Merlin vs The Once and Future King
The Once and Future King: In the Once and Future King, written by T. H. White, Arthur is raised by a foster father. He pulls the sword from the stone and realizes that he is actually royal. From there, he and Merlin work together to rule the kingdom with majesty.
Merlin: In the Show Merlin, Merlin is the same age as Arthur and everyone else. In this story, Uther is still king so far, but he is declining and Arthur essentially runs the kingdom. Magic is hidden, and Arthur has a half-sister Morgana who is related to Morgause.
Similarities: Apparently, Merlin is kind of an idiot in both, even as an old man. The standard stories are the same, such as the sword in the stone, the Lady of the Lake and the evils of Mordred and Morgause.
Differences: Merlin is much older than Arthur in the Once and Future King. Morgause is Arthur’s half-sister in the book. Mordred is Arthur’s son. In the book, Merlin lives backward through time, so he gets younger as the book progresses. In the movie, magic is suppressed, so Merlin has to hide his abilities. The show has a lot of sub-plots, mostly because the show is now in the fourth season. Guinevere starts out as a servant in the show. There are actually more differences between the stories than similarities.
Winner: I don’t really like The Once and Future King. I think I actually prefer the show. The version of the Arthur story that I did find interesting was the The Pendragon Cycle, where they attempted to make the legend somewhat realistic, magic aside. At any rate, the show is enjoyable to watch and seems to get a little better every year.