MERLIN CLUB: Valiant

MERLIN CLUB: VALIANT
Or The (First) One With the Daddy Issues

 RECAP – Valiant, a knight, buys an enchanted shield from a sorcerer. The shield has three snakes painted on it, which come to life under Valiant’s commant. Apparently, these snakes are poisonous because Valiant uses them to kill the sorcerer then moves on to Camelot to compete in the annual tournament. 

We then see Arthur working on his sword-fighting skills with Merlin, aka beating the crap out of his manservant. Later with Gaius, a sore and weary Merlin uses magic to make a scroll come to him. Gaius slaps him upside the head and warns him not be caught using magic. Merlin bitches about Arthur and all the work being his manservant entails. Gaius says that Arthur is under a lot of pressure as the future king. 

The following day, Uther begins the tournament then tells Arthur that he expects his son will make him proud. Both Arthur and Valiant do well, defeating their opponents. Merlin uses magic later that night to do the long list of chores Arthur has given him while studying his book of magic. 

The competing knights greet Uther and Morgana, and there’s flirting between Valiant and Morgana. Arthur isn’t happy about that, and of course, Morgana doesn’t hesitate to taunt him. 

In the armory the next morning, Merlin hears hissing and looks at Valiant’s shield. He sees one of the snakes blinking, but before he can do anything, Valiant is there. Merlin manages to leave in one piece. Later, Valiant faces Ewan in the tournament and summons the snakes. Valiant wins and Ewan is taken to Gaius’ chambers. The physician discovers the snake bite and Merlin figures out what has happened. He runs to Valiant’s rooms and watches the knight feed mice to the snakes on the shield. When he tells Gaius what he has seen, the older man warns Merlin not to accuse Valiant without any proof. That Uther is not going to take the word of a servant over that of a knight. 

The tournament continues and the final match is between….*drum roll* 

Arthur and Valiant

Shocker, right?

Gaius tells Merlin he was right, that they have to Valiant. If they can make an antidote for Ewan, the knight can tell the king what has happened. While Valiant and the other knights are dining with the king, Merlin goes to Valiant’s chambers. When one of the snakes animates and tries to strike, Merlin cuts its head off. He delivers the head to Gaius, who begins to make the antidote. Merlin then takes the head to Arthur. 

Arthur asks for Merlin’s word that what he is telling him is the truth and Arthur believes him and calls for an audience with the king and court. Gaius gives Ewan the antidote and the knight wakes up, but when Gaius leaves to collect some herbs, Ewan is attacked by another of the snakes and dies. 

Before the court, Arthur accuses Valiant of using magic. Uther examines the shield but finds nothing. When Gaius comes and tells them Ewan is dead, Arthur is forced to withdraw his accusation and apologize. During all this Uther is quite the prick. Sorry, but he is. Arthur is humiliated and ends up firing Merlin, saying he needs a servant he can trust. 

Merlin visits the dragon, who says Merlins destiny lies with Arthur. A bit later, Gwen encourages Merlin to keep trying to expose the truth. Merlin searches the magic book for a spell to bring inanimate objects to life and tries the spell on a statue of a dog. He also tries to convince Arthur not to fight in the tournament, that Valiant will use the shield against him. Arthur says he knows, but he cannot withdraw because it would make him a coward, and who would follow a coward into battle. 

Merlin spends the night trying to make the statue come to life, managing to do so by morning. Valiant and Arthur face each other. Merlin watches and says the spell, bringing the snakes to life and exposing Valiant.

SORCERY!!!!! (NOW, Uther believes! *eye roll*)

Arthur, now unarmed, faces the snakes which Valiant has ordered to kill the prince. Morgana thows a sword to Arthur who kills the snakes and Valiant.

At the feast celebrating Arthur as the tournament’s champion, Morgana teases Arthur about being saved by a woman, which Arthur promptly scoffs at. He then goes and complains to Merlin about it. He admits that he was wrong and rehires Merlin as his manservant.

If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… I don’t think there’s there’s anything I would change really. At least I can’t think of anything right now. LOL 

The thing I loved and/or hated about this episode – I really like how this episode delves into the character of Arthur. We see a lot about him. Turns out there’s some depth to our favorite Prince Prat. Clearly, he’s under a lot of pressure from his father. And while it’s clear he wants to please his father and earn his approval, it’s clear that Arthur is so different from Uther. When Merlin tells Arthur about Valiant and says that he knows he’s just a servant and his word means nothing, the look on Arthur’s face speaks volumes. He doesn’t share Uther’s view in that area, that much is clear. Even after it goes horribly wrong, the fact that Arthur fires Merlin doesn’t change my opinion that son is nothing like father. Arthur trusted Merlin and stood up to Uther, which doesn’t seem like something he’s done a lot of. He’s humiliated in the face of his father’s disappointment and when his honor and courage are questioned. He reacts poorly and pushes away the person he feels responsible – Merlin. BUT, in the end, he admits to Merlin that he was wrong. Can you see Uther doing that? No, me neither. 

Thing I hated? Uther being such a prick. Especially when Arthur accuses Valiant. Uther acts like such an ass. He assumes what Valiant claims to be true – that Arthur is making these accusations because he is afraid to face Valiant. It was hard to watch the father-son dynamic in this one, to be honest. But I think it did add dimension to Arthur’s character so I guess it was worth it. 

Something I never noticed about this episode before – Gwen is wearing the same dress as she did in the first episode. Both episodes span several days; in this episode, we know for sure the tournament lasts three days.

Episode One
Episode Two

Now, I know she is a servant. As is Merlin who doesn’t have much variety in his wardrobe either. However, later on, she has a variety of dresses. I’ve admired them. Now, I’m going to be watching carefully to see when she wears something different. Thus begins The Great Gwen Wardrobe Watch

Favorite costume – I could easily point out one of the women’s dresses each episode, but I’ll attempt to mix it up. I really dig Arthur’s leather riding coat. Don’t know why, but I do…


Here is proof of some random head canon I’ve created – Again, this was the tough question for me. I think Merlin and Arthur “recognized” each other. They are drawn together – two halves of the whole. I think this episode shows that. How Arthur is with Merlin… He’s not like that with anyone else. He believes him, trusts him after such a short amount of time together. Even when he was angry and sacks Merlin, later, when Merlin goes to him later, Arthur admits that he still believes what Merlin said is true. And at the feast he admits he was wrong, basically apologizing to Merlin. I can’t imagine Arthur is someone who’s apologized much in his life. Yet he does to Merlin, a servant he has known for a short time. Because deep down, he recognizes his other half. (And that can be taken in a platonic way or in a way that includes romantic and sexy feelings too. I don’t think you have to think hard to figure which side I’m on. 🙂 )

What would Bronwyn steal from Camelot in this episode? This. 

Don’t really know what it is exactly, but I saw it and immediately thought, if Bron had a fireplace, that thing would be over it. 

 

What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? I think a couple of things (maybe more… LOL) First, Valiant’s shield. How the heck did no on see the snakes come to life? 

Granted, the actual shield blocked it from view from the majority of the spectators (including the king’s box), but there were people all around, and no one saw those big ass snakes? All right, then. :-/ 

Second, that the knight, Ewan, who was bitten being left alone.

Especially right as Valiant was being confronted about using magic. What was Gaius thinking… Those herbs he needed to collect couldn’t have been THAT important. Is it any shock that the man was killed? 

Bron’s Merlin Club: Valiant Post

Jen’s Merlin Club: Valiant Post

Until the next episode – The Mark of Nimueh! (Which we’ll be watching Monday 2/3, at 8pm EST. We’ll be on Twitter with the hashtag #MerlinClub)

 Jess

My Dream Home

So, to encourage each other to blog more regularly, the fabulous Bronwyn Green and I are going to be doing a bit of tandem blogging. This week, we decided to post about our dream house. You can check out Bron’s post here.

Normally, I’d say my dream house is on the shore of Lake Superior. At this exact moment of time, I will not say that, not with how this winter is going. So instead I’m going to focus on what I’d love to have INSIDE my dream house.

The Living Room – would KILL for those windows.


Bathroom….I’ve always had small bathrooms. I would adore one with ROOM and a big tub to soak in. *sigh*

The Bedrooms…

Isn’t that window seat the perfect place to curl up with a book??

I had more pictures stored but can’t access them. *Pout* But that’s okay. I think this gives you an idea of what I like, yeah? Rustic, with modern convenience…and lots of room. 🙂 Not asking too much, right?

Hugs,

~J

MERLIN CLUB: The Dragon’s Call

MERLIN CLUB: THE DRAGON’S CALL
or The One Where Merlin Finds His Prat….er, Purpose

THE RECAP- So we open with Merlin traveling to Camelot. When he arrives, the first thing he witnesses is the beheading of a man accused of sorcery, overseen by King Uther, who then orders a festival to celebrate 20 years without magic in the kingdom. The man’s mother, who is a bit upset (shocker), threatens the king’s son (“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son.”). But before Uther can have the woman arrested, she uses magic to get the hell out of there.

Later, when Uther confronts his ward, Morgana, about not attending the festivities, she makes it clear she sympathizes with magic users and disagrees with Uther’s persecution of them. She warns him that the more brutal he is the more enemies he’ll make. Uther, of course, is too cool to listen to this.

Merlin goes into the castle looking for Gaius, the court physician and the man Merlin’s mom sent him to. When he arrives in Gaius’ chambers, the older man falls from the balcony, and Merlin saves his life—using *gasp* magic.

Gaius questions him, but Merlin denies anything to do with magic (and, hello, can you blame him? He just saw a dude’s head chopped off for magic—don’t think I’d be rushing to confess either!) Eventually, Gaius gives Merlin a room to stay in and says he can help Gaius until they figure out what to do with him.

Meanwhile, the witch who threatened Uther is seen killing Lady Helen—a singer who is travelling to Camelot to sing at Uther’s festival. She then takes on the likeness of Lady Helen, though her true form can be seen in mirrors/reflective surfaces.

While sleeping, Merlin hears a voice repeating his name. The next morning at breakfast, tricksy Gaius knocks over a bucket of water and Merlin, without thinking, stops it from falling. Gaius warns Merlin against using his magic because of Camelot’s laws. Then he sends Merlin to deliver medicine to people. While out, Merlin sees a knight bullying a servant and steps in to defend him. After a bit of back and forth, such as this:


(Nope, no sexual way to take that….:-/)

There’s a good amount of sass from Merlin and he takes a swing at the knight, which ends with his arm twisted behind his back and the knight threatening to have him thrown in the dungeon. Turns out the knight is actually Prince Arthur. *jazz hands* SURPRISE.  He does, indeed, get thrown into the dungeon—where he hears the same voice from the previous night calling his name.  The next day, Gaius arranges to have Merlin released, but it comes at a price—the day in the stocks. Merlin seems to take it well and laughs and smiles while having produce thrown at him. There, he meets Guinevere (Gwen), Morgana’s handmaiden. After being released, Merlin happens upon Arthur in the marketplace (I guess that’s what it is since there’re booths and stuff) and more totally innocent, no-way-to-take-that-sexually-at-all banter happens….

and Merlin lets himself get pulled into another fight—this time with maces. While Arthur is clearly more skilled a fighter, Merlin uses magic to avoid getting hit and he so would have won the fight if he hadn’t seen Gaius watching….clearly unhappy.  Even though he bests Merlin, Arthur stops him from being arrested again saying Merlin is brave and that there is “something about” him.

“Lady Helen” (aka crazy witch mama) has arrived in Camelot and dines with King Uther. There’s a lot of talk and Uther is clearly into the woman and making eyes at her. They talk about how difficult it must have been for Arthur to grow up without a mother—how the bond between mother and son is impossible to replace.

Merlin is awoken that night by the voice calling his name. He sets out to find out where it’s coming from and ends up in a cave beneath the castle where he meets The Great Dragon (Kilgharrah) who is imprisoned there. The dragon says Merlin has a great destiny—to use his gifts to protect Arthur, help him become a great king and unite all of Albion. Merlin is less than impressed.

The next morning, Merlin is delivering more medications for Gaius. When he brings Morgana something for the nightmares she suffers, he finds her behind the screen changing. She mistakes Merlin for Gwen and he helps Morgana around the screen (who is totally unaware a strange man is in her room) until Gwen comes in and Merlin scoots out, all embarrassed.

He then delivers a potion to “Lady Helen” for her voice. She’s not in her room and he discovers some magical stuff on her table. “Lady Helen” returns and he is able to leave without arousing her suspicions. That evening, a maid isn’t so lucky when she sees the witch’s true reflection in the mirror and is killed by the witch’s touch and apparently some deadly humming.

At dinner all the boys drool over Morgana before they sit to eat. Once everyone is seated, “Lady Helen” begins to sing, which enchants the entire court and puts them to sleep and, I don’t know, ages the Castle? There are cobwebs all over everyone and everything, so whatevs.

Merlin, realizing there’s something amiss, covers his ears and sees the witch getting ready to throw a dagger at Arthur. He uses magic to drop a chandelier on top of her. The enchantment is gone and everyone wakes up. But wait! The witch, now in her true form, throws the dagger at Arthur before dying. Merlin uses magic again, slowing time and pulling Arthur out of the path of the blade. Uther, grateful that his boy was saved, insists on rewarding Merlin. His reward? A position in the royal household, as Prince Arthur’s manservant. As expected, neither Merlin or Arthur is particularly thrilled by this development.

Back in Gauis’ chambers, the older man gives Merlin a book of magic to study (in secret, of course!) then Merlin is summoned away to begin his duties as manservant to the prince.

If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… There’s nothing big I’d change, really. Some little things? The whole cobwebs and whatever happened to the castle during the enchantment. I don’t really know what that was about. It’s like the castle and everything were aging (like fruit on the tables going bad etc.), but the people weren’t aging or anything. What the hell was that? What was the point? I think it would have been enough just to enchant people to sleep.

The other thing I really just don’t get – Merlin is magic, yeah? He could move stuff around before he could talk. WHY THE HELL DID HIS MOTHER SEND HIM TO CAMELOT???? Uther’s stance on magic is not a secret; it’s very well known. Why would Hunith send her child to the place that is the LEAST safe for him. Sure, her letter to Gaius talked about how he was special and asked Gaius to take care of him, and it’s clear Hunith and Gaius are old friends, and but there wasn’t any explanation on the motivation to send him to Camelot of all places. And….AND when Merlin arrives and sees the execution of the man who used magic, he looks so shocked and horrified. Did he even know how dangerous is was? Was he warned not to use his magic? I mean, seriously warned – along the lines of “Hey, son, if you get caught using magic, you’ll lose your head, be hanged or burned alive. Have a safe trip and have fun, honey!”

Of course, it’s Merlin’s destiny to be there with Arthur, blah, blah, blah, but if I’d written, I’d have put in at least a hint of why Hunith would risk her son that way.

The thing I loved and/or hated about this episode.  I love how Merlin doesn’t kiss Arthur’s feet, even after finding out he is the prince. He doesn’t hesitate to call Arthur an ass if he’s being an ass, and they’ve just met. And that is something Arthur notices…and likes, I think. AND NEEDS. Because if Arthur is going to be the king he is destined to be… Well, he needs some work, yeah?  And clearly, up to this point, no ones bothered to call Arthur out on anything.

And while it may not be as obvious, Merlin needs Arthur. He desperately needs to know that he has a purpose, and that his magic has a purpose. He says in this episode, without his magic he is a nobody, that he might as well die (that was the teenaged angst portion of our episode). He questions why he is the way he is and even asks Gaius if he’s a monster because of his magic. Arthur gives Merlin his reason for being. He and his magic are to protect Arthur and help shape into the king who will unite the land of Albion.

It isn’t exactly a secret I totally love the Merlin/Arthur (Merthur) pairing. *I* see the chemistry from the first time they see each other (and luuuuuuurve it!) But even if you take the whole Merthur thing off the table and look at their relationship in a platonic/friendship sense…(*sniffle* but why would you????) they still balance each other in the exact same way. Everything I said above, still stands.

Something I never noticed about this episode before – Honestly, the thing that made me think “I didn’t notice that before!” was so minor but it’s all I have… Merlin isn’t wearing his neckerchief when he’s delivering medicine for Gaius and ends up in Morgana’s chambers.  I was all, oooooh, I see collarbone…*DROOL* Where the fuck is your neckerchief, MERLIN???? He always has it on. Now I’m going to be on the lookout every episode to see if there are other times he’s without.

Favorite costume – I have to say the gown the witch (“Lady Helen”) wore when she tried to kill Arthur. Girl was homicidal but she knew how to dress for a party. (Although the show’s creators don’t seem all that concerned with the fact that this dress and Morgana’s don’t really fit a show set in medieval-y times. Just an observation.)

Here is proof of some random head canon I’ve created – This one gave me trouble I admit. This episode is pretty early on so there isn’t much that I can say “There, THERE, is proof of…” I mean, obviously, I ship Merthur pretty hard, and I guess the things I saw in the episode that support that head canon, I’ve already talked about above – the immediate tension between the two men, the sexual innuendos…  It’s all there. I’m not imagining it, right? (And if I am? I’m not sorry…not even a little bit.)

What would Bronwyn steal from Camelot in this episode. I know there was a vase in this episode Bron liked, but I’m going to say, Bron would want Gwen’s cape.

Maybe the dress, too, ’cause it’s pretty. But I bet Bron would wear the shit out that cape while frolicking in the woods or on the moonlit shore of Lake Superior.

What made Jenny lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode. I know she questioned why the witch would bother going through enchanting the whole court and throwing a knife at Arthur when apparently she could “touch him to death”. *Snort* Can’t blame the questioning there. As proven with the maid, she could touch him and hum away and, bam, revenge had!

OH, and Uther’s gloves. THE LEATHER GLOVES….that is a good thing that drives Jen
to distraction.
🙂

RANDOM THOUGHTS – Both Bradley James (Arthur) and Colin Morgan (Merlin) look SO YOUNG! That didn’t stop me from enjoying the view or anything because they are both extremely hot, IMO. I’d have to be dead not to notice and enjoy. And, OMG, those cheekbones… I could write odes to Merlin’s cheekbones.

Oh, and I have to thank my awesome daughter who made us our Merlin Club banner. I asked if she could do something we could put up with our posts and she delivered the awesome banner at the top of this post. So thank you, my darling girl!

Bron’s Merlin Club: The Dragon’s Call Post
Jen’s Merlin Club: The Dragon’s Call Post

Now it’s your turn! Comment and let us know what you thought of The Dragon’s Call.

We want you to watch with us. Be part of Merlin Club – it’s awesome. Seriously. Next Monday 1/27 at 8pm EST, we are watching Episode 2: Valiant. We’ll be tweeting as we watch to the hashtag #MerlinClub

Until the next episode!
Hugs
Jess

Merlin Club!!!

Starting this week, there will be a weekly new feature here – MERLIN CLUB.

What is Merlin Club, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

I love the series Merlin. I’ve watched it several times; the last time through, I watched with Bronwyn Green and Jenny Trout. Now, since we live hundreds of miles apart, when I say “with”, I mean we IM’d as we watched episodes. And Merlin Club was born. LOL We had such a blast we decided that just because we finished the series didn’t mean we couldn’t still have fun with it.

So…we are doing it again.

Every Monday night at 8pm EST, we’ll be watching an episode and tweeting to the hashtag #MerlinClub. Then, on Fridays, each of us will blog about the episode we watched that week. Each post will include a brief recap of the episode, preset questions, and random comments and observations. You are invited to watch along with us, tweet with us, and tell us what you thought of the episodes (and what we said about the episodes–whether you agree, disagree or whatever!) in the comments sections.

We’ve already watched The Dragon’s Call (S01E01) this week, so get thee to Netflix and watch it! And then, join us next week to watch Valiant (Ep02)!!

~J

RELEASE DAY! New Reality: Haven

I’ve written three books for Resplendence Publishing’s New Reality series. The third released today. I thought I’d share a bit about all three stories. 🙂

For Grace Summers, life after the super solar flare and deadly viral outbreak can be summed up in one word. Alone. Having lost everyone she loved, Grace travels on foot to her family’s remote hunting cabin, where her father stockpiled food and supplies for this type of situation.
Along the way, she meets Noah Hill and Ethan Erikson, a couple traveling the same direction. Grace struggles with her attraction to the pair until they make it clear they are just as interested in her.
With Noah and Ethan, Grace is no longer alone but can she bring herself to trust them in this new world where everyone is trying to survive no matter the cost?
Best friends, Jack Penn and Isaac Ryan had each other’s backs long before the super solar flare and deadly epidemic sent the world straight to hell seven years before. When Jack falls ill, Isaac is terrified of losing the one constant in his life – the very straight man he’s been secretly in love with forever. 
Unable to face, or even understand, his new feelings for his friend, Jack is intent to push them aside for the sake of their friendship. When beautiful Chloe Collins and her family offer them aid, he can’t deny the pull he feels towards her, but it only complicates things as his erotic thoughts about Isaac refuse to fade.
The last thing Chloe expects is her attraction to the two men they’ve taken in. She can see the way they feel for each other, and for her, even if they refuse to acknowledge it. Can Jack and Isaac admit what they want and give in to it, especially when the threat of violence from their past dealings looms ever closer?
Katie Fulton knows how lucky she is. After the world went to hell, years back, she’d found her way to a group of people who took her in and loved her as their own. The troubled times seem to be in the past. So Katie has every reason to be happy and content. But she isn’t. The reason for that can be summed up in one word. Drew.
Drew Collins has been in love with Katie since the day he met her, but the girl has been through so much in her life, he can’t bring himself to take her, to own her in the way he craves. At least until he realizes she needs him as much as he needs her.
But their coming together isn’t well received—by some in their group and those outside. Can the haven they’ve found in each other survive the opposition they face?