During Uther's reignEdit
The punishment depends on the deliberation of the Court of Camelot, but in fact, it is the King who makes the final judgment, regardless of whether the rest of the court agrees with him or not. King Uther was quite clear about his discretionary power. In To Kill the King, for example, he declared Tom would be found guilty and executed before the trial had even begun. In The Mark of Nimueh and Queen of Hearts, Uther sentenced Guinevere to death without direct proof, stating he should act harshly if he has the slightest doubt. The power of the king was absolute.
Types of punishmentEdit
The punishment was relative to the severity of the misconduct:
Jail and Stocks Edit
A misdemeanour, a slight negligence and reprehensible behaviour by a commoner in front a noble or towards him/her, was punishable by stocks or a few days in jail. Most of time, the jail was used to hold the culprit in custody until his execution.
A severe misconduct (or considered so by Uther) could only be sentenced by death- an act of treason, adultery, and making an attempt on a noble's life, for example. Practising sorcery, consorting with sorcerers, witches or Druids, harbouring a sorcerer or a Druid, or being born with magic, was considered as an act of treason.
On the day of the execution, the criminal was to be taken to the Main Square by two guards, as was a big crowd that would gather to watch the execution. Gaius was the only one seen to be taken in a tumbril, which was brought by Aredian. The King, standing in the balcony, would speak about the crimes the criminal had committed, using the criminal to set an example, and would give the signal for the executioner.
On the day of Gaius' execution, Uther didn't make his usual speech and left the balcony before the execution. The most common forms of execution were beheading, but hanging and burning at the stake were also options. The reasons for the King's choice of execution are yet unknown, but the choice of death can often reflect the crime committed- for example, in The Mark of Nimueh Uther said that Gwen, who had played with fire, would burn by fire.
Thomas CollinsThe Dragon's Call CerdanThe Beginning of the Endmagicbut were not seen to be executed. In Queen of Hearts, Old Merlin was brought to the stake, as it was lit, but used a spell to cause a fire explosion at the stake, distracting the guards and the people, then making an escape.
Guinevere was falsely accused of being the witch who had spread the plague. She was finally found not guilty (The Mark of Nimueh). She was falsely accused a second time for enchanting Arthur (Queen of Hearts).
Merlin was falsely accused by
In certain cases, disrespectful behaviour towards a knight could lead to banishment, which could also replace a death sentence. The punishment for disobeying the banishment order was a death sentence.
- Lancelot was banished for trying to bend the first code of knighthood (Lancelot).
- Gwaine was banished for misbehaviour with one knight, Sir Oswald. The knight wanted Gwaine dead, but, thanks to the intervention of Arthur, Uther lightened the sentence to banishment (Gwaine).
- Gwen was banished by Arthur after he caught her and Lancelot kissing because Morgana had enchanted her (Lancelot Du Lac).