‘The Winter King’ Episode 7 Recap And Review: How Did Gundleus Find Out Derfel’s Real Identity?

The seventh episode of The Winter King brought home the feeling that Arthur wasn’t as infallible as he was made out to be. It is the first time in the series that Arthur makes an escape like a thief in the night. The fact that even Arthur could go wrong or take a U-turn on a decision that he had once taken with such vigor shows that his journey has just started. The episode gave us insights into the gender dynamics in Arthur’s time and how alliances were formed between kingdoms. Arthur was to marry Ceinwyn for the alliance to work, but Guinevere’s entry complicated things a bit. Now the ball was in Arthur’s court, and he made a decision that could destabilize all of Britain.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Arthur Struggle In Powys?

The flame in Arthur’s heart was about to turn into a wildfire. In the previous episode, he had married Ceinwyn, but it was only in this new one that we saw him restless, for he now knew that he had committed a mistake. The lovers’ rings were exchanged, but Arthur’s heart was pining for Guinevere. This trip to Powys had shaken his confidence, and could he now change his course and get back to Dumnonia? On the one hand, he was struggling with his inherent moral perfectionism, and on the other hand, he wanted to follow his heart. He confided in Bishop Bedwin, telling him how he didn’t love Ceinwyn, as though he had forgotten that alliances are made for the greater good of the kingdoms and not for love. Bedwin begged him not to break off the marriage, as that would be disastrous. Gorfydd wasn’t an especially emotional man and didn’t really care for Ceinwyn either, but he did care about his image, and Arthur’s move to call everything off might push Gorfydd into taking an extreme step.


How Did Gundleus Find Out Derfel’s Real Identity?

While Arthur was struggling with his temptations, Derfel was trying hard to control him. He had restrained himself because of Arthur, or he would have surely gone after Gundleus. The old wounds were reopened when Derfel saw his mother’s knife in Ladwys’ hands. Gundleus had raped and killed Derfel’s mother and given away her knife to Ladwys. Ladwys knew that the boy was after something, but Derfel’s lost eyes made it hard for her to understand what he wanted from her. She had to confront him herself, and it was only then that Derfel could mumble out the truth. Ladwys too got to know about Gundleus’ past crimes, and being a druid herself, she sensed the bad omens surrounding Gundleus. She gave the knife back to Derfel and warned Gundleus not to attack Derfel. Gundleus, being the man he is, grew restless knowing that someone was out for revenge. He attacked Derfel, but he was overpowered instead. Arthur came just in the nick of time to intervene, but it became clear that Gundleus had grown weak. His death was looming around the corner, and he had to be careful lest he take a single false step.

Why Did Gorfydd Confront Gundleus?

Ceinwyn had been promised to Gundleus, or so he remembered, but now Gorfydd was marrying her off to Arthur. Gorfydd was perturbed by Gundleus’ presence, as he had proved to be an untrustworthy man. Not in the sense that Gundleus wouldn’t do something Gorfydd had asked him to do, but that he did something so bizarre that put Gorfydd in a tough spot. Gorfydd had only asked him to bring the Edling King to him, but not only did he kill a baby in Avalon, he also murdered Queen Norwenna and raped Nimue. The habit that Gundleus carried with him from his pillaging years was creating difficulties for Gorfydd. He gave assent to Gundleus to leave for Siluria and marry Ladwys. Later, of course, he had to take back his own orders because of what Arthur did.


Why Did Arthur Escape?

Arthur was clear in his mind. He couldn’t take Ceinwyn to Caer Cadarn and then have a secret affair with Guinevere. He had started to believe in the power of love and how one should marry only for love. This was quite uncharacteristic of him, but ‘the heart wants what it wants’, as they say. Guinevere had to feel the heat as well when Ceinwyn openly disclosed to her that she was willing to share Arthur with him. This pained Guinevere, but there was no denying that Arthur and Guinevere had crossed their boundaries. There was no polite way left for anyone. Feelings were being hurt, and Arthur had to make a call. Now that Ceinwyn knew of Arthur’s true desire, he decided to have a tete-e-tete with her where he could explain his decision. Ceinwyn, who was so fond of Arthur that she didn’t want Gorfydd to harm him, even though Arthur had hurt her, told him about Gorfydd’s nature and how she suspected him to have killed her mother. There was no compulsion placed on Arthur from Ceinwyn’s side, but she did warn Arthur that he would have to escape with Guinevere in the night if he wanted to save her life. On his  way to Caer Cadarn, Arthur married Guinevere and started to prepare for Gorfydd’s response.

Episode 7 Review

The Winter King seems to be in its second half of the season. Merlin, Nimue, and Morgan seemed to be of no interest in this episode, as the episode spent all its time carving out Arthur’s romance with Guinevere. Some of the shots were meticulously planned, and yet the lighting seems to be a little off in some frames. The night sequences are too dark at times, and the show doesn’t manage to pull off the sunrise very well, which starts to seem like it’s been lit to look like a rainy day in London. The performances were good, and at last Gorfydd, played by Aneirin Hughes, came into his own, and Hughes got to show his acting chops, modulating his voice to perfection. The Winter King is nicely set up for the next episode, as it would be interesting to see Morgan’s reaction to seeing Arthur come to Caer Cadarn as a newlywed man.


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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 Winter King is nicely set up for the next episode, as it would be interesting to see Morgan’s reaction to seeing Arthur come to Caer Cadarn as a newlywed man.'The Winter King' Episode 7 Recap And Review: How Did Gundleus Find Out Derfel's Real Identity?