The Winter King (2023) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

The Saxons are regrouping.
We need to go.
We need to take him home to your father.
Now, Arthur.
Come on!
We need to retreat.
Take him down.
Hey, hey, wait, wait, wait.
We need to talk.
Look, perhaps, er
Perhaps it'd be better
if the rest of us
You know, why don't you let us?
Hey, listen to me.
Arthur, stop!
Let us take the prince to your father.
I will do it.
He won't welcome you for this.
Sorry for the loss of
your son, High-King.
Sorry for the loss of my brother.
The prince died a hero,
felling Saxon by the dozen.
You were ambushed?
Yes, Father.
White Horse Plain.
Who led you there?
tell me it wasn't the prince.
Tell me
that that's not his legacy.
Answer me!
If I may, great King,
Arthur held the ground
at the river, had he not
done that, we almost certainly
- would have been overwhelmed
- One more word.
You think holding your
tongue makes you loyal?
Worthy of my blood?
Let us retire, High-King.
The Saxons outflanked us south and west.
We were forced into open ground.
The plain was our only path.
A land without an heir is a cursed one,
but you are still young, my king.
More than able to sire an heir
if the Lord our God wills it.
But the fate of the kingdom
is only as secure
as the guard that
is placed on their child.
And when the time comes
Father, I will lead that guard.
If it pleases you.
If it pleases me?
You truly are
my bastard.
You not only failed in your first task
to protect the prince, but
now you offer yourself up
as a defender of the land?
The protector of the people?
I offer myself as your servant.
You are the son of a whore.
Coveting is all you know.
Coveting, begging and conniving,
just like your mother!
You dishonor her and yourself.
Give me your sword.
If this pleases me! If this pleases me!
The Saxon
ever vigilant, he caught us sleeping.
He stole across the land like
Like night itself and
they glutted the ground
with our blood.
You'd think we'd know by now.
You'd think we'd be ready.
Year upon year they weaken
us like louse in a beam.
And now, the beam is cracking.
It's breaking.
I can
I can hear it.
And here you all are.
The tribal kings and
queens of this great isle.
Thank you for coming so far and fast.
Every tribal king, bar
Gorfydd and Gundleus,
but I don't expect miracles.
Gorfydd is too proud
and Gundleus, like all Silurians,
too drunk on murder and
pillage to be much missed.
Not when I have friends
like this.
Truly, Bishop,
I am blessed.
And I'm a little surprised too.
When the Saxon first
darkened our shores,
I, as ruler and high-king of this isle,
sought your aid.
I begged for it.
Did you answer my call
King Tewdric?
- No, High-King.
- No, no, no, no, no, no.
You sat that one out.
You let Dumnonia fight for you.
Die for you!
Oh, King Cadwys.
Did you fight at Dumnonia's side?
- No, my king.
- No, no, no, no, no, no.
Because your daughter
was getting married
and the preparations were vexatious?
How can I earn your forgiveness?
None of you are Dumnonia's friend.
You resent us.
The reach of Dumnonia's realm.
You resent our crops,
our minerals, our men
You resent us!
You hate us.
But surely, surely,
you hate the Saxon more.
I've felt more fealty from my dog.
From my bastard!
And now you show your faces.
When it's too late and my son is dead,
and when it matters not.
But the next time I call upon you
you remember this day.
You remember
your high-king.
Banish him!
From Dumnonia and all of Britain.
And be warned the fool who
gives him aid or shelter.
You have lost one son today.
The Gods would not see you lose another.
The Gods, Merlin
or you?
Let me bear Mordred to Avalon.
There he will be nearer to the gods
when I convey him to their care.
Arthur! Wait, wait, wait!
- Hold up, hold up, hold up.
- No, sir.
- You know you can't.
- Give me a minute, please!
Just to say goodbye. Please.
Let me say goodbye to my friend.
still dominates the isle,
but my father is complacent.
- He is blind.
- Shh, shh, shh.
You will win my father's ear, Owain.
Make him see the error of his ways.
Me? I'm not going to be
able to win his ear
My father ignores half the Tribe Kings.
He must unite them.
Even Siluria and Powys
cement their support for the coming war.
I don't understand, what do you mean?
Let's go.
- Come on, let's go!
- One minute, please!
One minute!
So help me! One minute!
How exactly are we meant
to defeat the Saxons?
First you contain them,
then you hold the line here.
I mean, how are we supposed
to defeat the Saxons
without you?
If one Saxon sets foot west of Calleva,
then we are doomed.
Dumnonia and all the tribes.
Let's go. Come on. Let's go.
Who's here?
Hold on. I'm coming.
Stay still, stay still.
This won't hurt.
You're going to make it.
You are a warrior.
On the count of three.
Think I was joking when
I told him to banish you?
Thank you, Hywel.
His wounds are deep, Merlin.
So what possessed you to bring him here?
He's dying.
You told me once
"Avalon is home to those who do not fit
and have no wish to belong."
His wounds.
What do you see in him, Nimue?
The stakes of a death pit.
The only survivor
of a raid to the north.
Where to the north?
Fishing village near the border.
We saved the isle from the Saxon
and they thank us with
endless raids and plunder.
Hywel, take him inside.
look after him.
Well, your timing was reliably terrible.
What was I supposed to do?
In grief and guilt, he lashed out.
You gave him a target.
Sending Mordred to
quell a border skirmish
would be foolish enough.
Sending him to fight
- the Saxons in open battle
- Don't speak ill of my brother.
- He spoke ill of you often
- Merlin
and he had none of your gifts.
Not even the quick mouth.
You see what must be done,
today, tomorrow.
You make others feel slow, sluggish.
Nothing fosters enemies like envy.
Banishment will suit you, Arthur.
Shape you.
Mold you into the man the
gods would have you be.
Don't squander it.
Embrace it.
Banishment's not to be undertaken
on an empty stomach.
I need to take care of your wounds.
I must leave Dumnonia.
No one will begrudge you one last meal.
Ointment on those bruises.
My king has commanded it.
Very well.
Try not to get yourself killed.
When you offer counsel of that caliber,
I listen.
nurture him
as you did me.
Until I see you again.
Muder. Muder.
He's Saxon.
But he's from one of our settlements.
So he must be a slave.
Him and his mother, wherever she may be.
Your mother's gone.
Our tongue will be your tongue.
We'll call you Derfel.
It means strong.
Will he live?
Do you think Arthur
might come this year?
They say he's gone as far as Gaul.
And his punishment still stands.
You're bound together
wherever Arthur may be.
Merlin says there'll
be betrothals tonight.
- Ralla and Culwyn.
- Hmm.
- I pity her.
- Hmm?
He has a body of a dumpling
and the mind of a child.
She has a brain.
So he will love and cherish her
and she can make all the decisions.
- What's that?
- Merchants and hawkers
coming for the festival.
Lady Morgan.
Merlin is waiting.
There are preparations for tonight.
My lady, you're here for the festival?
There are other girls in Avalon, Derfel.
Girls who can be truly yours.
Got a minute?
That one.
Almost time to hoist the bull.
You make it sound so much fun, Father.
And so easy.
I'm not doing it this year. I'm not.
Hmm, you said that last year.
Is this what you're wearing?
Ah, I'll fetch you something.
You wanted to speak to me?
Be careful.
Steady now.
When Lady Morgan visits,
she gets everyone working.
Derfel, I want to ask you something.
I have no son.
No heir.
I'm not getting any younger.
What would you feel about,
er, taking on the farm?
One day?
Hywel, I'm not sure yet
what my path is.
You'd need some time to think about it.
All I ask is you don't throw me out.
How about a stint manning
the vats and dyeing some wool?
I did that at your age.
With all respect to Merlin,
that's where Avalon's heart truly beats.
On my travels, people ask me,
"What is Avalon?"
We are not richer,
We are merely closer to the gods.
The heavens!
The Fates!
To the life beyond.
In that we are blessed.
Come on, Ralla. Come on.
Come on. It's our wedding day.
Next solstice we should bind hands.
What, Nimue?
What? What can you see?
Tell me, Nimue.
Can you see?
What is it? What is it?
The Gods
they want me to choose.
Choose between you or them.
And they won't wait for an answer.
Nimue, listen to me very carefully.
In time, you will be
the most powerful druid
Dumnonia has ever known.
That is certain.
And with Britain so divided,
you will be needed in
the dark times ahead.
But the road there will be hard.
Your gift is sacred to the gods.
Your life must be a
solitary one, without
union and without child, or
Or you will lose your gifts.
What if I refuse?
Then the gods won't speak to you again.
How can I deny who I am?
How can I deny my path?
This mark of Siluria,
why do you wear it?
I was their slave.
Muder! Muder!
- No, Muder!
- I'm coming, son!
Are you drunk?
I just want to be alone.
Come on. Come on.
Come on!
Hold on. I'm coming.
I'm coming.
Stay still, stay still. You're safe now.
You're safe now.
You're going to make it.
You're a fighter.
You're a warrior.
You're a warrior.
Where have you been?
Why did you rush off?
It doesn't matter.
I'm sorry.
- What's going on?
- Queen Norwenna is in labor.
You'll ride with us, Derfel.
We could do with the extra help.
Morgan, take the cross
from Queen Norwenna.
Get out! Get out!
How dare you! Leave him be!
Give it to me.
Give it to me!
The fires, Derfel.
Help them set the fires.
Hold her.
Let's go.
Can I help?
Yes. Grab some logs.
What are you doing?
When Caer Cadarn lights its fires,
all Britain takes heed.
Come on. There's more to do.
Is it a boy?
It is.
But he's crippled.
His foot twisted.
He will never run.
Well, kings don't run, Merlin.
They walk. They ride.
- They rule.
- It's not his foot that concerns me.
It's his nature.
There is evil in him.
It will grow and fester
with every passing year.
He will bring death
and ruin to the kingdom,
and the Saxon will take the isle.
When I held him,
I saw a man who butchers his own people.
I saw the end of Dumnonia
and the whole of Britain.
My high-king.
He has my father's eyes.
The poison
isn't in the child, Merlin.
It's in you.
You have another son.
A bastard, yes, but a
man other men will follow.
You dare mention his name?
Seek Arthur out.
The isle has known nothing but peril
since you banished him.
Seek him out and beg his forgiveness.
You will take the newborn
to your Avalon.
He is different after
all. He is special.
He'll thrive there and
be out of harm's way.
And you will see to it personally.
If you're too proud to send
for Arthur, I'll go myself.
You walk away now
and you're never coming back.
So be it.
Someone must bring Arthur home.
Far and wide
spread the word.
the Kingdom of Kingdoms, has a new heir.
Prince Mordred.
Merlin! Merlin, what did you see?
What did you see?
I saw fire, slaughter, ruin.
A land enslaved by a tyrant.
I saw the death of Britain.
That child will do the Saxons' bidding.
Only Arthur can stop him.
I should have brought him home sooner.
Why? Why, Arthur?
He is of the blood.
A true Pendragon. He
alone has the vision,
the authority to bind the tribes
and vanquish our foes.
You must take my place, Nimue.
Protect the pagan, thwart the Christian
and defend Avalon at all costs.
But I'm not ready, nowhere near.
Fate has forced our hand
but you are more than ready.
You will speak to and for the gods.
Be their vessel and their voice.
But the price of this
power is your solitude.
Remember that.
The prince and Queen Norwenna.
- Thank you.
- Uther's sending them to Avalon.
But what's Avalon without Merlin?
Has he really gone for Arthur?
What Merlin says and what he does
are not always the same.
But he has gone.
Leaving now,
if you please.
Ligessac, head of the King's Guard.
They'll be watching over
the prince and the queen.
I, er
I can't go.
I found work here.
Doing what?
Tending the horses.
How did you get this position anyway?
You don't know anyone here.
I'm going to stay here.
Learn to fight.
Become a warrior like Arthur.
- Why?
- Nimue,
We need to go.
Well, when your work
brings you to Avalon,
I expect a visit.
Come on!
You know, there are very
strict rules about who can
and can't come in
here. Do you know that?
Just kidding.
Go on then. Tell me. How many times?
Just tonight.
Tonight and every night
for the past two months.
Aye, except last Sunday,
when the bishop said
See, your cuts aren't bad,
but you're way too close.
You're never gonna thrust like that.
Do you know who I am?
You're Lord Owain, sir.
- Arthur's friend.
- That's right.
How about you tend to my
horses every now and again?
Perhaps one day I'll teach you
how to use that thing properly.
Sound good?
Yes, sir.
Go on then.
State your business.
We're men of God,
come to pay our respects
to the high-king.
Oh, aye?
Well, unless I'm very much mistaken,
you lot are Silurians.
Well, we bring only ourselves
and our good intentions.
That's a yes then.
I'm surprised you lot dared to come.
King Gundleus of Siluria.
Can I speak, my high-king?
The rapes, the raiding parties,
the burned-out villages
and broken pledges
He and Siluria deserve nothing
but the fiercest retribution.
Let's slit his throat
when we have the chance.
If Arthur deserved banishment and exile,
then he deserves a fate 100 times worse.
We keep our enemies close.
I've come to pledge my
allegiance, High-King.
I come to make peace.
- Peace?
- Hmm.
You have blood on your hands,
the blood of our women and children.
By the mercy of our Lord
my hands are clean.
You think Siluria's treachery
can be forgotten with empty gestures?
- Kill him.
- Blood for blood.
Set me a challenge.
A test worthy of my crimes
and my debt to you.
Your uncle, Gorfydd
has been plundering
our borders for months.
And you will see to it
that he never does it again.
I will win your trust
as I won the Lord's
forgiveness, by word and deed.
Do you think your cross
and conversion interests me,
or convinces me?
It's your brutality I prize.
Your violence
and your resemblance to a starving rat.
Now that's the Gundleus
I'll be sending to Powys.
- Understood?
- Understood.
You honor me, and all of Siluria.
More than that
you humble me with your
grace and forgiveness.
Do that, Gundleus,
and Dumnonia will forgive
you all your past sins.
Muder! Muder!
Where is your lord?
And who are you?
- An old friend.
- Come with me.
He took a spear cut to his cheek today.
He can't see properly in a helmet.
That's what he says.
If the Frank had
thrust an inch higher
There's no telling him.
There never was.
Seems you know him well.
We fought together since he led
his first war party for King Ban.
He kills like no man I've ever seen.
But he likes to be clean after.
- Merlin!
- Arthur.
It's good to see you, Arthur.
You too, my friend.
Come home, Arthur.
Only you can save the isle.
Come home.
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