Merlin: Giving Credit Where Credit's Due
|Sit in front of your mirrors and|
wish this was you, bitches.
Like Merlin. The lil sis is growing increasingly interested in Merlin (we're actually going to have to have a marathon soon), as am I. Initially, I intended to ignore the show because while I admired the audacity to cast Angel Coulby (left), a woman of color, to play Guinevere, I felt her characterization could've been handled better.
I also wanted to avoid the show because to really get into a show means to eventually have to deal its fandom. And while Ms. Coulby enjoys a well-deserved following, she also has her share of racist haters. First there were cries that the show, with its talking dragons, flying griffins, unicorns, sorcery, and glaring deviations from Arthurian legend, was lacking "authenticity" (there's that word again) because Guinevere was black. Then came the usual, "She's annoying", "There's no chemistry", "She's mentally challenged", and "She's dull" complaints. There were complains that's she's "repetitive", you know, because she's always calling people out on their privilege or reminding them of their duty.
There were also complaints about the fact she's gotten to share kisses with Merlin, Lancelot, and Arthur. There were complaints as to why all three men are ever-willing to risk their lives for her. Because when a black woman, playing a servant no less, gets this kind of treatment, something obviously wrong with the universe. And you can only imagine how S3E10 "The Queen of Hearts" was received, in which Morgana has a vision of Guinevere finally being crowned Queen of Camelot, and when Morgana tries to derail that destiny, Arthur reveals he's willing to relinquish all his rights and privileges as a Crown Prince just to be with Guinevere. There's a even scene where the guards have to physically pry him away from her when he shares what he fears will be their last kiss (it's actually kinda hot, if I dare say...no chemistry, my ass).
Three guesses who's complaining, by the way.
Mind you, there's also an assortment of black nobles, commoners, assassins, mystics, and knights on the show, as well as other colors (unlike on Spartacus, a show which is supposedly all about historical authenticity, yet only shows POC as slaves and peasants). And this is where the lil sis turned to me and stated, "It seems like the Brits just wanted POC to be on the show." The lil sis also theorized Ms. Coulby, like Sanaa Lathan in AvP, simply won the role fair and square over other actresses. This is also makes perfect sense; Ms. Coulby trained at the Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh where she earned a degree in acting, and at the tender age of 30, she already has a career spanning 14 years.
Bow to the Queen, ladies and gents.
|Guinevere, Queen of Camelot...21st Century-style|
One of things I find hilarious about certain people's ire towards Guinevere and Arthur's romance is that neither Guinevere nor Arthur is the show's central figure. Usually, certain fangirls don't have an aneurysm so long as the central figure isn't the one macking on a black woman.
|Colin Morgan needs to play |
a Vulcan in the next Star Trek Film.
I know this is a different telling of the story [read: "inauthentic"], but so far, it’s the one element of the story that hasn’t been convincing [read: "no chemistry"]. I don't fault the actors or the writers because both are doing great jobs [translation: "Guinevere's being black doesn't bother me but..."]. It's probably just that the story is about Merlin first and foremost, given the title, and there just isn’t enough time to explore Arthur and Gwen deeply enough. And I’m not even sure I’d want more, for the delight this season has been to see Arthur, Merlin and Gwen all working together as friends.Mm-hm. What if Guinevere were white? Would she really prefer that Arthur and Guinevere remain platonic? Seriously?