Two years prior to the death of Arthur, the Great Wizard gave Lady Isabella strict orders to preserve the best years of King Arthur’s life, when he reigned. Isabella was gifted the echo stone: the power to capture her voice and forever keep it locked away until Camelot needed the resolve left in the good times.
Lady Isabella tells us about the latest with the beloved characters of Camelot, this week’s episode changing the pace, but how long can she keep her secret?
~In the Blink of an Eye~
Mischief is heard in the voice of scheming visitors. Lady Isabella, eavesdropping on their conversation, finds herself in the middle of it, and is only helped by chivalry.
Merlin Series 1, Episode 3, The Mark of Nimueh:The monstrous afanc emerges from behind the dim cavernous walls, disgusting, chilling our very bones. Prince Arthur, Merlin, and Lady Morgana panic when they see it, drooling with a mouth full of fangs, as it slinks heftily, ever creeping, closer. Arthur, in full battle posture, ready to protect and defend, strikes the afanc, grimly territorial. Merlin is ready, too. They understand why they are here. They cannot run. The afanc, described by Gaius as the darkest kind of magic, looks hungrily at its prey, but Merlin uses his own magic to destroy the monster before it makes a meal out of the lady or the prince.
What is an afanc?
Not too much is known about the afanc, except that it is a
mythical creature deriving from a handful of legends, originally. Some say it
looks like a crocodile, while others say it’s like a beaver.
Apparently, in Wales, the origin of Arthurian legend, crocodiles are an uncommon sight and if seen would surely cause room for worry. In two internet articles (Mirror and The Telegraph), there are claims of crocodiles being sighted, yet in both cases, the final conclusion was made that there was no threat. Could it have been that the original afanc was a crocodile? The answer cannot be found.
The design of the afanc on BBC Merlin is an example, in my opinion, of good sculpturing, and when you see behind-the-scene shots of the afanc costume being designed, you may feel a bit like you stepped into a Jim Henson studio, or you stepped back into the costume room of Doug Jones’ latest monster suits. The afanc thrilled us: it engaged the cast enough for us to feel their fright when they discovered it in the shadows, and it cinched our hate for Nimueh, the sorceress who brought it to being, as an antagonist.
If you’ve watched The Mark of Nimueh and seen the afanc, you may be thinking that the afanc doesn’t look much like a crocodile or a beaver, but I want to show you the similarities. First, take a look at my sketch of the afanc.
I think the likeness of a crocodile comes from the “something lurks in the waters” quality, the scare score. Crocodiles camouflage, lurk and “pounce” on prey from an unknown source, suddenly they strike unexpected, and that’s why I think, on a story level, building suspense, they were inspired by a crocodile. Meanwhile, the beaver has a little hand, connecting to an arm ending with an elbow and body, and the hand has got 5 claws, 3 longer ones and 2 short, end ones. Similarly, the afanc from Merlin has 4 claws, 3 longer and 1 short. Beavers and afancs are both brown, and their skull structure has a striking resemblance, stout and squared, despite the fact afanc has ferocious fangs and a lack of eyes, like a mole you’d find digging up your garden. Maybe that’s because the designers wanted to go with a cave monster feel, underdeveloped eyes, as opposed to the lake monster feel that afancs have from legend, which really proves the originality of the show.
That’s how a designer designs a monster to be inspired from, and yet unique of, the original mythical creature: They take an image of a beaver and crocodile – which admittedly, isn’t that scary when you combine the two by conventional means – and deform them to make something terrifying. That’s why I say that the artists who sculpted the afanc had to be brilliant.
In conclusion, I have a final thought about the Mark of Nimueh show, about how it cast a light on our heroes: the afanc was perhaps the first moment we see Prince Arthur and Merlin work together as a team, and as for Lady Morgana, it was the first time we see horror on her face to that degree. Diving into speculation about Lady Morgana, I wonder, did she have reason to feel traumatized by this event? Did it somehow cause her own soul to undergo a transformation of fear, unlocking sorcery in her own fate? It’s unsettling, but imagine Nimueh, the first of the three high priestesses, having a hand in the spiritual “coronation” of Morgana as high priestess. Nimueh foresaw the future and influenced it by conjuring the afanc so she could deprave the soon-to-be-witch’s psyche. Subtext we will never be privy to except through fan fiction.
We watched as our favorite heroes Prince Arthur, Sir Gwaine, Sir Lancelot, and others compete in tournaments to prove their superiority on the games. Tournaments in real life were often as deadly as the show portrays when thugs time and time again try to kill Prince Arthur in the duels and melees.
Knights wore their armour as if they were going to war, and it makes sense, considering many knights died fighting in the competitions they proudly took part in. Many times in melee fights, participants would gang up against a disliked competitor and injure or even kill him. Other times, men would use tournaments to cover up a murder.
It’s true, though, that to a knight, winning a tournament was held as the highest honor, but not everyone held that opinion. Church officials didn’t approve of the tournaments that knights took part in, and often refused to offer a proper Christian burial for anyone who died from competing in tournaments. I wonder, does God forgive a man who wins a crown through the war games he’s played?
Morgana’s final breath is taken. Her soul sinks not to the place of the dead, but to a dark domain where sorcerers are gifted with immortality. She falls upon a wizard, standing at a bridge that curls across hills and passes the lonely horizon.
WIZARD: Look beyond me and view a castle on a hill. Reach
it, and you will be resurrected to a second chance, a conqueror. Do not reach
it, and you will be left wandering the land until the final judgment.
MORGANA: What do you
mean, ‘final judgment’?
WIZARD: There you will receive dues for your life.
Merlin was always trying to do what was best, even when he didn’t know how or didn’t know what “best” was. Often times, he even won others over to good, even without trying. All he had to do was be himself: kind, loyal, and patient.
Scene from Series 5, Episode 8: “The Hollow Queen”
Daegal: You have magic, Merlin.
Daegal: And you live in Camelot. Does anyone know?
Merlin: Only Gaius.
Daegal: Not Arthur?
Merlin: No. And if he ever found out, he’d probably hang me.
Daegal: But you still help him?
Merlin: I have to. It’s my job.
Daegal: But he would kill you.
Merlin: In his heart, he’s a good man, and I know that one day he’ll bring about a world we will dream of.
Please leave a reply down below sharing your favorite moment in the show when Merlin influenced another character to do the right thing.
While waiting for my fellow bloggers to join in on the last post’s voting poll, I am passing time drawing a picture of Lady Isabella, the protagonist of BBCMerlinJunkie’s fan fiction podcast. This is not my photo, it is a picture without a copyright I found in a free photos website, but the art is mine. The concept is still in phase 1, meaning it has many more layers until completion, and the design may change, on her clothes particularly.
I had been procrastinating in finishing the picture because I had a strained shoulder and it was my artist arm that was strained, but today, I just got an e-mail from Podomatic saying my free trial was almost expired, and I would lose ability to use the design tools. Yikes! That may include adding pictures to the podcast page. If so, better hurry and finish in 7 days!
I have a dilemma that I’m in desperate need of help from you, yes you. (ANYONE IS WELCOME).
I have a collection of songs that are currently fan theme songs for the Merlin series characters: Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, Morgana, Gwaine, Mordred, Percival, and Leon (MORE COMING, PENDING). One – Arthur’s – is recorded almost completely with an amateur studio setup, yet powerful enough to get my music out to the world (TO YOU).
Problem is, the music is beautiful (AS YOU CAN SEE I’M PROUD OF IT) and has potential to go on and become great, professional gigs (DIGITAL STYLE GIGS), and well, truthfully, that matters to me more than anything.
However, I share that same passion for the Merlin fandom, and to be fair, it was originally Merlin theme songs. I’d love to do more – Elyan for example being one of them that I still have yet to come up with a theme song for, and I want to, and I will, depending on the response I get from THIS. POST.
That’s where you help me. All you have to do is vote if you’re interested, but first, let me show you a song (NOT AS GOOD, BUT IT’S A START) to help you decide whether it’s what you like. This song I’m about to share with you, I have already recorded previously (YEARS BACK) which I dubbed then to be titled, “Albion’s Fate”, and it sticks to this day, mainly because I have no other idea what to call it.
Now if I post music for you to hear, here at my blog or beyond as fan music, it will always be free, because I think it’s playing dirty to sell music and then promote it with someone else’s brand and characters.
I won’t be posting my music here to advertise. I’m not here to make money off the show except through my unofficial merchandise store, which is really nothing more than just a general Arthurian store, no copyright infringement or anything. It’s true, my songs are 100% my copyright not Rob Lane’s, but something doesn’t sit well with me. So for conscience purposes, I’m remaining anonymous here and want to keep it that way.
Either I post my songs FOR FREE and continue the amazing legacy of Merlin, or I don’t post my songs and make my own musical career someplace else – you choose (PLEASE HELP, I’M COMPLETELY DUMBFOUNDED ON WHAT TO DO!).
But I truly, truly, truly want to share my music if you truly, truly, truly want to listen. Again, it’s your choice.
All you have to do is vote in the poll directly at the bottom of this post. You can vote as many or as little as you want. I recommend voting once for every song you’re interested in hearing, and then share the poll with friends who are like you so they can rally with you. The poll will have 3 months from the time I make it go active. Today’s July 2, 2019, so on October 2, 2019 the poll will expire and I will not continue to watch the numbers, and my final choice will be made. If a song has 60 votes or more, I will share it with you. If a song does not have at least 60 votes, then I will not share it, and I will re-title the song, and recreate it to be something besides Merlin theme songs, and make them my own songs disavowing them completely from what they were inspired to be (BUMMER!)
Note: My music is better now than it was when I recorded the intro song years ago, but it’s still not perfect. If you all (EVERYONE) votes at least 60 times per song, then I will be candid and begin to share with you everything from sheet music I make, to the songs in progress, finished, arranged, and maybe in different formats (such as on Spotify or downloadable copies) because I am trying to become professional and I will use this as my outlet to create, since it is all for non-profit and for fun, I will do it with the hope of collaborating and becoming better as I go along (AS A PROCESS).
So! Vote as many times as you like – because only 1 person can make all the difference – but the recommended rules are for you to vote once for each song you want to hear, and then spread the news.
Gaius the court physician is very much an accurate picture of medieval doctors.
In the year 1215 AD, being a doctor was officially acknowledged as a professional class in Europe. Guilds, like medical school today, were formed to help educate students.
There were two different types of doctors: the apothecary who mixed and dispersed drugs, and the physician who went to the guild, gaining knowledge on how to treat patients, later finding work among the rich people. What makes Gaius so incredible is the fact that he worked as an apothecary AND a physician at different times in the Merlin TV show. He is very smart and valuable to having working in the castle of Camelot.
Before science, many doctors used astrology to answer the questions sick people had. “Why am I sick?” a patient might ask, and the doctor would answer with the wisdom of the stars.
They also used procedures such as bleeding patients as a way to balance the fluids inside their body. Remember the leech tanks Merlin had to clean? That really was a common pet doctors kept for their treatments!
The books we all remember Gaius reading was another way medieval doctors found their diagnoses. Think about the great philosophers Plato and Aristotle… some of these same authors we read about today mentored physicians in their line of work.