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A B.B.C. adaptation of the Arthur legend. The story`s main character is the young wizard Merlin rather than Arthur. The series follows him as he moves to Camelot to be mentored by the wise Gaius played by Richard Wilson. In Camelot, magical powers are illegal and whoever uses them are hung, this applies to both men and women. Merlin makes sure he doesn`t get caught when using spells. In the first episode, Uther executes a man, whose mother is a witches and swears she will have revenge on Camelot.

All the main elements of the story are present except the incest story between Morgana and Arthur which is a storyline that given that the programme is being shown during peak evening time, the producers have wished to avoid. It is more akin to the legend that we know and love compared to the 2004 Hollywood film `King Arthur` starring Ioan Gruffudd as a commander of a Roman Special Forces Unit sent to Scotland to kill the Celtic leader Merlin.

The legendary Knights of the Round Table (e.g. Sirs Gawain, Lancelot, Perceval, Galahad ) have appeared on occassions but are not main characters to the storyline.

What makes this a fantasy story of an alternate world is the existance of Kilgarrah, the Last Great Dragon. The dragon is completely computer generated voiced by accomplished actor John Hurt. The dragon was trapped and held in a dungeon underneath Camelot where he provided advice and clues on how to defeat Merlin`s enemies. Merlin frees the dragon and calls upon him whenever he needs the Dragons help. Other fantasy elements in the series includes a goblin story who takes over Gaius`s body to cause trouble which Merlin has to work out how to exorcise.

In line with the Arthurian legend, the main enemy of Camelot is Morgan, the illegitimate daughter of King Uther Pendragon who cannot become queen.

The Sword in the Stone storyline is covered however, we only see Merlin put the sword in the stone once it has been used to defeat evil and not Arthur retrieving it.

In Arthurian legend, Arthur fights on the side of good but in the World of Warcraft games, Arthur (Arthas Menethil) is corrupted and becomes the Lich King where players must kill in the second expansion (Wrath of the Lich King). Arthas`s sword is known as Frostmourne.

Copyright: BBC

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