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Firstly — Merlin 5.05, where things are finally getting serious. (And a bit more ambitious than ~comic relief~, thank God.) The one minor quibble I have is that I seem to remember that Arthur was already more respectful towards magic/the old religion, but my memories are more than a bit fuzzy here because for the last couple of seasons I haven't exactly been watching very attentively. This aside, The Disir is the best and strongest episode in a very long while, and it made me go from meh to genuinely curious what kind of an ending we are heading towards.

Was this really the last chance for both Arthur, and, by implication, Merlin? Is it going to be all doom & gloom & downward spiral from now on? Somehow, with the general tone of the show so far (e.g., the way they basically handwaved the fatal Guinevere - Arthur - Lancelot triangle), I still somehow doubt that, because in that case the episode and its consequences would put a very bitter spin on the whole 'the fate of a kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man' spiel, but perhaps this is how it's going to be, after all? I can't say that on some level I wouldn't regret it, because while I do love tragedy, what I liked about the show back in S1 was the sense of optimism with which they were looking forward to Arthur's reign. I haven't really shipped Arthur and Merlin since S1, but I'd like for them to work out their issues, respect each other and really create the bright future Merlin was dreaming of, without secrets and lies, and also for Morgana to redeem herself and the four of them to become friends again and live happily ever after. A person can dream. On the other hand I'm extremely pleased to see that this time Merlin's lying to and manipulating of Arthur for once has consequences, because I'd already stopped holding out for that.

Merlin with all the best intentions and self-denial isn't protecting Arthur, he's killing him, and has been for a while now, going back as far as Sins of the Father, because he's not allowing him to make a realistic judgement about magic and its true nature. Merlin is at least partly responsible for every disgruntled sorcerer coming Arthur's way since Arthur became king. I wonder if the ivy that must be cut for the tree to live isn't the increasingly stifling web of Merlin's lies. The image doesn't even make sense as far as Mordred is concerned, but it fits the way Merlin literally controls Arthur's life in so many respects rather well.

(Will the show end with Merlin sacrificing himself for Arthur and Camelot's sake? I wonder.)

I guess part of what disturbs me is that it's so extremely unfair to Arthur. He's once again not been allowed to make an informed decision by himself. Uther, whatever his faults, and they are many, even as a ghost was at least upfront about his opinions and intentions, and thus allowed Arthur to act accordingly. Against Uther he could rebel, and did so, again and again. What Merlin did in this episode was not just another painful self-denial, but in fact a quite horrific abuse of the trust Arthur put in him, when he asked him the question. Without Merlin, it might have gone either way, and possibly the right way, because for Arthur embracing the old religion would have meant both saving Mordred and avoiding the gloomy prophecies for his kingdom and for himself. With Merlin's 'help', he, if the Desir are to be believed, unwittingly doomed his kingdom and himself, without even knowing all the facts, without having been given a fair chance at making a decision.

I was yelling at the screen there.

(Also while admittedly that was four seasons ago and Arthur's behaviour towards Merlin since justifies Merlin forgetting, the writers might have remembered that Arthur has in fact done something similar for Merlin back in S1, both in The Poisoned Chalice and The Labyrinth of Gedref, so for once Merlin's complaints are unjust.)

Secondly, picture spam. This is from my brief and too-soon-over holiday last week, before the snow. From Hallstatt up to the Wiesberghaus (1.884m). I only regret not taking pictures on my way up when it was still sunny... (In case anyone is interested, this (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) is what it looked like on top. I'm only linking these pictures because they're really crap photography-wise, but there is little you can do if the sky is completely colourless/white...)
















solitary summer

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