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Without magic, I'm a nobody. People think they can kick dirt in my face.
Gilli to Merlin[src]

Gilli is a young sorcerer who entered the Decennial Tournament in Camelot, a competition which was famous for having no rules. Despite the risk that he would be executed if he were caught, Gilli chose to use magic to increase his chances of victory. By doing so he managed to advance all the way to the final round, but ultimately lost to Uther Pendragon.


Early Life[]

Little is known about Gilli's early life. He once told Merlin that his father had been a gifted sorcerer, but had vowed never to use magic and wouldn't even let Gilli speak of it. He never understood why his father felt this way, and eventually came to believe he'd been afraid that he'd be executed if the king ever found out he was a sorcerer.

At some point in Gilli's childhood, his father was attacked by at least three men for unknown reasons. He remained true to his vow and refused to use magic to defend himself, resulting in his death. Because of this, Gilli became determined that he wouldn't turn his back on magic as his father had done, as he wanted to be proud of who he was.

Upon his father's death, Gilli inherited his magic ring, which could be used to cast spells (The Sorcerer's Shadow).

Entering the Tournament []

Where you headed?"
"Camelot. To fight in the tournament.
Nollar and Gilli[src]

Gilli when he first arrives in Camelot.

Some years later, Gilli traveled to Camelot to compete in the Decennial Tournament, a competition held every ten years that anyone could enter and was famous for having no rules. Very few people took him seriously as a competitor at first. While on the trail to Camelot he was accosted by two thugs (Tindr and Nollar) who taunted him about his lack of experience and stole his sword. Later, when he arrived in Camelot and tried to rent a room, the innkeeper demanded that he pay for it up front because he estimated that Gilli would be dead by sunset.

Shortly after he arrived in Camelot, Gilli discovered the two thugs from the trail harassing Merlin in the armoury. When Nollar began threatening the warlock with a whip, Gilli stepped in to defend him and advised Nollar to put his weapon down. Unimpressed, the thug turned the whip on him instead, and Gilli responded by using his magic to grab a sword and disarm him. Then, when a timely warning from Merlin alerted him to the fact that Nollar had pulled a knife, Gilli used his magic to divest him on that as well.

After the two thugs had left, Gilli turned to Merlin and thanked him for the warning, to which the warlock replied that it was him who should be grateful. Gilli quietly dismissed the praise, explaining that he'd had a run-in with them earlier and knew what it was like to be picked on. At that point Merlin's master, Prince Arthur, began to yell for him, so they hastily introduced themselves and then went their separate ways (The Sorcerer's Shadow).

Competing In the Tournament[]

You've seen the way people are now. They're showing me respect. And you don't know what that's like for me.
Gilli to Merlin[src]

Gilli competing in the Tournament.

The Decennial Tournament began early the next day. Gilli's first match was against another swordsman, one much larger in stature than himself. His opponent proved to be quite skilled, slashing Gilli in the arm at one point, but Gilli ultimately emerged the victor after he secretly used his magic ring to give himself the advantage.

After the match, Merlin and Gaius (who had been watching from the sidelines) offered to treat his wound for him. Gilli, however, declined, as he intended to use his ring to cauterize it himself. The spell that he used to do so created both a scorching heat and blinding white light, the latter of which attracted the attention of some guards. Gilli managed to escape their pursuit, but lost his ring in the confusion and was forced to leave it behind.

Fortunately, the ring was recovered by Merlin and Gaius when Uther asked the physician to determine whether magic had been involved in what the guards had seen. When Merlin returned the ring to Gilli that evening, he revealed that he knew that he'd been using magic to help him fight. He noted that the ring bore the mark of the Old Religion and asked where Gilli had gotten it from, to which Gilli replied that his father had left it to him. He explained that his father had been a gifted sorcerer, but had vowed never to use magic because he was afraid of Uther finding out. Even when he was attacked and had three men on him, he wouldn't use magic to defend himself.

His father's death seemed to be a source of shame for Gilli, and he told Merlin that he didn't want to be like his father because he wanted to be proud of who he was. Thoughtful, Merlin told Gilli that he reminded him of someone he knew, but quickly changed the subject when the sorcerer asked who. He told him that fighting wasn't his talent, magic was, and urged him to withdraw from the tournament before he was caught.

Gilli, however, refused to withdraw. He argued that it was an open competition where competitors could use any skill they had, and he was just using his particular skill. He believed that he was a nobody without magic, that people thought they could kick dirt in his face, and told Merlin that the tournament was his chance to prove that he was special. Having realized that Gilli wasn't going to listen to him, Merlin warned him once more than if he was caught using magic he'd be executed, and left him alone.  

Gilli is trapped by Tindr and Nollar.

Heedless of Merlin's warnings, Gilli continued to fight in the tournament and discovered that his next match was to be against Nollar. The fight got off to a rough start for Gilli. He was caught by surprise when the thug barreled into the arena and soon found himself cornered against the stands. He was then grabbed from behind by Tindr, who tried to hold him still so that Nollar could run him through. Thinking fast, Gilli used his magic to throw Nollar to the ground, then escaped Tindr's grasp and ran his opponent through.

Gilli was deeply shaken by what he'd done and later told Merlin that he'd never killed anyone before. He'd entered the tournament because he wanted to know what it was like to be respected, but he knew now that he wasn't a killer, and finally agreed to withdraw from the tournament. Upon returning to the inn, however, he was greeted by cheers and a round of applause. People rushed to buy him drinks and showered him with praise. Clearly charmed by the adulation, it wasn't long before Gilli changed his mind and decided to stay in the tournament after all. With the aid of his magic he easily won his next match, badly wounding his opponent in the process, and advanced to the tournament final, where he was to face Uther himself (The Sorcerer's Shadow).


I never understood my father. I thought that he was afraid of magic. But he wasn't. He was afraid of what it could do, how it could corrupt.
Gilli to Merlin[src]

Merlin reveals his magic to Gilli.

 That evening, Merlin went to the inn to confront Gilli and found him bragging about his achievements to an enthusiastic audience. He got Gilli's attention and they went up to his room. There, Merlin informed him that his opponent from that day was expected to recover from his injuries, then demanded to know why he hadn't withdrawn from the tournament. Gilli explained that people were showing him respect now, something he'd always wanted, and told Merlin that he had no idea what that was like for him.

In order to prove to Gilli that he knew exactly how he felt, Merlin revealed that he also had magic by conjuring a flame in the palm of his hand. He talked about how lonely it was to have to live like a shadow when he was more powerful than anyone he knew, and how hard it was to be special, yet have to pretend he was a fool. The gambit worked, but not in the way Merlin had intended. Gilli still didn't understand why Merlin wanted him to withdraw. He pointed out that if Uther died in the match tomorrow then their kind would finally be free of him, and declared it was time that those with magic fought back.

Merlin disagreed with Gilli and tried to convince him that magic should be used for good rather than his own vanity. This resulted in a heated argument wherein Gilli accused Merlin of defending a man who would have him dead and forgetting his magical heritage. Ignoring the warlock's protests that that wasn't what he was trying to do, Gilli declared that Merlin could hide and pretend that he was less than everyone, but he wasn't going to apologize for who he was. It was time that someone struck a blow for the likes of them, and if Merlin was too weak to do it, then Gilli would.

The morning of the final, Merlin caught Gilli's eye and tried once more to indicate that he shouldn't kill the king. Gilli, however, continued to disregard his warnings and shot Merlin a sinister smirk as he entered the arena. He and Uther saluted one another, then began to fight. As usual, Gilli called upon his magic to help him fight and quickly gained the upper hand, but much to his shock Merlin began using his own magic to subtly manipulate the match. Because of his interference, Gilli was unable to kill the king and Uther ultimately took control of the match and disarmed him.

While the king celebrated his victory, a dejected Gilli exited the arena. He waved off Merlin's attempt to apologize and later accused the warlock of betraying their kind. Much to his surprise, however, Merlin calmly replied, "No, that was you." He declared that there was no honour in what Gilli had tried to do, and that by using magic for his own glory he had betrayed their kind.

Merlin and Gilli part as friends.

His words seemed to touch something in Gilli, who finally began to realize that he'd been wrong about Merlin, and his father. He said that he knew now that it wasn't magic his father had been afraid of, but what it could do and how it could corrupt, and that by refusing to give into temptation his father had been stronger than he'd ever realized.

Pleased that Gilli finally understood, Merlin assured him that one day magic would be permitted again, and when that day came they would be recognized for their gifts and finally be free. "And who knows? Maybe one day our paths will cross again." Smiling, Gilli replied that he hoped so and they reconciled, after which Gilli left Camelot in peace (The Sorcerer's Shadow).


Gilli uses magic to help him fight.

Gilli was a quiet and fairly mild mannered young man who tended to be respectful and polite to the people around him, including those who mocked or belittled him. This is not to say, however, that Gilli was a pushover. He immediately stood up for Merlin when he saw him being bullied by two thugs who had targeted him earlier, and bravely (and perhaps recklessly) faced down opponents both bigger and more skilled than himself in the arena.

But though a good person at heart, Gilli was also quite flawed. He had been embittered by his father's attitude towards magic and by how that attitude contributed to his death. Because of this, Gilli became determined not to be like his father. He embraced magic and frequently used it during the Decennial Tournament to enhance his fighting skills and win glory, the latter of which he craved more than anything.

In addition to his father's fear of magic, Gilli also blamed Uther for his father's death because he believed that his father had been afraid of what would happen if the king ever found out he was a sorcerer. Consequently, Gilli hated Uther and became determined to kill him. His obsession was such that he ignored Merlin's warnings and callously brushed off his attempts to reason with him. Later, when Gilli faced Uther in the tournament final, his anger drove him to keep attacking the king even after he appeared to have the match won, forcing Merlin to intervene.

In the end, however, Gilli came to realize that it wasn't Uther or magic his father had been afraid of, but rather what magic could do and how it could corrupt. He could see that in his own actions, in the way he'd used magic for his own vanity and turned his back on his principles to win respect, and was ashamed when Merlin told him that he'd used his magic dishonorably and thus betrayed their kind. Humbled, Gilli finally understood that magic wasn't meant to bring one glory and gained a new appreciation for his father, who he finally realized had been a stronger man than he ever knew.


Series 3 Enemies
The Tears of Uther Pendragon: MorgauseCenredMorganaSerketsUndead SkeletonsGhost Boy
Goblin's Gold: GoblinGaius (indirect)
Gwaine: DagrEborCylferthSir Oswald (indirect) • Sir Ethan (indirect)
The Crystal Cave: MorgauseMorgana
The Changeling: Sidhe elderGrunhildaElena (indirect)
The Castle of Fyrien: MorgauseCenredMorganaFermin
The Eye of the Phoenix: MorgauseWyvernMorgana
Love in the Time of Dragons: ManticoreAlice (indirect)
Queen of Hearts: MorgauseMorganaUther PendragonKing Odin
The Sorcerer's Shadow: GilliTindrNollarMorgana
The Coming of Arthur: MorgauseMorganaCenredJarl