‘The Winter King’ Episode 5 Recap And Ending Explained: Who Were The Miners Killed By Owain


Last week in MGM+’s historical drama series The Winter King, Owain, the champion of Dumnonia, led his men to collect taxes from a defaulter and, in the process, raided a tin mining settlement. Although the place was initially promised to have been empty, the men were shocked to find that miners were still present and, therefore, had to kill the innocent people. In The Winter King Episode 5, this incident has a grave repercussion, one that changes the situation in Dumnonia a lot. Along with this, the naming ceremony of baby Mordred also takes place, while Nimue continues to feature in short scenes in between.

Spoiler Alert

Who Were The Miners Killed By Owain And His Men?

After the plunder of the tin mining camp, Owain and his followers return towards Caer Cadarn with the money that Cadwys had given them, both as tax and as the price of the looted tin. Derfel is evidently very upset with the events that have taken place, for he is strictly against the killing of innocent people. At the camp, Derfel had come across a young girl and had protected her from being found and, therefore, killed. Unaware of this, Owain gives Derfel two gold coins as a reward for his great efforts during the raid, and he also acknowledges the young man as a warlord of honor. Although Derfel is not too sure whether to accept this reward or put it to use later, his new lover, Lunette, convinces him to not upset Lord Owain by turning down the gold coins.

Back at the castle in Caer Cadarn, Arthur is pleased to see his best friend return, especially with the tax money that Cadwys had not paid for so long. However, the sheer amount that Owain claims to have come back with strikes Arthur, but he does not pursue the matter since his friend states that he has brought back tax for the previous five years as well. The whole situation takes a very different turn only sometime later, though, when a young man walks into the castle, asking to meet with the leader of Dumnonia. This man, Prince Tristan of Kernow, demands to be given justice, for his people have been harmed under the protection of Dumnonia.

Once the prince is given a chance to talk, he reveals that a group of people from his kingdom had been sent by his father, the king of Kernow, to Dumnonia. This was part of a special treaty signed by the kings of the two lands, as King Uther needed men and women to work in the mines. Uther and Dumnonia had promised that these people would be safe from all harm, but this sacred treaty had now been broken. Tristan reports that a group of raiders barged into the mining camp and butchered all of the people, for whom the prince now demands justice. According to him, the Dumnonians first need to justify why the people from Kernow were attacked while under the oath of protection. Even more importantly, Prince Tristan has a different suspicion as well—that it was raiders from Dumnonia who had killed his subjects in the camp.

As Owain, the real perpetrator in this entire matter, is present at the scene during this time, he claims to have heard of the Blackshield Irish raiders, led by the ruthless Oengus, having come into the lands to raid someplace. Owain obviously suggests that it was the Irish who had killed the people at the tin mining camp, but Tristan claims otherwise. He presents a single witness as his proof—a young girl named Sarlinna, and this happens to be the very same girl that Derfel had saved at the camp. When asked by Arthur, Sarlinna reveals that she had indeed seen the killers at the camp, and her description matches exactly with that of Owain. Enraged by this, Owain and his men immediately try to retaliate, but Arthur is strict about fair justice. He does seem to doubt his friend from this very moment, and he tries to find out about the truth from Derfel. Prince Tristan leaves Caer Cadern, stating that if the Dumnonians do not provide him with justice, then he will return in two days to challenge and fight Owain.

Arthur ponders over this matter for a long time, and he even gains information from others as well. The rival King Gorfydd is still at the castle, and the man reveals that he knows Oengus of the Blackshield Irish quite well. According to Gorfydd, the Irish raiders are far from the lands of Dumnonia at this time, and this makes Arthur grow more suspicious. Checking in with the official accounts keeper, Arthur realizes that Owain must have committed the crime. He finally decides to stand up for the wronged and tells Derfel that he is going to fight for Prince Tristan against Owain, since the champion fighter would otherwise easily kill the prince. Arthur asks Derfel whether he would be doing a good thing by siding with the Kernow prince, and Derfel agrees. The young Saxon, therefore, indirectly makes it clear that Owain was indeed the one behind the mining camp massacre.

At the end of The Winter King Episode 5, Prince Tristan arrives at Caer Cadern for justice, and he challenges Owain to a sword fight. However, Arthur now walks into the scene and appoints himself the champion of Tristan, meaning that he will fight for the prince. Owain is obviously shocked, and he also tries to convince his friend about how some unjust means are required in tax collection, but Arthur still stands strong with his moral principles. A tense swordfight takes place between the two friends, and in the end, Arthur kills Owain with his sword. Despite the opponent being slain, Arthur does show remorse and grief for the loss of a skilled fighter and dear friend.

What Happens At Baby Mordred’s Naming Ceremony?

The naming ceremony of baby Mordred, or the Edling King, has been quite a significant event to be held in the recent episodes of The Winter King and now, in episode 5, the ceremony takes place. Before the event, though, Arthur tries hard to reach some sort of agreement with the rival king, Gorfydd, so that they can be unitedly prepared against the threatening Saxon invaders. Gorfydd, too, tries to negotiate the agreement, particularly with regard to his nephew Gundleus. Following the scene in episode 4, Gundleus had been captured by Arthur’s men and imprisoned at the castle. Although Morgan and the others still suggest that Gundleus be killed, Arthur keeps his promise of sparing the man’s life but is also not willing to let him be free.

At one point, Gorfydd tries to negotiate freedom for Gundleus by telling Arthur to let the nephew be present during the naming ceremony. According to Gorfydd, not allowing Gundleus at the scene would be to insult the man, and to insult him would be to insult his uncle, Gorfydd, himself. But by now, Arthur knows that the pressure is truly on the king of Powys, and he also understands that had Gorfydd not wanted to make some peace agreement, he would not have stayed back at Caer Cadern for this long. Along with this, the increasing threat from the Saxons was also realized by Gorfydd when he went fishing with Arthur and his men. The protagonist spots a man following them and manages to hit him with a flying spear.

The man turns out to be a Saxon spy who has been given the responsibility of tracking down the movements and actions of the rulers of Dumnonia and Powys. A detailed map of the land is also found with the spy, making it clear that the intruders are in the process of making elaborate plans to attack the land. When Derfel questions the spy, since they are the only Saxons, about who he is and who sent him, the spy responds with the name of Aelle. He also manages to kill himself before shouting out threats about how Aelle would destroy their lands and kill them all. As Owain tells the others, Aelle is a new Saxon leader who has been gaining notoriety in recent times.

Before the naming ceremony takes place, Morgan visits Avalon to meet with the master druid Merlin, wanting to invite him to conduct the ceremony. But Merlin turns down this request since he seemingly does not want to perform any rituals for baby Mordred. In turn, he tells Morgan to conduct the ceremony since she has taken all the training of a druid under him. At the time of the ceremony, Morgan steps up as the druid and conducts the entire event, which also includes killing a prisoner and letting his spilled blood predict what the Edling king’s rule would be like. Morgan does all of this, and when she uses her druid powers to predict the future, she also sees the same horrific visions that Merlin and Nimue had seen earlier. It seems like Mordred will surely bring horrific bloodshed and torture during his rule, but unlike the others, Morgan does not speak out about this. When Arthur specifically asks her about what she has seen, Morgan lies, saying that she saw only prosperity and wealth under the rule of Mordred.

On the other hand, The Winter King episode 5 also features Nimue, who had run away from Avalon and Merlin in the previous episode and is now seen inside the forest. Knowing that she had gotten pregnant with Gundleus’ baby, Nimue now desperately looks for herbs that she knows can be used to kill the baby inside her. The woman does eventually find these herbs and also conducts a makeshift abortion on herself. Merlin finds Nimue in the forest later on, and he decides to help her, even though that would mean upsetting nature and the gods.

What Can We Expect From Episode 6?

The most shocking turn that The Winter King has taken this week is the sudden death of Owain at the hands of Arthur. Although Arthur kills his friend out of his principles to stay honest and fair, he still does not know the entire matter that has taken place. It is possible that Cadwys had set up this entire situation very intentionally so that Owain and Dumnonia would be in trouble. Therefore, Arthur can take revenge on Cadwys as well. Even more importantly, the Saxons seem to have moved very close to Dumnonia now, and their leader, Aelle, might soon make an entry into the show. Nimue and Merlin’s bond is shown to be strong still, and the role the druids play in the defense of the lands is yet to be seen. Finally, with Morgan also seeing evil in baby Mordred’s future, what exactly the successor king would do also seems interesting.

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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.

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