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Merlin 5.01 "Arthur's Bane" Spoiler-Free Preview

Our seeker of knowledge goes to the Great Dragon in search of clues about the Merlin series five premiere… but you know what dragons are like

Our seeker of knowledge goes to the Great Dragon in search of clues about the Merlin series five premiere… but you know what dragons are like

"Oh great and wise dragon, I come seeking your wisdom.”

“What need you know, young philomath?”

“Erm, well, the meaning of philomath would be a start. But no, I have quested to the secret cave for knowledge of the Merlin fifth series premiere, the episode known as ‘Arthur’s Bane’. I must know.”

“Ah, I see, Yes, many have asked that question. But I fear I may be of little help, young seeker.”

“Why’s that?”

“An ancient curse by the wizard Beebezy means I must talk in riddles for fear of spoylors."

“A dragon talking in riddles. What a shocker.”

“Are you stereotyping me?”

“No, no, no. You’re a lovely dragon, and I’ll free you of your chains if you give me the information I need.”

"I shall endeavour to do my best.”

“So, is the first episode any good?”

“Oh yes, though it is a bit of a slowburner.”

“Is that a dragon joke?”

“Dragons do not joke.”

“Okay. Sorry. So it’s not action packed?”

“There is action but it’s not the Lord Of The Rings-style armies marching over landsacpes we became used to last season. You feel that the really epic moments are being saved for part two. It’s all seems to be building to something big.”

“Has it a more grown-up feel?”

“It certainly does seem to have darkened in tone, though only slightly. It’s not Game Of Thrones , though at at times it does look similar. There’s even trouble in the icy north.”

“What more can you reveal?”

“Some knights don’t just bear arms, they bear chests as well. Bare chests. Beared a lot. In fact, the knights are very much to the fore.”

“I need more.”

“Merlin is forced to play the fool…”

“Oh not again…”

“But in a way he hasn’t before”

“Ah.”

“There is a new prophecy, another moment that looks like John Boorman’s Excalibur and a ropey CG snake.”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“Worry ye not. It’s a tiny moment in an episode that otherwise looks spectacular with some interesting new locations (though you may wonder what Morgana does in that chair when somebody’s not storming in to see her). Merlin has a great comeback for Arthur, but there are some tender, mature moments between them that suggests they mainly continue their bickering for old time’s sake. There’s also a moment that may make you think of Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom .”

“I’m getting excited.”

“And so you should, for while it is not a classic, blockbuster episode, you truly to feel the thrill and anticipation of a new chapter in the saga beginning to unfurl.”

“Thank you.”

“I haven’t finished yet. Gwen is fantastic, and you see her in full Queen mode. There’s the return of someone (you may have read about it in a tapestry somewhere, but I’m confirming or denying nothing here) that provides a tingle-down-spine moment…”

“And you have a very long spine!”

“I do indeed, and a very short temper. May I go on?”

“Erm, yes, sorry.”

“And finally, someone makes a decision that made my jaw fall to the floor. And my jaw has a long way to fall.”

“I thought dragons didn’t make jokes?”

“Boy?”

“Yes?”

“You’re toast.”

• Watch our video interview with the Knights, Sir Gwaine and Sir Leon
Merlin series 5 trailer and Colin Morgan and Bradley James interview snippet

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