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25 January 2009 @ 05:11 pm
Some thoughts on Food...  

After rewatching the 6th episode of Merlin yesterday I couldn't help but notice the remarks about food. Some of them made me wonder, such as 'quicker than you can say rotten tomatoes' or when Merlin said that the people were throwing potatoes instead of rotten food.
 

If we believe that Merlin really is set in a fantasy land somewhere in time, that wouldn't be a problem of course. But if we believe that it is set somewhere in Britain, as the original legend of course suggests, the question arises if this is an oversight from the Merlin producers. We all know that tomatoes and potatoes only came to Britain sometime in the 1600s....and as the Merlin producers said, the series can be set somewhere from the 6th up to the 14th century, but certainly not later.

So what do you guys think? It is just an oversight or is Merlin really set in some complete fantasy land/ time?

 


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Malkav's Den: Vampiresouzoukyuuketsu on January 25th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
Well I noticed that as well, but I think it belongs to the long series of anachronisms that litter the series... So... It made me laugh in fact XD
wiccaqueenwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
I guess you could be right...I didn't even notice it the first time around
feannafeanna on January 25th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
I personally don't know to much about those times, but I've seen comments around, that the food really isn't the only thing that wouldn't fit with the time. The kind of armour they wear seems to be another thing that wasn't around until later. Also the fabrics that are used and other things.

I therefore think, that they've just decided to go the fantasy route, because as silly as the show can be, when you think about the little things they put in, it becomes clear that they at least know what they're doing. (Again I'm not an expert and can't really point to things, but there's Geoffrey the historian as a character in the showfor example who I gather is pretty important for Arthurian legend as a writer.)
wiccaqueenwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
You could be right...I think they've mixed real historical elements with fantasy elements.
I was also wondering about the clothes and othe stuff
anna_zee: colinneckanna_zee on January 25th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
I'm going with fantasy land/time- there's magic, dragons, griffins, unicorns and many other things of the like. As soon as you go into that kind of territory, all bets are off for me.

Anything is possible in Camelot!
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Arthurwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Anything is possible in Camelot!
That certainly seems to be so :-)
Keddi: merlin flowerluisadeza on January 25th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of food related inaccuracies, those are the grave ones, but it's also unlikely that they'd have strawberries and fresh apples at the same time considering their normal harvest times for Europe, and they'd have different strawberries anyway...

BUT, it still doesn't bother me, and I think it's something they just didn't put emphasis on. It's clearly more about telling a story than historical accuracy. So maybe that means it's more of a fantasy land/time, but probably not on purpose.

Edited at 2009-01-25 04:40 pm (UTC)
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Gobletswiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Right, I totally forgot about the fruit...
It doesn't bother me either, just made me wonder.
lou_angellou_angel on January 25th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
If I can buy the idea of a giant dragon living under the castle I can cope with inaccurate food references. And I teach History for a living!
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Be my Saviourwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
If you put it like that, I can also live with it :-)
It just made me wonder...
(no subject) - lou_angel on January 25th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - timelordsimone on January 25th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lou_angel on January 25th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ann: merlinkaitou1412 on January 25th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
In the DVD commentary they specifically talk about how they wanted to create a 'fantasy' world. They're more free to play with what kinds of armor, architecture, so on and so forth they can use. And I think things like the tomatoes, sandwiches, Gaius's glasses, Merlin telling Geoffryy of Monmouth that he's 'doing homework,' (the list goes on and on) is just the producers having fun with it.

It reminds me of 'A Knight's Tale' where on the commentary the director jokingly moans, 'Why didn't anyone TELL me they didn't dance to Bowie in the 12th century!?'
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Grinwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
I'm also tending to think that one shouldn't take it too seriously, especially if one considers all the other fantasy elements

Why didn't anyone TELL me they didn't dance to Bowie in the 12th century!?'
LOL :-)
At times Merlin reminds me of A Knights Tale
archaeologist_d: Venicearchaeologist_d on January 25th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
Complete fantasyland.

The sandwich, the potatoes, the armor, the duster coat worn by Arthur at times, Merlin's clothes, the women's clothing, the fabrics, the social structure... need I go on?

The 'real' Arthur supposedly lived around 524 AD (I think). He is associated with the battle of Camlann fought on that date and is found in the real historical AngloSaxon chronicles of the times (where Arthur's name was never mentioned, btw). So the producers seem to be going more for the 1200s and the romance stories of the period but even then there are so many wrong things with the show that it's almost fun to try and find them all - like a treasure hunt of unreality.

Doesn't stop me enjoying it thoroughly!
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Colin Grinwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the historical facts :-)
I fear I don't know too much about that period...

I'm really starting to believe that is set in a fantasyland....I love the show wherever it is set!
(no subject) - archaeologist_d on January 25th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - archaeologist_d on January 25th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wiccaqueen on January 26th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - archaeologist_d on January 26th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wiccaqueen on January 26th, 2009 09:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
Muzymuzivitch on January 25th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
I'm kind of a history nerd, so the first few episodes I was LOLing a some of the inaccuracies - like Morgana's clothes, the food, etc. But eventually you just have to go with it. Like someone else said, the historical Arthur is actually from a much earlier time period than they're going for here anyway. I think of Albion as a complete fantasyland that has some commonalities with medieval Britain but isn't at all the same thing.
wiccaqueenwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
That's probably the best way to think of it ;-)
Alsoa: Merlin//emo lovestealingpennies on January 25th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
I tend to just accept that's how it in this world and the various time anachronisms don't bother me. I actually find it easier to go in this direction then if they had anchored the series to a specific period and got the details wrong. That would have been very irritating. I think once you buy into the 'dragon under the castle' then anything goes! *g* Also it leaves lots and lots of scope for the fanfic writers to bring in whatever props they wish!
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Bradley Laughwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
I actually find it easier to go in this direction then if they had anchored the series to a specific period and got the details wrong

I couldn't agree more! And this way I guess they just have more freedom to do what they want :-)
Aleathiel: Arthur smirk openskilesaleathiel on January 25th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Like everyone has said, I guess if you are buying into the dragon/unicon/magic side of things, then you can't really complain about the clothes and the food and the modern speech and about a million other minor (and major) inaccuracies. I think that the producers just don't really care about setting it in an actual historical time (the fleur-de-lys in the castle would make it post Norman conquest, but Camelot is an independent kingdom, for example). This makes writing in the fandom both easier and more frustrating. It makes it easier because you can do and write anything you want. But it makes it harder because a 6th century Arthur might fight against the Saxons, an 11th century Arthur probably would be a Saxon, for example. And religion? There are vague mentions of God, there's an 'old religion', but there's no clear evidence of religious belief at all. I guess we have to each decide which bits we want to buy into, and which bits work with what we are trying to do in our stories.
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Be my Saviourwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
I haven't even thought about the impact on fanficitons and such....
Thanks for comment! Really got me thinking....
(no subject) - aleathiel on January 25th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
leofullerleofuller on January 25th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
I'm into medieval re-enactment, so I know enough about the foods and clothes of the period to realise that the BBC don't bother trying to be accurate with the details - Robin Hood was just as bad, worse as the exact time period for Merlin isn't defined whereas Robin Hood can be pinned down to a period of about ten years... Anyway, I find it's best to (try to) just ignore all the inaccuracies and enjoy the story - except for the episode with the drought, where Merlin asks Gaius where he got the water to make the tea, and I was actually yelling at the TV: "Where did you get the TEA?!"
Anna and Kinathkathkin on January 25th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Tea = herbal infusion. It doesn't have to be made with actual tea - you can get tea made with other plants, after all.
(no subject) - wiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leofuller on January 25th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Came-a-lotwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
LOL
That is really the best answer to it all! Thanks so much :-D
(Deleted comment)
wiccaqueen: Merlin - 2 Sides 1 Coinwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
In that case, ignorance is bliss.

It certainly is and I think that's just what I'll stick to in the futurs :-)
(Deleted comment)
wiccaqueen: Merlin - Grinwiccaqueen on January 25th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
So I've heard ;-)
There seem to be a lot of inaccuracies like these...but what the heck, as long as we can still all enjoy the show :-)
preparing for when the velociraptors come: [ arthur/merlin: oops ](bowie28)calicokat on January 25th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
It's def. set in fantasyland. The giant French castle is pretty indicative of that. It is neither square, stout, nor made from rough grey stone which, as far as I know, most English forts would have been at that time? Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure any actual castle in that time would've been built entirely for defensive purposes with none of those wildly French flourishes. I mean, this was 500 CE. Heck, it's pre-Roman so it should probably be a hill fort?
wiccaqueenwiccaqueen on January 26th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Well I think the castle indicates that it could be set somewhere in the 14th century, as one of the producers said on the behind the scenes.
But I guess you're right when talking about earlier periods.
(no subject) - calicokat on January 26th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wiccaqueen on January 26th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC) (Expand)