Kilgharrah, or the great dragon, is a mighty and ancient dragon who was imprisoned and chained in a cave beneath Camelot by Uther Pendragon at the end of the Great Purge where he was left for around 22 years. He is said to be more than a thousand years old. One day, he met a boy named Merlin whom he would be a mentor to. He tells him about a prophecy which spoke about his destiny in which he would unite the land of Albion together with Arthur but he must ensure Prince Arthur is safe. He was freed by Merlin some time later and he would turn on Camelot because of what Uther did to him until he was stopped by the last dragonlord, whom was Merlin since his father, Balinor had recently died. Despite this, he still continued to help Merlin during troubled times which always turned out to play a very important part in saving Camelot.
Although not much has been said about Kilgharrah's early life or most of his history, he once said he had lived for more than a thousand years. He most likely stayed with other dragons somewhere amongst the realm of Camelot.
One day when the then King Uther was nearing the concluding part of his purge against magic, it is said that a dragonlord named Balinor was asked by Uther to bring Kilgharrah, who at this point was the last dragon in existence to go to Camelot so that he was able to make peace with him. But both he and Balinor were betrayed. Instead, Uther imprisoned him beneath the castle in a cave where he was to stand as an example to all magical beings what would happen to them.He was imprisoned by being chained in a cave underneath Camelot and had little contact with others for 22 years. Until his final year of imprisonment, there was not much hope that he would ever break free.
One day, a young boy named Merlin went to stay in Camelot. While the boy slept, Kilgharrah's voice was heard by him again and again, until he followed the source to the small cave. The dragon explained to Merlin there is a prophecy that speaks of his shared destiny with Prince Arthur.
- "you are two sides of the same coin"
He tells Merlin, who does not seem pleased as he does not think much of Arthur whom he names arrogant and an idiot, that he must ensure that peace will happen under Arthur's reign but Arthur will not be able to unite Albion without Merlin. In the end, Merlin accepts his destiny and was the start of a long friendship which would blossom between him and Merlin who would seek the great dragon's help at times (The Dragon's Call).
His time as a mentor
Merlin would seek Kilgharrah's help many times while attempting to fulfil his destiny. He helped Merlin to solve many challenging problems. But he also unusually spoke through riddles to give Merlin the chance to both figure out their meanings and find an answer alone, even though Merlin found this quite annoying. But, despite Kigharrah's best warnings, Merlin would not always do what he said. An example of this is when Merlin decided to try and save the young druid boy Mordred despite the Dragon saying in all prophecies, he would be the one to kill Arthur. He also decided to help save Uther when he overheard Morgana conspiring to kill him, despite the great dragon telling Merlin he thought it was best that Uther died.
Another one of the great dragon's abilities is being able to possess foresight. An example of this was being able to tell Merlin about his own destiny. And also at many times, he did not sit idly presenting Merlin help through riddles but he at times would directly help Merlin. Some examples of this are when Arthur's dead uncle Tristan de Bois was resurrected as a wraith, he created the sword of Excalibur to ensure both the dead and Tristan were stopped and later on in the series, when he would fly to save Merlin and his friends many times during their quests.
But, he didn't always have a close friendship with Merlin. During a quest in which Arthur was dying from a Questing Beast's bite (Le Morte d'Arthur), Merlin had gone to the Isle of the Blessed determined to end his own life in order to spare Arthur. But, the sorceress Nimueh had refused to take Merlin's life, and nearly took his mother's instead, which had led to Gaius attempting to give up his own life. An angry Merlin had accused the great dragon of tricking him and to his surprise, the great dragon had not denied this. He claimed that Merlin's destiny would not only protect Arthur and bring about Albion but would allow both magic to the land and by extension, his own freedom. Merlin realised that all along, the great dragon had only been helping him for his own gain and promised he would never let Kilgharrah go free. Despite the great dragon's attempts to stop him, Merlin used magic to make to create a shield and he escaped. In many ways, Kilgharrah felt betrayed. Neither would speak to each other for some time. But their anger did not last for long. Some time later, Merlin needed his help again trying to stop Cornelius Sigan. But this time, the great dragon was more cautious and made Merlin promise to free him some day in return for his help which he no longer felt he so willing to give away. Although Merlin wished he had not, he unwillingly obliged. This was not the last time Merlin would seek help, and the great dragon reminded him nearly each time what he had promised. He would also often be unhappy when Merlin would still sometimes ignore what he said despite it nearly being that every other time Merlin had ignored him, it had not ended well.
Merlin later returned to Kilgharrah after Uther had been enchanted into marrying a troll, a happening that the Dragon found very funny but stopped laughing when Merlin said Albion won't be born if the troll was the heir to the throne. Kilgharrah gave Merlin the knowledge on how to break the troll's spell, and also reminded Merlin of the deal he had made with him again.
When Merlin had used magic for his own recreation, which a villager witnessed,she reported it to Uther, who sent for the dreaded witchfinder Aredian. Aredian, after searching for any sign of magic, publicly accused Merlin of being a sorcerer, however Merlin was saved when his mentor Gaius falsely confessed he was the sorcerer. Merlin went to Kilgharrah for advice on how to help Gaius. At first, the Dragon was annoyed with how stupid and naive Merlin was for using magic in public but when he saw how distressed Merlin was, Kilgharrah felt genuinely sorry for him and informed Merlin that he wasn't able to help him because he didn't know how to. During one of Merlin's next visits, Kilgharrah asked him to uphold his promise and set him free. Merlin said he would, but only when he knew Camelot was safe. Merlin would later uphold this promise, and set him free, but this did not mean the end of their friendship and Merlin still would at times seek help, which was easier to obtain when he discovered he was the son of Balinor, thus making him a dragon lord.
Merlin questions him
One of the first times which Merlin would seek help with was when a tournament was being held in Camelot. Merlin had noticed that one of the men named Valiant had been using magic to win when one of the men he was fighting died. But the King had ignored these claims on the grounds there was no proof. Arthur then sacked Merlin, who sought the great dragon's help. Merlin was clouded with disbelief when he went to him and shouted that he was wrong to say that Merlin would be able to help Arthur. But as he tries to get away, the great dragon told Merlin that no one will be able to escape their destiny and that Merlin must use magic to make the truth be seen (Valiant).
The mark of Nimueh
When a disease spreads through the water in Camelot because of the sorcery of the Priestess Nimueh, Merlin sought the great dragons help again. He told Merlin through a riddle to use the elements around him. In the end, Merlin managed to save Camelot (The Mark of Nimueh).
Gaius is troubled when a new physician goes to Camelot attempting to get his sacked. He thinks there is more to this man than he is letting on and that he means to kill the King. He goes to the great dragon to seek help and ask him whether or not he should idly stand by and let the king die or do something to stop him. The great dragon simply told him that Merlin is destined to unite all Albion alongside Arthur but this will not happen until Uther has died. Gaius asks whether this time is now but he does not say. All he says to Gaius is he must turn a blind eye, which is his talent, and let what will unfold, happen (A Remedy to Cure All Ills).
One day, a young druid boy named Mordred went to Camelot along with a guardian, possibly his father, where they find they are pursed by the guards of Camelot on the ground of using magic. The man is arrested but the boy, who is hurt, escapes. When the boy seeks help from Merlin and by extension, is also helped by Morgana who wants to look after him, Mordred names Merlin something he has never heard before, Emrys. Merlin does not understand, so he asks the great dragon about the name. He simply replied that Merlin has many names and that he should not try and help the boy, but does not give a reason why only that he must trust the word of the great dragon. When Merlin goes back to the cave to demand an answer, the dragon tells him that the boy will be the reason his destiny will not be fulfilled which is why Merlin must let him die. Merlin is both shocked and horrified at the thought of what Mordred may do and finding the strength to let a young boy die. He ignores the great dragon's warning and saves the druid boy which annoyed the great dragon (The Beginning of the End).
When Arthur's dead uncle Tristan De Bois returns from the dead to hurt Uther and Arthur for their part in his sister, Ygraine's death, Merlin needs to a find a way to slay the undead. He finds out by looking through his book, that a weapon forged from a dragon's breath is the most powerful weapon possible. He goes to Gwen to seek one of her father's best swords which he takes to Kilgharrah whom he asks to forge the sword. The great dragon warns Merlin that the sword must not fall into the wrong hands and he must make sure the sword is only ever used by Arthur and him alone. Later, the great dragon ponders why Merlin has not gone back to him to tell him had the sword worked. Worried, he calls Merlin in the night to him. When he asks whether the sword was successful, he is shocked and angry to find that it was Uther, not Arthur who used the sword. Upset, he tells Merlin he feels as though he has betrayed him and that he thinks Merlin is not quite ready to be trusted (Excalibur).
When Merlin finds out Morgana plans to kill the king with the help of a powerful sorcerer named Tauren because Uther had killed Gwen's father on the grounds of using magic when he was innocent, Merlin does not know what is the best thing to do. Merlin asks the great dragon whether he should do nothing or save the king again. But the great dragon tells Merlin to do nothing because Uther would not spare him. He reminds Merlin that he persecutes those with magic and has killed many innocent people. He says his reign must soon end so Arthur is able to be King and Merlin will be able to help him fulfill his destiny. But Merlin does not agree. He does not think the timing is right for Uther to die and Arthur to be king, nor does he think it is right to stand by and watch the king be murdered, so he stops Morgana and saves Uther (To Kill the King).
Le morte d'ArthurWhen Arthur is mortally wounded by a Questing Beast's bite, Gaius says that there is no magic that is able to save to him to a desperate Merlin. So he instead asks for help from the great dragon. He says that he would do anything to save Arthur so he tells Merlin the only way to spare him now would be to go to the Isle of the Blessed where he will find a way to save Arthur, whom must be saved at any cost. But when he bargains his life in return for Arthur's, Merlin feels betrayed when his mother's life is bargained instead because Merlin is simply not able to die either. When Gaius attempts to give his life in place of Merlin's mother and Merlin has to save him by turning on the high priestess Nimueh, whose life is taken instead and with whom he had done the deal with to take this life anyway, he goes to the great dragon upset and angry. He shouts that Kilgharrah had tricked him and lied to him. He accused him of being the reason his mother and guardian nearly died. The great dragon tells Merlin that is is his destiny, and his alone, to ensure that Albion is reunited and Arthur is protected to ensure he gets to be king in the first place and that magic is restored and he is released again. Merlin realises that this is all the great dragon care about, with little regard for who gets hurt along the way. He thinks the great dragon is selfish, and promises him he will never let him be be free. When he tries to get away, Kilgharrah tries to stop him by using fire to hurt him, but Merlin uses magic to shield him and says that he will never see him again (Le Morte d'Arthur).
When the spirit of Cornelius Sigan possesses a boy named Cedric and tries to take control of Camelot, Gaius tells Merlin only the great dragon is able to help them. Merlin says he wishes he did not need to because he not only does not trust dragon because he only cares about himself but that he promised he would never go and ask him for help again. But in the end, he realises he needs to go no matter what. But Kilgharrah first questions his loyalty. He makes Merlin promise him something. He says he will only help Merlin when he promises that one day, Merlin will him free. When Merlin has no choice but to accept the terms, the great dragon gives him the spell which would defeat Sigan (The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).
Refusing to help
- "you will heed my words"
One time, Merlin went to the great dragon to seek help on finding a druid camp which Mordred was a part of. He had discovered that his friend, Morgana had magic which he found that the great dragon was not happy about. When Merlin presses him on why he is not happy, he says that the best thing to do is to not help Morgana. He says that she must never know the full extent of her powers, naming her a witch. Merlin refuses to think bad of Morgana based on her being like him, a person with magic. The great dragon simply replied that they are as different as day and night. He ends their counsel with a warning to Merlin not to help, and in order to make it harder for Merlin, who would ignore him, he refused to give Merlin the help he seeks (The Nightmare Begins).
To the dragon's amusement, he discovers that Uther has unknowingly married a troll near enough against his own wishes, as he was also under a spell. When the great dragon finally stops laughing, he realises the seriousness of the situation when Merlin informs him that Arthur is no longer the heir to the throne, but Uther's new wife is. He is reminded that this means that Albion may never be born and he apologises to Merlin. He tells him that in order to break the spell, Merlin will need to make Uther cry but he says this is a difficult task as he has a heart made of stone. As Merlin departs with this help, the great dragon kindly reminds Merlin again that he has promised to free him one day in return for this help (Beauty and the Beast: Part Two).
Gaius' impending death
When Merlin uses magic in public which he thought no one would see, it has huge consequences. In a bid to find the sorcerer, Uther brings a witchfinder named Aredian to Camelot to help him. Although he is a fraud and a liar, there was little to be done to make Uther realise the truth. At first he places the blame on Merlin by saying he found a magical amulet in Merlin's home which he shares with Gaius. But Merlin would be horrified to find when in a bid to save him, Gaius takes the blame for the amulet which Aredian claims was Merlin's. Horrified at the thought of losing Gaius and in a bid to show Aredian as a fraud, he goes to the great dragon for help. He is angry to hear the great dragon tell Merlin that he does not care for Gaius because he means nothing to him. Merlin names him selfish but the great dragon sees how distressed Merlin was and when Merlin says he will turn himself in to save Gaius, he panics. He tells Merlin that he does not know how to help and Merlin alone must find a way, otherwise Gaius is already doomed no matter what Merlin does now. The only consequence of Merlin admitting his own magic, would be they would both die. He apologises and Merlin departs (The Witchfinder).
Arthur's unwilling love
Merlin goes to the great dragon for help on how to break a love spell when Prince Arthur is made to fall in love with the daughter of another King during a peace treaty signing. The consequence would mean war between all the kingdom had Princess Vivian's father found them. When he does, and Arthur foolishly agrees to fight to the death, the great dragon tells Merlin only a kiss from Arthur's true love would save him (Sweet Dreams).
Morgana and Mordred
When there is a huge problem for Camelot and Merlin had sought help from the great dragon, he does not. At first, before he does, he both reminds Merlin what he promised him and then he demands that he be released upon that moment so the promise was thereby fulfilled. But Merlin says he only will when Camelot is safe. Bound by this, the great dragon asks Merlin what had happened. He tells him that Morgana has stolen the Crystal of Neahtid but at first he laughs at the thought of it because he says Morgana is too weak to use such a thing. But when he hears from Merlin that Morgana has not been working alone, but has also been working with the druid boy, Mordred he no longer finds it amusing. He start to worry and demands that Merlin gets the crystal. But, the great dragon did not know that when Merlin looked into the crystal, he sees an image of the great dragon attacking Camelot not long from present time. Worried, Merlin ignores the great dragon's screams to release him as he is now troubled as whether to keep his promise and release him but by doing this the prophecy he saw happening would, or to ignore him and break his promise to ensure nothing bad does happen but know he will never get help again (The Witch's Quickening).
The dragon's freedomThe last time the dragon would help Merlin while imprisoned, a spell had been cast on Camelot which had made everyone falls asleep. At the time, Merlin was not there as he was with Arthur exploring a mysterious pillar of black smoke where no one had dared go for many, many years. When he returned, he went to see the great dragon to find out what had happened but he pretended to be asleep too so he was able to ignore Merlin. But Merlin knows he would not fall under the spell and so the dragon angrily tells him that Camelot's end is nigh and there is nothing he is able to do to stop it. He was upset because despite Merlin's promise, he still had not help set him free. Merlin then makes a promise with him by whom he says that all the dragon has to do is help him now and he will free him that night. So, the dragon tells Merlin that somewhere in Camelot there is a source of the spell, in this case Morgana, who had been working with Morgause to try and murder the king. That night, Merlin returned with good news - Camelot was safe and Morgana was missing presumed dead. He also returned with a stolen sword as the dragon had requested to free him. But before he broke the chains, he tried to make the dragon promise not to harm Camelot which he refused to agree too, saying he will bargain no more with him because they had bargained enough times. Merlin had no choice but to free him and the dragon goes free (The Fires of Idirsholas).
Turning on CamelotBut the dragon did not use his freedom for good and he turned on Camelot and all its people. He attacked the towns and citadel and harmed its people, many whom died and many whom were hurt such as Arthur during his bid to protect Gwen. Merlin tried many times to stop him but in the end he needed to go and find the last Dragonlord named Balinor who was in hiding amongst another kingdom's realm when his attempts to beg, reason and use magic all failed. Along the way home when they had found Balinor, whom was Merlin's long lost father, they were ambushed and his father died, thus making Merlin the last Dragonlord, as the magic is passed from father to son. He returns to Camelot and surprises the great dragon with his new found magic. Instead of harming him, Merlin told the great dragon that he is banished from Camelot forever.
Now in his debt, the great dragon told him that his kindness and authority were a sign of the man he would one day be and that he is sure that this will not be the last time their paths will cross before he flew away (The Last Dragonlord).
A year passes whereby little is known about what the dragon did or where he went, only that he did as told and did not return to Camelot, nor did he have any contact with Merlin during this time. But when Merlin was in trouble when Morgause and Morgana found he had followed them and had heard all their
plans for Camelot, he was chained up and left in the forest surrounded by serkets. He tried to use magic to break his chains and fight away some serkets, but he was bitten. He then uses magic to demand the great dragon to help him, and it was not long before he appeared using his fiery breath to save him (The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part One). He carried Merlin to a small cave where he put him to rest. He slept for a while but when he awoke, he told Merlin that the battle for Camelot was about to begin and flew him home so he was able to save Arthur again (The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part Two).
Unwillingly helping Merlin
He was called again some time later when Merlin was troubled about another problem concerning Morgana, who had fallen down a flight of stairs and left in a comatose state, near to death. He knew Morgana had only fallen because in his attempt to stop her from harming Uther, he had shut the door which had made her fall back. He didn't want magic to be the reason for her death. He also knew Uther had secretly asked Gaius to use magic to help. But the great dragon didn't want to help - Morgana's death would mean the prophecy would never be true. In the end, Merlin demanded, using his authority as a dragonlord, and thus a spiritual brother to him, to make him help (The Crystal Cave).
A young boy named Gilli goes to Camelot to fight in a tournament by which he secretly uses magic to get to the final. But he must fight Uther in the final. Merlin, who knew he had magic and had became friends, took the matter to the great dragon fearing he would attempt to harm Uther, which the boy later says hes would. The dragon was calm but he was unwilling to help based on the grounds that in past situations like this, Merlin has ignored him. Merlin apologises and says he will listen. He is told that should Gilli use magic to cause the death of Uther, then Arthur's beliefs about magic being bad would never change and so a future where those with magic are free will never happen. He said that Merlin must make sure it is never magic that harms Uther or any other persons and so Gilli must be stopped (The Sorcerer's Shadow).
Excalibur's returnMerlin had long since cast the sword into the Lake of Avalon ago as he had hid the sword upon the dragon's request when it was used by the wrong person, now requested the great dragon take him back to the lake, so he was able to find Excalibur and present it to Arthur, as all hope was lost he would be able to save Camelot without the sword. But the dragon told him he must then hide sword and so Merlin cast the sword into a stone to rest (The Coming of Arthur: Part Two).
He saved Merlin again when he was being pursued by supernatural beings named the Dorocha, where he would meet the knight, Lancelot. He told them he knew that Merlin intended the repair the veil between the two worlds by walking to his own death and begged him not too. He also named Lancelot as the most bravest knight of them all, before bidding his farewell and flying away (The Darkest Hour: Part Two).
AithusaThe great dragon finds out from Merlin there may be another possible dragon, as a dragon egg is lost in a tomb and is being sought by a man who would harm him. The dragon begged Merlin to get the egg and save the new dragon and Merlin promises to. Merlin keeps to his promise and rescues the egg, bringing the dragon to Kilgharrah. Merlin summons the new dragon into existence, naming it Aithusa. The great dragon says that the new white dragon was a rare breed, both now and when the dragon's were huge in number and comments the name meant the light of the sun to dragons, reflecting a new dawn which Arthur and Merlin would create together (Aithusa).
Rescuing Merlin and his friends
While Merlin was fleeing with Arthur, Gwen and Gaius into a small cave, he shouted for the great dragon to go and help them. He appeared and saved them, where he finds out that Arthur has lost his throne and there is little hope. The dragon tells him that Merlin alone is able to restore hope before he flies away and so he does (The Sword in the Stone: Part Two).
The vatas prophecy
He was next summoned to see how much he knew about something named the Lochru's doomsday prophecy whom has told Merlin, Arthur will soon die at the hands of the boy named Mordred. Although the great dragon knew nothing about Arthur's Bane and the prophecy, he knew Lochru was a member of an order named The Vates who foretelling were the best across the lands. Merlin tells him this felt like a burden and there was little hope, to which the great dragon responds he needs to have heart and use the knowledge to guide him on his path, not to hinder him (Arthur's Bane: Part One).
The Disir suddenly put a judgement upon Arthur which worries everyone across Camelot. They were giving Arthur the chance to change his path by either choosing to allow magic back to Camelot and be saved or his
present path which spoke of his death would continue. But there was a problem - the choice determined the outcome of Mordred's path too, Merlin and the others did not know he would either die had Arthur choose to be fair or he would live had Arthur choose to ignore their wish. Merlin had summoned the great dragon to find out what the best thing to do for Arthur. He tells Merlin the Disir speak for the Triple Goddess, whom would rule the foretold prophecy of Arthur's death. He told Merlin there were many possible paths, many which will bring hope. But he warned Merlin, under no terms should Mordred be saved again, and should Merlin get another chance to ensure he dies, he must take this as he will be the cause of Arthur's downfall and thus must be stopped at any cost to ensure this does not happen (The Disir).
Injury & ageHe found Merlin lying in the forest, suffering from a near fatal arrow wound. He took him and healed him and laid him to sleep. When he woke up, Merlin found his wing had been wounded and attempted to heal him. But he told Merlin not to, because there were some things that even someone like him would not be able to stop. He tells Merlin he is old and his passing will be soon. Merlin questions him on this, wanting to know whether of not he will see him again, but the great dragon does not answer him, he turns and flies away, with his wound noticeable as he is flying with some difficulty (The Kindness of Strangers).
His final goodbye
He flies to Merlin one last time when he was summoned to find Arthur had died and Merlin distraught, still hoping he would be able to get to the Lake of Avalon and he would be saved. The great dragon flies him to the lake, but told Merlin there was nothing he would be able to do as Arthur had already died. He tells him that Arthur is the once and future king and that he would rise again one day. He tells Merlin he thinks it has been a privilege to know him, bids his last goodbye and flies away (The Diamond of the Day: Part Two).
The great dragon was very wise, old and knowledgeable, and he would often speak in riddles to the annoyance of those to was helping, namely Merlin whom normally left with more questions that answers when he was mentored by the great dragon. He knew many prophecies and foretellings and a lot to do with magic. His wisdom meant he was able to find a solution to any problem during which the persons is using magic.
But he was also able to be quite selfish at times. One example is when the great dragon told Merlin that his biggest reason for helping him earlier on in the series, was because he was hoping to regain his freedom and he did not really care whom was hurt so he was able to ensure this. But he also was easy to gain sympathy from, as seen by he felt sorry for Merlin when he was unable to help him save Gaius. Although Merlin did not find him very trustworthy after this, they were still friends, later amplified by him being a dragonlord thus making them spiritual brothers.
But he was able to hold terrible grudges against others. Although he was reasonable with why he would turn on Camelot, he showed it did not matter to him that innocent people died in his bid to hurt Uther, mainly due to his suffering at being the last of his kind. But he also knew when to be grateful, and found himself in Merlin's debt when he showed him mercy in his bid to stop him, banishing him instead of causing his death. He had been angry, but this was not the only time. He found himself angry many times when Merlin either ignored him or purposely made him help when he did not wish to because he was a dragonlord. He is able to be resentful about many things, particularly
when he is he ignored. He is also often judgemental, as he did not doubt for a second that Morgana and Mordred would bring about Arthur's downfall because he knew most prophecies were the truth, but would ignore something else he knew - they don't always happen as they were suppose too, and there are many paths. He also would not realise that sometimes when he told Merlin or others about a prophecy, more often than not, what he had foreseen would happen because he told others who in their bid to stop the prophecy, would actually cause the prophecy.
He was also a proud creature, and did not seem happy when Merlin suggested he fly him to his destination, with him telling Merlin he was not a horse. He also had a good sense of humour despite his mainly serious demeanour. One of these times was when he found out that Uther had married a troll (under a spell) which made him burst into laughter.
Kilgharrah is the one who informed Merlin of his destiny. Whenever Merlin is lost as to what to do, particularly when it involved magic, he turned to the Great Dragon for advise or outright assistance. The Dragon acted as a mentor to Merlin, even though Merlin didn't always do as the Dragon advised him. Merlin actually considered the Dragon a friend at one point but when he discovered that one of he`s reasons for helping him in order to gain his freedom. and had tricked him into sacrificing his mother, even though it was not true, Merlin turned his back on him, vowing to never allow him to be released.
Merlin returned to the Dragon when he needed help defeating the spirit of Cornelius Sigan. The Dragon agreed to help, on the condition that Merlin promised to one day free him, which Merlin, as he was under lots of pressure and needed to save Arthur, Uther and all the citizens of Camelot, agreed to do. Merlin regained his trust in the Dragon, and continued to seek his aid when he needed it. The Dragon appeared to be quite fond of Merlin and he had proven that he can care about more than his own freedom as he felt genuinely sorry for Merlin, when he told him he was unable to help him save Gaius.
Merlin later released the Great Dragon, who proceeded to lay waste to Camelot as revenge for his imprisonment and his species' near-eradication. Merlin, who inherited the powers of a dragonlord from his father, Balinor, managed to get the Dragon under his control, but chose to spare him instead of kill him. The Dragon was grateful for Merlin's choice to not kill him, and departed after telling him he was sure they would meet again.
Because of Merlin's heritage as a dragonlord, he and Kilgharrah were spiritual brothers and they have shown that they genuinely care about each other, since Merlin spared Kilgharrah when the Dragon was at his mercy and Kilgharrah willingly came to Merlin's rescue when he was surrounded by serkets sent at him by Morgause and Morgana. After rescuing Merlin. Kilgharrah used magic to heal him and indicated that he had come to save Merlin because he wanted to rather than because he had to. Kilgharrah also appeared content to allow Merlin to ride him back to Camelot. When Merlin called Kilgharrah back to find a way to heal Morgana, Kilgharrah advised him to let her die and was angry when Merlin ordered him to help, feeling that Merlin was abusing his power. Though they parted on less than good terms, it wasn't as bad as the time Merlin told Kilgharrah he would never be freed and although Kilgharrah reprimanded him for it when they next met, he appeared to have forgiven him and simply reminded him that he shouldn't do it again.
Kilgharrah later encountered Merlin and Lancelot, who became the only person apart from Merlin to meet Kilgharrah since his attack on Camelot. When Kilgharrah learned that there was still a Dragon egg in existence he asked Merlin to get it for him and was overjoyed when Merlin hatched Aithusa.
Kilgharrah has known Gaius for at least twenty years and Gaius respects the Dragon's power and wisdom. However they were not friends and Kilgharrah appeared to be slightly disdainful towards Gaius, claiming that he had a talent for turning a blind eye. The Dragon also claimed that Gaius meant nothing to him. Despite this Kilgharrah was genuinely sorrowful when he heard that Gaius was about to be executed, though this was for Merlin's sake rather than Gaius'.
The pair have had one encounter in the underground dungeon. Gaius required assistance in regards to Uther Pendragon's issues. Kilgharrah stated that Gaius is good for turning a blind eye and he should do the same on this occasion. Kilgharrah showed no aggression towards Gaius. Gaius and Kilgharrah haven't met again after Kilgharrah was released by Merlin.
Considering Balinor knew Kilgharrah's true name, it's likely that they knew each other well in the past and considering Balinor was a dragonlord, they most likely thought of each other as spiritual brothers. Balinor felt that Kilgharrah's rage and hatred towards Uther Pendragon was justified due to Uther betraying both the Dragon and Balinor, after the Dragonlord brought Kilgharrah to Camelot. It is unknown if Kilgharrah blamed Balinor for his imprisonment, but it is unlikely since he probably knew that Balinor had been tricked by Uther and had not meant to betray him. Balinor also crafted a small figurine of a dragon which appeared to be based on Kilgharrah. It is also observable from the dragon's shock when Merlin speaks to him for the first time with his dragonlord ability, that the dragon knew Balinor had died.
As Arthur Pendragon was destined to unite Albion along with Merlin, Kilgharrah frequently gave Merlin advice to help them fulfil their destiny. However, he temporarily lost his beliefs in Arthur when he attacked Camelot after he was released by Merlin, presumably driven by revenge for his imprisonment. He later directly encountered Arthur when he attempted to protect the kingdom but attempted to kill him and was only stopped when Merlin used the power of a dragonlord to stop him attacking the kingdom. After that, Kilgharrah regained his respect for Arthur and continued to help Merlin but warned Merlin that Arthur's heart would be hardened against magic if he saw Uther die at its hand. They have yet to meet on civil terms.
Although Kilgharrah hasn't yet met Morgana, Kilgharrah gave lots of advice to Merlin about Morgana referring to her as "the Witch". He warned Merlin of Morgana's betrayal but Merlin still disobeyed him, with disastrous consequences on a number of occasions. Kilgharrah also knew of Morgana's true parentage, that Uther was her father, although he had never seen Morgana himself or if he had, he did not remember her, and she could have been born after he was imprisoned by Uther, which may have contributed to his hatred of her.
Kilgharrah hated Uther Pendragon ever since Uther banned magic and killed almost all the Dragons. Uther had Kilgharrah imprisoned to show what happens to those who are magical. Insulted by this and hungry for revenge, the Dragon attacked Uther's kingdom after Merlin had freed him. The Dragon would have completely destroyed Camelot if it was not for Merlin's dragonlord ability. Kilgharrah stated that Uther's heart was "as cold as stone" and that he'd "never been sorry for anything" though this was actually untrue which implies that Kilgharrah was unaware of Uther's softer side. Kilgharrah also thought it was hilarious when Uther married a troll.
However, after Uther had died, Kilgharrah didn't waste a word on the death of his arch-enemy he wanted to get rid of for so long. Despite the fact that he had advised Merlin to let Uther die several times and despite his hatred for him, Kilgharrah remained completely silent about Uther's death as if he had forgotten about what he had desired for more than twenty years.
Kilgharrah only met Lancelot once but had already foreseen his destiny and told him that he was destined to be one of the greatest and most noble knights Camelot had ever known. It's likely Kilgharrah shows great respect to him.
Kilgharrah hadn't seen Aithusa before Merlin hatched her, however, Aithusa is the reason why Kilgharrah is not the last dragon in the world. Kilgharrah was very grateful to Merlin when he received the egg from The Tomb of Ashkanar. It's possible, as alluded to by the latest events of Aithusa saving Morgana, that Aithusa's loyalty towards Kilgharrah (and Merlin) has changed, although Kilgharrah reported nothing to Merlin a few days before this event. However, at the time he may not have known about Aithusa's possibly purposeful betrayal of him and alliance to Morgana.
It has been confirmed that three years after Aithusa's betrayal after she saved Morgana from death, Kilgharrah will not be the same dragon he used to be, due to his ward's betrayal.
Kilgharrah has not met Mordred, although he has already foreseen his future. Kilgharrah warned Merlin not to save Mordred due to the fact that he's destined to murder Arthur. Like Morgana, Mordred is most likely the most-hated antagonist on Kilgharrah's list.
Kilgharrah is tremendously powerful, and is perhaps the strongest magical creature in the series with the possible exceptions of Merlin and the Cailleach. Like all members of his kind, he can breathe fire, usually using this ability as an attack, but on one occasion he used his fire to enhance the power of a weapon forged for Arthur. Kilgharrah also appeared to be immune to the powers of even a powerful sorcerer such as Merlin, not even flinching when Merlin hurled an enchanted spear at him; the weapon simply bounced off his scales. Kilgharrah is also very graceful for such a massive creature and is far more agile than he appeared able to easily evade numerous arrows while attacking Camelot even when they were fired at the same time. Additionally he is able to defeat a whole group of knights, including Arthur, with very little effort, though Arthur managed to inflict a wound on the Dragon before being knocked unconscious.
In addition to being virtually unbeatable in combat, Kilgharrah can transmit his thoughts into the minds of others, which he used to provide Merlin with a way of defeating Cornelius Sigan and to give him the spell he needed to heal Morgana. He is also capable of communicating with people telepathically and is the only being in Camelot apart from Merlin and Morgana who is able to hear Mordred speaking telepathically. Kilgharrah is also immune to the powerful sleeping spell that Morgause placed on Camelot. Kilgharrah also had healing powers as he saved Merlin's life when he was stung by a Serket and was also able to free Merlin from his chains. However Kilgharrah was unable to free himself while he was a prisoner of Uther but considering he gave Merlin specific instructions on how to free him, his chains must have been full of magic (this is evidence of Uther Pendragon’s hypocritical nature).
Kilgharrah is capable of foreseeing the future, frequently speaking to Merlin about the destiny he and Arthur shared, as well as foreseeing that Morgana would turn evil and that Mordred would put Arthur in mortal danger. Additionally Kilgharrah possessed more knowledge of magic than anyone else alive, which came through over a thousand years of experience.
However despite his power, Kilgharrah is, like all Dragons, powerless to resist or disobey the call of a Dragonlord, requiring him to obey all orders he receives from a Dragonlord regardless of his opinion or desires, although he can still disagree with a Dragonlord's command, but he cannot directly refuse a request.
- Series 1
- The Dragon's Call
- The Mark of Nimueh
- A Remedy to Cure All Ills
- The Beginning of the End
- To Kill the King
- Le Morte d'Arthur
- Series 2
- The Curse of Cornelius Sigan
- The Nightmare Begins
- Beauty and the Beast: Part Two
- The Witchfinder
- Sweet Dreams
- The Witch's Quickening
- The Fires of Idirsholas
- The Last Dragonlord
- Series 3
- The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part One (cameo)
- The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part Two
- The Crystal Cave
- The Sorcerer's Shadow
- The Coming of Arthur: Part Two
- Series 4
- The Darkest Hour: Part Two
- The Sword in the Stone: Part Two
- Series 5
- Arthur's Bane: Part One
- The Disir
- The Kindness of Strangers
- The Diamond of the Day: Part Two
- The Great Dragon is computer generated but is voiced by English actor, John Hurt.
- Kilgharrah has yellow eyes, and they look exactly like the eyes of a sorcerer when they are using magic. This could be because he is a creature of magic. However Aithusa, also a creature of magic, has blue eyes.
- The Dragon's face is done using motion capture technology. John Hurt's facial movements are used to create that of Kilgharrah's while recording his lines for the show.
- John Hurt is credited in all the episodes, even though Kigharrah's role and appearances becomes less frequent after his freedom. This is probably because each episode always starts with Kilgharrah's voice saying "In a land of myth and a time of magic the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy/man. His name...Merlin."
|Series 1 Enemies|
|The Dragon's Call: Mary Collins † • Lady Helen (indirect) † |
Valiant: Valiant † • Devlin • Serpent Shield
The Mark of Nimueh: Nimueh † • Afanc †
The Poisoned Chalice: Nimueh † • Balorian Spiders • Cockatrice
A Remedy to Cure All Ills: Edwin Muirden † • Elanthia Beetles
The Gates of Avalon: Sophia † • Aulfric † • Sidhe elder
The Beginning of the End: Uther Pendragon †
Excalibur: Nimueh † • Tristan de Bois †
The Moment of Truth: Kanen
The Labyrinth of Gedref: Arthur Pendragon (indirect) †
To Kill the King: Tauren • Morgana † • Uther Pendragon †
Le Morte d'Arthur: Nimueh † • Questing Beast • Kilgharrah
|Series 2 Enemies|
|The Curse of Cornelius Sigan: Cedric † • Cornelius Sigan † • Living Gargoyles|
The Once and Future Queen: King Odin • Myror
The Nightmare Begins: Serkets • Uther Pendragon †
Lancelot and Guinevere: Kendrick • Hengist • Wilddeoren
Beauty and the Beast: Troll † • Lady Catrina (indirect) † • Jonas • Uther Pendragon (indirect) †
The Witchfinder: Aredian • Uther Pendragon †
The Sins of the Father: Morgause † • King Odin • Uther Pendragon †
The Lady of the Lake: Halig • Freya (indirect) †
Sweet Dreams: King Alined • Trickler • Lady Vivian (indirect) • King Olaf
The Witch's Quickening: Alvarr • Morgana † • Mordred † • Enmyria • Kilgharrah
The Fires of Idirsholas: Morgause † • Morgana † • Knights of Medhir • Kilgharrah
The Last Dragonlord: Kilgharrah • Asgerd