[Spoiler Alert!!!!!!] Random speculations about Merlin/Harry in Kingsman
Rumours have been circulating around that the character Merlin from KTSS would be portrayed as non-heterosexual in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s much acclaimed adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic series.
Spoiler alert, this has not proved true in said sequel. However, as someone who never boards the ship that is Merlin/Galahad, oddly enough, I somehow walked out of the cinema more convinced than ever that Merlin/Galahad now stands a greater chance of turning canon (should FOX opt for, say, a third sequel to the series). This post is not concerned as much about commenting on the film as about sharing my speculations. If someone else agrees with some of the points discussed, great to know; if not, it’d still be helpful to be acquainted with different perspectives.
1. Merlin does stand a chance of surviving that mine.
We have seen at least one picture taken behind the scene of the amazing actor Mark Strong with green-screen legs, in full Scottish formal attire, the only one likely occasion for this being Eggsy’s wedding. Creating tragic premise and motivation for revenge by convincing the protagonists, falsely, that someone they care about is killed off by the antagonists has been applied millions of times in recent-year Hollywood blockbusters, Marvel Studios’ The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World AND Kingsman: The Secret Service to list but a few.
2. Harry Hart’s sexual orientation, like Merlin’s, is one among the many loose ends yet to be tied up.
What’s worth paying attention to is that nearly ALL of the few lines about Harry’s sexuality in the two films are playing with the idea that he gives a stereotypically queer impression to strangers. In KTSS, we have one of the thugs assuming that Harry is looking for a rent boy; Harry tells the lady in South Glade Mission Church that he is having an affair out of wedlock with his boyfriend, mostly making it up to annoy her, yes, but that does not necessarily mean that EVERYTHING in that punchline is made-up. This time, in KTGC, we have one scene echoing the Black Prince Pub fight in the first, with one of the local thugs hurling even more outrageous insults at Harry, all about him looking gay. And oh if you don’t mind me over-interpreting that brief exchange he has with Elton—I’ve asked a friend about whether that’s to be interpreted as a full-on parallel (with very subtle innuendo) to Eggsy’s encounter with Tilde in the first film, and both of us think that it’s a possibility. None of them are statements to be taken seriously by the audience, sure, but at least should Harry turn out to be non-heterosexual, I think most of the reasonable audience will not be surprised because of all the half-serious punchlines building up to that. Moreover, in both of the pub fight scenes, supposedly iconic of the KSM films now, Harry snaps and delivers that 3M line precisely when they take the insults on his sexuality way too far. I doubt if they make any hints on Harry’s sexuality on purpose, and it would be equally perfectly logical that Harry would stay without romantic interactions with any character throughout the whole series, but, once again, should Harry Hart ends up together with Merlin, the audience may not be so surprised.
3. There is clearly a parallel between Harry and Eggsy as characters.
We see it from the water-test. We see it from the fact that their relationship in KTGC is kind of a reverse of what they are like in the first film, one protecting and taking care of the other. In KTSS, Eggsy, as someone new to the Kingsman, learns from Harry Hart and makes that learning a pivotal reason for his own character development: Harry gets him out of the mess, introduces him to the prospective of becoming a spy, rebukes him when he gives up, and remains the one character Eggys strives not to disappoint. In KTGC, however, we see that the roles of the one who guides and the one guided reversed: when they meet, amnesiac Harry with only his younger memory is the one knowing nothing about Kingsman, while Eggsy, current Agent Galahad, tries to bring him back; Harry’s reaction to the water test, the way they film it and the way this scene is presented somehow repeatedly hints on subtler parallels between Eggsy and Harry’s younger self (he reaches for the ceiling, looks at the door, probably thinks about the one-way mirror as the camera suggests, all just as Eggsy does it in the first film, all except that he does not break the mirror). It may or may not be a coincidence that the stake is so high when they bring in the puppy test in both films, the first with Eggsy unwilling to shoot JB and Harry subsequently getting mad at him, the second with Eggsy threatening and Harry panicking before the conflict resolves when Harry regains his memory. The point is that, if we are to go on with the parallels, does that mean Harry will probably learn something new from Eggsy as well? Can it be something about having personal connections? Perhaps Harry learns from Eggsy that there is nothing wrong with having significant connections with others and end up with someone? That remains a plausible way to round up the character parallels.
4. Should Harry have a major change of mind, there is a reason provided.
We see the interactions between Merlin and Harry when the former steps on the mine. We see emotional eye contacts and infrequent attempts to mention their old days as colleagues. If Harry is going to opt for some significant personal connection and giving up the isolationist lifestyle he’s been having for decades, Merlin’s return may just make it click in. If Merlin’s ‘my favourite singer’ and Harry’s reply are to be altered, should the two characters end up together, that doesn’t sound too implausible.
But again, while there are positive speculations, there are things pointing to a negative answer.
Merlin may survive the mine and make a surprise return, should they have another sequel, yes, but would that still be that much of a surprise? Filming something and putting it into the next film, killing off a beloved character and then bring said character back have been done once (aka the table etiquette scene filmed during KTSS, and the return of Harry Hart), and it is questionable whether they’d be so bold to do it twice. They do give the impression of not complying with clichés and normal expectations, but the return of Merlin can make this a plot pattern iconic to the KSM series.
My guess would be that at least one of Merlin and Roxy may stand a chance of returning should they be up for a third sequel, and either is likely to be gladly welcomed. Both? BETTER. So basically it’s a kind of mixed feelings here: if either Merlin or Roxy is going to return, it’d be hard to decide which one the audience wants more; both are killed off in ways too similar to be faked twice; I hate sounding like a PC police, but M. V.’s portrayals of female characters in KTGC are not the most plausible, if Roxy’s to return and redeem the film in this aspect, it’d be fantastic. But in sum it’s perhaps impossible for fans to decide which of the two is loved more, should it comes to decide between them.
There is no conclusion to this piece of random babbling. I forgot what I’m talking about three paragraphs in.