|Angel Coulby as Guinevere in BBC's 'Merlin'|
So...anyone noticed that something is wrong with Gwen? I don't mean the way she was brainwashed by Morgana, I mean before that. And after that. The girl who was so active, so passionate, and so kind to everyone in the previous series has become passive and distant now that she has married. I used to think it was very cool to show a woman who deserved to become queen, who lived her life like a queen even though she was a servant. But now...Gwen has become Arthur's accessory.
She sits meekly at Arthur's side and does nothing. She doesn't talk kindly (at all, really) to Merlin, even though they were friends. And she has lost her passion and compassion (I'm thinking about how she obediently 'performed her duty' of sentencing a young girl to be executed. She tried to alleviate her conscience by taking a chance on the fact that the girl's father would show up and try to rescue her, which is a far cry from actually standing up for what she believed in, which is that the girl was innocent.)
|Katie McGrath as Morgana|
Of course, Merlin and Arthur saved the day and 'cured' Gwen. She went back to being the docile, passive woman they had grown accustomed to. Unsurprisingly, that was the end of Gwen as a prominent part of the storyline. And did anything come of it? Well...she did say 'thank you' to Merlin, I suppose.
I feel this brings up the familiar discussions about women giving up their lives when they become married, and of the women in stories who are dangerous purely because they have agency. But what really makes me cross this time is that the BBC has shamelessly and clearly shown Gwen change from strong to weak, active to passive, admirable to deplorable. This is a children's show, it has a 19:30 time slot, and the ONLY female character who represents the force for good is sitting around looking pretty. So much for the role model.