VALIANT (65 x 30')
#1 - "The Dream"
Willem of Thule, Prince Valiant's father, and his men are under
attack by a ruthless tyrant named Cynan. Defeat forces King Willem,
Queen Briana and Prince Valiant to abandon their castle and flee
their rightful home. After a long, arduous journey across the sea
they touch land.
reaching the shore, the small exiled group is met by hostile barbarians.
Again they must fight for their lives. As a reward for their courage,
though, the barbarians allow Willem and his family to live...on
a desolate, remote island in the marshes.
weeks pass, and one night Valiant has a dream. Strange names and
ideas pass through his head: Arthur...Merlin...a round table...Camelot
-- a place where the world is ordered by truth and justice.
by his dream, Valiant, against his father's wishes, sets out alone...to
find Camelot and to one day become a Knight of the Round Table.
issues important to human growth and development which recur throughout
the series are introduced:
Character and value development. Val has been taught by his parents,
through word and deed, to strive for what is good and true. These
values are tested mightily in the struggle against the forces of
evil, the horror of war, and the agony of defeat. While Val exhibits
great courage in battle, he is at times cocky and petulant. When
he arrogantly refuses to adapt to a less-than-princely existence
in the marshes, his adult friend Rolf reminds him that the true
test of a prince is the spirit he shows when all goes wrong -- not
when all goes right.
A conflicted father-son relationship. Like many adolescents, Val
idolizes his father, thinking him invincible, both physically and
morally. This idealistic view is shattered, however, when Willem
gives up the fight against Cynan. Val becomes disillusioned, unable
to comprehend Willem's wisdom in withdrawal to prevent his soldiers
from being massacred. Val wants perfection from his father. "I would
have you make it right," he demands. Conversely, in downplaying
Val's interest in Camelot, Willem wants to keep Val dependent upon
him. Thus Val is torn between a love of father and a striving for
The significance of lofty ideals. Adolescents long for something
worthwhile to which they can commit themselves. Unfortunately, many
do not find it or give up the quest. Val exhibits the courage, despite
the skepticism of others, to pursue his dream of Camelot.
questions young audiences might explore:
Is war ever justified? If so, under what conditions? If not, why
Why are Val and Willem angry with one another? Are these good reasons?
In what ways do Val's mother and father react differently to him?
Do you think this is typical of mothers? Of fathers? Why?
What do you most admire about Val? Least admires?
What is meant by "having a destiny?" Do people today believe in
destiny? Should they? Why? Why not?
#2 - "The Journey"
Valiant, on his quest for Camelot, must contend with all of nature's
wonders and dangers alone until he meets a shy, yet savvy peasant
they battle and defeat a huge river monster, contend with a primitive
ogre from the marsh, and witness the dark side of Camelot in a nightmare
vision brought on by the ogre's mother.
these perils together, Valiant and Arn forge a bond of true friendship.
Valiant, convinced more than ever that Camelot exists, asks Arn
to join him in his search.
nature of friendship and attitudes toward social status are interrelated
themes of particular educational significance in this episode.
Arn denigrates himself because of his humble beginnings and wants
to defer to Val. But Val will have none of this, fully accepting
Arn and insisting that they meet on equal footing. Thus prince and
orphaned peasant become fast friends despite vast differences in
background. As their relationship evolves, it reveals much about
the way their friendship develops. After writing one another off
(Val's Camelot is a wild goose chase; Arn is a dimwit) they find
they need one another in facing hardship. Their skills are complementary:
Arn's practical know-how and Val's ingenuity. Thus they help and
defend one another. And most of all, they come to share the hopes
and values that are embodied in the vision that is Camelot.
questions young audiences may wish to discuss:
What are some of the main reasons Val and Am become friends? What
things do they have in common? How do they help one another?
What does Am feel about his background? How does Val feel about
it? How do you think people feel today about the poor?
Why did the ogre's mother choose to punish Val by making him have
a bad dream about Camelot? Was this an effective punishment? Why?
What does Camelot symbolize or stand for? Do people have such visions
#3 - "The Blacksmith's Daughter"
search of a blacksmith to repair a broken dagger, Valiant and Arn
stumble into a fight in the village of Bridgesford. Robert, the
newly appointed sheriff, is trying to claim the blacksmith's unwilling
daughter, Rowanne, as his wife. Val and Arn rescue Rowanne, but
their lives are endangered when the local baron, Duncan Draconarius,
learns of their quest for Camelot.
of Camelot's New Order, which he knows may overthrow his tyrannical
rule, the Baron attempts to eliminate Valiant and Arn and forever
rid his kingdom of this notion of a New Order. But, he blunders
when insulting Cedric, the blacksmith, his trusting and loyal servant
for many years.
Rowanne's father, helps Vat and Am escape the Baron's threats and
allows Rowanne to join them: not only for her own safety, but also
to pursue her new-found dream of going to Camelot.
Issues related to gender roles and respect for all human beings
are dominant themes in this episode.
the world of Duncan and Robert, people "beneath" them, especially
females and serfs, are regarded as objects to be ordered about,
manipulated, and discarded when they are no longer useful...Val,
Arn, and especially Rowanne forcefully oppose this utter disregard
for human dignity.
Val and Am are scarcely "liberated" young men. They are mesmerized
by Rowanne's unconventional spirit and vitality. Their upbringing
has taught them that "beautiful women should be worshipped...not
given to hard labor." Thus they are astonished by Rowanne's refusal
of this role, her standing up to male authority, her physical prowess,
her skill as an archer, and most of all, her desire to become a
Knight of the Round Table! While they essentially accept her as
a soul-mate who shares their dream of Camelot, it is clear they
have much to learn from this young woman with a mind of her own.
questions for young audiences:
What is the basic attitude of Robert and Duncan towards other people?
Do such attitudes exist today. Why?
What is the initial attitude of Val and Am towards Rowanne? Does
this attitude exist today? Do Val and Arn's attitudes change? Why?
What things do you think Val and Arn will need to learn if they
are to become true friends with Rowanne?
Why does Duncan fear Camelot so much?
#4 - "The Kidnapping"
quietly practicing her archery in the woods one day, is suddenly
abducted. Her kidnapper turns out to be John, a bumbling good-for-nothing
acquaintance from her own village, who thinks he can return her
to Bridgesford and collect the bounty the Baron has placed on her
and Arn follow her trail and catch up to Rowanne and her abductor
at an abandoned castle-keep. But, they must now also vie with Garth,
a sinister tracker from Bridgesford who has been following John
and his catch. Garth is the real danger, sent personally by the
Baron to capture Rowanne at any cost.
series of clever maneuvers by Rowanne sends Garth stumbling over
a precipice to his death. John, meanwhile, takes advantage of the
moment and flees a certain confrontation with Val. As for the reunited
trio, they have found a home in the castle-keep until they can find
this comedy/adventure episode, various aspects of human character
is a constitutional coward and buffoon. A self-proclaimed "highly
skilled pro," he repeatedly falls from the horse he has stolen.
The only thing he avoids more than hard work is facing the truth
about his meagre wit. In truth, he "couldn't find cows in a locked
barn," much less be a successful "bounty hunter." Despite this,
John is somehow likeable; there is a gentle absurdity about him.
contrast to him are: the quick-witted Rowanne, whose guile and moxie
continually befuddle John and thwart his kidnapping efforts; Val
and Arn, whose courage and loyalty to their new friend Rowanne are
steadfast; and Garth, a true bounty hunter, the embodiment of evil
who kills at a whim.
for young audiences:
Why is John, a kidnapper, really a humorous person?
In what ways does John refuse to accept responsibility for his actions?
Do you know others who also do this? How do you feel about them?
What new aspects of Rowanne's character do you see in this episode?
How do you feel about them?
#5 - "The Trust"
a waterfall outside the castle-keep, Val discovers the skeleton
of a Viking warrior. When he pulls on an arrow wedged in the Viking's
chest, it triggers a trap door and he plunges into a deep cavern.
There he finds a half-crazed Viking warrior -- the sole survivor
of an ambushed peace mission sent to Camelot.
and Arn, concerned about their friend's absence, discover the same
booby trap and rescue Val from Tors vengeance. Arn, though, suddenly
leaps for Tor with a passion Valiant and Rowanne have never seen
in the quiet peasant. Arn cannot control himself; his family was
murdered by Vikings and he must avenge their deaths.
Arn and Tor square off, Arn trips a deadly trap and is about to
fall into a deep ravine when Tor pushes him aside sacrificing his
own life for Am's. Tors dying wish is for the peace treaty to be
delivered to King Arthur along with a ring symbolizing the Viking
King's sincerity. The threesome now takes on the delivery of the
ring to King Arthur as their own mission.
views towards others are characteristic of many young people and
are difficult to overcome. In this episode we see that the most
unlikely people are capable of great goodness; our judgments must
not be bound by appearances or past experiences with others.
who is wounded, friendless, isolated and partially demented due
to the cruelty of a "demon knight" associated with Camelot, has
good reason to be vengeful. Yet at heart he is a true emissary of
blinded by the fact that his parents were killed by Vikings, can
see no redeeming features in Tor. He tries to kill him, despite
Val's plea, "He needs mercy, not punishment."
Tor learns of Arn's tragedy, he is deeply moved. "The killing must
stop...Forgive my people," he implores. In saving Arn from the trap,
he commits the supreme act of love, giving up his life for the sake
for young audiences:
Why is Arn so bitter towards Tor? Are these feelings justified?
Why are stereotypes so difficult to change? What is it that causes
Arn to change?
Why did Arn say to Rowanne, "We don't have time for feminine feelings?"
How do you feel about this?
Why is this episode entitled, "The Trust?"
#6 - "The Finding of Camelot"
wakes up one morning to the sound of mighty hoof beats approaching
the castle-keep. He quickly rouses Valiant and Rowanne to witness
an incredible vision of a Knight with the emblem of Camelot on his
shield galloping past them. Assured that this is the way to King
Arthur's castle, the trio follows the Knight. Soon they are standing
in front of one of the most splendid spectacles on earth...Camelot!
their entrance is not met with the grandeur they expected. When
they show the guard at the gate the Viking ring and announce their
mission to speak with King Arthur, the ring is seized and they are
immediately escorted to a dungeon.
some help from Merlin, they manage to escape and discover that the
ring is now in the possession of the demon knight "who killed the
Viking peace mission" (Episode 5). He is a traitor in King Arthur's
court. After recovering the ring, they elude enough guards and unwittingly
land in the middle of King Arthur's court. After hearing the story
of the Viking warrior and the peace mission, Arthur accepts the
ring. Their determination to become Knights of the Round Table wins
Queen Guinevere over and she convinces Arthur to let them stay and
begin their training.
episode portrays important aspects of pursuing lofty goals embodied
in one's dream.
there is often discouragement and self-doubt. When Camelot proves
elusive, Val questions its existence. He may be misleading Am and
Rowanne; his father may be right in regarding Camelot as a figment
of his imagination.
there are great hurdles to overcome. There are physical hardships
and the forces of evil, as represented by the demon knight. Courage
dreams are realized in community, with the support of others. Arn
buoys Val and Rowanne's spirits by "knowing" Camelot exists. Merlin
helps the three escape the dungeon and affirms Val's character:
"You are a young man of remarkable determination"; Guinevere supports
their desire to enter knighthood training.
challenges always lie ahead. "Achieving knighthood...like true manhood...is
often an arduous and lengthy task," Arthur says. Merlin adds, "It
will be a most extraordinary adventure."
for young audiences:
What causes Val to doubt his dream? How do you feel about doubts
concerning things that are important to you?
Why are Val, Arn and Rowanne thrown into a dungeon? Why does the
evil knight fear them?
What role does Merlin play in helping Val, Arn and Rowanne? Why
does he help them this way? Why doesn't he tell them he is helping?
Do you agree with his approach? Why?
#7 - "The Gift"
King Willem's Lord of Arms, has arrived at Camelot bearing a letter
and gift from Valiant's father. But Val refuses to accept either,
still hurt that his father never gave him his blessing when he left
the marsh for Camelot. Too busy with a rigorous training session
that week, he inadvertently ignores Rolf.
the day of a field test, Valiant and Sir Bryant (who has been supervising
Valiant's training) are ambushed by the Black Knight. Sir Bryant
is wounded by the Knight, so an overmatched Valiant tries to protect
both their lives.
Valiant is about to be killed by the Black Knight, Rolf arrives
on the scene. He is able to do away with the Black Knight but not
before suffering a mortal wound. Valiant has lost a great friend.
Realizing his arrogance in his treatment toward Rolf, he opens his
letter, a poignant apology from King Willem, is filled with a father's
love and support. The gift is in the stables -- a mighty stallion,
the leader of a herd his father tamed himself.
this episode about forgiveness, Val portrays four interrelated traits
characteristic of the adolescent quest for independence: (1) a demand
for perfection and wholehearted approval from others; (2) stubborn
pride--"I'm right, you're wrong;" (3) quickness to note the flaws
of others while ignoring one's own faults; and (4) the inability
to take the perspective of others, assuming they should think as
traits are not fatal flaws; largely, they result from the adolescent's
lack of good experience. The capacities to be flexible, to accept
other's frailties, to acknowledge one's own shortcomings, and to
comprehend the perspective of others emerge through a lengthy developmental
to this process are the support and prodding of mature adults who
care. Arthur tells Val that a heart filled with stubborn pride can
make a man small and bitter, while the heart of a noble man has
room for forgiveness, as well as courage and honor. Rolf understands
how important Val's knighthood training is to him so he does not
chide Val for neglecting him. And most significantly, it is Rolf's
love, manifest in his laying down his life for his friend, that
breaks through Val's pride, enabling him to accept the gift of forgiveness.
for young audiences:
Why is Val so bitter towards his father? Is this justified? Why?
Why does Val ignore his old friend Rolf? How do you feel about this?
How does Arthur try to help? Is his advice on target? Is giving
advice usually helpful? Why?
Why is Val finally able to forgive his father? Why is forgiveness
such a difficult thing for humans to grant and to receive?
Who is the real hero of this story? Why?
#8 - "The Singing Sword"
hastily leaves for Bridgesford one morning because of a terrible
premonition that her family is in danger. Arn joins her, but Valiant
refuses, reminding Am that they are all wanted in Bridgesford by
the Baron Duncan Draconarius. Later that evening, Valiant has second
thoughts and rides off to catch up with them.
arrives outside Bridgesford in time to watch his companions ambushed
by the Baron's men. Vastly outnumbered, he stays out of sight--to
avoid being captured as well.
out with Cedric, Rowanne's father, Val devises a plan to lure the
Baron into a duel. Cedric provides him with a sword he has hidden
away -- a magnificent weapon made from the same metal as the legendary
Excalibur. Valiant defeats Baron Draconarius while the peasants
of Bridgesford, armed with daggers Cedric forged the night before,
surround the Baron's men.
the Baron banished from the village, Bridgesford is safe and the
threesome prepares to return to Camelot. Cedric refuses to take
back the Singing Sword, telling Valiant he should keep it so he
can free other people from tyrants like the Baron.
are two important messages in this episode. The first message relates
to the individuals: in order to grow, young people must learn to
trust their best instincts. In learning to do so, the encouragement
of a respected adult can be crucial; too often the young are urged
to do what is conventional rather than to act upon their own urgings.
Rowanne is determined to go to Bridgesford because of a "terrible
dread" that her family is in great danger, Val thinks her foolish,
condescendingly saying, "Just like a girl", and attributes her desire
to homesickness. But the wise Merlin encourages Rowanne to act upon
her feelings, and Arn agrees to accompany her. Val is initially
angry about all this, but his loyalty to his friends and concerns
for their safety trouble him. When his feelings are affirmed by
Merlin, he sets out to join them.
second important message relates to society and social justice.
The power of a kingdom rests in the support of the people, and the
strength of a people united is greater than the power of any evil.
This truth, taught to Valiant by Merlin, empowers him to lead the
villagers of Bridgesford in overthrowing the tyrannical Duncan.
It also reinforces the faith that Valiant, Arn, and Rowanne have
for young audiences:
Why is it important to follow your own instincts? How do you know
whether they are on target or not?
How do you feel about Val's reaction to Rowanne's determination
to go to Bridgesford? Why does he react this way? Why does he change
Why is Val able to believe that the townspeople can overcome Duncan
and his men? What gives them their courage?
Why is Merlin so important in this episode even though he isn't
on the screen most of the time?
Why is there a "new light in the north" at the end of the show?
What does that symbolize?
#9 - "The Trust Betrayed"
Arn and Rowanne have joined the rest of Camelot in celebrating the
return of Mordred the Valorous, one of the original knights of Camelot.
However, Val is perplexed at Mordred's unwillingness to consider
a peace treaty with the Vikings.
Merlin's help, Val relives his ordeal inside Tor's cavern and in
a hypnotic state, recognizes Mordred's crest on a shield. Val is
certain Mordred was involved in the ambush of the Viking peace party.
He tells his suspicions to King Arthur, who angrily refuses to consider
the possibility one of his most trusted knights would betray him.
evil half-sister, Morgana, ever ready to create trouble, concocts
a plan whereby Mordred can eliminate Prince Valiant. Sent on a false
mission, Mordred leads the unsuspecting Valiant to the ruins of
a fortress. When Valiant confronts Mordred about his role in the
ambush, Mordred lashes out in a fury and brutally beats the boy
down into an abandoned pit. With sword raised above Val's head and
ready to strike, Mordred suddenly drops his weapon. Arthur's voice
from above the pit brings Mordred to his senses. Arthur knows that
Mordred was guilty of treachery. The King sadly banishes Mordred
from Camelot forever. He cannot allow what Mordred has become to
remain a part of his kingdom.
major characters in this episode reveal a great deal about the nature
of truth and how difficult it is for a young person to grasp its
complexities. The courageous Mordred has betrayed Arthur and Camelot
by ambushing the Viking peace mission. Yet he justifies his treachery,
believing, along with his accomplice, Morgana, that the end (preservation
of Camelot) justifies the means. He cannot face the truth about
himself. Arthur does not want to face the truth about Mordred either;
he is blinded by loyalty, because Mordred has previously saved his
in his youthful idealism, sees the world in "black and white" terms.
Thus he is confused by Mordred. "How can a champion of all that
is good and true have taken the lives of innocent men?" he asks.
When Merlin responds by asking another question, Val blurts out,
"I know the questions; I need you to give me the answers!" Then
he reflects, "There are dark paths here that twist and snake beyond
again, Merlin is the wise mentor. He refuses to give Val simplistic
answers, indicating that the truth can be frightening and that much
in life seems senseless at first glance. He urges Val not to believe
things simply be-cause he wants them to be true; he must face reality,
letting experience tell him its own meaning. Truth and goodness
questions for young audiences:
Mordred has done good deeds and terrible ones. Is this true of most
people? Why do you think this is/is not the case?
Why does Merlin say the truth can be frightening? Is this true in
real life? Why?
Why doesn't Mordred kill Val when he has Val helpless?
Why does Arthur send Mordred on a lifelong mission at the end of
the story instead of punishing him? Why is Val angry about Arthur's
decision? Was it a good decision? Why?
What are some things that this episode reveals about the nature
#10 - "The Secret of Perilous Garden"
Gawain, the confirmed bachelor, has surprised all of Camelot by
sending a messenger bearing an announcement that...he is getting
married. Valiant, Rowanne and Arn are chosen to represent Camelot
at Gawain's wedding to Queen Ileene of Perilous Garden.
a relatively easy journey, except for the provisions the threesome
lose when crossing a small waterfall. This mishap forces them to
dine with a feisty peasant named Marcus who lives in a poverty-stricken
village at the base of Perilous Garde.
they arrive at Queen Ileene's magnificent castle and are immediately
awestruck by its beauty and opulence. Everything they could ever
wish for is at their disposal.
paradise has its dark side. Our trio soon discovers that the peasants
in the village below are rebelling against Ileene in an attempt
to get some of the water she has hoarded. With Rowanne persuading
the women of Perilous Garde to help fight Ileene, and Valiant and
Arn enlisting Sir Gawain, the rebellion is successful.
last, the villagers will have enough water to overcome their poverty.
Sir Gawain, a little heartbroken, returns to Camelot a bachelor.
allegory demonstrates two truths about extreme affluence. First,
it is highly seductive, leading people to self-satisfaction, lack
of concern for others, and abandonment of principles. On the surface,
Perilous Garde is truly a land of milk and honey which offers something
wonderful for everyone. For Gawain, it is the beauty and charm of
Ileene; for Val, being treated as a knight; for Arn, the chance
to grow lush and exotic plants; for Rowanne, the fine clothes and
frivolous delights she never had as a blacksmith's daughter; for
all, opulence and the "good life". So entrancing is it to all, that
Gawain decides to stay rather than to bring Ileene back to Camelot.
Val, Arn, and Rowanne are sorely tempted to stay, as well.
this allegory shows that extreme affluence is often built upon the
backs of the poor. Perilous Garde is lush and fertile only because
the nobles keep all the water in the area for themselves, keeping
it from the peas-ants in the parched village below. Moreover, the
truth about the source of their wealth is hidden from the people
at Perilous Garde.
the group from Camelot learns the truth, the "spell" is broken and
they rebel. Not so ironically, they are joined by Perilous Garde's
women, who are outraged by the situation. The first step in combating
injustice is awareness of its existence; next comes the courage
to do something about it.
questions for young audiences:
Why was Perilous Garde so tempting to Gawain, Val, Am, and Rowanne?
Would it be tempting to you? Even it there were no water problem,
what is dangerous about such a place?
Why was the water problem kept a secret?
Why do you think the women, not the men, joined the peasants in
In what ways might this story be about life in America? In what
ways is America different from Perilous Garde? What does Perilous
Garde symbolize? What does the peasant village symbolize?
#11 - "The Dawn of Darkness"
must contend with a force the likes of which has never been seen
-- gunpowder. A scholar from Cathay, Chun Ling Su, has invented
a mysterious black powder able to destroy whole forts in a single
blow. And he has put it in the hands of Maldon, the son of one of
Arthur's most bitter foes now allied with an army of Vikings.
of Camelot joins Arthur to fight Maldon and the Vikings. Unaware
of the force they are up against, they suffer terrible setbacks.
Desperate and on the edge of defeat, Valiant and Am sneak into Maldon's
camp. They convince Chun that Maldon has duped him into believing
Camelot is evil and must be stopped.
heroically blows up the magazines...and him as well, taking the
secret of gunpowder with him. Maldon and the Vikings are driven
back and Arthur reclaims the field. But Merlin tells Val that this
deadly, powerful force will come again. He only hopes that when
it does, mankind will be ready.
the invention of gunpowder, humans have had an ever-increasing capacity
to rain mass destruction upon one another. This episode illustrates
a number of facts which are relevant to this capacity today: (1)
In the wrong hands, weapons of mass destruction can terrorize others
and do great harm; (2) Such weapons can corrupt their possessors;
(3) Inventors who make such weaponry often have no idea about the
danger their inventions might bring; (4) People who are well-educated
(such as Maldon) will not necessarily use inventions in sensible
ways (i.e., goodness and intelligence are not the same); (5) Weapons
of mass destruction depersonalize war, making "killing from afar"
possible ‹ as Eric the Viking says, "rob the battlefield of honor
and steal from the warrior his courage"; (6) Weapons of mass destruction
change the course of history; and (7) Humanity is ill-prepared to
deal with such weaponry.
questions for young audiences:
In what ways are the consequences of the invention of gunpowder
in this episode similar to the consequences of the invention of
the atomic bomb? Why do you think such similarities exist?
What differing views of war and battle are portrayed in the story?
Do you know any other views not expressed in this story? Which views
make the most sense to you? Why?
What does Merlin mean when he says, "History has turned a page which
will forever change the world"? Do you agree? Why?
At the end of the story, Merlin says, "This dreadful black powder,
I suspect, will come again. We can only pray that when it does,
mankind will have learned to use its power more wisely." Do you
think we have learned this? Why? Why not?
#12 - "The Visitor"
great tournament is taking place in Camelot. Knights from all over
the realm have come to participate, including one that can outboast
even Sir Gawain...Sir Harold of York. Born of peasant stock himself,
Sir Harold soon befriends Arn and asks him to attend him in the
mysteriously, Sir Harold bows out at the last moment. Sir Gawain,
the winner of the day, is suspicious and as he rides off the field,
publicly challenges Harold to one-on-one combat.
doesn't believe Harold will show up for the duel after discovering
he is an imposter -- nothing more than a man-servant in his former
master's armor. But Harold does fight Gawain, for Arn's sake, and
is brutally defeated. Gawain claims his armor, but leaves Harold
his horse so he can leave Camelot.
believes Harold needs his company now more than ever and asks if
he can join him. But Harold tells him to stay in Camelot and become
a knight, to fulfill the dream for both of them.
episode explores some of the implications of social class upon human
development, self-esteem, and the need for family ties. Both Arn
and Harold feel themselves to be unworthy persons; they are ashamed
of their peasant backgrounds. Hence Arn feels his desire to become
a knight is a "silly dream". In his mind, knights must be "cultured
men" with "noble blood and fine manners"; he has "nothing to offer
them". His perceptions even taint his deep friendships: "You are
educated, Rowanne, and Valiant is a prince. I am but a peasant..."
Harold compensates for his perceived inadequacies by pretending
to be something he isn't (a famous knight) and by continually boasting
about his deeds of daring.
Arn and Harold are drawn to one another, forming a type of father/son
relationship that neither has ever experienced. Harold, seeing himself
in the boy, tells him, "You can be anything you want as long as
you never lose faith in yourself." Arn in turn idolizes Harold for
his compassion and perceived valor.
the truth about Harold comes to light, Arn is thoroughly crushed
and disillusioned. But he is resuscitated when Harold, who totally
lacks combat skills, agrees to fight Gawain in the tournament in
order to prove his courage. Arn realizes that despite his pretense,
Harold is a good man who cares deeply about him.
this story, we see that enduring self-respect and authentic relationships
must be based upon the truth about oneself, that the opinions of
others are ultimately of little import, and that one's character,
not one's social standing, is what matters most in life.
questions for young audiences:
Why does Harold pretend to be something he isn't? Do we tend to
do this at times? Why do we do this?
Val and Rowanne constantly tell Arn that his peasant background
doesn't matter at all to them, Why can't Arn really accept and believe
Why are Harold and Arn so attracted to one another? What is the
greatest sign of their devotion to one another?
How important do you think that one's social class should be? How
important is it among your friends? In school? In society? How do
you feel about this?
What does this story teach us about developing self-esteem?
#13 - "The Trap"
small group from Camelot is celebrating Arthur and Guinevere's anniversary
at Canonwolde, the fortress where Arthur and Guinevere first lived
when they were married.
after they've reached the fortress, Arthur is injured in an ambush
by his long-time foe, Steffan. Merlin's diagnosis calls for a balm
made from the hawthorn bushes that lie outside the fortress, but
Arthur will not allow anyone to leave the safety of Canonwolde until
reinforcements from Camelot arrive.
Valiant and Am sneak out to collect the bushes and unwittingly reveal
the plight of those trapped inside Canonwolde to one of Steffan's
uses this discovery to plant a spy inside Canonwolde who is able
to open the gates to Steffan's army. The reinforcements from Camelot
arrive at the last moment to drive off the invaders and save Arthur
and his party. The danger is over, except for Valiant, who must
now face Arthur's wrath for disobeying a royal command.
related to obedience, authority, impetuousness, and courage are
found in this episode.
consciously disobeys Arthur's order to remain at the castle. To
a considerable degree, his motives are pure. He is concerned that
Arthur will die from the poisoned dagger wound and that the hawthorn
berries he can gather will save Arthur. "Is that not what would
be expected of us [as knights] ...to risk our lives to preserve
the realm, no matter how dangerous the deed?" he asks. Yet his motives
are self-serving, as well: "Everyone will thank us...Arthur will
probably knight us." Moreover, he rationalizes his disobedience
by convincing himself that Arthur has issued a foolish command because
he is delirious from the poison. Val fails to realize that Arthur
knows that Steffan's presence means danger for all in the castle.
sets the whole affair in perspective when he says, "Before a man
chooses to break rules, Valiant, he must first understand them."
Arthur, who acknowledges Val's courage in risking his life for him,
adds, "The line between courage and recklessness can be a very fine
one...Learn to temper your courage with reason, and someday you
could become an outstanding knight."
questions for young audiences:
What are the different motives Val has for disobeying Arthur? How
do you assess these?
Why are rules generally important? Is it ever okay to break them?
Are there times when you should break them? Under what conditions?
What is the meaning of Bryant's statement, "Before a man chooses
to break the rules, he must first understand them."?
What does Arthur mean when he says, 'There is a thin line between
courage and recklessness."? Give some examples from real life.
#14 - "The Return"
powerful ruler from the north, King Ian, is at Camelot negotiating
a treaty with Arthur. One of the last holdouts in the region, Ian
still believes that might makes right, and gives Arthur one last
chance to convince him that the New Order can work.
banished Baron Duncan Draconarius arrives at Camelot, seeking shelter
at the same time. He secretly attempts to see Ian and convince him
not to align with Arthur. When Ian's valued aide, Derrik, catches
Duncan in the corridor, the frightened Baron, rushing to avoid detection,
knocks Derrik over a balustrade.
though all signs point to Duncan, there is no real evidence to convict
him, and Arthur releases him. Furious that Derrik's murder has gone
unpunished, Ian leaves Camelot without a signed treaty.
a fury, Arthur rides after the Baron to mete out his own personal
form of justice, but Valiant, riding after him, convinces him not
to go against the principles of Camelot. Duncan finally sees the
true value of Camelot and yields to Arthur. Although he will be
handed over to Ian, and probably executed, he can no longer fight
the ideal that spared him his life.
episode examines the nature of true justice and the difficulties
in implementing it.
is a man, in Merlin's words, "caught between his philosophy and
his passion". He loathes Duncan, his former best friend, because
the latter courted Guinevere after learning of Arthur's interest
in her. Because of this and Duncan's past cruelties in Bridgesford,
Arthur's passion demands that Duncan be executed, even though it
is not clear that he killed Derrik intentionally. At the same time,
reason dictates that Duncan be given a fair trial by a jury of his
characters stand for passion or the philosophy of Camelot. Ian,
a warrior of the old school, still believes that "might makes right"
and thinks Arthur weak and foolish for granting a trial. Gawain,
a member of the jury, has made up his mind in advance that Duncan
is guilty. Duncan himself believes that "Arthur is just like any
other man" and that he will be executed. Valiant, however, as much
as he detests Duncan, cannot swear that the shadowy figure he saw
push Derrik to his death was actually Duncan. And Bryant, a jury
member who insists that a man must not be convicted if there is
any doubt about his innocence, holds the day.
Arthur's passion gets the best of him. He cannot accept the verdict
and seeks to slay Duncan on his own. It is only when Valiant intervenes,
imploring Arthur to be true to the ideals of Camelot, that Arthur's
philosophy prevails. It is the power of these ideals and the mercy
shown to him which persuades Duncan to give up his evil ways.
questions for young audiences:
How is Arthur "caught between passion and reason?" Is this often
the case in real life? What are some examples?
2. How do Duncan's views toward Camelot change? What causes this?
Do you believe that if there is only a slight doubt about a person's
guilt, he/she should be found innocent? Do you think most people
really believe this?
In what way is our justice system like Camelot's? In what ways is
#15 - "The Awakening"
King Arthur and Guinevere are away on official business, Merlin's
life is put in danger -- Morgana has convinced Lord Keller, who
is feuding with Merlin, to slip him a highly potent sleeping potion.
When Valiant learns of this, he hastily leaves Camelot with Rowanne
and Arn to find the alchemist Om, the only one who might have the
antidote for Merlin.
though, first tests his visitors by giving Rowanne the antidote.
Rowanne falls into a deep sleep, one from which she won't recover
until after a long and fitful night.
only hours from his death, has descended into a deep state within
his subconscious. He is happily slip-ping away in his dreams when
Val arrives and gives him the antidote. Merlin
must now fight Morgana in the greatest battle of his life -- one
which takes place not in reality but in a netherworld which mortals
wakes from his sleep victorious and the feud with Lord Keller is
settled--but Morgana has a debt for which she will someday pay.
concluding statement, 'There is no power on earth greater than the
power of love and true friendship", summarizes the central message
of this episode.
is Merlin's love for Arthur which enables him to resist self-destruction
during an incredible dream induced by Morgana's potion. It is Val's,
Am's, and Rowanne's love for Merlin that drive them to risk their
lives in seeking an antidote to the potion. It is their love for
one another that helps Val and Arn overcome the mutual jealousy
they feel over Rowanne's affections. It is Om's love of Merlin that
leads him to find the antidote and to be sure that Val, Arn, and
Rowanne are not imposters who might harm Merlin. And it is the vision
of Camelot, which elevates and promotes the power of love and true
friendship, which undergirds all of these actions. The characters
representing darkness, Morgana and Lord Keller, cannot comprehend
this; their understanding of power is confined to the use of force
questions for young audiences:
In what ways does this story illustrate Merlin's statement, 'There
is no power on earth greater than love and true friendship?"
Do you agree with Merlin's statement? Do you think many people agree?
Do they act as it they do?
What do you think about the dreams Merlin has while under the influence
of Morgana's potion? What do Linet and the shadowy figure stand
for? Do you think that dreams have meaning in real life?
In what ways is Om not what he appears to be at first glance? Can
you give examples in real life where appearances are deceiving?
What do you think about the jealousy between Val and Am over Rowanne?
Do you think it has ended for good?
#16 - "The Turn of the Wheel"
gala is taking place at Camelot to honor Sir Gawain and Sir Bryant,
the heroes of the siege of Canonwolde (Episode 13). Valiant and
Arn, though, ordered to polish the saddles and repair the carriages
in the stables, won't be able to attend the festivities.
imposter named Sir Dylan, who is actually the eldest son of Cynan,
Valiant's father's usurper, convinces Valiant to attend the gala
as his guest before Val has finished the repairs on Arthur's favorite
carriage in return for a kindness Valiant showed Dylan earlier that
day. Unfortunately, Arthur has decided to use the carriage that
night for a peace mission to Raleigh.
the gala, Valiant discovers the missing carriage and recognizes
that the King is in danger -- the carriage wheel is damaged, and
the King is traveling over treacherous mountain passes. Valiant
rides after the King with Arn and Rowanne. Their pursuit is not
only against time but against Dylan and his henchman. The heated
chase is decided at the last minute when Dylan's horse misses a
jump and falls into a gorge. Val, riding alongside the carriage,
makes Arthur jump onto his horse as the wheel is within seconds
of bringing the carriage tumbling over the side of the mountain.
in Camelot, Valiant cannot face Arthur's gratitude. He admits that
if he had repaired the wheel in the first place, none of this would
have happened. Arthur's words that these mistakes will come back
to haunt him someday are voiced over a bloodied but very much alive
Dylan climbing out of the gorge.
capacity to postpone immediate gratification for long range benefit
is a hallmark of maturity. This sacrifice is often difficult for
adolescents to make, as this episode illustrates. It is easy to
neglect responsibilities when other activities are more appealing.
Val's heart is set on attending the gala, with all its glamour and
excitement. He resents Merlin's ordering Arn and him to clean and
repair carriages, regarding the order as "unfair". Merlin's retort,
"This is not about fairness but about duty", goes over his head.
Convincing himself that Arthur's carriage will not be used, Val
rationalizes, "No need to waste effort... no reason to make it road
worthy, only appealing to the eye."
Arthur honors Val's courage in rescuing him from the faulty carriage,
Val, with Merlin's prodding, acknowledges his irresponsibility in
failing to repair the carriage. Arthur responds, "You made assumptions
... underestimated the importance of attending to detail..." To
Val's "I'm sorry," Arthur simply says, "I know. And we'll talk no
more about it."
questions for young audiences:
In what ways is Val's neglect of his responsibilities typical of
everyone's life? Discuss some examples.
How does Val justify his neglect of his responsibilities? Is this
typical of people? Discuss some examples.
Why do you think Val complains so much about his job, but Arn doesn't?
How do Merlin and Arthur help Val learn from his experience?
Why do you think Arthur says after he apologizes, "We'll talk no
more about it"? Was this wise? Why?
#17 - "The Competitor"
his way to Camelot, the dashing (but arrogant) Prince Edwin and
his younger, shier, brother Giles, save Rowanne from some robbers.
A newcomer who hopes to be the "greatest" Knight of the Round Table,
Edwin quickly wins Rowanne's heart by paying attention to her feminine
side. This is vastly different than Val's treatment of her as "one
of the boys," and Rowanne agrees to accompany Edwin to the annual
is visibly upset by this turn of events and develops an intense
dislike for Edwin. Sir Gawain and Sir Bryant, well aware of the
rivalry, goad them on, hoping for a good fight. Also at stake is
the honor of being the Knight aspirant selected by King Arthur to
deliver an important peace treaty.
a fight brewing, Giles attempts to dissuade his older brother from
taking part in a fight with neither honor nor good purpose. Giles
is unsuccessful, and a fierce, no-holds-barred fight takes place
with half of Camelot following Valiant and Edwin as they go at it.
The battle finally ends when Edwin falls into a small pond. As Edwin
is unable to swim, Val dives in to rescue him.
wet and bruised, the two combatants are called before Arthur. Instead
of rewarding one of them with the coveted mission, the King reprimands
them for their behavior.
issues, including role conflict, jealousy, sexism, chauvinism, and
machismo are intriguingly played out in this episode.
enjoys Edwin's attention and flattery, and flaunts this newly-won
affection before Val. She also likes fancy dresses and formal dances.
On the other hand, she is conflicted about how her feelings relate
to her aspirations of being the first female knight.
is extremely jealous of the braggart Edwin because Rowanne is enchanted
with him. While Val is not without sexist attitudes ("Knights don't
wear gowns"), Edwin is a medieval chauvinist pig: "A female knight!...ridiculous!...women
are too delicate...Their skills are meant for the home, for taking
care of a husband and children...understanding the battlefield takes
a keen male intelligence...forget your silly notions, I have other
plans for you..."
and Bryant, "good ole boys" of a sort, spur Val and Edwin into a
muddy brawl. Resolution comes when Arthur chastises both of the
protagonists for their machismo, and when Rowanne, with help from
Guinevere, realizes that Val accepts her for who she is. Rowanne
would like continuing attention from him.
questions for young audiences:
What is Rowanne's basic conflict in this story? Is it one that girls
have today? How so?
Do you like the way Rowanne handled herself? With Edwin? With Val?
What attitudes toward females do the males in this story display?
What do you think of them? Are they typical of attitudes today?
What is the significance of the Round Table being round? How does
this relate to this particular story?
#18 - "The Road Back"
has been appointed to escort Baron Duncan Draconarius to King Ian
of Kengarry to pay for the murder of Derrik, Ian's loyal aide and
mediator. Unknown to Val, though, Ian has been under siege by rebels
since his return from Camelot.
road to Ian's castle is a dangerous one. Duncan, with a sudden change
of heart over his noble gesture to surrender, escapes one night.
But just outside the camp, he encounters a young woman named Margaret,
who acts as a guide to Ian's palace.
palace is under heavy siege. Without Derrik, Ian is unable to negotiate
any treaties with the barbaric tribes of Kengarry. Valiant steps
in and organizes Ian's guards along with his own small army to drive
back the invaders. But it is Duncan, with some history of the rebellion
from Margaret, who is able to negotiate peace.
only has Duncan saved his neck, but he has found a new home. Ian
recognizes in him a replacement for Derrik and the secured future
of his kingdom. Valiant is not forgotten either...Arthur's praise
for a successful campaign makes him one step closer to knighthood.
change and the difficulty it poses for both individuals and society,
are the subjects of this episode.
Camelot was merciful and did not execute him (Episode 14), Duncan
has decided to atone for his sins and to follow Camelot's ideals.
Val (and others) has little confidence that Duncan can change his
ways. Merlin reminds Val that "there is much in life that is open
to change if men of courage and vision are willing to risk their
own comfort and well-being to do so." Duncan himself is unsure that
he has the courage to act on his new convictions. Moreover, he is
fearful that he will be executed by King Ian upon arriving in Kengarry.
Thus he backslides, and runs away. But because of his remorse over
the havoc his sordid past has wrought, Duncan realizes, "I am not
the man I once was", and he stays the course.
and Duncan attribute the troubles of Ian, a Cullhain tribesman,
to his failure to avenge the death of Derrik, a Munro tribesman.
As Ian is about to vanquish the Munro leader, Val intervenes, stating
that violence only begets violence. Ian concurs: "The killing must
stop". And when Duncan offers his life to stop the fighting, Ian
realizes that the ways of Camelot are indeed better than rule by
questions for young audiences:
Why is this story entitled, "The road back"?
What are the things that enable Duncan to change? Why is it so hard
for people to make significant changes?
What does it mean, "killing and violence only bring on more killing
and violence"? Is this true today? What are some examples?
What do you think of Merlin's statement, "There is much in life
that is open to change if men from courage and vision are willing
to risk their own comfort and well-being to do so?"
#19 - "The Iron Fist"
young knight and friend of Valiant's, Sir Giles, have discovered
a dark secret about Sir Gideon, one of Camelot's most revered members.
Sir Gideon, who wears an iron fist in place of a hand lost in battle,
is extorting money from the villagers of Twyllingham.
Valiant attempts to get advice from his superiors, but his accusations
are met with kindly advice about the loyalty of the brotherhood
of knights to its fellow members. He and Giles have no other choice
but to resolve what they know to be fact by themselves.
by risking their lives are they able to free the people of Twyllingham
from Gideon's reign of terror. Upon their return to Camelot, it
is Giles who receives Arthur's praise. A few words from Merlin,
though, let Valiant know the King is aware of his role in the heroic
he walks across the courtyard at Camelot, he is no longer the starry-eyed
youth who first arrived, but a mature young man ready for knighthood.
episode deals with a handicapping condition and the effect it can
have upon an individual.
the surface, Gideon, despite his iron fist, seems to have everything
going for him. He is a knight of legendary prowess; he has prestige,
friends, and a beautiful woman, Megan, is betrothed to him. Yet
his handicap has embittered him; he fears his status as a knight
is diminished. 'When I lost my hand, I became half a man," he laments.
Thus to compensate for his perceived lack of power, he extorts and
terrorizes the village of Twillingham. "I need to feel strong again...to
be powerful again", he confesses upon being discovered and subdued
by Val and Giles.
provides a wiser perspective when he states, "How could you not
know, Sir Gideon, that the true strength of a man lies not in his
hands, but in his heart?" He also might have added that true strength
lies not in receiving praise from others. Val demonstrates this
humility by allowing Giles to receive all the praise for liberating
Twillingham and subduing Gideon.
questions for young audiences:
What was it that motivated Gideon, a knight of the Round Table,
to commit such evil deeds? Do you think his physical handicap is
solely to blame? Why?
How do you think most handicapped people feel about their handicaps?
How do others think about them?
When Giles tells Gawain about his suspicions about Gideon, Gawain
says that knights don't talk about other knights. In what ways is
this a good policy? A bad policy? Among people in real life?
Why does Arthur allow Giles to take credit for everything? In what
ways do you think it is good for adults to test young people by
Does true strength really lie in a person's heart? Do you think
most people believe this? Why?
#20 - "The Waif"
an errand for Merlin, Valiant stumbles across a traveling minstrel
show under the direction of a ruthless, oily fellow named Kirwood.
Val's initial meeting is shocking as he witnesses Kirwood walloping
a skinny, filthy urchin named Denys. Without hesitating, Val intercedes
and rescues the poor lad from a brutal beating. On his way out of
town later that day, he discovers that Denys has escaped his cruel
master and stowed himself in Val's cart.
they are in sight of Camelot, Denys suddenly rushes forward, awestruck
by the beautiful specter before him, and cries out that it is the
same Camelot he has seen in his dreams. Valiant is just as awestruck...that
this little waif, who he is growing quite fond of, has had the same
dream he had while living in the marshes.
good fortune doesn't last long, though. Kirwood soon arrives and
claims the boy as his legal indentured servant. In pleading his
case before Arthur, it is soon revealed that Denys is in fact Cynan's
youngest son, sold to Kirwood because of his recurring dream and
his continual talk of goodness and truth. This revelation is disturbing
to Valiant considering his ordeal with Denys' brother Dylan in "The
Turn of the Wheel."
in the woods contemplating his dilemma, Val is ambushed by Kirwood.
Denys, on his way to the castle-keep to speak with Valiant, comes
across the surprise attack and offers to return to Kirwood if he
spares his friend's life. Val is dumbfounded, and also thoroughly
convinced that Denys does have a very different heart than his elder
brother. After Denys is taken away by Kirwood, Val follows after
him to bring him back safely to Camelot.
important truths about life may be gleaned from this episode. One
is that, as Arthur instructs Val, each individual must be judged
on his own merits. It is not fair to judge Denys negatively because
other members of his family are evil. A second truth is that intellectual
understanding is different from an emotional acceptance of an idea.
Val knows that Arthur is correct, and without this tenet, all that
Camelot stands for is meaningless. But because of what Cynan has
done to Val's family, Val cannot trust Denys and believe his story.
third truth is that what is legal is not necessarily what is moral,
and often people of good will are more concerned about the latter.
Kirwood has a legal document showing that Denys is his indentured
servant. However, because of Kirwood's cruelty towards Denys, Arthur
dismisses the paper as "an affront to decency", and frees Denys
from its claims.
final truth is that actions speak louder than words, and that vicarious
suffering is the human action which speaks loudest of all. It is
only when Denys offers to return as Kirwood's slave in order to
save Val, that Val sees the purity of Denys's heart and realizes
that Denys truly grasps the vision of Camelot.
questions for young audiences:
What does it mean that the parents sins are visited upon the children?
Does this happen in real life? Is this fair? Why? Why not?
Why does Val have such a hard time trusting Denys? What are some
examples of ideas in real life that people tend to believe intellectually
but don't accept emotionally? What do you think about this?
Is what is legal always moral? What does Arthur think about this
in the story? What are some examples in real life in which legality
and morality are at odds?
Why do you think one person's willingness to suffer in place of
another has such a powerful effect in the world? Who are some people
who have been willing to do this?
#21 - "The Guardian"
has dispatched Sir Gawain to check on a purported disturbance at
the old Roman wall. Gawain takes Valiant, Arn and a small Camelot
army with him on a cold, windy, winter night. After only a few hours,
though, a ferocious storm stalls them at the home of a kind and
gracious gentleman. In the arms of a young woman and an ale in his
hand, Gawain is perfectly happy. But Val is anxious to move on and
resolve the matter at hand.
a scout whom Gawain had sent ahead has been murdered and the rest
of his party is holding the simple-minded Julian as his murderer.
Julian is the grandson of the original Julian, a Roman centurion
who had been left by his fellow soldiers at the end of the Roman
era in Britain. He still wears his grandfather¹s tunic and rusty
sword and guards the Roman wall as his grandfather did.
word reaches the Camelot army of the murdered soldiers¹ fate, Gawain
is nowhere to be found. Valiant organizes the troops and goes in
search of Julian. He and Arn soon find him -- a meek, illiterate
creature -- one who is certainly incapable of murder. By now, Gawain
has caught up with the rest of his comrades, but enemy soldiers,
the ones Julian had written to Arthur about, have attacked. They
have been sent by none other than Cynan, who is again trying to
expand his kingdom.
soldiers are slowly being beaten back, except for one huge knight
who is readying to attack Gawain from behind. Julian sees the impending
danger and heaves a large rock from where he standing on the wall,
leaving him undefended and in the enemy's line of fire. After the
battle has been won, Gawain dubs him an honorary knight of Camelot,
for risking his own life to save another, and appoints him the permanent
guard of the old Roman wall.
this episode about a mentally retarded person, two themes, which
are prevalent throughout the series, are highlighted: things are
not always as they appear to be, and everyone is capable of goodness.
Julian is variously labeled a "simpleton", "lunatic", "idiot", and
"not right in the head". Yet unlike Gideon in Episode #19, Julian
has a handicap which leads him not to a cruel quest for power, but
to an exaggerated sense of duty. The "bad thing" he confesses having
done is not the murder for which he is wrongly accused; it is falling
asleep during his self-imposed guard duty at the Roman wall. Gawain,
who has been especially derogatory about Julian, realizes the shallowness
of his views when Julian risks his life to save him. "I underestimated
a man I took for a fool and ended up making a fool of myself", he
questions for young audiences:
Why do people make fun of and put down mentally retarded people?
What do you think about this?
How well do you feel Julian deals with his handicap? How does he
differ from Gideon, the knight with the iron fist in episode #19?
How does Val¹s attitude toward Julian differ from Gawain¹s? What
other poor attitude does Gawain exhibit?
Why do people make fun of mentally retarded people? How do you feel
#22 - "The Battle of Greystone"
eldest son Dylan (the imposter from Episode 16) has invaded the
peaceful coastal kingdom of Greystone. King Arthur has given Sir
Gawain the command of an army that includes Valiant, Arn, Rowanne
as the battle to retake Greystone proceeds, Gawain, is injured.
Merlin orders Valiant to take command and he successfully leads
Camelot's army to victory.
has won not just a campaign, but the respect and loyalty of the
Camelot squadron. But his victory has another implication as well:
he know someday he must return to Thule and reclaim his father's
throne from Cynan.
time has come, but there is something that he must do first...
people can point to critical events in their lives which have greatly
affected their growth and future development. The battle of Greystone
is one of two key events (see also Episode #24) that marks Val's
transition from childhood to manhood. Several aspects of critical
life events are played out in this episode:
Val experiences self-doubt. Val wonders if he is really capable
of leading the army into battle. (2) Others doubt Val. Gawain initially
thinks Val "too young, too volatile, too reckless"; some of the
soldiers question why Gawain eventually selected an "inexperienced
untested boy" to lead them; (3) Self-control is necessary. Arthur
and Merlin, wary of Val's hatred for Cynan, caution that "war is
no place for uncontrolled anger...the desire for revenge is the
enemy of reason; it hardens the heart and dulls the senses."; (4)
Support from others is often crucial. Merlin, especially, believes
in Val, and persuades Arthur to let him make the trip, and Gawain
to let him take command. Gawain assures Val that he has the strength
to assume command and urges Val to trust his instincts in plotting
an innovative battle strategy. (5) Resolve and courage are needed.
Though in part fearful, Val promises to do his best, and boldly
confronts grave danger.
questions for young audiences:
Val has self-doubt about his ability to lead. In what ways can self-doubt
be a good thing? A bad thing?
Young people often need the support of others in order to grow and
mature. What kinds of support does Val get? Which is most helpful?
In the end, the soldiers, who doubted Val's ability, cheered him.
What do you thing of their behavior?
This story is a key event in Val's passage from adolescence to adulthood.
What are some accomplishments or events which make young people
in our society feel grown up?
#23 - "The Reunion"
has decided to return to Thule and fight Cynan. But before he can
do so, he must return to the marsh and reconcile with his father,
the Camelot troops reach the marsh, though, a situation arises which
offers Am the opportunity to go off and become a leader in his own
right. He decides to take his chance to strike out on his own, but
soon reconsiders. He realizes that in the grand scheme of things,
it will ultimately be more important to be second in command of
a quest as meaningful as Valiant's than the leader in a lesser cause.
old wounds between Valiant and his father are healed and when Valiant
leaves the marsh, his mother and father are traveling with him.
His mother will wait at the coast at Greystone while Valiant and
King Willem go back to Thule to reclaim their lost kingdom.
nature of pride, reconciliation and loyalty are explored in this
at long last, has realized that foolish pride has alienated him
from his father. But when he returns to ask Willem to join him in
driving Cynan from their homeland, Willem's pride stands as an obstacle
between them. He equivocates, finding it difficult to accept that
Val, not he, will be in command of the army which liberates Thule.
Val's mother, Briana, interprets: "When a father realizes he is
no longer taller than his son, it is a time of great pride...and
great pain." Val is then able to persuade Willem by telling him
how much he needs him in the battle. The two reconcile their friendship.
Arn must make a difficult decision. He wants to "make a difference".
Should he remain in the village where he grew up, to lead and defend
his people against the barbarians, or should he stay with Val and
Rowanne, pursuing knighthood in Camelot? The decision is complicated
by his awareness that Val, whom he envies as well as loves, will
always play a preeminent role. Val and Rowanne, while dreading losing
Arn, show their true friendship when they tell Arn he must follow
his own heart, and pursue his own destiny. Arn resolves his loyalties
by helping his childhood friend, Toby, realize that he is capable
of village leadership, and casts his destiny with Camelot.
questions for young audiences:
What does it mean that "it is a moment of great pride and pain when
a father realizes he is no longer taller than his son?"
What different kinds of pride do Val, Willem, and Arn display? Which
kinds are helpful? Which cause difficulties? Why?
How do Rowanne and Val show their true friendship and loyalty to
Arn? Why is this so hard to do in real life?
Do you think Arn made the right decision in choosing Camelot over
his home village? To choose to be a follower rather than a leader?
#24 - "The Choice"
is making his final preparations with his troops before he sets
sail for Thule and the liberation of his fathers kingdom. Just as
the anchors are being raised, Valiant gets an unexpected and stunning
surprise. His father announces that he will not be making the voyage
after all. King Willem is determined that the privilege of this
fight is one that Valiant has won for himself.
band of sea-going brigands attacks Val's fleet and seriously damages
one of them, forcing Valiant to put in at a small, rugged island
for repairs. While he is waiting, Valiant comes to a startling realization...if
he follows his quest and liberates the people of Thule from Cynan,
he cannot then abandon them without a leader for what will be certain
induction into knighthood after his victory at Greystone.
goes to Merlin for advice, but this time Merlin cannot help him.
This is Val's own destiny and it's time for him to take control
of it. Val feels that his childhood has truly ended at this moment.
And he comes to the decision to see his quest through...even though
it may mean forever abandoning his dream of becoming a knight.
tells the story of a young Frenchman with a sickly mother who had
three brothers killed by the Nazis during World War II. The boy
wanted to join the Resistance to avenge his brothers' deaths, but
feared his mother would die if he left her. "What should I do?"
he asked. Sartre responded, "You are free; create. But know this:
if you choose to join the Resistance, you can't say I'm the person
who loved my mother so much I'd do anything for her. Conversely,
if you stay with her, you can't say I'm the person who cared so
much about my brothers I risked all to avenge their deaths."
story represents the existentialist position that "we are our choices";
what we decide determines our destiny. No one can ultimately make
crucial life decisions for us, and there is no formula or rule to
is the situation with Val. "I sail north, and I find Thule. South...and
there lies Camelot. But which direction lies my future?" And like
the young Frenchman, he cringes at the responsibility of making
the decision himself: "What can I do Merlin?...Let me have a vision,
something to show me the way‹anything." Merlin gives the same advice
as Sartre: "This you must do on your own, young prince...You are
a man...You must decide...Look within your heart to find the answers
you seek." Val searches within himself, and he pushes on to Thule.
questions for young audiences:
Why does Val's father decline to go with Val to liberate Thule?
Was this a wise decision? Why?
Why does Merlin not tell Val what he should do? Was this wise? Why?
What would you have done had you been in Val's shoes? Why? Have
you ever had to make an important decision on your own?
Why is Val's decision so crucial in his development from boyhood
#25 - "The Triumph"
ships finally arrive on the shores of Thule, only to be met by Cynan's
son Dylan and his army. But the rightful Prince of Thule and his
troops, under the protection of the ship's wooden bulwarks, are
at a great advantage and soon defeat Dylan's unprotected enemy.
Dylan is captured and brought to the gates of the castle, but his
Cynan will not surrender, even if it means Dylan's life.
he is planning his subversive attack on Cynan, Val gets what he
believes is a great boost to his mission...King Willem, having waited
for his son to make the momentous decision on his own, has followed
the armada and will join Valiant in the liberation of his kingdom.
father and son do not see eye-to-eye on how to remove Cynan from
Willem's castle. Going against Valiant's plans, Willem steals into
the castle through a secret passage. Cynan, though, discovered the
passage long ago and has been guarding it heavily. Willem is easily
captured. Valiant is now in a precarious position: an attack on
Cynan will probably cost his father's life.
Merlin's help, the Camelot armada with all its troops appears to
have fled Thule. Val, seemingly left behind, comes to the castle
gate to trade Dylan for his fathers release before himself leaving
Thule. Cynan agrees, but then turns around and captures Val. But
our Prince's plan is at that moment taking place. Arn and Rowanne
have led the secretly hidden troops and positioned themselves for
the attack. Arn has diverted the water supply away from the castle
so Rowanne's flaming arrows at the castle cannot be extinguished.
Along with an advancing army, Cynan is unable to protect his stolen
domain and the long awaited liberation of Thule is successful.
a tearful farewell, Valiant leaves his father on his rightful throne
and returns to Camelot, to an unknown but brightly shining future.
episode resolves the contention between Val and Willem, illuminating
the nature of their father/son conflict.
most fathers, Willem is proud of Val and wants him to do what is
best for him. This is why he wanted Val to make the decision to
go to Thule himself, why he approved Val's leadership of the army,
and why he came to join him in battle. But, like all fathers, he
has problems and needs of his own. He has trouble relinquishing
command to Val. When Val challenges his father's meddling, Willem
asserts his superiority: "You can't permit it? Are you forgetting
who is prince and who is king?" Val returns: "It was you who charged
me with the task of freeing our homeland, was it not?"
Willem temporarily recants his accusation, he cannot resist entering
the castle through a secret passage ‹ acting on his own plan, which
he considers better than Val's. When his capture jeopardizes the
recapture of Thule, Val is enraged, screaming to Merlin, "He gave
me his word... How could my father have done this?" Willem is despondent.
"I deserve this fate. It was my stubborn foolishness that brought
us to this," he tells Val.
when Willem is rescued and Cynan subdued, Willem offers Val the
throne. Val graciously declines, stating, "I could never sit as
tall as you." Thus the two are reconciled once more.
questions for young audiences:
Why does Willem find it so hard to relinquish control to Val? Do
you think it is generally hard for fathers to do this? Why?
What do you think about Val's anger when Willem was captured? Is
anger always a bad thing? When is it? When is it not?
How does Val show that he is an exceptionally wise and competent
leader? What qualities does it take to be such a leader?
At the end of the story, what has happened to the relationship between
Val and Willem? How does this reveal Val's true character?
#26 - "The Dream Come True"
the defeat of Cynan, Prince Valiant's father finally reclaims the
throne of Thule. The victory celebration is a joyous occasion made
even greater by the arrival of Valiant's mother, Queen Briana.
next morning, Valiant, Rowanne, Arn, Merlin and Gawain set sail
for Camelot. Although it is a wrenching decision, Valiant feels
he must continue to pursue his dream of becoming a knight.
they finally arrive in Camelot, Valiant is asked to report to the
knight's quarters and remain there until six o'clock. As the tower
bell tolls six, Valiant enters the Throne Room and is told that
he is to be made a Knight of the Round Table. The pageantry and
splendor of the ceremony in which Valiant is knighted is breathtaking...
almost surpassing the vision he had of it in his dream in the marsh.
the conclusion of the ceremony, Valiant prepares to leave Camelot
to go forth on his first quest as a Knight. It is to stop a renegade
army in the South led by the exiled Knight Mordred.
making his farewells, Valiant mounts Caliburn and flanked by Rowanne
and Arn, heads toward the gates of Camelot. The last we see of him,
he is riding toward the rising sun...moving into the future, illuminated
by the light of hope.
now, the Legend begins...
this concluding episode, we learn that dreams can come true when
they are pursued with diligence, courage, and compassion; when they
are nurtured by good friends such as Rowanne and Arn; when they
are guided by mentors such as Merlin and Arthur. Val has been transformed
from an impetuous, sometimes arrogant boy, into an intelligent,
powerful, caring adult. He has fought the good fight; he has passed
the test; he has become a Knight of the Round Table.
questions for young audiences:
What have all these episodes taught us about the importance of having
dreams? What must we do if our dreams are to have a chance of coming
Do you wish you could become a knight? Do you think the ideals of
knighthood are still alive? Should they be? Why?
What are some of the ways in which Val is like everyone? In what
ways is he different? 4. What do you think will become of Val? Of
Arn? Of Rowanne? What would you like to happen?
#27 - "THE LOST"
sets out with Arn, Rowanne and a group of Camelot soldiers to gather
information about Mordred's army which is gathering in the South.
On the way, Denys, on horseback, attempts to leap over a log and
is injured. He is taken to a nearby village, where his wounds can
be tended. At a tavern, the group is ambushed by Mordred's men.
There is a brief battle that ends with Denys' being taken to Mordred's
an attempt to recover Denys, Valiant sneaks into the camp and overhears
talk of dissension among Mordred's ranks. Mordred holds lofty ideals
about war (no pillaging), whereas the mercenary leader, Eric, wants
to loot and take hostages. In the ensuing struggle, Am is seized
by Mordred's men, and Eric threatens to kill him. Val intercedes
and persuades Mordred to stand by his "honor-able" ideals. Val urges
Mordred to remember that he was once a knight. Mordred orders that
Am be released, but swears that Arthur's ideals will one day destroy
#28 - "THE BEGGAR"
Valiant receives an invitation to the wedding of an earl's daughter
in a distant territory. In the forest near the earl's castle, Val
is ambushed by a band of thieves, led by the giant Horack. Val is
stripped of everything, including his shield, sword, and his horse,
Caliburn. When he staggers to the castle, the guards, taking Val
for a vagrant, deny him access to the wedding.
a beggar offers Val assistance, Val angrily snubs him. Valiant falls
unconscious from fatigue and hunger, and wakes up in a decrepit
woodland cottage ‹ home to Jon the Beggar, the very man who offered
him assistance in the village. Once a renowned knight within the
earl's castle, Jon had been disgraced in combat by Horack. Unable
to face this humiliation, Jon took up the only occupation he felt
he deserved ‹ that of a pitiful beggar.
determines to help his newfound friend reclaim his "noble heart."
Val attempts to enlist the beggar in a surprise attack on Horack's
murderous band. But the beggar has lost his inner resolve and can't
face the prospect of another defeat at Horack's hand. Valiant goes
alone to reclaim his stolen possessions. When Val attempts to retrieve
his Singing Sword and armor, he is attacked by Horack's men. Val
battles like a wildman, and then faces off with Horack himself.
But suddenly, Jon appears in his old armor, brandishing his sword
and shield. He has unearthed the past and now has come to exorcise
his personal demon. Horack mocks Jon, confident of crushing the
knight he has beaten before. But, in a terrific battle, Jon bests
#29 - "THE BLACK ROSE"
Arthur is on a hunting expedition with King Lot, a lone assassin
tries to kill Merlin in Camelot. Val kills the man ‹ and discovers
that he has a Black Rose tattoo. Merlin immediately senses danger
and sets off with Valiant and Denys to protect King Arthur.
Denys and Merlin make camp, only to be surrounded by three Black
Rose assassins. Through Merlin's wiles, the ambush is foiled, and
the villains are routed. When Valiant asks why the men with the
Black Rose tattoos are trying to kill Merlin, Merlin answers that
it is because he has the sword Excalibur. Merlin then recounts the
story of the sword and the stone, explaining how Arthur came to
pull Excalibur from the stone in which it had been imbedded.
Arthur discovers that Lot is plotting with an army of Scots and
Saxons to kill him ‹ and that Lot, too, has a Black Rose tattoo.
Fortunately, just as Lot is coming in for the kill, Valiant arrives
and throws Arthur Excalibur. Arthur takes his prized sword, and
easily defeats Lot. When the Saxons and Lot's own men see Arthur
handle Excalibur, they turn on Lot and pledge their loyalty to Arthur.
The disgraced Lot is led away in chains.
#30 - "THE DECEPTION"
and his elder son, Dylan, exiled from Thule, again plan against
Camelot. Plotting to lure Denys (Cynan's younger son and Val's friend)
away from Camelot, Dylan takes a potion made by Glyndon, Merlin's
ex-protégée (and now enemy), which has put him in a state of suspended
animation. The only antidote which can revive him is one Glyndon
knows how to prepare.
Cynan's close ally, brings the inert Dylan to King Arthur, claiming
that the young man is dead, and furthermore, that Cynan himself
is "on his deathbed," and would like to say a final fare-well to
his son, Denys. Arthur, sympathetic to Cynan's last wish, proposes
that Denys return home to his father. Reluctantly, Denys agrees.
Valiant follows Denys to Cynan's castle and is captured by Cynan's
Valiant's death and Dylan's revival stand between Cynan and his
revenge against Camelot. Merlin, however, intercedes by overpowering
Glyndon with a potent potion of his own, and forces her to hand
over the antidote to him. Merlin gives the antidote to Denys, who
uses it to free Valiant. In an act of treachery, as Valiant and
Denys leave Cynan's castle, with his crossbow, Cynan shoots at Valiant.
He misses, but his shot causes the bottle containing the antidote
to break. Dylan cannot be brought back to life, and the house of
Cynan has been destroyed by Cynan himself.
#31 - "THE CURSED"
Am and Rowanne visit the village of Serenity, where as a young girl
Rowanne spent time with her family. Serenity is no longer as peaceful
as Rowanne remembers it, for a feudhas broken out between the town's
long-time residents, and the "newcomers" ‹ the Lusitains. The old-timers,
including Rowanne's cousin, Karl, have developed a deep-seated jealousy
and resentment for the success of the Lusitains, who have gotten
ahead through hard work. When Val asks several long-time residents
about the Black Cowls, hooded hooligans who terrorize the Lusitains,
he is given only tight-lipped responses. Later, he is knocked out
cold by a brutal band of hooded men.
invites Rowanne to a meeting of the Black Cowls. Curiously compelled,
Rowanne accepts the invitation. Although repulsed by the Black Cowls'
hatred, Valiant, against his protestations, is brought along to
the meeting. There, an enormous impassioned crowd rise to hail "The
Leader" ‹ Mordred ‹ who fans their hatred. Valiant speaks to the
crowd urging them not to further divide their society. The people
do not want to listen.
by Mordred's fiery speech, a group of Black Cowls torches Adolphus'
wagon works. Valiant apprehends the leader of the arsonists, and
discovers it is Karl. As the people of Serenity work to extinguish
the fire, old-timers and Lusitains alike realize that in order to
mend the wounded community, they all have to work together.
#32 - "THE FLUTE"
the banquet at neighboring Cassington Court, Val befriends Henry,
the son of King Donovan. The boy seems fearful and filled with self-doubt.
The king is proud of Henry, yet criticizes him and rules him with
an iron fist. King Donovan is generous, and is known for his wisdom
and peaceful rule, yet something mysterious underlies his perfect
exterior. This mystery is further enhanced by the beautiful yet
mournful sounds of a flute which Valiant hears playing at the castle
at night ‹ the origin of which is unknown, even to the king.
and Denys search for Henry to offer him a gift, and cannot find
him. They go to his room and follow the strains of flute music they
hear coming from afar. Led down a secret passageway, they discover
Henry is the mysterious flute player. But he is bruised and disconsolate,
and finally he confesses that he has routinely been beaten by his
Val confronts King Donovan, but the king defends the nightmare of
abuse committed against his son. Fearful of being beaten again because
of the secret he has divulged, Henry flees into the stormy night.
Henry's disappearance prompts the king to acknowledge the terrible
error of his treatment of his son, and prays for Henry's return.
Henry does return, unharmed, and the King and Prince begin a reconciliation
of their relationship.
#33 - "THE COLOR OF HONOR"
names Valiant as sheriff of the nearby town of Hammerscape. Soon,
Valiant spots Moorish pirates destroying a village up the coast.
Valiant makes an assault on the men and drives them back, but their
captain, Salandre, escapes.
villagers of Hammersc ape are warned of the pirate threat, and are
advised to keep the town dark to ward off a nighttime attack. Bryant,
alerted in Camelot to the potential attack, rides to Hammerscape
with torch in hand (unaware of the ban on lights.) Seeing the flame,
the Moors attack, causing death and destruction in Hammerscape.
Murdock, the town's prejudiced Lord Mayor, accuses Bryant of intentionally
signaling the pirates. Murdock demands that Bryant be put on trial.
of the villagers testify in favor of Bryant. Salandre even testifies
that Bryant is under his employ, a fact Bryant wholeheartedly denies.
The case looks dim for Bryant until an oppressed serf leads Valiant
(and others) to a hidden cliff where they see Salandre paying off
Murdock in gold and jewels.
court, Bryant is convicted, and is surrendered to Salandre on grounds
of collaboration with the enemy. In disguise, Val, Rowanne and Arn,
sneak aboard the Moorish ship and free Bryant. The defeated pirates
are led off in chains, and Bryant's honor is restored.
#34 - "THE TRAITOR"
Val, Am and Rowanne are sent by King Arthur north of Hadrian's Wall
to make a treaty with the Venicone tribe. Upon arriving, they find
the tribes people unfriendly, and are strangely avoided by them.
In a conversation between two tribesmen they hear one pronounce,
"Death to the High One." They conclude that Arthur is in mortal
danger. In disguise, the trio penetrates the barbarian camp, to
learn first-hand whether Arthur's life is threatened.
for their success in combat, Val, Am and Rowanne are welcomed into
the Venicone tribe by Colm, the young leader. During a hunting expedition,
an older warrior, Duglass, proves his great prowess by overpowering
an elk. In spite of his bravery, Duglass is shunned by the tribes
people. In private, Duglass tells Valiant how he was the former
Venicone chief, and how Colm, with the sup port of the warriors
and a philosophy of "might makes right", overthrew him. Furthermore,
Duglass confesses that Colm is supported by "The Dark Man", a strange
hooded figure. Val now suspects that Colm plans to overthrow Arthur.
the treaty meeting, Colm draws his knife on Arthur, but Duglass
stops his attack, bringing an end to Coim's reign of fear. The Venicones
pronounce their reverence for Duglass, and with their support he
is reinstated as leader.
#35 - "THE TREE"
villages are fighting over a magnificent tree, Adam's Oak, which
grows over a river on their border. Crassus, of Perkshire, insists
that the tree must be cut down to allow a bridge to be built to
help them transport their goods. Vesta, of Harmony, wants the tree
to stand tall, for its shade and beauty are appreciated by all.
Valiant and Rowanne attempt to negotiate a peaceful settlement between
the warring factions, but the two groups only come to blows.
are further complicated when Sir Bryant arrives and demands that
no one touch the tree. He reveals that his wife and son are buried
beneath it, and tells the story of when he was a young man, and
abandoned his family for a night of chess and drink at a tavern.
He returned home to discover that his wife and child had been slain
by a band of highwaymen. In memory of them, Bryant carved two hearts
on the tree, and he will not allow it to be cut down.
the needs of both groups, Valiant proposes a compromise ‹ to build
a bridge over the river using Adam's Oak's sturdy roots as a natural
support. This way, goods may now cross to the neighboring lands,
while passers-by can walk in the cool shade of the beautiful tree.
#36 - "THE CROSSBOW"
and his young friend, Wesley, pick up a fallen crossbow which Val
has accidentally abandoned during an archery competition with Rowanne.
Against Denys' protests, Wesley shoots the crossbow and hands it
to Denys to do the same. At first Denys refuses, but then Wesley
convinces him to shoot. Haplessly, Denys' arrow strikes Am, who
has come to find him. In a panic, they both flee, leaving Arn behind.
Later in the afternoon, when Arn doesn't appear, Rowanne goes out
looking for him. She discovers him unconscious and rushes him to
Merlin's cave, where all fear that Am may die.
Arn's life hangs in the balance, Denys is nowhere to be seen. Later,
when Denys reappears, his odd behavior leads Val and Rowanne to
believe that Denys may have fired the arrow which injured Am. Val
confronts Denys and urges him to tell the truth about the shooting.
Denys realizes his mistake, and approaches Am to apologize. Am,
at last on the road to recovery, forgives his young friend.
#37 - "THE LESSON TWICE LEARNED"
a routine scout to a nearby village, Valiant meets his father's
former advisor, Lorne. Even though Lorne is getting on in years,
Valiant recommends him as a strategist to King Arthur. Arthur agrees
and sends him with Gawain on a mission to Westbridge to snare some
local bandits. Lorne fails miserably. Gawain requests reinforcements
‹ and a new advisor. Valiant refuses to acknowledge Lorne's failure.
Lorne bungles a second attack, Valiant realizes Lorne is at fault
and asks him to remove himself from active service. Lome steadfastly
refuses. Finally, Val goes to King Arthur and with-draws his recommendation.
Arthur commands Val to deliver the news of Lome's removal himself,
and to do it in a way that leaves the man his dignity.
first, Lorne is angry, but then he breaks down and admits to Val
that he knows he's lost some of his sharpness. Val tells him that
there is no shame in growing old, and that he still has a life of
service and honor ahead of him. As Lorne prepares to leave Camelot,
a number of squires approach Lorne, and beg him to take them on
as students. Lorne happily accepts.
#38 - "THE PRINCESS ALETA"
receiving a surprising call for help from King Hugo of the Misty
Isles, King Arthur sends Valiant, Am and Rowanne with an army to
aid his old enemy. After a dangerous sea-crossing where they are
overcome by a huge sea monster, Valiant meets the beautiful warrior-daughter
of King Hugo, Princess Aleta. Hugo is astonished to learn that help
has been requested from Arthur ‹ he would never have asked his old
enemy for reinforcements. Aleta becomes caught between her father's
mistrust of Camelot, and her growing love for Prince Valiant.
spite of Hugo's order for Valiant to leave, Valiant wins Hugo's
appreciation by staying and saving the Misty Isles from the barbarians.
When Val leaves, he returns alone to Camelot ‹ but with a profound
love for Princess Aleta.
#39 - "THE VOYAGE"
Arthur assigns Val, Am and Rowanne the mission of escorting King
Hugo and Princess Aleta from the Misty Isles to Camelot. As the
ship negotiates a narrow strait, it is attacked by Mordred, who
is sailing in the area. Realizing it is a Camelot ship, Mordred
rescues Val, Am, Rowanne, Hugo and Princess Aleta.
they sail for Camelot, Mordred holds a secret meeting with Hugo
and Aleta, luring Hugo to become part of his plan to overthrow King
Arthur. When Valiant learns that Aleta has been at this meeting,
he is angry and disappointed, and their relationship moves into
an uncertain future.
#40 - "MORDRED'S RETURN"
Arthur's spy, Will, is caught and killed on Mordred's ship which
is docked at the Camelot waterfront. As he is dying, he tells Valiant
that Rowanne overheard the plotters aboard ship, and is in grave
danger. Val rides off to save Rowanne.
Rowanne tells Arn about the events that led to Will's death. In
flashback, we see how Rowanne has suggested that Aleta is part of
the conspiracy, and how, driven by a guilty conscience, she has
inadvertently led Mordred's men to Will.
Arn, Rowanne expresses regret for her jealousy for Aleta and the
tragedy it has caused. At dusk, the two are ambushed by Mordred's
men. Valiant arrives in time to drive off the attackers. The three
race to Camelot before Mordred's men can get to them. There, Rowanne
confirms Valiant's allegations about Mordred. Arthur is furious
and banishes Mordred, who arrogantly vows to return and take Camelot
for his own.
#41 -"THE RESCUE"
is distraught over Aleta's departure for the Misty Isles, and asks
King Arthur to send him on a mission which will take his mind off
his broken heart. Arthur agrees to send Valiant to meet Gawain in
the hinterlands, where Gawain is investigating rumors that a local
village has been terrorized. Meanwhile, Rowanne boards Mordred's
ship, and asks Aleta's forgiveness for leading Valiant to believe
Aleta has sided with Mordred. Rowanne explains that Val's coldness
towards Aleta was due to his fears that she was conspiring against
King Arthur. Aleta reconsiders her departure for the Misty Isles,
and against her father's wishes, disembarks to make amends with
the hinterlands, Gawain's men are massacred by the "Night People"
‹ a strange tribe of nearly subhuman beings who live underground
in a remote area of the forest. Gawain and Valiant survive and are
taken hostage in the Night People's deep subterranean chasm. Finding
Valiant's horse, Rowanne and Aleta ride into the forest where they
discover the lair of the Night People. Heroically, they succeed
in rescuing Gawain and Valiant. Safe above ground, Valiant and Rowanne
renew their friendship, and Valiant and Aleta celebrate their reunion.
#42 - "THE PARTING"
and King Hugo have returned to the Misty Isles, and Aleta is left
alone in Camelot to settle her relationship with Prince Valiant.
All is not well in the kingdom, however, for there is an insurrection
being mounted by some of the King's knights, who espouse Mordred's
philosophy of the "New Dawn." Arthur, uncertain who is responsible
for the rumblings among his knights, recruits Valiant to discover
the source of the dissension. Valiant is troubled, for Aleta is
suspected of spreading the seeds of Mordred's evil ways.
as Sir Lionel, a disaffected knight, Valiant is quickly welcomed
into the ranks of the renegades. Morgan and Fergus, two leaders
plotting Arthur's overthrow, inform Valiant that Princess Aleta
will transport vital documents to Mordred. Valiant is crushed believing
that Aleta has betrayed him. At the final meeting of the conspirators,
Aleta proves her true colors and burns the documents she is to transport.
The conspirators demand that Valiant slay the traitor, Princess
Aleta. Valiant knows his sole alternative is to side with Aleta
and reveal that he is an impostor ‹ insuring his own death. Valiant
doesn't hesitate. He frees Aleta and fights savagely against the
conspirators. Valiant is almost overwhelmed, but with the arrival
of Bryant and Gawain their foes are defeated.
and Valiant must now confront their future. Valiant asks Aleta to
marry him. She promises that some day she will, after she makes
amends with her father. Aleta casts off for the Misty Isles ‹ and
sails out of Valiant's life.
#43 - "PEACE ON EARTH"
Camelot celebrates the Christmas season, Valiant, Am and Rowanne
are dispatched to Northgalis, an ally of Camelot, whose people are
continually at war with the barbarians of Lindum. The reason for
their battle is written in a book "the relic" ‹ so old that no one
even remembers its contents.
a battle, Welldon, the father of Thomas, a young Northgalian, is
mortally wounded. Thomas is only sixteen and wonders about the world
in which he lives, where young men of his age are fighting a battle
whose origin they are not even certain of. Unlike his fellow warriors,
Thomas does not want to avenge his father's death with further bloodshed.
urges Thomas to bring the people together, and to stop the endless
fighting. As another battle reaches a climax, Thomas, followed by
Valiant, brings the relic to its people. In the intense rains, the
words of the parchment are washed away ‹ and with it the people
see the absurdity of their fighting. On this Christmas Day the fighting
ended, and there was peace on earth.
#44 - "EMPTY JUSTICE"
Val and Am are sent to the village of Reghed, which has been destroyed
by fire. Harold, the impostor knight (first met in Ep. #012 ‹ "The
Visitor"), lives there with his family. Am has a joyous reunion
with Harold, and meets his wife, Sarah. They both welcome Arn as
if he were their own son. Am also befriends their son,Will, who
worships him as both idol and big brother.
him for the knight who killed his brother at the battle of Haledon
(see Ep. #012), the blood-thirsty Blake has tracked Harold down
to Reghed. Blake confronts Harold and says that he has come to seek
revenge for his brother's death. Harold tries to explain that he
is not the knight he once served, but to no avail. In a horrible
case of mistaken identity, before Arn's eyes, Blake slays Harold.
is driven to seek revenge against Blake, and his anger and hate
steadily grow. When finally face-to-face with Blake, Am threatens
to kill him. However, with Will beside him, Am realizes that he
cannot murder. To pass these violent ways to another generation
would only lead to greater strife and destruction. His justice would
be only "empty justice." Am spares Blake's life ‹ a better man for
#45 - "THE RIVAL"
is the time of the Queen's Festival honoring Guinevere, and three
young warriors from Camelot's domain will be chosen to train for
a year as knights. In secrecy, a young peasant from Serenity, Fiona,
arrives at Camelot. Rowanne is initially startled by Fiona (who
has crept into her room), but soon she befriends her. Fiona expresses
that her greatest desire is to take part in the Queen's competition.
Rowanne encourages Gawain to make an exception to the deadline and
to allow Fiona (a woman!) to compete. After proving inexperienced
during a preliminary bout with Rowanne, Fiona makes a great showing
during the official rounds, and rises quickly in the ranks ... over
many a male competitor.
Fiona ingratiates herself to Val, Am and Guinevere, and seemingly
all of Camelot supports her. When Rowanne becomes jealous of Fiona
and the attention she receives, only Guinevere can help Rowanne
overcome her insecurities. In spite of Guinevere's kind words, when
Fiona deceives Rowanne by abandoning her apple-picking and wearing
Rowanne's dress to the ball, Rowanne is beside herself with rage.
however, betrays herself and her supporters in Camelot. At the archery
competition, she cheats by substituting special arrows Am made for
the ones she was supposed to use. She wins the competition, but
her trick is later discovered. Shamed, Fiona leaves Camelot, and
Rowanne learns a lesson about not wishing to be in someone else's
#46 -"THE WALLS OF TYRANNY"
in combat with the MacGrath clan, King Ian of Kengarry (first met
in "The Return", Ep. #014) is slain on the battlefield. His nephew
Baron Van Halsing refuses the throne; Duncan Draconarius (first
encountered in Ep. #003) is named King. King Arthur holds little
faith in Duncan and his ability to maintain peace with his neighbors.
Fearing unrest, he sends Valiant, Rowanne and Am to Kengarry to
ensure a smooth transition between King Ian's and Duncan's rule.
Baron Van Halsing, who seems to be a gallant nobleman, is introduced
to Rowanne, he is love struck. However, when Valiant comes upon
a band of wretched people in chains ‹ prisoners of war from the
MacGrath clan ‹ he concludes there are problems in Kengarry. He
learns that they have been used as slave labor in the mines. When
Valiant himself is taken prisoner, he discovers that Baron Van Halsing,
not Duncan, has ordered the enslavement of these prisoners of war.
meets a brave prisoner named Brendon, and with him leads an insurgency
against the mine overseers. In a fatal accident, Baron Van Halsing
is killed, and Duncan learns that the unfair treatment of the prisoners
had been orchestrated by Van Halsing for his own personal gain.
The emissaries return to Camelot, having restored peace to the kingdom
of Kengarry ‹ and having renewed faith in the king, Duncan Draconarius.
episode illustrates the importance of being fair minded and open
to change in people, not writing them off. From past experiences,
Arthur has good reason to be wary of Duncan Draconarius. Yet when
Valiant recommends Duncan to succeed the murdered King Ian, whom
Duncan served as an adviser, Arthur heeds Valiant's advice ‹ despite
when it appears that Duncan has captured or killed Valiant, Arthur
demands that he surrender the crown of Kengarry. But when it becomes
clear through the efforts of Valiant, Rowanne and Brendon that Duncan
had negotiated a peace treaty with the McGraths, was unaware of
Von Halsing's slave trade, and that Von Halsing was responsible
for King Ian's murder and Val's incarceration. Arthur gives Duncan
his due: "It is not easy for me to say this, Valiant. But Duncan
Draconarius is a man of honor. I have come to believe you were wise
to recommend that Duncan be allowed to rule Kengarry."
How does Arthur show his fair-mindedness towards Duncan, whom he
doesn't like, at the beginning of the story? At the end?
Are people usually willing to admit the good points about others
they don't particularly care for? Have you ever changed your mind
about someone you didn't like? Why is this hard to do?
How does Valiant show he is a good ambassador throughout this story?
#47 -"THE JUBILEE"
the silver jubilee of Queen Eleonora's rule, Guinevere, Val, Arn
and Rowanne travel to Arcadia, bearing a gift from Merlin. Guinevere's
childhood friend Eleonora is now a widow, and has ruled alone for
ten years with a philosophy patterned after Arthur's vision of Camelot.
Arcadia, the travelers meet two young nobles, Glenellen and Lord
Algar, who complain that Queen Eleonora refuses to listen to the
disenchanted people of her kingdom. Nevertheless, Guinevere and
Eleonora have a cheerful reunion. When Guinevere presents Eleonora
Merlin's gift ‹ a horse and rider timepiece modeled after King Desmond
‹ Eleonora becomes nostalgic about her past, and expresses the difficulties
of ruling without her beloved husband.
Valiant gives Guinevere evidence of the cruel laws of Eleonora's
reign. Guinevere confronts Eleonora: does she truly want her people
to live under terror, or does she want to listen to their needs?
Eleonora explains that she rules by the laws that Desmond laid down
twenty-five years earlier. When Eleonora attempts to arrest Glenellen
and Lord Algar, Val intercedes and helps them escape.
and Algar flee to a sentry tower, and are prepared to send an attack
signal to their ally, Mordred. Val protests that Mordred offers
Arcadia no real solutions, and urges them to work out their difficulties
with the queen. Eleonora appears, and asks Guinevere how she should
resolve her difficulties. Listen to your people, as King Arthur
does, begs Guinevere. Glenellen and Algar call off their rebellion.
Eleonora decides to turn over a new leaf ‹ she will rule the country
in concert with her people ‹ not alone.
must always be open to learn from the past, to improve the future,"
Guinevere tells her oldest and dearest friend, Eleonora, stating
the basic message of this episode. But this is a message Eleanora
finds terribly difficult to comprehend. Having to rule Arcadia alone
since the death of her husband Desmond, she has lost the vision
of his enlightened, Camelot-type reign. As do many insecure people,
she clings desperately to old ways. Thus she ignores important matters
of state and rigidly enforces unjust laws developed years ago, banishing
and burning the property of those who break the laws. Nor will she
listen to her advisers or anyone seeking to help her. As a result,
she defensively turns against Guinevere and Valiant, and drives
Algar and Glenellen, two of her most able aides, into league with
Mordred. At least Mordred will listen and can keep Arcadia from
self-destructing, they feel. It is only when Eleanora is threatened
with loss of her realm that she is open to change and accepts the
Camelot contingent's aid in repelling Mordred.
What are some reasons Eleanora is so insecure in her reign as queen?
What is it that makes some people so set in their ways?
Why do Algar and Glenellen turn to Mordred? Are they justified in
doing this? What other options were there?
How could Eleonora turn against her best friend? Have you seen people
turn against their best friends? What do you think of this? .
How did Guinevere prove that she truly was Eleonora's best friend?
What are some characteristics of true friends?
#48 -"THE TREATY"
the North of Camelot, Vikings are continuously attacking the local
people. Arthur dispatches Valiant, Sir Gawain, Sir Kay, and other
knights, to Norway by way of the Kingdom of Kengarry (ruled by Duncan
Draconarius), to stop the conflict.
a dangerous sea voyage, the Camelot soldiers land and find that
Mordred is at the Viking camp forging a treaty with the Viking leaders.
Valiant angrily questions why Mordred is attempting to make peace
with the Viking King Olaf. When Valiant tries to convince the Vikings
of Mordred's unworthiness, they ask him to produce Olaf s ring (that
had been sent to Arthur as a peace overture) as a sign of Camelot's
sincerity. Valiant cannot, for the ring was stolen from King Arthur.
The Vikings make it clear they don't trust King Arthur. When Valiant
and the others leave, Mordred makes his true intentions clear ‹
he wants to ally himself with the Vikings and the people North of
Camelot, to overthrow King Arthur. Later, we learn it was Mordred
who had the ring stolen.
in Camelot, Mordred begins mounting an insurrection, galvanizing
the people against the immigrants in Camelot ‹ bringing the New
Dawn to bear against the ideals of Camelot.
ongoing difficulties of governing a society based on truth and justice
‹ and Arthur and Merlin's wisdom in dealing with them -- are portrayed
in this episode. The problems, exacerbated by Mordred, are both
external and internal. Externally, the Vikings and other marauders
are pillaging Camelot's allies. Internally, there is growing resentment
against immigrants and a feeling of "Camelot for Camelotians." Yet
Arthur will not go back on Camelot's values. He sends a peace mission
to King Olaf in lieu of attacking the Vikings, as some members of
the Round Table would have him do. And he upholds the rights of
all people in his realm.
it appears that Mordred has gained the upper hand through creating
domestic unrest and forging a secret treaty with King Olaf, Arthur
and Merlin know that patience and keeping a close watch will eventually
ensnare the enemy.
In what ways does Arthur uphold the ideals of Camelot in this story?
Why is this difficult?
What does "Camelot for Camelotians" mean? Why might this idea be
appealing to many people there?
Why does Merlin say, "One should always keep his friends close,
and his enemies even closer?"
#49 -"THE BLACKEST POISON"
Guinevere, Valiant, Arn, Sir Gawain and Sir Bryant travel to Velquen,
a powerful kingdom to the east of Camelot, to negotiate a treaty
with its ruler, King Edward. There are hesitations about the negotiation
on both sides. Arthur fears Velquen, for it has the reputation of
being a bloodthirsty kingdom. Edward's sister, Sedissa, holds a
deep mistrust of Camelot and its ideals.
a banquet at Briarcliff, the meeting place of Velquen rulers, Arthur
collapses ‹ he has been poisoned. Suspicions fall on Sedissa. We
soon learn that she is in love with Mordred, who has promised to
make her his queen after overthrowing Arthur. Merlin is able to
prevent Arthur's demise with an antidote. To assure Arthur's speedy
recovery, Edward offers his warm chamber to the king. However, Sedissa
has set a trap (a swinging stone axe) at the room's entrance. Upon
entering, Edward, who attempts to protect Arthur, is struck, and
slumps lifelessly to the ground.
Mordred, Sedissa rejoices that she will be Queen of Velquen. But
to Sedissa's astonishment, at her coronation, Edward reveals himself
to be very much alive. When carrying Arthur into his chamber, he
had protected himself with armor. Mordred abandons Sedissa, who
attempts to escape from Briarcliff through a secret passage. However,
she is captured, and her brother puts her on trial for her attempted
poisoning of the king.
episode illustrates the way that hatred and distrust can destroy
a person's life and infect the lies and ideals of others. Sedissa,
filled with hatred and distrust, will do anything to further her
own ends. She has no faith whatever in the ideals of Camelot, believing
in the power for the sword and privilege by birthright. Arthur's
beliefs in peace, the sharing of power, and justice seem signs of
weakness. So joining forces with Mordred, whom she fancies as her
lower, she seeks to kill Arthur, first by poison, then by booby
trap. When she is found out, she not only loses the crown she aspires
to; ironically, she finds that Mordred has regarded her as a mere
convenience ‹ precisely the way she has regarded others.
hatred has also affected others. When Arthur is poisoned, Gawain
is ready to do battle, Bryant wants to withdraw and everyone is
distrustful of the people of Velquen. However, Guinevere and Valiant
hold the day, upholding Arthur's fervent desire to negotiate a peace
treaty, and exposing Sedissa's treachery. Thus Arthur's concluding
statement to Guinevere: "While Merlin may have provided the cure
that drew the poison from my boy, you and Valiant found a way to
triumph over hatred and mistrust, the blackest poisons of them all."
In what ways has Sedissa's hatred poisoned her own life? Why is
it that some people seem filled with hatred? Do you think people's
values affect their personalities?
How does the mistrust sown by Sedissa affect others?
How do Arthur and Guinevere show their strength? Why was this difficult
to do in these circumstances?
Why is this story entitled, "The Blackest Poison?"
#50 -"THE HERO"
Am, Rowanne and Denys go to Longport, a harbor town, to collect
a delivery of palm trees for Merlin. Denys is excited because his
hero, the wrestler Raymond, is in a tournament there. After arriving,
they see Raymond compete ‹ he is everything Denys had hoped he'd
be. Raymond invites the travelers from Camelot to dine with him
at a local inn. When Raymond's identity is revealed to the tavern
owner, his dinner is given for free. Valiant disapproves and rightly
believes that Raymond is trading on his fame for a free meal ticket.
trees have been re-routed to Raven's Rock Island. Instead of calling
in reinforcements from Camelot to ensure safe passage to this dangerous
port, Valiant brings Raymond, who offers his services as protector.
To prepare for the voyage, Raymond procures supplies ‹ stealing
them instead of paying for them. Moreover, he convinces Denys that
this is legitimate conduct.
group sails to the dangerous island, infested with pirates. While
Raymond roams the town, Valiant learns that Raymond had stolen the
supplies from Longport, and is furious. Denys tries to defend his
hero, but Valiant will hear nothing of it ‹ stealing is stealing.
Angered, Denys sneaks away from the seaside inn to find Raymond.
An irate Raymond torches a local inn, and lacks the courage to save
Denys from the burning building. Valiant saves the boy and is cheered
by the crowd. Raymond is arrested for arson and theft. Despite Raymond's
protestations, Valiant can do nothing to help him, for Raymond committed
a crime, and his powers are not above the law.
episode explores the character of a hero-gone-awry and hero worship.
Raymond, tournament fighter extraordinaire, is overcome with his
own celebrity. He brags and exaggerates, demands the very best of
meals, rooms and service, complains when things aren't exactly to
his liking, and constantly expects favors and gifts of people. He
even thinks he can become a Knight of the Round Table because of
his prowess, and is deaf to Valiant's retort that it takes more
than fighting ability to serve Arthur. Raymond is a man who thinks
he deserves whatever he wants whenever he wants it, simply because
he is Raymond.
most young boys, Denys is a hero worshipper, and Raymond is his
favorite ‹ mightier than even Valiant and Arthur. He is so taken
with Raymond's attention to him that he ignores Raymond's faults,
and is persuaded to steal apples when Raymond persuades him, "people
want us to have them."
Raymond sets the inn on fire because the innkeeper will not pander
to him and Valiant rescues Denys, the latter comes to see the truth
about his idol, now in chains. In a genuine act of heroism for a
young boy, Denys, at his own bidding, goes back to the shopkeeper
and offers restitution for the apples he has stolen.
What makes a true hero? What is the difference between a hero and
What are some signs that Raymond is not a true hero? Do you know
of any well-known people who have acted somewhat like Raymond? How
do you feel about such people?
Why do you think Denys was so easily deceived by Raymond? What are
some examples of hero worship among your age group? Are there good
sides to hero worship? Things to be concerned about?
Who is the real hero in this story? Why?
#51 - "THE VISION"
awakes from a daydream, in which he has a vision of a flying machine.
He asks Valiant if he thinks it possible to make machines that fly.
Valiant dismisses the boy's question as fantasy, and says they have
a mission ‹ to attend the Spring Festival ‹ and they must be on
their way. The two, with Arn, Rowanne, and Merlin, set out on horseback.
Soon, they become lost and wander into the shire of Croydon, known
to be perilous for travelers.
menacing thugs from Croydon attack the lost group, and they make
a narrow escape. They take refuge in a cave, but are trapped inside
when an avalanche seals the entrance. Only through Merlin's knowledge
of alchemy and his ability to make gunpowder do they free themselves,
by blowing a hole in the cave wall.
encounter the thugs again, and are trapped in a pit by them. From
scraps of their clothing they construct a trampoline, and send Denys
"flying" into the air, out of the pit, and to safety. He helps the
others to freedom. Back at Camelot, Denys builds a flying machine
which for a few moments remains aloft. Merlin reminds Valiant that
dreams are important, for if we lose them, we lose our future, as
importance of the capacity to dream is featured in this episode.
Denys, engaged in the wonderful "what if" thinking of boys his age,
is absorbed with the possibility of flying. Day and night he dreams
about it, and tries to build a model flying ship. While Rowanne
and Arn are tolerant but skeptical of Denys' musings, Valiant becomes
annoyed. He regards them as a silly, foolish waste of time that
could be best spent trying to solve the very real problems at hand
is only Merlin who encourages Denys' speculations, reminding him
that without dreams, there would be no Camelot. He chides Valiant,
"A dream fervently and passionately believed should never be dismissed
as foolish...The mind of man is no different than a young sapling.
It must continually reach and grow. If we restrict it, we may never
know its full potential."
wisdom of Merlin's words is manifest when Denys' continued talk
about flying gives Valiant the idea of "trampolining" Denys out
of the pit, an act which saves our protagonists from the thugs of
Croydon. Thus we see, once more in Merlin's words, "Dreams can be
the seeds of reality. You never know when they may take root and
bloom...They are your future and you must fight for them, for they
are your most precious possession.²
What is Valiant¹s attitude towards Denys¹ dream of flying? Is this
a typical attitude towards dreamers in general? Can you think of
any ³dreamers² the world has scoffed at?
What is Merlin's attitude towards dreaming? Why is this a wise view?
Why is dreaming especially important when we are young?
What do you think happens when people lose the capacity to have
dreams and visions?
#52 - "SHADOWS OF DESTINY"
and Valiant sneak into Merlin's secret chamber and discover a book
Merlin has written which describes past events which happened ‹
and more importantly, they believe, future events that will happen.
They read a passage which describes Arthur's murder, and Valiant
being crowned King. The account also mentions that a man bearing
the emblem of a serpent is the assassin. Rowanne and Valiant fear
for Arthur's life. He is at his annual retreat in Atlantia, but
the exact location is secret. They set out for Atlantia, a hostile
border kingdom, in hopes that they can save Arthur.
Atlantia, a land reminiscent of ancient Egypt, Valiant and Rowanne
encounter a young, gruff traveler, Rowland, whose belt displays
a serpent pattern. Rowland claims that he knows where Arthur is,
setting great fear into their hearts. They conclude he must be the
assassin, and try to apprehend him. But they are attacked by guards,
and lose his trail.
they meet Madoc, another traveler from Atlantia, who heard rumors
about the threat on Arthur's life. Rowanne, Valiant and Madoc ride
together in pursuit of Rowland, and towards Arthur's secret camp.
They finally come upon Rowland, and try to capture him. Suddenly,
Madoc throws Valiant and Rowland over the cliff, and knocks Rowanne
unconscious. Madoc reveals his true colors and a serpent on his
Rowanne and Rowland survive and head towards Arthur's retreat, which
is hidden in a deep maze. They find Arthur, who is very much alive,
and apprehend Madoc as he attacks Arthur. Rowland is revealed to
be Arthur's cousin (explaining how he knew where Arthur was.) Valiant
feels proud that he was able to challenge destiny. Merlin reminds
Valiant that he did not read the future ‹ a clever man can understand
what may happen, based on what did happen in the past.
time immemorial, some people have believed in astrology, Tarot Cards,
palm readers and the like to predict the future. Others believe
in an immutable fate or binding destiny for people and events. In
this episode, Rowanne and Valiant are caught up in such concerns.
By misreading Merlin's log book, they believe he has predicted the
future with great accuracy. Alarmed by a prediction of Arthur's
imminent assassination, they rush off to save him. As they do so,
they wonder if it is possible to change the course of events or
whether they have the right to interfere with destiny. But their
love of Arthur prevails, and they, along with Rowland, rescue their
Merlin makes clear in the end, he never predicted the future; he
only recorded events of the past and speculated on where they might
lead. Thus he is in the tradition of the great prophets ‹ people
who did not have "mystical" powers, but who were sensitive to life
around them, who understood basic principles of truth and justice
and what might ensue when these principles were violated.
sums up the message of this story when he counsels Valiant, "We
cannot predict the future, only prepare for it, and pray that there
will always be men and women with the courage to take the risks
to ensure that what is right prevails."
How do Rowanne and Valiant interpret Merlin's log book correctly?
What are some methods that people use to predict the future? Have
you tried any of these? What do you think of them?
Do you think some people are better in figuring out what might happen
in the future than other? How are they able to do this? How does
this differ from "fortune telling"?
Do you think people have a definite fate? Or a strong likelihood
of certain things happening to them? How much personal freedom do
you think we have?
#53 - "THE EYES OF THE SERPENT"
has a recurring dream, in which he sees a mysterious woman and a
coiled serpent with golden eyes that threatens him. When asked about
it, Merlin responds that sometimes a dream is ... just a dream.
Merlin then sends Valiant to bear a message to Om, a spritely old
alchemist (first encountered in "The Awakening", Ep. #015), who
resides at a seaside village. Om welcomes Valiant and explains that
Valiant must spend a month with him, while he prepares the potion
Merlin has requested from him.
Om's village, Valiant meets Glendria, who resembles the woman Valiant
saw in his dream. Soon after, ships bearing sails with golden serpent
emblems enter the harbor. Val senses it is his destiny to face the
golden serpent. Valiant knows the ships belong to Aram Goth, leader
of the Gauls. Glendria explains that she is Aram's wife, who escaped
his evil presence ‹ and now Aram has come to get her, and to lay
waste to the land.
Val faces off with Aram Goth. During combat, Aram Goth is about
to kill Valiant; but Val explains that to kill him would mean sending
the wrath of an entire kingdom against the Gauls. Aram Goth relents.
Seeing that Aram Goth is willing to give in, Glendria agrees to
return to Gaul. Valiant leaves Om, realizing that sometimes a dream
is ... just a dream.
themes are emphasized in this episode. The dominant one is that,
at times, dreams and reality can be strangely intertwined. While
dreams sometimes seem to be without apparent meaning, at other times
they can give important clues to meaning in our lives. Merlin understands
the latter to be the case with Valiant's recurring incremental nightmare,
and sends him off to the Great Om to prepare for its implications.
second theme is that no matter what one's station in life, one always
has much to learn; hard work is necessary to attain important goals.
Amid wit and rhyme, Om humbles Valiant, calling him an ill-mannered,
clumsy bumbler, making him sleep in the barn, and engaging him in
menial tasks. At the same time he greatly sharpens Val's combat
skills, helps interpret his dream, and offers strategy in facing
third theme is the power of noble actions and ideals. After Valiant
has spared Aram's life but Aram's men seize him, Valiant points
out, "It will do no good to kill me...it will only rally the forces
of Camelot against you...If one knight of Camelot is willing to
lay down his life for his beliefs, what chance have you against
a whole kingdom of such men?" This statement, plus Glendria's willingness
to return with Aram to lead their people in the ways of Camelot,
turns Aram's heart. Valiant has faced the challenge of his dream,
What is the meaning of Valiant's dream? Why does it cause so much
Do you think dreams have meaning in real life? Have you ever had
a dream you felt had meaning?
Why does Merlin send Valiant to the Mighty Om? What is the significance
of the lentil stew which Om gives to Valiant?
Why does Om seem to ridicule Valiant and treat him so gruffly?
What is it that really causes Aram to have a change of heart?
#54 - "THE SPIRIT OF VALOR"
Arthur's and Guinevere's goddaughter Celeste is to be married, and
Valiant, Am and Rowanne join the royal party to attend the wedding.
Arn is intimidated by the grandeur of the festivities. Am meets
Claudio ‹ the black sheep of Celeste's family. Claudio tempts Arn
with wine, claiming it will give him courage to face the noblemen
and the pomp of the festivities. Arn drinks Claudio's wine, and
Arn later embarrasses himself by arriving late to the wedding and
disrupting it. At the reception, Arn again indulges in Claudio's
wine. He finally gets the courage to ask Celeste to dance, but further
embarrasses himself by stepping on and ripping Celeste's dress.
Arn takes solace in more wine. However, in spite of his condition,
he overhears a conversation between Theodene, Celeste's advisor,
and Marat, an older henchmen, about a plan to kill King Arthur.
goes to King Arthur and warns him. Arthur discounts Arn's fear,
insisting that Arn was drunk, and furthermore, chastises him for
his bad behavior. Arn is crestfallen, and is again tempted with
wine, however, this time he refuses it. He hastens to the hunting
field to protect Arthur and Celeste's husband from Marat's arrow
‹ and arrives in time to save Arthur. Arn proves his bravery once
again when he saves Celeste and her husband from Theodene's treachery
(Theodene hassevered the cables of a bridge they were about to cross.)
Celeste presents Am with a medallion for his valor. In spite of
his error in judgment, he is a good and brave man ‹ worthy one day
of becoming a knight.
this episode, Am exhibits many of the factors which lead people
into a cycle of problem drinking or alcoholism : (1) A general insecurity,
manifest by Arn's feeling he lacks the social graces to take part
in the wedding festivities. (2) Blaming his insecurities on past
events, i.e., his peasant upbringing. (3) Having an enabler (the
alcoholic, aimless Claudio) who encourages him to imbibe. (4) Believing
that alcohol will give him courage to face uncomfortable tasks.
(5) Having the drinking cause additional problems (arriving late
at the wedding; causing Celeste's skirt to rip when dancing ; generally
embarrassing Arthur and Guinevere) which cause additional insecurity,
thus creating the temptation to drink even more.
Am has good friends who won't let him hide behind his peasant upbringing
excuses, who confront him with the gravity of his behavior, and
remind him that "true courage comes from the heart, not a bottle."
Arn avoids further temptation, comes to his senses, foils Theodene's
plot to kill Artimus, and saves Celeste from drowning. In presenting
Am the hero of the realm medallion, Celeste summarizes, "You were
snared by the drug of wine, but you fought your way free, and set
to right the mistakes you made...you have shown courage above and
beyond the call of duty."
Why did Arn engage in so much drinking this story?
What reasons does he give for his difficulties? Do you think these
are valid reasons? Why?
What role does Claudio play? Why do you think Arn takes his advice?
How do Arn's friends prove they are real friends ? What do they
say and do ?
Have you ever known an alcoholic ? How do you feel about this person?
Why do you think they are so many alcoholics in the world? What
can we do to help the problem?
#55 - "THE AURORA"
Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Valiant, Rowanne and Arn set up camp
near Greenglade Cathedral to celebrate the signing of a treaty with
the kingdom of Northland. They are cautious, for a spy is feared
to be in the area. While Rowanne is on watch, she is knocked out
and Merlin is abducted. King Arthur reprimands Rowanne for neglecting
her duty. Rowanne is deeply hurt. Her wounds are further deepened
when Valiant rejects her after she confesses her love for him. Only
Arn supports Rowanne. Nevertheless, she feels terribly alone.
the royal jewels of Northland (called The Aurora) are stolen, Rowanne
becomes a primary suspect. Neither the King nor the Queen nor Valiant
defends her. Merlin finally escapes from his kidnappers, and a member
of the Northland tribe is discovered to have stolen The Aurora.
But even with apologies, Rowanne remains hurt and estranged, and
decides to leave the Camelot contingent and Camelot ‹ forever, wondering
why she ever dedicated herself to an ideal that finds no place for
difficulties a young woman faces in becoming truly her own person
are revealed in this episode. Though Rowanne has demonstrated herself
to be strong, spirited person, she has many of the self-doubts and
weaknesses that plague all of us. Thus she confuses what she wants
to be true ; she misinterprets Valiant's vague talk about the nature
of love as directed towards her. As she learns that Val was speaking
of his feelings relative to Princess Aleta, she becomes angry and
jealous. When framed and accused by Richard of stealing the Aurora,
she is understandably outraged when put under temporary arrest by
Arthur. Yet she is unable to understand that this is done to assure
due process and to preserve the peace, that all her friends believe
her innocent. When cleared of the accusation, she breaks her sword
and vindictively says to Arthur, "You want my sword, take it. It's
broken and worthless, just as all your promises of justice and equality."
Subsequently she rejects the attempts of both Guinevere and Arn
to empathize with her feelings and comfort her. She leaves Camelot
feeling rejected and abandoned, that no one can possibly understand
her, that her dream of becoming the first female knight was a foolish
Why was it so easy for Rowanne to misinterpret Val's words of love
and think they were meant for her? Have you ever believed something
to be true that wasn't true simply because you wanted it to be so?
Why does Rowanne say, "No one takes me seriously ?" Have you ever
felt this way ?
What does really mean when Rowanne breaks her sworn and gives it
to Arthur ?
Why are her friends unable to help Rowanne at this time ?
As Rowanne leaves Camelot, what does Merlin mean when he says, "Maybe
she needs to find what is missing from her life before she can again
be part of ours ?"
#56 - "THE BURNING BRIDGE"
the death of his father, Richard is named King of Northland. Guinevere
and Arthur set off for the coronation. Valiant and Arn are sent
to Bridgesford to deliver a message from Michael of Northland to
Rowanne. Initially, Rowanne rejects Val's and Arn's overtures of
friendship. When she discovers her niece and nephew have been taken
hostage, and that the Duke of Lionsgate threatens Arthur's troops
with catapult fire, she lends a hand in the fight. With Val and
Am, Rowanne helps destroy the catapults and rout the Duke's men.
Rowanne expresses her regret for breaking with King Arthur's ideals,
and her hope is that she'll be accepted back among the ranks of
episode reveals the fact that in helping people through difficult
times, often we must help them confront the truth about themselves,
however difficult it may be. When Rowanne seeks sympathy for her
tribulations, her mother Elizabeth astutely observes that her return
home may be an attempt to run away from her problems in Camelot.
And when Rowanne hesitates to include Valiant in the search of Alicia
and Ian, the missing children, Elizabeth chides her about allowing
her jealousy and anger keeps her from doing what she knows to be
right. Likewise, Valiant, despite Rowanne's protestations, tells
her forcefully that "the only person standing between you and your
dream isn't me or King Arthur ‹ it is you !" Yet though these hard
words her parents and friends affirm her as good as a person.
faith is justified as Rowanne leads the rescue of Sir Bryant and
his men from Richard's trap and heroically dashes into the flames
to save the children. This action, coupled with the support of her
friends and family, gives Rowanne the courage to join Val and Am
Why has Rowanne come home to Bridgesford ? What is she initially
seeking from her parents ? What does she get ?
How does Valiant show he is truly Rowanne's friend, despite her
anger towards him ?
Why is it hard to help friends to face the truth about themselves
when the truth isn't pretty ? Have you ever been able to help a
friend in this way ? Has a friend been able to help you in this
way ? How ?
In what different ways does Rowanne show her courage ? What enables
her to do so ?
#57 - "THE SAGE"
Malcolm of Northland dies, and his peace-loving son Michael is to
be crowned king. Arthur, Merlin, Val, Arn and Rowanne go to Northland
to attend the coronation. Rowanne is particularly excited because
Michael proposes to make her his queen ‹ and to dub her knight.
Rowanne asks for time to consider his offer.
is dissension in Northland, for Michael's uncle Richard does not
want to make peace with Camelot. He enlists the sage and alchemist,
Selena, to poison Michael. Initially, her effort fails. However,
the night before the coronation when Michael enters the Valley of
the Kings (to choose the symbol that will signify his rule), he
is abducted. Selena poisons him with a potion that makes him submit
to her will. Ultimately, she hopes to make Michael select a lion
as a symbol ‹ his uncle Richard's emblem (hence submitting him to
Richard's rule.) Valiant catches Selena poisoning Michael, but is
caught and thrown in chains. The day of the coronation, prompted
by a sign by Merlin, Michael chooses the falcon. His rule will be
unhindered by Richard's influence. Rowanne decides that she and
Michael must part for now, for she has a mission to fulfill at Camelot:
her quest for knighthood.
this episode, Rowanne learns two highly important truths about life.
First, most things worth having must be earned. Hence as much as
she would like to have knighthood conferred upon her by knighthood
seem empty. In a similar vein, she comes to realize that commitments
to a worthy cause, whether or not one ever fully attains it, matters
far more than the glory which it may bring. The essence of Camelot
is its fight for truth and honor, not the accolades which accrue
to those who sit at the Round Table. With this knowledge, Rowanne
has found what has been missing from her life. She has learned from
her mistakes, and is now able to ask forgiveness from Arthur and
Guinevere and to return to Camelot.
Why doesn't Rowanne let Michael make her a knight since it has always
been her dream to be one? What do you think of her decision ?
Rowanne says that "fighting for what you believe in is more important
than the honor and glory that it might bring." Do you agree ? Is
it more important in school to be excited about learning than to
make grades ? To play hard and enjoy sports than to win games ?
Why ? Why not ?
How does Rowanne demonstrate that she has learned from her mistakes
Why is she now able to ask for forgiveness from Arthur and Guinevere
? Was this easy for her to do? Why?
#58 - "THE SONG OF VALOR"
monks of Sandfield are attacked by a band of brigands. Arn, instructed
by Val, helps to save the monks from the brutal attack. Later, Am
is commended for his bravery, but he feels no pride: only under
Valiant's command did he perform like a great warrior.
Rowanne is abducted by Richard of Lionsgate, and is taken to a mill.
Arn and Valiant attempt to rescue Rowanne, but fail. Valiant falls
onto a great millstone, and Am fears that his friend has been crushed
to death. Mourning his death, Arn takes possession of Val's singing
is hidden in a heavily fortified monastery. The only way the building
can be stormed is with the help of the peasants of Sandfield. Am
organizes the peasants, and together they succeed in penetrating
the monastery and saving Rowanne. In the ensuing struggle, Bosleigh,
Richard's son, is killed.
Valiant returns ‹ very much alive ‹ Arn reports to his wonderment
that Valiant's sword, which he used in combat, sang. Valiant pronounces
that Am's courage has made him worthy of the highest achievement
of all: knighthood. Arn has achieved his dream ‹ Valiant dubs him
episode featuring Arn sheds light on the process of self-realization.
Throughout the entire series, Arn has lacked confidence in his intelligence
and abilities because of his peasant background, and has walked
in Val's shadow too willingly. Thus when congratulated by Val for
saving everyone from the attack by the brigands, he brushes it off,
saying, Valiant, it was you who told me what to do."
when Arn believes Valiant to be dead and Rowanne to be in mortal
danger at the hands of Richard and Bosleigh does he come to himself.
Summoning the peasants of Sandfield to help rescue Rowanne, he states,
"I, too, was born a peasant. But in Camelot I have learned that
the worth of a man is not measured by the amount of gold in his
pocket...but by the courage in his heart. It is a lesson that has
taken me a long time to learn...that all people are equal, that
the only thing that can keep men and women from realizing their
dreams is their own failure to believe in those dreams."
he has "been trained by King Arthur, taught by Merlin, and has fought
side by side with Valiant", with extreme courage he leads the peasants
to save the day. Showing he has internalized the deeper lessons
of Camelot, he spares Bosleigh's life after defeating him in combat.
In the battle, Valiant's singing sword, which Am has borrowed, sings
a song of valor, signifying his worthiness to be dubbed a knight.
What does Rowanne mean when she tells Valiant, "Perhaps Arn has
walked in your shadow too long ?" Why has this, despite Arn's admiration
for Val, been a handicap for Arn ?
What is it that Arn ``must realize in order to be his own person?
What is that Val must realize in order to help Arn truly do this?
Do you believe Arn's statement that the only thing that can keep
men and women from realizing their dreams is their own failure to
believe in those dreams? Why?
When Merlin tells Valiant relative to Arn "Each person who is called
by the dream of Camelot just chooses his own path," Val replies,
"But I'm only to help him, Merlin". What do you think of Val's reply?
Why can we sometimes hinder people trying to help them? Can you
think of examples of this in real life? Why is it often hard to
Why is this show, "A song of Valor"?
#59 - "THE RING OF TRUTH"
messenger informs King Arthur that Michael of Northland has attacked
the Baron of Grafton. King Arthur is surprised, for he believed
the newly-crowned king to be peace-loving. Meanwhile, the Baron
of Grafton has requested reinforcements from King Arthur. Arthur
sends Val, Arn, Rowanne and troops to Northland to settle the confusion.
We later learn that Selena, the evil alchemist (first met in "The
Aurora" ‹ Ep. #355), has crossed communications to make it seem
that the two northern tribes are warring, when in fact they are
leaves Arn and Rowanne to attempt to settle the dispute. Rowanne
faces the dilemma of allying herself with Camelot, or with her love,
Michael of Northland. Rowanne knows that her true alliance is with
Arthur. Eventually, Rowanne, at risk to her own life, cleverly figures
out Selena's ruse and is able to stop Michael from fighting the
Baron of Grafton. For her courage, Rowanne is knighted, joining
the ranks of her friends Arn and Valiant.
this episode, we see how powerful ideals mold the character of those
who sincerely believe in them. Because Michael and Arlik have glimpsed
the vision of Camelot and trust Arthur, they resist the urgings
of their commanders to rush into battle against one another, even
though the manipulations of Selena make it seem that they are mortal
enemies. The fact that Rowanne has internalized Camelot's ideals
is apparent when she holds no envy about Arn's forthcoming official
knighting by Arthur, telling him he has earned the honor, and that
perhaps her time may come. It is more obvious when, after exposing
Selena's plot and escaping her captors, she risks her life to warn
Michael and thus stave off the impending battle. Fittingly, virtue
is rewarded. Rowanne's quest to become the first female knight is
Why is this episode entitled "The Ring of Truth" ?
Former president and general Eisenhower once said, "War is too important
to be left up to generals". What do you think this means ? How is
it true in this story ?
What are some of the important character traits of Rowanne that
have enables her to become a knight ? What obstacles has she had
to overcome ? In what ways has she grown and matured in this series
? What has empowered her to do this ?
When Arthur knights Rowanne, he states, "...for you gift in helping
others including your king see the world in new ways," what does
he mean ? What are some of the new ways?
#60 - "THE LIGHT IN THE DARK"
the signing of a treaty, Rowanne, Val and Arn attend a masked ball
in the Kingdom of Reverie. Valiant hears rumors of something strange
which lies in the great swamp between Reverie and Camelot, and as
the trio rides home, he decides they should investigate.
they come upon a dark swamp, Rowanne's horse sees a snake and rears,
knocking Rowanne off her mount. She falls unconscious. She awakens
in a beautiful garden, yet knows something is wrong, and senses
that Valiant and Am are in danger. She sees Valiant and Arn trapped
as prisoners in a briar patch in the middle of the swamp ‹ but she
can't gain access to them. Morgana, King Arthur's evil sister, taunts
her, saying a woman should never try to become a knight. Rowanne
wakes up from her nightmare. In turn, Arn and Valiant experience
their own worst nightmares . Arn feels that he is still a helpless
peasant without confidence or pride. Valiant fears he doesn't have
the courage to be a leader. They finally realize that they are together
in Morgana's dungeon, and that she has caused the delusions they
overpowering Morgana's guards, they flee to her chamber hoping to
snare a letter she has written signaling her affiliation with the
New Dawn a letter they would like to get to King Arthur. Morgana's
guards finally catch up to them, and nearly kill them, but together
they fend them off and escape Morgana's clutches but not before
Morgana burns the letter. They leave Morgana's dominion, knowing
whatever travails they will face, they will face together.
this journey into the unconscious mind, we find once more that dreams
and reality are difficult to distinguish and that our three chief
protagonists are tested mightily in three intertwined dream sequences
by their inner fears. In Rowanne's dream sequence, Morgana taunts
her as a helpless female who has no business masquerading as a knight.
Memories of past rescues by men flood her mind; she is easily defeated
by a male knight in combat; and then she rejects Arn's help and
insists on struggling to save Valiant alone, she fails.
Arn's sequence, Morgana goads Arn about his peasant background and
lack of education. Subsequently, he loses a chess game to Morgana
in two moves; is scorned by elegant people at a fancy ball; and
finds himself unable to save his friends because he cannot read.
Valiant's dream sequence, he is taunted by Morgana, "What arrogance
made you assume that you could be a leader?" He then insists on
leading Rowanne and Arn into a wretched place where they are endangered;
causes the death of Arthur, Guinevere and Merlin because of his
incompetence; views an endless graveyard of soldiers he has led
into battle; and is helpless to pull Am and Rowanne from their graves
as they cry out to him.
our protagonists awake, we eventually learn that when friends pull
together, pursue what is just, and refuse to let their fears overcome
them, they can cope with the Morganas of this world and prevail.
What fear did Rowanne's dreams focus upon? Arn's dreams? Val's dreams?
Why were these particular fears featured?
Why do you believe dreams have real meanings? Can you give an example
of such a dream that you have had? Why do you think drams often
center upon fears?
In what ways was the friendship of Val, Rowanne and Arn tested?
Why were they able to avoid Morgana's power over them? 4. Would
you like to know more about dreams? Why?
#61 - "THE GHOST"
great convocation is being held in Camelot. Wise men from across
the Earth are invited by Merlin to meet one another. (Among them
is Om, first met in Ep. #015, "The Awakening.") Sing Lu, whom Merlin
knew in his youth, also comes, from Asia.
there is something odd in Camelot. A scullery maid and then Rowanne
suspect that a ghost is in their presence. A frightening incident
occurs ‹ a chandelier falls in the ballroom, nearly killing Merlin.
Merlin suspects that it is not a ghost who is causing these unexplainable
accidents: it is a warrior brought by Sing Lu.
believes that Sing Lu has come to avenge the death of Princess Suiko,
whom Merlin believes he accidentally killed when he was a young
man. Merlin explains that he was in Asia, in Suiko's court when
smallpox ran rampant and decimated the population. Merlin administered
a cure to Princess Suiko, but served her the wrong potion and poisoned
her. He has kept this a secret since his youth.
and the others learn that a ghost does not haunt them, but that
a Ninja is loose in Camelot. When Merlin confronts Sing Lu about
bringing the warrior with him, Sing Lu explains that Merlin is wrong
‹ he did not kill Princess Suiko, it was a warring faction within
her family that caused her death. Merlin's conscience is cleared,
and the Ninja is caught before she injures Queen Guinevere. Merlin
and Sing Lu celebrate their encounter: two friends who have been
separated for a long time.
power which guilt can hold over us is illustrated in this story.
Though Merlin in his youth was totally innocent of killing the Empress
Suiko, the belief that his carelessness led to her death, along
with his flight from the scene, have tormented him. He perceives
the Ninja assassin as a ghost from his past out to get him, not
the intended victim, Guinevere. Having forgotten his own edict,
"a secret only has power as long as it remains a secret," he has
told no one. As events unfold and pressure mounts, he confesses
his past to Arthur. Arthur listens forgivingly, stating there is
no shame in making mistakes ; only shame in repeating the same mistakes.
When Val subdues the assassin and Li Sui reveals that Merlin had
no part in the queen's death ‹ he had been framed ‹ Merlin's agony
is ended. Valiant is surprised to learn that even his idol Merlin
has feet of clay, but Arthur puts it all into perspective : "All
of us are flawed in one way or the other. Our hope lies... in learning
from the mistakes of the past... to light our way into the future."
Om reminds Merlin he once said, "A secret only has a power as long
as it remains a secret." What does this mean ? Do you agree ?
Do you think Merlin should have told everyone about his past much
sooner ? Why ? Why not ?
Why do you think guilt is such a powerful emotion ?
Are there things people should feel guilty about ? Why ? Why not
? Are mistakes and bad actions the same thing ? If not, what is
the difference ?
Why was it hard for Valiant to realize Merlin has flaws ? Is it
hard for you to realize someone you greatly admire has flaws ? How
do you handle this ?
#62 - "A NEW DAWN"
Aleta and her father, King Hugo, travel to Camelot. Maldon and Mordred
are also in Camelot, and pledge their unflagging allegiance to King
Arthur's ideals. Although Mordred has forged a treaty with the Vikings,
Arthur mistrusts Mordred's new-found loyalty, and banishes him from
and Maldon want to purge Camelot of foreigners. They gain support
for their cause among the locals (who consider Mordred "the peacekeeper.")
Meanwhile, Valiant is at odds with King Hugo, for he refused Valiant's
request for his daughter's hand in marriage.
a fire rages out of control in the fields surrounding Camelot (orchestrated
by Mordred), King Hugo is slain. Aleta accuses Valiant of the crime,
and leaves Camelot to ally herself with her father's cause ‹ the
New Dawn and Mordred. The distraught Valiant leaves Camelot to find
Aleta, to prove that he is an honest and noble knight who was not
responsible for Hugo's death.
evil which can result from the lust for power is clearly manifest
in this episode. Mordred has lied, cheated, plotted murder, corrupted
one of the Knights of the Round Table, turned the people of Camelot
against one another through deception, and played upon their worst
fears by creating suspicion of immigrants. In addition, he has turned
Aleta against Valiant and apparently won her to the cause of the
New Dawn. In fact, Mordred's deeds have become so despicable that
even he has doubts about what he has wrought. "I never thought it
would come to this ... Even the righteousness of our cause barely
justifies your sordid little deeds," he tells his henchman Maldon.
Maldon's retort, "So you want to have it both ways. You want to
keep your hands clean even as you order the dirty work to be done"
says much about the self-deception that often characterizes those
who believe that "might makes right."
importance of appropriate righteous indignation and moral integrity
is also illustrated. Valiant has been framed relative to the murder
of King Hugo and will not let his reputation be besmirched even
though he technically has been cleared of wrong doing. He vows to
pursue Mordred to discover the true killer and to regain Aleta,
even if it means defying Arthur's ordered not to do so.
Why do you think many people in Camelot seem willing to follow Mordred's
ideas? Can you think of any examples in history where people have
followed evil leaders? What were their reasons?
Why do you think many Camelotians have such a dislike for immigrants?
Does this dislike occur in our country? Why? How can we best relate
to people who are different from us?
Why do you think Aleta believed Valiant to be her father's murderer?
Was she justified in this? What do you think of her telling Mordred
she would side with him? What do you think Valiant's attitude toward
Aleta should be now?
Why is Valiant going to defy Arthur's orders and pursue Mordred?
Is he right in doing this? Why? Why not?
#63 - "THE DEATH OF ARTHUR"
convinces Valiant to return to Camelot. It is the time of Arthur's
annual pilgrimage to the site where he pulled Excalibur from its
stone, and Valiant, Arn, Rowanne, and Guinevere accompany Arthur
on his journey there. Arthur fears the trip will be a treacherous
one, for Maldon and Mordred are fomenting unrest among the people,
and may trigger a full-scale war within Camelot. Arthur designs
a plan ‹ to pretend to be killed, to find the traitor within Camelot,
and then to return to power at a time when he can more easily best
celebration of Arthur's right to power and then his faked death
‹ go as scheduled. Yet Maldon sets a trap with gunpowder, and causes
a massive explosion, nearly killing Valiant and Guinevere, and,
it is feared, causing the real death of King Arthur. At Camelot,
Guinevere appoints Valiant to take the throne as King, to replace
the fallen King Arthur.
fact that the ideals of Camelot are more important than any individual
underscores this episode. In becoming reconciled with Arthur, Val
learns that protecting his increasingly endangered land is more
important than desire, to track down Hugo's killer. In turn, Arthur
must make his annual pilgrimage to the chapel housing the Excalibur
stone to demonstrate he is still in charge, despite the considerable
danger involved in the trek. After his apparent death, Guinevere
must see to it that a swift, orderly and effective transfer of power
occurs so that Camelot has strong leadership and is prepared to
meet its imminent attack. Though she is the rightful heir to the
crown and has obvious competencies, she seeks to do what is best
for Camelot. Hence she abdicates, stating "...It is my duty to see
that dream [of Camelot] does not perish. And that is why I am choosing
to put it where Arthur always saw it at its best...into the hands
of one whom Arthur loved as a son, and regarded as an heir...Prince
Valiant of Thule."
Why does Arthur make the pilgrimage to Excalibur stone chapel? Why
is Maldon so intent on murdering him?
Do you think Guinevere would have been a good ruler of Camelot had
she chosen to take over for Arthur? How do you feel about Dunsmuir's
statement to her, "I fear that the enormity of the trials which
lie ahead for Camelot may prove too heavy a burden to be carry on
such delicate shoulders"?
Do you think Valiant wanted to be named King? How do you think he
feels about it ? Is he mature enough to handle the role? Is he the
In what ways do the main characters of this story put the good of
Camelot ahead of their own personal desires? Do you think people
today are willing to do this for their country? Why? Why not?
#64 - "THE GATHERING STORM"
is crowned King, but Camelot is in deep trouble. The peasants are
fleeing, fearing that they will conquered by Mordred. Morgana, Arthur's
evil sister, is in league with Sir Kay, a traitorous knight of the
Round Table. Morgana has prepared a poison which she applies to
Sir Kay's hand (to which he is supposedly immune), so that Sir Kay
can poison Bryant and Gawain ‹ disabling the battle leaders of Camelot.
Sir Kay succeeds in poisoning Bryant, and then goes after Gawain.
Valiant and Gawain overpower the weakening Sir Kay (he is succumbing
to the poison).
Kay soon perishes. Bryant recovers, but the fear still exists that
Camelot may not be able to triumph over the even greater force ‹
Mordred and the New Dawn.
in a time of crisis. (1) The burden of decision making is awesome,
and no one, not even Merlin, can tell Valiant what is the best course.
(2) The people are frightened and losing confidence. Many doubt
the vision of Camelot ; maybe "might does make right". Also, Valiant
may be too young, too inexperienced. They wonder if they should
fight or surrender in the face of superior forces. (3) Treachery
exists ; both Morgana and Sir Kay seek to destroy Camelot from within.
(4) Leaders must rely heavily on a few strong, loyal comrades who
embody the ideals for which the country stands. The efforts of Gawain,
Bryant, Arn and Rowanne are essential for Val to have any hope of
success. (5) Forceful action is necessary ; there is a little time
to equivocate. Val goes out to warn Gawain and Bryant about Kay's
malice, ignoring pleas for him to stay at home.
far Valiant has met the leadership challenges.
Why do so many of the people of Camelot seem to be losing hope?
Why does Valiant seem so lonely at the beginning of the story?
What do we learn about the nature of treachery from this story?
Can one traitor trust another?
Is it always wise to fight when your chances of winning don't look
good? Ever wise? Under what conditions?
In what ways does Val reveal himself to be a good leader in this
#65 - "THE HINGE OF FATE"
of the Misty Isles joins forces with Camelot to help defeat Mordred.
Sir Bryant and Sir Gawain are captured by the Vikings, and are pressed
to reveal military secrets ‹ but steadfastly refuse. As Mordred's
army gains force, even Valiant thinks that the battle against his
enemy will not be won.
King Arthur, who was suffering from a fever, is awakened in time
to return to Camelot. The sight of Arthur so inspires his followers
they are able to defeat Mordred. Against the most challenging odds,
Camelot proves triumphant and King Arthur and his ideals are upheld.
words ring true: "No war can be won by a kingdom's army alone. It
must be won with the hearts and minds of the people as well." In
the end, the people under Valiant's leadership have rallied to defeat
the powers of darkness. Camelot's vision of truth, honor, justice
and peace have overcome the New Dawn's belief that "might make right."
A land of freedom, equality and dignity have won out over one that
turns neighbor against neighbor ; one which is, in Maldon's words,
"A kingdom of order, with all her people marching to the same martial
beat...all thinking the same thoughts, all speaking with the same