Knightmare Lexicon - A Knightmare Encyclopædia
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1. Merlin
From TES issue 3 (June 1996)

MERLIN : SERIES 1-4 : LEVELS 1-3
 
 [Related Image] Undoubtedly a legend among Knightmare characters, Merlin was everything you would expect from one so steeped in history, magic, and great tales of heroic deeds. John Woodnutt played the part of Merlin with perfect accuracy - clearly Merlin was a somewhat dizzy, scatterbrained old wizard - yet it was equally clear that within this powerful mind lay a rich mine of knowledge, in the form of spells, information, and a never ending supply of incredibly devious riddles.

Merlin was never easy to reach wherever he rested in Knightmare castle - indeed Merlin was frequently discovered towards the end of level two - a signpost to tell the dungeoneer that the final glory was not far away. Series three is perhaps the best example of what an achievement it was to actually reach Merlin. Armed with 'steps' collected earlier in the quest - the team had to form a magical pathway towards Merlin's throne. Even then the hard work had to be done - Merlin's magic was always, without fail, essential to any successful quest. If you failed any of his riddles, Merlin was perfectly capable of killing off any quest simply by refusing to reward you with a spell.

Series two saw Merlin at his most generous - where any team reaching his vast level three chamber would be rewarded with one, or even two spells. This is a typical example of the sheer power Merlin could exert upon any quest - his magical image, dressed in shimmering green robes, suited his position perfectly - this man was literally essential to each and every quest.

Unfortunately, Merlin's gradual disappearance from Knightmare was an inglorious affair. His final series - series four - saw the magical green robes replaced with ragged sackcloth robes which even Sylvester Hands would turn up his nose at. Merlin seemed flat, and lacking in the sparkle which made him one of Knightmare's most popular characters. This was underlined by the final quest of series 4, when Merlin had to be freed from the stocks by dungeoneer Giles - surely Merlin's magic was stronger than any other ?! The Merlin of old returned briefly to congratulate Dickon and team - the only winning team of series four. However, the series remained a poor departure for such a strong character.

FEAR FACTOR : 2 Some of his jokes were frighteningly bad.
HUMOUR RATING : 7 The jokes may be bad, yet the spirit is 100% good.
KILLER INSTINCT : 4 He would never kill, but if you don't get a spell from him.....
OSCAR STANDARD : 9 The perfect wizard - spoilt slightly by series four?

Written by and submitted with the kind permission of Paul McIntosh.

Provided By: Eyeshield, 2007-12-11 17:06:49
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2. Merlin
From TES issue 63 (May 2010)

Series 1/2/3/4. Level 1/2/3.
MERLIN

Merlin has always been one of my very favourite Knightmare characters, and he was certainly the one that made the greatest impression on me when I was four years old. The wise and powerful Arthurian wizard with his white beard and flowing green robes played a very important role in Knightmare’s early years, and the crucial part he (and his magic) played in the potential success of the quests should not be underestimated. I have always been a great fan of John Woodnutt’s portrayal of the character – even though it is undoubtedly more than a little doddery in nature (which may have been partly due to Woodnutt’s advancing years) I think it strikes all the right notes in all the right places.

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As I have said before, Merlin’s three appearances in series 1 are somewhat protracted, partly because he is given a lot of lines to say (discussing such subjects as Casper, Mogdred, level two hazards and boiled eggs) and partly because he says them quite slowly, although this only adds to the tremendous sense of wisdom and mystery surrounding the character. Unfortunately (thanks to the ineptitude of the early teams) Merlin did not get to appear on level three during this series, but he made up for this in series 2 and 3 with some very nice appearances in his vast third level chamber. The addition of the “three steps” aspect to Merlin’s chamber in series 3 was a very nice idea, and served to underline the crucial importance of the team’s level two meeting with the wizard, although I think it’s a bit of a shame that only six of the twelve teams did well enough to complete this challenge successfully. Just goes to show how hard series 3 is, I suppose!

Despite my fondness for series 4, I can see why some people object to Merlin’s portrayal in this series. I suspect (possibly falsely) that John Woodnutt had been asked to sign a new two-year contract after series 2 (when the rest of the original cast was mercilessly culled) and by the time series 4 was taking shape, Tim Child and friends were unsure what to do with the character. Seeing Merlin dressed in sackcloth robes and pretending to be a peddler or an imprisoned monk is not nearly as satisfying as watching his earlier appearances, I admit, but then Merlin is the Master Wizard and he has every right to test the teams in whatever ways he wants, and we have no right to judge him for it!

Provided By: Eyeshield, 2010-06-20 13:11:57
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3. Merlin
 
 [Related Image] Among the Knightmare RPG's recreations of familiar Knightmare characters - Treguard (RPG), Mrs. Grimwold (RPG) and Automatum, to name three - is Merlin. He was the first Dungeon character ever to be encountered in a Knightmare RPG, thanks to his appearance in Quest 1 of RPG Season 1. He was seen throughout RPG Season 2 in blue robes with a black beard (as drawn by Lucy a.k.a. Sidriss Starshine), and trapped by the Unholy King during the final quest - but escaped and lived to forget another day.

After first playing Merlin at the filming of RPG Season 4, Matt denounced the role as 'torture'. His RPG4 cast member autobiography on IKM yielded further details:
 
 [Related Image] 'Seriously, playing Merlin really hurt particularly on my face when the time came to remove my beard, I'll never forget that! The beard was stuck fast, I felt like a patient on an operating table, everyone tugging forcefully at my face made it really sore, it was painful but funny. I could still find bits of glue on my face up until a week after the RPG! ... One last thing, I couldn't afford a real magic wand so I had to use a pencil!'
 
 [Related Image] In spite of these difficulties, Matt reprised the role for the filming of RPG5 in 2003...
 
 [Related Image] ...And again for the RPG Season 6 filming the following year. In doing so, he gave a portrayal that, while acknowledging the great wizard's power, accentuated (perhaps un-intentionally)the old gent's bumbling. This proved infuriating to some, endearingly hilarious to others.

[Earlier version: 2007-12-14 03:25:28]

Provided By: David, 2011-11-05 16:02:27
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4. Merlin
Merlin has been the inspiration behind a number of members' screen names on the Knightmare.com Discussion Forum. Leading the way was MICKY_MERLIN, who joined in February 2003 and accumulated a post count of 3. The following month brought the more simply named merlin, who has made 2 posts to date. In August of 2003, Merlin_the_lunatic signed up, and within days had made his 4th and final post to date. Most of Merlin_the_lunatic's posts speculated about Owen's mysterious "dragon magic" of Knightmare Series 3.

It is a coincidence that these members posted 3, 2 and 4 times, bearing in mind that Merlin appeared in Series 2, 3 and 4. But perhaps not a fascinating coincidence.

Provided By: David, 2009-11-20 20:11:09
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