Destinies are the futures of individuals that have been foretold in prophecies. Both magical and non-magical people can have destinies, and it appears to be extremely difficult (though not impossible) to avert them.
Individual Destinies Edit
According to Kilgharrah, it was Merlin's destiny to protect Arthur Pendragon, to help him unite the land of Albion, and to return magic to the realm (The Dragon's Call, Le Morte d'Arthur). The Druids also had prophecies to this effect, in which Merlin was known as Emrys (The Beginning of the End, The Secret Sharer).
Though Merlin's destiny was a secret to most, many people unknowingly sought to avert it by preventing Arthur's destiny from coming to pass. Morgana, for example, would have unknowingly averted it had she succeeded in killing Arthur and seizing the throne of Camelot (The Coming of Arthur, The Sword in the Stone), and the troll who posed as the Lady Catrina would have averted it had she succeeded in undermining Arthur and replacing him as Uther's heir (Beauty and the Beast).
It is unknown whether Merlin failed or fulfilled his destiny. Though Arthur's death would appear to have averted it, Kilgharrah told him that all that he had dreamt of building had come to pass. He reminded Merlin that Arthur was not just a King, but the Once and Future King, and said that when Albion's need was greatest, Arthur would rise again. This may imply that the remainder of their destinies would be fulfilled when Arthur eventually returned (The Diamond of the Day).
Arthur Pendragon Edit
Many people sought to avert Arthur's destiny, including his half-sister Morgana, who wanted to rule Camelot herself (The Coming of Arthur, The Sword in the Stone, The Diamond of the Day). It was also because of his destiny that Aulfric and Sophia chose him as their sacrifice to the Sidhe Elders, as they considered Arthur to be the greatest prince of all (The Gates of Avalon).
It is unknown whether Arthur failed or fulfilled his destiny. Though his death would appear to have averted it, Kilgharrah told Merlin that when Albion's need was greatest, Arthur would rise again. This may imply that the rest of their destinies would be fulfilled when Arthur eventually returned (The Diamond of the Day).
Morgana Pendragon Edit
Morgana followed in her sister's footsteps and became a High Priestess, but made no move to reinstate the Old Religion during either of her reigns as Queen. However, it is possible that she would have done so had Arthur been captured or killed (The Coming of Arthur, The Sword in the Stone).
At the time of her death, Morgana had not restored the Old Religion to Camelot and most of her followers and allies had been lost in the Battle of Camlann. It is therefore likely that she did not fulfill her destiny (The Diamond of the Day).
Guinevere Pendragon Edit
Morgana made four attempts to avert Gwen's destiny. She led Uther to believe that Gwen had enchanted Arthur in Queen of Hearts; enchanted her into having an affair with Lancelot in Lancelot du Lac; and tried to kill her in both The Darkest Hour and The Sword in the Stone.
Guinevere married Arthur and was crowned Queen in The Sword in the Stone, thus fulfilling her destiny. Morgana, however, refused to admit defeat. She kidnapped Gwen and enchanted her into trying to kill Arthur so that she could ascend the throne and then pass the crown to Morgana (The Dark Tower, A Lesson in Vengeance, The Hollow Queen). Fortunately, Arthur and Merlin discovered and broke the enchantment before Gwen succeeded (With All My Heart).
According to Kilgharrah, Mordred was destined to kill Arthur Pendragon (The Witch's Quickening, The Beginning of the End). Merlin later saw a vision of him killing Arthur after speaking with the Druid Seer Lochru (Arthur's Bane).
Mordred unknowingly attempted to fulfill his destiny when he became an ally of Alvarr. The older sorcerer planned to have Mordred use the Crystal of Neahtid to strike down Uther and all who served him, which included Arthur (The Witch's Quickening).
Merlin made four attempts to avert Mordred's destiny. He tried to use his magic to trip Mordred so that the Knights of Camelot could catch him in The Witch's Quickening; refused to use his magic to heal him and advised Arthur not to give in to the Disir's demands in The Disir; left him to the mercy of Morgana in With All My Heart; and tried to prevent him from losing faith in Arthur and fleeing Camelot in The Drawing of the Dark.
Mordred himself appeared to have averted his destiny when he chose to save Arthur from Morgana (Arthur's Bane). He was made a Knight of Camelot and became one of Arthur's closest friends, but ultimately turned against the King after his lover, Kara, was executed for treason (The Drawing of the Dark).
Mordred and Morgana conspired to take away Merlin's magic and then launched an attack on Camelot. They later took part in the Battle of Camlann, where Mordred fulfilled his destiny by fatally wounding Arthur before ultimately being killed himself (The Diamond of the Day).
Joint Destinies Edit
Merlin and Arthur Edit
Merlin was quite skeptical of this at first, as he and Arthur had gotten off on the wrong foot and he thought that the prince was an idiot. When he admitted as much, however, the Dragon merely replied that perhaps it was his destiny to change that (The Dragon's Call).
Merlin and Arthur came to be good friends over the years, and eventually Merlin began to take on the role of Arthur's unofficial advisor. It was partially due to his influence that Arthur became willing to openly recognize the worth of commoners. For example, he knighted common men who had proven their loyalty and skill, and chose Guinevere as his Queen because of her counsel and nobility (The Coming of Arthur, The Sword in the Stone). Merlin also influenced Arthur to be more compassionate and to make peace with his enemies when possible. For example, he urged Arthur to spare Caerleon's life and to make peace with Odin rather than seek revenge (His Father's Son, Another's Sorrow).
It was mainly through Arthur's actions and leadership that Camelot became more united with the other kingdoms of Albion. As prince, he helped to preserve their peace treaty with Lord Bayard of Mercia (The Poisoned Chalice); ensured that the peace talks with Kings Olaf, Alined, and three other rulers were successful (Sweet Dreams); and preserved their alliance with Lord Godwyn and Princess Elena (The Changeling). As King, Arthur made peace and fostered an alliance with Queen Annis of Caerleon (His Father's Son, Arthur's Bane); established an agreement and alliance with Princess Mithian of Nemeth (The Hunter's Heart); and made peace with King Odin (Another's Sorrow). He also attempted to establish an alliance with Sarrum of Amata, but the other ruler was assassinated during the treaty signing (The Hollow Queen).
There were many people who sought to avert their destiny. Among them were High Priestesses Nimueh and Morgause, who sought revenge against Camelot for the Great Purge; Morgana, who sought revenge for her father and half-brother's war against magic and desired the throne of Camelot; Lord Agravaine, who sought revenge for his sister's death and allied himself with Morgana to get it; and Mordred, who was destined to kill Arthur and turned against him after his lover was executed for treason.
It is unknown whether Merlin and Arthur fulfilled their destiny. Though Arthur's death would appear to have averted it, Kilgharrah told Merlin that all that he had dreamt of building had come to pass. He reminded him that Arthur was not just a King, but the Once and Future King, and said that when Albion's need was greatest, Arthur would rise again. This may imply that the remainder of their destiny would be fulfilled when Arthur eventually returned (The Diamond of the Day).
Mordred and Morgana Edit
Morgana first met Mordred when she tried to help him escape from Camelot. She was oddly drawn to him and at one point told Gwen that she believed that there was a bond between them like nothing she'd ever felt before (The Beginning of the End). This bond was also evident when they were reunited in The Nightmare Begins.
Mordred and Morgana first became allies against Camelot when they helped Alvarr obtain the Crystal of Neahtid. The older sorcerer recruited Morgana to steal the Crystal from the castle vaults and hoped that Mordred would be able to use it to strike down Uther and all who served him. Their plan failed, however, and Mordred was forced to flee after Arthur and the Knights of Camelot discovered their camp (The Witch's Quickening).
Mordred and Morgana eventually met again several years later. Now a High Priestess of the Old Religion and openly an enemy of Camelot, Morgana was searching for the Diamair in order to learn more about Arthur's bane while Mordred was working for a Saxon slaver. Though he was no longer a child, Morgana immediately sensed who he was and was overjoyed to see him. She assumed that he would be a trusted ally, but Mordred was disturbed by how bitter and hateful Morgana had become and ultimately chose to betray her by saving Arthur's life and becoming a Knight of Camelot (Arthur's Bane).
Though Mordred appeared to have averted their shared destiny, Morgana was still fond of him and at one point tried to reason with him, but Mordred once again chose to remain loyal to Arthur (With All My Heart). This changed, however, after his lover was executed for treason. Angry and betrayed, Mordred fled Camelot and went to Morgana intending to join her ranks. To regain her trust, he told her the identity of her enemy Emrys: Merlin (The Drawing of the Dark).
Allies once more, Mordred and Morgana conspired to take away Merlin's magic and then launched an attack on Camelot. When they learned that Merlin was heading for the Crystal Cave, Mordred recognized its significance and told Morgana that he was probably trying to get his magic back, which allowed her to intercept Merlin and trap him within the Cave.
With Merlin out of the way, Mordred and Morgana carried out their prophesied alliance in the Battle of Camlann. With no one to counter Morgana's magic and a dragon at their command, the Saxons appeared to have the war all but won until Merlin arrived. Having regained his magic and escaped from the Cave, he struck down the Saxons with lightning, knocked Morgana unconscious, and commanded Aithusa away from the battle. Mordred, meanwhile, sought out Arthur and fatally wounded him before being killed himself (The Diamond of the Day).
Morgana and Emrys Edit
According to the Cailleach, Morgana was destined to die by the hand of a sorcerer called Emrys, which was a name that the Druids had for Merlin. Morgana was greatly distressed by this prophecy, especially after she had a prophetic dream of herself begging an old man called Emrys for help during a battle (The Darkest Hour).
After she discovered the old man from her dream stealing her Fomorroh, Morgana became determined to discover his identity (A Servant of Two Masters). She hired Alator of the Catha to kidnap Gaius and torture him into revealing who Emrys was. Alator succeeded, but ultimately chose to betray Morgana in order to protect Emrys's identity (The Secret Sharer). Three years later, Morgana hunted down Alator and tried to torture him into telling her what he knew. When that failed, she killed him and hunted down his servant Finna, who committed suicide in order to protect the secret (The Kindness of Strangers).
Morgana was at an impasse until Mordred turned against Camelot and informed her of Emrys's identity: Merlin (The Drawing of the Dark). No longer afraid now that she knew who she was up against, Morgana and Mordred conspired to take away Merlin's magic. When she learned that he was heading to the Crystal Cave to try to regain his magic, Morgana intercepted him and trapped him inside so that he couldn't help Arthur during the Battle of Camlann (The Diamond of the Day).
In the end, however, her efforts were for naught. Merlin succeeded in regaining his magic and escaped from the Cave, arriving at the battle just in time to save Arthur from an onslaught of Saxons. As Morgana screamed in rage, he struck her and her army down with lightning, knocking her off the ledge she was standing on and rendering her unconscious. When she eventually woke up, her army was scattered, the battle had been lost, and Mordred was dead.
Desperate for revenge, Morgana followed Merlin and Arthur to the Lake of Avalon and attacked Merlin with her magic. Assuming that he was unconscious, she then turned her attention to Arthur, intending to gloat over his imminent death.
Much to her surprise, however, Merlin had not been harmed by her attack and they faced off. Undaunted by the sight of Excalibur in his hand, she reminded him that as a High Priestess no mortal blade could kill her. In response, Merlin ran her through. She made no move to defend herself and could only gasp in shock and pain as he revealed that Excalibur was not a mortal blade, but had been forged in a dragon's breath. Morgana died soon afterward in Merlin's arms, thus fulfilling their destiny (The Diamond of the Day).
Creatures Capable of Knowing One's Destiny Edit
- Kilgharrah had knowledge of many destinies and usually did his best to help Merlin fulfill his. Whether or not all Dragons had this ability is unknown.
- Seers can foretell the future in visions and/or dreams. It is possible for them to foresee destinies (Queen of Hearts).
- The Druids were aware of many destinies, including Merlin's. Their knowledge likely came from their Seers, who were known as Vates (Arthur's Bane).
- According to Taliesin, he and Merlin had been destined to meet for many, many years. This may mean that he was aware of Merlin's future, and possibly Arthur's and Morgana's as well (The Crystal Cave).
- Both the Fisher King and Grettir were aware that Arthur, Gwaine, and Merlin were destined to embark on a quest to the Perilous Lands. The Fisher King was also aware of Merlin and Arthur's destiny and that Morgana would soon attempt to conquer Camelot (The Eye of the Phoenix).
- The Cailleach told Morgana that Emrys was her destiny and her doom. She was likely aware of other destinies as well (The Darkest Hour).
- The Dochraid was aware of Morgana's destiny. She was likely aware of other destinies as well (Lancelot du Lac).
- According to Ruadan, the Euchdag was known as the key to all knowledge. This likely included knowledge of destinies (Arthur's Bane).
- For thousands of years, the Catha guarded an ancient prophecy stating that Arthur was destined to die in the Battle of Camlann. They may have been aware of other destinies as well (The Kindness of Strangers).
Oddities and InaccuraciesEdit
- Nimueh told Arthur that it was not his destiny to die by her hand, yet attempted to have him killed anyway (The Poisoned Chalice, Excalibur).
- Nimueh was aware of Arthur's destiny, but wasn't aware of Merlin's until later (The Poisoned Chalice).
- Though Kilgharrah often helped Merlin with his destiny, he attacked Camelot and tried to kill Arthur after he was freed (The Last Dragonlord).
- Taliesin insisted on showing Merlin the future and told him to use what he saw for good, but Merlin's attempts to prevent what he'd seen were what caused it to happen in the first place (The Crystal Cave).
- In The Darkest Hour, Morgana's prophetic dream about the Battle of Camlann included a scene of her begging Emrys for help. This did not happen in the actual battle (The Diamond of the Day).
- At Aithusa's hatching, Kilgharrah told Merlin that a white dragon boded well for Albion (Aithusa). Instead, Aithusa was imprisoned with Morgana for two years and subsequently became her ally against Camelot (Arthur's Bane).
- However, Kilgharrah did mention that the meaning of a dragon's birth was sometimes hard to see, and that his optimistic interpretation was merely what he believed Aithusa's to mean.
- In The Hunter's Heart, Merlin was aware that it was Arthur's destiny to marry Guinevere. How Merlin knew this is unknown, as the only person aware of Gwen's destiny prior to this was Morgana, who had foreseen it in a prophetic dream (Queen of Hearts).