MAY / JUNE 2011: BY ESTHER ARCHER
The new series Camelot creates a storyline different to what we know of the legend of King Arthur. It begins with him as the child of peasants, naive and innocent to what has happened to the Kingdom until one day Merlin arrives and declares that the King, Uther Pendragon, is dead and Arthur is heir to the throne.
Unfortunately for Arthur, his half sister Morgan also has a rightful claim to the throne as his sole heir… until Merlin proves Arthur is Uther’s illegitimate child. This causes Morgan to create an army that threatens the new king before his kingdom is even established. The newly crowned Arthur is faced with the possibility of war upon his discovery and the lives of he and his men are threatened if they do not leave within a week. Morgan, her warlord allies and the people do not believe Arthur is capable of being king, but importantly Arthur does not believe he is meant to be king. But Merlin has experienced visions of future destruction and war in the land and believes Arthur is the king who will bring peace and unity to Camelot. For days, he speaks words of hope and life into young Arthur’s heart, who does not know that within him lies a great king who has wisdom, strength and power, but no one, including his own men, sees this in Arthur.
To encourage belief in the new king, Merlin tells Arthur of the legend of the “Sword of Mars.” Whoever has the strength and wisdom to retrieve the sword from its perilous perch is foretold as the crowned king. Arthur is reluctant to do this at first because fear has captured his heart since all who have tried to retrieve the sword have perished. Even his bravest soldier tells Merlin that he is sending the new king to his death by having him retrieve the sword. The only person who believes Arthur has the power within himself to complete the task is Merlin, who knows he can conquer his fear of death and bring back the sword victoriously.
Merlin’s open and honest belief in Arthur challenges him to overcome his fears, so with ingenuity, strength, knowledge, and eventually pain, Arthur obtains the sword and proves to the people, and mostly himself, that he can and will be king.
The most beautiful part of this story to me is Merlin’s persistent belief and hope that inside the naive, innocent, weak Arthur is a genuine king who not only had the strength but the knowledge and wisdom to accomplish such a great task.
Merlin reminds me of our Father, who believes in us when no one else does. He is the one whispering words of encouragement and love to us when we do not believe in ourselves. He does not always protect us from the pain and harm that may come to us through a growing time but allows it to happen because when we have retrieved the sword we will have walked and grown into our true identity as He sees us. It is because of Him that we can embrace being the child He knows we are capable of being. ■