I Am a Terrible Arthurian Canonist
I seriously am.
My favorite Arthurian novel to date is Firelord, which is one of the oddest and yet oddly complex Arthurian novels I've ever read. It's also fairly short and deeply interesting in combining leftover Roman occupation with Pictish mythology and even more interesting, my very first experience with polyandry. Second is The Road to Avalon, which is an unabashed Arthur/Morgan romance with much heavier Roman influence and a lot of cavalry (and an open marriage), and third is The Mists of Avalon for scope if not for my consistent and constant irritation with the "abandon all hope all ye who read this" because wow, that's a freakishly depressing novel and it like, never lets up. (It also had the only Gwenhwyfar I hated with all my soul. Just hated.)
Mallory I got to after the above (amongst others, including a supercool kids version where Arthur and Merlin come back after a nuclear winter to save the world; how cool is that? Nuclear winter!)(ETA:Winter of Magic's Return by Pamela Service and OMG I ONLY READ ONE SEQUEL AND THERE IS OR WILL BE ANOTHER!), so you see where my influences started. So really tiny Mallory and then a hit on Mary Stewart (I remember getting so confused; at that point Mists of Avalon was my canon and I just kept going "What the hell?").
So Given That, My Reactions
Okay, admittedly, I never realized what I really wanted was to watch Camelot before any of them had any idea they were going to grow up and do awesome things. Though God knows, they killed Pellinore, so who the hell knows how they're going to rewrite it. Given that, I am amused as all hell with a.) Lancelot and Gwen b.) Mordred c.) Morgana and Mordred d.) pretty much all of it.
Uther irritates me because, apart from that entire psychotic personality episode when anyone uses the word "magic", he's actually a pretty good king. He's stable, he's thrifty, he cares about his people in a very genuine way, he generally does his king thing and honestly, let's face it, even with the magic thing, he's still beating out about two thirds of known interesting monarchs I've read about, and I've read about a lot of them.
And that does irritate me. He's actually pretty decent. I don't want to like him, because again, psychotic personality disorder (happens like magic!), but dammit, I don't like being emotionally torn.
I'm torn on the magic. On one hand, absolutely insane. On the other, I wonder if he's projecting his own actions onto every magician. He was fine with someone dying for him to have a son, just not so much his wife. The logic chain would follow "I did evil when given magic" (ie "Killed wife! OMG! GUILT INFINITY!") therefore "everyone is evil when given magic" therefore "must get rid of magic for the sake of everyone's soul, because I am awesome and look what I did when given it!" which makes a weird, sideways sort of sense if one is like me and clings to sense, because his other actions, in general, aren't in keeping with tyranny.
I don't even know.
Given That, My Kind of Horror at Myself
...please tell me someone else sees Uther/Morgana in this because honestly, I am totally freaked out by how much I love anytime they are on screen at the same time. I have to remind myself wrong skeevy but then, you know what? I stop freaking caring because hello, First Knight and also, Uther is in fact pretty hot and also, oh my God that would be awesome and add to my list of The Many Arthur Canons of strangeness.
Given All of That, I Find Myself Amused By....
(We shall assume they will follow at least the roughest commonality of canon, but man, I will be just as thrilled if they don't; this is a legend that needs to be shaken up and badly.)
Arthur Pendragon, Arthur Pendragon, high king, defeater of Saxons, most awesome of awesome, King Arthur is like, Uther's equivalent of an enforcer, complete with sweeping coat. Every time he wanders around with guards looking tough, I have really strange Godfather flashbacks and try not to laugh myself sick. I mean--oh my God. I have never read, ever, anywhere, this Arthur. I had no idea I wanted to see this Arthur.
Merlin, sorcerer extraordinaire, close councilor to King Arthur, greatest living sorcerer ever, manservant to Prince Arthur. I am sorry, that will never stop being awesome. Also, the first time (with the exception of the nuclear winter AU) that he was the same age!
Guenevere, future high queen and wife of King Arthur, lover of Lancelot, maidservant to Morgana. And can I be one of the few who get a kick out of the idea of them in the future together? I do! She's so freaking sensible, and she just--I have no words. I just love watching her on screen, all calm and adorable and practical. There is something just miraculously awesome about her being the most ordinary (right now) of the three of them, the one who remembers to make sure people pack a lunch before their adventures and yet can carry a sword and fight a prince.
(I had no idea I'd react to her like that. Fifth or sixth ep, I was all wait, it's been five minutes, I need a scene with her! Very strange.)
Morgana is just--you know, I don't know. I love her and I worry about her, because I can see why she might go dark side. God knows I would if I lived with Uther.
And With That
Forgive my spellings on names....
Nimueh is confusing me in a variety of ways, not least of which is that I'm not convinced now she didn't know Igraine would be the one sacrificed. At least as of 1.13, I'm not sure she didn't know how it worked, or who to direct it at. Not because of Merlin's mom, but because she was perfectly capable of sacrificing Gaius when he asked without redirection to someone else. What I'm not sure of is what benefit it would have been to her if Uther lost his wife, as that seems dreadfully short-sighted and lacking in common sense.
Gaius, too, since he's (probably) a magician himself and Uther's friend and either a.) Uther didn't know (yeah, no) or b.) Gaius agreed never to do magic or c.) huh? I am wary on the "hunting of magicians" thing he was helping Uther with, and there's not really enough information for me to work out what actually happened.