The Real Reason Merlin’s Last Season Was Controversial

By Nina Phillips | Published


For four amazing seasons of Merlin, we were honored with amazing stories of dragons, magicians, and friendship. Then, Season 5 came out, and ruined pretty much the whole story. Not because the ending was weak or poorly conceived. The reason Season 5 of Merlin was so bad is that the story felt like it was all for nothing by the end.

Merlin’s Big Death


There were a lot of things wrong with season five of Merlin. For one, it is obvious that the story was rushed to make it all fit into 13 episodes. Because of this, there are many plot holes, loose ends, and some questionable character actions.

However, none of that is what made the last season the absolute worst. What really sealed the deal was the ending, the death of Arthur.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against major character death in media. I do have a bit of a masochistic side for shows that will completely gut me at the end.

But with Merlin, this kind of ending just didn’t feel right. The whole Arthurian legend centers around Arthur and Merlin making Camelot an amazing place. Throughout the show as well, this ending is heavily hinted at.

While I do suppose that Camelot becomes a better place, we never get to see it. Right as Arthur is turning into the great king he’s meant to be, he dies.

Gwen’s Promise Goes Unfulfilled

While that’s bad enough, it’s not the worst part. We, as the audience of Merlin, were told that one day Merlin and Arthur would lead a happy Camelot where magic wasn’t to be feared.

Though I sincerely hope that Gwen did her husband right and led Camelot to that golden age, we never get to see it. There isn’t even a hint that she fulfilled that destiny.

Merlin’s Death Would Make More Sense Than Arthur’s


Even a quick timeline through the future of Camelot after Arthur dies where humans and magic users are in peace would have been better. Or, if the directors really wanted us to be traumatized by death, having Merlin die just as Arthur began to accept magic would have been a great option.

It would have allowed the directors to still wrap up the show and give us a painful ending. But Arthur would have lived, which meant that Merlin fulfilled his duty and Camelot would go on to be a better place, as we were promised throughout Merlin.

What Was The Point?

Throughout the whole show, Merlin had a goal to protect Arthur and help him turn into the great king. When Arthur died, it didn’t feel like that happened. It wasn’t a win, it was a defeat.

At the end of the show, as Arthur was breathing out his last few breaths, I was left sitting there, wondering what the point of the first four seasons was. Why did we get a story about a man who failed at all his tasks?

We Were Left Feeling It Was Meaningless

The ending of Merlin reminded me a lot of Sisyphus, pushing a rock uphill again and again. No matter how much Merlin and his friends changed, and how hard they worked to save Arthur and the kingdom, it didn’t mean anything in the end.