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Merlin: Series 5 Casting Revealed

Three guest stars for Series 5 of Merlin have been officially confirmed, and two of them are returning characters.

“We can confirm that… Liam Cunningham is going to appear in series five, along with returning guest stars Lindsay Duncan (Queen Annis) and Janet Montgomery (Princess Mithian),” the BBC revealed to Digital Spy.

Liam Cunningham can currently be seen in another medieval fantasy show, Game of Thrones. He will appear in the first two episodes.

Queen Annis appeared in the fifth episode of Series 4, His Father’s Son. Her character last made peace with Arthur, much to Morgana’s annoyance.

Princess Mithian, meanwhile, was in 11th episode of Series 4, The Hunter’s Heart. The last time we saw the character, Arthur had broken off his engagement to her, realising he still loved Guinevere.

It’ll will be interesting to see what part they both play in the story this time.

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  • MikeAP001

    So, Arthur’s alliance of kingdoms against the Saxons begins.  Now all we need is Bayard and Lot(hian). 

    • lp229

      That’s just what I’m thinking, I do hope the rumours are genuine about the Saxons coming in next series. I just think its odd that some of the crew have been careless leaking it on twitter as the production team are trying to keep things under wrap. it could be just a tease to build up excitement. Perhaps Hengist and his followers in series 2 were in fact Saxons, not just bandits as the audience were led to believe? Also throughout the series, there are quite few references to the land being under attack, Uther mentions that Lady Catrina’s kingdom was lost to invaders. 

      I have a feeling that Lot will be in league with Morgana and Mordred, their magic is powerful but they need some manpower in order to achieve their aims, especially since Mordred doesn’t have a claim to the throne as he does in the legends. I’m a bit confused about the ‘five kingdoms’ mentioned in series 4 as I thought there were many more, there were certainly more than five kings at the peace talks in Series 2. Merlin Wiki lists the names of many smaller kingdoms although I have found no reference to these in any of the series. 

      • MikeAP001

        Exactly!  Since Hengist was Wyverned then that means the current Saxon leader might be his brother: Horsa.  And, that would give him plenty of hatred to Arthur, Merlin, and Gwaine.  Anyway, they established a foothold in Cenred’s former kingdom making Cenred analogous to “Vortigern”, from the legends, who recruited Saxon to fight for his kingdom against the others. 

        As for the five “kingdoms,” as near as I can tell, there are five major provinces with Camelot being one.  Each of these is subdivided and further subdivided.  It’s not clear if they followed the medieval period division or not.  But, if they had each of these kingdoms is actually a province composed of several “duchies” and if the leader is a royal then he’s a duke or she’s a duchess and the duchy is called a dukedom and if it is not a royal then they were the governors.  Tregor (Lady Catrina’s Royal House) is probably a Dukedom) and Tiamor
        (Lady Sophia’s House) is likely a Duchy since there was no mention of
        her being royalty which is probably why Uther didn’t approve of her
        marriage to Arthur

        Anyway, these duchies were then divided into towns and villages an finally fiefs.  In MERLIN, there are village and town elders as in Longstead. 

        Floating around as a sort of police were the warlords who may or may not be landed, acting as governors if landed, but none the less, controlled territory through military might.  In MERLIN, there are local warlords (like Kanaan who raided Ealdor in S01) and regional warlords (like Helios, who commanded the Southron Army) who acted as a sort of police to keep things in order. 

        Hope that helped.

        And, I think that Lot, Morgana, Mordred, and the Saxons will be involved if not allied one way or another as the enemies of Camelot during S05 under the banner of the White Dragon.  I could see Lot or Mordred acting as the literary “False Knight” much like Agravaine feigning friendship with Arthur or the other kingdoms only to turn on them later. And, I can see toward the end Merlin becoming symbolically at least the “Red” Dragon of Camelot/Albion/Wales who’ll gain in power and strength so that he can defeat the White Dragon. 

        It’s actually all part of the Hero Archetype. 


        • lp229

          Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. As there is little attention to the  in Merlin its difficult to tell. I’m sure though all of the delegates of the peace talks were the status of kings not dukes. I might watch that episode again to see if I have missed anything. 

          I’d personally like to see Morgana and Mordred as a separate threat from the Saxons as they are in the legends, as this would make a more interesting story. The focus then will alternate between Morgana/Mordred , the Saxons and hopefully some quests for the knights of the round table.  

          I like your idea of a ‘false knight’, but for the next series at least, I would prefer it if the threat was solely from the outside. The writers have exhausted the ‘enemy within’ theme, changing this would give the plots greater diversity. 

          • MikeAP001

            Oh, I made a mistake.  Hengist was Wylderined not Wyverned. 

            Yeah, I’d like to see dual threats of Mordred and Morgana with one agenda and the Saxons with another and eventually each side turning on the other.  That would be more interesting but it would defeat the notion of the White Dragon as symbol of the Saxons and servant to the Triple Goddess (the Triskelion being the lock to the Tomb of Askanar and thus, the cage) who Morgana also serves.  At least initially, the writers could take a cue from the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.” 

            Another thing to make things even more confusing regarding the kingdoms, a “Dukedom” or “Duchy” if it gained enough land, power and wealth could be even greater than the parent kingdom until that dukedom or duchy would be considered a separate Kingdom.  To maintain the royalty line with a parent kingdom among strategic reasons there would be alliances of marriage as in Lord Godwin’s and King Uther’s arrangement with Lady Elena and Prince Arthur or Arhur’s arrangement with Mithian.  So, while there might be 5 original kingdoms courtesy of Bruta, there might arise “hereditary” claims to strengthen existing ties as there was between Camelot and Gawant or to settle claims to lands as there was between Camelot and Nemeth.

            If this is correct, then Arthur’s destiny will be to unite the 5 kingdoms by helping to re-create the 5 original kingdoms through alliance and/or conquest and eventually melding these 5 kingdoms into the united kingdom of Albion.   So, the 5 original kingdoms as noted in Sweet Dreams would be: kingdoms under Olaf, Alined, Uther and two unidentified kings— none of whom are Godwin, Cenred, Bayard or Odin.  Which would have to reunite with the “duchies” now formed into kingdoms run by the likes of Godwin, Lot/Cenred, Odin, Bayard and others. And, that’s what we should see in S05— as well as, Merlin gaining in status and power.  And, if there is a S06 and more, then we should see stories where the kingdoms realize the value in maintaining this united kingdom.

  • EternityDragon

    Let’s just hope they’re not back under whatever evil because of Morganna to kill Arthur. Although that might happen. HE COULD BE BETRAYED. Then Camelot would be in war. *Rambles on about various things that could happen*

    • MikeAP001

      I sort of think that what’ll happen is that the Saxons are raiding the coastal areas plundering the lands of Nemeth, Gedref, and Caerleon in S05.  Their rulers ask the aid of Arthur invoking his treaties and promises from S04.  And Arthur gets involved in that… and if the writers wanted, this would be a great time to do a Gwen redemptive arc regarding the Lancelot/bracelet incident by setting up a dilemma.  For instance: both Annis and Mithian ask Arthur for help but he can only help one.  Gwen tells him that they could help them both equally: for instance, Arthur will take a large Army to Nemeth until the Saxon threat has been quelled while Gwen, Merlin, and the KORT aid Annis until Arthur can send reinforcements.

      So, that is two wars for Arthur Pendragon.  

  • Pengu

    Things are about to get interesting. The characters may be back but maybe against Arthur (always a possibility). I guess we will just have to wait to Autumn and see

  • snowcat60

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on the kingdoms and series 5 (and hopefully series 6). I love reading everyone’s comments as I love the camelot legend but am not really versed in the all the “history” behind it. Soooo INTERESTING!!! Can’t wait for the new series!

    • lp229

      Its good fun speculating what writers can do with the legends. There have been so many adaptations and yet it never gets tiring. Merlin is brilliant, but I think no on screen adaptation is as magical as reading the legends for yourself and imagining all of the quests and characters coming to life.

      • snowcat60

        Thanks for your comments — can you recommend any good reading? Would appreciate it!

        • lp229

          The book that got me hooked was ‘The King Arthur Trilogy’ by Rosemary Sutcliffe, there are so many authors out there but thats the  only one I have read. When I get through my big reading list I might pick up a copy of the older versions like Malory’s ‘Le Morte de Arthur’, but I personally wouldn’t start off with Malory or Geoffrey of Monmouth and choose something more manageable.

        • Nimueh123

          I read the Mary Stewart trilogy about Merlin’s life. I found that quite an enjoyable read.

          • MikeAP001

            I read somewhere that that’s one of the books Colin Morgan read to get ideas about Merlin (?).

          • Nimueh123

            Yes, that’s right. He recommended it as a read about Merlin.   It was interesting to see what the writers picked out of the books and how they recycled ideas, names etc.

        • snowcat60

          Thanks Mike, Nimueh, and Ip229 — yes, I thought I’d start with the Mary Stewart books as I have read other books by her before. Then maybe the Rosemary Sutcliffe trilogy…

          I actually printed out this thread, it was so interesting, everyone’s comments about history, legend, kingdoms. Thanks so much!

    • MikeAP001

      Based on the Historia of Geoffrey of Monmouth, there are four kingdoms.  Camelot would be number 5.  Those four other kingdoms Bruta carved out of Albion are: Cornwall, Loegia (England), Albany (Scotland) and Cymru (Wales).  They’re named after Bruta’s General Corneis and Bruta’s three sons. It would be interesting to see what the MERLIN equivalents are.    

  • Nimueh123

    I wonder if Queen Annis and Princess Mithian will join Arthur in his fight against the Saxons.  I can’t imagine that they would be opponents.  It will be lovely to have some more female representation on Merlin.  I loved Mithian and still feel that she would have been a far better match for Arthur than Gwen – sorry Gwen!

    • MikeAP001

      I’d like to see her interaction with Gwaine.  It could be explosive.

      • Nimueh123

        Now that is an interesting thought.

    • lp229

      Merlin is very modern in the sense that it elevates the role of  women at a time when they would have had little rights. Historically, in early medieval times, Annis probably would have lost her throne to a rival male aristocrat. Other themes like the cosmopolitan nature of Albion and Arthur’s commitment to equality reflect modern values, whilst some people have a problem this, I don’t because in a way, the legends  over the years always reflect the times in which they were written. That and also because its a family show. I just love it how the intended audience doesn’t hold back Merlin from getting darker and as a result, the potential of the show. I felt the opposite  happened to Doctor Who after Series 1: RTD wrote the show increasingly for children. SM though is taking it along its darker tones again, the stories are a lot better as a result. 

      • MikeAP001

        In general, what you’re saying is true but if Arthur and the other kingdoms represent a direct lineage to the Ancient King Brutus who might be the Bruta that Merlin mentioned in his tale to Arthur then it’s a bit different. That lineage would paint a very rich and diverse culture reflecting more “modern values” including things like having woman who have a legitimate claim to the throne some say as regards royal inheritance.  This multicultural view might be supported by some archeologic findings, like those found in York (?). And, much of it is connected to the Ancient chronicles of Nennius and the later work of Geoffrey of Monmouth.

        According to Nennius in the 9th Century, Brutus is also descended from Noah.  That genealogy is very complicated but basically, Brutus is the grandson of Alanus a descendent of Aeneas a Prince of Troy AND the sons of Noah who survived some flood.  According to the Geoffrey, the first king of the Bretons was descended from the Trojan Prince and Hero, Ascanius, son of Aeneas of Troy who was born of Anchises (a Trojan Prince) and a goddess, Venus, as discussed in Livy and Vergil. 

        Anyway, the story of Brutus and the origin of the five kingdoms, ties in neatly with Merlin’s bedtime story of Bruta.  According to Merlin’s story, Bruta is the first king of the land (Albion) and the forebear of all the kings of the five kingdoms, including Camelot. 

        So, who was Bruta and why is Arthur destined to unite five kingdoms when the show MERLIN seems to have more than that?

        Aeneas was the son of the Anchises and the goddess, Venus.  While the Greeks sacked Troy, Venus convinced Aeneas to flee with his father and his son, Ascanius, because he and his descendents were destined to father a lineage of kings that would rule the known world.  Aeneas led the Trojan refugees away from the City and after many adventures settled in Italy founding the Latin state.  Ascanius would found the city of Alba Longa, the forerunner of Rome, and one of his sons was Silvius who would be the father of Brutus. 

        Brutus would be banished from Italy for killing his father and mother (the one descended from Noah’s son either Ham or Japeth?) by accident with an arrow.  Accompanied by his nephew Turonus, he sails the Mediterranean encountering other the descendents of exiled Trojans.  He recruits these to join him by freeing them from slavery at the hands of the Greek king, Pandarus.  They travel to Tyrrhenius where at the Temple of Diana, Brutus finds his destiny: to rule a land occupied by dying race of giants called Albion. 

        Brutus sails along the coast of Africa toward Gilbraltar and finds other descendents of Troy whose Trojan progenitors mated with the indigenous people (Sorta explains Gwen and Elyan, doesn’t it?).  Many join Brutus on his quest to this new land including Corineus who becomes a general, silent in counsel but a man of action.  Brutus and his followers head North, conquering much of the Iberian Peninsula (France and Spain) and found the City State of Tours in honor of Turonus (Brutus’ nephew) (Sorta explains Lancelot, doesn’t it?). 

        Eventually, Brutus finds an island called Albion and conquers it.  His people intermarry with the race of giants occupying the island and restore the race adopting many of the customs as their own (sort of explains the Old Religion).  Brutus creates a province to be governed by Corineus called, Cornwall. As Brutus’ sons come of age, he gives each of them a province to rule forming the kingdoms of Loegria for his son Locrinus, Albany for his son Albacantus), and Cymru for his son Kamber.  And, all of these kingdoms would owe fealty to the kingdom ruled by Brutus, Camelot (?).

        So, if Brutus is “Bruta” then the original “five kingdoms” of Albion would be Camelot, Cornwall, and the three areas closest to the boundaries of present day England (Loegria), Scotland (Albany) and Wales (Cymru).

        The many “kingdoms” that exist later can be explained by the Roman division of territory as each kingdom (properly a province) vied for land, prestige, power, and wealth made allies and divided it’s territory forming eventually forming duchies and/or dukedoms who in turn would form other alliances until they rivaled the parent kingdom in size and power and in turn would become kingdoms, justifying any claim to the original kingdom through things like marriage.  And, among those kingdoms there was an (old) saying regarding legitimacy because “while the father might be in doubt, the mother of the child is always known.”   So, if a mother disowned her child no one would ever hear of them again while if a father disowned his child, there was always a chance the child could recover some part of his inheritance.  And, that’s why you don’t hear too much of illegitimacy on the mother’s side but mostly on the father’s.

        • lp229

          Well I don’t know much about the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth, if the writers are basing the setting purely on a mythology then that would make sense. 

          Historically, Roman Britain did have migrants from all over the empire, not least because of the army. However they would have made up a much smaller proportion of the population than today. With Merlin a significant number of the characters and extras seem to be of foreign descent so its like the medieval equivalent of walking through modern day London. That kind of social make up has really only come into being gradually since the 1950s. 

          I do regard Merlin to be more of Myth and of legend, if the Saxons are brought in next series, it would be the only obvious reference to the historical setting. The writers could easily invent their own mythology to explain it, I would be suprised if they did dissect the fine details of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s narrative though. Personally, I think its political correctness. This I have no problem with as I have said Merlin is a retelling  of the legend that reflects elements of the 21st century. 

          • MikeAP001

            I agree, the show’s does a political correctness thingy and that’s in part the purpose of Myth and Legend: to retell things so that the audience can access universal lessons valued by society; but in doing so, the Show stumbled upon an historic reality.  It’s also true that ROMAN Britain’s migrants weren’t nearly so diverse as now (the actor playing Elyan gave a brief talk about that in an Interview awhile back) but PRE-ROMAN Britain, as is the case with Bruta’s time, appears to have been.  And, that’s part of the irony inherent in the Celts meeting the Romans centuries later around 50 BCE. According to their (Roman and eventually Celtic) “history” the Celts and Romans were distant cousins.  And, Rome’s entry into Celtic affairs could be seen part of the continuing Celtic Civil War that began around 80 years ealier.

    • asdf190

      I totally agree……it would be great to have more female representation on Merlin. I must admit I enjoyed the character of Mithian she was fun and game for anything but I still love Gwen better……..I think she grows on you as the Seasons progress! Im slightly dismayed that so many people dislike her character…..I think she is sweet and good natured; but has grown into a woman strong and wise enough to not only be Queen but be a good one! I think Gwen and Arthur are both good for eachother…….they both have a strong moral character and she is strong willed enough to curb his tendency to act on impulse (usually when he is angry); and wise and brave enough to tell him off when he makes a bad decision (think about it! Merlin helped Arthur see beyond his nobility but it was both Merlin AND Gwen that helped him understand his people.) So that is why I like her…..Angel is not as attractive as other actresses…..but she is nowhere near ugly…..there is something about her that is, actually quite pretty! but I prefer it that way…… many of us look like a beautiful sorceress?

  • lp229

    In an interview somewhere  Johnny Caps and Julian Murphy said there will be some new original novels published this year along the lines of the Doctor who books the BBC release with each series. Has anybody heard about when they might be released? I looked on Amazon and there seems no sign of them on pre-release. 

    • MikeAP001

       The BBC had companion books.  Do a search on google for THE ADVENTURES MERLIN BOOKS.  As far as I know, they only have the books for the first 3 Series.

      • lp229

        Those are novelisations of the plots in the show. I mean some new stories that we havn’t seen before. 

  • Merlinfan1

    Well it’s good to see that the two characters we know are coming back, i can’t wait for the new season i want autumn to be now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


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