‘The Winter King’ Episode 6 Recap & Review: Why Did Merlin Leave Dumnonia?

Romance has been subdued so far in the series. There was carnal desire everywhere, but subtle eye glances were missing from The Winter King. The sixth episode adds a little bit of spice to Arthur’s story. In the previous episode, Arthur had to kill Owain, and this episode had us see his angst and regret. He was searching for answers, and he may have put his foot down on the idea of forming the Council of Kings. Convincing King Gorfydd may just bring more trouble into Arthur’s life than he expected. It makes for a calmer episode, but the tension has in no way subsided. One wrong move, and Arthur could jeopardize Britain’s future. Here is a recap of Episode 6:


Spoilers Ahead

How Did Arthur Convince King Gorfydd To Join The ‘Council of Kings’?

Merlin arrived in Dumnonia, and what did he see? Arthur holding Excalibur in his hand, with its tip pierced through Owain’s heart. Owain was the de facto protector of the Edling King. Sure, Uther had appointed Gundleus and Bishop Bedwin as well, but Owain was assumed to be the real protector. Now that he had been killed in the duel, Merlin arrived and didn’t hesitate to name Arthur Dumnonia’s ruler. He was now Britain’s last hope, and Merlin didn’t hesitate to declare the fact in front of Gorfydd and the rest. Arthur’s destiny, according to Merlin, was to be Britain’s savior, but the path he took irked Merlin.


Arthur, after killing Owain, wanted to immediately plunge into Britain’s politics. A move perhaps initiated by him to distract himself from Owain’s death. Merlin was disappointed again by his approach, as he promised to not take the throne and act as Mordred’s protector. In front of Gundleus and Prince Tristan of Kernow, Arthur spoke of the need to be united and be part of a ‘Council of Kings’, an idea he had had in his mind ever since his return. Tristan was already convinced, as Arthur had fought on his behalf. But Gorfydd neither feared the Saxons as much as Arthur did nor had any suspicion regarding his intent. After all, he had gotten rid of the powerful Owain, who had been hand-picked by Uther. That fact aside, Arthur had not released Gundleus, which was an embarrassment for Gorfydd.

In order to get Gorfydd on board, Arthur offered an alliance: he would marry Gorfydd’s daughter, Ceinwyn, in exchange for Gorfydd’s participation in the council. He also told him that he would consider pardoning Gundleus if he offered his loyalty to upholding the council’s tenets. The deal was too good for Gorfydd to refuse, and he became a member of the council with Tristan, Isca, and Arthur.


Why Did Merlin Leave Dumnonia?

Merlin had been shunned by Arthur again, as he did not accept the throne and promised to protect Mordred and be just an overseer until the Edling King came of age. The next thing for Merlin to do was to listen to the gods for help. His vision showed him the ‘Horn of Bran’, of the twelve jewels that, when joined, will help save Britain. Merlin, before leaving for his quest to get the elusive object, told Nimue that the gods were with Arthur and she should drop her anger and resentment towards him. Seeing Excalibur in Arhur’s hands was proof enough, both for Merlin and Nimue. Nimue’s anger had taken another form. She was calmer, but her demeanor indicated that she was waiting for the right moment to kill Gundleus. She was already free of the burden of carrying Gundleus’ child, and that may have helped her become patient with her revenge. But she did reveal her real intentions to Arthur after Merlin went away. Arthur wasn’t too keen on stopping her either. He just wanted the council to work and the Saxons to be defeated. After that, Nimue could exact her revenge in any fashion she wanted.

How Did Nimue Save Derfel?

Lord Owain was a powerful figure. Arthur must have seemed like he was certain that Owain had murdered, looted, and then lied about his raid, but the question remained: how did he grow so certain? There were still many in Dumnonia who were loyal to Owain. Derfel was seen as an oathbreaker, as he had supported Arthur in the duel. These loyalists, led by Raince Ap Annan, wanted Derfel dead for betraying Owain. Derfel wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t been for Nimue, who came and stopped the murdering raiders. Nimue terrified them by showing them their names written on the ‘Curse Tablet’, which signified that their souls were in Nimue’s hand. Raince and his men had to back off, and Derfel survived to see another day. He had his mind set on becoming a warrior for Arthur’s war party and decided to break things with Lunete.


How Did Arthur Meet Lady Guinevere?

The alliance was underway. The wedding ceremony had to happen in King Gorfydd’s land, Powys. The cohort moved from Dumnonia, and the grueling travel began. Derfel had decided to accompany Arthur, and Dumnonia was left to Lord Sagramor. Night fell, and everybody except Arthur could find peace and quiet to rest. Owain’s death was heavy on his mind. He thought of him as his friend, and it was a tragedy that he had to die. Arthur was torn between duty and kinship. Strolling around in a forest at night, he met a woman, who turned out to be Cienwyn’s lady. They had a talk, and immediately something strange took over Arthur. He was smitten, but now wasn’t the time to give in to base instincts.

The wedding ceremony began after the cohort reached Powys. Arthur had gained clarity over Owain’s death after meeting the mysterious lady. He didn’t even know he would see her again, but he was soon to be surprised. Ceinwyn introduced the mysterious lady as Guinevere, who would accompany her to Dumnonia. Lady Guinevere was under Gorfydd’s protection, as he had promised her father to take care of her. But as he needed someone beside Ceinwyn in Dumnonia, he chose her to go with her. All meetings between Arthur and Guinevere were charged with something explosive. Will Arthur upset his now-wife Ceinwyn and risk Gorfydd’s withdrawal from the Council? The next episodes will surely shed light on this new development.


Episode 6 Review

The sixth episode deviated from the violent screams and the battleground approach to each scene. We had Arthur get everyone to agree for once. All except Merlin. Lady Guinevere is cast to perfection. Jordan Alexandra plays her with graceful seduction. The first meeting between her and Arthur is the highlight of the episode, with the imagery having an evocative feel straight out of a fairy tale. Such scenes, which can evoke a feeling of solitude, elevate Arthur’s journey. As of now, everything hangs in the balance, but there is a clear indication that sparks will fly and Arthur will have to rethink his decision to marry Ceinwyn. Excalibur was mentioned, but the narrative was too short to hold significance. Its importance in the series is still unclear. Perhaps after Merlin finds the ‘Horn of Bran’, Excalibur’s significance will be discussed further.

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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.

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The sixth episode deviated from the violent screams and the battleground approach to each scene. We had Arthur get everyone to agree for once. All except Merlin.'The Winter King' Episode 6 Recap & Review: Why Did Merlin Leave Dumnonia?