Kilgharrah, (also known as The Great Dragon), is a mighty Dragon who was imprisoned and chained in a cave beneath Camelot by Uther Pendragon at the conclusion of the Great Purge for twenty-two years. He is over a thousand years old and serves as a mentor to the sorcerer, Merlin, telling the young warlock of his destiny to protect Arthur Pendragon and help him to reunite the land of Albion. When Merlin unchained him he went on a wrath, seeking revenge on Uther, but Merlin obtained dragonlord powers from his father. From then on Kilgharrah assisted Merlin but helping him whilst in trouble and giving him crucial advice and powers.
Kilgharrah once claimed that he had lived for over a thousand years, and because of that very little is known about his history. However it is a fact that near the conclusion of Uther Pendragon's purge of magic, the King of Camelot approached a Dragonlord named Balinor and asked him to bring Kilgharrah, the last dragon, to him so he could make peace with it. But after Balinor did so, Uther had the Dragon imprisoned to serve as an example of what happens to those who are magical. All dragonlords were rounded up and slaughtered, although Balinor, with Gaius' and possibly Kilgharrah's help, managed to escape.
Prisoner and MentorKilgharrah was imprisoned and chained in a cave beneath Camelot. During the final year of his imprisonment, Balinor's son Merlin arrived in Camelot. After saving Arthur's life from an assassination attempt, Merlin became the manservant of the Prince of Camelot and Uther's son, Arthur Pendragon. The Dragon called to Merlin and told him of his destiny to help Arthur unite Albion and return magic to the land.
Kilgharrah gave Merlin advice on how to solve many challenging problems and also directly helped him at times. The Dragon also usually spoke through riddles, allowing Merlin to figure out their meaning, much to Merlin's annoyance. However, Merlin did not always do as the Dragon advised. For example, he decided to save the druid boy Mordred despite the Dragon saying he would eventually kill Arthur. He also decided to help save Uther when he overheard Morgana conspiring to kill him, despite the Dragon's advice to let him be killed.
Kilgharrah appears to possess foresight, evidenced by his claims regarding Arthur's destiny, and his prophecies concerning Mordred's role in Arthur's future (The Beginning of the End). When Arthur's dead uncle was resurrected as a wraith, the Dragon aided in the creation of a sword capable of destroying the dead as well as Tristan.
Merlin and Kilgharrah also had a major falling out during the time Arthur was dying from a Questing Beast's bite. In order to save Arthur's life, Merlin was told by the Dragon that he had to go the the Isle of the Blessed and accept the price that was asked of him. Merlin discovered that this price meant that another person would have to die in Arthur's place. Merlin agreed to sacrifice his own life, but Nimueh, an Old Religion high priestess, took his mother's instead. Merlin then went to Kilgharrah and accused him of tricking him. The Great Dragon agreed with this, telling him it is Merlin's destiny to protect Arthur until he claims his throne, at which time the Old Religion will be allowed to resurface and he would be free. Realizing that was all Kilgharrah cared about, Merlin swore he would never allow him to be free. Enraged, the Dragon tried to kill him, but Merlin conjured a shield and escaped.
Despite Merlin's vow to never return to him, he had to return for Kilgharrah's advice to know how to kill Cornelius Sigan. The Dragon forced Merlin to promise to free him some day in return for this advice. With no other option, Merlin unwillingly obliged, which was a decision he would come to regret.Merlin sought the Dragon again when the Lady Morgana's magic began to reveal itself and she became terrified. Merlin wanted to know where the Druids were so Morgana could seek their help. But Kilgharrah said it would be best if Morgana, who he confirmed as a witch, never knew the full extent of her powers, and refused to aid Merlin if he was planning to aid her. Despite the Dragon reminding Merlin of the consequences of his ignoring his advice in the past, Merlin elegantly chose to help Morgana.
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.
Later, Merlin used magic for his own recreation, which a villager witnessed, though she didn't know he had done it. 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 that he was a sorcerer.
Merlin went to Kilgharrah for advice on how to help Gaius. At first, the Dragon rebuked him for wanting to reveal himself, saying Aredian would simply kill him along with Gaius. When he saw how distressed Merlin was, Kilgharrah felt genuinely sorry for him and informed Merlin that he couldn't help him because he didn't know how to. Merlin later exposed Aredian's treachery and framed him for sorcery, which resulted in the witchfinder's death and Gaius' freedom.
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 asked the Dragon about a crystal that Morgana had stolen. Kilgharrah said the crystal only works for those who can use its power, but for those who can it can tell the future. He then told Merlin why he had warned him about Mordred and Morgana: prophecy speaks of an evil alliance between them. Sometime later, Merlin got his hands on the crystal and saw a future where Kilgharrah attacked Camelot once he was free. Merlin was now torn between upholding his promise and protecting Camelot.
Merlin, despite his vision of the future, later fulfilled his oath to the Great Dragon and used a sword stolen from one of the Knights of Medhir to free him. This, however, would have dire consequences for Camelot. Kilgharrah, full of rage, attacked the kingdom (The Fires of Idirsholas).dragonlord so the Great Dragon could be defeated before he destroyed Camelot. Merlin found Balinor, a dragonlord who was also his father. After being ambushed by a bunch of knights, Balinor was killed after sacrificing himself for his son. Shortly before his death, Balinor said the powers of dragonlords were passed on genetically from father to son, and therefore Merlin now had the power to command Kilgharrah. Merlin managed to stop Kilgharrah in his tracks after he attacked Arthur and his men, but showed mercy by banishing him from Camelot forever. Kilgharrah commented that Merlin's attitude towards him was a sign of the man he would one day become and, before departing, told Merlin he was sure their paths would cross again (The Last Dragonlord). A year later, when Morgause and Morgana discovered that Merlin had discovered their plans to take over Camelot, he was chained up by Morgause's magic and was then left on his own surrounded by Serkets. He tried to break his chains and fend off the Serkets using magic but failed and was stung by a Serket. After his warlock magic failed, Merlin resorted to using the power of the dragonlords and called on Kilgharrah, who came to his rescue and fended off the Serkets with his fiery breath. The Dragon then flew away carrying Merlin. After rescuing the young dragonlord, he told Merlin that the battle for Camelot was about to begin. Kilgharrah flew Merlin back to Camelot so that he could attempt to thwart Morgana, Morgause and King Cenred (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Merlin later called Kilgharrah to find a way to heal Morgana after she was seriously injured from falling down a flight of stairs. Kilgharrah advised him to rejoice since her death would prevent the future he had forseen she would have with Mordred, and it would mean she was unable to kill Uther. Kilgharrah also revealed that he knew Morgana was Uther's daughter, though how he learned this is unknown. Merlin first begged him and then commanded him to give him a way to save Morgana. Kilgharrah felt that Merlin was abusing his power as a Dragonlord and told him so but he had no choice but to help the young warlock (The Crystal Cave).After being faced with the problem of his new friend Gilli having to face Uther in the tournament, again Merlin called the dragon, to ask for this advice on the subject, knowing that only another creature of magic would understand. The dragon acted calm, but was at first unwilling to help, as Merlin had ignored his advice in their last encounter and outruled him. After Merlin apologised, he listened, and gave advice, on the matter, explaining that if Gilli used magic to kill Uther, then the future where magic was allowed would not come as Arthur's views would see it as evil permanently. He said he was sorry he could offer no more helpful words, but made the point that Uther must not be killed by sorcery clear (The Sorcerer's Shadow). Kilgharrah returned again after Morgana and Morgause took over Camelot, carrying Merlin to the Lake of Avalon so that he could fetch Excalibur (The Coming of Arthur).
He also heeded Merlin's call for help when the warlock was being pursued by Dorocha and drove them away. He then warned Merlin and Lancelot that the veil between the worlds had to be repaired, and when he discovered Merlin's intentions, he pleaded with him not to sacrifice himself (The Darkest Hour).
When Merlin learned of the existence of another dragon egg in a lost tomb, he resolved to go after the egg in memory of his father's sacrifices to ensure Kilgharrah's survival. Having recovered the egg, Merlin summoned it into existence by naming the unborn dragon Aithusa, Kilgharrah noting that the resulting white dragon which was a rare breed even when the dragons were numerous, as well as being named after the light of the sun in the dragon tongue reflected the new dawn that Merlin and Arthur would create together (Aithusa).
Kigharrah later returned when Morgana overthrew Camelot again. Merlin commanded him to fend off Agravaine and his men when they pursued him and Arthur. Kilgharrah succeeded in driving them away and when Merlin told him that Arthur lost his conviction as king, Kilgharrah told him that he alone could restore Arthur's faith. Merlin took Kilgharrah's advice and restored Arthur's faith by making him wield Excalibur and later overthrow Morgana once more (The Sword in the Stone).
Kilgharrah acted as a mentor to Merlin and is very wise, though he tended to speak in riddles which sometimes irritated Merlin. More often than not, Kilgharrah left Merlin with more questions than answers. The Dragon possessed great knowledge of the future and Merlin found his advice useful, though he didn't always follow it. Kilgharrah's knowledge and wisdom allowed him to find a solution to almost any problem and one of the few exceptions was when he was unable to help Merlin save Gaius because that problem could not be solved by his knowledge of magic.Eventually Kilgharrah revealed to Merlin that one of he`s reasons for helping him in order to gain his freedom. Although the Dragon could be selfish at times, he was capable of thinking about others and felt genuinely sorry for Merlin when he told him he would be unable to help him save Gaius. Merlin once considered Kilgharrah a friend but became less trusting after the Dragon revealed one of he`s true intentions. However, Balinor claimed that they were spiritual brothers due to Merlin's heritage as a Dragonlord and the two of them became friends again.
Kilgharrah is a vengeful creature and had a tendency to hold grudges. He attacked Camelot after Merlin set him free, killing innocent people in the process, in order to take revenge for his imprisonment and the near extinction of his kind. However he was grateful to Merlin for showing him mercy when he could have killed him and believed that their paths would cross again, which was true. He was angry when Merlin abused his power as a Dragonlord and was still resentful when Merlin called him to help a boy named Gilli.
Kilgharrah is also judgemental at times. The great dragon never doubted that Morgana and Mordred would turn to evil, mainly because he knows of old prophecies foretelling this. But it has been shown that not all prophecies come true, and that when they do it's mostly because people make them come true. He also had a sense of pride and seemed slightly outraged when Merlin asked him for a ride telling him that he was not a horse.Kilgharrah also possessed a sense of humour but he usually displayed this humour at inappropriate times. For example when Merlin told him that Uther Pendragon's new wife was a troll Kilgharrah went into a fit of laughter while Merlin couldn't see the funny side of it. He also laughed about Morgana when Merlin told him that she had stolen an important crystal. Despite Merlin's protests, Kilgharrah frequently called Morgana a witch. At one point during the episode involving the Knights of Medhir, Kilgharrah pretended to be asleep like the other people of Camelot, however this was a nasty joke and it was because Merlin hadn't set him free, which led to him denying to help the young warlock.
MerlinKilgharrah was the one who informed Merlin of his destiny. Whenever Merlin was 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 off Kilgharrah.
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, 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 didn't 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 the king banned magic and killed almost all of 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 adviced 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 use to be due to his ward's betrayal.
Kilgharrah hasn't 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 was perhaps the strongest magical creature in the series with the possible exceptions of Merlin and the Cailleach. Like all members of his kind, he is able to 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 was 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 was able to 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 voice his thoughts on a situation if he disagrees with the Dragonlord's commands even if he cannot directly refuse.
- 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
- 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