seeking allies to take control of Camelot, but whom end up abandoning her after realising her ChronicBackstabbingDisorder. * StealthPun: Uther has a penned dragon, the smith is black. ** Gwen's even-darker-skinned brother is named Elyan. As in, the Arthurian character Elyan the White? * StockEpisodeTitles: Quite a few, including ''The Beginning of the End'' (5), ''The Kindness of Strangers'' (9), ''Queen of Hearts'' (13), ''Sweet Dreams'' (17), ''Beauty and the Beast'' (31), and ''Sins of the Father'' (59). * StockPunishment: Merlin, a lot in series one. It was used as a RunningGag in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]''. * {{Stripperiffic}}: The bizarrely slashed up dress aside, just take a look at those platform heel sandals of Nimueh's that lace up to her knees... * SureLetsGoWithThat: Between Merlin and Morgana, back in series one when she tells him that she "knows his secret." Wrong secret, dear. * SwordAndSorcery: Merlin and Arthur. Although Arthur doesn't know it. * SwordOverHead: Lancelot does this when fighting to the death in a cage match. * SubordinateExcuse: Despite Arthur's claims that Merlin is the worst servant he's ever has, there's no real indication that he's willing to replace him with someone else... ** Could also count for SuspiciouslySpecificDenial, since RealMenHateAffection. * SuccessionCrisis: In 3.05 this is implied to be a consequence of the revelation that [[spoiler: Uther is father of both Arthur and Morgana, making both of them potential heirs to the throne. In fact, Merlin has a potential future vision of Morgana as queen. It comes true in 3.12 when she temporarily overthrows Uther and appoints herself queen.]] ** Some would say that [[spoiler: an unacknowledged, unmarried bastard daughter]] would not be allowed to ascend the throne legitimately, despite seeing in the series that [[bastard children]] are not treated differently (see Merlin himself). *** [[spoiler:Morgause and Morgana simply plan to kill Arthur, because they think that, with only one child left, Uther would no choice but no make Morgana his crowned heir:]] after all, we are shown that it's not a simple matter of lineage, as Arthur has to be made official heir, that legitimacy is taken away later in the two-parter episode and Catrina becomes in turn the designated heir; in addition, Uther reminds Arthur that he personally had to win his kingdom, not inherit it, and thus puts Arthur though quite a few ordeals and trials to judge if his son is ready to become king. * SuddenlySuitableSuitor: {{Averted}}. One would have thought that Arthur knighting Elyan would have sufficiently elevated Guinevere's status to a level that, if still not ''entirely'' acceptable, would not create ''quite'' as much of a stir should Arthur wish to marry her. However, this loophole seems not to have occurred to anyone, and despite Elyan's presence within the inner circle of Arthur's most trusted knights, Gwen is still working as a servant (albeit to the king). One must also consider that until recently, only nobleman could be knighted, and such change happens very slowly, one thing at a time. * SuicideMission: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS03E13TheComingOfArthurPartII The Coming of Arthur Part II]]'', taking Camelot back from Morgause, Morgana and an army of immortal soldiers, with nine people. * SupernaturalGoldEyes: Merlin when he uses magic. Also [[spoiler: Morgana]] and [[spoiler: Morgause]] This seems to be a common trait among magical creatures: the Dragon and the Manticore have them as well. * SupernaturalIsPurple: Nimueh, Freya and Lamia wear purple dresses, and Alator wears a purple robe. ** Let's not forget Merlin's "purple shirt of sex" from 4X06. * SuperStrength: Percival appears to have this. ** Also, Merlin seems to possess this as Emrys in the series finale when he carries Arthur. * SuperWeight: ** Type 0: Hunith, Unnamed Knights of Camelot ** Type 1: Uther Pendragon, Arthur Pendragon, named Knights of Camelot ** Type 2: Gaius, Arthur with Excalibur, Balinor, Aithusa ** Type 3: Merlin (prior to series 4), Morgana, Morgause ** Type 4: Merlin (by series 4), Morgana (by series 5), the Great Dragon * SwissCheeseSecurity: It is surprisingly easy to break into and out of, not only the castle itself, but also the dungeons, Arthur's room, the throne room, Gaius's room, and any guest room. * TableSpace: The increasing estrangement between Uther and Morgana is often symbolised by the two of them sitting at opposite ends of a long table. When the family unit is more cohesive, they sit together down one end. * TakeCareOfTheKids: When Morgana's father Gorlois died, he extracted a promise from Uther that she would be taken care of. This is revealed to be a {{subversion}} later in the series when we learn [[spoiler:that Morgana is actually Uther's biological daughter]]. ** The trope is also {{invoked}} between Arthur and Guinevere: on two separate occasions they ask Merlin to take care of the other one on finding themselves in grave danger. * TakeMeInstead: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'', Arthur is bitten by a Questing Beast. This leads to Merlin negotiating his life for Arthur's, only to discover that his mother Hunith becomes grievously ill instead. Anticipating Merlin's sacrifice, Gaius goes to barter his life for Hunith's, only for Merlin to offer up his own instead. [[BalancingDeathsBooks The whole thing is resolved when Nimueh is struck by lightning, thus maintaining the balance of life and death]]. * TakeOverTheCity: Morgana and Morgause in ''The Coming of Arthur'' two-parter [[spoiler: and again the end of season 4]]. * TallDarkAndHandsome: Lancelot and Gwaine. * TallDarkAndSnarky: Merlin and Gwaine. * TapOnTheHead: Arthur gets knocked out from one almost OncePerEpisode. ** And in a deleted scene from 3x04, Gwaine uses a jug to knock a knight out. * TeensAreShort: {{Averted}}. Merlin is taller than almost the entire cast. * TeenGenius: Merlin. {{Averted}} now that he is no longer a teen. * TemptingFate: Arthur in 3x12. --> '''Arthur''': Who knows? Maybe just this once, we'll have no trouble. * TenMinuteRetirement: It clocks in at about ''five'' minutes when Gaius leaves in [[Recap/MerlinS01E06ARemedyToCureAllIlls 1x06]] after his place as court physician is usurped by a younger man [[spoiler:who naturally turns out to be evil]]. * TerribleTrio: Morgana, Helios and Agravaine. * TheyDo: Uther and Catrina. [[spoiler:Arthur and Gwen]] * TheBadGuyWins: [[spoiler: 4x03 4x09]] * ThereAreNoRules: The melee in "The Sorcerer's Shadow". * ThickerThanWater: A subtle theme in the series. Characters on both sides are loyal to their families. Hunith and Gaius are Merlin's BerserkButton. Gwen rescues Elyan. [[MonsterOfTheWeek Many antagonists are motivated by revenge for their loved ones killed by Camelot]]. Uther loves his children. Morgause takes care of Morgana. The only exception to the norm is [[spoiler: Morgana, who wants to kill her father Uther and half-brother Arthur]] * ThereIsAnother: [[spoiler:Dragons, with the birth of Aithusa.]] ** [[spoiler: Excalibur isn't the only blade forged in dragon's breath as Morgana makes another one for Mordred later.]] * TheseHandsHaveKilled: Uther carries a lot of subconscious guilt for the death of his wife and the innocent lives he's taken in the destruction of magic in the kingdom. * ThreeAmigos: Merlin (TheHero, TheProtagonist, TheHeart, TheMessiah), Arthur (RoyalBlood, BromanticFoil to Merlin, HeterosexualLifePartners with Merlin, LoveInterest to Gwen), and Guinevere (TheChick, [[TheSmurfettePrinciple Token Chick]], BlackBestFriend to Merlin, LoveInterest to Arthur). * ThresholdGuardians: The Cailleach, the gatekeeper of the spirit world. * ThrowingDownTheGauntlet: Literally, in several episodes. * ThrowItIn: Arthur smushing his foot in Merlin's face in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'' was ad-libbed by Bradley, and Colin's reaction is real. * ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: Arthur in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]'', and again in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'' although the second time he might have missed as all he hit was a post next to the man with the axe. * TimeMaster: Merlin is occasionally shown to be able to alter the flow of time at will. * TimeSkip: Most seasons have been paced close a year apart, mostly in order to justify why winter never comes to Camelot (because the series is filmed in spring/summer in RealLife). It's justified since the major plot elements happen close to each other and things mostly slow down in-between these skips. More notably, though: ** There is a ''one-year'' TimeSkip between seasons 2 and 3, which was at least partially done to facilitate [[spoiler: Morgana]]'s off-screen FaceHeelTurn. ** Three years have passed between seasons four and five. * TheTimeOfMyths: Straight from the narrator's mouth. * TitleIn: A curious {{aversion}} in the episode ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E09Excalibur Excalibur]]''. The famous sword is never named, and though many characters comment on its power, no one save the audience knows what it truly is. * TitleMontage * TomboyPrincess: Elena. * TonightSomeoneKisses: The episode promos often show characters kissing, such as Arthur and Sophia in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'', Uther and Catrina in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E05BeautyAndTheBeastPartI Beauty and the Beast Part I]]'', Merlin and Freya in ''Lady of the Lake'', Arthur and Vivian in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', and Gwen and Arthur in both ''Queen Of Hearts'' and ''The Coming Of Arthur Part II''. * TooDumbToLive: Uther, to the point that you start to wonder how he and Arthur managed to stay alive until Merlin arrived. * TookALevelInBadass: Morgana in the third series, so much. * TortureTechnician: Alator of the Catha, and the rest of the Catha. Morgana also uses a magical snake, the Nathair, to torture Elyan in 4x12. Afterwards, Gaius described him as "tortured to the limit of human endurance". Aredian fits this also. * TheTourney: OnceASeason * ToylessToylineCharacter: It was not until 2012 that Guinevere got turned into an action figure, ''years'' after all her co-stars were [[BuffySpeak toyified]]. You could argue that this coincided with her character becoming Queen of Camelot and thus a more interesting character for children to play with, though it doesn't explain why the manufacturers thought that a ''Gaius'' action figure (available for years before Gwen's) was considered more marketable than she was. * TrailersAlwaysSpoil: 4x03 was (probably) a legitimately surprising twist for the series. SyFy proceeded to spoil that twist before ever airing the fourth season. It can't even be blamed on a random montage, either; they ''outright'' spell it out in case it wasn't obvious enough. * TrainingThePeacefulVillagers: Arthur with the people from Merlin's home town. * TransformationSequence: In 2x09, [[spoiler:Freya suffers the Monstrous Transformation type: with pain, bulging muscles and ripping clothes]]. * TraitorShot: Too many to count of [[spoiler:Morgana]] in series three. * TrueLovesKiss: In order to snap Arthur out of the spell where he was madly in love with Princess Vivian, Gwen had to kiss him. * {{Tsundere}}: Arthur towards Merlin. He's Type A. ** Also, Merlin towards Arthur. He's Type B. * TwoGuysAndAGirl: In the third season, a lot more emphasis is placed on Gwen joining what was previously the HeterosexualLifePartners relationship between Arthur and Merlin to form a PowerTrio destined to rule Camelot together as King, Queen and Advisor. [[/folder]] [[folder: U-V]] * UndeathAlwaysEnds: The undead armies from ''The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part II'', ''The Coming Of Arthur Part II'', and the Dorocha from ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E01TheDarkestHourPartI The Darkest Hour Part I]]'' and ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E02TheDarkestHourPartII The Darkest Hour Part II]]'' end up being kicked back to death by the heroes. Also the Fisher King, but by his own choice. * UnderestimatingBadassery: You have two royals, [[BadassCrew a bunch of knights]], a HighPriestess, and a [[SquishyWizard small, untrained]],[[{{Dojikko}} clumsy]] manservant. Guess which one has the highest body count of the series? [[note]] Making your soldiers do the job doesn't count, otherwise it would be Morgana.[[/note]] * {{Unicorn}}: Arthur killed a unicorn despite Merlin warning him not to, and [[UnicornsAreSacred Camelot was cursed]]. Arthur had to succeed at three tests to prove his worth in order to lift the curse. He almost failed, but passed when he attempted to drink [[SecretTestOfCharacter the allegedly poisoned drink]] to save Merlin. In the end, he buried the unicorn horn and the unicorn came back to life. * TheUnSmile: Gaius, [[Recap/MerlinS02E12TheFiresOfIdirsholas 2x12]]. * UnresolvedSexualTension: Some say Arthur/Morgana, in the first series. ** Arthur/Gwen, starting from series 2 and building from there. [[spoiler:It gets resolved in series 4, despite a slight hiccup, when Gwen is made Queen]]. * TheUnreveal: So, so many times. The teaser for the next episodes sets up Arthur finding out that Merlin is a warlock every other episode, and yet... nothing. * UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Something of a meta-example. The show is filmed in the real French castle of Pierrefonds, which features a bizarre stone statue of a pelican with exposed breasts on the balustrade of the castle's exterior staircase. Often it appears in the background of certain shots, but no one ever comments on (or laughs about) it. * VagueAge: Arthur was twenty one in series 1, but for as for the rest of the young cast, there are only vague implications that Morgana is a few years older than Arthur, and that Guinevere and Merlin are younger. ** Merlin's age can be roughly worked out from canon info: Merlin was conceived at the end of the Great Purge which was described as having taken place 20 years ago during series one when Arthur is 21. So Merlin must be roughly a year and nine months younger than Arthur. * VikingFuneral: [[spoiler: Merlin gives Freya one of these in 2x09]]. ** [[spoiler: Lancelot's funeral in 4x09. Again, Merlin's task. Same for Arthur's sendoff in the GrandFinale]] * VillainWithGoodPublicity: The only thing keeping Merlin from revealing [[spoiler:Morgana]]'s villainy in Series 3 is the fact that 1) she is [[spoiler:the King's Ward and daughter]] and that 2) if the knowledge of [[spoiler:him having poisoned her]] in the past were to be exposed, Merlin would be executed on the spot. ** As of Season 4, Agravaine is this as well. * ViolentGlaswegian: The Saxons, for some reason. * ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend: Gwen. She knocked out Merlin twice when he attempts to kill or hurt Arthur in 4x06. * VitriolicBestBuds: Again, Merlin and Arthur. ** All the Knights of the Round Table would also qualify. [[/folder]] [[folder: W-X]] * [[WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld Wake Up, Go to Work, Save the World]]: Merlin. * WarriorPrince: Arthur, of course. * WeaponTwirling: Whenever there are swords out, somebody twirls one at least once. * WeCanRuleTogether: Nimueh tries this on Merlin in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]''. Does not work. * WeddingDeadline: [[spoiler: Merlin just misses it in "Beauty and the Beast".]] * WeirdnessCensor: No one notices either Merlin mumbling nonsense to himself or his eyes turning gold, even if he's right in front of them. * WeirdnessMagnet / DoomMagnet: With all the stuff going on, one has to wonder if it's Merlin or just the whole of Camelot that's attracting it. * WelcomeEpisode: All of the key relationships of the show (sans Arthur/Gwen) are well established in Camelot when Merlin shows up in the first episode. * WelcomeToTheBigCity: When [[CountryMouse Merlin]] arrives at Camelot, the first thing he sees is the execution of a man accused of sorcery. * WellDoneSonGuy: Employed rather well, since whilst we are initially led to believe that Arthur is simply a bit of a prat, it quickly becomes clear that more or less everything he does, he simply does in an attempt to impress or win the respect of the rather emotionally distant Uther. Subverted in more recent episodes, as Arthur's ideas on how best to govern Camelot become more clearly separate from his father's and he starts to assert himself more as future King. * WellIntentionedExtremist: 99.9% of villains are sorcerers looking for revenge against Uther/Camelot. ** And, perhaps, Uther himself. *** As of series three [[spoiler:Morgana]], though her obvious glee in causing havoc among her former friends pushes her into ForTheLulz territory. ** Merlin has officially become this in Series 5, where the other characters call him out for his questionable actions, especially towards Mordred. * WhamEpisode: 2x12, especially the ending. Holy ''crap''. ** 3x12. ''All of it.'' Talk about a DownerEnding. ** Episodes 2 and 3 of Series 4. Holy ''crap''! ** 4x09. [[{{Angst}} Just]]...[[DownerEnding 4x09]]. ** 5x05. It's just as bad a DownerEnding as ''Lancelot du Lac'', only worse...only Merlin knows how bad it is, and he can't tell anyone. ** 5x06. [[spoiler:By the end of the episode, Elyan is dead and Gwen has switched sides to join Morgana. And nobody yet knows of her FaceHeelTurn.]] ** 5x11 [[spoiler: Mordred does a FaceHeelTurn, defects to Morgana and ''tells her who Emrys is'']] ** 5x13, which is to be expected considering it's the GrandFinale. [[spoiler:Mordred seriously wounds Arthur in battle, before Arthur kills him, Merlin reveals his magic to Arthur, Gwaine is murdered by Morgana, Morgana is killed by Merlin, Arthur succumbs to his wound and dies, Gwen becomes the ruler of Camelot.]] * WhatTheHellHero: Gaius gives a pretty epic one to Uther when he is nearly put to death because a con-man framed him as a sorcerer, preying on Uther's overzealous fear of all things magical. * WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Merlin kills Grunhilde, even though she wasn't actually doing anything particularly threatening, nor even trying to actively kill anyone at any point during the story. And it's treated as something you do casually. ** There's also the former Sidhe he murdered with the same weapon. While he might have been justified in killing the father to ensure Arthur's rescue, one imagines that his killing the man's unarmed, griefstricken daughter in cold blood would have been taken more seriously if she'd been human. * WhatsUpKingDude: Although there seems to be ''some'' degree of security in place, almost anybody is free to drop by Camelot and be given an audience with the king. * WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: In 2x09, [[spoiler: Freya starts transforming into the Bastet]]. * WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Only for Merlin himself, though. * WhoWantsToLiveForever: [[spoiler: The FisherKing in episode 8, who has been waiting for someone to come so he can finally die.]] * WhoWouldBeStupidEnough: In 3x10, when Merlin suggests to invent a sorcerer to take the blame on Arthur being "enchanted", Gaius asks "And do you know a sorcerer stupid enough to get caught doing such a thing?". Cue Merlin's obvious answer. * WindowLove: Guinevere and Lancelot speak to each other through the grated window of Gwen's cell. * WitchSpecies: Merlin, Morgana, Mordred, Morgause and other minor characters are all born with magical abilities. * AWizardDidIt: When Merlin wonders how the gang of renegade sorcerers knew that a royal party led by Arthur was coming for them, Arthur is content to say, "They used magic or something." Admittedly, this trope is probably more justifiable in this show than elsewhere. * WordsDoNotMakeTheMagic: In 1x02, it shows how Merlin struggles through a long night in order to master the spell he needs to save Arthur, even though he can say the [[MagicalIncantation incantation]] properly, it's not enough for him to use that spell. * WorldOfBadass. Somehow ''every single character'' manages to be this, despite most of them being [[{{Woobie}} Woobies]] as well. * WoundedGazelleGambit: Nimueh, Sophia, even Morgana at times. * WouldBeRudeToSayGenocide: Type A: Uther and sorcery * WouldHitAGirl: Merlin has no qualms about maiming or killing female enemies with his magic ([[spoiler:Nimueh, Sophia, Mary Collins, Grunhilda, Morgause, Morgana]]). ** Uther has gotten physically violent with both Morgana and Guinevere. ** Arthur is actually the most gentle when it comes to women. He was squeamish about fighting Morgause in combat, and only kills Catrina when she's reverted back to troll-form. The one time he man-handles Gwen, he immediately backs off and apologizes. * WrongGenreSavvy: Arthur is under the impression that he's the main character, that Merlin is just his SideKick, and that most of the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monsters of the Week]] are dispatched by him or his knights. He also remains completely unaware that long before Guinevere was his LoveInterest, she had a crush on Merlin and even kissed him once. ** From Princess Mithian's perspective, she is the LoveInterest to KingArthur, arriving in Camelot as his prospective bride to find that he's handsome, charming and has a lot in common with her. What suddenly seems to be a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage is tainted only by [[FriendVersusLover his manservant's inexplicable dislike for her]]. It's not until the end of the episode that she realizes she was the RomanticFalseLead all along, and simply an impediment to the eventual marriage of Arthur to the woman he ''really'' loves. Merlin's dislike of her had nothing to do with her at all, [[ShipperOnDeck but was born out of his loyalty]] to [[OfficialCouple the REAL love interest]]. * XanatosGambit: King Alined attempts one in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]''. To disrupt peace talks, Alined magically forces Arthur to fall in love with Lady Vivian, which causes her overprotective father King Olaf to challenge him to a duel. Alined notes that if Arthur dies, Uther will start a war and if Olaf dies, his men will start a war. Merlin and Gaius can't say anything because if Uther finds out magic was used against his son, he will start a war. He even says "I can't lose!" [[TakeAThirdOption However, his gambit fails when the spell is broken and Arthur spares Olaf's life]]. And even then, [[KarmaHoudini he gets away scot free]]. * TheXOfY: Out of the 65 episodes produced, about 20 (that is, about a third) are titled with variants on this trope. [[/folder]] [[folder: Y-Z]] * YankTheDogsChain: [[spoiler:When she takes over Camelot, Morgana offers to give Gaius food if Gwaine provides entertainment by fighting. When he wins, she tosses him a paltry amount of food and has him fight two more guys for something substantial. Mind you, Gwaine is already starving at this point.]] * YeGoodeOldeDays: Camelot is awfully cosmopolitan and clean for the Middle Ages. * YouAreNotAlone: An unusual villainous example when Alvar says this to Morgana. [[spoiler: He's doing it to manipulate her.]] ** In a [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming heartwarming moment]], Merlin says this to Freya. ** Later, Merlin says this to Arthur [[spoiler: after Uther dies.]] ** Morgana to Gwen in ''The Dark Tower'', while trying to induce StockholmSyndrome. [[spoiler: It works.]] ** Also Leon to Gwen when Arthur is dying ([[DisneyDeath again]]), telling her he and all the knights are behind her. * YouAreTooLate: Merlin in [[spoiler:''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]''.]] Except, not. Sort of. Almost. [[BigNo In a way]]. ** And then again in [[spoiler: "Beauty and the Beast: Part Two".]] * YouCantFightFate: Multiple times, most notably when [[spoiler: in 5x05, Merlin forces himself to advise Arthur not to let magic return to Kamelot just to bring forth the death of Mordred which he forsaw killing Artur, only to find out that not only had he passed on the opportunity to lift Uther's bane on magic, his actions also healed Mordred.]] And of course [[spoiler:the series finale]]. * YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: [[spoiler: Morgause to Cenred]] in such a classic example of this trope that it's a wonder he didn't see it coming. * YouHaveToBelieveMe: This is Merlin's usual tactic. He never has any proof, because obviously AWizardDidIt, and so it never works. You'd think he'd learn after a few tries. ** Or maybe he just assumes that since he's always right, people will take him seriously. Sadly, Camelot's pretty GenreBlind in that regard. * [[YouJustToldMe You Just Showed Me]]: In the first episode Gaius tips over a water pitcher in order to force Merlin to instinctively reveal his magic powers by freezing it in midair. * YouLookLikeYouveSeenAGhost: In 3x13, Gwaine says this to Merlin, who has just seen [[spoiler: Freya in the water from the lake of Avalon.]] * YouMustBeCold: Merlin to Freya in ''Lady of The Lake'', twice. * YoungerAndHipper: In this series Merlin is a young man about the same age as Arthur, not an old man with a beard. * YourCheatingHeart: Morgana and Agravaine's plan in 4x09 was designed to cast Gwen in this light. [[spoiler: ''and it works''.]] * YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: Magic-users. Even the ones that can qualify as villains were this trope before they [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope finally fell into blind villainy]]. [[/folder]]
to:
[[foldercontrol]] [[folder: A-B]] [[index]] * AbhorrentAdmirer: Grunhilda, to Gaius. Vivian, to Arthur (by the end of the episode at least). Merlin/TropesAToC * AbortedDeclarationOfLove: Arthur seems to be on the verge of telling Guinevere that he loves her in the series three finale. However, she interrupts him after he makes the mistake of saying "if I never see you again..." which only compels her to insist that they ''will'' meet again. Merlin/TropesDToH * AbusiveParents: Uther. It is obvious that many of Arthur's insecurities stem from being raised by an emotionally distant and cold father. The same could be said for Morgana and her emotional, mental and psychological issues. Although Morgana was never really mistreated by Uther, the way Uther talked about magic users like Morgana definitely contributed to Morgana's FaceHeelTurn in season three. Merlin/TropesIToP * ActingForTwo: EveMyles in "The Dragon's Call" playing both Lady Helen and Mary Collins. ** Also Colin Morgan has portrayed a total of ''three'' different characters including standard Merlin, Dragoon/Emrys, and Dolma. How he manages to pull off making all three different characters with different quirks is amazing. * ActionDad: Uther. He's always involved in the action in regards to Camelot. * ActionFashionista: Morgana. * ActionGirl: Morgana and Morgause, who are later [[DarkActionGirl Dark Action Girls]]. Gwen to a lesser extent. Also Enmyria, the bandit girl in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E11TheWitchsQuickening The Witch’s Quickening]]'', and [[Literature/TristanAndIseult Isolde]] in ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E13TheSwordInTheStonePartII The Sword in the Stone Part II]]''. * ActionHero: Merlin, Arthur and all of the Knights at the Round Table. They all use combat as a way to solve problems and missions. * AdaptationalAngstUpgrade: Perhaps not so much an "upgrade" as a "shift" in what the main characters angst about. Arthur has [[WellDoneSonGuy Daddy Issues]], Morgana grapples with fear of her growing magical powers, Guinevere is given a RagsToRiches story, Merlin has to hide his true identity while making SadisticChoice after SadisticChoice. eTheir legendary counterparts had [[BecauseDestinySaysSo Depressing Destinies]], BrotherSisterIncest and [[LoveTriangle Love Triangles]] to contend with. * AdaptationalAttractiveness: In the original Arthurian legends, Merlin is portrayed as an [[WizardClassic old, eccentric and zany wizard]]. But in this version, [[PrettyBoy Merlin]] is [[MrFanservice youthful, attractive and appealing to the female audience]]. * AdaptationalVillainy: Obviously it depends on what source material you're working with, but the likes of Morgana, Morgause, Mordred, Nimueh and Agravaine can be portrayed much more sympathetically in various legends and other adaptations than they are in this series. * {{Adorkable}}: Merlin and Gwen (especially in her early appearances). ** Princess Elena ** In the series 4 premiere, Gwaine and Percival trying to swipe a chicken. ** Mordred rides a horse in reverse because the knights told him it's tradition. * AdultFear: Think about this from Gaius's point of view. Merlin is like a son to him. He probably fears more for Merlin's life than Merlin himself does. A lot of the time, he doesn't even know the whole story of what Merlin's up to. So it makes perfect sense that he's constantly pestering Merlin about keeping his magic secret- he's terrified that Merlin isn't taking his warning seriously enough, and he knows that if Merlin is caught in the act just once, he's as good as dead. ** Think of all the times when Gaius has to lie and say Merlin's at the tavern. He covers for Merlin, but half the time even he doesn't know where Merlin is or what he's doing. He's just hoping that, whatever the situation, Merlin's going to make it back home. ** Cast members expressly said that we could expect most of the conflicts of series 5 to center around AdultFear types of issues, and that it would be “a lot darker” in tone. They were right. * AdultsAreUseless: Uther's the bloody ''king'', for crying out loud. Though he apparently was ''very'' good at killing everyone with magic. ** Subverted with Gaius. Played straight with everyone else even if, in typical showbiz fashion you [[DawsonCasting shave a few years]] off the actors real ages they're still in their late teens (Merlin) to mid twenties (Gwen) so maybe "Authority Figures Are Useless" would be more accurate. * AllJustADream: Episode [=3x10=] opens with Gwen becoming Queen of Camelot with Arthur as king, but it is shown that it is just a dream of Morgana's [[spoiler: though this dream comes true in the series 4 finale]]. * AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Everyone except Merlin and those who know his secret, like Gaius and Lancelot. * AllTrollsAreDifferent : Lady Catrina, "Beauty and the Beast". * AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: Series 3 and 4 both use this for the finale. * AlienBlood: Troll blood is green, apparently. * ALightInTheDistance: Arthur in the caves, looking for the mortaeus flower. * AlmightyJanitor: Merlin. Big time. * AlmostKiss: Arthur and Gwen in ''The Castle of Fyrien'' and at the end of ''Queen of Hearts''. They actually ''do'' manage to get there earlier in the latter episode, but are interrupted just as they're getting started. ** Alvarr and Morgana in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E11TheWitchsQuickening The Witch’s Quickening]]''. * AloofDarkHairedGirl: Morgana. ** Freya could count as well. * AlwaysSaveTheGirl: Arthur, Merlin and Lancelot have all been willing to give up what is most important to them in order to save Guinevere; respectively, his entitlement to the throne, his magical secret, and his life. * AlwaysSecondBest: Arthur and Lancelot have this mentality in regards to each other, each believing that the other is "the better man" in everything from their skills in combat to how Guinevere feels about them. * AmbitionIsEvil: Morgana's thirst for power and to become Queen of Camelot and gain entitlement to the throne at any cost, including trying to kill her own half brother (Arthur) and turning against her own former best friend (Gwen) is simply nothing but pure evil. Morgana's hunger for power turned out to be her ultimate downfall. * AnachronismStew: It pretty much turns Anachronism Stew UpToEleven, but somewhat justified in that it's probably not set in ''our'' timeline at all (though this may have been {{Jossed}} by the closing moments of the GrandFinale). When the creator was criticized for it, he pointed out that it isn't supposed to be historically accurate. People complain about the tomatoes, he said, but oddly enough no one's commented on the dragon. ** Knights in plate armour and huge stone castles in pre-Saxon England. *** Although weirdly the plate armour tends to only cover one shoulder, and [[ArmorIsUseless often doesn't hold up to anything]]. And no one appears to use [[ShieldsAreUseless a shield]], unless they're in a tournament. ** Gaius' medical knowledge being far too advanced for the time period. ** Gwen's kidnappers use [[InstantSedation chloroform]]. I mean, "compound of hog's wart." ** In ''Lady of the Lake'', Arthur appears to be having pre-packed deli meat for breakfast. Oddly enough, in the same episode, when Merlin steals the original meal and replaces it with food from a cupboard in Gaius's quarters, one of the components is a shriveled, close-to-rotten whole apple... an uncomfortably realistic detail of medieval life. ** Parodied in the 2009 ChildrenInNeed special, in which the kingdom is invaded by "magical items" like microwaves, hairdryers and mobile phones. See it [[http://youtu.be/vJhixrsFO1Y here]]. ** French chivalry in the middle of dark age Britain. Although you can't blame them for that one, that was in the original myths. ** And let's not forget the infamous aluminium beer cans on the table in ''Lancelot and Guinevere''. ** As well as the coat hangers, which didn't appear in that form until the 1900s. * AndStarring: John Hurt as the voice of the Dragon. * AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: By Arthur, to Merlin, about Guinevere. ** Another more subtle one by Lancelot, also to Merlin, ''also'' about Guinevere in [[Recap/MerlinS04E02TheDarkestHourPartII The Darkest Hour Part II]]. * AntagonisticOffspring: Morgana towards Uther. * AntiHero: Almost everyone can be considered Type III, due to the show being in the Middle Ages where killing and not losing sleep over it is the norm. Adjusting, most of the knights and Arthur are Type I or Type II with a side of HeroAntagonist. ** Even adjusting for DeliberateValuesDissonance, Merlin is an ''extremely'' dark Type III. He's not vicious enough to move into Type IV, but GoodIsNotSoft is in full play here. * AntimagicalFaction: Personified in King Uther. * AntiVillain: Several of the villains in the series. Uther was a genocidal tyrant but he also genuinely loved his children and cared about his people. Morgana, Mordred, and most of the Villains of the Week attack Camelot because of its laws that persecute them. * AnyoneCanDie: The first three episodes of Series 4 see the deaths of [[spoiler: Morgause, Lancelot and Uther]]. ** Series 5 kills off, in order: [[spoiler:Elyan, Mordred, Gwaine, Morgana and Arthur]]. * ApologisesALot: Merlin. * AppliedPhlebotinum: Oh, Gaius. * ArchEnemy: Merlin to Morgana and vice versa. According to The Great Dragon, Morgana is [[DarkMessiah the dark]] to Merlin's [[TheMessiah light]] and the hatred to Merlin's love. * ArcSymbol: The Round Table. Hints of it turn up throughout the first four seasons - Arthur gathers villagers in a circle around him and tells them that they're all equal, his knights form a circle around him when he asks for volunteers to help him fight the dragon; and he gathers all his closest allies around a circular stone table while they're on the run and tells them that it symbolizes the way they all worked together. Finally appears in season five in the hall of Camelot Castle, with everyone gathered around. * ArmourIsUseless: DependingOnTheWriter. * ArmyOfTheDead: Used several times. One time with skeletons, one time with technically undead (the Cup of Life was used to make an army immortal, and they counted as undead), and one time with actual spirits. In the latter case, it wasn't so much an army as a swarm of angry ghosts attacking at random, but the spirit is the same. * ArrangedMarriage : Arthur and Elena. * ArtisticLicense: ** Despite centuries of characters added with the retelling of the Arthurian myths this TV show opted to still add the character Gaius who was made up for the series. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'' Gaius states that a staff had Ogham script on it, then show the page. The script shown does carry the same format as Ogham in that there is a line connecting all the letters and it is a series of lines, but the props department then embellished the script by making it much more TV friendly (most of Oghams' letters are a series of 1-5 dashes connected on a line, the script shown only had the vaguest basis on Ogham. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' Gaius talks about a magic stone that has been lost for 1000 years. Said stone has writing on it, in Anglo Saxon runes, which are from two hundred years after the time period of Arthurian myth. 1000 years before THAT the writing the writing would have been in the Euboean alphabet. Or at least cuneiform. * {{Asexual}}: [[WordOfGod The creators have said]] that Merlin is mostly non-romantic. Although you can hardly blame him for being put off romance considering what happened [[Recap/MerlinS02E09TheLadyOfTheLake the last time]]. * AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: The FlashForward to Guinevere's crowning. ** [[spoiler:Arthur's crowning in 4x03.]] ** [[spoiler:Then Gwen's actually happens in the season finale.]] * AwfulTruth: The circumstances of Arthur's birth. * AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Arthur and Merlin may insult each other like no tomorrow, but deep down, they really do care for each other and are willing to sacrifice themselves to protect the other. ** Ditto for Arthur and Morgana in season one. * AutomatonHorses: In a sense. They're used a lot, but we never see them getting groomed or fed or watered. ** Merlin mucking out the stables is a running gag, though. In ''Aithusa'' Merlin has to forgo his own dinner to feed the horses. And in ''Sword in the Stone Part 1'' Merlin has [[spoiler:simpleton!]] Arthur rub down the horses. So caring for the horses is definitely there, but LawOfConservationOfDetail often {{Hand Wave}}s it. * BackForTheFinale: At the end of series three we get reappearances from [[spoiler:Lancelot, Elyan, Gwaine and Freya]]. * BadBoss: Arthur can appear as it towards Merlin, but it's mostly for comedic effect. Morgana to Agravaine, and it's played seriously. * {{Badass}}: Numerous characters in the series could qualify. But Merlin is the most powerful character in the entire series, so he qualifies the most. * BadassAdorable: Merlin, OH SO MUCH. * BadassBeard: Gwaine, Leon, Balinor. ** Also Merlin in his Dragoon disguise. * BadassBoast: In ''Aithusa'', when Gaius' power hungry and traitorous former pupil scoffs at Merlin's assertion that the Dragon's egg should not be used as a tool, Merlin comes up with this gem [[spoiler: just before he blasts him into a wall]]. The OhCrap look on the man's face just makes the scene. -->'''Merlin''': I am the last Dragon Lord. And I am warning you - leave this egg alone. * BadassBookworm: Merlin. He reads and researches alot and spends a lot of time with his nose in a book when he is not saving Arthur or doing chores for Gauis. * BadassBystander: Watch the fight scenes in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'' carefully. There's a blonde girl in there that ''kicks ass''. ** Although it's debatable as to what extent they could be called "bystanders", Sir Owaine and Sir Pellinore in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E09Excalibur Excalibur]]'' take up Sir Tristian's challenge to a duel in order to prevent Arthur from doing so, and go to certain death as a result. * BadassCape: The red capes with a embroidered golden dragon of the Camelot knights, though it ironically makes them a literal RedShirtArmy. * BadassCrew: The Knights of the Round Table. * BadassFamily: The Pendragons. Uther, Arthur and Morgana are all trained in combat and master swords people. However, they are also a BigScrewedUpFamily. * BadassGrandpa: Gaius. * BadassInCharge: King Uther until season four. ** Arthur [[spoiler: when he becomes King in 4x03]] ** Guinevere [[spoiler: when she becomes Queen in 4x13. She is the current sole ruler of Camelot after Arthur dies in the series finale.]] ** Queen Annis ** Morgana briefly [[spoiler: when she is crowned Queen at the end of season three.]] * BadassInDistress: ''Everyone'' on this show has needed rescuing at some point, and [[WorldOfBadass everyone is a badass in their own way]]. Even Merlin, who can stop time and kill you just by looking at you, has needed rescuing at least twice. * BadassLongcoat: ** Arthur's got a brown one. ** Uther has one, too. ** Tristan wears one that's similar to Arthur's. * BadassLongrobe: Merlin in his Dragoon disguise. * BadassNormal: Arthur. ** Uther is pretty badass too. ** Also, Lancelot. Episode 2x04 might as well have been called "The Lancelot Show." ** Gwaine kicks ass and takes names and he does it with style. * [[BadassPrincess Badass Queen]]: Guinevere. ** Queen Annis. * BadassPrincess: Morgana. * BadBadActing: Merlin in episode 3x07 when he finally [[HintDropping takes a hint]] and leaves Arthur alone with Gwen. --> '''Merlin''': The wolves! ** When Arthur announces his engagement to Princess Mithian, [[ShipperOnDeck Merlin]] manages an [[TheUnSmile unsmile]] at best. * BanOnMagic * BalancingDeathsBooks: Basic rule of the Old Religion is a life for a life (it seems that the life of the person most important to the one who asks will be taken, hence Igraine dies because of Uther's request for a son, and Hunith nearly dies because Merlin asks for Arthur to be spared). * BarBrawl: A ''Medieval'' bar brawl at the beginning of 3x04. * BarSlide: When Gwaine first appears in 3x08, he's being slid across the bar. * BastardBastard: Morgana. She is the illegitimate daughter of Uther and Vivienne. * BattleButler: Merlin, even if Arthur doesn't realize it. * BattleCouple: Morgause and Cenred, with a little FoeYay and BelligerentSexualTension thrown in, although it's averted in 3x12.[[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness And how.]] ** Tristan and Isolde in 4x13. ** King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. * BattleOfWits: Often between arch enemies Merlin and Morgana, who are the two most powerful characters in the series. Before Arthur and Gwen become King and Queen, Merlin was the one person who prevented Morgana from completely destroying Camelot. * BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: In the first episode, Merlin [[DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife angsts about having no purpose for his abnormal power]]. The Dragon gives him one, and what follows is endless [[KickTheDog killing and questionable decisions]]. * BeautifulDreamer: Almost every character has watched either Merlin or Guinevere sleep at one stage or another. The most notable examples are when Merlin lends Gwen his bed in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' and then stays by her as she sleeps, and when Arthur finds Gwen under a sleeping spell in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E12TheFiresOfIdirsholas The Fires of Idirsholas]]'' he watches her for a few moments after putting her on Morgana's bed. * BeautyIsBad: With few exceptions [[spoiler:Freya, Mithian]], every single beautiful woman on the show ends up being a villain, or is at least meant to be perceived as unsympathetic. ** Subverted marvellously with [[spoiler:Princess Mithian]]. You'd think they would have made her as unpleasant as possible so Arthur would come and throw himself at Gwen again but she's actually rather nice. * BeautyMark: Gwen, of the nice kind. * BecameTheirOwnAntithesis: Arguably the premise of the show. The CharacterDevelopment is blatant with Morgana, and with Lancelot during his shade episode. ** Merlin also changed rather dramatically as well. He became progressively darker and edgier. Surprisingly, he did not do a FaceHeelTurn the way Morgana did. * BecauseDestinySaysSo: The CentralTheme of the series. * BeleagueredAssistant: Several times Merlin had to help bail Arthur out of some sticky situations. Particularly in the episode ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'', where poor Merlin had to deal with the consequences of a spellbound Arthur courting Sophia. In this one episode alone, Merlin got placed in the stocks ''[[RuleOfThree three]]'' times! * BerserkButton: Even if you ''are'' an incredibly powerful sorceress, do not try to kill Gaius with magic in front of Merlin. Of the two who have tried so far, one was telekinetically hurled into a pillar at neck-breaking speed, and the other was [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome struck in the face by lightning]]. ** It is generally considered a bad idea to harm Morgause in front of Morgana. She doesn't like it. At all. ** Mess with a certain maid-servant and you'll have to deal with her best friend (a powerful warlock), her boyfriend (the crown prince), and a team of the best knights in the land. Best to just leave her be... ** Also... messing with Merlin will result in [[TheGoodKing Arthur]], [[PapaWolf Gaius]], [[GiantFlyer The Great Dragon]], [[KnightInSourArmor Gwaine]], [[KnightInShiningArmour Lancelot]] ''and'' [[MamaBear Gwen]] unleashing hell on you. ** As ''Lancelot du Lac'' has demonstrated, [[spoiler:kissing Gwen, the love of his life]], is the best and quickest way to drive a composed and compassionate Arthur into a [[CrazyJealousGuy blind,]] [[MurderTheHypotenuse murderous rage.]] ** And we can't forget Uther, where magic is concerned. ** It is also generally a bad idea to mess with Hunith, Merlin's mother. ** Also, we cannot forget Arthur when he is called fat and later, actually turns out to be fat! * BewareTheNiceOnes: Merlin, whenever someone close to him is threatened. ** Gwen, [[MamaBear when Merlin is threatened.]] ''"GET AWAY FROM HIM!!!"'' ** Mordred, especially in Series 2. Yikes! ** A seemingly all-powerful Future Merlin, standing triumphant over her on the field of battle, a staff in hand and a look of utter TranquilFury, literally becomes the stuff of nightmares to Morgana in Series 4. --> '''Morgana''': Help me, Emrys! Please! --> '''Merlin''': Is this ''really'' what you wanted, Morgana?! ** Morgana, herself. She was once one of the nicest characters on the show, but even then demonstrated she could be a dangerous adversary. Unfortunately, she became not so nice later on. * BewareTheQuietOnes: Mordred. When Mordred was a child, he didn't talk much, if ever. But he smashed a mirror with his powers when he was angry and upset over one of his kind being executed. That was a clear sign to not mess with this kid. * BigBad: ** Season 1: Nimueh ** Season 2: Morgause ** Season 3: Morgause and [[spoiler:Morgana]] ** Season 4: [[spoiler:Morgana]] ** Season 5: [[spoiler:Morgana...do we see a pattern?]] * BigBadEnsemble: Morgana was paired up with a different cohort once per season; first with Morgause, then Agravaine, and at the very end with Mordred. Then there were the MonstersOfTheWeek, who were usually out to seek revenge against King Uther, who was himself something of a villain. * BigBadassBattleSequence: "The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part Two". Specifically, the siege on Camelot. * BigBrotherInstinct: Kilgharrah's treatment of Merlin in Series 2 is best described as a come and go fondness. In Series 3, [[spoiler: after becoming spiritual brothers, Kilgharrah burns up Serkets trying to kill Merlin, doesn't want him to leave the cave until he's fully recovered, and allows him to ride him despite the fact that the series 3 finale shows he detests being used as a horse.]] He still occasionally treats him like an idiot, but given that we have only one [[spoiler: talking]] dragon to draw references from, this could have been a normal big brother relationship among dragons. ** Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, especially Gwaine and Lancelot, are fiercely protective of Merlin. Justified in that he physically looks small, fragile and scrawny and is also a few years younger than all of them, but still funny considering he could kill all of them easily with just a wave of his hand. ** Arthur, after barely knowing Mordred a few weeks, is already showering him with attention, praising him and going to insane lengths to save his life - lampshaded by Merlin and Gwen. "The Disir" ends with an adorable moment of them sword-fighting and then Arthur lifting Mordred up in the air, goofing off like a big brother with his little brother. It's oddly fitting, considering in the myths Mordred was supposed to be Arthur's son. ** Merlin also had this towards young!Mordred, Daegal and Gilli. * BigBrotherMentor: Arthur probably fancies himself as this to Merlin, though Gwaine or Lancelot probably fit the bill better. ** Arthur ends being one for [[spoiler: Mordred. Gwen points out he's growing fond of the boy, and Arthur couldn't shut up on what a promising knight Mordred is]]. * BigDamnHeroes: Merlin and Arthur, usually. Occasionally Morgana, Gwen, Gaius and Lancelot. ** Every good character in The Coming Of Arthur Part Two. * TheBigDamnKiss: Arthur and Gwen's first kiss came complete with dramatic lighting and an orchestra of violins. ** Heck, it's more noteworthy when one of their kisses ''isn't'' a [[TheBigDamnKiss Big Damn Kiss]]. * BigEntrance: Morgause and Mithian both get fairly impressive entrances onto the show. Tristan de Bois as well when he interrupts Arthur's crowning ceremony by leaping through a stained glass window on horseback. * BigFancyCastle: Castle Camelot - which is actually Pierrefonds, a ''real'' BigFancyCastle. * BigNo: [[spoiler:When Gaius dies for Merlin and Merlin rushes to his side only to find him dead ''already'', Merlin says "Nnnnnnoooooo!" twice. Except that Gaius wasn't '''actually''' dead.]] ** Morgana lets out an absolutely humongous one when [[spoiler: Morgause is apparently killed; seriously, we're not kidding, it '''''LITERALLY''''' brings the roof down. Literally.]] * BigScrewedUpFamily: As of the end of series three, the Pendragons definitely qualify, what with Uther and Arthur's strained relationship and the fact that Morgana is not only [[spoiler: Uther's illegitimate daughter and Arthur's unacknowledged half-sister, but actively trying to kill them both]]. Both of Arthur’s [[EvilUncle uncles]] tried to avenge Ygraine’s death: Tristan by coming back from the grave to kill Uther and [[spoiler: Agravaine by plotting with Morgana]]. * BilingualBonus: The spells are in Anglo-Saxon. * BillingDisplacement: Angel Coulby is credited before Bradley James in the opening credits; a little strange considering Arthur is the show's {{Deuteragonist}}. Speculation is that Angel went first because she was the most established cast member at the inception of the show, or that the names are simply in alphabetic order after Colin Morgan. ** In the episode ''Another's Sorrow'' James Fox is ranked before Janet Montgomery, even though Montgomery is in nearly every scene of the episode and Fox's role barely constitutes a cameo. * BitCharacter: Geoffrey of Monmouth, who started out as the court genealogist, but who now also serves as MrExposition whenever Gaius isn't around, and is trotted out whenever the writers need someone to preside over a coronation or wedding. He even seems to be a member of the council, and is the one who backs up Guinevere in ''The Darkest Hour''. ** Also Audrey, the head cook of Camelot's castle kitchens, and Isildur, a druid leader. Both have appeared in [[RuleOfThree three episodes each]]. * BitchInSheepsClothing: Sophia. ** And more recently, [[spoiler:Morgana.]] ** Lamia. * BittersweetEnding: The end of series three. Though [[spoiler:the Knights of the Round Table and Guinevere return to Camelot in triumph, the hug that Arthur and Guinevere share is clearly marked by their sadness over Morgana, and Merlin's smile fades as he watches them, no doubt reminded of Freya.]] ** [[spoiler: The entire series pretty much ends like this, Morgana has finally been defeated for good and Camelot is safe, but Arthur was killed in the process along with Gwaine. In addition, the epilogue shows that ''everybody'' Merlin once knew is now dead. Nevertheless, the fact that Merlin is still alive means he's waiting for the day when Arthur will rise again at the day of Albion's greatest need.]] *** [[spoiler: Its worse when you think about it. The Golden Age may never have come to pass since Arthur was supposed to bring it about. Albion is not united so other kings may invade thinking Gwen weak. The Saxons are still a threat. Gaius can only have a few years left. Magic users would still hate Camelot. Merlin is no longer around to help protect Camelot. Arthur's whole return may have been made up by The Great Dragon to comfort Merlin or he might have been wrong. He was wrong on other things. ]] * BlackAndGreyMorality: Uther hunts down anyone related to magic, even healers, even children. He's a cruel dictator. Getting rid of him would be a good thing. However the villains trying to kill him, [[spoiler: Morgana and Morgause]], have some evil tendencies in a WellIntentionedExtremist way. They will kill others, but only if they have to to get to Uther or [[spoiler: Arthur]] later. * BlackDudeDiesFirst: Tom, Gwen's father, is arguably the first significant death in the series. * BlackKnight: Sir Tristian in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E09Excalibur Excalibur]]''. * BlackMagic: Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh and Mordred all practice Dark Magic. * BlingOfWar: Morgana's "action gear" involves a shiny metal corset of some kind. Unless she were shot directly in the stomach, it's utterly impractical. * BloodlessCarnage: Plenty of people die in this series, but you will rarely see any of them actually bleed. * BluffTheImpostor: Arthur does this to goblin-possessed Gaius - he talks casually about Merlin's uselessness and impending death sentence, and when "Gaius" isn't bothered, Arthur knows something's up. * BodyMotifs: There's a large emphasis on hands and eyes. Magic-users have [[SupernaturalGoldEyes Golden Eyes]] when they perform magic, whilst [[HeldGaze Held Gazes]] and HoldingHands denotes love and trust. * BoisterousBruiser: Arthur. He is hot headed, courageous and impulsive. * BondingOverMissingParents: Merlin and Gwaine bond over their dead fathers, Arthur and Elena bond over their dead mothers. ** And Merlin and Arthur bond over one of them having a missing father and the other a missing mother. * BookEnds: In the first episode of series two Guinevere saves Arthur's life from a flying gargoyle in the castle courtyard by tackling him to the ground. In the last episode of series two Arthur saves Guinevere's life from a flying dragon in the castle courtyard by tackling her to the ground. ** In the first episode of series three Merlin is witness to a hug between Arthur and Morgana; in the last episode he watches a similar embrace between Arthur and Guinevere. ** In both the opening and the closing two-parters of Series 3 Camelot was attacked by an army of immortal soldiers sent by Morgause and Cenred. ** Arthur is [[spoiler:crowned King]] at the beginning of series 4; Guinevere is [[spoiler:crowned Queen]] at its conclusion. ** The beginning of Series 1 sees Merlin walking on a road to Camelot; [[spoiler:the end of Series 5 sees older!Merlin walking on a road in the same manner, waiting for Arthur.]] * {{Bookworm}}: Merlin. He is always reading and researching a lot. * BoyMeetsGirl: Merlin meets Freya, he falls in love with her, Freya falls in love with him and they are so incredibly happy. [[spoiler: Except it [[StarCrossedLovers ends in tragedy when Freya ends up dying.]]]] * {{Brainwashed}}: This happens to Arthur in at least three episodes, with the first case bordering near BrainwashedAndCrazy. In the third case, [[spoiler:it's by Merlin]]. Then it happens with [[spoiler: Gwen]] in season 5. * BrainwashedAndCrazy: In ''A Servant of Two Masters'' in series 4, Merlin [[spoiler:is bewitched by Morgana to kill Arthur, but is thankfully a terrible assassin.]] ** The knights in "Lamia". They start fighting each other, being ''incredibly'' disrespectful to Merlin (to whom they're usually [[CoolBigSis Cool Big Brothers]], and threatening Merlin and Gwen for speaking out. ** In season five, Morgana is at it again, this time with [[spoiler: Gwen]]. * BreakTheCutie: Morgana. Goes through a season of terror only to have [[spoiler: the one person in Camelot she could trust poison her.]] Ouch. Not to mention being [[spoiler: trapped in a pit for about two years straight. With a growing dragon. And in chains.]] ** Averted by Merlin, thanks to being an IronWoobie. But let's face it, half the reason he hasn't gone into total breakdown is because of his potential to be a terrifying WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds if he did. ** Guinevere in ''Lancelot du Lac'', in which [[spoiler: she is enchanted into betraying Arthur by Morgana, is banished from Camelot and none of her friends are there to see her off except Merlin. Not even her own brother wants to see her. The cherry on top? Only the audience and the villains know she was enchanted, so she believes everything is her fault]]. This isn't so much BreakTheCutie as smash her to bits, stomp on the pieces, and grind them to dust. As if that isn't enough, she gets [[spoiler: enchanted AGAIN by Morgana to kill Arthur and was probably tormented a bit while she was held captive.]] ** Aithusa. Being trapped in a pit you outgrow and end up barely able to even move in at all will do that to you. * BreatherEpisode: ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', which was a romantic comedy of sorts jammed between a Witchhunt episode, Arthur almost killing Uther, Merlin losing his first love and Morgana's StartOfDarkness. ** 3x03 Goblins' Gold, which comes after the dramatic two-part series opener where Morgana returns and Camelot is nearly destroyed. * BreathWeapon: The Great Dragon and Aithusa both shoot fire from their mouths as a defence weapon. * BrickJoke: the Sidhe staff Merlin takes from Sophia in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'', which he uses again in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]''. ** It doesn't appear again until ''The Changeling'' in series 3. ** Mmm, rat. ** Gaius constantly telling Arthur that Merlin is in the tavern when he disappears to do his magical thing. * BrokenBird: Freya, Morgana, Gwen, and Merlin (as a RareMaleExample) are all examples. * BrokenMasquerade: In series 3, Uther indirectly admits he knows Gaius was a sorcerer in the past, when he asks him to do anything, even ''magical'' to save Morgana. * BrownEyes: Gwen, Morgause and Freya. * BuffySpeak: Merlin is the biggest offender. * BuildingOfAdventure: Lots of crazy stuff goes down in Castle Camelot. * BullyingADragon: Quite literally, in one case. Metaphorically, it often happens elsewhere. Merlin tries to play this in the first episode by warning Arthur he doesn't want to see what he's capable of. But since he can't use his magic in public, it was a pretty futile threat, and Merlin just ends up getting his ass kicked. ** Although in the literal example, said dragon ''does'' take a shot at incinerating Merlin, and Merlin magically blocks the fire. * BurnTheWitch * ButtMonkey: Merlin, especially when "helping" Arthur with his training exercises. ** Morgana [[spoiler:Pendragon]] as well. Even before [[spoiler:her HeelFaceTurn]], the writers did not seem to like her. [[/folder]] [[folder: C-D]] * CallBack: In the pilot episode Merlin says of Arthur: "I said you were a prat, I just didn't know you were a royal one." In the final episode of the first series, on saying goodbye to Arthur, they have the following exchange: -->'''Arthur:''' ''You know, sometimes I don't think you know who I am.'' -->'''Merlin:''' ''Oh, I know who you are. You're a prat. And a royal one.'' ** Arthur and Gwen's conversation at the end of 3X10 is filled with allusions to the one they had at the conclusion of 2X02; particularly repetition of the words: "when you/I am King, things will be different." ** In 2x04, Merlin tells Arthur that everyone can see his feelings for Gwen and that even a "blind man could see it." Morgana repeats a similar line to Arthur in 3x10. ** Merlin giving Morgana flowers in 2x03 and later in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3PiFk0rM_U deleted scene]] in 3x01. ** Merlin's conversation with Morgana in 3x07: -->'''Morgana:''' Why are you telling me this? -->'''Merlin:''' Because I don't understand why anyone would want to hurt their friends. -->'''Morgana:''' No, you just ''[[spoiler:poison them.]]'' ** In 1x13, Morgana pulls Merlin behind a pillar to warn him about Arthur being in danger. In 3x02, Morgana pulls Merlin behind a pillar once more, [[spoiler:but only to threaten him not expose her villainy by reminding that Uther would have him executed if ''she'' revealed to him that Merlin poisoned her.]] ** In 2x12, Morgana recalls to Morgause her assassination attempt on Uther in 1x12. ** Merlin and Arthur's conversation on horse in 4x01 alludes to 2x01: -->'''Arthur''': Yes, that you're a clotpole. -->'''Merlin''': That's my word. ** In 4x05, Queen Annis says with almost reluctant admiration "There is something about you, Arthur Pendragon..." which seems very reminiscent of something Arthur himself to Merlin in 1x01. *** On the same note, Arthur's line in 1x01 was "There's something about you, Merlin." Perhaps coincidentally, Gwen delivers the exact same line to Merlin in 4x08. ** The scene where [[spoiler:Gwen sentences her servant to death]] mirrors the scene where Gwen is dragged before Uther. ** At the end of 3x02, Uther presents Morgana to the court as the person who turned the tide of the battle and saved Camelot, causing everyone present to applaud her bravery. Morgana was, of course, the traitor who initiated the whole thing. Episode 5x07 ends with Arthur congratulating Gwen for rooting out the traitor who had been trying to kill him (she was, of course, the traitor.) The episode ends with the court cheering "Long live the Queen!" ** In 2x13, Arthur advises Merlin with "No man is worth your tears", to which Merlin replies "You're certainly not". In the GrandFinale, Merlin breaks down when [[spoiler: Arthur is dying and Arthur tries to calm him.]] * CameBackWrong: [[spoiler: Lancelot]], thanks to Morgana. * CardboardPrison: Not only Camelot's dungeons, but also its "impregnable" vaults. * CassandraTruth: Merlin lives this trope. In every season and most episodes therein, Merlin usually has foreknowledge of the (dis)loyalties of basically everyone. But he can't ever ''prove'' this because it variously involves a) exposing himself as a wizard, b) selling out someone he would rather not, or c) being pitted against someone who Uther and/or Arthur trust implicitly. You would think, considering everything Merlin says turns out to be true, people might just start giving him the benefit of the doubt. ** More conventionally, there's one instance of Merlin bursting into the throne room and insisting he's a wizard. ** Surprisingly, [[spoiler:Arthur finally catches on to this in the season 4 finale. He realizes that Merlin knew, and has always known, about such betrayals. Arthur, meanwhile, always sees the best in people right up until they stab him in the back. He finds it quite frustrating that the people he treats as friends are so willing to betray him. He predictably reacts quite badly to Merlin's confession of having magic at first.]] ** Also obviously Morgana [[spoiler: due to her powers as a seer]] which ultimately are often ignored especially by [[spoiler: Arthur]] who [[spoiler: frequently dismisses them as nightmares or taking it as a sign of romantic attraction that she dreams about him (this is entirely shippers choice although it does seem to be rather obvious in season 1!)]] This is subverted by the fact that Gauis and Merlin often [[spoiler: use these dreams to their own advantage to help Merlin protect Arthur-often without telling her and again almost always attempting to brush it off as just a dream]] * CastFullOfPrettyBoys: King Arthur and all of the Knights at The Round Table are all resident {{Hunk}}'s. It also helps that the titular character (Merlin himself) of the series is a real PrettyBoy. * CastingGag: [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Giles the ex-black sorcerer outlaws sorcery entirely.]] * CatapultNightmare: Despite suffering from at least one nightmare per episode, Morgana has surprisingly few of these. However, most recently she flung herself upright from a dream about Gwen becoming Queen of Camelot. She later does this when Agravaine bursts into her hut in Series 4, though, she's not waking from a nightmare, she's just scared. * CatchPhrase: Arthur's "Shut up, Merlin." You can thank Merlin's MotorMouth for that. * CentralTheme: BecauseDestinySaysSo and YouCantFightFate. ** The CentralTheme of Series 4 is ThePowerOfTrust. * CelticMythology: Season 4 begins on Samhain, [[TruthInTelevision traditionally held as the time when the veil between our world and that of the spirits is at its thinnest]]. It's a night of remembrance for the dead, and a time to take stock and prepare for the coming winter. The [[BloodMagic blood sacrifices]], not so much. * ChangedMyMindKid: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'', Will refuses to fight against Kanen's men, but he pulls this off in time to save Merlin. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E13TheLastDragonlord The Last Dragonlord]]'', Balinor refuses to help Camelot initially due to his legitimate grudge against Uther, but changes his mind. * ChangelingTale: Unsurprisingly, "The Changeling", even though they tweak the traditional definition of what a changeling is. * CharacterTitle: ''Merlin'', obviously, but also episodes themselves such as ''Lancelot'' and ''Gwaine.'' * CharacterizationMarchesOn: Before becoming something of a regular in the third series, EnsembleDarkHorse Sir Leon had a few scenes in the second. One of his first appearances involves him violently tearing apart Gaius's study in the search for evidence of magic. The sight of him smashing bottles and ripping down tapestries is completely at odds with the gentler character of later episodes, who is also on good enough terms with Gaius (in a DeletedScene) to confide in him that the knights have no confidence in Uther's ability to rule. * ChronicHeroSyndrome: Merlin. ** He can be excused for it though since most of the people he is trying to save will soon be burnt at a stake. ** Arthur, too. * ChekhovsGun: The vial of water from Avalon's lake. ** The as-yet unnamed Excalibur. * ChekhovsGunman: The fact that Freya was cremated on the waters of the same lake that Merlin threw Excalibur into seems mightily suggestive. ** [[spoiler: In "The Coming Of Arthur Part 2" she is pretty much confirmed to be the Lady of the Lake.]] * {{Chickification}}: Gwen in series two, later in season three she's regaining her reputation as a BadassNormal ([[spoiler:fending off an intruder with a poker, joining the men on their rescue mission, lighting a fire when Arthur cannot]]), whilst still remaining within the boundaries of what a slight young woman would realistically be capable of. ---> '''Gwen''': I ''am'' the blacksmith's daughter, remember? ** But still reverts to "StayInTheKitchen and make bandages" for the series finale, and whilst season four has her defending Merlin from an enemy and having a sword fight with [[spoiler:Morgana]], season five has her playing this trope fully. * TheChick: Gwen. She is the female centrepiece of the series. * ChildMage: Mordred as a child. * ChildhoodFriends: Merlin and Will. * ChildrenAreInnocent: Initially played straight with Mordred, who despite being supposedly destined for evil, is at first just an ordinary (if telepathic) little boy. His morality becomes more and more ambiguous with each subsequent appearance, as Uther's persecution drives him to become more and more vengeful. Although he is defending himself against adults, it's still pretty scary for a kid who was raised by an extremely pacifistic people to kill without remorse. * TheChosenZero: Merlin's immediate reaction to being told that Arthur is the destined King who will save the land is "There must be another Arthur, because this one's an idiot!" * ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Geoffrey of Monmouth. * CityOfAdventure: Camelot. * ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: When Arthur is [[spoiler:trying to draw Excalibur]], Merlin says that he needs to truly believe he can in order to do it. Subverted since Merlin was just trying to boost Arthur's confidence: once Arthur is sold on Merlin's story, Merlin covertly uses magic to make the task extremely easy for Arthur, thus reinforcing the idea he was trying to instill. * ClosetShuffle: In Camelot, cabinets are not meant for storage. They're meant as convenient hiding places for Merlin. * ClothingDamage: Nimueh must have been dragged through a hedge at some point as the bottom half of her dress is ripped in a way that exposes Michelle Ryan's legs. Well, she ''has'' been living in a cave for twenty years! ** Also Freya's dress, but it can be explained since she's been Halig's prisoner for who-knows-how-long. * CloudCuckooLander: Uther, after being rescued from Morgana's first takeover of Camelot. * ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Merlin and Arthur usually wear blue and red respectively, as a near-literal example of RedOniBlueOni. SpiritedYoungLady and RebelliousPrincess Morgana wears bright, jewel-like colours such as reds, blues, purples, and greens, whilst the gentler ShrinkingViolet Guinevere wears almost every shade of pastel imaginable: lavender, peach, pink, and light blue. By series four, the bad guys (Morgana, Agravaine, Helios, and [[spoiler: Shade!Lancelot]]) wear black, whilst those with magical powers are usually delinated by the colour green, particularly Mordred and the other Druids, who wear green cloaks. * CrystalBall: Not "balls", but there have been at least three examples of crystals that show the future: Morgause's crystal, the Crystal of Neahtid, and the Crystal Cave. * CoconutSuperpowers: Merlin's ability to slow down time. ** And the shapeshifting magic used by the bad guys in "Gwaine." * CombatPragmatist: Merlin repeatedly uses magic to gain an advantage by turning the things around him against his opponent. * ComeOutComeOutWhereverYouAre: Said word-for-word by baddie Kanen in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * CommonEyeColors: Arthur and Mordred's matching baby blues seem... suggestive. ([[MythologyGag Mordred was Arthur's illegitimate son]] in [[Literature/LeMorteDarthur Sir Thomas Mallory's telling]] of the Arthurian legends.) In Series 5, this takes a different direction as Mordred's eyes [[spoiler:matches ''Morgana's'']]. * ComfortingComforter: A variation of this at the end of series two. When all of Camelot is put under a sleeping spell, Arthur picks up Guinevere from the floor and places her on a bed. * ComicallyMissingThePoint: The show does this quite often, particularly with Merlin himself. -->'''Arthur:''' You can't leave him here [on the floor]! We have to get him onto the bed. -->'''Merlin:''' Why? He's asleep. He's not going to know. -->'''Arthur:''' Merlin! -->'''Merlin:''' Alright, I'll get him a pillow. -->'''Arthur:''' He's ''the king!'' -->'''Merlin:''' You're right....''two pillows!'' * [[CompositeCharacter Composite Object]]: As with many modern retellings, Excalibur is combined with the Sword in the Stone (the oldest versions of the tale describe them as two very distinct swords - when Arthur breaks the latter in battle, he gains the former from the Lady of the Lake). * ConflictingLoyalty: Merlin, most especially in series 2. His destiny is clearly to stand by Arthur, but Arthur's views on magic, even if only impressed upon him by Uther, can make for some not inconsiderable moral tension. ''The Sins of The Father'' showcases this dilemma to particularly heart-breaking effect. ** Morgana to some degree as well regarding Uther and his ruthlessness towards magic. Made all the worse when she finds out [[spoiler:that she's a seer and has magic herself]] ** Arthur also has moments where he butts heads with Uther, usually when the latter is being too harsh, accusing an obviously innocent person of witchcraft, or not taking good enough care of the people of Camelot. * ConspicuousGloves: Uther, who never took them off. * ContinuityNod: In ''The Castle of Fyrien'', Morgana pointedly refuses to let Merlin pour her a drink. ** In ''The Darkest Hour'' Part 2, Arthur leads his knights back to the cave of the Wildrynn and tells them to smear themselves in berries to mask their scent. * CoolChair: The throne(s) of Camelot. * CoolOldGuy: Gaius. * CoolSword: [[{{Excalibur}} The most iconic ever.]] * CoolVersusAwesome: Immortal undead soldiers versus the Knights of the Round Table. * CostumePorn: Morgana's entire wardrobe, including dresses that wouldn't look too out of place at a cocktail party, as well as the gowns of various ladies and princesses that turn up throughout the series and Guinevere's [[spoiler:[[http://oi52.tinypic.com/1055w5c.jpg coronation gown]]]]. [[http://24.media.tumblr.com/fbb6b879859cfb6bde093c16b63c6f6a/tumblr_mfrospBtOC1qlp5jzo1_500.jpg The decoration on Arthur's armor]] is remarkably intricate although it won't show unless in close-up. * CradlingYourKill: Merlin with [[spoiler: Morgana's body in 2x12.]] He also holds [[spoiler: Morgana]] as she's dying in the series finale. * CrazyJealousGuy: Arthur in 4x09 when he [[spoiler: when he walks in on Gwen and Lancelot making out. His first instinct is to [[MurderTheHypotenuse try and kill the guy who had been one of his most loyal knights]] and had shown him mercy in the tournament earlier. And then by the end of the episode, he banishes Gwen from Camelot.]] ** Merlin can be this at times as well. He demonstrates jealousy toward anyone who poses a threat to his relationship with Arthur, such as Cedric and Princess Mithian, and is willing to share Arthur with only [[PlatonicLifePartners one other person in the world]]: Guinevere, who happens to be his own very close friend. * CrazyPrepared: Myror just ''happened'' to be carrying a retractable, needle-tipped lance along with him. ** If the spell translations are to be believed (hinges on WordOfGod here), Merlin is too. Half the spells are so tailored to the situation that either he's making them up as he goes or he really does learn spells ''just in case'' he wants a magnetic sword, he needs to drop bed covers on someone, or he needs to throw a bench. * CreepyChild: Mordred. Also, a hallucination Uther suffers at the beginning of Series 3. ** The ghost child from ''A Herald of a New Age'' that possesses Elyan. * CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Merlin may appear to be a clumsy, idiotic servant, but once his magic unleashes on you, you better run. * CrusadingWidower: Uther * CurseCutShort: Watch Arthur carefully when Uther tells him that Elena is his prospective bride. He clearly mouths: "What the f...?" * TheCutie: Merlin, OH SO MUCH. ** Gwen in the earlier seasons. ** Freya. She's highly endearing. * CuteBruiser: Mordred as a young child. * [[CuteClumsyGirl Cute Clumsy Guy]]: Merlin. His clumsiness is a defining and signature characteristic of his and adds to his adorkableness. * [[CuteWitch Cute Witch / Cute Warlock / Cute Wizard]]: Merlin and young!Mordred. ** Alice is also pretty cute, despite being older. * CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon: Non-lethal version. In "The Death Song of Uther Pendragon", Arthur warns Merlin to keep quiet about the spirit-summoning horn he intends to use. Merlin points out that Arthur is making said threat while holding a spoon. Cut to outside the room, and Merlin suddenly shouts in pain. * CycleOfRevenge: A CentralTheme. * DarkActionGirl: Morgana, Morgause and Nimueh. * DarkAgeEurope: Played with, but given the lack of religion and Gauis' knowledge, isn't always true to the trope. It works out fairly well, though, because quite frankly, [[{{Squick}} no one wants to see]] DarkAgeEurope. * DarkerAndEdgier: Series 2. Especially 2x12. ** And then Series 3, with its (hallucinations of) drowned children. ** Series 4. The opening episode alone might be darker than the previous three series put together. ** Series 5 promises this but only time will tell *** Gwen's torture in the Dark Tower and her subsequent SanitySlippage, Merlin becoming increasingly ruthless, ([[WhatTheHellHero and getting called out on it]]), and Morgana really stepping up the evil this season with MindRape and ColdBloodedTorture becoming the norm, I'd say they've succeeded in making a show that's definitely not family-friendly. * DeadpanSnarker: Various characters have their witty and humorous moments, such as Arthur, Gwaine, Gauis, Gwen, etc. But Merlin is probably the biggest embodiment of this trope. He always has a witty and sarcastic comment, joke or catch phrase to say. * DeadStarWalking: This show ''loved'' bringing in reasonably big-name guest stars only to kill them off almost immediately, including: [[spoilers: Phil Davies, James Callis, Gary Lewis, Holliday Grainger, Sarah Parish, Charles Dance, Eve Myles, John Shrapnel, Julian Rhind-Tutt and John Lynch, among others]]. * DeathGlare: [[spoiler:Merlin and Morgana]] spend a lot of series three doing this to each other. * DeathByChildbirth: Igraine, Arthur's mother. * DeathByOriginStory: Arthur's mom, Ygraine, died giving birth to him. The catalyst for Uther's magic ban and a major part of the series' premise. * DeathBySecretIdentity: Oh boy. Almost all the people who [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade have discovered Merlin's secret are dead]]. Most [[OneShotCharacter One Shot Characters]], were they [[MonsterOfTheWeek Villains Of The Week]] such as Edwin, Sophia, Aulfric, Tauren, Sigan, Catrina, Jonas, Aredian, Grunhilda, and more recently, [[spoiler: Borden, Lamia]]; or [[VictimOfTheWeek Victims Of The Week]] such as Will, Freya, Balinor, the Fisher King and Daegal, have died within the episode. And then we have the few who lasted longer, such as Nimueh, [[spoiler: Agravaine]], and more recently, proving that AnyoneCanDie, [[spoiler: Lancelot]] and Alator. ** As of the series finale, [[spoiler: Mordred, Morgana and Arthur]] have joined the list. ** In fact, it's quicker to name the characters that ''haven't'' fallen prey to this trope: it's a short-list of Hunith, Gaius, Gilli and (eventually) [[spoiler:Guinevere]]. * DecemberDecemberRomance / NewOldFlame: Alice and Gaius, as shown in ''Love In The Time Of Dragons''. * DecompositeCharacter: It's tricky when dealing with legends, but in most cases the Lady of the Lake is usually Nimueh or Vivian. Here, they are three totally different characters: a druid girl called Frey is the Lady of the Lake, Nimueh is a High Priestess and Vivian is a completely unrelated princess. * DecoyDamsel: Nimueh purposely plays this trope in ''The Poisoned Chalice'', in order to gain Merlin and then Arthur's sympathies and trust. ** It's also been used by Sophia, Catrina, Lamia, and Morgana. Mithian was also one in ''Another's Sorrow'' to lead Arthur into a trap, but was coerced into doing so. * DefrostingIceQueen: Morgana seems to be heading this way [[spoiler: [[AvertedTrope and then heads all the way back.]]]] * DeggansRule: Passed with the inclusion of Elyan as Guinevere's brother. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: Arthur can be sexist and elitist at times. ** The entire attitude toward killing on the show. What, you thought that the PG rating would put rose colored glasses on? Nope. If someone's trying to kill you, you kill them. The only two exceptions are when Mordred kills soldiers because he's a child, and when it's in cold blood, like Arthur executing King Caerleon. ** Merlin calling Morgana out in the Series 3 opening for killing can come across as hypocrisy, but if you notice his main problems are that she's killing innocents and her actions will only cause more hatred against magic. *** However, it should be noted that the show is set in a time when battle was considered glorious and killing someone when there were justifiable reasons was acceptable. This is an accurate portrayal of the era. * DeliberatelyCuteChild: Mordred. Or Deliberate Woobie. This troper firmly believes the big blue puppy-eyes and the woefulness was put on to convince the Power Quartet to help him. * DemotedToExtra: Especially in Season One, the show had a habit of taking the names of reasonably significant Arthurian characters, like Pellinore, and giving them to random knights, [[RedshirtArmy who were then killed]]. ** In series four and five, [[CanonForeigner Gaius]] is given virtually nothing to do except [[MrExposition provide exposition]] and exist as a [[TheConfidant sounding board]] to Merlin. True, that was always his role, but he was also given several character-centric episodes in the past. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as the introduction of the knights of the Round Table at the end of series three meant that the show was juggling LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, and one of the themes of the season was passing on the torch to the younger generation. ** Gwaine became this in series four and five - oddly enough, he got more screen-time and characterization as a guest star than as a series regular. * DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: "I want you to swear that you will keep your oath." Because no one will expect you to [[ShapedLikeItself keep a promise unless you promise to keep it]]... * DesignatedVillain: {{Invoked}} with Mordred. As several characters point out in-show, Mordred is an innocent who shows Merlin nothing but kindness, but Merlin is still determined to end him because he believes Mordred will kill Arthur. ** [[spoiler: And he's right. Although weirdly, it turned out to be so much of a SelfFulfillingProphecy as a YouCantFightFate]]. * DeusExMachina: [[spoiler:Morgana looks like she's pretty much out for the count in the season four finale, but the white dragon Merlin hatched decides to drop by and heal her.]] ** The Vilia * DevilInPlainSight: A frequent trope for this show. Most of the time the "devil" is someone (rather easily) gaining Uther's or Arthur's trust. * DisappearedDad: Merlin's father. Technically, he's less "disappeared" and more "dead" now. * DiscOneFinalBoss: [[spoiler:Nimeuh in the literal sense (though more "Season" than "Disc"); Morgause in the sense of being the "half-way point" villain and having lasted two whole Seasons.]] * DisguisedInDrag: Sir Leon in episode 3x13. Yes, really. [[spoiler: Gwen dresses him up to escape Camelot]]. And Merlin himself in 5x09, when he's ''already'' in disguise as the old sorceror. * DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler:Aredian the witchfinder.]] * DisposableWoman: This show has a bad track record of woman-shaped plot devices. They are as follows: ** Ygraine, whose death begins Uther's reign of terror against all those who practice magic. ** Freya, whose death provides Merlin with plenty of manpain (and who dies in order to fetch Excalibur from the bottom of Lake Avalon). ** Isolde, whose death motivates Arthur to get back with Guinevere. ** Kara, whose death spurs Mordred into turning against Arthur and Camelot. ** Valdis in ''The Death Song of Uther Pendragon'' who Arthur saves from execution before she gives him the episode's PlotCoupon and promptly dying anyway. ** Alice, a non-fatal example, is Gaius's old girlfriend who rolls into town under the thrall of a manticore. She needs Gaius to dispose of the manticore and break her out of prison, then promptly disappears, never to be seen or heard from again. * DisproportionateRetribution: ** [[spoiler: Uther wanted an heir but his wife was barren. Nimueh cured his wife's sterility but to keep the balance of life and death she died in childbirth]] and for this Uther has mounted a genocidal campaign against ''all'' magic users. Particularly disproportionate if [[UnreliableNarrator Nimueh]] is telling the truth that [[spoiler: she didn't know it would be Ygraine that would die]] ** We also have the episode where Arthur killed a unicorn and the keeper of the unicorns cursed Camelot. All the crops rotted overnight and all the water turned to sand. ** No mention of "The Lady of the Lake" when [[spoiler: a sorceress cursed Freya to turn into a bloodthirsty, killing Bastet every night for accidentally killing said sorceress's son in self-defense]]? ** Also the dragon's attack on Camelot. Uther slaughtered his entire kind, and in response he attempts to raze the city to the ground, leaving Uther untouched as his subjects die. Well, it's the exact same thing that Uther did to him, but he was still killing innocents. * DistantFinale: [[spoiler:The epilogue is in modern day.]] * DistractedByTheSexy: Happens frequently with Merlin: [[MeetCute every time he first meets a woman]] he's momentarily dumbfounded by their beauty. However, when things get serious, he plays the [[NotDistractedByTheSexy reverse trope]]. In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E09TheLadyOfTheLake The Lady of the Lake]]'', after Freya goes back to her human form for the last time, she's completely naked. The moment Merlin realizes this he takes off his jacket and covers her without even trying to sneak a glance. Happens again in ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E11TheHuntersHeart The Hunter's Heart]]'', when he finds Gwen injured in the forest. She's wearing something that looks like a harem woman outfit, but he's [[IgnoreTheFanservice focused on healing her]]. * DistressedDamsel: A lot of the girls featured in the show veer between this and DamselOutOfDistress , often in the same episode. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur}} Le Mort d'Arthur]]'': Hunith is the victim of Merlin's DealWithTheDevil when his agreement with Nimueh to spare Arthur's life backfires on his mother. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere}} Lancelot and Guinevere]]'': Morgana and Guinevere, despite being in considerable danger manage to escape their captors with a ShowSomeLeg ploy. Guinevere then switches between the two poles: on the one hand, she has a YouShallNotPass moment to ensure Morgana's escape and keeps up a convincing performance of a high-born lady to trick her captor into thinking that she's Morgana, on the other hand, the fact that she trips over is what gets her captured in the first place, and after Lancelot faciliates her escape, she's re-captured again off-screen. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E09TheLadyOfTheLake}} The Lady of the Lake]]'': The titular lady is Freya, who is a frightened and vulnerable runaway who relies completely on Merlin to protect her. Even as a giant flying panther she's fairly helpless. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E06TheChangeling}} The Changeling]]'': A strange case of a damsel who isn't even ''aware'' that she's in distress. Elena was possessed as a baby by a member of the Sidhe, and it isn't until she's twenty years old that Merlin and Gaius exorcise it from her body. She remains completely unaware of this. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E09LoveInTheTimeOfDragons}} Love In The Time of Dragons]]'': Alice is under the sway of the Manticore, needing Gaius to not only rescue her from its power, but from the dungeons once she's exposed as a witch. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E11TheHuntersHeart}} The Hunter's Heart]]'': Again, Guinevere flips between the two poles: she handles herself well when taken captive by Helios, manages to escape and evade his men with important information and disguises herself from Morgana, but is then turned into a deer, shot with an arrow during a hunt, and has to be healed by Merlin. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E04AnothersSorrow}} Another's Sorrow]]'': Mithian is coerced by Morgana into leading Arthur and his knights into a trap, though she's resourceful enough to get a warning out to Merlin. However, she's otherwise helpless throughout the entire ordeal, and badly burned by Morgana's magic. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E06TheDarkTower}} The Dark Tower]]'': Guinevere is kidnapped by Morgana and has psychological torture inflicted upon her. Though she holds out for longer than expected, she's eventually broken. ** Morgana in general fluctuates between the two states. DependingOnTheWriter she can be a fighter in her own right (1x10), to being held with a knife to her throat (2x07). This remains the case even ''after'' her FaceHeelTurn, depicted as a fierce opponent (4x01) as well as a terrified woman held in a pit for two years (5x02). * DistressedDude: There are actually far, ''far'' more [[DistressedDude Distressed Dudes]] than [[DistressedDamsel Damsels]] in the show; so many that it would be impossible to list every example. Here's a quick run-down: ** Merlin: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice}} The Poisoned Chalice]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E06AServantOfTwoMasters}} A Servant Of Two Masters]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E04AnothersSorrow}} Another's Sorrow]]'' ** Uther: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E06ARemedyToCureAllIlls}} A Remedy To Cure All Ills]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E01TheTearsOfUtherPendragonPartI}} The Tears of Uther Pendragon]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E09LoveInTheTimeOfDragons}} Love In The Time of Dragons]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E03TheWickedDay}} The Wicked Day]]'' ** Gaius: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E07TheWitchfinder}} The Witchfinder]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E03GoblinsGold}} Goblin's Gold]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E07TheSecretSharer}} The Secret Sharer]]'' ** Elyan: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E07TheCastleOfFyrien}} The Castle of Fyrien]]'' ** Mordred: ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E08TheBeginningOfTheEnd}} The Beginning Of The End]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E05TheDisir}} The Disir]]'' ** Gwaine and Lancelot were both introduced by helping out Arthur/Merlin, getting critically wounded, and having to seek help back in Camelot. All the knights were enchanted in ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E08Lamia}} Lamia]]''. ** Arthur: Practically every single episode. He's the target of [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E01TheDragonsCall}} dozens]] [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E02Valiant}} of]] [[{{Recap/MerlinS02E02TheOnceAndFutureQueen}} assassination]] [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E04Gwaine}} attempts]], and is regularly [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur}} poisoned]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E05TheCrystalCave}} shot]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E08TheEyeOfThePhoenix}} knocked out]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon}} hypnotized]], [[{{Recap/MerlinS03E07TheCastleOfFyrien}} held prisoner]], and [[{{Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams}} put under enchantments]]. * DisturbingStatistic: While discussing a tournament Arthur is about to compete in, Merlin [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwU0b5S8E4U keeps talking about]] how many people died the last time, just on the first day. * DoctorsOrders: Gaius gives Uther orders. * DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Happens more often than you'd think. Sometimes stumbles into HoYay. ** In 3x09 that Manticore was a little too pleased with being milked. *** Also from that episode, Merlin holding the ring for Arthur to practice joust with. * DoubleEntendre: Cenred does not only think with his "sword". * DragonRider: Merlin gets to have a shot early in Series 3. ** And then again in the final episode of the same series. * DramaticIrony: And how! The fact that Merlin has to hide his magic makes this happen all the time, with Arthur laughing at how useless Merlin is (when Merlin can't admit to saving his butt all the time) or with, one episode, Uther commenting on how useful he is to the fight against sorcery. * TheDreaded: By Series 4, Merlin literally becomes the stuff of nightmares towards [[spoiler: Morgana]]. * DreamingOfThingsToCome: Morgana * DressingAsTheEnemy: In 2x04, Merlin and Arthur disguise themselves as two of Hengist's thugs to rescue Gwen. In 5x02 (part two), Arthur and Merlin acquire the uniforms of a pair of Morgana's guards to find the others. * DroppedABridgeOnHim:[[spoiler:Agravaine]] seems to be leaning this way. Sure, his death scene is an important moment in Merlin's character arc, but it's not about him, it's about Merlin. His death scene has nothing to do with him, he's just there to advance Merlin from BewareTheNiceOnes to GoodIsNotSoft, and he's only mentioned once afterward in passing. * [[{{Druid}} Druid Boy / Druid Girl]]: Mordred and Freya. * DudeNotFunny: InUniverse. Merlin's reaction in 4x10 when the Knights make fun of his warnings about the Druid Shrine being cursed. * DudeWheresMyRespect: Merlin, despite bravely following Arthur into dangerous situations time and time again, is still treated like a lowly servant. * DuelToTheDeath: Arthur is often challenged to these. * TheDutifulSon: Arthur. Much to his own detriment. [[/folder]] [[folder: E-F]] * EarlyBirdCameo: Used in a curious way; a number of significant knights, including Pelinore and Bedivere, have been ''killed'', before we even get a Round Table. ** Particularly odd in Bedivere's case considering most of the legends agree that he was the ''last'' surviving member of the Knighthood of the Round Table (and the knight who returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake on Arthur's insistence). ** Cenred is first mentioned in 1x10. [[spoiler:Guess who appears in ''3x01''.]] ** Though when you think about it, there are quite a few explanations for the 'deaths' of those knights: it could merely be a dramatic subversion of EarlyBirdCameo by in turn averting the OneSteveLimit, or the legends of Arthur's court be rather inaccurate, or perhaps one or two of those knights could end up being resurrected (without turning evil) later on. *** Or they could be the fathers of the historical versions. "Sir Bedivere" could also be what Bedivere Junior is called. * EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first few handful of episodes introduced a number of things that were dropped later on in the series, including ShipTease between Arthur/Morgana and Merlin/Gwen, Merlin's ability to slow down time and to cast spells without any incantations, a telepathic bond between Merlin and Arthur, and a scene in which Gaius seems to be on relatively friendly terms with the Great Dragon - a connection that has not been alluded to since. ** Considering that Uther frequently calls upon Gaius' knowledge and counsel regarding magical creatures, it is incredibly likely that Gaius was called upon to deal with the Dragon in the past. Given that Uther executed all of the Dragonlords, those with knowledge of Dragon-lore are practically non-existent. ** In the first episode Arthur was portrayed as a near-homicidal asshole, gleefully attacking Merlin with a ''flail'' because of an insulting comment and throwing ''knives'' at a servant for his own amusement. Later episodes toned his jerkiness down considerably. * EasilyForgiven: {{Subverted}}. Morgana pretends to forgive Merlin for poisoning her, but still carries a pretty hefty grudge. * EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette: Morgana. Contributes to her ethereal beauty. ** Merlin. He has very dark (almost black) hair which contrasts with his ultra pale skin. It's especially noticeable in later seasons. ** Freya. * EggMacGuffin: [[spoiler: The whole point of ''Aithusa'' is to find a Dragon's egg.]] * EldritchLocation: The Valley of the Fallen Kings. ** The Dark Tower, very much so. In addition to the stories young knights are apparently told to scare them away from it, it is surrounded by an impenetrable forest that, in addition to being nigh impenetrable, reverses directions so you can only get out if you have help. It also looks terrifying and Queen Mab gives Merlin some rather disturbing advice: --->'''Queen Mab''': You must beware, Emrys. The Tower is not a real place. It is the heart's rest, the mind's deepest fear, the stillness in the hummingbird's eye. * EmbarrassingCoverUp: Whenever Merlin needs to disappear for a noticeable amount of time, Gaius invariably claims that Merlin's been spending said time at the tavern. Mind you, he'll be missing for ''days'' and Gaius will default to this excuse. * EmpathicEnvironment: In 2x09, it's raining [[spoiler:as Freya dies]]. * EnfanteTerrible: [[spoiler:Mordred]] * EntendreFailure: After Uther catches Arthur with Guinevere he laughs and says: "I know about the temptations of serving girls!" Given how the rest of that conversation goes, Arthur has no idea what he means. * EsotericMotifs * EternalSexualFreedom: There's no indication that Hunith lost any prestige for having a child out of wedlock or any indication that Merlin received any persecution for being a bastard child. In fact, when they discuss it in ''Sins Of The Father'', Arthur treats it like Merlin lost his father. Justified in that it's a family show and they couldn't ''say'' the word "bastard", much less discuss what it means. It's also a FantasyCounterpartCulture, so they can have whatever moral views the writers decide. ** Even more so with Morgana, not only [[spoiler:illegitimate daughter of Uther (and who therefore would not, by the way, be eligible for the throne), but the result of an adulterous affair with the wife of his best knight, Gorlois. Kings ''could'' legitimate their children (usually if they had no other heir), but he never does, and once she committed high treason by seizing the throne for herself, she'd have forfeited any chance]]. * EvasiveFightThreadEpisode: Arthur has won in combat against practically everyone...but never decisively against [[TheRival Lancelot]]. Even in 4x09, he needed magical help from Merlin in order to overcome him. * EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Uther truly loves his children. Morgana and Morgause dearly loved one another. Agravaine seems to genuinely care for Morgana. In fact, many of the villains, even the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monsters of the Week]] were acting out of love for another (Sophia and Aulfric, Mary Collins, etc). * EvenTheGuysWantHim: Arthur, apparently. According to the (male) villain in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'': --> Every woman in the land is attracted to this boy- I'm almost attracted to him myself. * EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Curiously averted (for the time being). ** Guinevere, of royal blood in most of the legends, is reimagined as a commoner and servant. In fact, she and Arthur seemed to have almost swapped roles as traditionally Arthur was raised as a commoner. ** Morgana has been the legal ward of King Uther since early childhood but apparently has not been granted the title of princess, as she is always addressed as the Lady Morgana. In Series 2, Vivian is the daughter of a king (as was [[spoiler: [[AllTrollsAreDifferent the real "Lady Catrina"]]]]) but both are also known as Lady rather than Princess. *** Actually, this is endemic to the show, and not just with the ladies. Even Uther is frequently addressed as "My Lord" rather than the correct "Your Majesty". (And Arthur, by the way, should be "Your Highness".) *** While technically correct, such terms as "Your Majesty" were not commonly used towards royalty until Henry VIII. ** Series three features a Princess Elena, but she turns out not to be your typical princess - [[spoiler: She's possessed by a Sidhe, which makes her very clumsy and gives her disgusting personal habits.]] ** In series four, the trope is finally played straight with the visiting Princess Mithian. She falls for Arthur, but he rejects her affections because he is still in love with Gwen. * EveryoneCanSeeIt: Arthur is ''not good'' at hiding his feelings for Gwen. Not good. At all. * EvilChancellor: Agravaine. * EvilFeelsGood: Morgana looks positively orgasmic every time she plots against her family and friends, performs dark magic, or takes an innocent life. * EvilIsDeathlyCold: The Dorocha appear as demonic, screaming skeletons made of smoke. They can kill any mortal by touching them, seemingly freezing them to death. * EvilIsNotWellLit: Most of Agravaine and Morgana's scenes in series four take place in a dark little hovel in the woods. * EvilMakeover: As of series four, [[spoiler:Morgana]] wears [[WomanInBlack a gothic black dress]] and green eye-shadow with dark eyeliner, as well as having wild hair. * [[EvilSorcerer Evil Sorcerer / Evil Sorceress]]: Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh, Mordred. * EvilVersusEvil: Uther Pendragon vs Nimueh and other Villains. * ExactWords: {{Subverted}} in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]''. After Arthur is mortally injured by the Questing Beast, Merlin makes a deal with Nimueh for his life. He makes it ''very specifically clear'' that he is bartering ''his'' life for Arthur's, but that doesn't stop nature & the universe from trying to take Merlin's mother's life instead. [[spoiler: although it may have been because Merlin is immortal, and, therefore, he couldn't DIE in Arthur's place]] ** Played straight with the High Priestesses. A High Priestess cannot be killed with a mortal blade but [[NoManOfWomanBorn there are ways to go around this]] * ExcaliburInTheStone: In The Coming Of Arthur Part 2. * [[ExpectingSomeoneTaller Expecting Someone Shorter]]: After identifying Arthur as 'Courage', Grettir tells him "you're not as short as I thought you'd be." * {{Expy}}: To the first series of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': the superpowered teenager who can't reveal his secret (Merlin and Clark); his father figure who knows his secret (Gaius and Jonathan); his male best friend who will one day learn his secret (Pete and Arthur), his female best friend with {{UST}} (Gwen and Chloe); his future enemy pre-FaceHeelTurn (Morgana and Lex); said enemy's antagonistic father (Uther and Lionel). And later, his ally who knows his secret (Lancelot and Oliver) with a team of warriors (Knights of Camelot and the Justice League). ** Writer Julian Jones has admitted that their version of ''TristanAndIsolde'' is based on ''MrAndMrsSmith''. ** Queen Annis bears more than a passing resemblance to Boudicca, and there's some speculation that Princess Mithian was based on the more familiar characterization of Guinevere, being both high-born and in a (temporary) ArrangedMarriage with KingArthur (the show's ''real'' Guinevere being a servant girl widely known as Gwen). ** Though not strictly a character, the Mage Stone in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' is clearly The Philosopher's Stone, presumably changed in order to avoid comparisons with ''Literature/HarryPotter''. ** The Cup of Life is clearly the Holy Grail. * FacelessGoons: In season 3, Cenred's armies all wear balaclavas over their heads. * FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Morgana in series 3.]] * TheFairFolk: The Sidhe. * FakeBrit: Morgana is played by Irish actress [[KatieMcGrath Katie [=McGrath=]]], and Merlin is played by Northern Irish actor Colin Morgan. Morgana, however, retains her Irish accent. This decision occurred during casting, where the [[http://merlin.wikia.com/wiki/Katie_McGrath producers did not want two Irish-speaking leads]] - had Colin Morgan not been able to fake a decent English accent, he would've retained his Irish one and Katie McGrath would've had to put on a convincing English accent or not get the part. Gwaine is also played by an Irish actor (Eoin Macken). ** All three actors - Morgan, [=McGrath=] & Macken - were [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtXD7XFeeI interviewed on Irish television together]] so their real accents can be compared and contrasted. * FallingChandelierOfDoom: In 1x01, Merlin makes one fall on Mary Collins. * FamousLastWords: Coincidentally (or not, though it's likely the writers just forgot) both [[spoiler:Arthur and Lancelot]] have the exact same last words: they each say "thank you" to Merlin before they die. * FanNickname: The Slash Dragon for the dragon and lately, "Smirkgana" for Morgana. King Giles for Uther * FanServicePack: Guinevere is prettied up. [[http://oi39.tinypic.com/2lwm890.jpg The difference is obvious]]. * FantasticRacism: Uther's pogrom against magic users. * FascinatingEyebrow: A particular skill of Richard Wilson's, so naturally Gaius uses it a fair bit. Sometimes his face seems to be stuck this way. * FauxActionGirl: Morgana. She is presented as a feisty girl with a sword, but she never accomplishes anything. Read [[http://zahrawithaz.livejournal.com/1893.html this.]] ** Also Isolde. Were you hoping that she'd be as tough as she looked? Sorry, she gets knocked out in less than three seconds and is carried around for the rest of the episode. In fairness, she made up for it in the following episode, [[spoiler:even if she was killed by the end]]. * FeetOfClay: Out of universe example: Merlin is repeatedly referred to as the [[TheArchmage most powerful sorcerer ever]] and frequently shows his [[MundaneUtility skill with housework]], but as soon as he is faced with an injury, a troll, other magical creature, a sticky hiding-in-the-cupboard situation, or heaven forbid one of those other witches/wizards who are obviously infinitely less powerful than him, such as Nimueh, Edwin, Cedric/Cornelius Sigan, then he immediately either forgets his 'amazing abilities' or finds himself completely outdone. ** More a case of UnskilledButStrong. Merlin possesses a great deal of raw, instinctive power, but lacks training, enabling his [[WeakButSkilled less powerful but experienced opponents]] to gain the upper hand. Best demonstrated when fighting Nimueh: Merlin tries an incantation, and she laughs it off and sticks a fireball in his chest. Then Merlin gets [[BerserkButton ripshit pissed]] and [[spoiler: blows her into LudicrousGibs through sheer willpower.]] * FemaleGaze: KatieMcGrath and Creator/AngelCoulby have to put up with a few [[CleavageWindow CleavageWindows]], but it's overwhelmingly the men that are ogled by the camera. Remember the days when Arthur would get dressed behind a screen? Well now the camera just follows him behind it. And when he's not around, there's usually a knight wandering around with his shirt off. * FingerlessGloves: Gaius wears them. * FisherKing: In episode 8 of Series 3 (''The Eye of the Phoenix''), Arthur must travel to the Perilous Realms which is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, affected by it's [[FisherKing King]] who was wounded in battle, but "The wound festered, affecting not just his body, but his kingdom as well, rendering it a wasteland." In universe, this seems to be his title, rather than a term for what he caused, but it's still sound. * FiveYearPlan: According to the cast and creators in recent interviews, the show was always designed to span five years, with the actors' contracts ending after that point and the four leads ready to move onto new projects. The announcement as to the show's end came as no surprise to most of the fan-base, though as [[http://www.hypable.com/2012/11/26/an-open-letter-to-the-bbc-merlin-cancellation/ this (somewhat melodramatic) open letter points out]], the way in which the showrunners went about dealing with it was decidedly strange. * {{Flanderization}}: Merlin used to be quite good at hiding his magical abilities by rationalizing (or completely avoiding) the odd situations he often found himself in because of them. Nowadays not an episode will go by that doesn't have Merlin getting caught in compromising positions ([[HoYay usually with a dose of subtext]]), and having to explain himself with increasingly bizarre excuses. By this stage, Arthur thinks that he's an alcoholic weak-bladdered cross-dresser who prowls around the castle at night, is obsessed with pest infestations, and has serious mental problems. ** Arthur started out as an arrogant prat, but he was also observant, intelligent and quick-thinking, and wasn't afraid to defy his father. In later seasons, he was given crippling Daddy Issues, would dismiss Merlin at every opportunity, and was utterly oblivious to magic even when it was happening right before his eyes. To add insult to injury, it became a RunningGag that he wasn't even able to dress himself. It's actually quite shocking to go back and watch him in the first seasons, in which he immediately takes Merlin's word that a magic-user is on the loose in the ''second'' episode, and for him to correctly identify a small hurricane as magical in the ''tenth''. * FlirtyStepsiblings : Arthur and Morgana in series 1. Abandoned in series 2, leading to [[TheReveal the revelation that]] [[spoiler: they actually share a father, which retroactively gives their banter shades of BrotherSisterIncest]]. * FlowerMotifs: Gwen is often associated with flowers, whether she's picking them, receiving them, or wearing them in her hair. This seems to be a deliberate contrast to Morgana, who wears jewels. * FriendVersusLover: Notably avoided between Merlin and Guinevere in regards to Arthur, [[OneTrueThreesome who are more than happy to share him]]. * {{Foil}}: Morgana to Merlin in series three, described by the dragon as "the shadow to your light, the hate to your love." ** Lancelot to Arthur. In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere Lancelot and Guinevere]]'', Lancelot's presence highlighted both Arthur's faults and his virtues. On the one hand, when Arthur realizes that there may be something between Lance/Gwen he pulls a massive sulk and makes an off-handed comment that he's only there because Morgana begged him; whilst Lancelot graciously admits defeat and bows out of the LoveTriangle before there's any more trouble. On the other hand, the fact that Lancelot leaves in the middle of the night without even saying goodbye highlights Arthur's honesty with Gwen when he tells her that nothing can ever happen between them. *** In the DVDCommentary Bradley James said that in the campfire scene he wanted Arthur to be snoring loudly, just to highlight how superior Lancelot was to Arthur. ** Gwen to Morgana. It's similar to the situation with Lancelot and Arthur: she usually makes both Morgana's faults and virtues come to light .This is specially noticeable in 1x12 (while Gwen refuses to get revenge on Uther for killing her father, Morgana tries to have him assassinated; but Gwen's situation also highlights Morgana's compassion and friendship with her) and for the whole of Series three, with the obvious good girl/bad girl dynamics and both of their 'Coronation' Scenes in [[LightIsGood 3x10]] and [[DarkIsEvil 3x12]]. * FollowTheLeader: The show is essentially [[RecycledPremise repurposing the premise]] of ''{{Smallville}}'' for the Arthurian mythos. Both shows feature the untold adventures of a well-established hero and his supporting cast when they were teenagers, with a mix of TeenDrama and MonsterOfTheWeek elements, designed to appeal to the same TargetAudience and PeripheryDemographic. The similarities have been acknowledged by the cast & crew in interviews. To whit: ** The teenage hero is [[PowerCreepPowerSeep developing]] special powers hithertofore used only instinctively which he must master ''and'' hide for fear of discovery, surreptitiously saving people around him with them without them knowing. The hero is told of the great [[BecauseDestinySaysSo destiny]] that awaits him [[ScrewDestiny whether he likes it or not]], and has to deal with conflicting messages from his peers and mentor figures about how to use his powers. Many of the canonical character relationships are also inverted at the beginning of the show. Both works feauture an [[{{Adorkable}} socially]] [[HollywoodNerd awkward]], [[ChronicHeroSyndrome reluctant but chronic hero]] who comes from humble origins that are [[TheReveal actually fantastical]] (Merlin/Clark); a friend-destined-to-be-[[FaceHeelTurn nemesis]] (Morgana/Lex Luthor); misdirected love interests (Gwen & Merlin/Chloe & Clark); lovers initially disinterested in their destined spouse (Arthur & Gwen/Clark & Lois); an [[RaceLift ethnically-recast]] female lead (Gwen/Lana), a loving and sternly cautious [[ParentalSubstitute father figure]] contrasting an ambiguously motivated supernatural mentor (Gaius & Jonathan Kent/The Dragon & Jor-El's recording); a PluckyGirl who won't keep her mouth shut (Morgana/Lois); a faithful female friend (Gwen/Chloe); future allies who initially dislike each other (Clark & Oliver/Merlin & Arthur); awkward friends from radically different social classes (Merlin & Arthur/Clark & Lex); the rich friend is heir to a vast empire but has misgivings about it (Arthur/Lex) and has an extremely powerful WellIntentionedExtremist father and is both a potential ally and an implicit threat to the hero if he were to discover his secret (Lionel Luthor/Uther Pendragon). ** Oddly enough, they got accused of doing this with Series 5 and ''{{Series/GameOfThrones}}'', as it features snow, Gwen learning politics, and a more multi-stranded story line. The creators pointed out these tropes are hardly original to Game of Thrones, although they do envy their production budget. * ForegoneConclusion: [[spoiler: Morgana and Mordred]] becoming evil; Lancelot and Guinevere's mutual attraction; [[spoiler:Arthur and Guinevere]] getting married, [[spoiler:Arthur's death by Mordred]]. * ForeignLookingFont: the book of spells given to Merlin by Gaius. At first glance it looks like Old English (which is what they do the verbal part of spells in). Closer inspection reveals it's modern English, with this trope. * {{Foreshadowing}}: At the conclusion of 1X08, Arthur asks the young Druid boy for his name and is told: "[[spoiler: My name is Mordred.]]" A strange, somewhat uneasy look comes over Arthur's face as the boy is lead away; all history fans who knows what Mordred is to become scream in horror. But the ominous chanting and drum-beats are just overkill. ** Also, in the first episode, Gaius mentions Morgana's nightmares; in ''Valiant'', she gives Arthur a very heartfelt warning before the tournament. A few episodes later, it's revealed that she's a seer and has been dreaming about the future. (The first example may also qualify as a BrickJoke - at the time it seemed like the sleeping draft was just a lead-in to an awkward comedy scene). ** In 1X10 Arthur rallies together a group of villagers in the defense of their homes: they stand in an obvious circle in which Arthur calls them all equals: a collection that includes peasants, servants and women. ** Near the end of 03x07: "Camelot was built on trust and loyalty. It will never be defeated, so long as we stay true to those ideals." Anyone who knows anything about how Camelot ''will'' be defeated knows how true that statement is. ** In 1x5, Gaius has this line: "I would give my life for you without a thought." [[spoiler: Guess what happens a few episodes later.]] ** A couple in 2x09, fulfilled in the episode. The first, when Merlin brings Freya food (she [[spoiler:eats like an animal]])and the second, when he is stealing a dress for her and tells Gwen that, since it's infested with moths, he'll have to burn it. [[spoiler:Cue Freya being cremated while wearing it]]. ** When Gwaine first meets Gwen in 3x04, he says: "you look like a princess to me." ** In 1x05 Merlin points out Arthur and Lancelot to Gwen and jokingly asks: "Which one would you chose?" She laughs and replies: "I don't have to chose, and I never will!" [[DramaticIrony Oh man...]] * TheFourLoves: The show features all four amongst its central cast. Merlin/Arthur are Storge, the Knights of the Round Table are Phileo, Arthur/Guinevere and Merlin/Freya are Eros, and Lancelot embodies Agape in his love for Merlin and Guinevere. * FourTemperamentEnsemble: Merlin is sanguine, Arthur is choleric, Gwen is melancholic, and Morgana is phlegmatic. In fact, Morgana growing out of her place in the ensemble arguably is part of the drama of series two. ** Alternatively, Gwen is sanguine, Arthur is choleric, Morgana is melancholic, and Merlin is phlegmatic. * FramingTheGuiltyParty: The Witchfinder. * FreudianTrio: In the trio of Merlin, Arthur and Gwen, Merlin is TheSpock / Superego (Calm, secretive, has made at least one SadisticChoice in which he sacrificed a dear friend in order to save a greater number of people) to Arthur's TheMcCoy / Id (Arrogant, aggressive, impulsive, is driven by his emotions, usually puts the individual before the bigger picture to Arthur's) and Gwen's TheKirk / Ego (TheHeart, motherly, adored by both men as a LoveInterest/[[LikeBrotherAndSister Sister Figure]]. See TheSpock. ** In the PowerTrio of Merlin (Magic), Arthur (Courage) and Gwaine (Strength), Merlin is TheKirk / Ego (Balanced, neutral, the mediator between the opposing personalities of Arthur and Gwaine, friends with both Arthur and Gwaine) to Arthur's TheSpock / Superego (Stoic, serious, strategic, noble, courageous) and Gwaine's TheMcCoy / Id (Fun-loving, roguish, carefree, rebellious, daredevil). *** Merlin could be seen as the Ego mediating between the magical power respresented by the wise Gaius (Superego) and the human world of the impulsive Arthur (Id). * FriendlyRivalry: Arthur and Gwaine. * FriendshipMoment: All the time between the main four, especially between Merlin and Arthur. * FunctionalMagic: Definitely Rule Magic and Device Magic and possibly also Inherent Gift, at least with Merlin himself (Gaius is astonished at Merlin performing magic without having been taught). * FutureBadass: Merlin, [[spoiler: who becomes the most powerful sorcerer on Earth, Emrys.]] [[/folder]] [[folder: G-H]] * GambitRoulette: Nimueh succeeds with one in "[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]" with a plot to force Merlin into drinking poison by switching Arthur's chalice with a poisoned one, disguising herself as a serving girl, and telling Merlin that she witnessed the visiting lord of another kingdom spike the chalice that he presents to Arthur as a gift. The gambit hinges on Merlin ''taking'' the poisoned chalice from Arthur instead of knocking its contents onto the ground, and on Uther forcing Merlin to drink from it to prove his accusation (though knowing what she does about Uther, this would probably fall into a BatmanGambit). Of course, what Nimeuh ''doesn't'' count on is Arthur successfully finding the cure, and she only refrains from killing him BecauseDestinySaysSo. * GeniusDitz: Merlin abilities come from simple instinct, not years of patient study. --> '''Merlin''': I could move objects like that before I could even ''talk''. * GenreSavvy: PlayedForDrama with Lancelot. He knows where he stands in the LoveTriangle, and he also knows that breaking it off early is the only chance Gwen has at happiness. Which makes it all the more tragic when [[spoiler: that, along with everything else about him, gets twisted around in ''Lancelot du Lac'']]. ** Merlin is the most aware character in the series. He always knows what is going on around him. * GeographicFlexibility: In the first two series it appears that Guinevere's cottage is a reasonable distance away from the castle. In series three, Morgana is not only able to see it from her bedroom window, but at a close enough range to watch the kidnapping that she's staged. * GetOut: Arthur when sacking Merlin in ''Valiant'' after the servant's suspicions made him look bad in front of the court. * GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Arthur gets donkey ears. Funny. Arthur can't speak without braying. Hilarious. But then a sympathetic Gwen begins to stroke his ears, and suddenly [[FantasticArousal Arthur looks remarkably...]]''[[FantasticArousal contented.]]'' ** When Helios captures Gwen, he has her [[BatheHerAndBringHerToMe bathed and dressed in a slave outfit]] and brought to his room. There's a bed in the corner, which Guinevere eyes worryingly, and when a servant comes in, he says (paraphrased) "I said no interruptions." Given how the show was unafraid to imply sex, Gwen was most likely a temporary, (albeit luckily unused) sex slave. ** When Merlin disappears on a secret quest with a young Druid, Gwen tells Arthur that he's gone away to meet with a girl he's been seeing, and is met with much skepticism. When Merlin gets back - in the company of a cute young guy - Arthur asks Merlin to tell him about the girl he was visiting ... and about why he's ''limping.'' * TheGhost: King Lot is mentioned a couple of times at the end of series 4, but is never seen on-screen. ** Also, an odd variation concerning Arthur's dogs. He apparently has several, and on occasion tells Merlin to look after them, but they're never seen on-screen. * GiantFlyer: The Great Dragon, Aithusa and Freya (in her Bastet or winged panther form). * GivingTheSwordToANoob: Merlin doesn't have much experience in sword fighting. However, in 3x13, Merlin retrieved Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake (Freya) in order to defeat Morgana's immortal army. Kilgarrah had told Merlin that in the wrong hands, the sword was capable of doing great evil. But at that particular and crucial moment in time, the sword was used by Merlin to defeat the enemy (Morgana's immortal army), even though the sword is meant for Arthur. * GilliganCut: 'I think I'm starting to get the hang of this whole deception lark...' * GirlNextDoor: Gwen. * GirlyBruiser: Morgana and Morgause are both feminine and pretty handy with a sword as well as combat. * GlamourFailure: Magical disguises are always exposed if one stands in front of a mirror. This is best seen in "The Dragon's Call" and "The Eye of the Phoenix." ** Though not commented upon, Merlin's Dragoon disguise holds up when he looks in the mirror. This may be because his spell is much more powerful - he even has trouble undoing it, whereas Morgause had been concerned that her spell wouldn't hold. * GoOutWithASmile: Lancelot ''almost'' achieves this when he faces death with the knowledge that Guinevere has escaped - up until he realizes that she's been recaptured. But then Arthur saves them both anyway. ** In 4x02, [[spoiler: Lancelot does it again when he sacrifices himself to close the veil.]] ** And then, in 4x09, [[spoiler: he does it ''again'' when Merlin brings him back for a last moment before he dies for the second time - this time probably for good.]] ** [[spoiler: Arthur dies smiling in the GrandFinale]] * GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[spoiler: Morgana]], the last two eps of season 3. And season 4. * TheGoodKing: [[spoiler: Arthur in season 4 and 5.]] * TheGoodChancellor: Despite not having any rank at all, Merlin fits this trope perfectly. It's so prevalent that Princess Mithian is able to figure out that Arthur values his opinion above all others after being in Camelot for ''one day'', and asks him for his support. * GoodColorsEvilColors: Arthur and Merlin wear red and blue. As of series 4, the bad guys wear black. Guinevere is steadily making her way through every shade of pastel that the costume designer can come up with. ** Morgana has interesting wardrobe changes throughout the course of ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E11TheWitchsQuickening The Witch’s Quickening]]''. When she takes her own initiative or is sabotaging Camelot, she wears green. When she is being manipulated or subjected to the men around her, she's wearing white. ** And when she's just being ObviouslyEvil, she wears [[LadyInRed red]]. Lots and lots of red. As of Series 4, her makeup has been gothed up a bit. ** There might be a bit of {{Foreshadowing}} and FridgeBrilliance in the use of [[PurpleIsPowerful purple]], [[ColorCodedPatrician the royal colour]], in some [[GracefulLadiesLikePurple female characters]]. In the first series, Morgana has a few [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season1/promo/1000/morgana/hires/24.jpg purple]] [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season1/promo/1000/morgana/hires/6.jpg dresses]], with only the first one appearing briefly in Series 2 (as she drifts further apart from the crown). In Series 3 she has [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season3/promo/3013/episode/hires/67.jpg another one]], which could indicate her intentions to get the throne. Then we have Gwen, whose [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season2/promo/2000/gwen/hires/46.jpg first purple dress]] appears in Series 2, when she starts having some scenes about the possibility of being queen. In Series 4 she has [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season4/promo/4000/maincast/hires/26.jpg another one]], but the best example is her [[http://www.farfarawaysite.com/merlin/season4/promo/4013/episode/hires/34.jpg Queen gown]], which is bluish-purple. A possible example would be Freya, since the dress Merlin gets for her is a purple one of Morgana's , and that is the dress Freya wears when she becomes the [[SupernaturalIsPurple Lady of the Lake]]. Both Gwen and Freya wearing one of Morgana's dresses in Series 2 might be another sign showing that, whether Morgana ever had royal qualities or not, she's losing them, while Gwen and Freya are gaining them. * GoodIsNotDumb: Arthur. Even if he does not believe Merlin's warnings in Series 4 that [[VillainWithGoodPublicity Agravaine is a villain]], he nonetheless will ''still'' investigate the validity of the claims before reprimanding Merlin for accusing his Uncle of treachery. ** He also came ''this'' close to arresting him for treason in episode six. He actually wisely went behind his back on this, making sure there was no other possibilities, and ''then'' confronted him, notably with a hand on his sword. If Agravaine weren't a ManipulativeBastard on level with [[ASongOfIceAndFire Petyr Baelish]], he would have had him then and there. * GoodIsNotSoft: Merlin oh so much. He befriends nearly everyone he meets and bonds tightly with them, and is putting his life on the line just by being in Camelot because he believes that when Arthur becomes the Once and Future King, magic will return to Albion peacefully. Yet when the time comes to kill the monster, he will. No regrets, no hesistation, just "You threatened my friends. Bye." followed by instant death. Best demonstrated in the series 4 finale, when he is cornered, unarmed, and there's no way out except to use his magic. He tries to talk them down, even though he knows it's futile, but fails. When they finally close in, he flicks his eyes and kills five guards without hesitation. ** Guinevere, who is usually quiet and sweet-natured, but doesn't suffer fools or villains lightly. * GoryDiscretionShot: Combined with BloodlessCarnage in episode 9, during Owain and Tristan [=DuBois=]'s otherwise violent (well, for bulky, armor-weighted knights) battle. * GoToYourRoom: Uther to Morgana in 2x10. --> "You will go to your chambers!" * GrandRomanticGesture: {{Invoked}} throughout ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'' after Arthur is made to fall in love with Princess Vivian. He tries to woo her with increasingly elaborate measures, from taking her a roast chicken to scaling the castle wall to visit her bedroom to fighting a duel to the death with her overprotective father. It's {{subverted}} at the end of the episode: once Guinevere has broken the spell with a TrueLovesKiss Arthur thanks her by bringing her a simple red rose. * GreatOffscreenWar: Uther versus the High Priestesses. Bits and pieces are mentioned: the High Priestesses created the lamias as weapons against the Ancient Kings but lost control of them, there was a temple on the Isle of the Blessed that fell to Uther's forces, but it's all very vague. * GreyAndGreyMorality: Dips into this a bit. If we didn't know Arthur was going to be a the greatest king ever, and that killing Uther would impede that then we would probably be cheering for the magicians. ** Also some magicians want to kill Arthur as well. * TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: The guards are frequently distracted by objects that not only fall over for no reason, but then proceed to start moving ''under their own power''. The fact that the doors then often magically shut behind them also seems to go unnoticed. ** Then there was the time in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'' when a cloaked and hooded figure limped through the castle gates at night, right ''between'' the guards that were on duty about a metre away on either side, who stare at the figure in alarm. They...do absolutely nothing. *** What about when Arthur was captured by Cenred and they let him keep his armour? * GuileHero: Merlin. In the beginning, Merlin depends on [[ActionHero using his magic to solve problems and combat the enemies]], but as the series progresses, he seems to use manipulation along with his magic. * GuiltFreeExterminationWar: {{Subverted}}, as despite their big words, both Uther and Arthur feel remorse and guilt for their actions against magic-users. * HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Arthur. ** Ygraine. She had a pure and good heart, like her son. * HarsherInHindsight: An in-universe example. In "The Witchfinder", one of the women affected by the [[MushroomSamba belladonna-laced]] eye-drops claims to have seen drowned faces in the well who were screaming at her. We later find out in "The Tears of Uther Pendragon", that during the [[ThePurge Great Purge]], Uther actually ''did'' have people accused of magic drowned within wells, including ''children''. * HatePlague: Lamia infects the knights with this. * HaveYouTriedNotBeingAMonster * HealingMagicIsTheHardest: Seems to be the case for Merlin. He could not heal Arthur in 3x05, and has difficulty with healing spell again in 5x07. * TheHeart: Merlin. He is the centrepiece as well as the emotional aspect of the series. He brings everyone together and had helped to form all of the major, important relationships on the show. Merlin is also the main influence for Arthur going from an icy, arrogant, entitled, selfish and spoiled RoyalBrat to a [[CharacterDevelopment much kinder, caring, understanding leader and king.]]. ** Gwen also shares this role with Merlin although to a lesser extent. * HeartbrokenBadass: Merlin, Merlin, Merlin. It's a miracle [[HurtingHero the guy]] hasn't [[HeroicBSOD broken down]] in [[IronWoobie four series.]] * HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: {{Subverted}}; they're always present in combat. ** Unless you're Arthur, who almost never does. * TheHero: Merlin is ''THE'' hero of the series. He is the protector of Camelot and all of its inhabitants. * HeroesPreferSwords: Arthur and all of the Knights of Camelot use swords as their WeaponOfChoice. Merlin uses a combination of magic and a sword at times. * HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler: Arthur, after learning the truth about his birth. He tries to kill his own father, then breaks down in tears in front of Merlin, Gaius and Sir Leon. Ouch.]] ** Surprisingly avoided with Merlin, although any more ConflictingLoyalty episodes during series 3 might finally push him over the edge. ** Arthur again, [[spoiler: after finding out that Morgana has usurped the throne, and she is his real sister. Well, half-sister.]] Uther as well. ** Arthur has another (sensing a pattern here) after [[spoiler:Agravaine's betrayal is revealed. Combined with Morgana's betrayal last season, he begins to question his ability to be king. After all, what good is he as a leader if he is such a horrible judge of character?]] ** Arthur has another one (hello... major pattern here!) when it turns out he's to fat for his belt... he also has one when he's dealing with his past and the massacre of the Druid camp. ** Arthur has a huge one in the series finale when [[spoiler: he discovers that Merlin is actually a sorcerer.]] ** Merlin has many of these throughout the series, but the most notable one is in the series finale [[spoiler: when Arthur dies. Merlin ends up losing it big time.]] * HeroicSacrifice: In 4x02, Arthur fully intended to sacrifice himself so that the veil between the human and spirit world would close. [[spoiler: Merlin knocks him out last minute and tries to take his place. Only for Lancelot to step up and do the deed.]] * [[spoiler: TheHeroDies: Not Merlin himself, but Arthur dies in the finale.]] * HeterosexualLifePartners: Arthur and Merlin. With bonus HoYay. Lots and lots of HoYay. -->The Dragon (about Merlin and Arthur): That your's and Arthur's path lies '''together''' is but the ''truth''. * HeWhoFightsMonsters: Uther ** Also, Merlin later on in the series. * HiddenBadass: Merlin. At first, Merlin seems to be a scrawny, weak and incompetent servant but in reality, he is actually very strong and powerful due to possessing magical abilities. Merlin is arguably the most powerful character in the series. ** Also, Mordred. * HideousHangoverCure: Gaius', according to himself. * HideYourPregnancy: Emilia Fox as of "Queen of Hearts". This is probably why Morgause was flung into a wall, buried under rocks, deformed, put in a cart, and stabbed to death! * TheHighQueen: As of the end of series four, [[spoiler:Queen Guinevere Pendragon]]. * HilariousOuttakes: Finally appeared on the series 3 box set. [[CrowningMomentofFunny And they were worth waiting for.]] * HoldingHands: A frequent motif between Guinevere and Lancelot. Lancelot turns Gwen's handshake into [[IKissYourHand a chance to kiss her hand]]. They touch each other's hands through the bars of a grating whilst Gwen is being held captive. When they are facing death together, there is a close-up on their linked fingers. Finally, Arthur notices that there's something between them when he sees that Lancelot has offered Gwen his hand to help her to his feet, and is rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb. ** There is focus on Arthur and Gwen's hands when he [[spoiler:helps her to her feet after crowning her Queen of Camelot]]. ** Happens also with Merlin and Freya, when he's helping her escape from Halig, when he tells her he has never known anyone like her, and when they kiss for the first time. ** A darker example in "The Dark Tower". Morgana alternates between cruelty and kindness when she has Gwen hostage in an attempt to brainwash her. Morgana holding out her hand to Gwen and getting Gwen to take her hand in turn are vital steps on the road to inducing StockholmSyndrome. * HomoeroticSubtext/ HoYay: With all of the male characters but the strongest subtext on the show is between Arthur and Merlin by far. Even Eoin Macken, who plays Gwaine, mentions how much homoeroticism exists between Colin and Bradley's characters on the show. * HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Uther. Among other things, he's chummied up to a knight who was trying to kill his son, invited two murderous Sidhe into his castle, married a troll, flirted with a shape-shifting witch, indulged the whims of a con-artist witchfinder, hired a man who tried to kill him to avenge his parents' deaths, and (in the third series) doted on the woman who was hell-bent on destroying him and taking over his kingdom. It goes both ways, as he's also banished both Gwaine and Lancelot, two accomplished and loyal knights, and is constantly belittling, alienating or even trying to execute Merlin and Guinevere, the two people in the world who would give their lives for his son without a second thought. ** Arthur isn't much better. Season 3 and 4 has him professesing his undying trust towards first [[spoiler: Morgana and then Agravane]], only to find they've both been trying to kill him the whole time. (After ignoring Merlin's warnings about the very fact). You'd think the guy would learn better after a while. * HotWitch: Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh. * HugeGuyTinyGirl: Arthur and Gwen. She stands about level with his shoulder. ** As well as Percival and Lamia in 4x08. * {{Hunk}}: Arthur, Lancelot, Percival, Gwaine and Elyan. Basically all of the Knights at the Round Table are Hunk Central. * HypercompetentSidekick: Agravaine, nuff said. ** Merlin too. Throughout the entire series he's always the one killing the monster and saving Arthur from his own stupidity. ** Series 4 is more of a duel between the two of them than Arthur and Morgana. Arthur spends most of the series being puppeted and Morgana dwells more on her petty vendettas than anything that will actually help her, leaving Merlin and Agravaine to do anything actually beneficial. To further the parallels, they seem to be the only ones actually aware of how competent the other is.[[note]] While Morgana dismisses (or pretends to dismiss) Merlin as a mere serving boy, Agravaine's actually smart enough to get him out of the way before abducting Gaius and watch him in case he does something. Later, Merlin states that Agravaine is far too dangerous to be left alone and his treachery should be exposed before he does real damage, and Gaius basically tells him that he's overreacting and refuses to confirm Agravaine kidnapped him to Arthur.[[/note]] * {{Hypocrite}}: A deliberate and fascinating example is King Uther. After [[spoiler: enlisting the help of a sorceress in order for his barren wife to conceive]], he set about killing and terrorising everyone who practised sorcery (even those who did so for perfectly innocent reasons) even though [[NeverMyFault he had no one to blame for his wife's death except himself]]. The real kicker is when Morgana gets sick in series 3, and he actually coerces Gaius into using magic to save her. You'd think this act of blatant hypocrisy would make him decide to ease up on the sorcerers a bit from then on, but you'd be wrong... ** Later on in series 3, there was a sorcerer going around healing people miraculously who was [[spoiler: Gaius's former lover]]. Uther wanted Gaius to see if sorcery was involved in the healings and it is implied he would have executed whoever did it. The fact that he was willing to use magic to miraculously heal Morgana is made even more hypocritical because of that in retrospect. ** The reason he hates magic in the first place is because he made a deal with a sorceress to concieve a son with his barren wife. Furthermore, he describes his deceased wife as "my soul" and yet we later find out that he had an affair with his best friend's wife, and that (as he says to his son) "I know about the temptations of serving girls." [[/folder]] [[folder: I-J]] * IDidWhatIHadToDo / KillTheOnesYouLove / ShootTheDog: [[spoiler:Merlin poisons Morgana -- who was unaware that she was the vessel of the Knights of Medhir -- because [[IDidWhatIHadToDo he did what he had to do]] in order to save Camelot, but at the price of killing his friend and someone he cared about. Many fans, while praising the acting of Colin and Katie, did not agree with Merlin's actions.]] * IdiotBall: Morgana seems to have read the EvilOverlordList, but it looks more like she's trying complete each item rather than avoid the mistakes. One example: Morgana says, "So, you have failed me again," to Agravaine no less than three times. ** Uther is frequently called upon to ignore perfectly reasonable warnings or explanations in order to keep the plot moving. * IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing: Arthur wasn't entirely sure that his plan to smear himself in Gaia berries to confuse the Wilderen would be successful. Merlin is not hugely pleased when he finds out. ** Arthur also gets a moment of this when [[spoiler: his father starts dying]]. ** Arthur in 4x11 when faced with marriage to a lovely princess or seeking out the woman that (he thinks) betrayed him, tells Merlin that he has no idea what to do. * IHaveYouNowMyPretty: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCmsHh6fxQg Yeah... looks like they're going to spend the rest of season 4 messing with poor Gwen.]] * IJustWantToBeNormal: Merlin, at the start of the series. ** Occasionally, Arthur. * IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight: Merlin tries this on [[spoiler:Morgana]] in 3x02. [[spoiler:It doesn't work.]] * ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou: Arthur begins to fall for Guinevere after she calls him out on his rude behaviour and he realizes that she's the only one who doesn't just tell him what he wants to hear. ** Also the reason why Arthur and Merlin get along so well. * IdTellYouButThenIdHaveToKillYou: Merlin tries to {{lampshade}} this in "The Coming of Arthur" when Arthur refuses to tell him the destination of their latest secret mission. Arthur responds by telling him that ''yes'', he ''would'' have to kill him if he divulged that information. * IllPretendIDidntHearThat: In ''The Secret Sharer''. Also said by one of the knights in verbatim to Gaius in Goblin's Gold. * ImmortalityInducer: Morgause creates an army of immortals by dripping soldiers' blood into the Cup of Life. However, this also gives her the ability to control them. * ImprobableWeaponUser: In 1x10, Gwen attacks one of Kanen's men with a shovel. It's a good idea. * InelegantBlubbering: Nobody on this show cries nicely. Which makes {{Tear Jerker}}s that much worse. * InfinityPlusOneSword: [[LateArrivalSpoiler Excalibur]]. * InfoDump: Uther's speech on the balcony in the first episode. He's been king for twenty years? Check. There's a dragon under the castle? Check. Magic is outlawed? Check. Thanks writers! * InformedAbility: Uther's ability to stamp out or indeed recognize magic in his kingdom. Basically, he can be as competent at this in the back-story as the writers need him to be, and as incompetent at it in the present as the writers need him to be. ** Gaius describes his past love thusly: --> ''I was just a novice, but Alice's power and ability was uncanny. She had the gift. Soon she had mastered every aspect of sorcery, healing above all.'' ** She spends the entire episode helplessly under the Manticore's power, and all of her healing occurs off-screen. * InformedAttribute: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'' the main villain remarks about how every girl in Camelot is attracted to Prince Arthur. Though Arthur's attractiveness is the general consensus among fans, the show never shows Arthur being unusually popular with the girls of Camelot, possibly because of his station. ** Though as Bradley James has pointed out on more than one occasion, there only seem to be a total of ''two'' women in Camelot, one of which is his sister. As of series 4, this has been whittled down to ''one''. ** Excalibur is described constantly as a powerful and dangerous sword that can '''only''' be wielded safely by Arthur. Yet not only is it used by both Uther and Merlin in two separate episodes with no drastic consequences, by the time Arthur ''finally'' gets his hands on it at the end of series four, nothing particularly exceptional is done with it. He can't even defeat [[TheBrute Helios]] without help. The sword lives up to its reputation of being able to kill the dead, but it's neither as awesome in the right hands ''or'' as dangerous in the wrong ones as its maker would have you believe. ** Because of the change in actors, Mordred's youthfulness is often mentioned throughout series 5 in a bid to remind viewers of the significant age difference between Mordred and the other characters. However, Alex Vlahos is only two years younger than Colin Morgan, and very much looks the same age as him (and everyone else). ** Likewise, Merlin is described as weak and scrawny. Maybe in the first and second series that was true, but the actor has since filled out and it barely applies. Loose clothing seems to shake this somewhat, but whenever you see Colin Morgan out of costume it's blatant that he's just as big as some of the other knights that are described as muscular. * InNameOnly: ** Take everything you thought you knew about Arthurian Legend and throw it out the window. Arthur is a Prince right from the start, there's a dragon under the castle, Merlin is Arthur's servant who is around his age rather than much older, magic is outlawed, Morgana is not a villain, Gwen is dark-skinned... Then again, the [[KingArthur Arthurian Mythos]] has been doing this with every iteration of King Arthur since before the written word, so it's tradition. *** As of series 3, Morgana is, in fact, a villain - and, to be fair about that, the seeds of her FaceHeelTurn were planted with the introduction of Mordred in series 1. ** For further deviations from previous versions, however, a number of the named Knights of the Round Table are killed off over the course of the series, well before the Round Table is formed. (EG: Owain and Pellinore at the hands of the Black Knight.) * InnocentBlueEyes: Merlin, Arthur and Mordred (when he was a child. Mordred's eyes become IcyBlueEyes as he gets older. * InterClassRomance: Gwen (poor servant) and Arthur (rich royalty). * IntergenerationalFriendship: Gaius with Arthur and Gwen. Merlin falls into the LikeASonToMe category with Gauis. * InterspeciesFriendship: Merlin, who is a warlock and a Dragon Lord, is friends with Arthur, Gwen, Lancelot and Gwaine, who are all humans. * IOweYouMyLife: Merlin's main reason to help Lancelot become a knight. * IronicName: The villain called Valiant used underhanded tactics to cheat in a tournament. ** It's unclear if it is intentional, but a Pendragon (meaning "son of the dragon") nearly wipes out the dragons and Dragonlords. * ItsForABook: Merlin uses a variation of this, ("it's for homework") in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E05Lancelot Lancelot]]'', to excuse his unlikely interest in the library. * ItHasBeenAnHonor: Arthur says this to Merlin just before battle in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * ItsQuietTooQuiet: Arthur to Merlin in the forest in episode 3x12. * InSeriesNickname: The Great Dragon often calls Merlin "Young Warlock". ** Kilgarrah's nickname is The Great Dragon. ** Arthur's nicknames include "Clotpole" and" Dollophead", both coined by Merlin. ** Almost everyone calls Guinevere "Gwen", with the exception of Arthur. * IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Lancelot, upon seeing that Gwen and Arthur are close, decides to not get in the way of their relationship. * IWillWaitForYou: The trope is first invoked when Arthur claims that he ''can't'' expect Guinevere to wait for him, but in series 3 Gwen tells him that she will "count the days" until he becomes King, at which point he can change the customs that keep them apart. ---> '''Arthur''': ''[[CallBack I can promise you that when I am King, things will be different]]. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming We can be together]].'' ** Turns out [[spoiler: Merlin is still waiting for Arthur to rise in the ''present day''. At the very end of Season 5, we see him walking past a bus. [[WhoWantsToLiveForever He does not look happy about still waiting]]]]. * JerkAss: Uther. The Dragon has his moments too, though one could argue that being chained up in a cave for twenty years will do that to you, but it is no reason to destroy Camelot. Just take Uther and go! You'd have done us all a favour. ** To be fair to the dragon, even after only watching the first season, I'd have said, at least once: "Tell me the truth kid, you come down here to ask my advice so you can go do the opposite." The dragon isn't quite that blunt...yet in the first season. ** [[spoiler: Morgana is starting to fall under this category too. Her animosity towards Uther (and Merlin) is understandable but her treatment of Arthur and Gwen is down right cruel.]] * JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Arthur * JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: Morgana. Possibly justified, since in-show, she was with Morgause a whole year and was probably thoroughly indoctrinated in that time - but from the viewer's perspective, she ended one series as conflicted and unhappy, and returned at the start of the next series as pure evil. * JustEatGilligan: So many of the problems on the show could be solved if Merlin would just let one of the ''many'' people who want to kill Uther succeed, putting Arthur on the throne and allowing him to become the great king he's supposed to be. But this never happens only because of Merlin is a weird brand of TechnicalPacifist, who regularly kills Mooks and nonhuman villains but has moral qualms about letting Uther die. ** But if Uther were killed by magic, Arthur would likely become just as fanatically anti-magic as his father when he gains the throne. The Dragon says as much in ''Sorcerer's Shadow''. [[spoiler: And it finally happens in 4x03.]] ** Morgana’s FaceHeelTurn could have been avoided if Merlin had told her about his magic or at least treated her better. Her bonding with Mordred and Morgause was mostly caused by her confusion and sense of loneliness. * JustFriends: Merlin was teased with Gwen by Morgana in 1x03 and Lancelot in 1x05 because of Gwen's obvious crush on him and Merlin's semi-obliviousness to it. When Merlin secretly helps Morgana in 2x03 [[spoiler:when she discovers that she is a seer]], Arthur is under the belief that Merlin is in love with Morgana and warns him Uther would have his head for it. * JustHitHim: ''All.The.Time.'' [[/folder]] [[folder: K-L]] * KickTheDog: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]'', Arthur rushed to get the flower to cure Merlin, despite his father telling him not to. However, as soon as he came back, his own father imprisoned him for disobeying him. Even when Arthur begged his father to at least deliver the flower to Merlin, he crushed the flower, told him to get another servant and dropped the flower just out of Arthur's reach. ** In ''[[Recap/MerlinS03E09LoveInTheTimeOfDragons Love In The Time Of Dragons]]'' Uther is poisoned by a witch who was under the thrall of a magical creature. Despite Gaius saying that the woman had no choice (and implying that she was forced to do magic), Uther decides to kill her anyway, as she still practiced magic even if it was out of her control. This is on top of his hypocrisy earlier of being willing to heal Morgana with magic but wanting to execute whoever was healing other people. * KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:King Uther]]. And by the time the series wraps up, the list includes [[spoiler: Elyan, Lancelot, Gwaine, Mordred, Morgana, and Arthur]]. And that's not even counting the smaller characters! * KillEmAll: The ending. Three main characters kick the bucket. In fact, given [[spoiler: that the very last scene [[DistantFinale shows a (VERY) old Merlin walking down a rural street in modern times]] every single person in the series, Gwen, the knights, and everyone else, have all been dead for centuries.]] * KillItWithFire: Or rather, drive it off with fire. The flying ghost skull Dorocha can pass through solid matter and are totally immune to harm. They even negate magic. Fire, however, disperses them for a while. * KillerRabbit: Young!Mordred. As a child, he was cute, adorable but very creepy and dangerous. * KingArthur: Or rather Prince Arthur. ** [[spoiler: As of 4x03, King Arthur.]] * KissingUnderTheInfluence: Arthur and Vivian in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', as a result of the enchantment placed upon them. ** [[spoiler: Lancelot and Guinevere in Lancelot du Lac]] * TheKlutz: Merlin. See [[CuteClumsyGirl Cute Clumsy Guy]]. * {{Knighting}}: Happens quite often, usually by Uther, but most notably by Arthur in "The Coming of Arthur" when he does this to the new knights of the Round Table. * KnightErrant: Lancelot and Gwaine, before they became Knights of Camelot. * KnightKnaveAndSquire: The PowerTrio of Merlin (''Magic''), Arthur (''Courage''), and Gwaine (''Strength''), with Merlin as ''The Squire, Arthur as ''The Knight'' and Gwaine as ''The Knave''. * KnightTemplar: Uther, at least in regards to magic. * KnightTemplarParent: Uther in regards to both Arthur and Morgana. * KudzuPlot: Especially anything involving the Druids. It's difficult to gauge just how much they know about Merlin's destiny, what they plan to do about it, and why they keep calling him "Emrys". * TheLadysFavour: Gwen gives Arthur a handkerchief for him to wear during a tournament, for luck. ** As does Morgana for Sir Owain in his fight against the undead Tristan. *** A deleted scene for "The Shadow of the Sorcerer" reveals that the sash Arthur was wearing around his arm in the melee came from Morgana. * LaResistance: And they're [[HeroAntagonist the bad guys]]. ** Until ''The Coming of Arthur'' when Arthur and his loyalists become LaResistance. * LadyAndKnight: Played remarkably straight with Lancelot and Guinevere, even though they ''aren't'' a lady or a knight when the show begins. However, Lancelot always makes a point of referring to Gwen as "my lady" and by the end of the third series he's been permanently knighted and by the end of the fourth season, [[spoiler: she is "my lady" as she's Queen!]] ** There's a little of this with Gwen and Gwaine as well. * LadyInRed: Nimueh, Freya, Morgana, and Morgause. * LadyOfBlackMagic: Morgause initially, then Morgana. * LadyOfWar: Queen Annis, Morgana, Morgause and also Guinevere, although to a lesser extent as Morgana. * LargeHam: A number of characters, including Creator/GeorgiaMoffett as Lady Vivian. ** Nimueh, especially in early episodes where every time she was defeated she would stand over her bubbling cauldron thingy and yell "Merlin!" ** Merlin, when masquerading as Dragoon. He's quite obviously enjoying every minute of it. * LastOfHisKind: The Great Dragon. [[spoiler:And Merlin in 2x13, when he becomes the last Dragon Lord]]. ** [[spoiler:As of ''Aithusa'', Kilgarrah is no longer the Last Dragon]]. * LeftForDead: The third season premiere had Morgause decide that the best way to keep Merlin from foiling her plan to conquer Camelot was to leave him in magical chains to be killed by poisonous beasts while she went on her way. Of course, the titular character of the show escapes, much to her surprise. * LegendaryWeapon: ''Excalibur'', which Arthur is going to rip out of that stone as revealed by the series trailer, and Lancelot's sword, Arondight. * LethalJokeCharacter: In-Universe. Out of any number of elite knights, it's Merlin who ends up getting dragged along whenever Arthur goes on a solitary mission. Arthur seemingly does this because Merlin makes him laugh and provides moral support. He's completely unaware that Merlin is the only reason he ''survives'' these missions. * LetThemDieHappy: Merlin brings [[spoiler: Freya to the lake so that she dies in a place similar to her home]]. * LetsGetDangerous: Gwen and Morgana in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain: Gaius insists on this to Merlin when forced to romance a troll. ** Don't forget [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship Gwen and Morgana]]. * LightFeminineAndDarkFeminine: Guinevere (light) and Morgana (dark), somewhat ironically considering the actresses, who are mixed-race and uber-pale, respectively. The trope is somewhat played with, considering Guinevere is aligned more with love and romance, whilst in the later seasons, Morgana is practically {{asexual}}. * LikeASonToMe: Gaius sees Merlin more of a son [[spoiler: than his nephew]]. * LikeBrotherAndSister: ** Gwen and Merlin's relationship is like this. (At least, ever since the peculiar about turn in the series 1-2 transition saw the previously hinted Merlin/Gwen relationship effectively killed.) ** Arthur and Morgana are put into this in Series 2. According to [[WordOfGod Bradley James]], the reason why they put a halt to [[SlapSlapKiss Arthur/Morgana]] was to not get the impression of BrotherSisterIncest (since she is like his [[FlirtyStepSiblings sister-in-law]]), and because they wanted to start the [[StrangledByTheRedString Arthur/Gwen romance]]. ** And as of Episode 3/05, [[spoiler: it turns out they actually are half-siblings.]] * LineageComesFromTheFather: The Dragonlord abilities are said to be passed from father to son. * LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: At the start of the show, Arthur is the best knight in Camelot by a long shot and Merlin has virtually no magical training. As such, in the earlier seasons it would often be Arthur going out to slay the monster while Merlin figured out his spells at home and turned up for the final blow. As Merlin started to get more experienced though, he was more proactive in fights and took out way more guys than Arthur. By seasons four and five he was the main powerhouse of the group, and in season five finale [[spoiler: curbstomps an entire army, Morgana who's the closest in power to him, and a dragon]] all at once. Arthur gets one level-up ([[spoiler:Excalibur]]), and that's it. And even at the start of the show before his development, it's clear Merlin would beat Arthur in a fight if the gloves were off. * LineInTheSand: Arthur gives one in the Series 3 finale to Merlin, Gaius, Gwen, Lancelot, Percival, Gwaine, Leon and Elyan. They then proceed to each stand up and give a speech about why they refuse to leave Arthur, one by one, until it reaches Merlin who remains seated and jokes, "[[CrowningMomentOfFunny Actually I don't really fancy it.]]" * LipLockSunBlock: Arthur and Gwen's first kiss. * LiteraryAgentHypothesis: With the court genealogist Geoffrey of Monmouth; the real Geoffrey of Monmouth was a 12th-century bishop who named the character of Merlin, and was one of the earliest writers of tales of King Arthur and his father Uther, along with a whole host of other legendary British kings. * LittleDeadRidingHood: Morgana narrowly avoids this fate in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E03TheNightmareBegins The Nightmare Begins]]'' after escaping to the forest in a bright red hooded cloak. * LongLostSibling: Gwen's brother Elyan. ** And in a way, Morgause to Morgana. * TheLoad: ** SubvertedTrope with Merlin. He's the king's clumsy manservant who can't hold a sword to save his life, and yet the Knights of the Round Table all insist on bringing him along on dangerous missions. However, when the Knights turn their backs, Merlin turns out to be an extremely badass mage who has singlehandedly saved all of Camelot multiple times and is the only reason Arthur survives these dangerous missions. Problem is, magic's illegal on pain of death, so no one is aware of this except the audience. ** DependingOnTheWriter, Guinevere. On one hand, her quick mind has proven useful on several occasions, on the other, she's still a relatively small and untrained peasant girl who often winds up being a DistressedDamsel. * LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters * LockedInTheDungeon: Every single major or recurring character (except Percival) has spent at least one night in Camelot's dungeons. Every single one. * LookBehindYou: Arthur pulls this on Merlin when they're arguing over who gets to drink from a poisoned goblet. * TheLostLenore: Freya to Merlin. In the backstory, Igraine to Uther. * TheLostWoods: Jam-packed with magical critters and evil bounty hunters lurking behind every tree. * LoveAtFirstSight: Lancelot toward Guinevere. Notably {{averted}} with Arthur and Gwen, who knew each other for years before starting to take notice of each other. ** Also, with Merlin and Freya. ** Played with between Arthur and Mithian. Were you to watch the beginning of ''The Hunter's Heart'' completely out of context, you'd probably assume that this trope was being played straight, what with their initial MeetCute and BirdsOfAFeather similarities. They're obviously ''attracted'' to each other at first sight, and find themselves increasingly well-suited to each other as the episode goes on, but Arthur's prior feelings for Guinevere puts a halt to their relationship before it ever really gets started. * LoveRuinsTheRealm: Averted. Though the likes of Agravaine argue that Guinevere is unsuitable, she ends up being a very effective Queen. * LoveTheme: Arthur and Gwen have a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQn97hB3XJ8 very lovely motif]] that recurs throughout the series. * LoveTriangle: Gwen, Arthur and Lancelot: TriangRelations Type 1. ** More like a Type 7, since they both like her, in addition to her liking them. * LoveableRogue: Gwaine. Also doubles as the PluckyComicRelief / ThePrankster of the Knights. ** Even more so in Season 4. * LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:Uther and Morgana.]] [[/folder]] [[folder: M-N]] * MagicAIsMagicA: While the magic system is not as fleshed out as it could be, there is definitely a rule that one sort of magic cannot affect a being of another magic. And every kind of magic is practiced in a different language. ** Magic A: Human magic. The language is Old English. Gaius mentions at one point that Merlin's powers protected him from getting harmed by the Sidhe, and his wooziness in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates of Avalon]]'' seemes to stem less from getting a bolt of magic to the chest and more from getting thrown into a wall. ** Magic B: Sidhe magic. The language is Old Irish. Any time we see Merlin engage them, he uses one of their own staffs. ** Magic C: Dragon magic. The language is Homeric Greek. The dragon was immune to Merlin's magic [[spoiler: until he became a Dragonlord]] and the enchantment Morgause put on the chains to make them unbreakable didn't seem to stop Kilgharrah from breaking them. ** Magic D: Troll magic. We don't know very much about this one, as it only appeared [[Recap/MerlinS02E05BeautyAndTheBeastPartI two]] [[Recap/MerlinS02E06BeautyAndTheBeastPartII episodes]]. * TheMagicComesBack: Merlin's ultimate goal for Camelot. * MagicFeather: [[spoiler:The sword in the stone, apparently. At least, the "pulling it out makes you a king of Camelot!!!" part is.]] * MagicIsEvil: When Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh and Mordred all use magic. * MagicKnight: ** By Series 3, Merlin seems to use sword and sorcery equally well together to take down his enemies. It's likely he picked up fighting techniques purely in self-defense from a combination of always being attacked and Arthur's insistence upon using Merlin as a sparring partner (or practice dummy). ** Morgana knew how to use a sword effectively before she ever discovered that she had magic. ** Morgause is a witch and also a very skilled swordswoman. * MagicStaff: Merlin has the BoomStick he appropriates from the Sidhe though he seldom uses it. Alator and the three women representing the Triple Goddess are also staff users. * TheMagicVersusTechnologyWar: In Camelot magic is a crime, leading to Gaius to occasionally urge Merlin to seek solutions through more ordinary means. * MagneticHero: Merlin is definitely this. He repeatedly befriends everyone, no matter their standing. * TheMagnificentSevenSamurai: ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]''. * TheMainCharactersDoEverything: As a prince, Arthur has several duties (such as training the other knights and going on quests) that seem way outside the jurisdiction of someone of his status. Moreso, Merlin and Gwen are meant to be Arthur and Morgana's manservant/handmaiden, but seem to have a lot of other duties to perform, such as serving the royal family at the dinner table and cleaning out the stables. * TheManBehindTheMan: Merlin is this to Arthur, so much it's practically a CentralTheme. Arthur's going to rule all of Albion, the greatest kingdom that ever was or ever will be? Yep. He's the ChosenOne? Yep, so much that he has a ChosenOne chosen to protect ''him''. Merlin on the other hand: is partially responsible for Morgana and Mordred's villainy via SelfFulfillingProphecy, got Arthur and Gwen together, made friends with Lancelot and Gwaine and ignited the idea of commoners being knights, put the sword in the stone, put the lady in the lake, convinced the dragon to forge Excalibur, and is responsible for a lot of Arthur's CharacterDevelopment into the Once and Future King he was supposed to be in the first place. * MamaBear: Morgana's strong attachment towards Mordred causes her to become very protective of him and a willingness to do anything for him in order to keep him from harm's way. * ManHug: Sadly, [[RuleOfFunny but hilariously]] subverted by Arthur at the end of 2x06. ** But thankfully, played straight with Merlin and Gwaine in 3x08. ** Also one between Uther and Godwyn in 3x06. ** And [[spoiler: ''finally'' one between Arthur and Merlin in 4x06. And it was Arthur who went for it, no less.]] * [[MasterSwordsman Master Swordsman/Master Swordswoman]]: Uther, Arthur, Lancelot, Leon, Gwaine. Also Morgana and Morgause. * MauveShirt: Sir Leon. [[spoiler: Admit it, when they said he was dead at the beginning of 3x12, you actually believed it.]] * MayDecemberRomance: Implied between Uther and Catrina. ** A deleted scene from series four has [[spoiler: Agravaine]] confessing his love for Morgana. * MeaningfulName [[spoiler: the name that Merlin bestows upon the baby dragon turns out to mean 'Light of the Sun' in dragon-speech.]] ** Merlin means '''sea fortress''' or '''fortress of the sea'''. ** Arthur means '''noble'''. ** '''Emrys''' means [[spoiler: 'Immortal']] ** The name ''Pendragon'' means '''Chief Dragon''' or '''Head Dragon'''. * MeetCute: It's played with. Whenever Merlin meets a pretty girl, he shows interest, evident with his encounters of Gwen, Morgana, Nimueh, Lady Catrina, and Freya. Colin Morgan lampshades it in an [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-270aU8pobk interview]]. * TheMedic: Gauis. He is the court physician. ** Also Merlin, he has learned some medical experience from Gauis. * MedievalEuropeanFantasy * MemeticBadass: Merlin (Emrys) is this to the Druids. [[invoked]] * MerlinSickness: Averted, Merlin doesn't have it in this version. ** Although it's hinted that Taliesin might. Though it might be his close proximity to the crystal caves, he also makes several pointed remarks about time and memory that suggest he's intimately aware of the future. * MindControlEyes: Arthur, in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]''. ** This is also present in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E01TheCurseOfCorneliusSigan The Curse of Cornelius Sigan]]''. * MissingTrailerScene: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRiEJnU3lZY&feature=related In the official trailer for series three]], there is a scene with Uther and Arthur embracing while wearing their crowns. It doesn't appear in any episode or deleted scene. * MistakenForCheating: Gwen * MixAndMatchCritter: Naturally includes a few of the traditional mythological ones. Arthur also makes one up to find an excuse to leave the castle, simply by listing random animal bits as he thinks of them. --> "It is said to have the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle ...and the ...face of a bear." * ModestRoyalty: In stark contrast to Uther and Morgana, Arthur usually wears simple tunics or battle-stained armour. * TheMole: Agravaine. And previously, Morgana to a point. * MomentKiller: Poor Arthur and Gwen have to suffer through dozens of these. Possibly the most hilarious was when a quiet moment between them at Gwen's house is interrupted by Merlin crashing through the door and shouting: "There's an assassin in Camelot trying to kill you!" The WTF expression on their faces is priceless. * MonsterOfTheWeek: This was a big part of the first series, and the BigBad only appeared in 4 of the 13 episodes. From series 2 onwards the writers concentrated more on a singular villain ([[spoiler:Morgause, Morgana and Agravaine]], though occasionally a one-off monster will appear for a {{Filler}} episode. * MonsterVision: In 2x09, [[spoiler:right before the Bastet kills the couple and the guards, we see the scene through its eyes]]. * MoodWhiplash: ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere Lancelot and Guinevere]]''. One minute, Gwen's in mortal danger, declaring her undying devotion to Lancelot. Next, some of the funniest banter of the entire series. ** Done deliberately in ''Queen of Hearts''. At first, Uther thinks it's hilarious that Arthur has been making out with a serving girl in the woods (and gives him a congratulatory pat on the back because of it), but he soon turns nasty on realizing that his son is serious about Gwen and ends up banishing her from Camelot in the very same scene. In fact, the entire episode is made of this trope considering Arthur and Gwen go from loafing about in the sun to having Uther accuse Gwen of witchcraft and ordering that she [[BurnTheWitch be burnt at the stake]] in the space of a day. ** Also in ''Excalibur''. It goes from light-hearted banter between Gwen and Merlin about washing Arthur's socks to a freaking undead knight bursting through the window. ** ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E01TheDarkestHourPartI The Darkest Hour Part I]]'' has Arthur, Merlin and the knights investigating an empty village, tension is mounting and they don't even know what the monster looks like. Then they are startled by Gwaine taking a large bite from an apple. It switches back as Elyan finds the village people dead, covered in frost. ** ''The Witchfinder''has a terrifying scene where the Witchfinder in question tells Uther that there is a sorcerer in the room. The music is chilling, a [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds still sympathetic Morgana]] looks petrified and then he points at our hero and [[BurnTheWitch accuses him of using magic.]] And then music stops and you have Arthur's reaction. --->'''Arthur:''' *with a look on his face of pure skepticism* ''Mer''-lin. You ''can't'' be serious. * [[EvilMentor Morally Ambiguous Mentor]]: The Great Dragon knows a lot and likes to talk big about Merlin's glorious destiny, but as the first series goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that he is also ruthless, utterly selfish, and carries some major grudges. ** And as of the second series, Merlin sees (through a soothsaying crystal) [[spoiler: the Dragon helping to burn Camelot]] to the ground once he releases him. And then the Dragon asks for Merlin's end of the bargain... [[IdiotBall Which Merlin honours in the finale.]] [[spoiler: Fire ensues. Lots of fire. Lots.]] ** Gaius is also morally ambiguous (though by no means evil). He focuses on Merlin's safety to the point of denying help to other magicians who need it, including Mordred and Morgana, which brings him into conflict with Merlin's ChronicHeroSyndrome. It's also implied he betrayed Nimueh and his other fellow magic-users to Uther as a young man. * MotorMouth: Merlin. Once Merlin gets talking, especially when he is either excited or panicked, he just can't stop. Hence, Arthur's catch phrase "Shut up, Merlin." * MrExposition: All things considered, Gaius's full name could well be Gaius Exposition. * MoralDissonance: Arthur in 3x12, when he threatens to kill an innocent druid boy who's obviously scared out of his wits unless he answers his questions, and then continues to hold a sword to the kid's throat long after it's clear that he's no threat and the Druids intend to give him what he came for anyway. Seriously, the kid's what, ten? Not cool, buddy. ** Although Merlin calls him out on it. And as [[spoiler: these are Druids and he's the son of a magic-hating king, he might have felt the need to make an example.]] ** Merlin and Morgana have a huge NotSoDifferent thing going on. Anything she's done, he's done as well. Attempt to murder an innocent to prevent a prophecy, take away free will, betray a close friend, the works. [[note]] Although it's not really a double standard, as Merlin spends a long time angsting over these decisions, and Morgana is positively gleeful to do them whenever she has the chance.[[/note]] ** When given the opportunity to prevent Morgana from assassinating Uther, Merlin is conflicted (since Uther is a tyrant and assassinating him is pretty justifiable), but ultimately decides that he would be a "murderer" if he didn't do everything he could to save him. However, he casually kills Mooks and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman sapient, named non-human villains]] on a regular basis, despite knowing a harmless sleep spell. * MotiveDecay: Morgana initally wanted revenge against Uther for the genocide against her people, as of late she's more interested in [[spoiler:offing her half-brother]] so that she can claim the throne of Camelot. ** Although [[spoiler: she technically gets her revenge in the season three finale, as her betrayal breaks Uther's spirit]] so it's more of a case of her first objective is completed, onto the next one. She also ''claims'' she wants the throne so she can bring magic back to Camelot, rather than just for the power. * MrFanservice: Bradley James' (Arthur's) shirt collar becomes progressively more open with each episode. Episode one? Could barely see his clavicle. Episode 9? A good third of his (admittedly quite nice) chest is exposed. The first episode of series 2 is reliably following this pattern, with ''multiple'' shots of Arthur bare-chested and then the [[FanService bath scene]]. ** In the cast commentary of the series 2 premiere, Bradley and Colin count the number of times Bradley appears shirtless. Apparently he needs to be shirtless to put a key in the drawer. *** Series 3 got off to a good start with him taking his shirt off quite early on in the first episode. **** And then for every episode since. (Except 3x04, "Gwaine" - in this one, Gwaine gets plenty instead.) *** Also Arthur is pants-less in two consecutive episodes, 4x03 and 4x04. Pants-less Arthur seems to be the new shirt-less Arthur. ** Cenred wears awfully tight leather. ** Merlin's [[{{Adorkable}} adorkable]] smiles and expressions are their own form of fanservice. As is his general [[TheCutie adorableness]] and [[MagneticHero likability]]. Also, his InnocentBlueEyes which are [[PuppyDogEyes large and puppyish]], his [[FunctionalMagic magical abilities]], his [[TheSmartGuy intelligence]], his [[PluckyComicRelief sense of humour]], and his [[WideEyedIdealist naive, optimistic, happy and quirky personality]] are all seen as fan service for the fangirls. On another note, Merlin was the first male character in the show to get a ShirtlessScene, before they caught on to what the fangirls wanted. Let's not forget that he is also Camelot's resident PrettyBoy. Merlin, as a character, is Mr. Fanservice Central. *** There are also A LOT of people (meaning: fangirls) who think his [[PowerMakesYourVoiceDeep Dragon Lord voice]] is total hotness. *** Fangirls even frequently gush about how sexy Merlin/Colin's ears are. His ''EARS''. **** Let's not forget Merlin's cheekbones. Dear God, his cheekbones. ** The first episode of series 5 gave the fangirls some wonderful shots of Gwaine and Percival hot, sweaty, and shirtless. * MsFanservice: Nimueh and Morgana. ** To some, Morgause as well, whether in her red dress ''or'' her armor. ** Guinevere, especially after she becomes Queen and starts wearing dresses and outfits that show off more of her [[CleavageWindow upper assets]]. * MuggingTheMonster: A very common trope in this series. Merlin is a small, untrained peasant boy who often goes unarmed, so he looks like a good target for attack. But as those who are unlucky enough to try soon find out, Merlin goes unarmed because he is completely capable of killing you with a thought. * MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Gwen's reaction after [[spoiler: Arthur witnesses her and Lancelot kissing the night before her and Arthur's wedding.]] Made all the worse because [[spoiler: only the audience knows that she was under a spell the entire time and she actually believes that she willingly betrayed Arthur even if she doesn't understand why.]] -->''Gwen'': I was drawn to him, I couldn't stop myself, I don't know why!! * MysteriousParent: Igraine, possibly Gorlois. * MysteriousProtector: {{Inverted}} with Merlin's alter-ego Dragoon. Though he's trying to save Gwen's life, his plan involves him making everyone believe that he's their enemy. * MythologyGag: Guinevere's remark about having to never choose between Arthur and Lancelot. However, recent episodes suggest this was more {{Foreshadowing}}. ** An early episode also has her sarcastically mutter: "Who would want to marry Arthur?" Well, actually, Gwen... ** 1x10: "In this circle, we are all equal." ** The frequently shown long, rectangular table (which always has Uther sitting at its head) is also an allusion to the Round Table. They contrast the tyranny and elitism of Uther with the fairness and equality of Arthur's future reign. ** Arthur's and Morgana's flirty repletion in Series 1 is possibly a reference to how in some of the myths Arthur was tricked into sleeping with Morgana so she could conceive a child with a right to the throne. * MySignificanceSenseIsTingling: Merlin is often instinctively aware of magical activity around him, most notably in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E12ToKillTheKing To Kill The King]]'' with the {{Expy}} of the Philosopher's Stone, and in "The Tears of Uther Pendragon" when he recoils in the same moment that Morgana drives the staff into the ground in order to raise the dead (and even [[BreakingTheFourthWall Breaks The Forth Wall]] while he does it, considering he seems to be staring straight at the camera). He also seems to sense that there's something a bit off about the bracelet that Arthur is wearing when he leaves for his quest in "Eye of the Phoenix." * NakedPeopleAreFunny: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLQCi8Pfp7g This scene]]. Arthur usually has no problem strutting around his chambers naked, but when Gwen is there to see him, HilarityEnsues. * NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Lamia. Anyone whose name has "Mor" as its first syllable. * TheNeedsOfTheMany: A CentralTheme. Uther and Merlin will usually adhere to this line of thinking; Arthur will usually chose his friends, family, or personal honour over the greater good (so far it's worked out for him). * NeverFoundTheBody: [[spoiler: Morgana and Morgause in the series 3 finale]]. * NeverTrustATrailer: More like "Never Trust A Promotional Picture." In the promo pictures for 3X13, Arthur was shown [[spoiler:holding Exacalibur]], something he never does in the episode itself. * NewNeighboursAsThePlotDemands: There seems to be no shortage of other neighbouring kingdoms. * NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: Merlin, although since he's unsure of even his own powers, its justified that he can get away with this. * NiceGuy[=/=]NiceGirl: Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot and Mithian are all genuinely sweet-natured and friendly people - though the first two are also cases of GoodIsNotSoft as the series goes on. * NiceHat: The official servant's ceremonial clothes include a huge feathered monstrosity of a hat. Gwen even comments, "nice hat," in between giggles. * NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: Freeing the dragon is not Merlin's best idea ever.]] Merlin's treatment of [[spoiler: Morgana and Mordred is a contributing cause of her FaceHeelTurn and his StartOfDarkness.]] To some extent perhaps, [[spoiler: Merlin trying to heal Uther - even though Uther's death isn't his fault, Merlin/Dragoon's price to gain peace for the magic-users may be lost.]] ** Works to Merlin's benefit [[spoiler: when lifting the dragon's egg causes the tower in which it was hidden to collapse.]] Evokes a [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat Nothing Could Survive That]] from one of the knights. ** Uther's crusade against all magic only seems to create more enemies than it eliminates. By killing all the minnows in the pond, he's effectively left the sharks. And they are clearly ''not'' happy. ** [[SelfFulfillingProphecy Everything that happens in 3x05 and 5x05]]. ** In the last episode, Gwen successfully manages to feed a spy false information and send Morgana looking for Arthur and Merlin in the wrong place. [[spoiler: Gwaine and Percival then think it's a good idea to chase after her, get captured and tortured and tell her where they ''really'' are, allowing Morgana to stop Merlin getting Arthur to Avalon in time.]] * NiceJobBreakingItHerod: Inverted. Uther's genocide of the dragonlords actually ''causes'' the birth of Merlin, who is destined to undo all his work. * NiceToTheWaiter: Arthur flip-flops with this in regard to Merlin. While he clearly assumes he's the superior and constantly insults and berates Merlin while Merlin's trying to do his job, he has shown that he cares about the common people and occasionally shows Merlin some measure of affection and respect. ** He's also willing to risk his life to protect or save Merlin without a second thought. ** Mithian shows that she's a genuinely nice person through her treatment of Merlin, a servant. * NobleDemon: Uther might be a genocidal tyrant but he's also a loving parent and a brave warrior who will put himself in harm's way to protect his kingdom. * NoHeroToHisValet: The show is built on this trope. As Arthur's manservant, Merlin sees him at his worst - and most vulnerable. * NoManOfWomanBorn: You can't kill a HighPriestess with a mortal blade. As the show demonstrates, however, this is quite easy to poke holes in if you're feeling creative. Lightning, wall-smashing, and magical blades have all been used to dispatch high priestesses. * NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Katie [=McGrath's=] native South County Dublin accent. Interestingly the accent is so unfamiliar outside of Ireland that some fans assumed it was a deliberate move to highlight Morgana's MysteriousPast. * TheNotLoveInterest: Merlin and Arthur. ** Throughout series one the most important person in Gwen's life was Morgana. ** Morgana and Morgause. * NotSoDifferent: Said almost word by word by Agravaine to Merlin. They're both close to Arthur and both betray his trust one way or another. * NotThatTheresAnythingWrongWithThat: A variant. Agravaine is quick to say that he personally has no problem with Arthur's relationship with a servant when he advises him to break things off with Gwen. * NotWhatItLooksLike: Merlin frequently gets walked in on in various compromising-looking situations, usually by Arthur or Gwen. Not only does he have to explain that it's not what it looks like, he usually can't even tell the truth and so has to come up with another (comedically improbable) excuse. While they usually don't believe him, they trust him enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. * NowLetMeCarryYou: Mordred is glad to take care of an injured Morgana, in thanks for her previously caring for him. [[/folder]] [[folder: O-P]] * ObfuscatingStupidity: Deconstructed. All the characters who aren't Lancelot, Gaius, or Gwen seem utterly convinced Merlin's a moron. Merlin is occasionally bumbling and clueless, but since he keeps his more deductive, perceptive, and wiser side hidden from the other characters, when it shines through they acknowledge it then immediately forget it. You'd think that since he's ''always right'', someone would catch on, but StatusQuoIsGod. * ObliviousGuiltSlinging: Uther to Morgana. ** This happened several times to Merlin, whenever someone (usually Arthur or Uther) complimented him for helping them in the fight against magic. * ObliviousToLove: Guinevere is a little oblivious to Arthur's feelings for her between episodes 2.02 and 2.04. She's astonished by their FirstKiss and gobsmacked by the fact that he came to rescue her from Hengist's fortress. By 2.10 she seems to have caught on... * OccultDetective: Gaius and Merlin. ** Some fans would say also Merlin and Gwen, who have teamed up on more than one occasion to investigate the fantastical mysteries in Camelot, earning them the FanNickname of "Camelot's Detective Agency." * OddCouple: Arthur and Merlin. They have vastly different backgrounds and personalities yet they have a very strong and unbreakable bond. * OddFriendship: Arthur and Merlin again. Merlin and all of the Knights at the Round Table could count as well. * OfCorsetsSexy: Guinevere's corsets get more and more noticeable as the seasons go on, until we reach [[http://oi42.tinypic.com/2v8h0f6.jpg this]]. [[http://disparue.org/gallery/6/merlin/2/206/images/merlin206_0778.jpg They]] [[http://angelcoulby.net/gallery/albums/userpics/10003/gs2_15.jpg also]] [[http://disparue.org/gallery/6/merlin/3/313/images/merlin313_0420.jpg present]] [[http://disparue.org/gallery/6/merlin/3/310/images/merlin310_0289.jpg a case of]] CostumePorn. * OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: How about the entire Golden Age of Camelot? It (apparently) occurs offscreen in the TimeSkip between seasons 4 and 5. * OffscreenTeleportation: In the season four finale, Merlin magically throws Morgana backward, at the same time knocking down part of the ceiling. Morgana is apparently knocked out. What can't be more than ten seconds later, Morgana has completely vanished, even though she was already badly injured and in a castle full of hostile soldiers. * OffTheRails * TheOjou: Guinevere, especially before she became Queen and Hunith, despite not coming from wealth. * OlderAndWiser: The changing of the OpeningNarration in Series 4, a subtle indication that the Great Dragon considers Merlin as a young man, rather than a "boy". * OminousLatinChanting: So far, the second series breaks into this at the slightest provocation. * OneDialogueTwoConversations: Between Gwen and Arthur in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', when, without Gwen's knowing, Arthur's been enchanted to fall in love with Lady Vivian. -->'''Gwen''': What is it, Arthur? You look like you have something on your mind. -->'''Arthur''': You read me like a book. I've made a fool of myself, that's all. That's everything. -->'''Gwen''': I'm sure that is not true. -->'''Arthur''': You have a good heart, Guinevere, but I'm afraid it is. I have made a gesture, but it was not well received. -->'''Gwen''': You sure? -->'''Arthur''': Pretty sure. -->'''Gwen''': Then you are wrong. -->'''Arthur''': You are very close to the lady in question. -->'''Gwen''': Your token was much appreciated. But the situation is delicate, and it is not always easy to express what is really in one's heart. -->'''Arthur''': You think there's hope? -->'''Gwen''': There is always hope. -->'''Arthur''': If only I had some way of knowing. -->'''Gwen''': Indeed, My Lord. * OneSteveLimit: There have been two Tristans on the show; Sir Tristan de Bois and Tristan (of Literature/TristanAndIsolde fame). ** There have also been two Caras (though one was spelled Kara): One in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]'' [[spoiler: though she is Nimue in disguise]] and the other in ''[[Recap/MerlinS05E11TheDrawingofTheDark The Drawing of The Dark]]'' ** There have been three Marys: Mary the tavern-keeper, Mary Howden, and Mary Collins (though the last was never named on-screen). * OncePerEpisode: Merlin cries. Morgana gives an evil smirk. Arthur mocks Merlin. [[HardHead Arthur gets conveniently knocked out]]. ** And in the first season especially, [[MonsterOfTheWeek a monster appears]] Camelot's best knights try to fight it and fail, Gaius does some research and tells Merlin "It can only be killed by magic," Merlin uses his magic powers to slay the monster, and everything is back to normal. * OnlyAFleshWound: Averted every single time. If you get stabbed, you'll pass out pretty quick from blood loss. Even a small wound has to be treated and can be infected if you aren't careful. They ''do'' use this to knock people out at plot-convenient moments, but to their credit it's always realistically played. * OnlyFriend: Will is implied to have been Merlin's before he came to Camelot. ** Gwaine tells Merlin that he is the only friend he's got in 3x08. *** Arthur also considers Merlin to be his only true friend, despite being surrounded by many people. * OnlyOneName: Merlin, Nimueh, Freya, Lancelot, Percival, Gauis, Elyan, and Guinevere (although subverted in Gwen's case [[spoiler: after she marries Arthur and becomes a Pendragon.]] * OohMeAccentsSlipping: Colin Morgan. In the episode ''Lancelot & Guinevere'', his Irish accent slips through a bit in this line: --->'''Merlin''': Is it really that hard to admit you like her? * OpeningNarration: As seen at the top of this page. * OppositesAttract: Arthur and Guinevere. ** As far as friendships go, this also applies to Arthur and Merlin, with the former being a rich and cynical blond, and the latter being a poor but optimistic brunet. * OurDragonsAreDifferent: Intelligent and talkative. * OurMonstersAreDifferent: The traditional Manticore is a reddish lion with a head resembling a bearded man's, either a scorpion's tail or a dragon's tipped with poisonous barbs and three rows of razor-sharp teeth in its mouth. Here, it's a tiny frilled lizard with a man-ish head. * OurTrollsAreDifferent: Green skinned, greedy and love to eat rotting fruit and vegetables. Able to use potions to take on human form and enchant humans. * OutOfCharacterAlert: {{Subverted}} when Arthur offers up his right to the throne if Uther only spares Guinevere's life. Uther declares that this is something that Arthur would never say were he not under an enchantment - only Arthur ''isn't'' under a spell, and he ''does'' mean it. ** Played straight in season 4 when Arthur breaks up with Guinevere at Agravaine's insistence. Though Arthur claims it's his own choice, Gwen immediately realizes that someone else put him up to it. * OutOfOrder: 3X08 ("The Eye of the Phoenix") and 3X10 ("Queen of Hearts") were switched around in order to boost ratings, which did some pretty serious continuity damage to Morgana and Guinevere's relationship. And ironically, "Queen of Hearts" ended up being the highest rated episode thus far. ** 2x07 ("The Witchfinder") was originally meant to be 2x04, but was pushed back. * OverlyLongTongue: Grunhilda in "The Changeling". [[{{Squick}} Ew.]] * ParentalAbandonment: None of the four main characters has a complete set of parents: Arthur, Morgana and Gwen have all definitely lost a parent. The status of Gwen and Morgana's mothers remains unknown, but they are presumably also dead. Merlin's father [[spoiler: is not a straight-up example as he was forced to abandon Hunith to flee from Uther before he even knew that she was pregnant, and thus has no idea that he has a son. Then he died when Merlin finally met him.]] ** Morgana views [[spoiler: Uther keeping the secret that he is her real father]] explicitly as this. *** Which is Morgana's view, but probably shouldn't be anyone's else's. [[spoiler:Her father dotes on her in not just "I'm giving you riches, be nice", but actually and very willingly spends a lot of time with her; he even spends a whole year having the kingdom searched and sacrificing a lot of men to retrieve her, he also listens to her advices, something he's not always done for Arthur, and while he has on occasions "punished" her for standing up to him, he has also acknowledged that this standing-up to him is vital to him running a fair and just kingdom. Plus, it's not like Arthur hates or even dislikes her, and like the prince would throw her out had he the chance.]] In short, Morgana is literally living like a princess and she is set for a life as such, but she's ready to kill [[spoiler:her father]] because he won't jeopardize his position (and hers, as been pointed in the SuccessionCrisis entry below ). [[spoiler:Yes, Uther is a hypocritical tyrant on many levels, but while his treatment of magical people or even of Morgana's "father" (Gorlois) are very slow in turning her against him, as soon as he declines recognising her as his daughter, she immediately tries to kill him.]] Spoiled child's tantrum, much? * ParentalFavouritism: Played with, for either Arthur ''or'' Morgana could be described as Uther's favourite. Although Arthur is considered the most important of Uther's children (being the heir to the throne), Uther excessively dotes on Morgana and gives her far more leeway than he does Arthur. In light of recent events, this has come back to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard bite Uther]] in more than one way. * ParentalSubstitute: Gaius is this towards Merlin. * {{Patricide}}: [[spoiler:Morgana has a definite hand in finally killing Uther]]. * PersonOfMassDestruction: Merlin and Morgana. Any high-level mage, especially if they get creative, can raise hell. * PetTheDog: Sophia and her father come across as standard villains, but at the conclusion of the episode there is a surprisingly touching scene in which Sophia's father gives up his immortality in order to secure his daughter's. ** Uther genuinely cares about his children. * PhraseCatcher: "When you are king, things will be different" to Arthur. * [[PietaPlagiarism Pietà Plagiarism]]: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'' when Uther carries Arthur across the courtyard. ** Happens again with Percival carrying Merlin in 04x01, and [[spoiler: Merlin in Emrys form carrying a mortally wounded Arthur in series finale.]] * PlatonicLifePartners: Merlin and Gwen. * PleaseSpareHimMyLiege: Happens often to Uther, most heartbreakingly when Arthur begs for Guinevere's life after Uther has her pegged as a witch. * PlotTriggeringDeath: Two of which serve as BookEnds: Ygraine's death, which served to turn Uther against magic and start the conflict of the series, and Kara, who turned Mordred against Camelot. * PluckyComicRelief: Merlin, Gwaine, Arthur, especially as a PowerTrio. * PoliticallyCorrectHistory: Comments have been made on the ethnicities of Gwen (Guinevere) and Lancelot but there have been black people in Britain since the Romans conquered it and southern Europeans tend to be darker than those in the north (in reference to Lancelot, not Gwen). In fact, Gwen's physical appearance may just be one of the least anachronistic aspects of the show: her darker skin and curly hair suggest that she is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silures Silurian]] (no, not [[Series/DoctorWho that]] kind of Silurian). ** All the angsting over Arthur being in love with a servant girl. Love marriage is a rather modern phenomenon especially for royalty. A true prince of that (or most) ages would marry for politics and have Gwen on the side for romance. * PoisonIsEvil: {{Inverted}}, as it is first the heroic Merlin who uses it for morally-dubious means (killing Morgana in order to break a fatal spell upon Camelot). Later Morgana plays this trope straight when it comes to killing a man who would have otherwise been able to identify her as the traitor. * PoisonedChaliceSwitcheroo: Arthur does this to Merlin. However, he did it to ensure that Merlin wouldn't get the poison and that he would, to save his friend's life. * PoisonousFriend: [[spoiler: Merlin, in a very literal sense.]] ** Also, [[spoiler:Morgana]], but [[ForegoneConclusion we all saw this coming.]] * PosthumousCharacter: Igraine and Gorlois. * PowerGlows: The eyes of magical people/creatures briefly glow during spellcasting. * PowerIncontinence: Merlin initially. As he points out in the first episode, he's never studied magic, or knows any spells, but his power... ''just sort of happens''. ** Morgana is a better example. She has no control over her seer powers at any point, and has to wear a special bracelet to keep them away unless they are really important, such as prophecies. When she first uses actual magic, she has no control over it, and even after [[spoiler: training for a year with her half-sister]], she still loses control once and tosses Merlin into a wall. ** Mordred as well. It doesn't look like he meant to break those mirrors. ** Alternately, you could say Merlin is notable for averting this, since all the other inherit magic users need training to get control of it, whereas Merlin was able to move objects at will even before he could talk. * ThePowerOfLove: The Dragon instructs Merlin to use this to break the enchantment that has left Arthur infatuated with Vivian. [[spoiler: A TrueLovesKiss from Gwen does the job.]] * ThePowerOfTrust: Is a CentralTheme in season 4, when Arthur [[spoiler:finally assumes the throne.]] He spends most of the season under the pretence that he can trust no one. In a cruel twist, [[spoiler: his uncle]], the one person that he really can't trust, actually uses this to get him to mistrust everyone else. When he realizes this in the finale, he goes in complete HeroicBSOD, and it takes [[spoiler: pulling the sword from the stone]] to make him believe he can be a king again. * PowerNullifier: [[spoiler:In the season 4 finale, Merlin uses a mandrake doll placed under Morgana's bed to (temporarily at least) completely block her magical powers. Needless to say, she [[OhCrap reacted poorly]] when she tried to use her magic later.]] Also a CallBack to Season 3 when Morgana [[spoiler: put a doll beneath Uther's bed and made him go crazy]]. ** In Series 5, [[spoiler: Morgana has a magic-eating slug to de-power Merlin in the GrandFinale.]] * PowerTrio: Merlin ("Magic"), Arthur ("Courage") and Gwaine ("Strength"). Arthur, Gwen and Merlin also form a trio. * PrettyBoy[=/=]{{Bishonen}}: Merlin. In contrast to Arthur and all of the Knights of Camelot who are all {{Hunk}}'s. * PrettyInMink: Morgana. * PrimaryColorChampion: Merlin. He is always seen wearing TheHero colours of red and blue (similar to that of Clark Kent). If he is NOT wearing those colours, you will know that something is wrong with him (like when he was brainwashed by Morgana and was wearing the purple shirt in 4x06 for example). * ProfessionalKiller: Myror * ThePromise: played straight many times, from Freya to Merlin ("Someday I will repay you"), Arthur and Gwen ("I can promise you that when I am King, things will be different"), Merlin's promise to the Dragon that he will free him, and mentioned with Uther's promise to Gorlois about taking care of Morgana. [[spoiler: And every promise has been kept, or at least it has been hinted that they will]]. ** Lancelot was not able to keep his promise to Guinevere that he would rescue her from Hengist's fortress. Though he tries his best, it is Arthur who saves her. This leads to Lancelot's decision to leave in the middle of the night, feeling himself unworthy. ** Arthur broke his promise to Guinevere that her home was hers for life when he [[spoiler:banished her from Camelot]]. Yes, there were mitigating circumstances, but the promise was still broken. * ProperLady: Morgan, Guinevere and Mithian. * TheProphecy: The prophecy about Merlin helping Arthur become the great king who will unite all of Albion. ** And the prophecy that Morgana is now spending all her time trying to prevent happening: that Emrys (Merlin, though she doesn't know it) will be "her destiny and her doom." * ProphecyTwist: The series ending. [[spoiler: After five series and ten year in-show worth of promise that Arthur is the one who will bring magic back and lead Albion to a golden age, it's Guinevere who will achieve those things. Arthur merely makes it possible to happen by making her his queen, repeals the oppression on the Druids (magic is still banned), and maintains cordial diplomatic relationship with leaders like Queen Annis.]] * TheProtagonist: The story and series centres on Merlin, his journey and his relationship with other characters. * ProtagonistCenteredMorality: Too many examples to list, but there's a lot of this. For instance, Merlin repeatedly [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman kills supernatural antagonists]] in cold blood, even when said enemies have understandable or admirable reasons for opposing him; these slayings are portrayed as triumphant or even humorous. The best example, though, has to be when Merlin [[spoiler: frees the dragon to fulfill a vow and save his mother's life,]] despite being perfectly aware that it will put everyone in Camelot at risk (including other people's mothers, who apparently aren't important). Sure enough, [[spoiler: hundreds of civilians die.]] Merlin never displays any real remorse, most of his angst during the carnage has to do with his daddy issues (at one point he actually ''pretends'' he's worried about the people in Camelot, to hide that he's ''actually'' sulking about his mystery dad), and the narrative generally treats the event as a tragic inevitability rather than an act of reckless, destructive selfishness. Of course, if the MonsterOfTheWeek [[UndignifiedDeath had done the same thing for the same reasons...]] * {{Protectorate}}: For Merlin, it is Arthur and Guinevere, the former [[BecauseDestinySaysSo because of his destiny]] and the latter because of their pre-existing friendship and her eventual relationship with Arthur. His protection also extends to anyone with magical abilities, such as Mordred and Freya. ** Arthur's {{Protectorate}} is Camelot and its people. * PublicDomainArtifact: Excalibur in the episode of that name. Also, who wants to bet that [[spoiler:the Cup of Life in "Le Morte d'Arthur" is actually the Holy Grail?]] ** We've now also seen the Round Table. * PublicExecution: Tons of 'em, either by [[OffWithHisHead beheading]], hanging or [[BurnTheWitch pyre]]. In fact, the very first thing Merlin sees on arriving in Camelot is a magic-user getting his head cut off. * PunctuatedForEmphasis: ''Lancelot du Lac'' has the scene where Arthur is rather calmly confronting Gwen after [[spoiler: catching her kissing Lancelot the night before their wedding]], coldly trying to supply reasons for why she did it. When she fails to come up with a rational, coherent answer, he ''just snaps'': -->'''Arthur''': Then forgive me! Because I must be really stupid! WHAT! WERE YOU DOING!!! * ThePurge: Known as "the Great Purge", this is the time in which Uther had all those who possessed magic executed. * PutOnABus: Unfortunately, Asa Butterfield (Mordred) won't be in Series three because of scheduled filming conflicts. Also doesn't appear in Series four, [[spoiler: and is too young when season five rolls around.]] [[/folder]] [[folder: Q-R]] * RagsToRiches: Guinevere [[spoiler: when she goes from being a poor maid servant to the sole ruler and Queen of Camelot after she marries King Arthur.]] * RavenHairIvorySkin: Merlin and Morgana. * ARealManIsAKiller: Arthur describes himself as "the ultimate killing machine" and this is in no way an InformedAbility. In fact, it's almost disconcerting to see him kill another man (albeit one who was trying to kill ''him'') without a moment's hesitation in the very second episode of the show. * RealMenHateAffection: At the end of ''Beauty and the Beast'' Arthur thanks Merlin for his help in getting rid of a troll, and reaches out to pat him on the back. Merlin misinterprets the gesture and tries to hug him, only to get a resounding ''no'' from Arthur. [[spoiler: Finally averted in Season 4, when Arthur hugs Merlin in relief on finding him alive after being captured by Morgana]] ** {{Averted}} between Merlin and Gwaine. On getting separated in ''The Eye of the Phoenix'', Gwaine hugs Merlin once they're reunited (Arthur only pats him on the back). * ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Nimueh. Her actual age is unknown but she is clearly at least a generation older than she looks. ** [[spoiler: Merlin in the DistantFinale. It takes place in modern times and he looks quite old, but whether or not that is a magical disguise Merlin is way older than he looks.]] * TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Merlin gets to tell [[spoiler: Uther's ghost]] a piece of his mind in 5x03. Earlier, under the Dragoon guise, he says some scathing things to both Uther and Arthur. * RebelliousPrincess: Deconstructed with Elena in 3x06. * RedIsHeroic: The red capes of Camelot knights. Though it's also ironically RedShirt for knights who are not main characters. * RedOniBlueOni: Merlin is the Blue Oni to Arthur's Red Oni. While Merlin is logical, intelligent and practical, Arthur is impulsive, hot headed and passionate. ** Lancelot is the Blue to Arthur's Red. ** Merlin is the Blue to Gwaine's Red. ** Gwen could be considered as the Blue to Morgana's Red. * RedemptionInTheRain: At the end of [[spoiler:''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'', when Gaius comes back to life.]] * RedShirt: Rather literally, in regard to the various knights and guards of Camelot. ** RedshirtArmy: How many times have we seen knights get killed? Geez. * ReducedtoRatburgers: A ''RunningGag'' * RefugeInAudacity: Probably the only reason Merlin keeps his job is because of this. -->'''Arthur''': What are you doing? -->'''Merlin''': Looking for woodworm -->'''Arthur''': Before breakfast? -->'''Merlin''': That's when the worms are most active. * ReligionIsMagic: Merlin and dragons (as well as various magical beings) are creatures of Old Religion, which appears to be a form of paganism. * RememberTheNewGuy: ** The writers take advantage of a year's TimeSkip between series three and four to introduce Arthur's uncle Agravaine as though he's been present in the kingdom all along. Even though he's never been mentioned before, there are lines like: "I promised your mother I'd always be there for you," and "I've known him since I was a child," though there's no indication where he's been all this time. ** A similar thing happened with Guinevere's brother Elyan and Morgana's half-sister Morgause, even though these examples were partially justified in that the former siblings were estranged for years, and the latter were deliberately kept apart. * RequisiteRoyalRegalia: There have been at least three different crowns worn by the Kings of Camelot. Uther had two: a simple circlet and a more elaborate one (which was only seen at the beginning of the first series), whilst Arthur wears a large golden one with Fleur-de-lis spikes. The crown for the Queen of Camelot (as worn by [[spoiler:Morgana and then Guinevere]]) is larger and covered in jewels. ** Most kings, queens and princesses that guest star on the show wear some sort of crown or coronet to indicate their status. * ReptilesAreAbhorrent: ** In the second episode, the villain uses a shield with snakes that come to life. ** Morgana uses a miniature Hydra to take control of Merlin's mind. ** Lamia is definitely abhorrent. * ResetButton: The writers have done this a lot with regards to the progression of Merlin and Arthur's friendship, causing enormous fan frustration. One episode they're starting to trust each other, the next, Arthur is treating Merlin just like he did back at the beginning of series one. Alas, even with a complex story arc, it seems that StatusQuoIsGod in many ways. ** This is also the case with the Uther/Arthur relationship. No matter how many awful things Uther does, Arthur continues to fight for his approval and affection. The worst example is when Uther almost has Guinevere burnt at the stake despite his son's pleas, yet by the very next episode Arthur is worrying about whether he should fight (and potentially injure) Uther in a tournament. ** Averted ''heavily'' in Series 4 [[spoiler: with the death of Uther.]] ** Also averted in Series 4 with the Arthur and Merlin relationship. Arthur finally calls Merlin his friend, admits he's right, seeks out his advice and even goes as far as to investigate whether [[spoiler: DevilInPlainSight Agravaine is betraying him]] purely because he knows that Merlin would not defy him unless the situation was grave. When he ''does'' treat him as a stupid manservant in A Herald of the New Age, it's clearly demonstrated as being out of character. * RevengeBeforeReason: Uther. * RhymesOnADime: Queen Mab. * RidiculouslyCuteCritter: [[spoiler:Aithusa. Don't you dare claim you didn't say "''Awwwww,''" when he hatched]]. * RiskingTheKing: Arthur's HonorBeforeReason nature often leads to him personally going on dangerous missions, even if it's not a wise thing to do. * RivalsTeamUp: Arthur and Lancelot team up in order to defeat the Wildren ([[RodentsOfUnusualSize giant rats]]). Somewhat {{subverted}} in that they don't ''realize'' that they're rivals until a few minutes later when Arthur notices Lancelot holding hands with Guinevere. * RodentsOfUnusualSize: The Wildren. * RomanceOnTheSet: Bradley James is dating Georgia King (Elena). * RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: Gwen and Morgana, at first. Becomes Morgana and Morgause, though they're half-sisters. * RoyalBrat: Both Arthur and Morgana have their moments, though neither one holds a candle to Lady Vivian. * RoyallyScrewedUp: It's revealed in series three that the Pendragon men have a history of mental illness, one which King Uther ultimately succumbs to after his [[spoiler:illegitimate daughter]] betrays him and takes the throne. * RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: ** The series shows Prince Arthur to be not only the Camelot's heir apparent, but also the day-to-day commander of the kingdom's armed forces. He not only leads them in battle, but also recruits the knights and oversees their training. He also seems to be the closest thing that the kingdom has to a sheriff or chief of police. If any "crime" occurs, it's usually Arthur that's sent to investigate. ** It's heavily implied that his father King Uther was this as well in his youth. He does prove himself quite handy with a sword. ** The first episode that showcases Guinevere as Queen makes a point of demonstrating how active she is: she gives advice at a council meeting, she rules the kingdom in her husband's absence, and she ferrets out a traitor that was leaking information to her enemies. * RuleOfFunny: Why Merlin doesn't use magic while trying to kill Arthur in "A Servant of Two Masters." ** It could be argued that it was because [[spoiler:Morgana]],who doesn't know about Merlin's magic, was the one controlling him. ** Alternatively, Merlin was still in there somewhere and didn't want to actually kill Arthur, or be arrested before he could.[[note]]But that's highly doubtful.[[/note]] [[/folder]] [[folder: S-T]] * SadisticChoice: When Merlin claimed the the wine from a visiting king was poisoned, Uther calmly gave the cup to Merlin to drink. If it was poisoned, Merlin would die. If it wasn't poisoned, Merlin would be given to the infuriated visiting king to do whatever he wishes to Merlin. ** In another episode, Merlin and Arthur were given two cups, one with poison. All the liquid in the two cups had to be consumed, and neither cup could be drunken from by more than one boy. They [[TakeAThirdOption TookAThirdOption]] by combining the liquids into one cup, which was then definitely poisoned. Merlin would have drunken from it, but Arthur sacrificed himself. ** Towards the end of series two, Merlin is given the choice of either allowing Camelot to be destroyed by some freaky enchantment placed on Morgana or ''personally trying to kill her''. '''Ouch'''. ** It looks like Gwen's headed for one in 3x07, where she must choose to save the life of either Arthur or [[spoiler:her estranged brother Elyan. This is instantly nipped in the bud when she tells Arthur of the deal.]] * SadlyMythtaken: The show takes several, uh, liberties with traditional Arthurian legend. It also sometimes uses less familiar versions of the legend (preferring Monmouth to Mallory). ** Frankly they could remove all Arthurian references by changing the characters' names without damaging the series in the slightest - it's just that far from the conventional narrative. ** By the end of the third series, the characters and their storylines are mostly headed toward their familiar legendary roles. * SamusIsAGirl: [[spoiler: Morgause, who waltzes into Camelot, kills five guards, enters the Great Hall, [[ThrowingDownTheGauntlet challenges Arthur to a duel]] which he accepts, ''then'' removes her helmet. ''Win''.]]. * SarcasticConfession: Morgana [[spoiler:telling Arthur where she's hidden Mordred.]] * SatelliteLoveInterest: ** Deliberately an InvokedTrope between Arthur and Vivian, the latter being a RoyalBrat who only exists to flounce around in pretty clothes. The two of them are put under a [[LovePotion Love Spell]] that makes them act like SickeningSweethearts, much to the bafflement of everyone else. ** But notably {{subverted}} with two more of Arthur's [[RomanticFalseLead Romantic False Leads]]: Princess Elena and Princess Mithian. Both are brought to Camelot (at different times) to join in an ArrangedMarriage to Arthur, but instead of treating them as mere impediments to his happiness with Guinevere, both are likeable and developed characters. Elena's importance to the narrative has less to do with her relationship to Arthur as it does her role as an UnwittingPawn in [[TheFairFolk The Fair Folks']] attempt to take over Camelot, and though Mithian's function ''was'' simply as a LoveInterest to Arthur, she was also a three-dimensional character who ended up being popular enough to return to the show in the next season. ** But played straight with Freya, Merlin's [[TheLostLenore Lost Lenore]]. ** BaseBreaker Guinevere is often accused of being "just a love interest" by detractors, and though it's true that most of her screen-time does indeed centre on herShe gets ''one'' scene in which she's permitted to share details of her past (and even that is more of a MythologyGag that establishes her affinity for lakes), the rest of the time she only exists so that Merlin can be her [[TheCaretaker Caretaker]], enjoy openly using his magic in front of her, and experience manpain when she dies. It's especially glaring when he takes her to a lakeside in order to [[LetThemDieHappy Let Her Die Happy]] and she mutters: "you remembered..." Well of course he remembered - her love of lakes is the only personal detail she ever shares with him! ** BaseBreaker Guinevere is often accused of being "just a love interest" by detractors, and though it's true that most of her screen-time does indeed centre on her relationship with Arthur, the ultimate purpose of her CharacterArc was to become Queen of Camelot -- and it's unclear how her cynics expected this to happen ''without'' a relationship with Arthur arising (as you may have guessed, a lot of DieForOurShip was at work here). Her CharacterDevelopment involved a significant boost in confidence brought about by Arthur's love for her, and many of her strongest scenes [[note]]outsmarting the Witchfinder, freeing Sir Leon, confronting Agravaine, withstanding Morgana, trapping Ruadan[[/note]] occurred when Arthur was completely absent. And by the end of the series, [[spoiler:she assumes control over Camelot after Arthur's death]] with confirmation by WordOfGod that she successfully ruled over the Golden Age [[spoiler:in his stead]]. She could be described as a case of a SatelliteLoveInterest in the sense that she's NeverASelfMadeWoman, '''but''' her character was given plenty of personal development and independent power as a ''direct result'' of her role as Arthur's LoveInterest. * SayMyName: We get a few between the boys, but none of them beats Arthur's holler of (say it with me now!) '''GUINEVEEEEEEEERE'''. ** Very true, although Merlin's whole ''Arthur! [[AccidentalInnuendo Go]] [[HoYay faster!]]'' thing kind of has its own merits... ** And the way Merlin pronounces ''Freya'' is quite lovely. ** Arthur's constant shouting of "MERLIN!" * {{Scatting}}: In 2x09, after kissing Freya for the first time, Merlin can't stop humming. While eating. * SchiffOneLiner / WhamLine: 1x08. -->'''Mordred:''' My name is ''Mordred''. ** Immediately followed by OminousLatinChanting. If ''that'' does not say wham... ** "There can be no place for magic in Camelot." in 5x05. * ScarsAreForever: Uther's forehead. * SceneryPorn: Plenty of this in the series. * ScrewDestiny * ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: Uther, ordering the use of magic if necessary to save Morgana. * ScrewThisImOuttaHere: In 5x08, it only takes Merlin taking out one of the bandits for the rest of them to realize they've bitten off more than they can chew. Daegal's impressed. * SecretKeeper: Outside Merlin's village, the only two people who know his secret (thus far) are Gaius and Lancelot. ** For a long time, the only people who knew about Morgana's prophetic dreams were Gwen, Gaius and Merlin. That now includes Morgause, and possibly the men under her command. *** Arthur and Gwen's secret love affair is swiftly becoming the worst-kept secret in Camelot. Merlin was pretty much in the know right from the start, followed by Gaius. Lancelot and Gwaine were quick to catch on as well. As of the third series Morgana has figured it out and spilled the beans to Morgause. * SecretRelationship: Arthur and Gwen, up until the end of series three. * SecretTestOfCharacter: After Arthur had killed a unicorn, the keeper of the unicorns tested him on a few occasions, to see if he was pure-hearted. The first test was seeing if he would let a thief who was stealing food go, despite the rules. The second test was if he would forgive the thief, after he found out that the thief had stolen more than enough food. The third test was to see whether Arthur would sacrifice himself for Merlin, by taking the poison. * SeenItAll: Nimueh. * SelfFulfillingProphecy: Morgana [[spoiler: turning against Camelot seems to be one of these. The Dragon warns Merlin about her turning evil, and as a result Merlin drives her away.]] ** Merlin's attempts to [[spoiler: prevent the potential future which he has seen in ''The Crystal Cave'' lead to this.]] ** Morgana's schemes to break up Arthur and Gwen only cements their relationship. ** Merlin tries to prevent Mordred from escaping the Camelot knights and seems to cements the child's hate [[spoiler: although in season five, Mordred doesn't appear antagonistic toward Merlin.]] ** The entire show is this trope. Interestingly enough, after ''The Crystal Cave'', Merlin becomes GenreSavvy enough to recognize this and uses it to his advantage a couple of times, advising Arthur more often so that he will become the king he's prophesied to be. -->'''Merlin''': You may be destined to rule Camelot but you have a choice as to how you do it. * SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Merlin and Arthur, with Merlin being the Sensitive Guy to Arthur's Manly Man. ** Lancelot and Arthur, with Lancelot being the Sensitive Guy to Arthur's Manly Man. ** Merlin and Gwaine, with Merlin being the Sensitive Guy to Gwaine's Manly Man. *** Thus it is no surprise that the Sensitive Guys (Merlin and Lancelot) get along perfectly, whilst the Manly Men (Arthur and Gwaine) do nothing but snark at each other. * SeparatedByTheWall: In 3x08, Merlin accidentally activates a trap and gets separated from Gwaine and Arthur by a falling stone door. Then the three of them press their heads against it trying to communicate but failing. * SequelEpisode: ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E05Lancelot}} Lancelot]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E04LancelotAndGuinevere}} Lancelot and Guinevere]]'' and ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E09LancelotDuLac}} Lancelot Du Lac]]'' encompass Lancelot's StoryArc. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice}} The Poisoned Chalice]]'' is a direct continuation of ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E03TheMarkOfNimueh}} The Mark of Nimueh]]'' regarding Nimueh's plans for Merlin. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS02E02TheOnceAndFutureQueen}} The Once And Future Queen]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS04E03TheWickedDay}} The Wicked Day]]'' and ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E04AnothersSorrow}} Another's Sorrow]]'' contain King Odin's subplot. ** ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS01E08TheBeginningOfTheEnd}} The Beginning Of The End]]'', ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS03E05TheCrystalCave}} The Crystal Cave]]'' and ''[[{{Recap/MerlinS05E05TheDisir}} The Disir]]'' each have Merlin trying to deal with the inviolate nature of fate. Each time he builds on his experiences of the time before in order to make a different and more morally ambiguous decision. * SheCleansUpNicely: Elena, especially when that [[spoiler:sidhe was removed from inside her.]] ** Guinevere in the [[spoiler:dream sequence of her coronation]]. And in [[spoiler: season five, with those rich dresses.]] * ShiningCity: Camelot * ShipperOnDeck: Gaius, apparently...at least if his little chat with Gwen in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E13TheLastDragonlord The Last Dragonlord]]'' is anything to go by. Merlin also actively encourages Gwen/Arthur. In early series one Gwen of all people seemed to be encouraging Arthur/Morgana. * ShipTease: Arthur/Gwen, Gwen/Merlin, Merlin/Arthur, Morgana/Merlin, Gwen/Morgana, Arthur/Morgana, Arthur/Lancelot, Merlin/Lancelot: pretty much any way you want to pair things, so far. ** A lot of the reason the show has such a harmonious fandom is that there is subtext for every ''possible'' ship. [[{{Squick}} Even]] the [[IncestIsRelative incestuous]] and [[MayDecemberRomance huge-age-differenced]] ones. And the show ''knows'' this. Many, many fans simply ship the main four characters (Merlin, Arthur, Gwen and Morgana) as "one big [=OT4=] orgy". ** The trailer for season 4 contains [[spoiler:a passionate kiss between Guinevere and Lancelot]], a scene that ends with Arthur storming in on them and attacking Lancelot. Out of everything else featured in the trailer, it's this scene that is currently generating most of the debate in the fandom. * ShirtlessScene: As the series has progressed, it has become more and more apparent that Arthur is never going to be able to rule Camelot effectively if he really has quite such a debilitating allergy to clothing as the now practically mandatory per-episode use of the "and then Arthur gets naked" scene seems to imply. Not that this is in any way a bad thing... ** Also, Gwaine. Thank you, gods of FanService! *** Thus far we have had [[ShirtlessScene Shirtless Scenes]] from Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Uther, Leon, and that random shape-shifting bad guy in "Gwaine". Takes a little longer for Lancelot and Percival to strip off. Yet to whip his shirt off is Elyan. ** In 4x07, Agravaine gets one, too. * ShooOutTheNewGuy: Agravaine ticks all the prerequisites of this trope. He pops up completely unannounced in series 4, [[RememberTheNewGuy having been integrated into the court]] during the TimeSkip with no explanation as to where he was beforehand. He's the well-respected EvilUncle of Arthur, who speaks of him as though he's known him all his life, even though he didn't get so much as a ''mention'' in any of the prior seasons. He has a close working relationship with Morgana, though their history together is never explained. Actor NathanielParker is PromotedToOpeningCredits by the fourth episode after his introduction, and appears in every episode of that season (to add insult to injury, regulars KatieMcGrath and Creator/AngelCoulby had to sit out a few episodes). And he proceeds to do absolutely nothing of note except feed information to Morgana and act ObviouslyEvil. The writers never gave him any clear background or meaningful motivation, and they eventually DroppedABridgeOnHim in the final episode. By the time season five rolled around, it was difficult to remember that he'd ever existed at all. ** The show also had Alvarr, who only appeared in one episode, but who was toted as extremely important to the series as a) the leader of a group of renegade druids which included Mordred, b) a {{Chessmaster}} who could easily manipulate and control those around him, c) a LoveInterest to Morgana (complete with a LoveTriangle given the presence of his druid girlfriend), d) a pivotal reason as to why Morgana turns against Uther, and e) as someone who survived the episode in which he appeared, escaping from the dungeons with Morgana's help with the implication that they would meet again. He was never seen or mentioned again. * ShoutOut: The ornamental Celtic mask that is on the cover of the ''[[TheWarlordChronicles Winter King]]'' can be seen on Arthur's table in the background in the first series finale. ** Which is in turn oddly similar to the helmet from [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton_Hoo Sutton Hoo]]. ** Several episodes are named after famous Arthurian texts: "Le Morte d'Arthur" is named after Sir Creator/ThomasMalory's compilation of Arthurian tales, ''The Once and Future Queen'' is a play on T.H. White's ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', ''The Coming of Arthur'' is the first chapter/poem in Tennyson's ''Idylls of the King'' (as well as a chapter title in Roger Lancelyn Green's more contemporary retelling of the legend) and ''The Wicked Day'' is a quote from Malory's ''Literature/LeMorteDarthur'', as well as the title of the fourth book in Mary Stewart's ''Merlin'' series. ** The goblin giving Arthur donkey ears (and braying) is reminiscent of Puck giving a donkey head to Bottom in ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream''. It is also similar to something that happened to King Midas of ClassicalMythology and in the book ''Pinocchio''. ** In "His Father's Son", two armies meet on the battlefield and each send out a champion, one of which is much larger than the other. Sounds a lot like the story of [[DavidVersusGoliath David and Goliath]] in Literature/TheBible. ** Merlin being the one who puts Excalibur into the stone and afterwards orchestrates Arthur's retrieval of it is reminiscent of [[Discworld/MenAtArms Discworld]]'s commentary on the SwordInTheStone trope. * ShownTheirWork: Merlin's magic incantations are [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Welsh Middle Welsh]], written for the show by the Welsh department at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberystwyth_University Aberystwyth University]], Wales. * SingleTear: Merlin when he kisses Freya for the first time. * SlapSlapKiss: In season one, this seems to be set up between Arthur and Morgana. ** And Arthur & Merlin. *** That is probably going to remain unresolved, though after [[spoiler: Arthur marries Gwen]] in the series four finale. * SiblingTeam: Morgana and Morgause. * SiblingYinYang: Arthur and Morgana, naturally, but also Gwen and Elyan. * SilkHidingSteel / Proper Lady: Arguably, Gwen: patient, gentle, devoted to her loved ones but doesn't hesitate to take up arms when Camelot or someone she cares for is in danger. Although she does not fill the housewife image that usually accompanies the trope, she considers her job as a servant a worthwhile one and makes this ''very'' plain to Arthur when he is dismissive of her. * SinsOfOurFathers: Subverted in "A Herald of the New Age". The spirit of a druid boy killed during Uther's reign possesses Elyan and compels him to take revenge upon the king. Merlin assumes the spirit wants revenge against the deceased Uther and is [[spoiler:targeting the current king, Arthur, instead. When Arthur goes to make amends, he reveals that he actually led that particular raid when he was younger. Though he tried to spare the women and children, things got out of hand and he froze up instead of calling it off.]] * SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: A bit of an odd mix. Doing the right thing frequently makes everything worse, and the heroes often have to do morally ambiguous things to save the day. On the other hand, things like love, honour and justice are strongly present and presented as good things, and there is the constant hope that one day, when Arthur is King, those things will be what rules the land. ** The series' ending is plain depressing. [[spoiler: Arthur dies ''because'' Merlin tries everything to save him and because Arthur himself does what he thinks is right for Camelot. Merlin's magic and contribution is recognized but it is not confirmed on screen that the ban on magic is lifted post Camlann.]] * TheSmartGuy: Merlin. He's probably the most intelligent, wise and logical character in the series. [[GeniusDitz You'd never guess, though...]] * SmoochOfVictory: A strange variant of this where Gwen had kissed Merlin, after he had woken up from the poison. * SmugSmiler: Morgana and Agravaine. * SmugSnake: Morgana. * SoHappyTogether: In ''Lady Of The Lake'', Freya and Merlin are planning to leave Camelot that same night, they share a kiss, Merlin leaves with a big smile on his face...and then we find out Freya is going to [[BreakHisHeartToSaveHim escape without him to keep him from losing the good life he has.]] ''Ouch''. ** In ''The Last Dragonlord'', Merlin happily talks to Balinor about a family union with Hunith in Ealdor. Sure enough, Balinor dies shortly afterwards. * SoMyKidsCanWatch: NathanielParker (Agravaine) apparently joined the cast because his children were fans of the show. * SquishyWizard: ** Merlin can defeat an entire raiding party with one spell, but he absolutely sucks in a sword fight. *** Unless, of course, he has a sword that makes people ''explode''! ** Averted with Morgana and Morgause, both of whom are skilled with the sword, though Morgana's magic isn't quite as strong. Both are even able to defeat Arthur in fair fight (Morgause does so on screen, while Morgana at least claims that she can). * SpellMyNameWithAnS: The man known to anyone who's ever taken an English literature course as Gawain is here called Gwaine for no particular reason. (Medieval literature was less concerned with spelling conventions, and his name is even spelled ''Wowan'' at one point in ''Literature/SirGawainAndTheGreenKnight'', but Gawaine isn't an overly utilized spelling.) ** Likewise, the traditional spelling of Nimue, is here spelled with an h: Nimueh. * SpitTake: In 3x04, Merlin does one after Gaius says "You must remember that not all masters are as good to their servants as Arthur." * SpotOfTea: Merlin and Gaius drink it often; when Merlin comforts Gwen in ''The Castle of Fyrien'' he brings her a cup of tea. * StatusQuoIsGod: Oh, so very much. Whenever anything looks like it's going to change, the writers just hit the old ResetButton. ** Averted in series 4. Gwen and Arthur ship de-anchors, Arthur starts asking Merlin for advice, [[spoiler: Uther dies and Arthur finally becomes King of Camelot]], we've seen the first step towards lifting the ban on magic (Arthur ending the persecution of the druids), AnyoneCanDie, and Guinevere [[spoiler: gets banished from Camelot for cheating on Arthur on the eve of their wedding and doesn't return until the end of the season, where they are married and she crowned]]. * StarCrossedLovers: Gwen and Lancelot. Also pretty much everyone else, eventually, I expect. ** Merlin and Freya so much. * TheStarscream: Morgana beginning in Series 3 becomes this to Uther. ** In Series 4, this ends up repeatedly being [[FatalFlaw her downfall]], seeking allies to take control of Camelot, but whom end up abandoning her after realising her ChronicBackstabbingDisorder. * StealthPun: Uther has a penned dragon, the smith is black. ** Gwen's even-darker-skinned brother is named Elyan. As in, the Arthurian character Elyan the White? * StockEpisodeTitles: Quite a few, including ''The Beginning of the End'' (5), ''The Kindness of Strangers'' (9), ''Queen of Hearts'' (13), ''Sweet Dreams'' (17), ''Beauty and the Beast'' (31), and ''Sins of the Father'' (59). * StockPunishment: Merlin, a lot in series one. It was used as a RunningGag in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]''. * {{Stripperiffic}}: The bizarrely slashed up dress aside, just take a look at those platform heel sandals of Nimueh's that lace up to her knees... * SureLetsGoWithThat: Between Merlin and Morgana, back in series one when she tells him that she "knows his secret." Wrong secret, dear. * SwordAndSorcery: Merlin and Arthur. Although Arthur doesn't know it. * SwordOverHead: Lancelot does this when fighting to the death in a cage match. * SubordinateExcuse: Despite Arthur's claims that Merlin is the worst servant he's ever has, there's no real indication that he's willing to replace him with someone else... ** Could also count for SuspiciouslySpecificDenial, since RealMenHateAffection. * SuccessionCrisis: In 3.05 this is implied to be a consequence of the revelation that [[spoiler: Uther is father of both Arthur and Morgana, making both of them potential heirs to the throne. In fact, Merlin has a potential future vision of Morgana as queen. It comes true in 3.12 when she temporarily overthrows Uther and appoints herself queen.]] ** Some would say that [[spoiler: an unacknowledged, unmarried bastard daughter]] would not be allowed to ascend the throne legitimately, despite seeing in the series that [[bastard children]] are not treated differently (see Merlin himself). *** [[spoiler:Morgause and Morgana simply plan to kill Arthur, because they think that, with only one child left, Uther would no choice but no make Morgana his crowned heir:]] after all, we are shown that it's not a simple matter of lineage, as Arthur has to be made official heir, that legitimacy is taken away later in the two-parter episode and Catrina becomes in turn the designated heir; in addition, Uther reminds Arthur that he personally had to win his kingdom, not inherit it, and thus puts Arthur though quite a few ordeals and trials to judge if his son is ready to become king. * SuddenlySuitableSuitor: {{Averted}}. One would have thought that Arthur knighting Elyan would have sufficiently elevated Guinevere's status to a level that, if still not ''entirely'' acceptable, would not create ''quite'' as much of a stir should Arthur wish to marry her. However, this loophole seems not to have occurred to anyone, and despite Elyan's presence within the inner circle of Arthur's most trusted knights, Gwen is still working as a servant (albeit to the king). One must also consider that until recently, only nobleman could be knighted, and such change happens very slowly, one thing at a time. * SuicideMission: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS03E13TheComingOfArthurPartII The Coming of Arthur Part II]]'', taking Camelot back from Morgause, Morgana and an army of immortal soldiers, with nine people. * SupernaturalGoldEyes: Merlin when he uses magic. Also [[spoiler: Morgana]] and [[spoiler: Morgause]] This seems to be a common trait among magical creatures: the Dragon and the Manticore have them as well. * SupernaturalIsPurple: Nimueh, Freya and Lamia wear purple dresses, and Alator wears a purple robe. ** Let's not forget Merlin's "purple shirt of sex" from 4X06. * SuperStrength: Percival appears to have this. ** Also, Merlin seems to possess this as Emrys in the series finale when he carries Arthur. * SuperWeight: ** Type 0: Hunith, Unnamed Knights of Camelot ** Type 1: Uther Pendragon, Arthur Pendragon, named Knights of Camelot ** Type 2: Gaius, Arthur with Excalibur, Balinor, Aithusa ** Type 3: Merlin (prior to series 4), Morgana, Morgause ** Type 4: Merlin (by series 4), Morgana (by series 5), the Great Dragon * SwissCheeseSecurity: It is surprisingly easy to break into and out of, not only the castle itself, but also the dungeons, Arthur's room, the throne room, Gaius's room, and any guest room. * TableSpace: The increasing estrangement between Uther and Morgana is often symbolised by the two of them sitting at opposite ends of a long table. When the family unit is more cohesive, they sit together down one end. * TakeCareOfTheKids: When Morgana's father Gorlois died, he extracted a promise from Uther that she would be taken care of. This is revealed to be a {{subversion}} later in the series when we learn [[spoiler:that Morgana is actually Uther's biological daughter]]. ** The trope is also {{invoked}} between Arthur and Guinevere: on two separate occasions they ask Merlin to take care of the other one on finding themselves in grave danger. * TakeMeInstead: In ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]'', Arthur is bitten by a Questing Beast. This leads to Merlin negotiating his life for Arthur's, only to discover that his mother Hunith becomes grievously ill instead. Anticipating Merlin's sacrifice, Gaius goes to barter his life for Hunith's, only for Merlin to offer up his own instead. [[BalancingDeathsBooks The whole thing is resolved when Nimueh is struck by lightning, thus maintaining the balance of life and death]]. * TakeOverTheCity: Morgana and Morgause in ''The Coming of Arthur'' two-parter [[spoiler: and again the end of season 4]]. * TallDarkAndHandsome: Lancelot and Gwaine. * TallDarkAndSnarky: Merlin and Gwaine. * TapOnTheHead: Arthur gets knocked out from one almost OncePerEpisode. ** And in a deleted scene from 3x04, Gwaine uses a jug to knock a knight out. * TeensAreShort: {{Averted}}. Merlin is taller than almost the entire cast. * TeenGenius: Merlin. {{Averted}} now that he is no longer a teen. * TemptingFate: Arthur in 3x12. --> '''Arthur''': Who knows? Maybe just this once, we'll have no trouble. * TenMinuteRetirement: It clocks in at about ''five'' minutes when Gaius leaves in [[Recap/MerlinS01E06ARemedyToCureAllIlls 1x06]] after his place as court physician is usurped by a younger man [[spoiler:who naturally turns out to be evil]]. * TerribleTrio: Morgana, Helios and Agravaine. * TheyDo: Uther and Catrina. [[spoiler:Arthur and Gwen]] * TheBadGuyWins: [[spoiler: 4x03 4x09]] * ThereAreNoRules: The melee in "The Sorcerer's Shadow". * ThickerThanWater: A subtle theme in the series. Characters on both sides are loyal to their families. Hunith and Gaius are Merlin's BerserkButton. Gwen rescues Elyan. [[MonsterOfTheWeek Many antagonists are motivated by revenge for their loved ones killed by Camelot]]. Uther loves his children. Morgause takes care of Morgana. The only exception to the norm is [[spoiler: Morgana, who wants to kill her father Uther and half-brother Arthur]] * ThereIsAnother: [[spoiler:Dragons, with the birth of Aithusa.]] ** [[spoiler: Excalibur isn't the only blade forged in dragon's breath as Morgana makes another one for Mordred later.]] * TheseHandsHaveKilled: Uther carries a lot of subconscious guilt for the death of his wife and the innocent lives he's taken in the destruction of magic in the kingdom. * ThreeAmigos: Merlin (TheHero, TheProtagonist, TheHeart, TheMessiah), Arthur (RoyalBlood, BromanticFoil to Merlin, HeterosexualLifePartners with Merlin, LoveInterest to Gwen), and Guinevere (TheChick, [[TheSmurfettePrinciple Token Chick]], BlackBestFriend to Merlin, LoveInterest to Arthur). * ThresholdGuardians: The Cailleach, the gatekeeper of the spirit world. * ThrowingDownTheGauntlet: Literally, in several episodes. * ThrowItIn: Arthur smushing his foot in Merlin's face in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'' was ad-libbed by Bradley, and Colin's reaction is real. * ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: Arthur in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E04ThePoisonedChalice The Poisoned Chalice]]'', and again in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E10TheMomentOfTruth The Moment of Truth]]'' although the second time he might have missed as all he hit was a post next to the man with the axe. * TimeMaster: Merlin is occasionally shown to be able to alter the flow of time at will. * TimeSkip: Most seasons have been paced close a year apart, mostly in order to justify why winter never comes to Camelot (because the series is filmed in spring/summer in RealLife). It's justified since the major plot elements happen close to each other and things mostly slow down in-between these skips. More notably, though: ** There is a ''one-year'' TimeSkip between seasons 2 and 3, which was at least partially done to facilitate [[spoiler: Morgana]]'s off-screen FaceHeelTurn. ** Three years have passed between seasons four and five. * TheTimeOfMyths: Straight from the narrator's mouth. * TitleIn: A curious {{aversion}} in the episode ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E09Excalibur Excalibur]]''. The famous sword is never named, and though many characters comment on its power, no one save the audience knows what it truly is. * TitleMontage * TomboyPrincess: Elena. * TonightSomeoneKisses: The episode promos often show characters kissing, such as Arthur and Sophia in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E07TheGatesOfAvalon The Gates Of Avalon]]'', Uther and Catrina in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E05BeautyAndTheBeastPartI Beauty and the Beast Part I]]'', Merlin and Freya in ''Lady of the Lake'', Arthur and Vivian in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]'', and Gwen and Arthur in both ''Queen Of Hearts'' and ''The Coming Of Arthur Part II''. * TooDumbToLive: Uther, to the point that you start to wonder how he and Arthur managed to stay alive until Merlin arrived. * TookALevelInBadass: Morgana in the third series, so much. * TortureTechnician: Alator of the Catha, and the rest of the Catha. Morgana also uses a magical snake, the Nathair, to torture Elyan in 4x12. Afterwards, Gaius described him as "tortured to the limit of human endurance". Aredian fits this also. * TheTourney: OnceASeason * ToylessToylineCharacter: It was not until 2012 that Guinevere got turned into an action figure, ''years'' after all her co-stars were [[BuffySpeak toyified]]. You could argue that this coincided with her character becoming Queen of Camelot and thus a more interesting character for children to play with, though it doesn't explain why the manufacturers thought that a ''Gaius'' action figure (available for years before Gwen's) was considered more marketable than she was. * TrailersAlwaysSpoil: 4x03 was (probably) a legitimately surprising twist for the series. SyFy proceeded to spoil that twist before ever airing the fourth season. It can't even be blamed on a random montage, either; they ''outright'' spell it out in case it wasn't obvious enough. * TrainingThePeacefulVillagers: Arthur with the people from Merlin's home town. * TransformationSequence: In 2x09, [[spoiler:Freya suffers the Monstrous Transformation type: with pain, bulging muscles and ripping clothes]]. * TraitorShot: Too many to count of [[spoiler:Morgana]] in series three. * TrueLovesKiss: In order to snap Arthur out of the spell where he was madly in love with Princess Vivian, Gwen had to kiss him. * {{Tsundere}}: Arthur towards Merlin. He's Type A. ** Also, Merlin towards Arthur. He's Type B. * TwoGuysAndAGirl: In the third season, a lot more emphasis is placed on Gwen joining what was previously the HeterosexualLifePartners relationship between Arthur and Merlin to form a PowerTrio destined to rule Camelot together as King, Queen and Advisor. [[/folder]] [[folder: U-V]] * UndeathAlwaysEnds: The undead armies from ''The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part II'', ''The Coming Of Arthur Part II'', and the Dorocha from ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E01TheDarkestHourPartI The Darkest Hour Part I]]'' and ''[[Recap/MerlinS04E02TheDarkestHourPartII The Darkest Hour Part II]]'' end up being kicked back to death by the heroes. Also the Fisher King, but by his own choice. * UnderestimatingBadassery: You have two royals, [[BadassCrew a bunch of knights]], a HighPriestess, and a [[SquishyWizard small, untrained]],[[{{Dojikko}} clumsy]] manservant. Guess which one has the highest body count of the series? [[note]] Making your soldiers do the job doesn't count, otherwise it would be Morgana.[[/note]] * {{Unicorn}}: Arthur killed a unicorn despite Merlin warning him not to, and [[UnicornsAreSacred Camelot was cursed]]. Arthur had to succeed at three tests to prove his worth in order to lift the curse. He almost failed, but passed when he attempted to drink [[SecretTestOfCharacter the allegedly poisoned drink]] to save Merlin. In the end, he buried the unicorn horn and the unicorn came back to life. * TheUnSmile: Gaius, [[Recap/MerlinS02E12TheFiresOfIdirsholas 2x12]]. * UnresolvedSexualTension: Some say Arthur/Morgana, in the first series. ** Arthur/Gwen, starting from series 2 and building from there. [[spoiler:It gets resolved in series 4, despite a slight hiccup, when Gwen is made Queen]]. * TheUnreveal: So, so many times. The teaser for the next episodes sets up Arthur finding out that Merlin is a warlock every other episode, and yet... nothing. * UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Something of a meta-example. The show is filmed in the real French castle of Pierrefonds, which features a bizarre stone statue of a pelican with exposed breasts on the balustrade of the castle's exterior staircase. Often it appears in the background of certain shots, but no one ever comments on (or laughs about) it. * VagueAge: Arthur was twenty one in series 1, but for as for the rest of the young cast, there are only vague implications that Morgana is a few years older than Arthur, and that Guinevere and Merlin are younger. ** Merlin's age can be roughly worked out from canon info: Merlin was conceived at the end of the Great Purge which was described as having taken place 20 years ago during series one when Arthur is 21. So Merlin must be roughly a year and nine months younger than Arthur. * VikingFuneral: [[spoiler: Merlin gives Freya one of these in 2x09]]. ** [[spoiler: Lancelot's funeral in 4x09. Again, Merlin's task. Same for Arthur's sendoff in the GrandFinale]] * VillainWithGoodPublicity: The only thing keeping Merlin from revealing [[spoiler:Morgana]]'s villainy in Series 3 is the fact that 1) she is [[spoiler:the King's Ward and daughter]] and that 2) if the knowledge of [[spoiler:him having poisoned her]] in the past were to be exposed, Merlin would be executed on the spot. ** As of Season 4, Agravaine is this as well. * ViolentGlaswegian: The Saxons, for some reason. * ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend: Gwen. She knocked out Merlin twice when he attempts to kill or hurt Arthur in 4x06. * VitriolicBestBuds: Again, Merlin and Arthur. ** All the Knights of the Round Table would also qualify. [[/folder]] [[folder: W-X]] * [[WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld Wake Up, Go to Work, Save the World]]: Merlin. * WarriorPrince: Arthur, of course. * WeaponTwirling: Whenever there are swords out, somebody twirls one at least once. * WeCanRuleTogether: Nimueh tries this on Merlin in ''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]''. Does not work. * WeddingDeadline: [[spoiler: Merlin just misses it in "Beauty and the Beast".]] * WeirdnessCensor: No one notices either Merlin mumbling nonsense to himself or his eyes turning gold, even if he's right in front of them. * WeirdnessMagnet / DoomMagnet: With all the stuff going on, one has to wonder if it's Merlin or just the whole of Camelot that's attracting it. * WelcomeEpisode: All of the key relationships of the show (sans Arthur/Gwen) are well established in Camelot when Merlin shows up in the first episode. * WelcomeToTheBigCity: When [[CountryMouse Merlin]] arrives at Camelot, the first thing he sees is the execution of a man accused of sorcery. * WellDoneSonGuy: Employed rather well, since whilst we are initially led to believe that Arthur is simply a bit of a prat, it quickly becomes clear that more or less everything he does, he simply does in an attempt to impress or win the respect of the rather emotionally distant Uther. Subverted in more recent episodes, as Arthur's ideas on how best to govern Camelot become more clearly separate from his father's and he starts to assert himself more as future King. * WellIntentionedExtremist: 99.9% of villains are sorcerers looking for revenge against Uther/Camelot. ** And, perhaps, Uther himself. *** As of series three [[spoiler:Morgana]], though her obvious glee in causing havoc among her former friends pushes her into ForTheLulz territory. ** Merlin has officially become this in Series 5, where the other characters call him out for his questionable actions, especially towards Mordred. * WhamEpisode: 2x12, especially the ending. Holy ''crap''. ** 3x12. ''All of it.'' Talk about a DownerEnding. ** Episodes 2 and 3 of Series 4. Holy ''crap''! ** 4x09. [[{{Angst}} Just]]...[[DownerEnding 4x09]]. ** 5x05. It's just as bad a DownerEnding as ''Lancelot du Lac'', only worse...only Merlin knows how bad it is, and he can't tell anyone. ** 5x06. [[spoiler:By the end of the episode, Elyan is dead and Gwen has switched sides to join Morgana. And nobody yet knows of her FaceHeelTurn.]] ** 5x11 [[spoiler: Mordred does a FaceHeelTurn, defects to Morgana and ''tells her who Emrys is'']] ** 5x13, which is to be expected considering it's the GrandFinale. [[spoiler:Mordred seriously wounds Arthur in battle, before Arthur kills him, Merlin reveals his magic to Arthur, Gwaine is murdered by Morgana, Morgana is killed by Merlin, Arthur succumbs to his wound and dies, Gwen becomes the ruler of Camelot.]] * WhatTheHellHero: Gaius gives a pretty epic one to Uther when he is nearly put to death because a con-man framed him as a sorcerer, preying on Uther's overzealous fear of all things magical. * WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Merlin kills Grunhilde, even though she wasn't actually doing anything particularly threatening, nor even trying to actively kill anyone at any point during the story. And it's treated as something you do casually. ** There's also the former Sidhe he murdered with the same weapon. While he might have been justified in killing the father to ensure Arthur's rescue, one imagines that his killing the man's unarmed, griefstricken daughter in cold blood would have been taken more seriously if she'd been human. * WhatsUpKingDude: Although there seems to be ''some'' degree of security in place, almost anybody is free to drop by Camelot and be given an audience with the king. * WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: In 2x09, [[spoiler: Freya starts transforming into the Bastet]]. * WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Only for Merlin himself, though. * WhoWantsToLiveForever: [[spoiler: The FisherKing in episode 8, who has been waiting for someone to come so he can finally die.]] * WhoWouldBeStupidEnough: In 3x10, when Merlin suggests to invent a sorcerer to take the blame on Arthur being "enchanted", Gaius asks "And do you know a sorcerer stupid enough to get caught doing such a thing?". Cue Merlin's obvious answer. * WindowLove: Guinevere and Lancelot speak to each other through the grated window of Gwen's cell. * WitchSpecies: Merlin, Morgana, Mordred, Morgause and other minor characters are all born with magical abilities. * AWizardDidIt: When Merlin wonders how the gang of renegade sorcerers knew that a royal party led by Arthur was coming for them, Arthur is content to say, "They used magic or something." Admittedly, this trope is probably more justifiable in this show than elsewhere. * WordsDoNotMakeTheMagic: In 1x02, it shows how Merlin struggles through a long night in order to master the spell he needs to save Arthur, even though he can say the [[MagicalIncantation incantation]] properly, it's not enough for him to use that spell. * WorldOfBadass. Somehow ''every single character'' manages to be this, despite most of them being [[{{Woobie}} Woobies]] as well. * WoundedGazelleGambit: Nimueh, Sophia, even Morgana at times. * WouldBeRudeToSayGenocide: Type A: Uther and sorcery * WouldHitAGirl: Merlin has no qualms about maiming or killing female enemies with his magic ([[spoiler:Nimueh, Sophia, Mary Collins, Grunhilda, Morgause, Morgana]]). ** Uther has gotten physically violent with both Morgana and Guinevere. ** Arthur is actually the most gentle when it comes to women. He was squeamish about fighting Morgause in combat, and only kills Catrina when she's reverted back to troll-form. The one time he man-handles Gwen, he immediately backs off and apologizes. * WrongGenreSavvy: Arthur is under the impression that he's the main character, that Merlin is just his SideKick, and that most of the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monsters of the Week]] are dispatched by him or his knights. He also remains completely unaware that long before Guinevere was his LoveInterest, she had a crush on Merlin and even kissed him once. ** From Princess Mithian's perspective, she is the LoveInterest to KingArthur, arriving in Camelot as his prospective bride to find that he's handsome, charming and has a lot in common with her. What suddenly seems to be a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage is tainted only by [[FriendVersusLover his manservant's inexplicable dislike for her]]. It's not until the end of the episode that she realizes she was the RomanticFalseLead all along, and simply an impediment to the eventual marriage of Arthur to the woman he ''really'' loves. Merlin's dislike of her had nothing to do with her at all, [[ShipperOnDeck but was born out of his loyalty]] to [[OfficialCouple the REAL love interest]]. * XanatosGambit: King Alined attempts one in ''[[Recap/MerlinS02E10SweetDreams Sweet Dreams]]''. To disrupt peace talks, Alined magically forces Arthur to fall in love with Lady Vivian, which causes her overprotective father King Olaf to challenge him to a duel. Alined notes that if Arthur dies, Uther will start a war and if Olaf dies, his men will start a war. Merlin and Gaius can't say anything because if Uther finds out magic was used against his son, he will start a war. He even says "I can't lose!" [[TakeAThirdOption However, his gambit fails when the spell is broken and Arthur spares Olaf's life]]. And even then, [[KarmaHoudini he gets away scot free]]. * TheXOfY: Out of the 65 episodes produced, about 20 (that is, about a third) are titled with variants on this trope. [[/folder]] [[folder: Y-Z]] * YankTheDogsChain: [[spoiler:When she takes over Camelot, Morgana offers to give Gaius food if Gwaine provides entertainment by fighting. When he wins, she tosses him a paltry amount of food and has him fight two more guys for something substantial. Mind you, Gwaine is already starving at this point.]] * YeGoodeOldeDays: Camelot is awfully cosmopolitan and clean for the Middle Ages. * YouAreNotAlone: An unusual villainous example when Alvar says this to Morgana. [[spoiler: He's doing it to manipulate her.]] ** In a [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming heartwarming moment]], Merlin says this to Freya. ** Later, Merlin says this to Arthur [[spoiler: after Uther dies.]] ** Morgana to Gwen in ''The Dark Tower'', while trying to induce StockholmSyndrome. [[spoiler: It works.]] ** Also Leon to Gwen when Arthur is dying ([[DisneyDeath again]]), telling her he and all the knights are behind her. * YouAreTooLate: Merlin in [[spoiler:''[[Recap/MerlinS01E13LeMortdArthur Le Mort d'Arthur]]''.]] Except, not. Sort of. Almost. [[BigNo In a way]]. ** And then again in [[spoiler: "Beauty and the Beast: Part Two".]] * YouCantFightFate: Multiple times, most notably when [[spoiler: in 5x05, Merlin forces himself to advise Arthur not to let magic return to Kamelot just to bring forth the death of Mordred which he forsaw killing Artur, only to find out that not only had he passed on the opportunity to lift Uther's bane on magic, his actions also healed Mordred.]] And of course [[spoiler:the series finale]]. * YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: [[spoiler: Morgause to Cenred]] in such a classic example of this trope that it's a wonder he didn't see it coming. * YouHaveToBelieveMe: This is Merlin's usual tactic. He never has any proof, because obviously AWizardDidIt, and so it never works. You'd think he'd learn after a few tries. ** Or maybe he just assumes that since he's always right, people will take him seriously. Sadly, Camelot's pretty GenreBlind in that regard. * [[YouJustToldMe You Just Showed Me]]: In the first episode Gaius tips over a water pitcher in order to force Merlin to instinctively reveal his magic powers by freezing it in midair. * YouLookLikeYouveSeenAGhost: In 3x13, Gwaine says this to Merlin, who has just seen [[spoiler: Freya in the water from the lake of Avalon.]] * YouMustBeCold: Merlin to Freya in ''Lady of The Lake'', twice. * YoungerAndHipper: In this series Merlin is a young man about the same age as Arthur, not an old man with a beard. * YourCheatingHeart: Morgana and Agravaine's plan in 4x09 was designed to cast Gwen in this light. [[spoiler: ''and it works''.]] * YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: Magic-users. Even the ones that can qualify as villains were this trope before they [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope finally fell into blind villainy]]. [[/folder]] Merlin/TropesQToZ [[/index]]
24th Feb '14 5:30:44 PM FirebirdMaximus
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* SealedEvilInACan: the goblin in "Goblin's Gold".
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