I just finished the 5th season of Merlin. It’s one of my favorite shows because I love the characters and the mythology and the actors are great and the story is fun. I’ll only allude to how it ends, but you won’t be surprised since it’s based on Arthurian legend. I mean, if you don’t know the story the title of this post has already ruined it. sorry.
I knew when I watched the first episode how it would likely end. I didn’t want it to. I hoped, somehow, they’d change the story; bring a new angle; conjure a happy ending. But of course they didn’t. Because there is no other way for the story to end. Camelot cannot exist in this world. Not for long.
Because we live in a fallen world. We know that justice and mercy, compassion and kindness, honor and valor are necessary for a perfect world. We write stories about it and admire those who can live with these traits and hope we can vote such a world into existence. But something within us knows this world is broken and paradise cannot exist within it. And so stories of utopia whether it’s Atlantis or Camelot or some sci-fi ideal society are always corrupted and eventually they fall.
This may all seem obvious, but it was something of a revelation for me. I wanted a happy ending to Merlin, despite what the legend is (and for the record it really was a very good ending for the show). In some variations of the Arthur legend Morgana isn’t the villain so I can’t be alone in this. I liked this Morgana so I really didn’t want her to turn. I wanted Mordred to become a knight of the round table.
The love that binds us is more important than the power we wield.
I even did it in my own story. I had to try so hard in the first couple of drafts of Tattered Heart to explain why someone would thirst for power, defy their king in a world of peace and beauty and wonder. I am hopelessly idealistic. But Merlin altered some of that, at least in stories. Because as Camelot was threatened I knew I didn’t really have to explain it at all. Readers would believe a bad guy in a good world, without me having to justify why.
There’s certain freedom in that as an author. But I can’t help but still hope for a happy ending in every story I find.