EPISODE #1 - "The Dream"

King 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.

Upon 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.

Several 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.

Compelled by his dream, Valiant, against his father's wishes, sets out find Camelot and to one day become a Knight of the Round Table.


Three issues important to human growth and development which recur throughout the series are introduced:

1. 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.

2. 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 independence.

3. 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.

Some questions young audiences might explore:

1. Is war ever justified? If so, under what conditions? If not, why not?

2. Why are Val and Willem angry with one another? Are these good reasons? Why?

3. In what ways do Val's mother and father react differently to him? Do you think this is typical of mothers? Of fathers? Why?

4. What do you most admire about Val? Least admires?

5. What is meant by "having a destiny?" Do people today believe in destiny? Should they? Why? Why not?

EPISODE #2 - "The Journey"

Prince 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 named Am.

Together 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.

Overcoming 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.


The nature of friendship and attitudes toward social status are interrelated themes of particular educational significance in this episode.

Initially, 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.

Some questions young audiences may wish to discuss:

1. 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?

2. What does Am feel about his background? How does Val feel about it? How do you think people feel today about the poor?

3. 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? Why not?

4. What does Camelot symbolize or stand for? Do people have such visions today?

EPISODE #3 - "The Blacksmith's Daughter"

In 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.

Fearful 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.

Cedric, 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.

In 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.

Yet 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. What is the basic attitude of Robert and Duncan towards other people? Do such attitudes exist today. Why?

2. What is the initial attitude of Val and Am towards Rowanne? Does this attitude exist today? Do Val and Arn's attitudes change? Why?

3. What things do you think Val and Arn will need to learn if they are to become true friends with Rowanne?

4. Why does Duncan fear Camelot so much?

EPISODE #4 - "The Kidnapping"

Rowanne, 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 head.

Valiant 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.

A 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 Camelot.


In this comedy/adventure episode, various aspects of human character are explored.

John 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.

In 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.

Questions for young audiences:

1. Why is John, a kidnapper, really a humorous person?

2. 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?

3. What new aspects of Rowanne's character do you see in this episode? How do you feel about them?

EPISODE #5 - "The Trust"

Behind 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.

Rowanne 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.

As 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.


Stereotypical 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.

Tor, 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 peace.

Arn, 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."

When 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 of another.

Questions for young audiences:

1. Why is Arn so bitter towards Tor? Are these feelings justified? Why?

2. Why are stereotypes so difficult to change? What is it that causes Arn to change?

3. Why did Arn say to Rowanne, "We don't have time for feminine feelings?" How do you feel about this?

4. Why is this episode entitled, "The Trust?"

EPISODE #6 - "The Finding of Camelot"

Arn 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!

However, 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.

With 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.


This episode portrays important aspects of pursuing lofty goals embodied in one's dream.

First, 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.

Second, there are great hurdles to overcome. There are physical hardships and the forces of evil, as represented by the demon knight. Courage is essential.

Third, 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.

Fourth, challenges always lie ahead. "Achieving true often an arduous and lengthy task," Arthur says. Merlin adds, "It will be a most extraordinary adventure."

Questions for young audiences:

1. What causes Val to doubt his dream? How do you feel about doubts concerning things that are important to you?

2. Why are Val, Arn and Rowanne thrown into a dungeon? Why does the evil knight fear them?

3. 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?

EPISODE #7 - "The Gift"

Rolf, 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.

On 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.

As 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 father's letter.

The 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.


In 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 we think.

These 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 process.

Crucial 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.

Question for young audiences:

1. Why is Val so bitter towards his father? Is this justified? Why?

2. Why does Val ignore his old friend Rolf? How do you feel about this?

3. How does Arthur try to help? Is his advice on target? Is giving advice usually helpful? Why?

4. Why is Val finally able to forgive his father? Why is forgiveness such a difficult thing for humans to grant and to receive?

5. Who is the real hero of this story? Why?

EPISODE #8 - "The Singing Sword"

Rowanne 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.

Valiant 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.

Hiding 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.

With 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.


There 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.

When 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.

The 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 in Camelot.

Questions for young audiences:

1. Why is it important to follow your own instincts? How do you know whether they are on target or not?

2. 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 his mind?

3. Why is Val able to believe that the townspeople can overcome Duncan and his men? What gives them their courage?

4. Why is Merlin so important in this episode even though he isn't on the screen most of the time?

5. Why is there a "new light in the north" at the end of the show? What does that symbolize?

EPISODE #9 - "The Trust Betrayed"

Valiant, 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.

With 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.

Arthur's 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.


The 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 life.

Valiant, 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 my understanding."

Once 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 require vigilance.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. Mordred has done good deeds and terrible ones. Is this true of most people? Why do you think this is/is not the case?

2. Why does Merlin say the truth can be frightening? Is this true in real life? Why?

3. Why doesn't Mordred kill Val when he has Val helpless?

4. 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?

5. What are some things that this episode reveals about the nature of truth?

EPISODE #10 - "The Secret of Perilous Garden"

Sir 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.

It's 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.

Finally 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.

But, 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.

At last, the villagers will have enough water to overcome their poverty. Sir Gawain, a little heartbroken, returns to Camelot a bachelor.


This 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.

Second, 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.

When 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?

2. Why was the water problem kept a secret?

3. Why do you think the women, not the men, joined the peasants in rebelling?

4. 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?

EPISODE #11 - "The Dawn of Darkness"

Camelot 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.

All 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.

Chun 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.


Since 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. What does Merlin mean when he says, "History has turned a page which will forever change the world"? Do you agree? Why?

4. 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?

EPISODE #12 - "The Visitor"

A 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 tournament.

But 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.

Arn 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.

Arn 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.


This 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.

Inexorably, 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.

When 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.

From 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. Why does Harold pretend to be something he isn't? Do we tend to do this at times? Why do we do this?

2. 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 this?

3. Why are Harold and Arn so attracted to one another? What is the greatest sign of their devotion to one another?

4. 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?

5. What does this story teach us about developing self-esteem?

EPISODE #13 - "The Trap"

A 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.

Scarcely 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.

But, Valiant and Am sneak out to collect the bushes and unwittingly reveal the plight of those trapped inside Canonwolde to one of Steffan's spies.

Steffan 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.


Issues related to obedience, authority, impetuousness, and courage are found in this episode.

Valiant 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] 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.

Bryant 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."

Some questions for young audiences:

1. What are the different motives Val has for disobeying Arthur? How do you assess these?

2. Why are rules generally important? Is it ever okay to break them? Are there times when you should break them? Under what conditions?

3. What is the meaning of Bryant's statement, "Before a man chooses to break the rules, he must first understand them."?

4. What does Arthur mean when he says, 'There is a thin line between courage and recklessness."? Give some examples from real life.

EPISODE #14 - "The Return"

A 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.

The 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.

Even 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.

In 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.


This episode examines the nature of true justice and the difficulties in implementing it.

Arthur 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 peers.

Other 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.

Yet 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?

3. 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?

4. In what way is our justice system like Camelot's? In what ways is it different?

EPISODE #15 - "The Awakening"

While 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.

Om, 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.

Merlin, 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 never see.

Merlin wakes from his sleep victorious and the feud with Lord Keller is settled--but Morgana has a debt for which she will someday pay.


Merlin's concluding statement, 'There is no power on earth greater than the power of love and true friendship", summarizes the central message of this episode.

It 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 and treachery.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. In what ways does this story illustrate Merlin's statement, 'There is no power on earth greater than love and true friendship?"

2. Do you agree with Merlin's statement? Do you think many people agree? Do they act as it they do?

3. 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?

4. 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?

5. What do you think about the jealousy between Val and Am over Rowanne? Do you think it has ended for good?

EPISODE #16 - "The Turn of the Wheel"

A 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.

An 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.

After 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.

Back 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.


The 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."

After 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."

Some questions for young audiences:

1. In what ways is Val's neglect of his responsibilities typical of everyone's life? Discuss some examples.

2. How does Val justify his neglect of his responsibilities? Is this typical of people? Discuss some examples.

3. Why do you think Val complains so much about his job, but Arn doesn't?

4. How do Merlin and Arthur help Val learn from his experience?

5. Why do you think Arthur says after he apologizes, "We'll talk no more about it"? Was this wise? Why?

EPISODE #17 - "The Competitor"

On 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 Spring Festival.

Val 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.

With 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.

Still 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.


Gender issues, including role conflict, jealousy, sexism, chauvinism, and machismo are intriguingly played out in this episode.

Rowanne 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.

Val 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..."

Gawain 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. What is Rowanne's basic conflict in this story? Is it one that girls have today? How so?

2. Do you like the way Rowanne handled herself? With Edwin? With Val? With Guinevere?

3. What attitudes toward females do the males in this story display? What do you think of them? Are they typical of attitudes today?

4. What is the significance of the Round Table being round? How does this relate to this particular story?

EPISODE #18 - "The Road Back"

Valiant 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Not 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.


Radical change and the difficulty it poses for both individuals and society, are the subjects of this episode.

Because 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.

Val 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 the sword.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. Why is this story entitled, "The road back"?

2. What are the things that enable Duncan to change? Why is it so hard for people to make significant changes?

3. What does it mean, "killing and violence only bring on more killing and violence"? Is this true today? What are some examples?

4. 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?"

EPISODE #19 - "The Iron Fist"

A 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.

Prince 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.

Only 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 deed.

As 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.


This episode deals with a handicapping condition and the effect it can have upon an individual.

On 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 be powerful again", he confesses upon being discovered and subdued by Val and Giles.

Val 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?

2. How do you think most handicapped people feel about their handicaps? How do others think about them?

3. 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?

4. 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 withholding recognition?

5. Does true strength really lie in a person's heart? Do you think most people believe this? Why?

EPISODE #20 - "The Waif"

On 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.

When 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.

Denys's 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."

Alone 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.


Several 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.

A 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.

A 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. 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?

EPISODE #21 - "The Guardian"

Arthur 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

When 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.

Cynan's 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.


In 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 concludes.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. Why do people make fun of and put down mentally retarded people? What do you think about this?

2. 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?

3. How does Val¹s attitude toward Julian differ from Gawain¹s? What other poor attitude does Gawain exhibit?

4. Why do people make fun of mentally retarded people? How do you feel about this?

EPISODE #22 - "The Battle of Greystone"

Cynan's 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 and Merlin.

But 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.

Valiant 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.

That time has come, but there is something that he must do first...


Many 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:

(1) 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. Val has self-doubt about his ability to lead. In what ways can self-doubt be a good thing? A bad thing?

2. 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? Why?

3. In the end, the soldiers, who doubted Val's ability, cheered him. What do you thing of their behavior?

4. 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?

EPISODE #23 - "The Reunion"

Valiant 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, King Willem.

Before 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.

The 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.


The nature of pride, reconciliation and loyalty are explored in this episode.

Val, 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?"

2. What different kinds of pride do Val, Willem, and Arn display? Which kinds are helpful? Which cause difficulties? Why?

3. How do Rowanne and Val show their true friendship and loyalty to Arn? Why is this so hard to do in real life?

4. 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? Why?

EPISODE #24 - "The Choice"

Valiant 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.

A 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.

He 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.


Sartre 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."

The 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 guide us.

Such 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. Why does Val's father decline to go with Val to liberate Thule? Was this a wise decision? Why?

2. Why does Merlin not tell Val what he should do? Was this wise? Why?

3. 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?

4. Why is Val's decision so crucial in his development from boyhood to manhood?

EPISODE #25 - "The Triumph"

Val's 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.

While 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.

But 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.

With 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.

After a tearful farewell, Valiant leaves his father on his rightful throne and returns to Camelot, to an unknown but brightly shining future.


This episode resolves the contention between Val and Willem, illuminating the nature of their father/son conflict.

Like 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?"

While 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.

Later, 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. How does Val show that he is an exceptionally wise and competent leader? What qualities does it take to be such a leader?

4. At the end of the story, what has happened to the relationship between Val and Willem? How does this reveal Val's true character?

EPISODE #26 - "The Dream Come True"

After 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.

The 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.

When 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.

At 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.

After 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.

And now, the Legend begins...


In 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.

Some questions for young audiences:

1. 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 true?

2. Do you wish you could become a knight? Do you think the ideals of knighthood are still alive? Should they be? Why?

3. 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?


Valiant 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 camp.

In 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 Camelot.


Prince 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.

When 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.

Valiant 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 the giant.


While 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.

Valiant, 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.

Meanwhile, 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.


Cynan 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.

Argus, 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 men.

Only 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.


Val, 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.

Karl 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.

Roused 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.


Attending 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.

Val 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 father.

Later, 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.


Arthur 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.

The 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.

None 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.

In 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.


Gawain, 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.

Respected 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.

At 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.


Two 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.

Matters 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.

Understanding 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.


Denys 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.

As 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.


On 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.

When 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.

At 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.


After 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.

In 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.


King 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.

As 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.


King 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

To 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.


Valiant 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 Valiant.

In 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.


Mordred 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.

Posing 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.

Aleta 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.


While 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.

During 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.

Valiant 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.


Rowanne, 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.

Mistaking 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.

Am 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 it.


It 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Fiona, 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 shoes.


While 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.

When 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.

Valiant 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.


This 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 Gawain's protestations.

Later, 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."

1. How does Arthur show his fair-mindedness towards Duncan, whom he doesn't like, at the beginning of the story? At the end?

2. 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?

3. How does Valiant show he is a good ambassador throughout this story? 1.


For 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.

In 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.

Later, 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.

Glenellen 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.


We 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.

1. 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?

2. Why do Algar and Glenellen turn to Mordred? Are they justified in doing this? What other options were there?

3. How could Eleonora turn against her best friend? Have you seen people turn against their best friends? What do you think of this? .

4. How did Guinevere prove that she truly was Eleonora's best friend? What are some characteristics of true friends?


To 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.

After 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.

Back 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.


The 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.

Though 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.

1. In what ways does Arthur uphold the ideals of Camelot in this story? Why is this difficult?

2. What does "Camelot for Camelotians" mean? Why might this idea be appealing to many people there?

3. Why does Merlin say, "One should always keep his friends close, and his enemies even closer?"


Arthur, 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.

At 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.

With 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.


This 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.

Sedissa's 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."

1. 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?

2. How does the mistrust sown by Sedissa affect others?

3. How do Arthur and Guinevere show their strength? Why was this difficult to do in these circumstances?

4. Why is this story entitled, "The Blackest Poison?"


Valiant, 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.

Merlin's 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.

The 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.


This 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.

Like 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."

When 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.

1. What makes a true hero? What is the difference between a hero and a celebrity?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. Who is the real hero in this story? Why?


Denys 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.

Two 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.

They 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 well.


The 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 in Croydon.

It 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."

The 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

1. 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?

2. What is Merlin's attitude towards dreaming? Why is this a wise view?

3. Why is dreaming especially important when we are young?

4. What do you think happens when people lose the capacity to have dreams and visions?


Rowanne 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.

In 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.

Later, 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 tunic.

Valiant, 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.


Since 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 good king.

As 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.

Merlin 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."

1. How do Rowanne and Valiant interpret Merlin's log book correctly? Incorrectly?

2. What are some methods that people use to predict the future? Have you tried any of these? What do you think of them?

3. 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"?

4. 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?


Valiant 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.

Near 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.

Later, 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.


Three 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.

The 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 Aram Goth.

The 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 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, and won.

1. What is the meaning of Valiant's dream? Why does it cause so much fear?

2. Do you think dreams have meaning in real life? Have you ever had a dream you felt had meaning?

3. Why does Merlin send Valiant to the Mighty Om? What is the significance of the lentil stew which Om gives to Valiant?

4. Why does Om seem to ridicule Valiant and treat him so gruffly?

5. What is it that really causes Aram to have a change of heart?


King 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.

Arn 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.


In 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.

Fortunately, 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 have shown courage above and beyond the call of duty."

1. Why did Arn engage in so much drinking this story?

2. What reasons does he give for his difficulties? Do you think these are valid reasons? Why?

3. What role does Claudio play? Why do you think Arn takes his advice?

4. How do Arn's friends prove they are real friends ? What do they say and do ?

5. 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?


King 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.

When 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 her.


The 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 fantasy.

1. 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?

2. Why does Rowanne say, "No one takes me seriously ?" Have you ever felt this way ?

3. What does really mean when Rowanne breaks her sworn and gives it to Arthur ?

4. Why are her friends unable to help Rowanne at this time ?

5. 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 ?"


With 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 Camelot.


This 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.

Their 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 once more.

1. Why has Rowanne come home to Bridgesford ? What is she initially seeking from her parents ? What does she get ?

2. How does Valiant show he is truly Rowanne's friend, despite her anger towards him ?

3. 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 ?

4. In what different ways does Rowanne show her courage ? What enables her to do so ?


King 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.

There 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.


In 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.

1. 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 ?

2. 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 ?

3. How does Rowanne demonstrate that she has learned from her mistakes ?

4. Why is she now able to ask for forgiveness from Arthur and Guinevere ? Was this easy for her to do? Why?


The 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.

Later, 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 sword.

Rowanne 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.

When 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 knight.


This 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."

Only 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."

Realizing 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.

1. 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 ?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. 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 "let go"?

5. Why is this show, "A song of Valor"?


A 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 not.

Valiant 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.


In 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 fulfilled.

1. Why is this episode entitled "The Ring of Truth" ?

2. 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 ?

3. 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 ?

4. 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?


Celebrating 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.

When 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 have experienced.

After 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.


In 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.

In 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.

In 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.

When 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.

1. What fear did Rowanne's dreams focus upon? Arn's dreams? Val's dreams? Why were these particular fears featured?

2. 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?

3. 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?


A 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.

But 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.

Merlin 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.

Valiant 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.


The 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."

1. 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 ?

2. Do you think Merlin should have told everyone about his past much sooner ? Why ? Why not ?

3. Why do you think guilt is such a powerful emotion ?

4. 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 ?

5. 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 ?


Princess 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 the kingdom.

Mordred 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.

While 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.


The 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."

The 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.

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. Why is Valiant going to defy Arthur's orders and pursue Mordred? Is he right in doing this? Why? Why not?


Denys 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 his enemies.

The 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.


The 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."

1. Why does Arthur make the pilgrimage to Excalibur stone chapel? Why is Maldon so intent on murdering him?

2. 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"?

3. 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 best choice?

4. 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?


Valiant 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).

Sir 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.

Ship 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.

Thus far Valiant has met the leadership challenges.

1. 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?

2. What do we learn about the nature of treachery from this story? Can one traitor trust another?

3. Is it always wise to fight when your chances of winning don't look good? Ever wise? Under what conditions?

4. In what ways does Val reveal himself to be a good leader in this story?


Aleta 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.

But 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.


Merlin's 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 voice...mine."