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23 February 2010 @ 02:56 pm
Sweetest Downfall: An Uther/Morgana Season 2 Picspam  
Here is a massive (53 photos!) picspam that I made for merlin_land  (Team Morgana ftw!), centered on the epic tragedy that is the relationship between Uther/Morgana, especially in season 2.  I had the Regina Spektor song "Samson" in mind while making this, as IMO Morgana is Uther's sweetest downfall, and the same is true of Uther for Morgana.  Whether you view them romantically or platonically (I enjoy both), I think they are one of the most fascinating dynamics of the show, and this was one of the few relationships on the show that did not utterly disappoint me in season 2. ;)

So in this spam I analyze and trace their relationship (especially its fall) through almost every scene of significance between them in season 2.  Caps by Emma-Jane taken from here.  Enjoy!


Here was the first major U/M interaction of the season, in this touching scene in which Uther's love and adoration for Morgana is so utterly clear.  Earlier in the episode he says that if something were to happen to Morgana, he would die a bit inside, and you can see his relief at her safe return here, especially the way he closes his eyes as he holds her close in the first shot.  I love the way he affectionately touches her face (something he does time and time again on the show), and then feels compelled to go in for a second hug in the end! 

Morgana, while much more tentative towards him in this scene, given her earlier expressed fears about her magic, still seems to take some comfort from his embraces.  Thus we begin season 2 with Uther openly concerned for Morgana, while Morgana begins to feel more and more hesitant and uncertain towards him, but still deep down loves and cares for him.

In the very next episode we see yet another heartfelt reunion between Uther and Morgana after Morgana has been separated from him and in danger. I especially love the shot of him with his arms open, ready to embrace her. Uther is normally a very reserved man, keeping his emotions close to his chest, rarely hugging or showing affection towards Arthur (so that Arthur even believed as per 1x09 that he was a disappointment to his father). But with Morgana Uther throws all reserve to the winds--he is constantly hugging her and touching her affectionately on the show, here stroking/holding her face once again.

I love the different, softer, more emotional and vulnerable side of Uther that only Morgana regularly brings out in him. She is definitely one of his greatest weaknesses, as this episode emphasizes all too clearly by the fact that Uther's enemy decides to exploit that weakness by kidnapping Morgana and holding her for ransom--clearly Uther's especial love and concern for Morgana is well known....

In this scene though we also see more tension between them than in the last one, as Morgana is upset and distressed with Uther for refusing to help her dear friend and maid Gwen, because she is only a servant. This theme of Morgana's frustration with Uther's class snobbery and refusal to help those in need because he considers them to be unimportant has come up before, though sadly this is the only time it comes up this season. Thus this scene highlights both the affection and the common strains/conflicts between them.

On a more shallow shipper note, I particularly enjoy the last shot I included here, with her resting her hand on his arm to get him to turn around as she pleads with him on Gwen's behalf. ;) Even without a shipper lens, she is once again using her wiles to manipulate him into doing the right thing, trying to push the right buttons. This is perhaps the only scene in season 2 in which we see Morgana playing her role of season 1 as Uther's conscience.

Here I put together three different scenes from episode 2x07.  In both of the first two scenes we see Morgana reacting to Uther's hardline magical crackdown and investigations with increasing fear and alarm.  The events of this episode make Morgana feel ever more uncertain and worried about how Uther would react to the knowledge of her having magic.  Despite his earlier evident affection in 2x03 and 2x04, his actions in 2x07--especially his turning so readily against his longtime loyal friend Gauis--increase Morgana's doubts and fears about whether Uther hates magic more than he cares for her, until they override all signs of his love for her in her mind. 

In 2x12 she states to Morgause that the reason she wanted him dead was because she believed that he no longer cared for her --her fall from grace is all about Uther and her complicated relationship with him, in other words (he is her downfall!).  She probably decided to hate him so that it wouldn't matter if he didn't love her, she wouldn't have cause to feel hurt and afraid.  And I think that it is in this episode that her doubts and fears begin to overpower her reason and positive experiences of affection with Uther, especially in the scenes I highlight.

However in the final scene I show we see that Uther does indeed still love and care for Morgana and her safety, as seen in the fear and alarm on his face when the Witchfinder begins threatening her with the knife.  I kind of see that last cap as Uther thinking, "whoa, shit just got real!" ;)  Suddenly so much more is at stake for him, for the third time a villain realizes and exploits Uther's attachment to Morgana for their own ends, understanding that she is his weakness.

Uther and Morgana did not interact much during 2x08, but here we get our final glimpse of the state of Uther and Morgana's relationship before its final disintegration in 2x11. They are sitting together to watch Arthur compete, but the tension between them is palpable, especially in the middle two shots. While some of their tension probably comes from the danger Arthur is in, I think it also speaks volumes about how they feel about each other at this moment. They are no longer as comfortable with one another as they once were, they've grown even farther apart.

I admit, the shipper in me also loves how much Morgana looks like his queen in this scene, sitting by his side, and especially the last shot in which they are inadvertently making the same gesture with their hand as they watch the fight! ;) Even if viewed in a platonic light, this scene shows again the place Morgana has as the foremost woman in Uther's life and at his court. It still angers me that we never saw any exploration of how Morgana felt at being replaced by Katrina in this function in 2x05-2x06.

And here we have "the break-up" scene, when Morgana finally breaks with Uther once and for all, saying she disowns him and no longer knows him after he insists on executing Alvarr during their final fight. I noticed that the fifth cap is the last time we see Uther and Morgana in the same frame, sadly. :( This whole scene breaks my heart to itty bitty pieces, especially thanks to Anthony Stewart Head's wonderful facial expressiveness. His face just looks so shocked and vulnerable and devastated as she walks out on him, before he quickly turns away, and then he looks so lost and forlorn, standing all alone there in his Great Hall--alone because he drove away one of the people he loves most in the world.

(Sorry, I forget who made this gif!)

Then here we have their last interaction on the show--Morgana coming into the hall after Uther has heard news of Alvarr's escape, defiantly flaunting her involvement, her open betrayal of Uther. Yet though it's clear that Uther realizes she has betrayed him, he does not admit it, but merely warns her about any future betrayals--we finally learn once and for all that he does love her unconditionally, that even when she openly betrays him, he can't bring himself to punish her or hurt her. I think in Morgana's face at the very end we see a little surprise, as she realizes perhaps that she miscalculated, was wrong about how he'd react--but it's too late now, she's already broken off from him, and cast her lot with his enemies...

Despite vowing that she wanted Uther dead to Morgause earlier, in the scene here she cannot bring herself to slay him herself, even though Arthur has unwittingly given her the means to do so, and nobody is around to see it. You can see how torn and conflicted she is, her old love warring with her new hate for Uther, as she gazes at him, full of indecision, and ultimately does nothing but watch him. I was glad that she did not hate him enough to kill him then and there...I don't know that she can do it, especially not one-on-one. Her feelings of love deep down make it too hard for her, IMO.

Then we see Morgause taking her away, and Uther's shocked and then utterly shocked and horrified expression when he sees his beloved ward disappearing right in front of his eyes--when he realizes that he has lost her, that she is gone. Once again Head's acting is superb, expressing so much with just his face and eyes...

Morgana is not physically in this scene, but the memory of her is palpable, as Uther forlornly holds her things in her room, trying to call up her presence as best he can. I think this scene broke my heart more than any other scene on the show (even the "break up scene"), he expresses so much even though he says so little. You can see that something has died inside him with Morgana gone, as he predicted in 2x03, and his world is much emptier now, he's a broken man. We also see his guilt over losing Morgana, in addition to his mourning. I don't think he will ever forgive himself for losing her.

Besides the emotion conveyed so effectively by Head, I also love how beautifully shot this scene was, with the reflections in the mirror. It's one of my favorite scenes of the show and the season, so I couldn't help capping it here! :)  The scene even inspired me to write a short fanfic in which Uther reminisces about giving Morgana the necklace he is seen holding here.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: "Samson" by Regina Spektor
Lyd: merlin - utherxmorganalydkami on February 23rd, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
OMG. ♥!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amazing pic!spam and what you wrote in between is pretty much what I think so it was even more effective since it kind of totally reflects my views.

Thanks for sharing dear! also your header looks great =)

off to read your fic.
edit: 'cause my typing is going downhill lately XD

Edited at 2010-02-23 10:32 pm (UTC)
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks so much! :D Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way....and I'm glad that I finished it in time with all the caps I wanted to use! Only then of course to see that there was a deadline extension, lol....;) Oh well!

And re: my header thanks, it comes from a lovely wallpaper by the ridiculously talented glenien! :)
(no subject) - lydkami on February 26th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sherrilina on February 27th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lydkami on February 28th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sherrilina on February 28th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lydkami on February 28th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Otemps: HIMYM - Katie faceotempora42 on February 23rd, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
God, the U/M relationship is just so beautifully heartbreaking. This picspam was really good at showcasing that. :) Thanks for sharing!
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And yeah, I think it's definitely the most heartbreaking and tragic relationship on the show, especially since they kind of nipped the potential for other ones in the bud by dropping Morgana's interaction with like everyone this season...
Mel: Merlin - Uther/Morgana (hug)accordingtomel on February 24th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
This is lovely! Seriously. It's a little heart-breaking too, in a way. I honestly didn't really buy the fall-out of the Uther/Morgana relationship this season. I can understand elements of it, but I think it was too rushed in general. (Then again, everything this season was rushed, so....*shrugs*)

The thing that really kills me is that Uther's love for Morgana is actually ridiculously apparent in this season, regardless of whether you see it as platonic or romantic. I do feel for him in that sense. Morgana is his weakness, and in a lot of ways I completely agree with you that Uther is Morgana's weakness!

Anyway, this was aweosme! Thanks for sharing ♥
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks, bb! :)

Yeah, I didn't really buy their fallout either, thanks to the neglect of their storyline ALL season (stupid writers!), it was too rushed and nonsensical, but oh well....it was still more developed than any other Morgana relationship on the show, the only one that didn't totally disappoint me, since they managed to maintain the appropriate tragedy and angst it requires, for the most part. And I tried to make sense of what we did get in the course of this picspam, rationalize a little...

Elven Rangernightswhisper on February 24th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
...You know I still haven't watched the last ep because I was afraid. But you've settled my fears. I will be keeping this picspam in my head for it.

And you made the ending of 2x07 seem like something a little more then a horrible plot device to just throw her in there. Thank you.
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Do you mean you haven't watched 2x12 and 2x13? (Since Morgana isn't even in the last episode, 2x13, sadly). And lol, yeah, I'd say at least 2x12 is worth watching for the Uther angst in the end, as well as other angst....glad to help in any way! :)

And lol, yeah, I did find it lame the way they just threw her in as a damsel in distress at the end, but through doing this and thinking more about it I was glad too to find a little more significance to it (part of the overall pattern of villains exploiting Uther's weakness), which did make it seem slightly less lame.
(no subject) - nightswhisper on February 25th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Uther Pendragon's Loyal Wench: uther morgana - handsfirthgal on February 24th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
Wonderful picspam! You've voiced so many of my thoughts about their relationship in series 2. God, that last scene with Uther in front of Morgana's mirror gets me every time. He looks so tragic! And I freaking love their breakup scene, despite the turmoil that it causes me. I hate how Morgana is acting in that scene, and it's more the writing's fault than anything since the show failed to address their relationship between eps 2x04 and 2x11, but Uther's pain and utter confusion manages to break my heart every single time. He literally has NO CLUE what is up with Morgana, and I think that's what kills me. For once Uther was completely in the right for wanting to execute Alvarr, and then Morgana just completely rips him apart over it. Over freaking Alvarr! *hates Alvarr with a burning passion* I just hate how the show made it look like their breakup was about a boy and not about EVERYTHING ELSE that's been brewing between them. And yet I adore the scene so very much for that last exchange between them and then the shot of Uther looking so completely alone. GUH!

I think in Morgana's face at the very end we see a little surprise, as she realizes perhaps that she miscalculated, was wrong about how he'd react--but it's too late now, she's already broken off from him, and cast her lot with his enemies...

Huh, you know, I never really looked at it like that before. I've always interpreted that look as Morgana daring him to call her out, and then looking smugly satisfied as she realizes she has the upper hand. I felt like that was sort of foreshadowing what their relationship will be like from now on: Uther is too weak to strike back and Morgana will always take advantage of this. I honestly can't wait to see what Uther will do when he finds out about her magic. For me, that scene was saying that he won't be able to kill her, but I don't know if I'm quite so convinced of that anymore, especially if they become full blown enemies during series 3. All I know is, I want Uther to continue being in utter turmoil because he loves Morgana far too much, and I want Morgana to continue being in vengeance/defensive mode because she thinks he doesn't love her.

Sorry, I'll stop babbling now.
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Lol, babble all you want! :p Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it, especially since you were the one who full-on converted me to U/M in the first place with your excellent manifesto! ;)

And I know what you mean about "the break up" scene, I also have a love/hate relationship with it. I mean it's so utterly absurd that it was about freaking ALVARR (ugh, I despise him too, I WANTED Uther to execute him, and he was totally justified in doing so, hello, he was a REBEL actively plotting to assassinate Uther!). I mean seriously writers, you couldn't have picked a true innocent who didn't try to seduce Morgana as her breaking point? (Espacially when you showed her not protesting Gauis's execution at ALL, when she protested his mere dismissal earlier?!). Why couldn't you have made the break-up even about her learning the truth about her sister Morgause, something valid like that? Even Uther stated it was a potential reason for her to turn against him in 2x08, and she then did so without even knowing that info! /rant

I think I enjoy the scene more in gif/picspam form, when I can see the acting and shots and angsty imagery without having to hear the cheesy and horrible dialogue! :p

And I also really hope we see more U/M angst in the future, like how you put it, that sounds wonderful! :D Please writers stop failing and do something like that....don't ignore it completely because Morgana is no longer in Camelot! (Which is what I fear in season 3). In any case I'm not keeping my expectations too high so I won't be as disappointed as with season 2...

I don't think that Uther has it in him to kill Morgana as it is right now, it would be interesting to see if that changes...
Miss Cheese Tweehopsheswatching on February 24th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
this is gorgeous, bb!

I love ASH so much, the way he plays Uther and his facial expressions are fantastic in conveying emotions and thoughts, and you definitely captured that! :D
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
IKR? I've long loved ASH (Giles was my favorite character on BTVS!), I'm so happy that he's still on TV, and in such a great role as Uther! I feel like only ASH can make him so lovable, even as he can be so cruel and harsh at the same time...

And thanks! :)
XRosheen: King Uthersallyna_smile on February 24th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)
This is GREAT!
would you like to share it over merlin_picspam?
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 24th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And sure, I didn't know there was a picspam comm...*joins and posts*
Doris Daytheearthstoodstill: ash :: rocky horrorbringingupsammy on February 25th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Lovely spam, their relationship is one of my favorite things about the show.
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 27th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's one of my favorite things too, obviously, I really hope we still see it somehow next season...

And whoa, your icon, yikes! :p
ravenalegria13: Merlin: Morganaravenalegria13 on February 25th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
I loved it!
visionsbeyond: arthurvisionsbeyond on February 25th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
Beautiful and I totally loved your commentary as well :D
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 27th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. :) Thanks for checking it out...
I forgot my name, and drowned.: [dw] oliver :DDDthedoingofit on February 27th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
I've been out of town so I haven't had a chance to be on LiveJournal at ALL in over a week - obviously I'm going through withdrawal - and I know that I'm late, but I HAD to comment on this because it's so wonderful! Your commentary is perfection ... and I love that you referenced "Samson" - it SO fits and it's one of my favorite Regina Spektor songs! :o) SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS POST! <333
sherrilina: Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on February 27th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! *hug* I appreciate it, glad you enjoyed it! :D And lol don't worry at all about posting late, I understand, and I catch up on posts way late all the time....(in fact, that reminds me, I still owe you a couple of comments on your journal!)

Good to have you back, a week is a long time, yikes! If you have a chance try to post in the last few ML challenges, we're worried that Team Arthur is going to overtake us for second and need all the participation points we can muster! ;)
(no subject) - thedoingofit on February 28th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
apollopriestesskoft2009 on June 29th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
You and I are definitely on the same page w/these 2. I actually fell into the Morgana/Uther shipping after s1, ep12, when they hug, w/the wind, music and capes blending as one. It is still one of my favorite scenes in this entire show, as it metaphorically shows their relationship.

I was also excited to see how they had slowly made a thin string throughout the season of their relationship, where she was clearly acting as Queen; even though she and Arthur did have that one hot scene when she helps him w/his armor. In revisiting those and then seeing that ep12, I was like wait, that was not a father/daughter convo, that was lover to lover convo, mmmm.

I was excited to see that there was some development in the episode when she went to the druids, and again when she was supposedly kidnapped. I was surprised and pleased to see it, I was like; no way, are they really going to pursue this? But they screwed up that season so badly, it's no wonder they skipped a year. The scene w/her openly defying him, you could tell she was doubting once again her feelings about him. But then to skip to her damning him to hell, and then we see a reaffirmation at the end, of what we all knew, that Uther could care less if Morgana has magic, she's the love of his life, after Igraine.

Well I just wrote a huge thing about them after reading the s3 "maybe" spoilers of what I hope to see. But I have written a ton about them, as you will see in my journal. One of my other fave scenes is after she is in that spell, and Uther is useless. But the way he tells her that he could not bear to see her die, and she says she knows, and he says it so passionately, and almost violently, that I was I love them!

But here are my thoughts if you are interested:

and there are a ton from last year too....btw: great picspam
FreeSpiritbuffyangellvr23 on November 9th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Way late, but don't you hate what they did to this ship this season? lol
sherrilina: Uther/Morgana (Merlin)sherrilina on November 9th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Lol, well it's never too late to comment I'd say, but I am curious how you found this/ended up here now! :)

And lol yeah, the writers pretty effectively undermined all my detailed analysis here between the Great Retcon and their thorough character assassination of Morgana, haven't they? *rolleyes* Though on Uther's end at least we still have plenty of love and got some great shippy moments lol (ignoring the Great Retcon that is--it's clear that in all of season 1 and in the original intention she was NOT Uther's daughter, so the writers went and twisted the relationship into something it was not, we shippers are blameless in this instance! ;))--especially since the writers hadn't changed the way they wrote them, for all they claimed they were father/daughter now. Like the kiss in my icon doesn't look very father-daughterly to me, and the "what matters is how we feel, not what the people think" line screams "forbidden love" to any average person.

So in short, I do hate what they've done (though I think Morgana's new OOC totally cold-hearted attitude is more damaging to the ship than the Retcon even), though fuck it, I'm still going to ship it like burning and do fan works for it, even though I might not continue following the show after this season, I just hate the show now.

What about you?