My family and I have really enjoyed watching Merlin, a very entertaining and imaginative BBC show about Merlin and all his trials as he strives to keep King Arthur alive through another onslaught of evil magic. Merlin’s overriding goal in life is to help Arthur become the great king he can be, so that the land can become a place of peace and tolerance. Merlin is funny, smart, kind-hearted, and very talented in magic, but he must hide it. He pretends to be a bumbling servant. He’s the Clark Kent of the Medieval world who is always there to save the day.
I have enjoyed watching the growth of Arthur’s character. He definitely has his faults. He is stubborn, arrogant, and narrow-minded. He never listens when Merlin gives him advice. But Arthur has a a good heart. He is courageous, loves his people, and he tries to do what is right.
In one episode, he is given a strange coin and told that his kingdom will fail. He rides out (with Merlin at his side) to face the three oracles who have pronounced this doom upon him. Arthur is told that unless he will embrace the old religion and worship the pagan goddesses, he will fall, and all he has worked for will fall too. Arthur spends all night thinking and wrestling with what he should do. Merlin too agonizes over how he should advise the king. All they have worked for is about to crumble.
Morning comes, and again Arthur faces the oracles. With great calmness, he lifts his head and says he cannot. At that moment, I loved Arthur. For all the mistakes he makes, he is true to himself. He is true to the inner light that guides him. He shines in his greatness. There are many legends about King Arthur and Merlin. According to most, Arthur dies in battle and his kingdom does fall. He is also known as the once and future king, the greatest king that ever lived, the king that will someday come and save England. To me, Arthur was a great king because he was true to what he knew was right. As Shakespeare once said, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”