Kilgharrah, better known as 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 over 20 years. He is said to be more than a thousand years old. He was Merlin's mentor, friend, and spiritual brother. When Kilgharrah meets Merlin, he tells him of the prophecy regarding his hand in uniting the land of Albion with Uther's son, Arthur Pendragon, the once and future king. Kilgharrah acted as a magical guide where Gaius' counsel would fail. Merlin later reluctantly repaid this great debt by freeing Kilgharrah when he had to acquit himself of a promise, being aware of the very possibility that Kilgharrah will seek revenge and attack Camelot. The dragon then turned on Camelot in a fit of vengeance, seeking Uther's demise. He was eventually calmed by Merlin, who had taken on the powers of a Dragonlord and was about to kill him. However, though Merlin spared but banished Kilgharrah, the Great Dragon continued to aid Merlin during his adventures, and played an essential role in the events that led to the Battle of Camlann. After the battle was over and Morgana was defeated, Kilgharrah bid farewell to Merlin.
Although not much has been said about Kilgharrah's early life or most of his history, he once revealed he had lived for more than a thousand years, having seen many things, including civilizations rise and fall. He most likely stayed among his fellow dragons somewhere in the realm of Camelot.
One day, when the then King of Camelot, Uther Pendragon, was nearing the concluding part of his purge against magic, it is said that a dragonlord named Balinor was asked by Uther himself to summon Kilgharrah, who at the time was the last dragon in existence, to Camelot so that he could be able to make peace with him. But both he and Balinor were betrayed. Instead of killing the Great Dragon, 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. Kilgharrah was imprisoned by being chained in the cave underneath Camelot and had little contact with others for over 20 years. Until his final 2 years of imprisonment, there was not much hope that he would ever be set free until Merlin.
One day, a young warlock boy named Merlin, went to stay in Camelot. While the boy slept, Kilgharrah's voice was heard by him again and again several times, as the Dragon said his name, until one night, Merlin followed the source of the voices to the cave and met the Great Dragon for the first time. The dragon explained to Merlin there is a prophecy that speaks of his shared destiny with Prince Arthur Pendragon, the "once and future king". He says that Arthur will bring the land of Albion together, but he will face a number of threats, both from enemies and allies alike. Though Merlin does not seem pleased, as he does not think much of Arthur whom he names arrogant and an idiot, Kilgharrah says that he must ensure that peace will happen under Arthur's reign because Arthur will not be able to succeed and unite Albion without Merlin. In the end, Merlin accepts his destiny and was the start of a long friendship which would blossom between Kilgharrah and Merlin, who would seek the great dragon's help at times (The Dragon's Call).
Merlin would seek Kilgharrah's help many times while attempting to fulfill 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 forged a sword in his dragon's breath Excalibur which was meant to be wielded by Arthur only in order to kill the undead Tristan de Bois, and later on in the series, when he would fly to save Merlin and his friends 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 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.
One of the first times which Merlin would seek the Dragon's help 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. Merlin again disbelieves that, saying Arthur now hates him, but the dragon says that one person cannot really hate the half that makes them whole. Annoyed by the Dragon's riddles, the Dragon then said to Merlin that his and Arthur's paths intertwined together is the truth and that it is the beginning rather than the end. Merlin then realizes that he must use magic to make the truth be seen (Valiant).
The Mark of Nimueh
When a disease spreads through the waters in Camelot because of the sorcery of the Priestess Nimueh, Merlin sought the great dragons help again in order to defeat an Afanc poisoning the water supplies. He told Merlin that he cannot fight the Afanc on his own and, through a riddle, to use the elements around him. Still confused on what to do, Kilgharrah tells Merlin that he and Arthur are opposite sides of a coin. In the end, Merlin managed to save Camelot (The Mark of Nimueh).
Gaius is troubled when a new physician arrives in Camelot--a man who attempts to get him sacked. Gaius suspects that the stranger has ulterior motives and believes that he means to kill the King. Consequently, Gaius approaches the great dragon to seek his help. After speaking of their changes of one another, Gaius asks Kilgharrah whether he should stand idly by and let the king die or do something to prevent it. The dragon simply tells him that Merlin is destined to unite all Albion alongside Arthur but that this will not happen until Uther has died. Having acknowledged that the Dragon knows about Merlin and his powers and destiny, Gaius asks whether the time is now, but the dragon will not commit himself. All he says to Gaius is that it is his choice and that if he can't choose between the two, he should turn a blind eye, which is his talent, and let destiny unfold as it will (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 constantly names Merlin something he has never heard before: Emrys. Merlin does not understand how the boy knows who he is, having never met a druid before, so he asks the Great Dragon about the name. Kilgharrah surprises Merlin at first and then tells Merlin that he knows about the druid boy because like Merlin, the dragon can also hear him speak. As far as the name Emrys goes, Kilgharrah simply replied that, in addition to Merlin and Emrys, the young warlock has many names and that much about him is written that even Merlin himself has not yet read. However, Kilgharrah also tells Merlin that he should not try and help the boy, but does not give a reason why, only that despite their magical similarities, Merlin and Mordred are as opposite from each other as night is from day and that Merlin must trust the word of the great dragon. When Merlin goes back to the cave to demand an answer, the dragon tells him that letting the boy live will be the reason Merlin's 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 as a Wraith to take revenge on both Uther and Arthur for their part in the death of his sister, Ygraine, Merlin needs to a find a way to slay the undead, after finding out that any mortal weapon and even his magic is no good against the Wraith. 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 her father's sharpest sword, which he then takes to the Great Dragon Kilgharrah, whom he asks to forge the sword with his dragon breath. The great dragon warns Merlin that the sword will possess great power and it must not fall into the wrong hands, for it could also cause great evil; therefore, he must also make sure the sword is only ever used by Arthur and him alone. After Merlin not only understands but promises to do so, Kilgharrah unleashed his Dragon's breath on the sword and Excalibur is born, with the dragon once again reminding Merlin that the sword was made only for Arthur and him alone. Later, after the Wraith is defeated, 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 glad to know that the sword worked and that Arthur is still living, but 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 with a responsibility as great as the sword. He then tells Merlin to take the word far away from the Kingdom and put it in a place where no-one will ever find it. (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'Arthur
When Arthur is mortally wounded by the bite of the Questing Beast, Gaius says to a desperate Merlin that there is no magic, let alone a curse, that is able to save to him. Merlin then sought the help of the Great Dragon. Believing he had failed Arthur, Kilgharrah tells Merlin that if he was right, the young warlock wouldn't have come to him. Merlin knows that Arthur, albeit just breathing, is going to die because of the Questing Beasts' bite, but the Great Dragon tells the young warlock that he can be saved, but it will be a difficult task. Merlin, begging the Dragon to tell him what to do, says that he will do anything to save Arthur. Accepting the warlock's response, Kilgharrah tells Merlin that the only way to spare Arthur now would be to use the same ancient magic of the Old Religion, since the Questing Beast was created it. Though Merlin believe that the Old Religion died out many years ago, Kilgharrah says that it is not possible as the Old Religion is the magic of the very planet itself. He then tells Merlin that there are some who still serve it and that he must 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 the the Sorceress Nimueh 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. Merlin goes to the great dragon upset and angry. He shouts that Kilgharrah had tricked and lied to him. He accused him of being the reason his mother and guardian nearly died. The great dragon tells Merlin that 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 cared 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 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 who tries to take control of Camelot, Gaius tells Merlin that only the great dragon, being the only one who is old enough to tell him how to defeat Sigan, can help them. Merlin is reluctant to seek the dragon's help--partially because he does not trust the dragon, who cares only about himself, and because he had promised that he would never seek the creature's help again. In the end, Merlin realises that he has no choice and needs Kilgarrahs help and must go to him, no matter what. At first Kilgharrah questions his loyalty, then reluctantly decides to help but makes Merlin promise him something--that in exchange for his help, Merlin will one day set him free. Merlin has no choice but to accept the terms, whereupon the great dragon gives him the spell, which is more powerful than any he already knows and will defeat Sigan. Before Merlin can leave, Kilgharrah tells Merlin to wisely use the knowledge granted to him and also reminds Merlin that he made a promise and will, one day, keep him to it (The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).
Refusing to Help
One time, Merlin went to the great dragon to seek help on finding a druid camp which Mordred was a part of. Merlin 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 and abandon her, based on her being like him, a person with magic. Kilgharrah 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 and says he must help Morgana alone (The Nightmare Begins).
Much 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 Kilgharrah 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 apologizes to Merlin. He tells him that in order to break the spell, despite the magic of a troll being very powerful, Merlin will need to make Uther remorsefully cry but he says this is a difficult task, as he describes Uther having a stone-cold heart and never been sorry for anything. 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, saying his help is not without condition (Beauty and the Beast: Part Two).
Gaius' Impending DeathWhen 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 calls him selfish but Kilgharrah realises Merlin's distress and strongly advises against Merlin's idea to turn himself in to save Gaius since the only consequence would be the death of them both. He tells Merlin that he does not know how to help and Merlin alone must find a way, otherwise Gaius is already doomed. He apologises and Merlin departs (The Witchfinder).
Arthur's Unwilling LoveMerlin goes to the Great Dragon for help on how to break a love spell when Prince Arthur is made to fall in love with Vivienne, the daughter of King Olaf during a peace treaty signing with the Five Kingdoms. Due to King Olaf's extreme protection of his daughter, a love affair would jeopardize the success of the peace treaty. When Olaf finds out, and Arthur foolishly agrees to fight to the death, the Great Dragon tells Merlin that only a kiss from Arthur's true love would save him (Sweet Dreams).
Morgana and MordredWhen Merlin seeks advice from the Great Dragon, Kilgharrah denies his help and reminds Merlin of his promise to release him from the chains. Merlin tells him that he will only keep his promise when Camelot is safe. Bound by this, the Great Dragon asks Merlin why he came. Merlin informs him that Morgana has stolen the Crystal of Neahtid but Kilgharrah laughs and explains that Morgana is too weak to use such a powerful tool. But when he hears from Merlin that Morgana has not been working alone but receives the help of the druid boy, Mordred, he starts to worry and demands that Merlin gets the crystal, unaware of the fact that Merlin saw an image of Kilgharrah attacking Camelot in the near future. Worried, Merlin ignores the great dragon's screams to release him, troubled whether to keep his promise and release the dragon or to ignore him and break his promise to ensure nothing bad will happen to Camelot once Kilgharrah is free. (The Witch's Quickening).
Morgana's Attack on CamelotThe 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, vowing on his mothers life. Merlin 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 casting a sleeping spell on everyone is one thing but maintaining that power for an extended period of time is another. He also says 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. Kilgharrah says that Merlin must destroy the source of the spell, and in order to do that, he must kill Morgana. And if he does not, Albion will never come to be.
Later that night, Merlin returned with good news; Camelot was safe and Morgana was missing presumed dead. He also returned with a stolen sword from the Knights of Medhir 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 as he flies away through the cave to his freedom (The Fires of Idirsholas).
Turning on Camelot
However, the Great Dragon did not use his freedom for good, and he turned on Camelot and all its people. He attacked the towns and citadel, harming the people, many of whom were killed or hurt, such as Arthur in 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. Balinor was in hiding amongst another kingdom's realm after his attempts to beg and reason for the use of magic had failed, leading to him being hunted for by Uther's men. Along the way home, after finding Balinor, (who turned out to be Merlin's long lost father), they were ambushed and Balinor died. Since the magic is passed from father to son, Balinor's death made Merlin the last Dragonlord. Merlin and Arthur return to Camelot where Merlin surprises the Great Dragon with his newfound magic. Instead of harming or killing him, Merlin told the Great Dragon that he is banished from Camelot forever.
Now in his debt, the Great Dragon tells 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. Then, with one last bid, the Great Dragon flies away (The Last Dragonlord).
Saving MerlinA year passes whereby little is known about what Kilgharrah 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 dragonlord magic to summon 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, the Great Dragon told Merlin about the similarities between him and Morgana and 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 he 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 a few years 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 reminded him that this sword could unleash great evil if in the wrong hands and told him that once the sword's duty was finished, he must then hide sword where no one could wield it 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 also meet the knight, Lancelot. He also named Lancelot as the most bravest knight of them all and that the Dorocha must return to the Spirit World. When Merlin and Lancelot told Kilgharrah that they were heading to the Isle of the Blessed to aid Arthur in repairing the veil between the two world, the Great Dragon told them he knew and asked them for what price. Merlin mistakenly says that the Spirit World demands a sacrifice, Kilgharrah reminds him that he's wrong. Because rather than the Spirit World, it is the Cailleach that asks for a price. Merlin then said he intends to repair the veil between the two worlds by walking to his own death and Kilgharrah begged him not too. However, Merlin replies saying there is no other choice. Before bidding his farewell and flying away, Kilgharrah says that the world will be empty without him and that he also sees what he described as invisible the moment he met Merlin. Merlin says that a majority of what the Dragon sees is what the young warlock learned from him. (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, the Tomb of Ashkanar, and is being sought by Julius Borden, a man who would harm him. The dragon asks Merlin to get the egg and save the new dragon, but Merlin is troubled by Gaius forbidding it. Sounding somewhat annoyed, Kilgharrah reminds Merlin that he is a Dragonlord, a gift given to him by his late father, whom Kilgharrah says gave up all in his life to save the Great Dragon. The Dragon, recognizing that the egg carries the last of the Dragons, Kilgharrah begs Merlin to do all in his power to rescue the egg and Merlin promises to. Merlin keeps to his promise and rescues the egg, bringing the dragon to Kilgharrah, who is happy that he is no longer the last of his kind. Using his Dragonlord Magic, 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 dragons were huge in number, and comments the name meant the light of the sun to dragons, reflecting a new dawn of the land in which Merlin and Arthur would create together (Aithusa).
Rescuing Merlin and His Friends
While Merlin was fleeing with Arthur, Gwen, Tristan and Isolde, 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. He also assisted Merlin in finding the people that escaped Camelot, who watched as Arthur pulled Excalibur from a rock (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 are giving Arthur the chance to change his path by either choosing to allow magic back to Camelot and be saved or being doomed, should he not comply to the Old Religion's demands. Merlin finds himself in a dilemma since Arthur's decision would also decide the fate of Mordred who was fatally wounded by the Disir. Since Mordred is supposed to be Arthur's doom, Merlin summons Kilgharrah to ask for his advice. The dragon tells Merlin that the Disir speak for the Triple Goddess, the one to make the foretold prophecy of Arthur's death come to pass. Kilgharrah tells Merlin that there are many possible ways to choose, many which will bring hope. However, he warns Merlin to not save Mordred but to take the next chance to let him die in order to stop the prophecy of Arthur's death to come true. (The Disir).
Injury and Age
Merlin calls Kilgharrah when he suffers from a near fatal arrow wound atop a watch tower. Kilgharrah brings him to safety, casting a healing spell and lets him rest in a forest clearing. When Merlin wakes up, he finds the dragon's wing having been wounded. Kilgharrah, while still willing to aid Merlin as long as he has the strength to do so, tells Merlin that he is just tired. Worried if he is injured or ill, Merlin attempts to heal him, but Kilgharrah refuses, telling the young warlock that there were some things that even someone like him would not be able to stop. He then explains to Merlin that he is old and that his passing is only a matter of time. Merlin questions him on this, wanting to know whether or not he will ever see him again, but the dragon does not answer him. He turns around and flies away, with his visible wound causing him difficulties. (The Kindness of Strangers).
Kilgharrah comes to Merlin's aid one last time when he was summoned by him, only to find Arthur dead and Merlin being distraught, still hoping he would be able to get to the Lake of Avalon and the king would be saved. The Great Dragon flies them to the lake, but Kigharrah tells Merlin there was nothing for him to do, as Arthur had already died. Assuring that Merlin did not fail and that all they had both hoped had come to past, the Great Dragon also reminds Merlin that Arthur is "the Once and Future King" and claims that he will rise again one day when Albion is at its most needed. Before leaving for good, Kilgharrah tells Merlin that it was a privilege to know him and that the story they both have been in will last long in the minds of mankind. Kilgharrah then flies away (The Diamond of the Day: Part Two).
Kilgharrah is very wise, old and knowledgeable, and he often speaks in riddles to the annoyance of those he is helping; namely Merlin, who normally leaves with more questions than he arrives with. Kilgharrah knows many prophecies, foretellings and a lot to do with magic. Due to his wisdom he is able to find a solution to most problems concerning magic. He is highly intelligent, but can be bigoted and ruthless because of his superior intellect.
But he can also be quite selfish at times. One example is when Kilgharrah tells Merlin that his biggest reason for helping him earlier on in the series is because he is hoping to regain his freedom, regardless of the consequences. However, he also is able to feel sympathy, for example when he felt sorry for Merlin when he was unable to help him save Gaius. Although Merlin does not find him very trustworthy after this, they are still friends and later spiritual brothers when Merlin becomes the Last Dragonlord.
Kilgharrah is able to hold terrible grudges against others. Although he has good personal reasons to turn on Camelot, he does not care that innocent people died in his bid to hurt Uther and Camelot, mainly due to his suffering at being the last of his kind. But he also knows when to be grateful, and finds himself in Merlin's debt when the young warlock shows him mercy in his bid to stop him, banishing him instead of causing his death. He finds himself angry many times, when Merlin either ignores him or abuses his powers as a Dragonlord when he does not wish to help. He is able to be resentful about many things, particularly when he is ignored. He is also often judgmental, as he does not doubt for a second that Morgana and Mordred will bring about Arthur's downfall, since he knows most prophecies are true. He also will not realise that sometimes, when he told Merlin or others about a prophecy, more often than not what he foresees will happen because he tells others who, in their bid to stop the prophecy, actually cause the prophecy to come true.
He is also a proud creature, and does not seem happy when Merlin asks him to fly him to his destination; telling Merlin he is not a horse. He also has a good sense of humor, despite his mainly serious demeanour. One of these times is when he finds out that Uther had married a troll (under a spell) which makes 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 fulfill 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 rescued the egg from The Tomb of Ashkanar.
He did not seem to have any guardianship of the young white dragon, as Aithusa was seen, still quite small, flying around unaccompanied when she saved Morgana.
It is unknown what Kilgharrah's feelings about Aithusa joining forces with Morgana were, or if he even knew she was imprisoned with the High Priestess for two years, as he never mentions the white dragon again to Merlin after her hatching in season four.
Kilgharrah appeared to have been wrong regarding Aithusa being a good omen for Arthur; as he was also, apparently, mistaken about her gender, calling her a "he" when speaking of her meaning for Camelot's future to Merlin.
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
- Kilgharrah 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, who is also a creature of magic, has blue eyes.
- Kilgharrah'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.
- The chain securing Kilgharrah that Merlin cuts is a length of ships' studded anchor chain.
- Kilgharrah is similar to Smaug from The Hobbit film series in appearance, but Kilgharrah is good rather than evil.
- The only episode where he serves as the main antagonist was The Last Dragonlord, where he turned against Camelot because his race had become nearly extinct as a result of the Great Purge. Merlin managed to calm him down and convince him not to avenge the deaths caused by Uther Pendragon; many people aside from Kilgharrah who held a terrible grudge against Uther could not be convinced to do the same.
|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