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Fridge / Merlin (2008)

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Fridge Logic

  • Merlin questioning what Arthur will do to preserve his honor if Morgause asks him to do something even less honorable then breaking his word.

  • Uther's methods are completely useless against most of the magical threats he uses them against every week. How did he push out the old order in his territory in the first place?
    • Uther's methods don't work against the really big threats which Merlin often has to deal with. The show consistently demonstrates that all but a few very powerful magic users are still vulnerable to the sword (and their magic is virtually useless in combat). Case in point, Uther tricked a Dragonlord into helping him capture the last dragon, a foe he could not conceivably have bested without magic, then hunted down the Dragonlords, who are more or less normal humans. Merlin might be able to hold his own for a bit if he didn't have to hide his powers, but offensive magic seems to be a seldom-taught power.

  • When Elena was a baby the Sidhe had her possessed by one of their own with the intentions of her growing up and marrying Prince Arthur, thereby putting a Sidhe on the throne. So, what was all that about in the first season when they were actively encouraging Sophia and her father to kill Arthur in order to regain immortality?
    • There was probably some plot to do with replacing Arthur with a Sidhe with his appearance and memories once they had his heart. The Sidhe have multiple plots to get onto that throne, it seems.

  • How on earth did Freya fit in that cage every night when she transformed? And how did the bounty hunter fail to notice anything?
    • Not sure how she fit, but the man himself did say that she was cursed... Perhaps he was sleeping.

  • Despite the fact that their mutual goal is to take over Camelot, Agravaine and Morgana congratulate themselves on the fact that Camelot is "falling into rack and ruin", just as they'd planned. With entire families being massacred and evil spirits on the loose, is there a reason why either of them would want to rule over a kingdom that is void of any subjects?
    • Morgana could conceivably close the breach whenever she wanted. All she needs to do is get the people malleable enough to accept her rule. Once Arthur is dead, they have no one else to turn to.

  • In 4x03, why didn't Gaius tell Arthur about the charm that was actually responsible for killing Uther? Why keep it a secret?
    • Perhaps they thought that it was simply irrelevant. Switching the blame from Dragoon to Morgana would have devastated Arthur even further, and either way, magic is still responsible for Uther's death. Maybe it'll come up in the future.
    • As well, there's no guarantee that Arthur would have believed that Dragoon wasn't just working with Morgana to finish off Uther.
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    • Okay, it just happened again with Gaius not telling Arthur that Merlin was possessed. I know it's a bad idea to use magic in Camelot, but can it not even be spoken of to save a life?
    • And they did it again in Hunter's Heart, Arthur never finds out afterward that Gwen was enchanted into doing things with Lancelot.
    • They probably did it to show that Arthur and Gwen loved each other enough to overcome that, but it still sucks that nobody found out.
      • I don't think anyone knew that Gwen was enchanted — remember, Merlin didn't know about the bracelet.

  • If Arthur can knight a handful of commoners and make them his inner circle of allies, then why can't he just elevate Gwen to the status of a lady? Heck, shouldn't she kinda be that already considering her brother is a "sir"?
    • It would defeat the purpose of the relationship (class distinctions don't matter) if Loophole Abuse made it acceptable.
    • I’d say that the means by which Arthur can elevate people, like knighthoods or making them vassal lords of part of his territory, are restricted to men. Even if there was a way to elevate the status of a woman directly, as opposed to elevating her father or husband, Arthur declaring Guinevere a Lady wouldn’t satisfy anybody who opposed their marriage on the grounds of her status. Her brother’s knighthood is unlikely to affect her status, and even if it did, it wouldn’t solve the issue of her lack of royal or noble blood.

  • When did Sir Leon get so close to Merlin? Season 2 to Season 3, their relationship could at best be described as friendly indifference, but come Season 4 he's always sticking up for Merlin and ruffling his hair like Merlin's his kid brother!
    • Same reason a shady uncle came out of nowhere and became Arthur's most trusted counselor...the one-year-gap.

  • If Askanar put the egg into the tomb in order to keep it safe, why did he rig the place up so that it would collapse if someone removed the egg from the plinth? It would end up killing the intruder, but there was a pretty high risk of it smashing the egg as well.
    • Fridge Brilliance: If the tomb's intruder was powerful and ruthless enough to get all three parts of the Triskelion and get past the trap at the door, then they're the last person you want in possession of a dragon's egg! It's also assumed Askanar thought that any dragon would prefer to die rather than be enslaved to someone that would use it for his or her own gain.
    • It also seems likely based on the actions of the Druids that Merlin was meant to be the one to recover the egg all along.

  • In The Hunter's Heart Merlin tells Arthur: "you're the once and future king." Except at that point Arthur is the current king. The only time in which he's the "once and future king" are the periods before he becomes king and after he dies.
    • It's probably meant more along the lines of "you are the king everyone will remember and everyone is waiting for." In a sense, they're still waiting. Arthur hasn't gotten around to uniting the land just yet.
    • Though it's still odd that Merlin continues to make these grand epithets about Arthur and Arthur never once says: "what on earth are you talking about?"
    • Actually, "the once and future king" refers to how in the myths, King Arthur ruled in the past (or, from the characters's points of view, the present) and after his death is supposed to one day rise again to rule England. So he was the king once, and will be the king in the future. That's why Merlin is immortal and shown in the present in the last episode— he's waiting for Arthur to return.

  • On the other hand and for added Fridge Logic, if Arthur died and Uther made Morgana his heir, the king would probably not even need to officially recognise her as his daughter, as the fact she's been his ward for half her life, that she's had first row seat to how to rule a kingdom, and that he dearly loved her would easily explain it to the whole kingdom. So, really, the whole "she's actually his daughter" is not really useful in terms of usurping the throne; it's far more useful to show Uther as an hypocrite, Morgana's sliding deeper into evil, and complicating the whole Morgana issue for Arthur.

  • The official reason given by Uther as to why he keeps the Dragon in a dungeon under the castle is that he's "setting an example" by keeping it alive (presumably as a way to flaunt his power). But who in the kingdom can appreciate an example that they never get to see? There is absolutely zero curiosity from anyone (except Merlin) over the fact that there's a dragon living beneath them, and therefore Uther's so-called power over it means virtually nothing - unless maybe there were guided tours down to the dungeons that we never hear anything about. Uther would have been better off killing the dragon and displaying its bones in the courtyard - this would have also been a much safer option than living on top of a dragon and risking its wrath if it ever escapes. (Which it inevitably does).
    • For that matter, while Dragons are creatures of magic, surely they have to eat sometime? Who fed Kilgharrah during those 20 years and does that mean there is a giant pit of Dragon crap running under Camelot? You'd think someone would notice the smell?!

  • If Aithusa can't speak, how does Morgana know its name?
    • Maybe Aithusa could speak at one point, and lost that after years of torture. It can happen.

  • In 5x02, if the ghost of Uther had been watching over Arthur from the spirit-world, since he displays knowledge of all of the changes that he has made in Camelot, how come he still didn't know that Merlin had magic?
    • Merlin's magic probably protects him to some extent, and it's not like Uther would pay much attention to him anyway.
    • Or maybe the Spirit World gets its information from new arrivals and by watching you Uther meant listening to this news. It isn't clear how the Spirit World watches the World of the Living after all.

  • Arthur never unites the kingdoms, or ends the persecution of sorcery... but presumably Gwen does. And it's implied she carries on Arthur's work without the help of Merlin (who is only destined to be Arthur's servant, not hers). Gwen may be an even more awesome ruler than Arthur, but because the series ends with his death, we never get to see it.

  • How did Uther manage to kill all the magic users by burning them at the stake when Merlin is easily able to escape it? Sure, not all of them would have the same power as he did, but surely some of them must have.

Fridge Brillance

  • Penny Anna had two while watching Merlin back on DVD:
    • When watching the first episode for the first time, she was immensely irritated by Arthur swinging his mace around above his head in a completely superfluous way. When watching it back, she realized that he just does that with every weapon he can get his hands on. She just wasn't familiar enough with his character to realize this first time round.
    • She was always very irritated by the title character suddenly using spells to do things he could do perfectly easily without in the first episode. Now she thinks that was probably deliberate — he's just learned the spells, so they have a novelty-value for him which takes a while to wear off. She expects to see him using them less to do simple things in future.
    • Also with Merlin, Freya, in her werewolf rip-off beast form, is mortally wounded by Arthur. It took this troper about three days to realize that Freya, implied to be the Lady of the Lake, would be the one to end up giving Arthur Excalibur. -Lord Khajmer
    • Another Merlin pointer: the actors for Merlin, Morgana and Freya are both Irish and Pale-Skinned Brunettes, which may be a reference back to the fact that Ireland is infamous for its closer connection to myths, fairy tales, and Paganism which lasted much longer during the Middle Ages. - Pickled Plums
    • This troper was initially irritated by Morgan's constant Psychotic Smirks but eventually I figured that given she was new to giving in to her evil side, she would have trouble suppressing her smirks.
  • A small bit of Foreshadowing in Season 1: Merlin makes a dragon out of sparks for his mum. She smiles sadly at the sight. Later in Season 2, it's revealed that Merlin's father is a Dragonlord.
  • A minor one: I kept being bugged by the fact that the show opening line calls Merlin 'a young boy'. Of course, he is not a grown man yet, but 'young boy' associates in my mind with a 10-year-old, not 17-18-year-old Merlin seems to be. Then I realised, the narration is done by the Great Dragon who is very, VERY old. Of course, Merlin is a young boy to him!
    • Now the title sequence has switched to calling to the Dragon calling Merlin 'a young man.' This seems to coincide with the Dragon's growing respect and deference to Merlin as seen in 4x02 the Dragon does not complain at all about being called by Merlin, he asks Merlin not to sacrifice himself and flat out tells him that the world will be a lesser place without him.
    • However, it's implied that the age one is considered a man in Camelot is 21, which is how old Merlin is by Series 4.
    • Presumeably. But the logic is sound.
  • A case of Fridge Brilliance: In 3x10, Merlin is serving Uther, Arthur, and Morgana during their meals. When Merlin goes to fill Morgana's drink, she slightly covers her up, giving him the signal that it isn't necessary. Of course she would when you remember Merlin poisoned Morgana through what she thought was an innocent drink in 2x12.
  • Excalibur. The sword itself was provided by Guinevere, Merlin instructed the dragon to forge it with his fire, and Arthur will eventually wield it in battle. The Power Trio are all connected in this one sword.
  • The cover art of the season 1 DVD has a fun case of Fridge Brilliance: Except for Guinevere (the Love Interest), everyone is wearing clothing that shows where they fall in terms of loyalty. Morgana and Gaius are pro-magic and in full blue while Arthur and Uther are anti-magic and in full red. Merlin, in the middle of them, is the only one to wear both colors, showing how he is stuck balancing his loyalty to magic and to the crown.
  • I guess this would be more Hilarious in Hindsight but imagine what the guards posted outside of Arthur's room would have heard in Season 2's episode The Sins of the Father
    Arthur: (muffled) What are you doing...the rope!
    Merlin: (panicking) THERE IS NO MORE ROPE!
    Arthur: (straining): Merlin...
    Arthur: (even more strained) ...don't let go of the rope!
    (Merlin groans until there's a startled shout and then a thump)
    • Merlin had sneaked a length of rope into Arthur's room to help him escape and seek out Morgause. Unfortunately it wasn't long enough to get Arthur down the entire way and Merlin was forced to drop Arthur halfway down.

  • When season 3 began, I wondered why Gwen still worked in the castle since she was the maidservant to Morgana, and Morgana had been gone a year. Even if Uther didn't want to accept it, why was she still on staff? And then I realized... in "To Kill the King," Arthur promised that Gwen's job was safe, and her home was hers for life. I guess when Arthur makes promises out of guilt, he really means them.

  • For the first two seasons of the show, many viewers were baffled at the Dragon's animosity toward Morgana, especially since the two of them wanted the same goal of getting rid of Uther and establishing Arthur as King. If anything, it should have been Morgana and not Merlin that the Dragon tried to ally himself with. But then in season three, we finally discover the reason for Kilgarrah's distrust of Morgana - he knew all along that she was Uther's daughter.

  • In the last episode of season one, the Questing Beast appears. According to Gaius, it is "supposed to foreshadow a time of great upheaval". Yet by the end of the episode, it would seem as though everything has returned to the status quo. Arthur survived. Gaius survived. Merlin's mother survived. Nimueh was killed, but she didn't really have much impact on the flow of the show anyway. So what was the "time of great upheaval" that the Beast was meant to foreshadow? Well, this is the episode in which Arthur and Guinevere have their first blatantly shippy scene together...
    • It could also be Foreshadowing for all the Angst in Series 2.
    • Or it could be Nimueh dying, and Merlin getting the power over life and death. To the Old Religion, that's an upheaval.

  • The unicorn in The Labyrinth of Gedref looks a little goofy considering its mane is brushed down over its eyes, making it near impossible for the poor horse to see anything. Then you realize - they probably did that in order to hide the harness that holds the fake horn in place.

  • This might be a little late to the game, but it just occurred after a rewatch of the Season 3 finale, the Coming of Arthur, which ended with Merlin putting Excalibur into the stone. Remember the part in Terry Pratchett's Discworld which Deconstructed the whole concept of the Sword in the Stone? Where it was mentioned that real interesting person was not the person who managed to pull the sword out, but rather the person who managed to put it in to begin with? Arthur may be the Chosen One, even in this retelling, but Merlin's one making it all happen!

  • The controversy in casting a dark-skinned actress in the role of Guinevere has never entirely died down, and to their credit the writers and producers have never dignified any of it with a response. However, in season three Guinevere's brother is introduced. Out of all the canonical Arthurian knights that they could have named him after (Bors, Galahad, Tristian, Kay, Pelenore, etc) they chose the relatively obscure Elyan. Elyan's title in the legends was "Elyan the White." There's no way this isn't a very subtle Take That! to those that whine about colour-blind casting.

  • Why is the time skip between Seasons always a year? Because the only time the BBC shoots footage for Merlin, it's summer, so skip a year and you neatly explain why it never rains or snows in Camelot!

  • Dragoon/Emrys a.k.a. Old!Merlin's actions are justified, given the setting, but even more brilliant when you remember the older legends surrounding Ambrosius/Merlin. He was originally more of a Chaotic Neutral trickster or a Trickster Mentor for Arthur. So Dragoon/Emrys as seen by those unaware of his true identity might come to be seen a developing from a Chaotic Evil to a Chaotic Neutral character or even a Stealth Mentor for Arthur, before The Unmasking when people finally understand that he was on Arthur's side all along. That is, the people going to tell the stories about Emrys/Merlin are currently witnessing Emrys' progression from trickster Fae to wise adviser for King Arthur since they are unaware of his true identity!

  • It was pretty annoying that Agravaine just showed up out of nowhere in Series 4. Then I remembered that his brother tried to kill Uther and that he knows the secret of Arthur's birth, and I realized there's a reason for it... Uther would keep him away from Arthur to protect the secret of Arthur's birth and because he feared Agravaine would want vengeance for it. As soon as Uther was out of commission, Agravaine was free to come back to Camelot, because Uther would have never told Arthur why he was being kept away in the first place.
    • Except that Agravaine is so dearly trusted by Arthur because Arthur has known him since he was a boy, which is why it took Arthur so long to see Agravaine for what he was.

  • This one popped out on maybe the fifth watching of Queen Of Hearts. I always wondered why Elyan never showed up. Then I remembered that Gwen had no formal trial and kept in a cell for only a few hours. Elyan works at the forge all day and likely didn't know anything was going on until Gwen told him.

  • One from His Father's Son. Morgana enchants the sword to hold the weight of a thousand ages, so realistically it should have been flat on the ground and squashing Arthur's hand. Arthur still manages to hold it, not entirely, but at least partway. Why? Because if anyone can hold the weight of a thousand ages, it's King Arthur. He's not completely there yet, but he's definitely showing signs.

  • While the show is pretty good on the whole "killing" part of Deliberate Values Dissonance, it does feel pretty jarring that Morgana has a legitimate claim to the throne. Then it occurred to me... due to the restraints put on family shows, they can't depict it, so they got rid of the concept altogether. If bastardy and the various customs it's associated with don't have a hold in the Merlinverse. It explains why Merlin is never looked down upon, despite being a bastard, and Morgana has a legitimate claim to the throne. Sure, they reference it a couple times, particularly with Uther, but since they can't do more then that, they abandoned it altogether.
    • Actually, Morgana's claim would hold weight under earlier medieval law which wasn't so strict as the later middle ages. William the Conqueror was a bastard who rightfully inherited Normandy, Charlemange's illegitmate grandson inherited Italy. Furthermore, the mythical Arthur was illegitimate. It can either be viewed as an accidental Truth in Television, or Shown Their Work.

  • One of the main complaints about Arthur in Another's Sorrow is that he doesn't very much act like a man out for revenge. Unless, given what happened last episode, he's still re-evaluating just what Uther meant to him.

  • You remember wondering what happened to Morgana between season 2 and season 3 ? The Dark Tower may have given us a part of the reason she changed so much.
    • Morgause subjecting her to the Dark Tower as a rite of passage would make a lot of sense.

  • It seems a coincidence Merlin's 'Uncle' practices magic? Well maybe the reason Balinor loved Hunith was because of her family's connection to magic. I have found debate on what sort of relation Gaius is to Merlin but it seems Gaius is a relation of Hunith.

  • Similar idea from the same Troper as last idea. Why does Uther allow someone he knows practised magic to work in the Court? Because Gaius may have given some help with the Purge. Before you point out Gaius didn't like the Purge perhaps he didn't realise how far Uther was prepared to go. He does point out Uther was able to bring peace to the land. And he helped Balinor escape.

  • Episode 4.04 (Servant of Two Masters) features Evil Merlin trying to kill Arthur in several ways, but never successfully. While the whole scenario is Played for Laughs, the situation looks rather different when you realize that Merlin, with all his powers, could have killed Arthur with a single thought if he'd had a mind to. Couple this with the rigged crossbow miraculously failing to fire when Arthur tripped it and Merlin knocking himself out by running into a pillar when he charges Arthur with a sword, and you realize that on some level, he was very likely protecting Arthur with his own magic the whole time.
    • Despite Morgana's assurance that the Fomorrah would take away everything that made Merlin Merlin, she also didn't know that Merlin was born of magic. It would stand to reason that if Merlin's mind is still present somewhere and his magic unengaged, then he would—even subconsciously—do everything in his power to keep Arthur safe.
    • Alternatively, it may be that the Fomorrah's control also 'dictated' just how Merlin could attempt to kill Arthur; Morgana believed that Merlin could only kill Arthur through non-magical means, so he was only instructed to make such attempts, and Morgana never even realised that there were alternatives.

  • The foreshadowing of Kilgarrah's death is a clever bit of misdirection for audiences, who are led to expect a big tearjerker dragon death scene in the finale, and therefore that Arthur doesn't get a tearjerker death scene, meaning he survives. Hah!
    • The foreshadowing of the dragon's death alone is a bit tearjerking...but remember that dragons are very, very long-lived, and would have a very different perception of time. He says that he will die soon, but to him, "soon" could mean another ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred years.

  • This Troper kicked herself when after three seasons, I finally twigged to it that everyone keeps mentioning that Gaius would "turn a blind eye" to whatever was going on because he is literally blind in one eye, look at the musculature on his face.

  • In 2x13, it seemed odd that Arthur's first guess as to why Merlin seemed upset was that he was maybe "missing Gaius". Merlin was a young adult, even by that point in the series had traveled away from Camelot before, and had never seemed to have any particular anxiety about being away from Gaius unless Gaius was in some kind of specific danger. But it was actually Arthur being weirdly intuitive about Merlin, without knowing the actual truth of the situation. Merlin was distressed at the prospect of meeting Balinor, his biological father. Of course Arthur had no clue that the Dragonlord they were about to meet could have any connection to Merlin, but his guess that Merlin was upset about his foster-father landed strangely close to the truth. This could also apply to the time Merlin was upset about Freya - The Lady of the Lake - and Arthur, having no clue about any of that, guessed that Merlin was upset that Arthur had poured water on him. Taking this idea further, it possibly hints at Arthur's end of the psychic connection the two seem to share - or it just shows that Arthur knows Merlin extremely well despite all the secrecy, and can actually read his cues with relative accuracy even if he doesn't actually know what's going on.

Fridge Horror

  • 2x07, The Witchfinder, part of Aredian's methods include torturing people to get confessions, and framing people. How many innocent people died during the Great Purge because Uther put his trust in this sociopath?
  • 3x03, Goblin's Gold, is mostly a light-hearted comedy... until you realise that it's quite likely Gaius was fully concious and aware the whole time he was possessed by the goblin, given that at the end he seems to understand what has happened. He was forced to watch as the goblin gleefully had Merlin sentenced to death.
    • Not to mention the goblin's comment that Gaius's body was so much "fun." Yeah. That's just wrong.
    • I realized that back after it popped out to me really fast due to my obsession with Animorphs. It needs a fanfic if you ask me.
  • In a similar vein, Lancelot's last words to Merlin (a "thank you" whilst on his funeral bier) suggest that on some level he was aware of the terrible things that Morgana was forcing him to do, and was just grateful to be free of her control.
  • The Fisher King was forced to wait upon his throne for untold centuries, helpless to do anything about his beloved kingdom crumbling by his own magic, while being stuck in a chair due to immense levels of pain. It's no wonder he was Driven to Suicide.
  • The Dorocha are the voices of the dead. When you die, your voice turns into an eternal, freezing cold scream. What happens in the Merlinverse afterlife?
    • It's implied the Dorocha are created from individuals who've become stuck between this world and the afterlife. Given the type of creature the Dorocha are, three guesses at what kind of people they probably were in life.
  • Arthur's Heroic BSoD episodes are never taken lightly, but they become even worse when you consider that the Pendragon family is Royally Screwed Up and they are an impending sign of madness.
  • In 'The Coming of Arthur Part 1', Sir Leon was revived by the Cup of Life, the use of which exchanges one life for another. Which poor unknowing person died in order for Leon to live?!
    • I always assumed that the Druids just healed him. Arthur was dying from magical means that had 100% chance of killing him. Leon's wounds while bad where more mundane and might have healed naturally. So the cup didn't have to rebalance life and death, but just speed up Leon's natural healing processes.
  • Might be YMMV to some, but in 'A Servant of two Masters' we see Merlin lying on the ground, in the middle of the wood and absolutely caked in mud just after Morgana was finished applying her enchantment on him. At first glance this looks like a funny situation, but then you wonder; how did Merlin end up like that?
  • The raid on the Druid camp referenced to in A Herald of the New Age is never given any flashbacks except for the wailing in the well that Merlin experiences. Why? Just picture it. Knights are attacking an essentially helpless people, shooting everyone they can see, dragging young children to the well and drowning them (remember, this is off-screen, so there's no Vorpal Pillow to make it quick), all while Arthur is frozen in horror. Arthur refers to this as when he was young and inexperienced. This is the Middle Ages, so that might mean anything from 13 to 16.
  • Supposed the enchanted sword that killed Elyan was never meant for Arthur? What if it WAS supposed to kill Elyan, to give Gwen an alibi for her strange behavior. Elyan was assassinated and his own sister played a part in it.
  • The final scene of the series finale reveals that the series has taken place in past Britain, and as of present day, Arthur still has yet to return. Given that he's fated to return at the time of the land's greatest need, this must mean that such a time hasn't happened yet. Something bad is coming, worse than the various revolutions, worse than the Battle of Britain, worse than the Eurozone crisis...


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