‘The Winter King’ Episode 10 Recap & Ending Explained: Was It Blood Or Wine In The Horn Of Bran?

Following Arthur’s journey, we have certainly come a long way, seeing the man tackle all the challenges he faced. In The Winter King Season 1 finale, he had not one but two tasks, both of which could prove deadly if not done right. Firstly, there was the deal with the Saxons. He was going to meet Aelle himself, and that too with just the tin gained from Kernow. After that challenge, he had to find Derfel before he perished in his quest to rescue Nimue from the Isle of Death. Derfel had left Dumnonia after he found out that Arthur had banished Nimue from the lands. This left Arthur without a Saxon translator, a department where Guinevere helped a little, although when Aelle came to meet Arthur, it turned out he spoke the British tongue rather well.


Spoilers Ahead

How Did Derfel Find Nimue?

Derfel reached southern Dumnonia, a desolate region beside the sea known as the Isle of Death. There, he saw two guards throwing a prisoner into the pit of death. Could Nimue have met a similar fate? Derfel had to figure that out. The guards could be extremely dangerous, and Derfel made the call to go into the pit, staying clear of the guards. He then took the leap of faith and jumped into the dark pit himself, never knowing how he would ever come out. He didn’t find Nimue straightaway, as he encountered the other prisoners, most of whom had been banished by Uther. There were children in the pit, and Derfel was perplexed as to how there could be innocent children in such a condition. Their mothers had been banished while they were pregnant. There were only women to be found in the pit, signifying Uther’s misogyny. When Derfel mentioned Nimue, one of the women told him that Nimue had risked her life by going to the other side of the tunnel, where evil forces waited to prey on humans. Derfel risked his own life, followed the path, and finally found Nimue, who attacked him as she was scared herself and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.


Why Did Gunievere Offer Aelle The Land Of Ratae?

Arthur cared about Derfel, but he couldn’t have gone to the Isle of Death without having made the deal. The Saxons were going to form an alliance with Gorfydd. Arthur knew he had to stop that from happening. Guinevere followed Arthur on his journey because she loved him and knew that there was a chance that Aelle might do him harm. Also, she spoke the Saxon tongue—only a little bit, though. But that didn’t make a difference. Aelle arrived and laughed at Arthur’s intention of breaking off the alliance. He wasn’t purely a man of reason. Spilling blood and breeding chaos was the Saxons’ prime motivation, it seemed, which is why Aelle took Guinevere hostage, and when Arthur resisted, he proceeded with the intent to murder him. Seeing this, Guinevere blurted out the only thing that would have stopped Aelle—the Land of Ratae. Aelle was interested, but he had never been able to take Ratae, as it was guarded in a unique way. Guinevere promised to help him with its inner workings, essentially giving Ratae away to Aelle, which was totally forbidden by Arthur. In a way, Arthur was in no spot to call the shots. Guinevere did apologize to him, but Arthur knew that he wouldn’t have survived having just offered the tin.

How Did Sansum Influence Morgan?

Morgan was left in Dumnonia to manage its daily affairs, and she found something rather disturbing. She saw Sansum conduct a baptism ceremony, making Christians out of all the workers in Dumnonia. Morgan immediately asked Sansum to stop. Sansum, finding Morgan alone and distressed, asked her to have faith in the God he believed in. Morgan countered him with the fact that Sansum’s God was invisible while her gods were there in their visions and dreams. They spoke to Merlin and the other druids. Sansum persuaded and pointed at her own discomfort with existence. Morgan was going through a lot, and she did need some comfort. She had just lost Bedwin and now had only Mordred by her side to care for. Sansum stopped with the idea of Christianity and requested that she just read the poems in the book written in the glory of his God. His sincerity caught Morgan off guard, and she accepted the book. She started to find comfort in reading the poems, which pleased Sansum to no end.


How Did Arthur Save Derfel And Nimue?

Aelle’s blade was just a whisker away from Arthur’s neck when Guinevere made the deal. He couldn’t hold it against her. They both professed their love for each other, and Guinevere had to let Arthur go on another quest where he would have to look for Derfel. Arthur first confronted the guards, one of whom told them about the pit where the prisoners were thrown to die. Arthur couldn’t believe the inhumanity that Uther had allowed and made the decision to release the prisoners. Arthur, along with the warrior Sagramore, reached the end of the passage, which was closed by a rock wall, where Derfel was expected to have reached if he was following the trail out of the pit. Breaking the wall was impossible, but Arthur had Excalibur in his scabbard. He managed to break through the wall at the exact same time when Derfel and Nimue had been attacked by the evil men the women had told Derfel about. The sunlight shooed the savages away, and Derfel and Nimue survived. They were taken out of the passage onto free land, but Nimue was in no mood to forgive Arthur. According to her, he had done what he had done just to assuage his guilt, and she planned to never come back to Avalon. Arthur apologized, and Nimue saw the futility of living alone. Nimue saw the honesty in Arthur’s eyes and agreed to return.

Arthur returned back to Dumnonia, and took an oath by carving Aelle’s name on a rock. This was a tradition which indicated the gravity of his resolve. He had essentially made a pact with himself to kill Aelle, get Ratae back from the Saxons and restore order in Britain. Meanwhile, Merlin was back in the scheme of things as in the end, he too showed up, having found the Horn of Bran. Merlin had left Dumnonia in search of the magical artifact, one of the thirteen magical pieces required to start the spell of joining Britain. As soon as he held it, the Horn got filled up with a red liquid, leaving us unsure if it was wine, which it was traditionally imagined to get filled up with, or blood. In any case, the red drops spilled on the ground, seeming to be an allusion to the coming time of war. Arthur seemed to be gaining immense magical power through Excalibur (without which he would have never broken the wall), which again symbolizes that he is ready for such a war, and his oath against Aelle, might just be the perfect catalyst for it.


Episode 10 Review

The entire season was, in a way, an introduction to Arthur. His weaknesses and strong points are in front of us now. The legendary tale was brought to us with the intention of presenting Arthur’s story in an exciting and gritty fashion, reigniting the passion with which people have narrated his story over the years. The Winter King‘s final episode left us with the feeling that Arthur was a flawed man, but he wasn’t egotistical enough to never apologize for his mistake. The other episodes had shown that he gave in to temptation once in a while and threw temper tantrums as well, but this episode was clear that he knew how to resolve conflict. First with Guinevere and then with Nimue, he made the right calls with both of them. If the series is renewed for a second season, we might see more of Merlin in it, as it was implied that he would return. If Arthur can grow in love with Guinevere and she doesn’t leave his side, it seems Britain will be united under his rule with Merlin’s help. The episode echoed the sentiments of the entire series in a way, with the performances and the direction of the scenes remaining at par with other series of this kind. The production value could be enhanced, and the writing can definitely be made better, with each scene having a clear purpose in the grander scheme of things in a way. 

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

Latest articles