Friday, March 15, 2013

Camelot (2011 Series)

     ***Before I start, I need to say that this is not a family series. It is not meant for young children to watch. There is adult content* that should only be seen by adult viewers.***

*Graphic sexual content in certain episodes

*Graphic violence

*Witchcraft and sorcery  


Now, you might think that with a warning like that you would be wondering:


     The reason being, that in spite of the adult content, it is an amazing and wonderful show!!! Also, not everyone that follows me is under 18. I will admit, I did have my reservations about reviewing, but I realized that just because there may be some questionable content, doesn't mean I should write off a good, well written show.

     The first time I saw Camelot, I bought it without viewing it first. I had been curious about the show for a long time and I was really anxious to see it. Well...I couldn't get through the pilot episode after the second sex scene that had been shown. Now I really felt like an idiot and shelved the series. 

     A few weeks later I was curious to see what happened in the show and so I, with caution, took the DVDs off the shelf and continued to watch. I was glad I did, because after the pilot episode, the rest of the show was amazing! Beautiful locations, exceptional acting, stunning costumes, compelling music and of course, a gripping storyline that kept we watching episode after episode. As a matter of fact, I finish the show (all ten episodes) in two days.

Camelot - Behind the Scenes

~ ~ ~ 

King Arthur Pendragon
Jamie Campbell Bower as King Arthur Pendragon
     The British isles are divided into five kingdoms all ruled by kings or lords, but one small kingdom begins to emerge from its obscure beginnings becoming more powerful with its growth. That kingdom is called Camelot and it can only have one ruler on its throne.

     Arthur, the spoiled younger son of Sir Ector (Sean Pertwee), has lived a charmed and happy life with his parents and older brother. Known for his love of mischief and greater love of beautiful women, Arthur cares for nothing outside of his father's property. Arthur's life takes a drastic change when King Uther is pronounced dead and mysterious man named Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) arrives at his family's home.

     Merlin tells Arthur straight out that he is not Ector's son, but the illegitimate son of King Uther and Queen Igraine (Clair Forlani) and now king of Camelot, who has been without a ruler for many years. Confused, but curious, Arthur sets out with his loyal brother, Kay (Peter Mooney), to discover this new land and find his calling destiny.

     Arthur's new life could begin on happy note, but unbeknownst to him there is another heir to the throne, his older half-sister, Morgan Pendragon (Eve Green) who, although she has taken over her father's throne and kingdom, will stop at nothing to take over Camelot that she also believes to be rightfully hers. As much as Arthur wants peace between him and his sister, Morgan refuses to acknowledges that her half-brother is the king and wages war on him and his new kingdom.

     Life in Camleot is as unpredictable as the weather, but Arthur gains friends and companions who help him to becomes the king he is meant to be. His brother Kay, Marshall of England, the courageous King's Champion, Leontes (Philip Winchester), the fierce and brash Gawain (Clive Standon), and the loud and lovable Brastias (Diarmaid Murtagh), become his first knights of the growing round table. Arthur also finds love in the beautiful and noble Guinevere, who is married to Leontes which causes much strife and strain between the two secret lovers. He also grows to love his kind and lonely mother, Queen Igraine.

     Seeing Arthur's journey from mischievous boy to a powerful king was enjoyable to watch and Jamie Campbell Bower brought a fresh energy to the legendary character of Arthur Pendragon. Some people thought Jamie to be too young, but I though it was perfect to make Arthur young, rash and reckless. That way you are able to see growth and maturity in the character and the boy who was destined to be a king.


~ ~ ~

Lady Morgan Pendragon 
Eva Green as Morgan Pendragon
     Beautiful, vengeful, and powerful, Morgan Pendragon has the makings to become a great queen. Hated by her father and sent away to live in a nunnery at fifteen, Morgan has returned to her King Uther's kingdom seeking revenge for her his actions as well as do away with her loathed step-mother, Queen Igraine, who Morgan believes is the reason her father hates her in the first place.

     Where Arthur seeks to rule Camelot with compassion and loyalty, Morgan believes is deception and sorcery. When Sybil (Sinead Cusack), a crafty and cruel nun from Morgan's past, arrives at her kingdom, she begins to teach Morgan the proper way to deceive and fool the lowly peasants as well as use magic to accomplish her hardest of goals.

     Morgan believes that she can overcome Arthur,  punish Igraine, and outsmart Merlin with her cunning skills and stunning beauty. What Morgan doesn't know is that her brother is stronger than he looks, that her step-mother is more innocent that perceived to be and that the powerful wizard lives by his heart and not by his extraordinary skills.

     While I enjoyed the character of Morgan (as did most people) much of Eva Green's performance seemed too dramatic, which would have worked wonderfully on stage (she is a theater actress), but didn't do well on camera. Morgan is meant to be larger than life, but sometimes Eva Green could have toned down her portrayal and act a little more realistic.

     At the same time, Eva was wonderful at getting inside Morgan's head and allowing the audience to see a broken woman who wants to be loved and respected. All Morgan has ever known is hardship and sorrow and Eva's portrayal done with emotion and depth helped you to get a better understanding and feel of a women who longs for power and greatness.


~ ~ ~

Joseph Fiennes as Merlin
     Haunted by the wrongs that his magic has done, Merlin has put away all uses of his sorcery and lives the life of a normal commoner. Even though, that doesn't stop his wisdom and knowledge of the world and the ability to hope for a better life the people of Camelot, of which he believes can all come together with the coming of King Arthur Pendragon.

     This is a very different Merlin; he is young and not so charming. He is aware of his great power and the intellect of his mind, but also has a compassionate and generous heart, mostly seen by Lady Igraine. It is Merlin that pushes Arthur to strive to become a better man, to go farther than the others before him and to think with his soul rather than with his mind alone, as well as becoming a father figure to Arthur and the other knights

     Unlike Morgan who sees magic as a tool for greatness, Merlin sees magic as a dangerous and detrimental force that destroys the lives of the innocent. In spite of all that, his magic is still in his blood and there are times when it is out of his control. Of all the things Merlin is capable of doing, loving doesn't seem to be one of them, but Queen Igraine, with her kindness and patience begins to soothe his guilty conscience.

     I thought Joseph Fiennes was perfect for this role! Merlin and Arthur are hardly friends when the story begins. Even though Merlin sees potential in Arthur, he pushes him to the absolute limit to where Arthur begins to doubt his place as a king. Merlin also has a flirtatious relationship with Morgan; both of them aware of each others incredible power and both are unwilling to surrender to the other in defeat.


~ ~ ~

Lady Guinevere
Tasmin Egerton as Guinevere
     The jewel of Camelot, wife of the king's champion, and secret lover to King Arthur, Guinevere is a complex and confusing character herself. Although she may give the appearance of being a porcelain doll and delicate princess, Guinevere is strong and courageous and isn't afraid to fight for Camelot's freedom. Although, when it comes to choosing between her loyal husband and the young handsome king, she is scared and unsure of herself and her feelings.

     Guinevere's on and off love affair with Arthur is almost stressful to watch. While she is very much in love with her Leontes, who seems to be the ultimate image that every woman wants in a husband, she also is attracted to Arthur's rash nature and love of life. Guinevere is haunted and guilt ridden of her affairs with Arthur, frightened at the prospect of her husband finding out and fearing that she may lose both men in the process.

     Probably the most beautiful Guinevere I have ever seen! Tasmin did a lovely job portraying Guinevere as a vulnerable and insecure woman who probably wasn't ready for marriage and who needed to examine her heart, her mind, and her soul before she knew who she was meant to love.


~ ~ ~

Queen/Lady Igraine
Claire Forlani as Queen Igraine
     Lonely and unloved by many, Igraine is probably the most misinterpreted character in the story. She was endlessly pursued by king Uther who asked Merlin to transform him into Igraine's first husband so he can spend one night with her. That very night Uther's men invade Igraine's home, kill her husband and then she is forced to marry Uther and live in a loveless marriage. When she gives birth to Uther's son, Arthur, Merlin takes him away from her (to be raised by Sir Ector so he may know how live an honorable life) and forbids her to ever see him again.

      Flash forward eighteen years later, Uther is now dead and Morgan has taken over his kingdom. She now gets her revenge on her hated step-mother and sends her away. While in Camelot, Igraine is finally reunited with her long lost son, but he is anything but thrilled to see his biological mother. Arthur accuses her of not loving him and abandoning him, of which she tells him she had no choice. Igraine is perceived by the people to be cold and without feeling, she is misjudged by her marriage to Uther. After Arthur blames her for never knowing his true home, Igraine has finally had enough and confronts him of the pain and agony she has lived through, being separated from her only son, living in an agonizing marriage, being hated by everyone around her, especially her step-daughter, and never knowing true love or happiness.

     Eventually, Igraine wins the respect and love of the people around her, especially Merlin who even refers to her as Camelot's queen of hearts. She is source of comfort and knowledge for Guinevere and the other young girls. That doesn't stop Morgan from gaining revenge on Camelot and uses Igraine as her ploy to destroy the only happiness she has ever known.
   I love Igraine! She is probably my favorite female role in the story! You really pity the circumstances that she is in and then rejoice when she is finally treated with the love and respect she has waited so long to receive. Igraine falls in love with Merlin and he tries with every ounce of his spirit not to fall in love with her, but her kindness and generosity overcomes his doubt which finds them both believing that they find happiness together in their new home.

Queen Igraine

The Women of Camelot

~ ~ ~ 

Kay, Marshall of England
Peter Mooney as Kay
     Arthur's loyal and protective older brother who travels with him and Merlin to Camelot, but his beginning journey to Camelot is not easy. Not only does he have to deal with Arthur's difficult half-sister, he watches as his mother murdered in front of his eyes and his father is killed protecting both of his sons. Even though Kay is a Christian, he struggles with God and his plan for his life, for Arthur and the fate of Camelot.

     Kay is the opposite of Arthur in every imaginable way, which makes him the perfect companion to the king as well as a much needed asset to the growth of Camelot. Although, not a strong fighter, Kay is a gifted negotiator and manages to to get the job done with only a few well thought out words. Kay believes in absolute justice and will not stand by and watch as injustice is given out to the people of Camelot and the other surrounding kingdoms. He is also Arthur's disciplinarian who isn't afraid to tell his brother off when he needs it, king or not, Arthur is still his brother.

      Charming and handsome, it is easy to see why so many girls fell in love with Kay. He is without a doubt my favorite character! The contrasting differences between Kay and Arthur was hilarious to watch, but seeing him fulfill his role as the king's protector as well as remaining the watchful older brother is what made his character so wonderful to enjoy.

Kay, Marshall of England

 ~ ~ ~

 The Knights of Camelot
The knights, (L-R, Brastias, Leontes, and Gawain)
      It's easy to say that these three were the comic relief of the story. Their differences in character and personality are all united by the calling of Camelot's knights. These three are the beginning of Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table.

      Leontes: The king's champion (which is the equivalent of the first knight) is a skilled fighter, a loyal husband and devout Christian who never wavers in his faith in Jesus Christ and God's plan for his life. He loves his wife with a passion and is devoted to her as well as to his king. Leontes never falters or fails and is always in the thick of the fiercest battle. 

     Upon the discovery that Guinevere has been in an affair with the king, Leontes could challenge Arthur or divorce his wife for her unfaithfulness, but instead he leaves to try and better understand why God has done this to him and the reason for the disloyalty of the two people he loves more than anything. And yet, he is still the king's champion and made a vow before God to remain faithful to his wife and his king, no matter the circumstances.
   Gawain: Melancholy and usually in an ill temper, at least when we first meet him, Gawain is one of the fiercest swordsman in the five kingdoms. Unlike Leontes, Gawain is an atheist who believes that God has nothing to do with him or his life. He is sought out by Merlin to come to fight for Arthur, but Gawain makes it very clear that he stands on his own. Only under persuasion by Kay, (who promises to teach him how to read) Gawain goes to Camelot to teach the knights to fight and defend Camelot.

     Brastias: The mouth of the group who loves to have a good time wherever he is. It's normally Brastias who cannot stay out of trouble and loves to poke fun at anyone and everyone around him.

The Knights of Camelot

~ ~ ~

Merlin, Arthur, and Morgan
     This really is a great show, but sadly they had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts with their three leads. What I found most interesting about Camelot than even in spite of the sexual content, there was a deep religious undertone especially regarding the knights. One was a Christian, one was an atheist, and one struggled with God. Gawain believes that Merlin can perform his magic for good and even questions if he is an angel (much to Merlin's dismay).

     I'm really glad that I didn't write this show off entirely and keep it on the shelf! The hard part about watching it, is that the story ends on a cliffhanger and now no one will ever know what happens next, but at the same time, it also allows fans to decide what the fate of Camelot will be.

"Be My Light" Camelot theme

1 comment:

  1. Someday I'd like to see this one. The content has been off-putting but I love the Camelot legend and have yet to find one that I am completely happy with. :)


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