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AN ANALYSIS OF MERLIN & MAGIC
(aka "WTF How the Bloody Hell is This Stuff Supposed to Work Anyway?!")


Since the BBC tv series Merlin is about...well...Merlin, magic is naturally an important part of the universe. But unfortunately, we don't have a handy magic book or our own that explains the rules of magic - how it works, what's involved in the process, and what exactly it can do. This is complicated by inconsistencies in the series itself, and the fact that we have a character who is categorically stated to be "different". In fact, the most realistic explanation for all of the magic we see in the series is "the writers hate continuity." But, particularly for the sake of things like fanfiction and roleplaying, if we want to have anything resembling a coherent theory of magic we have to watch the show closely and try to come up with it ourselves.

And, since I evidently am insane and have way too much time on my hands, I will attempt to try. To make this analysis, I will be relying on two sources - archaeologist_d's List of Spell Translations and my List of Magic Performed. I will also, of course, be using the show itself and what the narrative tells us about magic.

This post contains spoilers for Merlin Seasons 1-3, so please be warned!

THE PROCESS
All we see of the process of casting magic is people sometimes making gestures, sometimes using incantations, and sometimes not doing anything except looking in the general direction of whatever it is they want to do magic on. In fact, we never actually see any kind of action that consistently accompanies the use of magic, other than perhaps the looking. But there needs to be more to it, because just looking at stuff was all that was required, all the sorcerers would have to be like Cyclops and wear strange protective eyegear to stop them magicing everything they look at.

So what do we know? Well, as I will detail later, incantations aren't necessary, so it's not a case of just knowing the right words. We know that it normally takes years to study, as stated by Gaius and backed up by the fact that even after a year spent with Morgause, Morgana's magic is still mostly limited to uncontrolled bursts of magic, or the occasional simple spell. Anything more complicated, and she needs involves an additional aid (like the rowan staff) and guidance from Morgause. We know that it takes concentration and focus of will, also thanks to Gaius. And it's this that, to me, seems to be at the heart of how exactly magic is performed. Rather than being a case of "knowing the right words of actions", the casting of magic is more like kind of metal exercise. Other forces may assist or enhance the magic - like incantations, the Sidhe staffs, or various other magical objects - but in essence what's required is the sorcerer's focus of will.

But if magic is just a mental exercise, it does bring up another important question: why on earth do they need spellbooks? If it were just a case of, "if I will it hard enough it will happen", Merlin wouldn't need to run around looking up stuff.

So what do spellbooks do? Well, I'd like to theorise that what they are is a kind of guide, with suggested incantations and instructions on exactly how the sorcerer should focus their will. If magic is a mental exercise, then it makes sense that there are also little mental tricks that go along with it - like perhaps focusing on a mental images, or remembering a feeling. Simple spells might require just one element - like perhaps imagining just one mental image - while more complex spells might require multiple elements, or a complicated mental trick. This then, would be the purpose of the spellbooks - to detail the best mental tricks and guide the sorcerer through them.

This also serves as an explanation for why magic takes years to study - because effectively, sorcerers have to learn how to use all the metal tricks, and how to focus their mind in a way that lets them perform these mental gymnastics.

INCANTATIONS
At first glance, it would appear as if incantations are the main driving force behind magic - speak the magic words, yadda yadda yadda, stuff happens. And from watching the show, you might get the impression that each spell has a set incantation - that Merlin looks up the Magic Words in his book, and that's the One True Way to cast whichever spell he wants to do. But as I've already suggested, and as a look at the translations of the spells shows, this isn't the case. Because we have translations like this:
Go, boots. Stall, boots. Guide the boots.

This is the spell that Merlin uses to move the boots in Morgana's chamber, in S1E8 - and it's bizarre specific to the situation. This is not a spell that you would sit down an learn (and if you've been spending your time learning random spells to move boots, then I'm afraid you're beyond all help Merlin). And this isn't the only example - a close look at archaeologist_d's translations shows there are many other spells which are similarly situation-specific.

Not only that; we also get Merlin using different incantations to essentially do the same thing. In S2E6, Merlin locks a cabinet with the incantation "Fyrbendum faest", meaning "the secure forged bars". And then in S2E10, he locks a cupboard with the incantation "Behaepse faest", meaning "fasten a closed door". He's essentially doing the exact same thing but with a different incantation.

And this isn't the only peculiarity regarding incantations - right in the first episode, when we have Merlin using magic without any incantations at all, Gaius says that incantations are required for magic. This is also when Gaius states that Merlin that he is "special", that no one else does magic like him. The implication is that everyone else needs incantations, but Merlin doesn't because he's just awesome like that. Except, Merlin doesn't actually seem that unique in this regard. We see a whole range of characters other than Merlin using magic without incantations - Anhora, Cornelius Sigan, Edwin Muirden, Mordred, Morgana, Morgause, Nimueh, and Trickler. Even in the first episode, we get Mary Collins using magically killing a girl just by touching her and humming. If it were only characters like Sigan, Mordred, Morgana, Morgause and Nimueh not using incantations, we could pass it off as being an "Old Religion" thing, but that doesn't explain characters like Edwin and Trickler doing it. At this rate, everyone and their mother is doing incantationless magic.

One possible explanation is that Gaius was just plain wrong. He is, after all, implied to have only ever been a mediocre sorcerer. But I'm inclined to disagree with the idea that Gaius just doesn't know what he's talking about - because while Gaius might not be good at magic, he is shown to nonetheless be very knowledgeable about it. And with so many characters running around not using incantations, I can't see how he would have missed them all.

So why is Gaius so surprised by Merlin's lack of incantations in the first episode? And why do all of these characters who don't even need incantations keep using them when they risk being heard and discovered? Do all sorcerers just have an inexplicable urge for dramatics? Do they just really like the sounds of the own voices?

Gaius himself gives one possibility: he asks Merlin if he's reciting the incantations in his mind. This would suggest that everyone other than Merlin is in fact saying incantations in their heads. But, my personal theory is that there is more to this: incantations aren't actually necessary at all. What they are is simply a focus for the sorcerer: a way of concentrating their mind on what they want to do. This is why you get situation specific incantations and different incantations for the same thing: the actual words are irrelevant. What really matters is having something to focus your magic on, so that it does what you want it to and not something else. A guide, perhaps, for those mental gymnastics that all these sorcerers are doing. This would explain why when Morgana's magic started flaring up it was out of her control - she hadn't learned how to do the mental gymnastics and she didn't know how to use incantations to help focus her magic, and so it got away from her control.

A FLASH OF GOLD
This is one of the areas of magic that suffers the most from inconsistency - whether or not the caster's eyes flash gold when they use magic. In the first season, this seems to be a trait unique to Merlin. But then in season two we see other characters also having the gold eyes. Namely, Morgana and Morgause. But, this doesn't necessarily contradict the idea of the gold eyes being something special and unusual. After all, Morgan le Fay in the legends is frequently a sorceress on par with Merlin, and Morgause has connections to the Old Religion. Gold eyes, then, could just be an Old Religion thing.

But then in the third season we anyone with magic showing gold eyes - hell, even Gaius gets them - which pretty much reduces and any all specialness about them.

So what do they indicate? Well, the most likely explanation is that the show's makers have forgotten their own rules and just use them whenever they feel like it. Particularly since the inconsistency is so bad that it's pretty much impossible to come up with a unified theory that doesn't contradict half of the show. But, we will nonetheless examine the possibilities, and how plausible an explanation they might be.

Firstly: only Merlin has the gold eyes. He's just Special and so he's the only one who gets to have them. The major downside to this theory is that it requires pretending that Morgana, Morgause, and everyone else having them later on is wrong and never happened. Out of all the possibilities, this one is the least likely.

Secondly: only people who are of the Old Religion have the gold eyes. This explains Merlin, Morgana, and Morgause, but not why even Gaius gets them later on. It also doesn't explain why Nimueh doesn't have them. This is the least likely theory after the "it's just Merlin" one, since it requires pretending that both later examples were wrong and that earlier examples of where gold eyes should have shown up but didn't are also wrong.

Thirdly: everyone has magic had gold eyes when they do it. Ever. No exceptions. And in seasons one and two, they were just really lazy and didn't have the budget to give them to everyone. This theory is considerably more logical than the first two, although a bit of pretending is still involve.

And one last theory: the gold eyes are merely symbolic. Magic user's eyes don't actually change colour at all - it's just a visual metaphor the writers are using to indicate the use of magic. Thus, it's actually a tool of emphasis for the writers: in the first season Merlin is what they want to emphasize, so we only see it with him. Then when Morgana and Morgause start flinging magic around, the writers wanted to emphasize that. And then in season three they just decided to emphasize all magic ever. This would also explain why we never see any character's remarking on people's eyes changing colour within the context of the show. In fact, of all the theories this one is the most logical of all, and the only one that explains the use of the gold eyes through the run of the entire show.

Course, that theory is also much less fun and denies fanfic writers everywhere to the opportunity to have Arthur go on about Merlin's eyes turning gold. But for the sake of fanfic everywhere, I think the explanation of all magic users having the gold eyes is the most tenable explanation. Still, since at the root of this lies an undeniable inconsistency - I mean, we see Gaius using magic with both normal eyes and gold eyes - this really is a case of "pick your own theory and go with it" when it comes to fanfic and the like.

As an afterthought: while no one ever remarks on anyone's eyes turning gold, what we do see is Gaius directly mentioning the Sidhe's eyes, and their colour. If the "everyone with magic gets gold eyes" theory is correct, then it makes sense that the Sidhe's eyes are a different colour because they have a different kind of magic.

MAGIC AND INHERITANCE
We know that Merlin himself was born with magic: but what about everyone else? Is magic an inherited trait, or is it a case of "you only know it if you learn it"? Certainly, characters like Uther give the impression that they beleive that magic is a choice, not something inherent. Uther frequently rationalises that people with magic have chosen it, and thus in his mind have also chosen 'evil'. This view implies that magic isn't inherited - after all, if you can't choose what you are born with.

But the show categorically states that there are, at the very least, some kinds of magic that are inherent. First, we have seers like Morgana. Gaius states that the seer's ability is innate: you either have it or you don't. But, we don't know whether this ability is passed on genetically: there's no indication that Morgause is a seer, and with Uther and Arthur being the only other relations of Morgana that we know of, we don't have any way of comparing Morgana with others on her family tree.

Secondly, we have the dragonlords, whose abilities are stated to pass down from "father to son". This is a clear case of magic being passed on genetically - although the fact that they apparently can only be inherited on the death of the father is, quite frankly, rather bizarre. It's also problematic - what if a dragonlord had multiple sons? Would only one of them get the abilities on his death? And how many dragonlords were offed by their own sons because said sons didn't want to wait to get the power? And what about girls - were there really no dragonladies, or were dragonlords were just sexist? Maybe they didn't consider girls really 'capable' of commanding dragons, even if they had the power. The fact that Merlin doesn't command the dragon at all until Balinor kicks the bucket does seem to suggest that Balinor needed to die before he could get the power, but this is complicated by the fact that Merlin didn't know that he might be able command the dragon. As far as he knew it wasn't even possible, so he never even tried. Personally, I like to think that Gaius just claimed that Merlin couldn't inherit dragonlord powers until Balinor was dead because Merlin was quite clearly doubting his ability to do so. Course, "it's just works that way by magic" is a just as valid explanation for the bizarre genetics of this.

But, getting back to the other magic users - your average sorcerer or sorceress who just has "magic" and not any other fancy abilities - are their powers inherited as well? Were they born with them, or did they only gain magic once they started to learn it? The fact that magic often seems to run in families does suggest a genetic link - for instance, we have Mary Collins and her son, the sisters Morgana and Morgause, and Gilli and his father. We also see cases of magic being used without any kind of teaching at all - Merlin being the obvious example. And, we also have Morgana - she might not be using it from birth, but she quite clearly begins to use magic without any kind of formal teaching whatsoever. This doesn't give us much to go on, since other than these two we don't ever see any other untrained magic users. But, I would theorise that some of the drowned children and other people executed for magic before Merlin's arrival were like Morgana, and just people who inherently had magic and used it accidentally.

However, there is another discrepancy which we need to address. On the one hand we have Merlin who is using magic as a baby, and on the other hand we have Morgana who shows no sign (apart from her visions) until adulthood. But is it really valid to just say, "Merlin is a freak" and leave it at that? Merlin's quite clearly unusual, but do we really have him in his own special little box and everyone else in another?

I'd like to argue that there in fact exists a continuum of magic: at one end, we'd have people who have no magic whatsoever and who could never learn it, even if they tried. We'll call this the "Arthur" end of the spectrum, since this is how many fanfics portray him. (Although we can't say for certain if Arthur actually is this, since he's never even tried to learn magic. Actually, Arthur trying to learn magic would probably make an interesting fanfic--but, I'll get back to the point.) I would imagine that a significant amount of the population sits here in this magicless part of the continuum. And on the other end, we have people like Merlin who use magic instinctively from infancy. The "Merlin" end of the spectrum is clearly the extreme - after all, it consists of...well, just Merlin. But everyone else would sit somewhere in the middle of these two sides, with some being closer to the "Arthur" end and others closer to the "Merlin" end.

Morgana, for example, is clearly closer to the "Merlin" end; but not close enough to manifest accidental magic in infancy. Mordred is possibly even closer to the "Merlin" end than Morgana, although it's hard to know for sure since he's already been taught magic. In the other direction, closer to the "Arthur" end, we have characters like Gilli, and Gaius. Gilli has magic, but needs an enchanted ring in order to support his powers, while Gaius's magic is woeful unless he actively practises it and works at it. Chances are, neither Gilli or Gaius ever exhibited any kind of accidental magic - they probably had to be taught. And I'd argue that most people who have magic actually sit in this same middle-to-lower area - they have the potential to use magic, and can perform it adequately if they learn, but they don't have enough innate ability to start accidentally using it. In fact, there's probably a significant group of people who have magic and don't know it, just because they've never tried.

HOW SPECIAL IS A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE?
On a final note: it's pretty clear from the narrative that Merlin is meant to be something different. He's supposed to be unique, and not quite like other sorcerers. He has Gaius telling him that 'no one' is like him, he's got a mountain of prophecies about him, a dragon giving him cryptic remarks about his great 'destiny'...not to mention the fact that we all know that he'll eventually be known as the greatest wizard of all time.

However, the show doesn't actually do that much to show us how Merlin is different.

While in the first season only Merlin's eyes flash gold, by the time we get to season three everyone and their mother is flashing them around. Gaius makes a big fuss about how Merlin performs magic without incantations and how that 'isn't possible', but again we have a long list of people other than Merlin who use wordless magic. And he's also not the only one we see performing magic without teaching - Morgana also shows signs of magic without any lessons at all. Sure, he is the only dragonlord - but that's only because all the other dragonlords are conveniently dead. Merlin, it seems, is a special snowflake that's not actually that special. He's clearly on the extreme end of the spectrum, yes - but this doesn't actually make him a one of a kind, freakish thing that no one's ever seen the like of. It just makes him someone who happens to sit higher on the bell curve than everyone else.

Still, if we get out a magnifying glass and look really closely, we can find something that is still unique about Merlin - the fact that he can use magic instinctively. Merlin doesn't actually need "the process" of mental gymnastics that other sorcerers need - sure, he can still use it and for many spells he finds focusing his will useful - but for him it's not necessary. This is what what surprises Gaius about the fact that Merlin's not using incantations in the first episode - it's that he's doing magic without any focus at all. For him it "just happens". And even Morgana, who's closest to Merlin in terms of "using magic without learning", doesn't use magic instinctively. Sure, she has incidents of magic - but it's a wild, out of control thing. She's not using magic, it just happens to be leaping out of her. Whereas Merlin can use magic instinctively, and control it, without ever having any teach him how to focus his will.

Course, in the end once Merlin starts learning magic properly the end result is the same. So he's still a little special, and still freakishly high on the spectrum of magical power.
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I think I read this in a fanfic somewhere once upon a time, so it's not my idea, but I've always kind of thought that the ~magical language~ (aka Old English) is something that Merlin knows instinctively along with the magic. So maybe with the boots or using different spells for the same outcome is just him speaking that language he was born knowing? idk, there is absolutely no canon evidence that I can think of to support it, but it does kind of make sense when you think about. It could be another thing that makes Merlin ~special.

That is possible! You right that there's no canon evidence, but since there's also no evidence that states that he say down and learned it, I think you can make arguments either way. The language could just as easily be inherently magical as it could be the product of culture.

"Rather than being a case of "knowing the right words of actions", the casting of magic is more like kind of metal exercise. Other forces may assist or enhance the magic - like incantations, the Sidhe staffs, or various other magical objects - but in essence what's required is the sorcerer's focus of will."

This practically the very definition of the form of magic(k) used by modern witches, wiccans, and Pagans of all flavours. The power is from the universe, creation, the deities. The person casting the spell gives it form and focus, chanelling it by various means. The means include mental focus and will, as well as accoutrements like herbs and athames. Candle magic is practically a standlone form of spellcasting. Tools are useful. Books are useful. Herbs are useful - and remember that herbs, crystals, oils, etc contain their own essence of the divine within them. But ultimately the person casting the spell must bring their concentration to the ritual.

Magick, it is said, is "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will" (Crowley) or "the art of changing conciousness at will" (Valiente); the latter emphasises the importance of the mindset of the practitioner and of the necessity of working *with* the universe and not against it.

The idea that the source of magic in Merlin could be drawn from a deity or similar is an interesting one, especially considering the way that the Old Religion is frequently linked to magic. The show doesn't give us any information on what might be the 'source' of magic, so there's room for many interpretations on that front.

But while it is certainly possible that the writers were drawing on wicca in the way they depict magic, I'd be hesitant to suggest that there is definitely a link. Partially because I don't know much about wicca and thus am highly unqualified to judge any connections, and partially because I have seen other examples of fantasy magic where magic works in a relatively similar manner. The writers could just as well be drawing from the well of fantasy fiction as they could from real modern-day pagan religions.

Oh, agreed, I don't think the *writers* are drawing on it at all. Given the way they usually depict women I'd be horrified if they *were* because they'd be totally missing the point. And it irritates me somewhat that they talk about the Old Religion but the Old Gods are never credited nor respected.

I simply thought the way *you* summed up the overall basis was comparable :) Hell, you've probably put more thought into the overall treatment of magic canonically than the writers have...

It's entirely possible that the writers would prefer to not delve too much into the issue of religion. Considering it's role in much of the mythos, the complete lack of any mention of Christianity is noticeable. (And if there is an 'old religion', then it makes sense that there must also be a 'new religion', which probably would be Christianity.) Though, I can see why the writers would want to avoid religion, considering that Merlin is a 'family show' and going into detail about what would essentially be two religions pitted against each other is opening up a massive can of worms.

But from what you've described of wicca, it does seem like there are similarities between in and my theories of magic, yes. (And...yeah. Sadly, I probably have put more thought into it. Especially since the frequent inconsistencies do point to the writers not coming up with any kind of detailed set guidelines for exactly how magic works. If they had, we wouldn't be seeing so much variation.)

i don't know what this means but in season one ,when merlin get poisoned,and arthur goes for the antidote merlin is able to direct a magic light in the cave from his bed.am yet to see any soccere that can perfom magic on a subject withiout seeing the subject.

That is a point I haven't considered - but there are other cases of magic people used on an unseen subject. Morgana draining Arthur's life in The Eye of the Phoenix, for example - although in that case she needed magical artifacts to aid her. Things like distance between the caster and what's being magiced wasn't something I looked at in this analysis - but it would be interesting to see if a closer look at that would reveal anything interesting.

I hadn't considered this either. But, wasn't Merlin also muttering an incantation under his breath the whole time? So, like he can do it, but he needs the incantation to help him due to the distance between him and Arthur. Or something?

He was, although whether or not he uses incantations doesn't seem to correspond difficulty at all. You have him both using incantations for things that should be ridiculously easy as well as not using them for things that should be insanely difficult. This example could just as easily be explained as Merlin just doing deranged sleep-babble for his spells.

In fact, the whole 'using-magic-while-asleep' thing is unusual enough that it's hard to really tell what it means. If we had another incidence of it, we'd at least have a point of comparison.

Very good point. As for Merlin using incantations for super easy stuff, I find that adorable ♥_♥

And yes, we do need another incidence, or something similar enough.

CLEARLY we need to go and poison him agai--/IS SHOT

AHAHA - YES YES - er

I mean - WHAT NO OF COURSE NOT

*cough*

Other forces may assist or enhance the magic - like incantations, the Sidhe staffs, or various other magical objects - but in essence what's required is the sorcerer's focus of will.

I've longed beloved this about the magic of the show, so it's interesting to see that I'm not the only one. Also, I would also say that the sorcerer's focus of will is part of the magic that they are performing, if that makes sense and not just a requirement.

Everything about the spellbooks: Yes! YES! Very much agree on this.

Incantations: Urgh - to word this properly. Possibly Gaius is so surprised by Merlin because Merlin hasn't trained. You mentioned all the other sorcerers that do magic without incantations, I'd say they've all trained (probably their whole lives, really) to be able to reach a point where they can do some spells without an incantation at all. But Merlin hasn't had this training, up until he met Gaius and got a hold of the book he uses (and other resources, including Gaius himself) he hasn't needed incantations, his magic just responds to what he wants. Which, of course, ties back in with what you said about the focus of will.

Eyes turning gold: J:ALSJOIEJDFF~!! I have such a problem with what show's doing with this. I'll just go with the "everyone that does magic gets gold eyes" theory. *hmph*

Inheriting Magic: I like your "Arthur" and "Merlin" examples - it's a good, clear way to see it. Another frustrating thing about show is the lack of clarity in this.

She's not using magic, it just happens to be leaping out of her. Whereas Merlin can use magic instinctively, and control it, without ever having any teach him how to focus his will.

YES - This!! Exactly.

All in all, very awesome post. I admit I may not be as coherent as normal due to strong flu/throat meds, but, but - I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great theories and it's nice to see so much thought put into something that I've wondered about myself. Also, very well put together. :D

the sorcerer's focus of will is part of the magic that they are performing

Hmm...are you perhaps suggesting that will = magic here? Like, that thoughts are magic?

It is possible that only the most experienced of sorcerers can perform magic without incantations, although the fact taht we have character like Gilli using magic without incantations kinda works against this theory. (I always got the impression that Gilli wasn't actually that good at magic - that he only had a small amount of ability, and needed the ring to boost it.) Whatever it is though, Gaius's statement that "magic requires incantations" is kinda well and truly proven false by now.

And ironically enough with the gold eyes - the first and third seasons by themselves are actually consistent. We have only Merlin in the first, and everyone all the time in the third. It's just that we end up going from one extreme to the other and thus have a ridiculously inconsistent second season.

...Also I just noticed then that the link to my List of Magic Performed was going to the wrong post /headdesk. BUT UH. THAT'S FIXED NOW, so if you're curious you can look at that, and see exactly when things like incantations are and are not used.

Hmm...are you perhaps suggesting that will = magic here? Like, that thoughts are magic?

Something like that. Not that the thoughts themselves are the magic, but the will, the need and/or desire to get something done. I don' know if that makes any sense.

Whatever it is though, Gaius's statement that "magic requires incantations" is kinda well and truly proven false by now.

Yup, very much so. And maybe not the "most experienced" per-say, but more like, the ones that actually have training. Even though he's not all that powerful/good with magic, he had to have some training. And that's why I like to think he was so shocked about Merlin and asked him where he learned how to do that. Because Merlin didn't "learn" it, his magic is more instinctive. Which would help add credence to the "most powerful wizard ever" claim. Because not only does he have powerful, instinctive magic, he's now learning as some of the others before him did. Again, I have no idea if I'm making sense.

Yeah, the gold eyes thing - *pfffft* I really wish they'd just left it to Merlin only, because for me, that's just a Merlin thing. Oh well.

Yay! Thanks for fixing the link :D

Possibly it's just a bit too advanced for me to understand XD

Well, I think Merlin using magic early on without incantations goes hand in hand with it being instinctive for him. In a way, an incantation is just like another one of those mental 'tricks' - verbalising is just another way of helping you focus on what you want to do. And the thing that's different about Merlin is that he's able to just not bother with all of the mental gymnastics, and can go straight to "it just happens".

And even though I argue against Merlin being as unique as he's originally made out to be, I don't think there's any doubt that he is the most powerful wizard ever. It's clear that other sorcerers that match him are able to do it by having more experience, rather than raw power. And, you can't forget that Merlin has to keep hidden all the time - there are very few occasions in the series where we can see him let loose without fear of discovery, and when we do we get stuff light him killing Nimueh by lightning. If Merlin didn't have to hide, I would think that we'd see a lot more impressive magic from him.

I wouldn't really mind if it was just Merlin or everyone with the gold eyes - as long as it was consistent.

Possibly it's just a bit too advanced for me to understand XD

I confused myself while writing it - so no worries :p

And the thing that's different about Merlin is that he's able to just not bother with all of the mental gymnastics, and can go straight to "it just happens".

Exactly!

If Merlin didn't have to hide, I would think that we'd see a lot more impressive magic from him.


I cannot wait for this. Just. *impatient*

I wouldn't really mind if it was just Merlin or everyone with the gold eyes - as long as it was consistent.

As long as they were consistent, I guess I wouldn't mind it either. Still, I like to think that Merlin is a ~special flower~

WELL at least we have fic and rp to indulge our Merlin-does-impressive-magic fix XD (And it's entirely possible that they have an ulterior motive for keeping Merlin's magic hidden - it means less of a strain on the special effects budget)

And they really have eroded almost everything that was initially presented to us as "unique" over the course of the series. I suspect it's the result of lazy writing - I mean, when you look at the magic used throughout the series you do get the impression that the writers never fully defined how it works. If they didn't bother specifying how normal magic worked, it's not too big a leap to assume that they never bothered to figure out how Merlin's "different" magic works.

*pssst* Just wanted to let you know that now both links lead to the same page :p

dfdgdfgs DAMMIT (I swear, these links must hate me...)

But it is...hopefully fixed now, orz

This was great. I had to laugh about the spells. They really are straightforward, at least for Merlin (and that continues in series 3 which I'm working on). Morgause's use of them, on the other hand, is much more complex - which would make sense since she's been trained since almost-birth and Merlin's had little training. (I love that Emilia uses her voice to give them more depth - Bradley mentioned it in the audio commentary.)

It's also fun with the spells since they use different words for the same thing. Yes, sometimes they'll use something a little more specific but usually not in Merlin's case. It's as if he's just trying things until they work. Oh, Merlin.

Oooh, I will definitely look forward to seeing Season 3 translations! (And I have to thank you for your Seasons 1 & 2 translations - they were definitely a big help in formulating this. Without them, it'd be pretty easy to get the impression that you just have one set incantation for each spell.)

And ironically enough, when you think about it the way that Morgause's spells are much more musical and and complicated whatnot...it actually kinda supports the idea that really all sorcerers just like sound dramatic. It's like wizard posturing. LOOK HOW MELODIC AND IMPRESSIVE MY INCANTATIONS ARE! SEE, I'M USING ADVANCED SYNTAX. AND MULTIPLE PHRASES. TAKE THAT, SERVANT-BOY.

LOOK HOW MELODIC AND IMPRESSIVE MY INCANTATIONS ARE! SEE, I'M USING ADVANCED SYNTAX. AND MULTIPLE PHRASES. TAKE THAT, SERVANT-BOY.

*giggles*

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