Right, so first off, this is not the traditional retelling of Arthur and Merlin, it's far more fun ;)
|This is Arthur:||This is Merlin:|
|played by Bradley James||played by Colin Morgan|
So, the first clue that this isn't your normal Merlin story is Merlin's distinct lack of a beard and grey hair and just about anything associated with age and wisdom. Yep, you spotted it: Merlin and Arthur are about the same age. Slashy hearts everywhere beat a little faster :).
Not only is the slash waiting to happen, at every turn characters seem to be telling Arthur and Merlin it should be happening too. We have the Slash Dragon, okay, so he is actually called the Great Dragon, but when he tells Merlin that Arthur is his destiny and they are two sides of the same coin, the Slash Dragon he became and the Slash Dragon he will stay.
In the latest episode Merlin's mum, Hunith, also gave several lovely speeches about how Merlin and Arthur were destined to be together. Okay, so this could have been taken platonically, but we're slashers here (mostly) so let's not bother ;).
Merlin is still learning magic and magic is punishable by death in Camelot under King Uther, so that's where a lot of the tension in the show comes from. The gist of most of the eps is Merlin uses magic to save Arthur and has to hide it, or Arthur does heroic things to save Merlin, even though on their first meeting it was hate at first sight. If you like historical accuracy and inaccuracy drives you batty, then I suggest you don't watch. This is a fantasy show that has great characters, but very wooly history :)
|The Great Dragon|
He is imprisoned under Camelot, put their by Uther. He keeps Merlin on his toes with prophecies.
The court physician and the only one who knows his secret. He is Merlin's mentor and friend.
No, you're not imagining things, that is Giles from Buffy :). In Merlin he is King Uther, one-gold-coin-short-of-a-hoard king of Camelot. He's very severe and hates magic to the point where he executes all sorcerers and believes them all to be evil. Apart from that irrationality, however, he is at least an honourable man, even if he does not see servants as of equal worth as nobles.
The Lady Morgana's handmaiden and a very good friend to Merlin. The producers probably want you to think she and Merlin are meant for each other, but we all know who Merlin's really after ;).
Uther's ward (not Arthur's sister in this one) mainly because she's the canon love interest for Arthur :). She has visions in her dreams (the Seer's gift) which because of the ban on magic she cannot speak of. She can handle a sword almost as well as Arthur when she wants to and is just as likely to defy Uther as Arthur is.
Uther knows her from before magic was banned and they are definitely now enemies. She wants Camelot to fall and has it in for Arthur and Merlin.
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