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  • .... has a an impeccable sense for finding true sorcerers and witches. Unfortunately, when Merlin's unwary use of magic is witnessed by a commoner, the Witchfinder's investigations threaten the lives of those three in the castle who indeed are either born with magic or practice it. Gaius has to save Merlin and Morgana, and Merlin has to save his mentor when Uther is forced to sentence Gaius to death after his confession of having practiced magic.


    Please discuss here.

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    • Aredian was a great villain. Even the audience was scared of him. Thumbs up to Charles Dance and the writers.

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    • I wonder how many Aredians made a handsome profit off helping to drive the Great Purge.

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    • I am wondering, if in the past Uther said that Aredian had helped him find sorcerers in Camelot and Uther also respected him, that means Aredian is good in his job, right? 

      Why in this episode since the beginning he already used tricks (planting evidence, using Belladona to trick the witnesses)? 

      Why he didn't really do any real sort of detective job? He just planting evidence, tricked witnesses, threatening Gaius to confession, intimidated Morgana and Merlin. Although Aredian didn't like Gaius or even hated him and maybe he really like to see Gaius dead, that doesn't mean that he shouldn't do his real job like finding the real sorcerer, right? Is it because Merlin is the one responsible for the magic and that's why it is impossible to make that Aredian did find solid evidence against him?

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    • Edrea wrote:

      Why in this episode since the beginning he already used tricks (planting evidence, using Belladona to trick the witnesses)? 

      Why he didn't really do any real sort of detective job? He just planting evidence, tricked witnesses, threatening Gaius to confession, intimidated Morgana and Merlin. Although Aredian didn't like Gaius or even hated him and maybe he really like to see Gaius dead, that doesn't mean that he shouldn't do his real job like finding the real sorcerer, right? Is it because Merlin is the one responsible for the magic and that's why it is impossible to make that Aredian did find solid evidence against him?


      I think that this gives a good hint to the very possibility, if not fact, that during the Great Purge a lot of innocents were killed. Aside from the fact that even those who practised magic without harming anyone were innocent (ethically, not in Uther's eyes though), there were surely numerous people killed who hadn't used magic at all. Aredian proved that despite being so good in his job,  he didn't work honestly and reliable but used tricks to convict people even when they hadn't done anything wrong. This gave him some extra bonus both in material (gold, probably) and in regard to his reputation.

      Uther probably believed everything that Aredian said and trusted his abilities, which was easy for the Witchfinder due to Uther's hatred and fear. So he took advantage of it and probably delivered more "guilty" people than existed.

      Aredian was portrayed as a very intelligent and devious man, it was hard to not think that he was right with his suspicions. And indeed he was. He suspected Merlin, Morgana and Gaius. Those were the ones in the castle who really had or used magic.

      And this is what strikes me most in regard to Gaius' speech to Uther at the end of the episode. Gaius accused Uther of seeing foes where there are friends and sorcerers where there are servants. Ironically, Uther was right. Morgana was a (magical) foe, Merlin was a sorcerer and Gaius violated the law and practised magic too. Actually, Gaius lied like a trooper here, but it was performed so believable that even the audiences who actually knew better believed him. Of course, Merlin wasn't a foe, neither was Gaius, nevertheless they constantly violated the law, betrayed Uther (most of the time for his own good) and hid Uther's biggest enemy, Morgana, the one who was Uther's ultimate undoing.

      I think it was a very sad and scary moment when Gaius was deprived of sleep and probably food in the dungeons. I liked that Uther first hesitated to agree to Aredian's suggestion but hated when he finally agreed. Moreover, Arthur didn't do much about it either. One would expect that at least Arthur would try to help Gaius somehow. He rescued Mordred after all and acted straight against his father's orders. Why didn't he help Gaius? And why did he just stand by and watched Gaius at the stake instead of at least trying to help him. Arthur was bit too relaxed here in my opinion. It took Gwen to finally open Arthur's eyes, and as much as I liked what she said, I think it was a little unlike Arthur to silently accept Uther's sentence for Gaius.

      Speaking of which, it was shocking and cruel when Uther sentenced Gaius to death, the one he considered a friend. However, he had no other choice when Gaius confessed in front of the court. There was no way for Uther to release Gaius once Gaius told the entire court that he had used magic. The thing I really disapproved of was that Uther allowed Aredian his cruel methods in the first place. It was alright to call him for help since he had to find out who the sorcerer was, but it was not okay to agree to Aredian's plans. They talked about it in a private moment, so Uther had the chance to simply say no. On the other hand, Aredian might have told it to the people outside which would have made Uther a hypocrite in the citizen's eyes and would have taken away his credibility as a king.

      At least Uther showed devastation about his friend's fate when he left the balcony once Gaius was brought to the stake. He couldn't bear to see Gaius die and Ithink it demonstrated that he was hurt and devastated by losing a friend and also by being betrayed by Gaius.

      Aredian was a very scary, intimidating and fascinating character on the show. What a great performance by Charles Dance, really awesome.

      I liked that Gaius wanted to sacrifice himself for Merlin and I also liked that Gwen and Merlin worked together to save Gaius. They were so great in their teamwork and it's such a shame that they had the chance in only two episodes. Iwould have loved to see more of it.

      All in all a great episode, except for one thing that I actually didn't quite understand: when the toad came out of Aredians mouth it should have been clear to everyone that someone esle had used magic. It wouldn't make any sense whatsoever for the Witschfinder to show magic so obvious in front of the king and by that convicting hisself. Logically, someone else wanted to accuse Aredian.

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    • I love the extent Merlin went to to frame Aredian. The toad....hahahaha lol! You rule Merlin!

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    • Fimber wrote:
      All in all a great episode, except for one thing that I actually didn't quite understand: when the toad came out of Aredians mouth it should have been clear to everyone that someone esle had used magic. It wouldn't make any sense whatsoever for the Witschfinder to show magic so obvious in front of the king and by that convicting hisself. Logically, someone else wanted to accuse Aredian.

      I understand what you mean by this. Why would Aredian incriminate himself? This scene also strangely reminded me of the scene in Valiant when Merlin summons the snakes from Valiant's shield.

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    • Merlinarthur wrote: I love the extent Merlin went to to frame Aredian. The toad....hahahaha lol! You rule Merlin!

      Agreed! ^_^

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    • this was a great episode! Really loved Charles Dance!!!

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    • Fimber wrote:
      All in all a great episode, except for one thing that I actually didn't quite understand: when the toad came out of Aredians mouth it should have been clear to everyone that someone esle had used magic. It wouldn't make any sense whatsoever for the Witschfinder to show magic so obvious in front of the king and by that convicting hisself. Logically, someone else wanted to accuse Aredian.

      Yes, I totally agree with you. That is what's on my mind when I watched this episode and until now I still think about it, they took it too far. But anyway, this was a great episode and love Charles Dance.

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    • One thing I'd like to know was how aware Uther was of the way Aredian was questioning Morgana. Did he know that she was repeatedly questioned, to the extent that she was described to be close to breaking point, or was he under the impression that she just needed to clarify a few details about the treatment she received from Gaius for her nightmares?

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    • ReganX wrote:
      One thing I'd like to know was how aware Uther was of the way Aredian was questioning Morgana. Did he know that she was repeatedly questioned, to the extent that she was described to be close to breaking point, or was he under the impression that she just needed to clarify a few details about the treatment she received from Gaius for her nightmares?


      Good question. I would think that he wasn't aware of the entire procedure because he was too overprotective of Morgana. He wouldn't have allowed anyone to harm Morgana in any way. Had Uther known that Aredian suspected Morgana he surely would have been desperate when fearing that his daughter might have magic, yet he didn't show any sign of concern about Morgana at all. So I'm convinced that he had no idea what was going on behind the scenes of Aredians little show, except that he knew about whatever methods that Aredian used to make Gaius talk.

      Moreover, Morgana was only close to breaking point because of her being scared of her own powers. Aredian didn't mistreat her actually but only asked very unpleasant and intimidating questions.  If Uther knew that she was put through the mill, he must have been sure that she had nothing to hide, therefore wouldn't suffer from being questioned at all.


      Merlinarthur wrote:
      I understand what you mean by this. Why would Aredian incriminate himself? This scene also strangely reminded me of the scene in Valiant when Merlin summons the snakes from Valiant's shield.

      Yes, you're right, it was similar with Valiant. Although one could assume that Valiant used the snake to kill Arthur. Given that Uther was convinced that magic was evil by nature, he might have thought that Valiant didn't care whether or not others see him using magic in the end when Valiant supposedly was furious and completely corrupted, if not possessed by magic.

      The only reason why Aredian supposedly exposed himself would have been that he lost control over his own magic or the magic he used. In the eyes of those who saw him. Any other thing wouln't make much sense. It would have been so easy to have Uther or Arthur mentioning this in just one sentence. This would have also emphasized again that Uther was convinced that magic can never be controlled and would always destroy anyone in the end.

      I'm still disappointed that Arthur did nothing to help Gaius. When Gwen was accused of having used magic he at least tried to convince Uther that her magic was used for good. Given that Gaius was supposed to have practised very harmless magic that actually didnt hurt anyone, Arthur should have tried to defend Gaius too.

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    • I'm still disappointed that Arthur did nothing to help Gaius. When Gwen was accused of having used magic he at least tried to convince Uther that her magic was used for good. Given that Gaius was supposed to have practised very harmless magic that actually didnt hurt anyone, Arthur should have tried to defend Gaius too.

      I wouldn't say that the magic Gaius allegedly used was harmless. He supposedly conjured a goblin - which we know to be capable of causing havoc and possessing people - terrorised one woman with visions of drowned men, and had toads spilling out of his mouth. If there really was a sorcerer doing that, it'd make sense that they'd want him stopped, although execution would seem like overkill if imprisonment would suffice.

      If anything, Arthur should have questioned why (a) Gaius would use any magic he might have for such stupid things, and (b) why, when Gaius is a very recognisable figure in the lower town thanks to his work there, the witness who saw him conjuring toads from his mouth couldn't point him out when she made her accusation, and didn't tell Aredian, since he pegged Merlin as the culprit.

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    • That's true, it's understandable that they wanted it to stop, and to Uther it must have been yet another example of magic's "evil" nature, especially when someone like Gaius can't resist, a wise man who shared a history with Uther and swore a solemn oath to never use magic again.

      But to Arthur it must have appeared to be a harmless thing compared to other magic he had already seen, like the plagues and the creatures that were about to destroy the kingdom. He wasn't as frightened of magic as Uther was. You're right, he should have questioned Gaius and I think he also should have tried to talk Uther out of executing Gaius but imprisoning him. Let alone wondering if it was really Gaius, as you've mentioned.

      Either way, Arthur accepted Gaius' death sentence much too easily and quickly. Gaius was a trusted person, if not a friend after all. I think it was weird that he let down Gaius so easily whereas he had saved a stranger, Mordred, and acted right against Uther's orders by doing so.

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    • Either way, Arthur accepted Gaius' death sentence much too easily and quickly. Gaius was a trusted person, if not a friend after all. I think it was weird that he let down Gaius so easily whereas he had saved a stranger, Mordred, and acted right against Uther's orders by doing so.

      I think that it would have made for a better episode if Arthur hadn't accepted Gaius' death as readily as he did, and had taken an active role in trying to figure out what was going on and to help Gaius but I'd say that the writers wanted that moment where Guinevere is the one to get him to step in, the better to push the pairing, and didn't think about how it worked out in terms of Arthur's characterisation.

      One thing that could have been interesting is if Uther was the one to consider imprisonment, perhaps being talked out of it by Aredian, on the grounds that it would look like the laws against magic were weak, with people spared on the King's whim rather than magic being completely banned.

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    • I think this is happen because Merlin was the one accused of using magic, and that was so near the truth that the writers must made it pointed out to someone near to Merlin and the only one who could be accused of is Gaius. And they made it that Merlin was accused since the beginning of the episode and only few witnesses around when it was happened. It was almost undeniable proof for Merlin, so the only explanation for everyone is to put the blame to Gaius, the closest person to Merlin and known to practice magic long time ago.

      Starting from there, they didn't think of anything else like both of you said. Was it consistent with either Uther or Arthur character; was it logical that if Gaius really used magic then considering he was so well known in Camelot, nobody recognized him; and why nobody defended Gaius more persistently beside Merlin.

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    • Love the discussion :D

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    • I liked the way Merlin was affected by the treatment Gaius was receiving. I was struck when he tried to publicly attack the Witchfinder after Gaius was sentenced to death calling him a LAIR, and trying to punch Arthur, which showed us he fears no one when he is riled.

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    • Selecasticon wrote:
      I liked the way Merlin was affected by the treatment Gaius was receiving. I was struck when he tried to publicly attack the Witchfinder after Gaius was sentenced to death calling him a LAIR, and trying to punch Arthur, which showed us he fears no one when he is riled.

      I agree. I was thankful for every bit that showed Merlin from a different side rather than being fixated on Arthur only. Here, he was still passionate about others, especially his friends. Shame he lost that passion later and acted much more indifferently. A bit more of this would have contributed to more tension and depth.

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    • I want to see this!!!

      In my opinion, Gaius' mentorship of Merlin is one of the best parts of the show. :-) If Gaius had only had more magic know-how, then Kilgarrah would not have been such a necessary part of the show...

      Anyway, Merlin and Gaius make an amazing team. It's one of the reasons I started coming back to the show when I rediscovered it earlier this year. And what'sisname the title character sounds kind of interesting too...

      Though I'm guessing that Merlin was kind of stupid in the opening sequence. :-P

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    • ErinKenobi2893 wrote:
      I want to see this!!!

      In my opinion, Gaius' mentorship of Merlin is one of the best parts of the show. :-)

      Hello ErinKenobie

      I agree, the relation between Gaius and Merlin belonged to the best ones on the show. I would have liked to see more about Gaius' past. Shame his screentime was reduced in seasons four and five because Ithink he was one of the most interesting characters.

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    • Fimber wrote:
      ErinKenobi2893 wrote:
      I want to see this!!!

      In my opinion, Gaius' mentorship of Merlin is one of the best parts of the show. :-)

      Hello ErinKenobie

      I agree, the relation between Gaius and Merlin belonged to the best ones on the show. I would have liked to see more about Gaius' past. Shame his screentime was reduced in seasons four and five because Ithink he was one of the most interesting characters.


      It was?! Awwww.... I haven't seen that much of the series yet so I wouldn't know. However I am looking to become an expert on all things Merlin... ;-P

      I looked up Gaius on here and it said they revealed that Hunith and Gaius were sister and brother, making Merlin Gaius' nephew...

      How much exactly does magic run in the family? :-P

      Anyway, Gaius and Merlin is one of the best teams ever, definitely as important if not as powerful as Merlin and Arthur's friendship. ;-) I started writing Merlin fanfic in part to just write about Gaius' mentorship of Merlin. ;-)

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    • ErinKenobi2893 wrote:
      Fimber wrote:
      ErinKenobi2893 wrote:
      I want to see this!!!

      In my opinion, Gaius' mentorship of Merlin is one of the best parts of the show. :-)

      Hello ErinKenobie

      I agree, the relation between Gaius and Merlin belonged to the best ones on the show. I would have liked to see more about Gaius' past. Shame his screentime was reduced in seasons four and five because Ithink he was one of the most interesting characters.


      It was?! Awwww.... I haven't seen that much of the series yet so I wouldn't know. However I am looking to become an expert on all things Merlin... ;-P

      I looked up Gaius on here and it said they revealed that Hunith and Gaius were sister and brother, making Merlin Gaius' nephew...

      How much exactly does magic run in the family? :-P

      Anyway, Gaius and Merlin is one of the best teams ever, definitely as important if not as powerful as Merlin and Arthur's friendship. ;-) I started writing Merlin fanfic in part to just write about Gaius' mentorship of Merlin. ;-)

      Oh, so you haven't watched the entire show yet. Be careful, there are a lot of spoilers here.

      Don't worry, Gaius is still onscreen, just not as much as he used to be in the previous three seasons.

      If I'm not mistaken it was never said on the show that Hunith and Gaius were related but that Richard Wilson mentioned it in an interview once.

      And in my own post above, I meant "relationship", not "relation", of course :-)

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    • Okay. I'll be careful. ;-P

      Gaius being one of my favorite characters, I'd be angry (not just sad) if they wrote him out of the show. It's like trying to imagine the Clone Wars (<3!) without Ahsoka. Which is why it's probably a good thing that they're winding the latter down now...

      Off-topic, sorry. Gaius is AWESOME!

      Erin out. ;-P

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    • Hey everyone- I enjoyed this episode, but I do find Aredian very creepy, but then he's meant to be- while I understand some of Uther's actions, I think he was quite easily manipulated by Aredian, also, I agree with everyone about the toad part being a bit of a stretch :S also, I find it aggravating how Uther allowed Merlin to show all his witnesses to the lies of Aredian, but then when he carried on his interrogation, Uther told him he had no authority- wth?!? Anyway, good episode, and I'm very glad Gaius said that thing to Uther at the end, and to be honest, any emnity Morgana, Merlin, Gaius and most other people felt towards Uther wasn't unreasonable

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    • A Lurker in the Woods
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