‘The Winter King’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: What Has Happened To Nimue?


The historical fiction series The Winter King continues on MGM+ this week, making things more tense than before in the kingdom of Dumnonia. In the previous episode 3, the freshly returned Arthur had spared the traitor Gundleus’ life and even released him. This was part of Arthur’s plan to make a solid defense for the Isles against the approaching Saxons, as he wanted to make a pact with rival king Gorfydd of Powys. Along with the resolution of this situation, The Winter King Episode 4 also covers Owain, who had gone out to collect tax from a long-term defaulter, and also information about Nimue, which will perhaps become important later on.

Spoiler Alert

Does Arthur’s Plan Finally Succeed?

As three weeks have passed since Arthur’s release of Gundleus, there is still a lot of tension regarding the matter since there is no sign of the traitor king yet. The people of the kingdom are still wary and doubtful of Arthur and his plans, and there is almost nobody in his support other than his sister, Morgan. To the prince, Ladwys is still a solid leverage since he is convinced that Gundleus dearly loves the woman and would, therefore, return for her sake. But to make matters worse, Ladwys overhears this and then uses a hidden blade to stab herself in the throat. Although the woman does survive and is treated by Morgan and others, she might later report this injury as an assault on Gundleus, causing more trouble.

Taking a break from the tense but seemingly pointless wait for Gundleus and Gorfydd, Arthur rides with Morgan to the place where their mother used to live. It is revealed that the two had the same mother, and even though both were illegitimate children of King Uther, they had been given very different lives. While Morgan had been taken to the palace and raised like the real daughter of the king, Arthur was always mistreated by Uther and was finally banished from the kingdom. The characters explain this difference in treatment as well, as it was a natural practice for kings to love and accept their illegitimate daughters but hate their sons out of wedlock. This was perhaps because, while a daughter technically could be used to gain monetary or political gains through marriage, an illegitimate son would always lay claim to his father’s throne and stir up conflict.

When the two siblings visit the place where they grew up, some of Arthur’s misconceptions about his mother are brought to light. The man remembered his mother as an extremely kind-hearted figure who would always tell him stories and give him company. However, it was actually Morgan who would do these things for her baby brother because their mother was of a fierce nature, and she was not fond of Arthur at all. To her, the baby son was the reason why King Uther had denied her the respect of his wife, and so the mother despised her own son. However, even after learning all of this, Arthur’s respect and admiration for his mother do not diminish. He remembers how she would make swords for him and now finds one such weapon as well. Although the sword, with an unusual hilt, is quite rusted and worn-off, it catches Arthur’s attention, and he takes it back to the castle with him.

Merlin, the masterful druid, also makes a return to Dumnonia in The Winter King Episode 4, much to the pleasure of his close friends, including Arthur. However, there is also a difference of opinion between the two, which might get in the way of their friendship. After touching baby Mordred’s feet once more, Merlin gets very strange visions of pure evil and bloodshed in the future, just like he had gotten after holding the baby for the first time after its birth. Merlin is now convinced that the baby will grow up to be a dangerous and treacherous ruler who will bring death and torment to the lands. He feels that this was a specific punishment for King Uther for having betrayed the old Pagan gods in favor of the Christianity spread by Bishop Bedwin. Thus, the mage plans to take the baby away and, in all probability, kill him. Merlin uses his magical powers to get hold of the baby, but he refuses to use the same powers against Arthur when the latter catches him.

Both the characters’ individual plans and responsibilities clash against each other in this scene. Merlin claims that he will only take the baby away from the castle and leave him with a farmer family outside of the capital, so that Mordred will grow up not knowing who he really is. This would mean that Mordred would not be the next king, while the people at the castle would believe that the baby had disappeared and died. Thus, the horrific visions that Merlin saw could be avoided. However, Arthur does not believe this, and he is almost certain that Merlin will kill baby Mordred. But since he has taken on the responsibility of never letting any harm come his step-brother’s way, Arthur stops Merlin and ultimately ensures baby Mordred’s safety.

It is at the very end of The Winter King Episode 4, that Arthur’s plan with Gundleus and Gorfydd finally succeeds. The traitor king does arrive with his uncle, Gorfydd, to attend the naming ceremony of Mordred, and Arthur is much relieved. However, the two individuals arrive with a slightly different motive, and Gorfydd rather sternly orders for the baby to be brought down from the chambers to the hall in front of him. It is possible that Gorfydd intends to kill the baby, just like Gundleus did before, and then take over the kingdom of Dumnonia. The man instigates Arthur, calling him a bastard and reminding him of the humiliation that King Uther had subjected him to. However, Arthur is not someone to yield to such instigations, and he holds himself firm.

Arthur calls for Gundleus to be captured once again and made a prisoner at the castle, to which the latter is absolutely livid. Gundleus pulls out his sword and attacks Arthur, who quickly defends with the worn-off sword that he had found at his mother’s house. Such is the strength of the sword that Gundleus’ weapon breaks into pieces after striking with it. Down on the floor, Gundleus is cornered by Arthur, and the prince now ensures that Gorfydd and his nephew pledge their allegiance to Dumnonia and the future king, Mordred. The clever, crafty plan that Arthur had made on his own in the previous episode does succeed in the end.

What Happens With Owain And Derfel?

Derfel, the Saxon refuge, is now part of Owain’s band of men, who travel from the capital to collect overdue tax from a certain King Cadwys. The defaulter had skipped paying tax to the kingdom for five straight years, according to the official accounts, and it is for this that Owain pays him a visit. The man also takes along Derfel, who has been seeking adventures for quite some time now, and Derfel does prove to be extremely helpful. Knowing that Cadwys was cunning enough to try out some trickery and avoid the taxes, Owain decides to send some of his men first while he and the rest of his group stay back. While the official messengers go and inform Cadwys that people from the capital would be coming the next day to collect taxes, Owain and Derfel hide at a distance and watch the entire event.

As soon as the messengers leave the place, Cadwys gets his men to take all the wealth away from his establishment and hide it inside boxes. When night falls, these boxes are taken away and hidden in a secret spot, making it clear that Cadwys was in the habit of hiding wealth in order to skip taxes. However, this time, Owain spots this and sends Derfel to follow the men to find out where this secret spot is. They do not indulge in any direct action yet, and Owain visits Cadwys’ house the next day. The man shows Owain how there is absolutely no wealth with him at all, and he also claims that the harvest has failed this year. Owain also does not reveal what he knows, and instead, he stays back at the place for a feast. It is during this feast that Owain sends Derfel to go to the secret spot and bring the boxes of wealth that had been hidden away. Cadwys realizes that his plan has failed, and he surrenders all of it as a tax to the kingdom.

But before leaving the place, Owain also makes a different deal with Cadwys when the latter mentions a nearby mine where there was a lot of precious tin that could be sold for high prices. The two men decide to loot the place, but they also have to be careful enough not to let suspicion fall on them. Therefore, Owain makes his men paint their shields and faces black, just like a particular Irish raider in the region, so as to make themselves seem like the Irish. The plan goes haywire, though, when the mine, which was supposed to be empty at the time, has a number of miners who try to fight back and get killed by Owain and his men. This seems to be a ploy on the part of Cadwys, and there is more to it that will perhaps be revealed later on.

What Has Happened To Nimue? 

The Winter King Episode 4 has Nimue return to the burnt ruins of Avalon all by herself, where the druid grieves for the pains of her recent life. She also tries to form a connection with the gods but fails. Merlin, whom Nimue admires and respects, comes to the place and comforts her. However, Merlin also realizes that something has changed in Nimue, for she is now pregnant with Gundleus’ child. Nimue had been trying to hide this fact from everyone, and perhaps this was why she was staying at Avalon. But with Merlin realizing the matter, she is in a tough spot.

Nimue wants to get rid of the baby, not only because it was a result of her being raped but also because she is sure that she will no longer have the powers of a druid after giving birth to a baby. Merlin is of a different opinion, though, as he feels that Nimue should keep the baby, and perhaps he is thinking of more political allegiances that could be formed with the help of such a connection. But in the end, Nimue runs away from the place, making it clear that she does not support Merlin’s plans.

What can we expect from episode 5?

With Gundleus and Gorfydd both now under the allegiance of Dumnonia, how Arthur prepares for the Saxon invasion would be interesting to see. Also, what would be the ultimate fate for Gundleus, since he has now served all his purposes, can also be seen. Arthur can win back followers among the Dumnonian people by executing the traitor king. On the other side, what happens to Owain and Derfel also remains to be seen, as Cadwys seems to be playing some cunning game with them at the moment. Along with these matters, what happens with Nimue and her current situation with the illegitimate baby growing inside her will also have to be seen.

- Advertisement -
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

Must Read

DMT Guide

More Like This