The magic of Merlin, and Morgana’s mittens
Saturday teatime is definitely made much more magical by the new series of Merlin on BBC TV.
For those of who you who haven’t seen it, Merlin follows the adventures of the young warlock Merlin as he arrives in Camelot for the first time. Merlin becomes servant to the obnoxious Prince Arthur (yet to become the legendary King Arthur), and friends with fellow servant Gwen/Guinevere (yet to become Queen), and her mistress, royal ward Morgana (yet to become baaaaaaad). The twist that runs throughout is that Arthur’s father, King Uther (played by Anthony Stewart Head), is so terrified that magic will undermine his authority that he has made practicing it punishable by death. So the young Merlin must keep his own powers secret while using them to save Arthur and Camelot on a regular basis.
On what I imagine is not a huge budget the production team have managed to create an interesting fantasy take on Camelot. Particularly from a wardrobe perspective. The use of colour is interesting- with the more magical characters in blue and greens and purples, and the more “down-to-earth” knights and courtiers in earthier reds and yellows. At least that’s how I read it. Morgana (played by Katie McGrath) has some beautiful outfits, like the blue silk one above. And remember my post a while back on beetlewing embroidery? Well my excitement knew no bounds when I saw the neckline of her dress below. (I think I literally bounced up and down in my seat squeaking “beetlewings! beetlewings!” and had to be dosed with strong liquor.)
You know when you’re a fan of a show when you start coveting bits of the characters’ wardrobes. And you know you’re a crazed knitting fool of a fan when you start actually knitting them up. In the last series Morgana wore a gorgeous purple pair of cabled fingerless mittens, which you can just see in the screenshots below:
So I thought I’d have a bash at making my own, similar but not identical, mitts. I used Rachel Kurchin’s free pattern for Almost Fingerless Gloves (with modifications) and a beautiful merino/silk sport weight yarn from the Woollen Rabbit. The colourway is Black Velvet. (Of course I can’t watch Merlin without wearing these now!)
Critical reception to Merlin has been pretty mixed, but I really enjoy it (and suspect the key to this enjoyment is not to take it too seriously!). Yes, Merlin has its weaknesses. It seems to have temporarily forgotten it’s called “Merlin” (I certainly want to hear more about Merlin and Morgana and less about Arthur and Guinevere.) But it has a strong supporting cast, and actors like Charles Dance, Emilia Fox, Adrian Lester, Mackenzie Crook and Santiago Cabrera queueing up to make guest appearances. Ultimately, though, it’s just good clean magical family entertainment. And you can’t argue with that :)
Catch the extended trailer for the second season on youtube:
Images copyright BBC: www.bbc.co.uk