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Camelot strays from the traditional Arthurian story

'Camelot' moves down its own unique path tonight in "Lady of the Lake," and it was not without sacrifices.

- Season 1, Episode 4 - "Lady of the Lake"

“This is the sword of King Arthur. This …  is Excalibur.”

There were three different stories at play in tonight’s Camelot: Morgan suffered the consequences for her sorcery, Merlin went in search of a sword worthy of the king, and Arthur used his broken heart to become a leader. The lesson for Morgan and Merlin should be: stay away from sorcery because it causes bad, bad things to happen when you use it.

I didn’t really understand the point of the Morgan story. She almost died because her body couldn’t handle the summonings and shapeshifting that she had undertaken. After she was “reborn,” she shapeshifted into her stepmother — what was that about? Yet, she returned to her own form. Hopefully, this is a story that will be further explained. I find Morgan’s quest for the crown to be disturbing, but definitely intriguing to watch play out. How many people will she hurt to try and get something that she will never have?

Men will be men, won’t they? They will do anything for a lady. I can’t believe that Arthur was naive enough to think that Guinevere would continue their dalliance after she married Leontes. Though, at the same time, I was impressed that Guinevere held her ground and was passionate about her loyalty to her husband. The most riveting part of this story may be his mother’s determination to make sure Arthur doesn’t repeat Uther’s mistakes with a married woman.

Merlin has up until now come across as a self-assured man on a mission. His journey to get a king’s sword left him damaged. I’m not sure how he let the sorcery get the better of him, but it did. His own need for punishment was fulfilled in the bar fight, but his repentance is not yet over. Regardless, he maintained his goal of portraying Arthur as the kingdom’s savior with his story of Excalibur. It was a nice tribute to name the sword after the girl, Excalibur, and the pain of  her sacrifice was all over Merlin’s face.

What do you think about the changes made in the story of the sword Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake? I like that the show has taken the King Arthur story framework and it making it its own. While the story of King Arthur, Camelot and Excalibur have deep history, there isn’t one specific version of the story. Throughout history, the story has maintained certain key elements that transcend all versions, but there are huge variations as well. All I know is … I’m hooked!

Other stuff:

  • For a King, Arthur had the respect of his men, but he seemed to be put at risk too often during training.
  • “This is combat, not cooking.” – Gawain
  • “When you have nothing to lose, that’s the time to risk everything. ” – Gawain
  • “How many people died because he wouldn’t be denied? I will not let that happen again.” – Queen Igraine about King Uther
  • “Understand when you’ve been been beaten by a better man. But, never give in! Never give in. Even if it feels like you’ve lost everything. And if you have to fight dirty to protect your cause … then so be it.” – Arthur
  • “I’m happy. I have what I want.” – Guinevere
    “Then it is finished.” – Arthur



Photo Credit: Starz

Categories: | Camelot | Episode Reviews | Features | General | TV Shows |

3 Responses to “Camelot strays from the traditional Arthurian story”

April 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM

See, I didn’t feel that Arthurian legend was actually ‘changed.’ We’ve seen throughout history how the story is written by the victor, right? Well, in this case, Merlin told the story that is now part of the myth, but we’ve now we know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say.

April 17, 2011 at 1:11 AM

Agreed. Merlin is portrayed as the one who is spinning the legends that have been passed down. The truth is ugly, so he paints over it, creating stories that will inspire people to follow Arthur. This is why I assume Merlin will also ultimately be responsible for rewriting the story of Arthur and Guinevere so that Arthur comes out looking like the good guy.

I am really enjoying this particular aspect of the show – the whole Excalibur story line was the best part of this episode for me – although Merlin’s tale should have raised some eyebrows. Not the part about a lady in a lake, but the name of the sword. Merlin claimed that Caliburn was dead, and he got this sword from a lady in a lake, who has no connection to Caliburn. Wouldn’t Arthur and his men wonder why the sword is named Excalibur (i.e., “from Caliburn”) if Merlin didn’t get it from Caliburn? Aside from that and some other odd plot things, I loved this version of the lady in the lake, and Merlin continues to intrigue me. He’s hands-down the most interesting character.

I didn’t care for the Morgan story line, mainly because I didn’t understand what was going on with the bleeding, flailing, screaming, binge-eating, dying, shapeshifting, etc. And Evil Nun showing up? Lame. I’m not drawn in by the mystery of it all – I’m impatient-verging-on-annoyed with this part of the plot. What is Morgan’s plan? What does she think she can accomplish with her meager magical abilities?

Vivian remains an interesting character – I’m very curious as to how she will fit into the story. I thought she was going to turn out to be the lady of the lake (traditionally called Vivian), but maybe she will become a love interest for Merlin (in the legends, Vivian/Nimue seduces Merlin, learns his secrets, and then locks him in a tree).

April 20, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Morgan it seems is the only character that i like. I have after struggling through four episodes of a program ,that i was actually looking forward too liking. Found only that I want her to kill her sniveling pussy backstabbing coward of a brother . Im glad they killed his mother and father for actually raising him, my only problem is it is illegal to kill the writers of this garbage too.Oh and the other thing i found out is lancelot is …. oh yeah there is no lancelot and merlin is not JUST a wizard with a penchant for getting beat up by everyone .He also kills sword smith’s and little girls(by accident ,guess he is an incompetent wizard.) He also is a liar who makes up stories and than in the utmost bad taste names the sword which is famous for virtue and goodness after aforementioned little dead girl ! Are you people F@@king kidding me?
Damn I like starz , I bought it because of their original stories . Why not have just named this story anything else,and have made up different names ? I will absolutely not be tuning in for episode 5. I will patiently await spartacus . I can only hope the producers of this will taka a lesson from the producers of the walking dead and fire the whole writing staff . But i fear it is too late !

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