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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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merlin - very random thoughts having finished season
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
You know, most of the season could just be called Sins of the Father Revisited (A Lot. Jesus, Uther, did you ever sleep during your reign of terror?)



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.


Uther/Morgana is totally there. It's not just you.

THEY ARE TOO CLOSE AND TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS.

*has nothing to say but epic love* ♥

PS: YES on the Uther/Morgana omg. Anthony Head is just never not hot.

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!

I kinda want to know what this is and read it. A lot.

Also, the Urther/Morgana is not only there, but disturbing as fuck, yet oh so logical.

Uther's equivalent of an enforcer
I keep thinking of the Sheriff of Nottingham. I think that it might be the coat.

But basically, all the characters are so awesome. I keep sitting there and squeeing at my computer about how much *fun* this show is, and how great the four leads are. Sometimes it smokes the good crack, but so far it's mostly the good crack, not the bad crack, and I'm okay with that and full of fannish love.

Winter of Magic's Return and there are now two sequels. I only read the first sequel! I AM TRYING NOT TO GET TOO EXCITED.

Ooh, Sheriff of Nottingham. *intrigued* Oh, i can totally see this.

Wait, what was the book with the nuclear winter? I read that one! I remember them freaking out about a plastic chess piece, and a description of a woman's dress that was white like snow with blue shadows in the fold, and how they had the only apple orchard left in England. Am I remembering this right? What book was this?

You're not imagining the Uther/Morgana. I mean, I repress it, because AUGH, but I love it when they're on screen together.

They are really--terrifyingly good together. I disturb myself so much.

(Also, how would Arthur deal with her as a stepmother?)

One of the things I like about the treatment of magic in the BBC Merlin is that the show is being fairly evenhanded with it . . . Uther is obsessively into persecuting magic and magicians, but it's strongly implied that the state of affairs in backstory-Avalon was pretty bad in a number of ways, and that not all the magic-users in backstory-Avalon were harmless and benevolent. And the people in presentday-Avalon don't seem to regard Uther as an oppressive tyrant -- they don't love him, but they do seem to respect him, in a sort of "he may be a hard-ass, but he's our hard-ass, and he's not going to let anyone else fuck with us" kind of way.

(Canonical Uther is a lot darker, in fact.)

Edited at 2009-01-11 03:07 am (UTC)

Yes, this. When he isn't going into magic-rage, he's not a bad king at all and seems genuinely concerned for his people.

The magic thing is seriously intriguing. I want to know where they end up going with this.

Well, I *didn't* see the Uther/Morgana (I am very innocent sometimes! Or maybe just unwilling to see!), but NOW I do. *grumbles* Because you're right, they are awesome when they have scenes together.

*g* They have chemistry.

Uther/Morgana is honestly the only het ship I have for this fandom at the moment. XDDD *still isn't sure how to react to this*

Gaius' ethics... seriously, I am someday going to write a long, long post about my conflicting feelings here. :\

But yes! Show is good! Show is love! \0/

(And if you can remember the title of that nuclear winter!! book, I now have a burning desire to read it. XD )

I added it up there! Winter of Magic's Return by Pamela Services.

OMG I love Winter of Magic's Return! I read it a gazillion times when I was 13. I secretly believe that's the reason BBC's Merlin sucked me in so freaking quickly. (And you say there are sequels? asdl;fjkl. MUST FIND.)

And um, yes, Uther/Morgana. It's something about the intense conversations and the way he always touches her all proprietary-like. Guh.

TWO! I HAD ONLY READ ONE!

I need all three now like you would not believe.

Like most everyone else who's commented, you are not the only one who sees Uther/Morgana. And really, I totally blame it on Anthony Head. That man had ridiculous amounts of chemistry with younger actresses. Case in point: him as Giles, Sarah Michelle Geller as Buffy. I had an easier time shipping Giles/Buffy than her with either vampire. AH is just that incredible. Seriously. {nods}

This, yes. He just does. *sighs happily* And it's just so wrong yet adorable.

I like that Uther is trying to do right by his kingdom. It would be much less interesting if he was clearly a bad ruler or a tyrant. I mean, okay, he executes magic users, but I can almost see why Gaius would turn collaborator on his people (or well, magic users who I guess aren't necessarily a group, but some seem quite disgruntled at his lack of solidarity at least).

I don't really know a lot about Arthurian legends, so I'm not all that invested in any tradional versions or retellings, but I'm really enjoying this version so far.

Yes. I was wondering about that too. Maybe he only helped getting the dangerous evil ones? It's very complicated.

Uther/Morgana? Well now that you mentioned it, I'm probably going to see it all the time. *facepalm* After the Mists of Avalon where Arthur and his sister go at it, Uther and Morgana here are tame. They're not even blood relatives. :)

I was thinking about Nimueh the other day...obviously she could see the future, but I'm wondering--there must be something that doesn't allow them to see their own future, otherwise no future would probably ever come to pass. So I'm wondering if she couldn't see what would happen to Igraine and her people as a result, because she was tied into it.

Ooh, I didn't think of that. Good thought.

(Uther/Morgana == awesome)

Most of my experience with Arthurian legend came from the Gerald Morris books, which are hilarious and clever rewrites. I think most of them came from all the weird spaces left behind in Mallory's writing, and he writes these awesome and funny and goofy characters that manage to not take themselves too seriously and still be wonderfully *noble.*

For example, in my absolute favorite book of his, there is a character who is the younger brother of Sir Gawain, and is *hilariously* awful at anything that involves fighting. He actually gets disarmed by a girl who's never held a sword before in her life and then she steals his dinner. (This is most of a book before the two of them get married.) All he wants to do is settle down and have a farm! And the heroine is going questing to save her vacuous sister from an evil knight, and she hunts all her own food and starts to fall in love with a ocmplete nitwit before she realizes how dumb he is, and she studies magic with Morgan Le Fay and goes off to heal sick people and run massive tracts of farmland very sensibly. Seriously, it's one of my favorite childhood books *ever,* and it bears only a little resemblance to the trappings of Arthurian legend, while still staying true to the heart. No wonder I love Merlin so much.

If you love sensible Gwen and happy endings, I highly recommend Walking Into Legende, which is possibly my favorite Yuletide story that I've read this year, and one of the best Merlin stories I've read yet. It leans heavily on Arthurian legend, but still manages to keep everybody sensible and grownup and loving and wonderful, and it makes you cry and makes everything okay in the end.

(And yes, cannot agree more, Uther/Gwen FTW!)

ETA to fix massive spelling errors. *facepalm*

Edited at 2009-01-11 04:00 am (UTC)

OMG The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf! I love Gerald Morris' books but that was definitely one of my favorites. So few of my friends even know of Gerald Morris, I'm so happy every time I find someone else who loves them. *bounces*

...please tell me someone else sees Uther/Morgana in this

YES and also, you need to hang out with me and calapine lots cos YES.

*heee* They are so adroable.

I was seeing Uther/Morgana and it was kind of disturbing because there are so many issues! and wow do they have chemistry. :)