Hey so I was going through your King Arthur tag and saw your morgana gifset about her being labeled a villain which was very lovely and beautiful. I saw your tags tho about how merlin did worse and I was just wondering if you could explain? I hope that didn't come off condescending I'm genuinely curious bc I can't rly think about how merlin did worse and I just want to see your perspective on it??
I am sorry for taking so long to answer! I’m full of exams and didn’t have time to write a proper answer. I’m glad you asked that, because it’s something I think a lot (and was thinking when I made that gifset) but I had never put these thoughts into words.
Well, first of all, i wanted you to know that Morgan Le Fay is my fav, so I’m not very impartial, I’m rather passionate about the matter than rational. But I’m gonna try to make sense. I’m Morgan le fay’s fan. Not just in bbc’s merlin, but in the Arthurian legend as a whole. I was a huge fan of the show. Actually, I think I still am, but now, as an Arthurian reader, I can see its flaws. The truth is: it’s bad written. They started with something and suddenly it’s something else: the whole “Morgana is evil now” thing is so shallow.
The first two seasons had a great potential, and even the third one, but after that the show just kept the same good vs. evil storyline: Morgana, full of hate, trying desperately kill the noble king Arthur and get her revenge while Merlin helps Arthur with magic and wins all the time (and Arthur knows absolutely nothing). Well, I know the show is about Merlin and his relationship with Arthur, but what I meant when I wrote those tags is that everything Morgana does, Merlin also does. For me, he’s done worse than her because he had more knowledge, he was aware of things: he knew about magic, she didn’t. She was alone, he wasn’t.
All effort of the 1980’s Arthurian stories, to give Morgan le Fay a voice, to explain why she is against Arthur, didn’t mean nothing to the show. Morgana wants the power that Arthur and Merlin have (the power that the men have): the crown and the magic. Everything she does is for these motives, same as Merlin! I’m not denying that Morgana choose to do bad things, she did, but she is never forgiven about it while Merlin always is. He betrays her, he lies to her, he leaves her alone because he believes she is a threat for the magic and the crown and he doesn’t even know if it’s true. He did not give her a chance.
But the show classified her and not him as “the evil one”, so all Merlin actions against her is somehow forgiven. Meanwhile, her actions against “the good ones” is punished and she’s the villain again. I’m gonna try to explain it better: Merlin is always in a certain position of power because he knows about magic, Morgana didn’t. Everything was happening to her and Merlin chose not to tell her because he feared her. He didn’t give her a chance. And that’s the mistake of the show: it lacks complexity of the characters. Morgana is not a bad character, she is not the villain, she’s only in the dark. It’s always a misunderstanding! In the beginning of the show, she is kind and deeply cares about her friends, and she may truly hate Uther, but she does not hate Arthur. It’s clear when they meet in season 4, they both care deeply about each other but have to be in opposite sides because they are both ignorant about the things Merlin hides. Merlin puts Morgana aside because of an unknown future. C’mon, the writers just needed a bad guy to put Merlin in a hero position. Morgana always loses because she’s evil and deserved the bad things that happened to her, when we all know that it’s not the truth: Morgana is a martyr as much as Merlin is! She suffers as much as he does.
You can compare Morgana with Gwen. Gwen is a strong female character in bbc’s merlin too but even when you think she’s in a position of power, she is not… because she is always supporting blindly Arthur and Merlin. She is in the “good” side. She and Arthur didn’t even know Morgana’s side of the story. And that’s the problem: Morgana is only “the evil one” of the show because they chose to ignore the bad things that happened to her. Or do you think that if Arthur (or Gwen) knew anything about Morgana (how she had magic, how Merlin poisoned her) he would not give her a chance? He gave Merlin a chance (in the last episode, but he did). The problem of this show is that everything is dark, nothing is really explained: Morgana, the evil woman, Merlin, the solitary hero. I don’t like things that are one thing or another. Do you? I want complexity, I want to hear Morgana’s voice, and all bbc’ merlin lets us hear is her hate! And her “reckless motives” against the ones they call heroes! She’s just another woman, silenced by history, remembered by the things other people labeled her. Morgana, the evil witch.
Did I make sense? Do you understand what I mean? (I’m sorry if I was confuse). What I really wanted to say is that in the end, It doesn’t matter who’s done worse. What matters is: Merlin’s excuses were accepted, Morgana’s were not. Two different ways to measure the same thing. And, for me, that’s the huge problem.