Merlin (also called Emrys) is the hero and protagonist of the series. He is a warlock, the last Dragonlord in existence, the only son of Hunith and Balinor, Gaius's ward and apprentice, and the best friend and manservant of the late King Arthur. He is also a creature of the Old Religion.
After leaving his childhood home for Camelot, Merlin became the manservant of Prince Arthur. From then on, Merlin began to protect and guide Arthur on his journey to the throne; according to the Great Dragon, it was his destiny to do so. Merlin was also destined to become the greatest and most powerful sorcerer to ever live; to use his powers to free people of magic and unite the Old Ways with the new; and to help Arthur reunite the kingdoms of the land into Albion and create an era of peace and prosperity.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Finding a Purpose
- 1.3 Early Adventures
- 1.4 Difficult Decisions
- 1.5 A Life For A Life
- 1.6 Cornelius Sigan's Return
- 1.7 Arthur Incognito
- 1.8 Helping Morgana
- 1.9 Rescuing Gwen
- 1.10 Troll Queen
- 1.11 The Witchfinder
- 1.12 Enter Morgause
- 1.13 Falling in Love
- 1.14 Arthur Enchanted
- 1.15 Morgana's Fall
- 1.16 The Last Dragonlord
- 1.17 Morgana's Return
- 1.18 Releasing the Goblin
- 1.19 Meeting Gwaine
- 1.20 The Crystal Cave
- 1.21 The Changeling
- 1.22 Rescuing Elyan
- 1.23 Quest to the Perilous Land
- 1.24 Alice and the Manticore
- 1.25 A Prophecy Come True
- 1.26 Guiding a Sorcerer
- 1.27 Morgana's First Conquest of Camelot
- 1.28 The Darkest Hour
- 1.29 The Once and Future King
- 1.30 Quest For The Dragon Egg
- 1.31 War With Caerleon
- 1.32 Under Morgana's Control
- 1.33 Rescuing Gaius
- 1.34 Lamia
- 1.35 Lancelot's Return and Guinevere's Exile
- 1.36 Elyan Possessed
- 1.37 The Hunter's Heart
- 1.38 Morgana's Second Conquest of Camelot
- 1.39 Arthur's Bane
- 1.40 The Return of Uther
- 1.41 Rescuing King Rodor
- 1.42 The Choice
- 1.43 The Dark Tower
- 1.44 Gwen's Betrayal
- 1.45 Led Into a Trap
- 1.46 Restoring Guinevere
- 1.47 Journey With Finna
- 1.48 Mordred's Betrayal
- 1.49 Losing His Magic
- 1.50 Revealing His Magic
- 2 Personality
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Abilities
- 5 Beliefs in the Old Religion
- 6 In the Legend
- 7 Name
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Memorable Quotes
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
Merlin was born to Hunith and Balinor in Ealdor, a small outlying village in the kingdom of Essetir. Near the end of the Great Purge, Gaius had helped Balinor, a Dragonlord, escape the slaughter of his people and arranged for him to stay with Hunith. The two fell in love, but Uther eventually discovered Balinor's whereabouts and sent men to arrest him. Balinor was forced to flee Ealdor and left Hunith behind, unaware that she was pregnant with his son (The Last Dragonlord).
Unlike most sorcerers, Merlin was born with the ability to use magic. According to the Great Dragon, Merlin's birth had been prophesied by many cultures. The Druids, for example, referred to him as "Emrys" (The Beginning of the End).
Life could be difficult in a village as small and isolated as Ealdor. Food was scarce and everyone was expected to pitch in and help with the harvest. Merlin had one friend growing up, William, who was aware of his magic. At some point in their childhood Will convinced Merlin to use his magic to fell a tree, a stunt which nearly flattened Old Man Simmons (The Moment of Truth).
Finding a Purpose
When Merlin was in his late teens, Hunith grew worried by how at odds he was with the people of Ealdor and decided to send him to live with Gaius in Camelot. She hoped that the elderly physician would be able to teach him to control his magic and help him find a purpose for his gifts.
Soon after he arrived in Camelot, Merlin saved Gaius from a fatal fall from a balcony in his chambers. The physician was intrigued by his instinctive use of magic, at one point declaring it to be impossible, but nevertheless discouraged him from using it. The king, Uther Pendragon, had outlawed all forms of magic twenty years ago, and anyone caught breaking this law was sentenced to death.
Merlin spent his first few days in Camelot helping Gaius while the physician tried to find some paid work for him. He soon found a new friend in the Lady Morgana's maidservant, Guinevere, and an enemy in Prince Arthur Pendragon. After one of their altercations escalated into a mace fight that Merlin tried to win with his magic, Gaius grew impatient with his carelessness and advised him to control himself. Merlin, however, angrily protested that he didn't want to. Without magic he was a nobody and always would be, and he would rather die than not be able to use it.
That night, Merlin was awakened by a voice calling his name. He followed it to the dungeons beneath the castle, where he discovered the Great Dragon. The dragon told Merlin that he was destined for great things, and that he would aid Arthur in his destiny to become the Once and Future King and unite the land of Albion. Skeptical, Merlin informed the dragon that Arthur was an idiot, but dragon merely replied that perhaps it was his destiny to change that.
The dragon's words had an impact on Merlin, who had been searching for a purpose since he arrived in Camelot. As such, when sorceress Mary Collins tried to avenge her son's execution by killing Arthur, Merlin didn't hesitated to use his magic to save the prince's life. As a reward for his actions, Uther appointed him as Arthur's personal manservant (The Dragon's Call).
Merlin was far from thrilled with his new position. He didn't know anything about being a servant and Arthur was often impatient with his attempts to learn, especially when they prevented him from concentrating on his performance in Camelot's annual tournament. However, the tension between the boys began to lessen as Merlin got the hang of his new duties.
After Sir Ewan suffered a snakebite while fighting Knight Valiant in the tournament, Merlin discovered that Valiant was using an enchanted shield to cheat. Knowing that the King would never believe a servant over a knight, Merlin and Gaius came up with a plan to cure Ewan so that he could testify before the court. Merlin obtained a sample of the venom for Gaius by decapitating one of the snakes on Valiant's shield, then went to inform Arthur, who was going to face the knight in the tournament finals.
The prince was skeptical of Merlin's story at first, but ultimately chose to believe him after he swore that he was telling the truth. Arthur requested an audience with his father and publicly accused Valiant of sorcery, but after Ewan was found dead (having been attacked by another of Valiant's snakes) their case against him fell apart. Arthur was forced to recant his accusation and apologize to Valiant. Angry and humiliated, he later fired Merlin from his service.
Merlin was deeply upset by Arthur's actions and decided that it couldn't be his destiny to protect someone who hated him. When he told the dragon as much, however, the creature merely replied that the half cannot truly hate that which makes it whole and that this was not the end, but the beginning. Initially, Merlin was not comforted by the dragon's words, but after Gwen encouraged him to pursue the truth, he decided to expose Valiant's treachery by letting everyone see the snakes for themselves.
He searched the spell book that Gaius had given him for a spell that would bring inanimate objects to life, then spent the night practicing it on a statue of a dog. He perfected it by morning and rushed to the tournament grounds, where Arthur and Valiant had already begun fighting. Merlin watched the fight from afar at first, then, after the knight disarmed the prince, he incanted the spell and brought the snakes on the shield to life, exposing Valiant before all of Camelot. He was later rehired as Arthur's servant (Valiant).
When not working as Arthur's servant, Merlin would frequently use his magic to help people, often without thinking of the consequences. On one such occasion, he used a magic poultice to cure Guinevere's father of a mysterious plague that had stricken the people of Camelot. His attempt to help soon backfired, however, when Tom's sudden recovery led Uther to believe that Gwen was a sorceress and therefore the source of the disease.
Devastated by this turn of events, Merlin tried to stop Gwen's execution by confessing to what he'd done. When that failed, he and Gaius went to the reservoir and discovered that the plague was being caused by an Afanc in the water supply. Merlin confronted it with Arthur and Morgana and used a combination of fire and wind to kill the creature. His actions proved Gwen innocent and she was released from prison (The Mark of Nimueh).
Merlin's attempt to help also had unforeseen consequences for himself. It brought him to the attention of the sorceress Nimueh, who was responsible for conjuring the Afanc. Seeking revenge for his interference, Nimueh snuck into Camelot disguised as a maid in Lord Bayard's employ and informed Merlin that her master had laced Arthur's goblet with poison.
Merlin immediately ran to warn Arthur, but Bayard was deeply offended by his accusations and Uther decided to settle the matter by commanding Merlin to drink from the cup himself. Ignoring Arthur's protests, Merlin did as he was asked and collapsed moments later, proving that the goblet was poisoned. Gaius later discovered the petal of a Mortaeus flower stuck to the inside of the cup and determined that an antidote could only be made from the leaves of that same flower. If Merlin did not receive the antidote in three or four days, he would surely die.
Upon hearing this, Arthur defied his father's orders and rode out to the Forest of Balor to find the flower. He ran into Nimueh along the way, who led him into a trap and then left him to die. Though unconscious and a long distance away, Merlin subconsciously sensed Arthur's plight and sent a magical light to guide him to safety.
When Arthur returned to Camelot with the flower, he was arrested and taken to the dungeons for disobeying his father's orders. Fortunately, Gwen managed to retrieve the flower and brought it to Gaius, who completed the antidote and saved Merlin's life (The Poisoned Chalice).
Merlin next used his magic to help a swordsman named Lancelot, who wanted to become a knight but was prohibited by the First Code of Camelot, which decreed that only men of noble blood could serve as knights. Wanting to repay Lancelot for saving him from a Griffin, Merlin used his magic to forge a fake seal of nobility and talked Arthur into letting him try out for the knights. With some help from Guinevere, who provided clothes and armour to help Lancelot look the part, the ruse succeeded and Lancelot was made a Knight of Camelot.
However, this plan also backfired in the end. After Uther discovered that his seal was a forgery, Lancelot was stripped of his knighthood and thrown in jail. Horrified by this turn of events, Merlin apologized to Lancelot for making him lie, but the swordsman insisted that he wasn't to blame. He told Merlin that it had been his choice to go through with the plan and that the punishment was his alone to bear.
Later, when Arthur rode out with a company of knights to fight the Griffin, Merlin and Lancelot (who had been released from prison by Arthur) set out to follow them. Merlin enchanted Lancelot's spear to give him the power to kill the Griffin, and in doing so revealed his magic to his new friend.
Lancelot promised to keep Merlin's secret, but refused to take credit for killing the Griffin when he knew that Merlin was truly responsible. As such, he decided to leave Camelot with the hope that fate would one day grant him another chance to become a Knight of Camelot. As he watched Lancelot ride away, Merlin hoped that they would meet again one day (Lancelot).
After Morgana was stricken with a mysterious illness, sorcerer Edwin Muirden secretly used magic to cure her and quietly set out to undermine Gaius. Merlin was delighted when Edwin encouraged him to use his magic and offered to teach him about it, but was deeply upset when Edwin replaced Gaius as court physician.
When he discovered that Edwin had used Elanthia beetles to cause Morgana's illness and was going to use them to kill Uther, Gaius confronted Edwin with the truth. The sorcerer used his magic to surround Gaius with fire, intending to kill him, but Merlin arrived and used his own magic to kill Edwin before he could succeed. He later used his magic to save Uther from Edwin's beetle despite the risk of his powers being discovered (A Remedy to Cure All Ills).
Merlin also used his magic to save Arthur when the exiled Sidhe Aulfric and his daughter Sophia enchanted him and tried to sacrifice him to the Sidhe Elder. After his attempt to confront them directly failed, he chased them to the Lake of Avalon and arrived just in time to see Sophia use her magic to force Arthur under the water.
Merlin quickly seized Sophia's abandoned staff and used it to kill her and her father, then dove into the lake and pulled Arthur to the surface. Later, back in Camelot, he and Gaius explained Arthur's lapse in memory by telling him that he'd tried to elope with Sophia the night before and Merlin had been forced to knock him out with a lump of wood in order to bring him back home (The Gates of Avalon).
Merlin was also faced with a number of life altering choices after he came to Camelot. When he and Morgana conspired to save Mordred from capture and execution, the Great Dragon advised him not to protect the boy because he was destined to kill Arthur.
The dragon's prediction forced Merlin to choose between helping the Druid boy escape and allowing him to be captured and killed. Though the latter choice would ensure that Mordred's destiny never came to pass, Merlin ultimately chose the former after the boy begged him for help (The Beginning of the End).
When Arthur challenged the wraith of Tristan de Bois to a duel, Merlin asked the Great Dragon to burnish a sword so that it would have the power to kill the undead. The dragon was reluctant at first, but ultimately agreed to grant his request if Merlin would promise that the sword would be wielded by Arthur, and Arthur alone.
Unbeknownst to Merlin, however, Uther and Gaius had carried out their own plan to save Arthur's life by conspiring to drug him. Merlin tried to keep his promise by suggesting that Uther would be better off with his own sword for the duel, but the king would not be dissuaded from using Excalibur, and with its aid he successfully defeated the wraith.
The dragon was furious when he learned that Merlin had failed to stop Uther from wielding the sword and ordered him to take it far away from Camelot, to a place where no mortal man could ever find it. Merlin later retrieved the sword from the armoury and cast it into the Lake of Avalon (Excalibur).
Merlin also had a difficult choice to make when Arthur, Gwen, and Morgana helped him to defend Ealdor from bandits. Though Arthur immediately set to work training the villagers to defend themselves, it soon became apparent that they weren't warrior material. Gwen and Morgana in particular were certain that they had little hope of holding off Kanen and his men.
Merlin's childhood friend Will shared their opinion and believed that Merlin should use his magic to defend the village. When Merlin objected that revealing his powers would mean leaving Camelot for good, Will accused him of caring more about Arthur's opinion than about protecting his friends and family. He said that he was abandoning them. Upset by his words, Merlin began to wonder if maybe he should reveal his magic if it meant saving everyone.
In the end, Merlin decided that if Arthur didn't accept him for who he truly was, then he wasn't the friend he'd hoped he was. He summoned a whirlwind during the battle in full view of Arthur and used it to attack the bandits, forcing them to flee. Afterwards, Arthur demanded to know which of them had used magic, but before Merlin could confess, Will (who had been fatally injured) chose to protect Merlin's secret by taking the blame himself (The Moment of Truth).
When Arthur unleashed a curse upon Camelot by killing a unicorn, Merlin tried to help the prince lift the curse by helping him pass the tests that Anhora, the Keeper of the Unicorns, gave him. The prince passed the first test but failed the second, after which Camelot lost the last of its supplies.
Aware of how desperate Arthur was to end his people's suffering, Merlin went in search of Anhora and asked him to give Arthur another chance. After Merlin told him that he trusted Arthur with his life, Anhora chose to grant his request and instructed him to send Arthur to the Labyrinth of Gedref, where he would be given a final test.
Though Arthur told him to stay in Camelot, Merlin followed him to the Labyrinth but lost track of him in the maze. He was eventually captured by Anhora, but intended to use him as part of Arthur's test. Once Arthur had joined them, the Keeper gave them a puzzle to solve. They were each given a goblet, one of which contained a deadly poison and the other a harmless liquid. The liquid from both goblets had to be drunk, but each of them was only allowed to drink from one goblet.
Merlin eventually solved the puzzle and suggested that they pour all the liquid into one goblet. That way, they could be sure it was poisoned, all the liquid could be drunk, and it would be from a single goblet. He intended to drink the poison himself, as he believed Arthur's life to be more important than his own, but before he could do so, Arthur distracted him and then drank from the goblet instead. Horrified, Merlin could do nothing but watch as the prince collapsed.
Much to Merlin's relief, however, Anhora revealed that the goblet had only contained a sleeping draught and that Arthur would recover shortly. By sacrificing his life for Merlin's, Arthur had proven himself to be pure of heart and had passed his final test. As such, the curse would be lifted (The Labyrinth of Gedref).
Merlin was faced with another difficult choice after Uther had Gwen's father executed for treason. When he overheard Morgana and Tauren, a rogue sorcerer, plotting to assassinate the king, Merlin went to the Great Dragon for advice on what he should do. Much to his surprise, however, the dragon advised him to do nothing, as only Uther's death would free Camelot from tyranny and allow magic to return to the land.
The dragon's words left Merlin conflicted about whether or not he should save Uther. However, after a conversation with Gwen reaffirmed his initial conviction that allowing the king to die would be the same as murder, Merlin chose to put aside his personal dislike of Uther and rushed to save him from Morgana's scheme (To Kill the King).
A Life For A Life
Aware that the Questing Beasts's bite meant certain death, Merlin tried to use magic to heal Arthur. When that failed, he went to the Great Dragon, who instructed him to travel to the Isle of the Blessed. There he would find a servant of the Old Religion who had the power to save Arthur, but there would be a price to pay in return.
When Merlin arrived at the Isle of the Blessed, he discovered that the High Priestess the dragon had sent him to was none other than Nimueh. She agreed to save Arthur's life, but explained that someone else's life would have to given in return. After Merlin chose to sacrifice his own, Nimueh gave him a vial of water from the Cup of Life that would revive Arthur from the Questing Beast's venom. Unbeknownst to Merlin, however, Nimueh had not taken his life, but his mother's. She was stricken with a terrible illness and collapsed soon after she arrived in Camelot.
Grief-stricken and angry, Merlin went to the dragon and accused him of tricking him. The dragon replied that he had only known that the price would be a heavy one, and he'd sent Merlin anyway because they both needed Arthur to live. Only when he was king could magic return to the land and the dragon be set free. Realizing that his freedom was all that the dragon had ever cared about, Merlin angrily vowed that he would ensure he was never released for what he'd done.
Desperate to save his mother, Merlin returned to the Isle of the Blessed intending to bargain his life for hers. Before he could do so, however, Gaius bartered his life for Hunith's instead. Horrified, Merlin blamed Nimueh and attacked her with his magic.
The ensuing duel ended when Nimueh struck him in the chest with a fireball, seemingly killing him. As she walked away, however, Merlin recovered and struck her down with magical lightning. He then harnessed the power over life and death and revived Gaius, using Nimueh's life as payment (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Cornelius Sigan's Return
After an ancient tomb filled with treasure was discovered beneath the citadel, a con-artist named Cedric began muscling in on Merlin's position as Arthur's manservant. He eventually succeeded in turning the prince against Merlin by making it appear that he'd let Arthur's horses run off, which left the young warlock more angry and depressed than ever that Arthur couldn't see him for who he really was.
Soon afterward, the spirit of legendary sorcerer Cornelius Sigan possessed Cedric and summoned an army of animated gargoyles to destroy Camelot. Because Sigan was immortal, Merlin was forced to go to the Great Dragon for help. The dragon informed him that to defeat Sigan he would need a spell more powerful than anything he knew, but refused to give it to Merlin unless he promised to free him. After a moment's hesitation, Merlin agreed.
When Sigan realized how powerful Merlin was, he tried to persuade the young warlock to join him by telling him that Arthur didn't deserve his loyalty. He reminded Merlin that Arthur treated him like a slave and had cast him aside without a moment's thought. Though tempted by the offer, Merlin ultimately decided that it was better to serve a good man than to rule with an evil one and used the dragon's spell to seal Sigan's spirit back inside the enchanted jewel it had escaped from. Arthur later gave Merlin his manservant position back after Cedric's treachery was exposed (The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).
When Arthur decided to prove that he could win Camelot's annual jousting tournament without being given special treatment, Merlin convinced Gwen to let the prince stay at her house. He also hired a farmer from an outlying village to pose as Arthur's cover identity, Sir William of Deira.
Arthur was expecting Merlin to attend to all of his usual duties during the tournament. However, because the rest of the court was under the impression that the prince was away on a patrol, Gaius was expecting Merlin to help out with their household chores as well. Merlin was ultimately forced to use his magic to get all the work done, and at one point ranted at Gaius when the physician accused him of slacking off.
When Merlin learned that King Odin had sent an assassin to kill Arthur, he immediately rushed to Gwen's house to inform the prince of the danger. Later, at the tournament finals, he discovered the assassin had killed Arthur's opponent, Sir Alynor, and taken his place in the competition. Though the assassin managed to badly injure the prince with a blade hidden inside his lance, Merlin was able to incapacitate him by using his magic to break the strap on his saddle, which allowed Arthur to defeat and (unintentionally) kill him.
Though the court at large never learned of Arthur's deception during the tournament, Gaius figured it out after he discovered the assassin dead in Alynor's armour and was displeased that Merlin hadn't told him. He later forced Merlin to complete the chores he'd let Merlin out of after his earlier rant, including cleaning out the leech tank (The Once and Future Queen).
When Morgana's magic began to reveal itself, Merlin wanted to help her but both Gaius and the Great Dragon advised him not to get involved. The dragon in particular was adamant that Morgana could not be trusted and told Merlin that it would be better if she never knew the full extent of her powers. However, Merlin refused to abandon her and advised her to seek out the Druids, as they were known to help people like her.
Morgana took his advice and snuck out of the castle that very night. Unfortunately, her disappearance led Uther to believe that she'd been kidnapped and he consequently proclaimed that all prisoners suspected of magic would be executed unless she was returned to Camelot. When Merlin learned of this, he rushed to the Druid camp and told Morgana what had happened, but she refused to return to Camelot with him.
Soon afterward, Arthur and a patrol of knights arrived and launched an attack on the camp. Merlin tried to help Morgana and the others escape by using his magic to create a cloud of mist that disoriented Arthur and his men. But though he and Mordred (who was also at the camp) managed to get away in the confusion, Morgana was unable to get very far with her leg wound and was soon recovered by Arthur and the knights.
Later, back in Camelot, Merlin assured Morgana that she could trust him and promised that he wouldn't tell anyone about her magic. He ran into Arthur as he was leaving her chambers, who (under the mistaken impression that Merlin had fallen in love with Morgana) warned him not to pursue his feelings for his own safety. He also reminded him that someone of his class couldn't even be friends with Morgana, let alone anything else (The Nightmare Begins).
When Gwen was kidnapped and held hostage by bandits who believed her to be the Lady Morgana, Merlin and Arthur disobeyed Uther's orders and set out to rescue her. The prince was unusually impatient and reckless throughout their journey (at one point he even insisted that they take a shortcut through tunnels that he knew to be infested with Wilddeoren), which puzzled Merlin until he figured out that Arthur had fallen in love with Gwen.
Merlin was both amused and delighted by this and wasted no time in teasing Arthur about it. Much to his surprise, however, his joking challenge for Arthur to admit his feelings resulted not in mutual teasing, but in a frustrated confession that nothing could ever happen between him and Gwen. He lamented that his father wouldn't even let him rescue a servant, let alone marry one. Serious now, Merlin told Arthur that he could change that when he was king, and tried to cheer him up by assuring him that Gwen would wait for him if she truly returned his feelings.
Merlin and Arthur infiltrated Hengist's hideout just in time to save Gwen and Lancelot (who had also tried to rescue Gwen) from being eaten by Wilddeoren. During their escape, both Merlin and Arthur noticed that Gwen and Lancelot had developed feelings for each other, which left Arthur heartbroken. However, when Lancelot learned that Arthur had also had feelings for Gwen, he decided to leave the group so that he wouldn't come between them. Before he left he asked Merlin to tell Gwen that she had changed his life forever, but that some things could not be (Lancelot and Guinevere).
When a troll disguised as the Lady Catrina arrived in Camelot, Merlin was assigned to attend to her. Unlike most of Uther's guests Catrina was very kind to Merlin, but the warlock became suspicious of her after Gaius told him that she was supposed to be suffering from an incurable bone and he discovered that her manservant, Jonas, had a tail. He later used a mirror to spy on her from Arthur's chambers and discovered her true form.
Soon afterwards, Catrina used a necklace to enchant Uther into falling in love with her. When they announced their marriage plans to the court, Merlin tried to use the Spell of Revelation to reveal Catrina's true form, but she was able to resist its effects. He then tried to convince Arthur that his soon-to-be-stepmother was a troll, but the prince laughed at his claim and refused to believe him. Catrina and Jonas then conspired to trap Merlin in the catacombs beneath the castle. It took Merlin most of the night to perfect the spell he needed to escape, and by the time he broke free it was too late to stop the wedding.
In order to prevent any further interference, Queen Catrina accused Merlin of stealing her royal seal and forced him to become a fugitive. After he and Gaius left a false trail to make his pursuers think he was headed for the northern borders, Merlin began spying on Catrina and discovered that she was using a potion to maintain her disguise. He convinced Gaius to create a potion that looked and tasted exactly the same, then replaced Catrina's potion with the fake one. Because it contained no troll magic, the fake potion had no effect and Catrina's troll form was exposed during her coronation.
However, because Uther was still enchanted he was unable to see his bride for what she truly was. With no further options, Merlin went to the Great Dragon to find out how the break the enchantment, and through fits of laughter, the dragon informed him that Uther would have to cry tears of true remorse.
To this end, Merlin and Gaius convinced Arthur to fake his death by drinking poison. After the discovery of his son's death caused Uther to cry, the enchantment was broken and he was able to see Catrina for what she really was. Meanwhile, Merlin (despite interference from Jonas) was able to give Arthur the antidote and used his magic to help the prince kill the troll (Beauty and the Beast).
While collecting wood in the forest, Merlin took a break and amused himself by using magic to mold a nearby plume of smoke into the shape of a horse. Unfortunately, a peasant woman witnessed the incident and rushed to inform the king of what she'd seen. Determined to stamp out the last traces of magic in Camelot, Uther sent for Aredian, the Witchfinder, and hired him to find the sorcerer responsible.
Because he'd been named as a witness to the magic in the woods, Aredian insisted on questioning Merlin and quickly identified him as a suspect. He accused him of sorcery before the entire court and then conducted a search of his and Gaius's chambers. During the search, a magic amulet was discovered hidden inside a jar of powder. Aredian was delighted by the find and planned to inform Uther immediately, but before he could do so, Gaius stepped forward and claimed that the amulet was his in order to protect Merlin.
Horrified by what his carelessness had caused, Merlin went to the Great Dragon for advice on what he should do. He wanted to confess and save Gaius from execution, but the dragon talked him out of it by pointing out that if he were to die, then he would endanger the lives of all those who relied upon him. The dragon had no alternatives to offer, however, and told Merlin with genuine regret that he didn't know how to help him out of this situation. He apologized to Merlin, then flew away.
Soon afterwards, Aredian blackmailed Gaius into confessing to sorcery by threatening to go after Merlin and Morgana. Enraged, Merlin tried to attack the Witchfinder but was dragged from the room by Arthur, who took him to visit Gaius in the dungeons. During their conversation, they realized that the amulet didn't belong to either of them and Merlin began to theorize that Aredian had planted it in their chambers.
Aided by Gwen, Merlin began his own investigation and discovered that Aredian would plant false evidence of magic wherever he was called in order to further his profits. After Gwen talked Arthur into stopping Gaius's execution, Merlin presented their evidence to the court and tricked Aredian into agreeing to a search of his chambers. Unbeknownst to the Witchfinder, however, Merlin had used his magic to plant false evidence of his own and frame Aredian as a sorcerer, which ultimately resulted in the Witchfinder's death (The Witchfinder).
After the sorceress Morgause challenged Arthur to a duel, the prince accepted but later sent Merlin to ask her to withdraw; he had no desire to kill a woman in combat, but was too proud to withdraw himself. Morgause refused his offer and later emerged the victor in their duel, but agreed to spare his life if he would promise to meet her outside of Camelot in three days time and accept whatever challenge she set to him.
Uther forbid Arthur from keeping his promise and ordered that he be confined to his chambers. However, Merlin was able to help Arthur escape by lowering him out of the window with a length of rope, and they set off together to find Morgause. They faced a number of complications during their journey; they had to rely on Arthur's horse to show them the way (as Morgause had enchanted it to lead him to her before she'd left Camelot) and at one point were attacked by Odin's men.
After the latter incident, Merlin tried to talk Arthur into returning to Camelot, but the prince refused. Merlin was irritated at first, but began to understand when Arthur explained that Morgause claimed to have known his mother. He confessed that he barely knew anything about; she'd died when he was born and his father never spoke of her. Empathetic, Merlin confessed to a similar situation regarding his father and they continued on with their journey.
Eventually, Merlin and Arthur arrived at Morgause's castle. Merlin was apprehensive when she revealed that Arthur's challenge was for him to place his head on a chopping block (literally) and urged him not to do it, but Arthur ignored him and did as Morgause asked. Because the prince kept his word even as she picked up an axe and prepared to kill him with it, the sorceress agreed to grant Arthur a wish and used her magic to show him his mother.
After Ygraine revealed that Uther had sacrificed her life so that the sorceress Nimueh could help them conceive an heir, Arthur sought to avenge his mother's death by challenging his father to a duel. When he realized what Arthur was going to do, Merlin rushed to stop him and arrived just as the prince was about to strike his father down.
Desperate to stop Arthur from doing something that would destroy him, Merlin convinced Arthur that Morgause had lied to him in order to turn him against his father, and that it hadn't been his mother he'd talked to, but an illusion speaking Morgause's words. After Uther swore to him that what Morgause had said wasn't true, Arthur relented and father and son broke down in tears.
In the aftermath of the incident, Uther personally thanked Merlin for his actions and told him that he had proven himself a trusted ally in the fight against magic. He also informed Merlin that he would have him hanged if he ever spoke of what had happened between him and Arthur to another living soul, leaving Merlin bemused (The Sins of the Father).
Falling in Love
While returning home with Gaius after visiting one of his patients, Merlin spotted a young Druid girl chained in a bounty hunter's cage. Visibly drawn to her, he insisted that there must be something they could do to help her, but Gaius urged him not to get involved.
Later that night, after Gaius was asleep, Merlin snuck back to the wagon and used his magic to help the girl escape. He took her to the catacombs beneath the city, where he knew she would be safe. The girl, who identified herself as Freya, was suspicious of him at first (as she didn't understand why he would help her), but warmed to him a bit after he explained that it could have just as easily been him in that cage.
Merlin spent the next two days smuggling food and candles to Freya, who had to stay hidden in the catacombs. Elated to finally have someone with whom he was free to be himself, Merlin freely shared his feelings about how special he thought Freya was and how he'd never known anyone like her. Though more reserved, Freya returned his feelings and, warmed by his kindness, gradually became more open and trusting. They soon fell in love and decided to run away together.
Unfortunately, he and Freya were not as similar as Merlin believed; unbeknownst to him, Freya was cursed. She had once accidentally killed a man in self defense and his mother, a sorceress, had cursed her to kill forevermore. The curse forced Freya to become a Bastet every night at midnight and subjected her to an uncontrollable desire to kill; she killed four people during the two nights that she spent in Camelot.
Certain that Merlin would hate her when he learned the truth (and that he would be better off without her), Freya tried to leave Camelot without him. However, Merlin continued to love her in spite of her curse and went looking for her when he discovered that she was gone. He eventually found her - injured and in Bastet form - being cornered by Arthur and his men. Desperate to save her, Merlin used his magic to cause a stone gargoyle to topple from a nearby wall, distracting the knights long enough for Freya to escape.
Merlin followed Freya back to their hiding place in the catacombs. Though still in her Bastet form, Freya made no move to attack him and responded to his attempts to comfort her with only gentle growls. The curse soon began to wear off and Freya returned to her human form. As Merlin assured her that he didn't hate her for what she'd done, Freya tearfully explained how she'd been cursed and, knowing that her wound was too serious to heal, asked him to leave her.
Instead, Merlin dressed her in the gown he'd stolen for her from Morgana's wardrobe and carried her to the Lake of Avalon. Grateful for how he'd tried to help her and for how he'd made her feel loved, with her dying breath Freya promised Merlin that she would one day repay his kindness.
After Freya died, a heartbroken Merlin placed her body in a boat and used his magic to set it aflame, giving her a Viking funeral. Later, back in Camelot, Gaius consoled Merlin for his loss while Arthur, aware that he was upset but not knowing why, tried to cheer him up with a bit of friendly banter (The Lady of the Lake).
When King Alined and his magical jester Trickler tried to sabotage the peace talks by enchanting Arthur to fall in love with the Lady Vivian, it didn't take long for Merlin to notice the prince's odd behavior: he showed up for work to find Arthur already dressed, inordinately cheerful, and determined to profess his love for "his lady".
Naturally assuming that Arthur was talking about Gwen, Merlin was puzzled by his change of heart (as he had previously insisted on keeping his love for her a secret) but agreed to help him express his feelings by taking her a bouquet of flowers. However, it soon became clear that it wasn't Gwen that Arthur was in love with, but Vivian. Horrified, Merlin rushed back to Gwen's house to retrieve the flowers, but it was too late; Gwen had already found them and was delighted by the gift.
Though confused by Arthur's sudden infatuation, Merlin was too busy trying to keep him away from Vivian to investigate. However, he soon realized that the prince had been enchanted when he found a lock of Vivian's hair beneath his pillow. Merlin immediately began researching ways to break the enchantment, but with over 636 love spells to choose from he wasn't sure which to pick, and things became even more complicated when Trickler enchanted Vivian to fall in love with Arthur.
After Arthur was caught in Vivian's chambers, an enraged King Olaf challenged him to a duel as recompense. The first round of the fight was disastrous for the prince, who was too distracted by Vivian to fight well. Fearing that Arthur would die if he didn't find a way to break the enchantment, Merlin went to the Great Dragon for advice and found that the spell could only be broken by a kiss from the person that Arthur truly loved.
Realizing that Gwen was that person, Merlin rushed to her house and asked for her help. She refused at first, as she was upset that Arthur had stood her up the night before and no longer believed that he loved her, but her resolve began to waver when Merlin explained that Arthur had been enchanted. Though initially skeptical of the claim, Gwen nevertheless went to the tournament grounds and kissed Arthur while he was preparing for the final round of the duel. Her kiss broke the enchantment and returned him to his right mind, allowing him to win the fight.
After the peace talks were completed, both Merlin and Arthur were present to see the visit dignitaries off. Merlin took great delight in teasing Arthur about Gwen being his "one true love" and smugly pointed out that he had the incident in the tent as proof. Arthur didn't deny it, but informed Merlin that if he ever spoke of the incident again he'd kill him, to which Merlin cheerfully acquiesced (Sweet Dreams).
After he learned that Mordred and the sorcerer Alvarr had enlisted Morgana to steal the Crystal of Neahtid, Merlin went to the Great Dragon for information about the Crystal. The dragon informed him that the Crystal contained great knowledge, including knowledge of the future. He also revealed that the ancient prophesies spoke of an evil alliance between Mordred and Morgana and warned Merlin that this union must be stopped, whatever the cost.
Merlin later followed Morgana to Alvarr's camp. He saw her give the Crystal to Alvarr and eavesdropped as the sorcerer explained his plans for it: he hoped that Mordred would be able to master the Crystal and use it to strike down Uther and all who served him.
After Merlin told him what he'd seen, Gaius went to Uther claiming that an anonymous informer had told him that the Crystal had been stolen by a band of renegade sorcerers led by Alvarr. When the king sent Arthur and his men to investigate, Merlin went with them and was able to guide them to Alvarr's camp by following the sound of Mordred's telepathy.
They arrived at the camp to find an ambush waiting for them; Morgana had ridden out ahead of them and warned Alvarr that they were coming. In the battle that followed, Merlin tried to stop Mordred from escaping by using his magic to trip him with a tree root. However, the young Druid boy was able to his own magic to kill the knights pursuing him. Before running to safety, Mordred telepathically informed Merlin that he would neither forgive nor forget what he'd done.
After Alvarr and his men were arrested and the Crystal had been recovered, Arthur ordered Merlin to guard it while he and the other knights rested. Merlin was oddly transfixed by the Crystal and was unable to resist its pull. He looked into its depths and was horrified to see a vision of the Great Dragon attacking Camelot. Shaken and horrified by what he'd seen, Merlin later ignored the dragon's cries for him to honour his promise and set him free (The Witch's Quickening).
When word reached Uther that smoke had been seen rising from Idirsholas, he tried to set the peoples' minds at ease by sending Arthur and his men to investigate. They were ambushed at the citadel by the Knights of Medhir, a group of seven undead Knights of Camelot who had been seduced by a sorceress three hundred years ago. Only Merlin and Arthur managed to escape.
They returned to Camelot to find everyone trapped in a state of unbreakable slumber; only Morgana was unaffected by the enchantment. Merlin initially assumed that her magic was protecting her from the spell and assured her that he would keep her secret. He led Arthur to believe that her mysterious immunity was due to a potion that Gaius had given her before he'd fallen asleep and tried to comfort her when she seemed flustered.
Merlin became suspicious, however, when the spell began to affect him as well as Arthur; if Morgana's magic was really what was keeping her safe, then his should be doing the same for him. Later, after they discovered that the Knights of Medhir invaded the castle, he noticed that Morgana wasn't surprised to learn that Morgause was leading them, and that the Knights themselves refused to attack her.
Unsure of what to do, Merlin decided to go to the Great Dragon for advice. Angry that Merlin had failed to release him, the dragon initially refused to offer him any assistance and ignored his assurances that he would honour his promise. He changed his mind, however, when Merlin swore on his mother's life. Convinced that this was an oath he could trust, the dragon informed him that the enchantment could only be lifted by eradicating its source: the Lady Morgana. Only her death would bring the spell to an end.
Though horrified by the idea of murdering Morgana, Merlin was forced to accept that he had no other choice when the Knights cornered them in the council chambers and Arthur went out to fight them on his own. Knowing that both he and Arthur would soon succumb to the spell if he didn't do something, Merlin secretly poured a bottle of hemlock poison into a water skin and tricked Morgana into drinking it. As the poison took effect, Merlin tearfully tried to hold Morgana as she choked, and she eventually fell unconscious in his arms.
Telepathically sensing her sister's distress, Morgause rushed to her aid, blasting the doors open to get to her. She demanded that Merlin tell her the name of the poison he'd used, but Merlin refused to do so unless she called off the Knights. After a moment's hesitation, Morgause did as he asked.
As Merlin handed Morgause the poison, the people of Camelot began to awaken from their slumber, indicating that the enchantment had been broken. Morgause quickly used magic to escape with Morgana before anyone could stop her, leaving Merlin with the belief that Morgana was truly dead.
In the aftermath of Morgause's attack, Merlin was deeply troubled by what he'd done as well as by what he was about to do. After assuring Gaius that he was all right, he retrieved a sword that he'd stolen from one of the Knights of Medhir and went to honour his promise to the Great Dragon. Before releasing him, he asked the dragon to promise that he wouldn't harm Camelot, but the dragon merely replied that he believed that there had been enough bargains. Merlin then used the sword to break the chains that held the dragon captive, fulfilling his oath and setting him free (The Fires of Idirsholas).
The Last Dragonlord
Just as Merlin feared, the Great Dragon chose to avenge his imprisonment and the slaughter of his kind by attacking Camelot. Horrified by the deaths of many innocent people, Merlin tried to stop the dragon himself but his magic proved ineffective.
He later learned from Gaius that only the Dragonlords had the ability to command Dragons. The Dragonlords had all been rounded up and slaughtered during the Great Purge, but according to Gaius one had managed to escape: a man named Balinor, who was said to live somewhere in Cenred's kingdom. Believing him to be their last hope, Merlin and a wounded Arthur set out to find Balinor and persuade him to help them.
Before they left Camelot, Gaius also revealed that Balinor was Merlin's father and advised him to keep it a secret from Arthur, as Uther would view the son of a Dragonlord with the deepest suspicion. Shaken by the revelation and blaming himself for the dragon's attack, Merlin was noticeably quiet during their journey. When they stopped at a tavern for the night, Arthur tried to convince him to tell him what was wrong, but Merlin was able to deflect his questions by claiming that he was worried about everyone at home.
After they learned that Balinor was living in isolation in a cave, Merlin and Arthur set out to find him. Arthur succumbed to his infected wound during the search and fell unconscious, leaving Merlin to lead the way. Eventually, he found Balinor and convinced him to heal Arthur. While the prince slept, Merlin tried to learn more about his father and to persuade him to help Camelot. Balinor, however, refused to help because of what he and the dragon (whom he knew as Kilgharrah) had suffered at the hands of Uther.
The next morning, Arthur made his own attempt to persuade Balinor to help them. When the Dragonlord replied that he wouldn't help Uther, Merlin angrily remarked that he was no better than him and that Gaius must have been wrong about the nobility of Dragonlords. Mentioning Gaius caught Balinor's attention, but Arthur's constant calls for him prevented Merlin from elaborating. He decided that there was no point in talking further and left with Arthur.
Fortunately, his words reminded Balinor that there were some in Camelot who had risked their lives for him, and he owed them a debt that needed to be repaid. He followed the two boys and agreed to return to Camelot with them. Later, while they collected firewood together, Merlin finally revealed to Balinor that he was his son. That night, while Arthur slept, they talked about Hunith and what it meant to be a Dragonlord, and Balinor carved a small wooden dragon which he later gave to Merlin.
Unfortunately, they were ambushed by Cenred's men the next morning and Balinor was killed in the ensuing battle. Merlin was devastated by this and certain that Camelot was doomed. When he said as much to Gaius, however, the physician revealed that Merlin had inherited his father's gifts upon his death. As the last Dragonlord, it was now his responsibility to rid Camelot of the Great Dragon.
In light of this, Merlin decided to accompany Arthur and his men when they rode out to confront Kilgharrah. The dragon decimated the knights and knocked out Arthur with a single blow, but before he could do any more damage, Merlin (hearing his father's words) was able to harness his Dragonlord powers and command the dragon to stop his attack. He then commanded him to leave Camelot and never return.
Grateful to Merlin for sparing his life, Kilgharrah agreed to honor his command. He promised that he would not forget Merlin's clemency and said that he was sure their paths would cross again, then flew away. Arthur regained consciousness soon afterward and Merlin led him to believe that he (Arthur) had successfully killed the dragon. They then returned to the castle together, where they were greeted by a relieved Gwen and Gaius (The Last Dragonlord).
During the year that Morgana was missing, Merlin often accompanied Arthur and his knights on patrols to search for her. Because he believed her to be dead, Merlin was shocked when they found her alive and well and was terrified that she would tell Uther that he'd poisoned her. However, Morgana later reassured him that she understood why he'd done it and said that she would have done the same to save her friends.
Her forgiveness cheered Merlin up considerably, but his mood soon grew somber again when Uther appeared to go mad. After he saw Morgana retrieve a mandrake root from beneath the king's bed, Merlin realized that she was still plotting against Camelot and followed her into the forest, where he observed her meeting up with Morgause. Unfortunately, Morgana was aware of his presence and he was soon captured and knocked unconscious by the Blood Guard.
Merlin woke to find himself in chains and Morgause waiting to confront him. She wanted to know why a lowly servant such as himself would continually risk his life for Arthur and Camelot, but seemed to lose interest when Merlin deflected her questions by stating that he believed in a fair and just land. Declaring that Merlin could take his secret to the grave, Morgause placed an enchantment on the chains that bound him and left him to be killed by Serkets.
After his attempts to free himself with magic failed and he was stung by a Serket, Merlin used his Dragonlord powers to call Kilgharrah to rescue him. The dragon carried him to safety, used an enchantment to heal him of the Serket's venom, and freed him of Morgause's chains. Later, when Merlin lamented that he hadn't heeded Kilgharrah's warnings about Morgana, the dragon tried to console him by pointing out that he'd done what he felt was right, but also warned Merlin that his determination to see goodness in people would be his undoing.
Once Merlin had sufficiently recovered, he asked Kilgharrah to fly him back to Camelot. He told Gaius what he'd learned about Morgana and they destroyed the mandrake root she'd hidden beneath Uther's bed, breaking the enchantment and restoring his sanity. Later, after Morgana discovered Merlin's survival, she threatened to tell Uther about his attempt to poison her if he told anyone about her betrayal.
After it was discovered that Cenred's army was marching on Camelot, Arthur (who was acting as regent while his father was indisposed) ordered the city to prepare for a siege. Merlin helped out by gathering provisions and tried to reassure Arthur that he'd made the right choice. He told Arthur that he trusted in his destiny and that it was his fate to be the greatest king that Camelot had ever known. Touched by Merlin's faith in him, Arthur voiced a grudging respect for his wisdom.
During the Great Battle for Camelot, Merlin was responsible for escorting the wounded to the infirmary and helping Gaius treat them. They tried to keep an eye on Morgana while they worked, but she managed to slip away in the confusion and used the Rowan Staff to summon an army of undead skeletons to attack Camelot from within.
As the battle grew worse, Merlin confronted Morgana in the burial vaults and begged her to stop the attack. When she refused and said that Uther's hatred for her and her kind gave her no reason to feel any differently about him, he tried to make her see that she of all people could change the king's mind and told her that he believed her gifts were meant to be used for good. Morgana, unconvinced, snapped that because Merlin didn't have magic he couldn't hope to understand how she felt and insisted that there was no other way.
Accepting that she wasn't going to listen, Merlin tried to seize the Rowan Staff and Morgana responded by attacking him. She managed to disarm Merlin twice in the ensuing duel, but Merlin ultimately emerged the victor after he used his magic to cause part of the ceiling to collapse on her head, knocking her out cold. He quickly retrieved his sword and used it (and his magic) to slice the Rowan Staff in half, breaking the enchantment and reducing the skeletal soldiers to dust.
Destroying the staff created a magical shockwave that knocked Merlin unconscious. When he finally woke, he rushed to tell Arthur what Morgana had done, but it was too late. Morgana had beaten him to it and taken credit for destroying the Rowan Staff. Later, at a ceremony recognizing her bravery and that of all those who had died in the battle, Merlin and Morgana glared at one another while Uther gave a speech instructing everyone in Camelot to remain vigilant and stand firm against the dark forces of magic (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Releasing the Goblin
When Merlin accidentally released a mischievous Goblin from a secret chamber in the castle library, he and Gaius rushed to recapture it before Uther found out. Merlin took some gold from Arthur's chambers and they used it to lure the Goblin into a trap, but unfortunately the Goblin was able to escape by transforming itself into a ball of light and entering Gaius's body, possessing him.
When Merlin finally realized what had happened, he tried to reason with the Goblin and convince it to leave Gaius's body. After this failed, Merlin threatened to kill the Goblin if it harmed his friend, revealing his magic in the process. The Goblin, however, was unfazed by his threats and taunted him by pointing out that he couldn't hurt it without also hurting Gaius. It later used its knowledge of Merlin's magic to frame him for its recent pranks.
After the Goblin (as Gaius) informed Uther that it had found a book of sorcery in Merlin's room, Merlin was arrested and sentenced to death. Fortunately, Merlin was able to use his magic to escape from prison before his execution and sought refuge at Gwen's house. After explaining the situation to her, he began searching for a way to free Gaius from the Goblin's control and discovered that if they temporarily killed Gaius, then the Goblin would be forced to leave his body or else die with him. Once it was out, they could trap it inside the lead-lined box that Merlin had initially found it in.
Merlin and Gwen put their plan into action by pouring poison over the gold coins in the Goblin's treasure chest, which the creature had a habit of licking. When the poison began to take effect it realized that it was dying, the Goblin exited Gaius and Merlin began to chase it around the chamber. Eventually, the Goblin transformed itself into a ball of light and flew into Merlin's mouth in an attempt to possess him. Before it could do so, however, Merlin was able to spit it into the lead-lined box and trap the Goblin inside.
Meanwhile, Gwen was supposed to administer the antidote to Gaius as soon the Goblin had left him, but in its in rush to leave the physician's body, the Goblin had knocked the bottle out of her hand it had gotten mixed up with a dozen other potions on the floor. Fortunately, Merlin and Gwen were able to locate the right one before the poison proved fatal and Gaius made a full recovery. Later, after the situation had been explained to Uther, Merlin was pardoned for the Goblin's crimes and the box containing the creature was sealed away in the castle vaults (Goblin's Gold).
Merlin and Arthur first met Gwaine when he was injured helping them in a tavern brawl. They took him back to Camelot to recover and Arthur instructed Merlin and Gaius to ensure that Gwaine be given anything he needed.
Gwaine wound up causing quite a bit of trouble during his stay in Camelot, including racking up a bill at the local tavern that he knew he had no money to pay. Despite this, however, he and Merlin got along very well and quickly became friends, bonding over the loss of their respective fathers and their desires to have known them better.
In addition to keeping an eye on Gwaine, Merlin was also kept busy attending to Sirs Oswald and Ethan, a pair of visiting knights participating in Camelot's annual Mêlée. After discovering that they planned to use Stulorne Blades to kill Arthur during the competition, Merlin snuck into their chambers to steal one of the swords as evidence. He became distracted by the mysterious crystals that the knights wore around their necks, and a closer look revealed that Oswald and Ethan were actually Dagr and Ebor (the two thugs from the tavern brawl) in disguise.
Unfortunately, the fake knights discovered Merlin before his investigation was complete. They were furious to find him sneaking around their chambers and immediately moved to attack him. Luckily, Gwaine, who had grown worried when Merlin hadn't returned from his errand, arrived just in time to intervene. He easily fought off the thugs with his superior swordsmanship, but was arrested by Sir Leon for breaking the Knight's Code and subsequently banished from Camelot.
With Gwaine gone, it was up to Merlin to protect Arthur during the Mêlée. He used his magic to knock one of the thugs from their horse, but they quickly recovered and resumed their attack on the prince. Fortunately, Gwaine had secretly entered the Mêlée disguised as a knight and was able to help Arthur defeat his would-be assassins. However, Uther still refused to lift his banishment, and though Merlin later tried to persuade him to stay, Gwaine was adamant that he could never serve under a man like Uther and decided to try his luck in Mercia instead (Gwaine).
The Crystal Cave
After Arthur was badly wounded by bandits in the Valley of the Fallen Kings, Merlin tried to heal him with his magic, but failed. Fortunately, as the prince appeared to be nearing death, an old sorcerer named Taliesin appeared and used his magic to heal him. He then took Merlin to the nearby Crystal Cave, the place where magic began.
Taliesin explained to Merlin that the crystals contained knowledge of the future and instructed him to look into them, assuring him that much would be revealed if he did. Merlin initially refused, as the last time he'd looked into the future he'd seen terrible things, but Taliesin coaxed him into it by suggesting that there was a reason he'd been brought there at that moment in time and only the crystals could tell him what it was.
Merlin saw a number of visions in the crystals, including one of Morgana murdering Uther. Later, back in Camelot, he attempted to prevent this future from coming to pass, but nearly killed Morgana in the process by accidentally knocking her down a flight of stairs. Gaius did everything he could to help her, but her skull was fractured and she wasn't expected to survive. Unable to accept this, Uther privately begged Gaius to use magic to save her and confessed that Morgana was actually his daughter, a revelation which shocked the eavesdropping Merlin.
Unable to watch everyone's grief, Merlin summoned Kilgharrah and asked him to help save Morgana. When the dragon refused, he used his Dragonlord powers to command him to help anyway. Later, Merlin discovered that Morgana had also overheard Uther's confession and was going to kill him for failing to acknowledge her. Realizing that injuring her hadn't prevented his vision after all, he rushed to stop her and eventually succeeded by using his magic to shatter a window in Uther's bedroom, waking him up and forcing Morgana to abandon her assassination attempt (The Crystal Cave).
When Lord Godwyn and his daughter, Princess Elena, visited Camelot, Uther revealed that she and Arthur were to marry in order to form an alliance between their kingdoms. Merlin was amused by this turn of events and enjoyed teasing Arthur about it, but soon realized that something was wrong when he spotted Elena's nurse, Grunhilda, catching flies with her tongue.
After further investigation revealed that Grunhilda was actually a pixie and that Elena was (unknowingly) a changeling, Merlin and Gaius realized that a union between her and Arthur would give the Sidhe control over the throne of Camelot. In order to prevent this, they decided to concoct a potion that would free Elena of the Sidhe that was possessing her. Merlin was tasked with collecting the ingredients for this potion, including an extremely rare Dropwort flower that only grew in marshy, boggy terrain.
Unfortunately, Grunhilda discovered that Merlin knew about Elena and rushed to inform the Sidhe. Determined to stop him from interfering in their plans, the Sidhe Elder tried to kill Merlin that night. Merlin managed to escape the attack and destroy the Elder with his magical staff, but accidentally broke the potion bottle in the process. Fortunately, Gaius was able to prepare another one while Merlin devised a plan to lure Grunhilda away from Elena.
After locking the pixie in the castle vaults, Merlin and Gaius retrieved the potion and Merlin's staff from their chambers and went to find Elena. However, Grunhilda soon escaped from her prison and attempted to attack them, forcing Merlin to reduce her to dust with his magical staff. He then entered Elena's chambers and made her drink the potion, forcing the Sidhe out of her and allowing Merlin to destroy it with his staff.
Later, Merlin helped Arthur prepare for his wedding. When he realized how upset the prince was about having to marry Elena, Merlin tried to comfort Arthur by sympathizing with his worries about having a destiny that he couldn't escape. He advised Arthur that an unhappy king would not make for a stronger kingdom and said that though he may be destined to rule Camelot, he had a choice as to how he did it. Recognizing the truth of Merlin's words, Arthur admitted to Elena that he did not love her and they mutually decided to call off the wedding (The Changeling).
When Gwen failed to show up for work one morning, Arthur became worried and sent Merlin to her house to see if anything was wrong. The place appeared to be empty and unusually messy when Merlin arrived, and he soon discovered a rag abandoned on the floor. After determining that it had been coated with a very strong drug, he showed the rag to Arthur and they quickly concluded that Gwen had been kidnapped.
Though Arthur was able to persuade Uther to send out a search party, no trace of Gwen was found until Merlin accidentally bumped into her the next morning. He was initially relieved to see that she was okay, but soon realized that something was wrong when he noticed that her wrists were badly bruised. Overwhelmed, Gwen tearfully explained that Cenred's men had kidnapped her and taken her to a strange castle, where she discovered that her brother Elyan was also being held captive. She told Merlin that Cenred had threatened to kill Elyan if she didn't bring Arthur to him within the week.
When Arthur learned what had happened, he deduced that Elyan was being held at the Castle of Fyrien and decided that he, Merlin, Gwen, and Morgana would form a rescue party. Merlin was dismayed by Morgana's inclusion (as he suspected that she was involved in Cenred's scheme) and tried to convince Arthur that it was a bad idea to let her come along. When this failed, he tried to appeal to Morgana by reminding her that Gwen and Arthur cared for her and she had no reason to harm them, but Morgana, unmoved, merely replied that he would do well to stay out of things that did not concern him.
Determined to stop her from sabotaging Arthur's rescue plan, the next day Merlin used his magic to summon a snake to scare Morgana's horse, causing it to throw her. However, though Morgana injured her ankle in the fall, Merlin's attempt to leave her behind failed when she insisted that she could go on. Later, after the group arrived at the Castle and tried to sneak in through a network of secret tunnels, Morgana used a magic ring to alert Morgause and Cenred to their location, which resulted in their capture.
Fortunately, Merlin and Arthur were able to escape and rescue Gwen and Elyan. Arthur then separated from the group to search for Morgana (who Morgause and Cenred were pretending to hold hostage) and ordered Merlin to guard the others, but Merlin decided to follow him instead. He caught up just as Morgause was attempting to kill the prince by conjuring a column of fire and quickly used his own magic to cause her spell to backfire. The resulting explosion caused the ceiling to collapse on Morgause and Cenred, knocking them unconscious and allowing Merlin, Arthur, and Morgana to escape (The Castle of Fyrien).
Quest to the Perilous Land
When the time came to prove himself worthy of the throne of Camelot, Arthur chose to embark on a quest to find the Fisher King's Golden Trident. Because it was tradition for such quests to be completed alone and unaided, Arthur ordered Merlin to stay behind. However, the warlock was later forced to follow him after he discovered that Morgana was attempting to use an Eye of the Phoenix to drain the prince's life force.
Knowing that he would need help to save Arthur, Merlin recruited his friend Gwaine to ride with him to the Perilous Lands. They were given access to the realm by Grettir, the Bridgekeeper, who referred to Arthur and Gwaine as "Courage" and "Strength" and addressed Merlin as "Magic". Before he allowed them to enter, Grettir took Merlin aside and informed him that the Fisher King had waited many years for his arrival. He then advised him not to deny the King what he wished, and to remember that nothing was as it seemed.
After a night spent camping in the wilderness, Merlin and Gwaine were able to track Arthur to the Fisher King's castle, where Merlin found him about to be attacked by a pair of Wyverns. He quickly used his Dragonlord abilities to order the creatures away, and also took the opportunity to remove the Eye of the Phoenix from Arthur's wrist. Later, when he met the Fisher King and promised to grant him an end to his suffering, he used the crystal to give him the death he craved.
Before he died, the Fisher King warned Merlin that Albion's time of need was near and that he alone could save her. To this end, he gave Merlin a glass vial containing water from the Lake of Avalon, which he said would provide the help he would need. Soon after the Fisher King's death, Arthur and Gwaine reunited with Merlin (who had been separated from them by a trap door) and located the Golden Trident, after which Arthur and Merlin returned to Camelot while Gwaine, who was still banished from the kingdom, elected to travel south (The Eye of the Phoenix).
Alice and the Manticore
When Uther learned of a physician in the Lower Town that was offering miracle cures, he suspected that magic was involved and sent Gaius and Merlin to investigate. They spoke with the local innkeeper and discovered that the physician had healed him using a totem and a magical potion, but when they later reported their findings to the king, Gaius lied and told him that the innkeeper had been cured with a natural remedy.
Merlin was pleased by Gaius's actions and told him that he was glad he'd protected the innkeeper. Much to his surprise, however, Gaius denied having lied about anything and tried to convince him that neither the potion nor the totem had been enchanted. Later that night, Merlin woke to find Gaius sneaking out of their chambers and followed him to a house in the Lower Town owned by a woman named Alice. He watched as she greeted Gaius with a hug and invited him inside, then quietly returned to the castle.
The next morning, Merlin admitted that he'd followed Gaius to Alice's house and asked him who she was. He learned that she and Gaius had been friends and lovers many years ago and had even been engaged to be married, but had been forced to part ways during the Great Purge when Alice fled Camelot and Gaius stayed behind. Now that she was back, Gaius felt that they'd been given a second chance. Merlin was pleased for his mentor and did what he could to support his romance, even agreeing to give up his room when Gaius invited Alice to stay with them for a while.
Unfortunately, Merlin soon discovered that Alice had other, darker reasons for returning to Camelot when he overheard her plotting with a strange creature to poison Uther. He tried to tell Gaius what he'd seen, but the physician dismissed his story when he was unable to find the creature Alice had been talking to. Determined to prove that he was telling the truth, Merlin researched the creature in the castle library and eventually identified it as a Manticore, an ancient creature that was said to reside in another world.
Soon afterwards, Uther's medicine was discovered to have been poisoned. Merlin tried once more to convince Gaius that Alice was involved, but when the physician refused to listen, he was forced to take his suspicions to Arthur, who wasted no time in ordering Alice's arrest. However, Merlin later discovered that, while Alice had used the Manticore's venom to poison the king, she had not been working with the creature of her own free will. Horrified, Merlin apologized to Gaius and told him what he'd learned, and together they decided to cure Uther by killing the Manticore.
In order to kill the creature, Merlin would have to summon the Manticore, then keep it at bay while Gaius used magic to destroy the box that served as its portal to the Spirit World. Their plan was successful and the Manticore was destroyed. Later, after a fully recovered Uther refused to pardon Alice for her part in the attempt to assassinate him, Gaius helped her to escape from Camelot before she could be executed (Love in the Time of Dragons).
A Prophecy Come True
After Morgana had a prophetic dream about Gwen being crowned Queen of Camelot, Morgause advised her to do everything in her power to prevent it from coming to pass. Morgana decided to sabotage Gwen and Arthur's relationship by causing Uther to find out about it, then hid a magic poultice in Arthur's room and led the king to believe that his son had been enchanted. Unable to prove her innocence, Gwen was swiftly arrested and sentenced to death.
Determined to save Gwen from execution, but knowing that Uther would never believe Morgana was responsible for planting the poultice, Merlin decided that if he couldn't expose the real sorcerer, then he'd have to invent one. He used an ageing spell to disguise himself as an eighty-year-old man he later dubbed Dragoon the Great and snuck into Arthur's chambers, where the prince caught him hiding another poultice under his pillow. Merlin managed to escape, but unfortunately the aeging spell proved to be too powerful for him to remove on his own, and he was consequently captured and sentenced to burn at the stake in Gwen's place.
Fortunately, Gaius was able to concoct a potion to reverse the spell's effects. He slipped it to Merlin as he was being led to his execution, after which the young warlock used his magic to set the waiting pyre ablaze. In the confusion that followed, Merlin was able to escape into the castle and use the potion to break the spell. By the time Arthur and his men caught up with him, he had returned to his normal form and was able to explain Dragoon's disappearance by claiming that he'd run right past him, a lie that Arthur believed because Gaius had explained Merlin's earlier absence by telling him that he was spending the day in the tavern (Queen of Hearts).
Guiding a Sorcerer
While readying Arthur's armour for the Decennial Tournament, Merlin was threatened by a pair of thugs who wanted him to attend to their things instead. He was extricated from the situation by a young man named Gilli, who the two thugs had targeted earlier in the day. Merlin and Gaius later saw Gilli fighting in the tournament and discovered that he was a sorcerer using a magic ring to enhance his combat skills.
Afraid that Gilli's secret would be discovered if he continued to use his magic to fight, Merlin tried to convince him to withdraw from the tournament, but Gilli refused. He claimed that without magic he was nobody and that he needed to use it to prove he was special. He also told Merlin about his father, a sorcerer who had vowed never to use his magic because he feared what would happen if Uther found out, and said that he wouldn't be like him. However, Gilli later changed his mind after he killed his opponent in the next round. Horrified by what he'd done, he realized that Merlin was right and decided to withdraw.
Unfortunately, Gilli soon had a change of heart when everyone began to show him the respect he craved and he decided not to withdraw from the tournament after all. He won his next match (seriously injuring his opponent in the process) and was slated to face Uther in the finals. Merlin was upset by this and tried once more to persuade Gilli to withdraw, even going so far as to reveal his own magic to show that he understood how he felt. However, his actions ultimately backfired when Gilli, angry that Merlin appeared to be defending the king, accused him of forgetting who he was and declared that it was time people with magic fought back.
At his wit's end, Merlin summoned Kilgharrah and asked for his advice. The dragon sympathized with his plight and noted that it was never an easy thing to see one's kin die, but ultimately reminded Merlin that if Arthur were to see his father killed through the use of magic, it would harden his mind toward it forever. Recognizing the truth of his words, Merlin decided to use his own magic to counteract Gilli's during the finals, costing him the win and saving Uther's life.
Gilli was initially angry with Merlin for interfering and accused him of betraying their kind. Much to his surprise, however, Merlin replied that Gilli was the real traitor, as he'd acted dishonourably by using his magic for his own glory. Ashamed, Gilli finally realized that it hadn't been magic his father had been afraid of, but the power it had to corrupt the weak. He apologized to Merlin for his behavior and told him that he hoped they'd meet again someday, to which Merlin replied that he was sure that they would. He later watched from the battlements as Gilli departed Camelot in peace (The Sorcerer's Shadow).
Morgana's First Conquest of Camelot
After Sir Leon returned to court claiming that the Druids had healed him with the Cup of Life, Uther decided to send Arthur (and Merlin) on a quest to retrieve it before their enemy, King Cenred, learned of its location. They were captured by the slave trader Jarl soon after entering Cenred's kingdom and were unexpectedly reunited with their friend Gwaine, who was also being held prisoner. The three were later able to escape together and Gwaine decided to join Merlin and Arthur on their quest.
They recovered the Cup from the Druids, but were ambushed by Cenred's men on their way back to Camelot. Arthur was injured in the attack and Merlin was unable to keep the Cup from falling into enemy hands. Cenred's ally Morgause later used it to make his army immortal, then killed him and used the army to conquer Camelot. Merlin, Arthur, and Gwaine returned to find that Uther and the rest of the court had been taken prisoner and that only Gaius and Elyan had managed to escape. They later retreated to the safety of the woods after witnessing Morgana crowned Queen of Camelot.
The group spent the next week hiding in a cave while they figured out what to do about the immortal army. Merlin used the Avalon Vial to contact his deceased lover Freya, who told him that the Cup of Life had transformed Morgana's army into the living dead and reminded him that the only thing with the power to slay the undead was the sword Excalibur, which Merlin had hidden at the bottom of the Lake of Avalon. Merlin later commanded the dragon Kilgharrah to carry him to the lake and was given the sword by Freya, though only her arm emerged from the water.
Soon after Merlin returned to the cave, he and the rest of the group met up with Gwen and Leon. The pair had managed to escape from Camelot, but had accidentally led Morgause and a squad of immortal soldiers to Arthur's hiding place in the process. Fortunately, the group was saved by the timely arrival of Lancelot and his friend Percival, who helped them escape by using a small avalanche to block the soldiers' path. The group then traveled to the Castle of the Ancient Kings, where Arthur revealed his plan to rescue his father. Merlin was among those who volunteered to accompany him on his mission and was later present when the the prince knighted Gwaine, Elyan, Percival, and Lancelot for their loyalty.
Unbeknownst to Arthur, however, Merlin and Lancelot were planning to split off from the group after they reached the castle to find and empty the Cup of Life. Armed with the sword Excalibur, they battled their way to the throne room and destroyed any immortal soldiers that stood in their way. However, Lancelot was injured and Morgause intervened before Merlin could reach the Cup. Fortunately, Gaius arrived and saved Merlin by attacking Morgause with magic. Merlin was then able to use his own magic to smash her into a pillar, seriously injuring her, before using Excalibur to empty the Cup of the army's blood, destroying the immortal soldiers.
It was at this point that Morgana arrived. Horrified by Morgause's injuries, she rushed into the room and cradled her unconscious sister. Merlin confronted Morgana and told her that her reign was over, but she angrily replied that it had only just begun. She then used her magic to bring the room crashing down around them, but fortunately Merlin, Lancelot, and Gaius were able to escape without injury. Merlin later placed Excalibur in a stone in the woods, where no mortal man could wield it (The Coming of Arthur).
The Darkest Hour
One year after Morgana attempted to conquer Camelot, the court was holding a feast to celebrate Samhain's Eve when Merlin had a vision of a mysterious old woman, causing him to faint. Later that night, after Merlin had recovered, he told Gaius what he'd seen and the physician concluded that the woman in his vision was likely the Cailleach, the Gatekeeper to the Spirit World. Gaius was unsure why she had appeared to Merlin, but feared that it might mean trouble for Camelot.
The next day, Arthur began receiving reports of strange, faceless beings attacking nearby villages. Merlin accompanied him and the Knights of the Round Table when they rode out to investigate and discovered that the attacks were the work of the Dorocha, ghostly voices of the dead that Morgana had unleashed by tearing the veil between the worlds. Ordinary weapons could not kill them and Merlin was unable to use his magic in their presence. Fortunately, Lancelot was able to chase the Dorocha away from Merlin with a torch before they could harm him.
The attacks soon spread to the rest of Camelot, plunging the kingdom into chaos as frightened villagers flocked to the city for protection. Unable to use his magic, Merlin kept busy by helping Gaius tend to the wounded when he wasn't serving Arthur. He was later present when Gaius informed Arthur of his suspicions that the veil had been torn and that he would have to journey to the Isle of the Blessed and perform a blood sacrifice to repair it. Knowing that Arthur would choose to sacrifice himself to save the kingdom, Merlin resolved to protect him by sacrificing himself in his place.
Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights set out for the Isle of the Blessed the next morning. Lancelot didn't think it was wise for Merlin to come along, as he was worried that the warlock would get hurt without his magic to protect himself. When he told Merlin as much, however, the warlock merely replied that it was his duty to protect Arthur, just as it was Lancelot's duty to protect Camelot.
The group later made camp at the abandoned fortress of Daobeth, where Merlin and Arthur were attacked by a Dorocha while they collected firewood. They evaded the creature and hid within the fortress, but the Dorocha pursued them and Arthur eventually decided to meet its attack head on. Before he could do so, however, Merlin pushed him out of the way and took the brunt of the Dorocha's attack himself. It was a this point that the Knights (who had been searching the fortress for them) arrived and chased the creature away with a torch.
Though Merlin's magic allowed him to survive the attack, he was badly injured and appeared to be slowly dying. As such, it was decided that Lancelot would take him back to Camelot while Arthur and the other Knights completed their quest. Fortunately, Merlin and Lancelot encountered the Vilia, benevolent spirits of the lakes and streams, during their journey and they were able to heal the warlock with their magic. The spirits also conjured magical lights to keep him and Lancelot safe from the Dorocha during the night.
The next morning, Merlin and Lancelot rode out to catch up to Arthur and the others. They took shelter in a cabin in the woods, where they stayed up talking and drinking late into the night. When they eventually fell asleep their fire burned low, leaving them vulnerable to the Dorocha. Fortunately, Merlin was able to sense the creatures approaching and woke Lancelot in time for them to escape. However, the Dorocha continued to chase them, so he summoned the Great Dragon to repel the ghosts with his fire.
Merlin thanked Kilgharrah for his help and introduced him to Lancelot, then explained their errand to the Isle of the Blessed. The dragon confirmed that the Cailleach would demand a sacrifice before she would repair the veil and tried to convince Merlin not to offer himself in Arthur's place, but the warlock would not be dissuaded. Touched by his loyalty, the dragon told Merlin that he would miss him before he flew away.
Merlin and Lancelot rejoined Arthur and the others and completed their journey to the Isle of the Blessed. After discovering the island was guarded by Wyverns, Leon, Percival, and Elyan stayed behind to hold them off while Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, and Lancelot confronted the Cailleach. Gwaine and Arthur were quickly knocked out and Merlin stepped forward to offer himself as a sacrifice, but the Cailleach refused and told him that his time among men was not yet over. Confused, Merlin turned to the veil and saw Lancelot walking toward the edge. He could only stare in horror as the knight smiled at him, then stepped through the veil and vanished.
Back in Camelot, Merlin attended Lancelot's memorial alongside the rest of the court. Later, while mourning his friend in the privacy of his room, he overheard Arthur's uncle Agravaine ask Gaius about the identity of the sorcerer Emrys, which led them to suspect that the nobleman might be in league with Morgana (The Darkest Hour).
The Once and Future King
After Uther was mortally wounded protecting his son from an assassin, Merlin decided to show Arthur that magic could be used for good by using it to heal the king. Ignoring Gaius's warnings that his plan could backfire, Merlin met with the prince disguised as Dragoon the Great and agreed to heal Uther if Arthur would promise to legalize magic when he was king.
Though initially hesitant, Arthur accepted the terms and Merlin arranged to heal Uther later that evening. Unfortunately, Arthur's uncle Lord Agravaine told Morgana of their plan and the witch gave him an enchanted pendant to place around the king's neck. The pendant caused Merlin's healing spell to backfire, killing Uther instead of saving him. Enraged, Arthur tried to attack Merlin, but the warlock was able to use his magic to knock him unconscious. He then fled the room and returned to his usual form.
After Gaius showed him the necklace and they realized what Morgana had done, Merlin tried to convince Arthur that his father's death was an accident. Arthur, however, was certain this own arrogance was to blame. He told Merlin that magic was pure evil and that he would never lose sight of that again now that he'd lost both his parents to magic. Heartbroken, Merlin spent the night sitting vigil while the prince mourned his father. He later watched as Arthur was crowned King of Camelot and joined the rest of the court in chanting, "Long live the King!" (The Wicked Day).
Quest For The Dragon Egg
When Gaius's former pupil Julius Borden returned to Camelot, he sought out his old mentor and told him of his plan to recover the last dragon egg. Though Gaius refused to get involved, Merlin overheard their conversation and became determined to help. He summoned Kilgharrah to confirm that the egg truly existed, then promised to fulfill his duty as a Dragonlord by finding it and helping the Great Dragon preserve his kind.
After he tracked down Borden and convinced him to let him help, Merlin stole Arthur's key to the vaults so Julius could retrieve the final piece of the Triskelion, the key to the Tomb of Ashkanar. Unfortunately, Borden betrayed Merlin by knocking him unconscious and taking the completed Triskelion, leaving him to take the blame for its theft. Luckily, Merlin recovered and returned the keys to the vault to Arthur before the theft was discovered.
Gaius was furious with Merlin for trusting Borden and told him he feared to think what his former student would do with the egg when he found it. To make matters worse, Arthur had decided that he and the Knights of the Round Table would embark on a quest to destroy the egg before Borden could use it against them. Determined to make up for his mistake by protecting the egg, Merlin accompanied them on their journey and was later contacted by the Druids, who told him that Borden had stolen a piece of the Triskelion from their camp and warned him that the Tomb was filled with traps.
Throughout the quest, Arthur and the Knights amused themselves by playing a joke on Merlin wherein they pretended to eat all the food he'd prepared for them, leaving nothing for him. Though their prank annoyed Merlin, who was focused on getting to the dragon egg before Borden did, it ultimately saved him from harm when Borden poisoned their stew. Merlin used his magic to heal the Knights, then left them to recover while he completed their journey alone.
Upon entering the Tomb, Merlin soon found his way to an inner chamber that housed the dragon egg. He confronted and defeated Borden (unmasking himself as the last Dragonlord in the process) and rescued the egg, but when he removed it from its pedestal, he triggered a trap that caused the Tomb to collapse. Merlin escaped without injury to either himself or the egg, but Borden was killed in the collapse and buried in the rubble.
Later, back in Camelot, Merlin showed the egg to Gaius, then presented it to Kilgharrah. He used his Dragonlord powers to summon the hatchling from its egg by naming it Aithusa, which meant "light of the sun". Pleased that he was no longer the last of his kind, Kilgharrah told Merlin that no dragon's birth was without meaning and sometimes that meaning was hard to see. However, he decided to believe that the white dragon's birth boded well for Albion (Aithusa).
War With Caerleon
After a Caerleon raiding party was spotted within Camelot, Merlin was disguised as a Knight of Camelot and given the task of leading the men into an ambush. When King Caerleon himself was found among the prisoners, Lord Agravaine advised Arthur to prove his strength to the surrounding kingdoms by killing his enemy. Though Merlin counseled him to show mercy instead, Arthur ultimately chose to follow his uncle's advice and killed the king.
His actions enraged Caerleon's wife, Queen Annis, who consequently declared war on Camelot. Merlin accompanied Arthur and his army to the battle site and later followed him when he snuck out to meet Annis in secret. His captured nearly ruined negotiations between the two rulers, but they eventually agreed that a battle between two champions would decide their conflict rather than the deaths of thousands of innocents. Arthur was very upset with Merlin for eavesdropping and his inability to leave things be, ignoring the warlock's protests that he was just trying to look out for him as a friend.
After he decided to fight as Camelot's champion himself, Arthur entrusted Merlin with a ring that he requested be given to Gwen if he died. Merlin later watched the duel from the ridge along with the rest of Camelot's army. When Morgana (who was secretly in league with Annis) attempted to sabotage the match by activating an enchantment she'd placed on Arthur's sword, Merlin quickly used his magic to counteract her efforts. With his help, Arthur was able to gain the upper hand and defeat Caerleon's champion, Derian, but chose to spare his life and make peace with Annis rather than kill him. Later, as they returned to Camelot, Arthur admitted to Merlin that he should've listened to him earlier, even if he was "the worst servant in the five kingdoms" (His Father's Son).
Under Morgana's Control
When Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights were traveling through the Valley of the Fallen Kings, Merlin was badly injured and he and Arthur became separated from the others. They were able to evade the mercenaries by spending the night in the forest, but were ultimately discovered the next morning. To protect Arthur from capture, Merlin used his magic to cause a rockslide, preventing the mercenaries from reaching the king, but trapping himself with them in the process.
The mercenaries captured Merlin and took him to Morgana, who decided to heal his injuries and hold him prisoner in her hovel. She used her magic to knock him out and later conjured a Fomorroh, a snake with multiple heads that High Priestesses had once used to control people's minds. Morgana inserted one of these snakes into Merlin's neck and ordered him to kill Arthur Pendragon; the thought would consume him and he would be unable to rest until it was done. She then abandoned Merlin in a nearby bog, where he woke with no memory of what had occurred.
Merlin was soon found by Arthur and Gwaine and taken back to Camelot. His odd behavior soon attracted the attention of Gaius and Gwen, as did his frequent attempts to kill Arthur. He tried to poison Arthur's food, rigged a crossbow trap in his wardrobe, and put acid in his bathwater. Fortunately, Gwen and Gaius (and his own clumsiness) prevented him from succeeding. Gaius examined Merlin to find the cause of his strange behavior and discovered the Fomorroh in his neck. He helped Merlin regain control over his mind by paralyzing the snake with a potion, but said that he would have to kill the mother snake in order to be truly free of Morgana's influence.
Disguised as Dragoon, Merlin traveled to Morgana's hovel and arrived just as she and Agravaine were leaving. He snuck inside and soon found the Fomorroh, but Morgana returned before he could escape with it. Merlin won the ensuing duel by knocking her out with a whirlwind spell, after which he destroyed the mother snake in a small fire.
Later, back at Camelot, Gaius removed the remaining snake from his neck and Arthur, oblivious as to what had happened, rebuked him for his two day absence and assigned George, the incredibly dull servant who had waited on him while Merlin was away, to teach him how to be a proper manservant as punishment (A Servant of Two Masters).
After recovering from a duel with a mysterious old sorcerer, Morgana was convinced that her opponent had been her prophesied enemy Emrys and became obsessed with discovering his identity. She hired Alator of the Catha to kidnap and question Gaius, who she believed to be in league with the old sorcerer, and had Agravaine hide a spell book in the physician's chambers to convince Arthur that he was a traitor and had left Camelot of his own accord.
But though Arthur was willing to accept Gaius's guilt, Merlin refused to believe that his mentor was a traitor and decided to search Agravaine's chambers for proof. He found a small chest of spell books hidden beneath the nobleman's bed and a pair of boots covered in reddish soil. Gwaine later identified the soil as iron ore, a rare mineral found only in the mines at the ridge of Kemeray, and he and Merlin rode out to search the place.
They split up when they came to a fork in the tunnel and Merlin soon crossed paths with Morgana, who used her magic to knock him off his feet and gleefully threatened him with death. When Alator arrived, she mockingly introduced Merlin to him and asked if he had discovered Emrys's identity. The sorcerer slowly approached Merlin and confirmed that he knew both who and where Emrys was, but shocked Morgana by refusing to tell her. Instead, he knocked her out by blasting her into a wall with his magic, then turned and introduced himself to Merlin.
Though initially wary of him, Merlin soon warmed to Alator when he explained that he and others of their kind knew of his destiny and would gladly give their lives to help him achieve it. They parted ways as friends and Merlin returned to Camelot, where he was reunited with Gaius. Merlin wanted to tell Arthur about Agravaine's treachery, but Gaius advised against it. He pointed out that they had no evidence and that the king was unlikely to believe them over his uncle, which convinced Merlin to keep quiet for the time being (The Secret Sharer).
When the village of Longstead was stricken with a mysterious illness, Merlin was sent with Gwen and the Knights to provide treatment and investigate the cause. He did all he could, even using his magic at one point, but his treatments proved ineffective and he began to suspect that sorcery was involved. The group decided to return to Camelot to inform Arthur of their suspicions and return later with Gaius, who had remained at the citadel to treat an outbreak of sweating sickness.
They encountered a group of bandits along the trail and rescued a young woman named Lamia, who was being held captive. Though grateful to the Knights for saving her, Lamia was distrustful of Merlin and coldly refused his help. Her attitude made Merlin suspicious of her, especially after she began to exert a strange control over the Knights; they grew increasingly possessive of her and aggressive towards each other, Gwen, and Merlin. They also began to forget the purpose of their journey, concerned only with doing whatever Lamia asked of them.
Gwen began to share Merlin's suspicions after Elyan fell ill and collapsed while standing guard. She and Merlin tried to argue that he should be taken to Gaius for treatment, but the Knights decided to follow Lamia's suggestion and take him to a nearby castle instead. Soon after they arrived, Lamia disappeared from the group and transformed into a monstrous, tentacled creature. She hunted down the Knights one by one, causing them to fall ill with the same affliction as Elyan and the people of Longstead, and Merlin was unable to stop her with his magic. Fortunately, he and the others were saved by the arrival of Arthur, who had tracked them down with a search party after they failed to return to Camelot (Lamia).
Lancelot's Return and Guinevere's Exile
When Arthur held a jousting tournament to celebrate his engagement to Guinevere, Lancelot shocked everyone by revealing that he'd survived the veil and made his way home to Camelot. Though overjoyed by his friend's return, Merlin became suspicious when he learned that Lancelot had no memory of his magic. He later used necromancy to determine that Lancelot was actually a Shade and theorized that he had most likely been resurrected by Morgana to harm Arthur.
Much to Merlin's surprise, however, the Shade Lancelot chose not to kill Arthur when he was matched against him in the tournament. Confused by this turn of events, Merlin started spying on Lancelot and later witnessed him inform Lord Agravaine that he was going to meet Gwen in the council chambers. He attempted to incapacitate Lancelot with a stunning spell, but the Shade caught him off guard and knocked him out instead.
By the time Merlin regained consciousness, Lancelot had met up with Gwen in the council chambers and they kissed just as Agravaine arrived with Arthur. Hurt and enraged, the king attacked Lancelot with his sword. They dueled until Merlin arrived and disarmed the Shade with his magic, after which Gwen threw herself between them and begged them to stop. Arthur had her and Lancelot arrested and imprisoned for their betrayal, and though he ultimately chose to spare Gwen's life, he banished her from the kingdom under pain of death.
Merlin later went to Arthur and tried to persuade him to life his sentence, but the king was adamant that he could never trust Gwen again and that her leaving was for the best. Soon afterward, they received word that Lancelot had committed suicide. When Arthur ordered that the former knight be given a proper burial, Merlin took his body to the Lake of Avalon. He used his magic to free Lancelot's soul from Morgana's influence, unexpectedly bringing him back to life for a moment, then pushed his body out onto the lake and set it aflame (Lancelot Du Lac).
Merlin was on patrol with Arthur and the Knights when they stumbled across a Druid Shrine. Sensing that the place was cursed, he warned the others not to touch anything and advised that they return to Camelot. Soon afterward, Elyan began to act strangely; he lost control during a training exercise, got in a fight with Gwaine, and attempted to assassinate Arthur, leading Merlin and Gaius to theorize that he was being possessed.
After Elyan was arrested for the assassination attempt, Agravaine advised Arthur to have him executed as a show of strength. Merlin decided to break Elyan out of prison and use his magic to exorcise the spirit from him, but Elyan knocked him out and escaped before he could do so. Later, after he regained consciousness, Merlin and Gaius traveled to the Druid Shrine to learn more about the spirit they were dealing with. His magic allowed him to hear screams and sounds of a battle from a nearby well and they concluded that the Druids had been attacked and killed by Uther's men.
Soon after they returned to the castle, Elyan made another attempt on Arthur's life. Merlin intervened and convinced the king to spare Elyan's life, allowing him to escape. He later accompanied Arthur to the Druid Shrine and was present when he confronted the spirit possessing Elyan. Much to his surprise, Arthur revealed that it was he, not Uther, who had led the raid on the Druid camp. He begged forgiveness from the spirit, who accepted his promise that the Druid people would be treated with respect and released Elyan from his control (A Herald of the New Age).
The Hunter's Heart
When Arthur announced his intentions to marry Princess Mithian of Nemeth, Merlin objected to his plan and tried to talk him out if it by bringing up his feelings for Gwen. Arthur replied that she chose to betray him and now must live with the consequences, and when Merlin insisted that he still loved her he became angry and threatened him with exile if he ever said anything like that again.
Certain that Arthur was destined to marry Gwen but unsure what to do about it, Merlin treated Mithian coldly at first and repeatedly used his magic to sabotage her dates with Arthur. However, though she was aware that Merlin didn't like her, Mithian quietly accepted that he had his own reasons for his behavior and continued to treat him kindly. She eventually confronted him in private and asked that he give her a chance, as she truly liked Arthur and knew that he valued Merlin's opinion above almost all others.
Merlin later accompanied Arthur and Mithian on a hunting trip and discovered that Gwen had been transformed into a deer. He tried to help her, but Mithian's arrow struck her in the leg and she fled. Merlin returned to the forest that night to search for Gwen and found her unconscious, but back in her human form. He healed her with his magic and watched over her until she woke the following morning.
Gwen quickly informed Merlin that Agravaine had given Morgana and her ally Helios plans to the siege tunnels beneath the citadel and they were using them to plot an attack on Camelot. She refused to return to the castle with him, claiming that she deserved her banishment, so Merlin relayed her report to Arthur by himself and successfully convinced him to investigate. Unfortunately, Agravaine had already returned the plans to the vault. Angered by his repeated accusations against his uncle, Arthur once again threatened Merlin with exile if he said anything more.
Later that evening, Arthur revealed that he still loved Gwen despite her betrayal and asked Merlin what he should do about it. Merlin replied that no one would do more for Camelot or him than Gwen and advised Arthur to do what his heart told him, which prompted him to break off his engagement to Mithian. She was disappointed but respected his decision, and after Arthur offered to cede the disputed lands of Gedref to her kingdom as recompense, they parted as friends (The Hunter's Heart).
Morgana's Second Conquest of Camelot
Merlin was serving Arthur at the Feast of Beltain when Agravaine helped Morgana and Helios launch their attack on Camelot, forcing its citizens to flee. Knowing that Arthur would never willingly abandon his people, Merlin placed an enchantment on his mind that confused him and made him easier to control. They then escaped into the forest with Percival and Elyan, leaving Gwaine and Gaius behind to hold up their pursuers.
They decided to seek sanctuary across the border in Merlin's home village of Ealdor, but unfortunately Morgana and her soldiers pursued them into the woods. Percival went missing after she attacked them with her magic and Elyan was captured ensuring that Merlin and Arthur escaped. They eventually reached a place of safety and Merlin instructed Arthur (who was still enchanted) to disguise himself as a peasant so he'd look less conspicuous to anyone they encountered while traveling.
They later ran into a gang of smugglers led by Tristan and Isolde, who agreed to let Merlin and Arthur travel with them in exchange for gold. Unfortunately, the smugglers discovered Arthur's true identity the next morning when their camp was attacked by Agravaine and his men. Angered by the loss of his cargo and the revelation that he'd been harboring the King of Camelot, Tristian initially wanted nothing more to do with them, but agreed to accompany them to Ealdor after Isolde was injured so that she could receive proper care.
Upon arriving at the village, Merlin was reunited with his mother Hunith and Arthur discovered that Gwen had been living there since her banishment. Gwen later decided to join their group after Agravaine and his men attacked Ealdor, forcing her, Merlin, Arthur, Tristan, and Isolde to flee to some nearby caves.
Though Merlin called the Great Dragon to attack their pursuers, Agravaine and a small party of Southrons managed to follow them into the caves. Ignoring Arthur's protests, Merlin doubled back and attempted to lead their enemies away from the group but was soon cornered by Agravaine, who demanded that he tell him where Arthur was. Merlin refused, and was ultimately forced to kill him and his men with his magic when they tried to attack him. He then returned to Arthur and the others and led them out of the caves.
They took cover in the Forest of Ascetir, where Arthur later confided in Merlin that he felt he'd failed his people and no longer deserved to be king. Determined to convince him otherwise, Merlin went to the Great Dragon for advice and was told that he would have to restore Arthur's faith in himself. He accomplished this by searching the forest for survivors of Morgana's attack and gathering them together to watch Arthur pull the sword Excalibur from the stone he'd hidden it in.
With Arthur's faith restored, he, Merlin, and the surviving Knights of Camelot began planning to retake the kingdom from Morgana. Knowing that her magic would put their side at a disadvantage, Merlin snuck into the castle disguised as Dragoon the Great and cast a spell that would temporarily block Morgana's powers, then returned to the camp before anyone had noticed his absence.
The next morning, Arthur and his allies put their plan into action. The knights fought off the Southrons and freed their prisoners while Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Tristan, and Isolde battled their way to the throne room. They found Morgana and Helios waiting for them, but the witch quickly fled when she realized that she couldn't use her magic. Gwen pursued her and Merlin followed, arriving just in time to stop Morgana from killing her. Unfortunately, the witch vanished before they could apprehend her, and Gwen and Merlin returned to the throne room to find that Isolde had been killed fighting Helios. Later, after the kingdom had recovered, Merlin was among those present who witnessed Guinevere crowned Queen of Camelot (The Sword in the Stone).
Three years after Guinevere's coronation, a patrol of sixty knights led by Gwaine and Percival disappeared while traveling through Ismere. After a search party failed to turn any leads besides a rumor that Morgana was occupying the Fortress of Ismere, Arthur began to suspect that she was holding the knights hostage and decided to lead a rescue party to investigate.
They decided to catch Morgana by surprise by entering Ismere from the west, through their ally Queen Annis's lands. On the way there, the rescue party discovered the remains of a village, the inhabitants of which had been slaughtered. While searching for survivors, Merlin found a Druid Seer named Lochru who used his final moments to show him a vision of the king dying in battle. Merlin was deeply disturbed by this encounter and repeatedly tried to talk Arthur out of going to Ismere, but the king was determined not to abandon his men.
Soon after crossing the border into Ismere, the rescue party was ambushed by a group of Saxons led by Morgana and her ally Ruadan. Arthur was knocked unconscious during the fight and Merlin dragged him from the battlefield and used his magic to keep them both safe. Unfortunately, Merlin's precautions caused them to become separated from the rest of the rescue party and they were forced to continue the journey on their own.
Their situation became even worse after Merlin's hunger led them into a trap and caused them to be captured by slavers. Ragnor, the leader of the bandits, recognized Arthur and wanted to kill him to collect a bounty, but was persuaded not to by one of his men, who pointed out that Morgana would want to decide their fate herself. Much to Arthur's surprise (and Merlin's dismay), that man was revealed to be Mordred, the young Druid boy they'd helped escape from Camelot several years earlier.
Because he believed that he owed Arthur a debt, Mordred tried to treat him and Merlin with kindness. He gave them food, promised Merlin that he wouldn't reveal his secret, and explained that Morgana was searching for the Diamair, the key to all knowledge. However, Merlin continued to view him with suspicion. He knew that Mordred was destined to kill Arthur and refused to believe that he meant them no harm.
When they neared the Fortress of Ismere, Merlin and Arthur managed to escape their captors after stealing a dagger and several other weapons. They evaded their pursuers by jumping across a gap in the ice, after which Merlin used an axe to break the ice and widen the gap while Arthur picked off the bandits with a crossbow. He chose to spare Mordred, however, which angered Merlin, who insisted that he should have killed him when he had the chance.
Upon arriving at the Fortress, they used a garbage shaft to sneak inside, then disguised themselves as Saxons to search for the missing Knights. They found them in the dungeons, where Morgana was forcing them to work as miners. Arthur gave Percival a sword and instructed him to free the others, then he and Merlin ventured deeper into the caves to search for Gwaine, who Percival said had been missing for several days. They found him safe in the company of the Euchdag, but unfortunately their reunion was cut short by the arrival of a dragon that chased them deeper into the caves.
Merlin recognized the dragon as Aithusa and told Arthur to get Gwaine to safety while he lured it away from them. Horrified by its crippled state, he commanded Aithusa to tell him what had happened to it, but soon realized that the young dragon was unable to speak.
When he heard Arthur calling for him, Merlin commanded Aithusa to leave him before they were discovered, then doubled back to search for the king. He found him cornered by Mordred and Morgana, the latter of whom quickly incapacitated Merlin by using her magic to slam him against a wall. Unable to focus because of his injuries, Merlin could only watch as Morgana prepared to kill Arthur. Much to everyone's surprise, however, Mordred stabbed her in the back before she could do so. He then escorted the injured king to safety, leaving both Merlin and Morgana behind.
Merlin passed out after they left and woke sometime later to find that Morgana was gone and that his injuries had been healed by the Euchdag. She assured him that Morgana had not found the Diamair and that she never wound, which led Merlin to realize that the Euchdag was the key to all knowledge that Morgana had been searching for. Before she left, he asked her who Arthur's bane was if it wasn't Mordred and was surprised to learn that it was Arthur himself.
Later, back in Camelot, Merlin was present when Arthur knighted Mordred. He confronted Mordred afterward and asked him why he'd chosen to save Arthur, to which he replied that Arthur had been right about the love that bound them being stronger than the power they wield, and that Morgana had forgotten that. Despite his answer, however, Merlin remained distrustful of him and later told Gaius that he felt that Albion's great trial had begun (Arthur's Bane).
The Return of Uther
While out hunting, Merlin and Arthur came across a village where an old woman was about to be executed for sorcery. After determining that she hadn't received a fair trial, Arthur ordered that she be released and he and Merlin took her away from the village.
They made camp in the forest and Merlin tried to treat her injuries, but it soon became clear that she wouldn't last the night. Before she died, the woman thanked Arthur for his kindness and gave him the Horn of Cathbhadh, a magical artifact with the power to summon the spirits of the dead.
The next day, the court of Camelot celebrated the anniversary of Arthur's coronation, which was also the anniversary of Uther's death. Depressed, Arthur decided to go with Merlin to the Great Stones of Nemeton, where he used the Horn to contact his father in the spirit world. Unfortunately, their reunion was not the happy occasion he expected. Arthur later confided in Merlin that his father was unhappy with the way he was running the kingdom and the warlock assured him that he'd always done what he believed to be right and that his people respected him.
Shortly after Merlin and Arthur returned to Camelot, strange things began happening around the castle. A meeting of the Round Table was interrupted by a falling candelabra and doors opening and closing by themselves, and Percival was later injured by a falling axe in the armoury. Troubled by these occurrences, Merlin told Gaius what Arthur had done and the physician concluded that he had accidentally released Uther's spirit into the living world. Merlin went to Arthur and told him about their theory, but the king refused to believe that his father would do such things. He soon changed his mind, however, after Gwen was nearly killed, and decided to help Merlin send Uther back to the spirit world.
They took a potion from Gaius that would allow them to see Uther's spiritual form and began searching the castle for him, eventually locating Uther in the throne room. After Arthur was knocked unconscious, Merlin confronted the ghostly king himself and wound up revealing his magic. Enraged, Uther attacked Merlin and eventually cornered him in the armoury. Fortunately, Arthur arrived and used the Horn of Cathbhadh to send his father back to the spirit world before he could kill Merlin or reveal his secret (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Rescuing King Rodor
When Morgana formed an alliance with King Odin to conquer the kingdom of Nemeth, Princess Mithian and her handmaiden Hilda escaped to the safety of Camelot. After she recovered from her ordeal, Mithian told Arthur what had happened and explained that her father, King Rodor, had escaped with her, but had been badly injured and was now in danger of being captured. Remembering how Odin had caused the death of his own father, Arthur agreed to help and quickly organized a rescue party.
Though Merlin also wanted to help Mithian, he couldn't help but notice that she wasn't acting like herself and that there were some discrepancies in her story. Concerned, he tried to advise Arthur to postpone their mission for a few days until they had more facts, but the king was convinced that any delay would result in Rodor's death. As such, the rescue party (Merlin included) set out the following morning. They planned to spend the night in the Forest of Gedref and then proceed on to the tomb of King Leath, where Mithian said that her father was hiding.
As they prepared to cross the border into Nemeth, Mithian attempted to warn Merlin that Hilda was actually Morgana in disguise. Unfortunately, the witch figured out what she was trying to do and nearly killed Merlin to stop him from telling Arthur. With Merlin unconscious and unable to go on, Arthur ordered Gaius and Gwaine to stay with him while he and the others rescued King Rodor. Later, after they'd gone, Gaius sent Gwaine to collect firewood, then used magic to heal Merlin's injuries. By the time Gwaine got back, Merlin had recovered enough to insist that they go after Arthur, who he was certain was walking into a trap.
When they arrived ate the tomb, they found that the rescue party had already been captured. Leaving Gwaine outside to free the Knights, Merlin entered the tomb in search of Arthur. He discovered that Morgana and Odin were preparing to execute Arthur and quickly interfered with his magic, knocking Morgana unconscious and allowing the others to escape. Merlin was later present when Arthur defeated Odin in a duel, after which he encouraged Arthur to spare Odin's life and put an end to their feud (Another's Sorrow).
After Arthur's friend Sir Ranulf was killed by the sorcerer Osgar, he, Merlin, Mordred, and the Knights set out to apprehend him. They tracked Osgar to the Forest of Brechfa, where he was mortally wounded after attacking Gwaine and Elyan. As he lay dying, the sorcerer used his final moments to inform Arthur that the Disir had passed judgement upon him for rejecting the Old Religion and told him to redeem himself before it was too late.
Merlin later accompanied Arthur, Mordred, and a handful of knights when they met with the Disir. The court explained that they were messengers of the Triple Goddess, who had been angered by Arthur's persecution and demanded that he reinstate the Old Religion or face her judgment. When he refused to comply, the Disir attacked the patrol and Mordred was critically wounded, forcing them to return to Camelot. Upon examining Mordred, Gaius determined that only magic could save his life and asked Merlin to heal him. The warlock refused, however, as he didn't want to be responsible for saving the man who was destined to kill Arthur.
Unable to change Merlin's mind, Gaius informed Arthur that nothing more could be done. The king refused to lose hope, however, and insisted that he and Merlin return to the Disir and ask that they spare Mordred. The Disir responded to his plea with an ultimatum: embrace the Old Religion, or Camelot's destruction would be assured. They gave Arthur until dawn to decide.
Torn between his distrust of sorcery and his desire to save Mordred, Arthur asked Merlin for advice and the warlock, not wanting Mordred to live for Arthur's sake, reluctantly replied that there could be no place for magic in Camelot. The Disir were disappointed with Arthur's choice and he and Merlin returned to Camelot expecting to find Mordred dead. Much to their surprise, however, the knight had miraculously recovered, and a horrified Merlin realized that his survival was their punishment; Mordred was free to play his part in Arthur's death and there was nothing he could do to stop it (The Disir).
The Dark Tower
When Gwen was kidnapped by Morgana, Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table set out to rescue her. They found her horse abandoned in the woods, as well as a trail leading east that they followed until nightfall. Frustrated by their lack of progress, Arthur initially wanted to keep searching, but Merlin persuaded him to let them set up camp before they lost the trail in the dark.
Later that night, Percival and Leon had nightmares about a mysterious tower. Because both knights had been bitten by Morgana's magical snakes during the kidnapping and the venom was still in their veins, Merlin and Arthur theorized that she had planted the dreams in their minds to lure Arthur to the Dark Tower, where she was probably holding Gwen prisoner. Determined to rescue his wife, but unwilling to lead his men into what was likely a trap, Arthur decided to journey to the Tower alone, but Merlin and the Knights insisted on going with him.
The first obstacle in their path was the Impenetrable Forest. They spent most of the day trying to hack their way through it, but eventually realized that they were going in circles and decided to set up camp for the night. Later, while Arthur and the Knights slept, Merlin sensed the presence of the Queen Mab, who introduced herself as the spirit of the Forest and all other places of despair. Speaking in riddles and rhyme, she told Merlin how to escape the Forest and warned him that one of his group would not return, but vanished before he could ask which one.
The next day, Merlin decided to take Mab's advice and convinced Arthur and the Knights that he could lead them to the Dark Tower. Using his magic to visualize the path ahead, he successfully led the group out of the Forest to a barren plain. They spent the rest of the day crossing the flatland, dealing with both a blistering sun and blistering feet along the way, and arrived at the Tower later that evening.
Upon entering the Tower, they followed a staircase to a room filled with booby traps. The flagstones on the floor reacted to pressure and set off arrows, wounding Percival's leg and nearly hitting Arthur in the head. Using his sword to test the stones before stepping on them, Elyan made his way across the room and Merlin and the others quickly followed. Elyan refused to wait for them, however, and rushed ahead to rescue his sister.
Elyan rescued Gwen before Merlin and the others caught up to him, but was killed by Morgana's enchanted sword in the process. His funeral was later held at the Lake of Avalon, where Merlin told Gaius that he'd been warned one would not return. Sensing Merlin's guilt, Gaius tried to comfort him by pointing out that the blade that killed Elyan had likely been meant for Arthur, and now both he and Gwen were safe (The Dark Tower).
While out riding with Guinevere on their anniversary, Arthur was ambushed by bandits in an assassination attempt. He escaped with minor injuries and immediately began an investigation. It was soon discovered that his saddle girth had been tampered with by his stable hand, Tyr Seward, who was subsequently arrested and sentenced to death.
Though all evidence pointed to Tyr, Merlin wasn't convinced of his guilt and began to suspect that someone else was involved. He later went to visit Tyr in the dungeons and the stable hand confessed that he hadn't tampered with the king's saddle, but had seen the person who had. He refused to say who that person was, however, because they'd threatened the life of his mother. Merlin told Arthur what he'd learned and he decided to speak with Tyr, but Guinevere persuaded him to wait until morning and Tyr was later found murdered in his cell.
Later that day, Gwaine was injured when his patrol was attacked near the castle. Merlin and Gaius decided to investigate and found a scrap of Gwen's dress at the scene, which led them to suspect that Morgana had enchanted her to kill Arthur during her stay at the Dark Tower. Their hunch was later proven correct when Gwen poisoned Arthur and framed Merlin, who was immediately arrested and imprisoned for the crime.
Fortunately, Gaius smuggled a potion to Merlin that allowed him to escape from the dungeons disguised as Dragoon the Great. He snuck into Arthur's chambers and used his magic to heal him, then returned to his cell before anyone noticed he was gone. Arthur made a full recovery and ordered Merlin's release as soon as he learned of his arrest. Before Merlin could tell him about Gwen, however, he discovered that she'd already covered her tracks by pretending to find the poison she'd used on Arthur and tracing it to an apothecary named Sindri, who confessed that he'd sold it to Morgana (A Lesson in Vengeance).
Led Into a Trap
The night before Sarrum of Amata was due to arrive in Camelot, a Druid boy named Daegal went to Merlin and begged him to treat his deathly ill sister. Though initially hesitant, Merlin agreed to help and accompanied the boy to the Valley of the Fallen Kings. He tried to look after Daegal as they traveled, sharing his breakfast with him, treating his injured arm, and asking after his family, which was how he learned that Daegal was an orphan and that his mother had also been a Druid.
At one point in their journey they stumbled across a group of bandits. Merlin tried to warn Daegal with telepathy, but the boy failed to hear him and he was forced to drag him to safety. When they later arrived in the Valley to find no one there, Merlin confronted Daegal about the incident and learned that he'd lied about being a Druid. Before Daegal could explain why he'd led him there, however, Morgana appeared and knocked Merlin unconscious with her magic. She threw Daegal a bag of coins as payment for leading Merlin into her trap, then poured a bottle of poison down the warlock's throat and kicked his body down the hill.
Merlin regained consciousness sometime later when the poison had begun taking effect. He started to foam at the mouth and developed sores that bled black blood. He also discovered that his leg had been injured in the fall from the ledge. He tried to use magic to heal himself, but his attempt failed and he lost consciousness. He woke sometime later when Daegal returned and told him that he couldn't leave him to die. Deciding to trust him, Merlin explained to Daegal how to concoct the antidote he needed, then drank the tincture when he finished preparing it.
The antidote caused Merlin to convulse and lose consciousness, but when he finally woke he appeared to be cured of the poison. Daegal explained that Gwen and Morgana were planning to kill Arthur and they rushed back to Camelot to warn him. They ran into bandits along the way and Daegal tried to use Morgana's money to get them to leave them alone, but the bandits weren't interested and Merlin was forced to scare them away with his magic.
When they finally reached the castle, Merlin and Daegal began searching for Arthur and Merlin noticed an opened door that was ordinarily kept locked. They climbed a staircase to a balcony overlooking the council chambers (where Arthur was signing a peace treaty with Sarrum of Amata) and discovered an assassin aiming a crossbow at Arthur.
The assassin immediately turned his weapon on them and fired, then threw daggers at them when Merlin deflected the arrows with his magic. As they dove for cover, the assassin reclaimed his crossbow and took aim at Arthur again, but as he prepared to fire, Merlin used his magic to impale him with a spear that he had been using as a walking stick. The impact threw off the assassin's aim and caused him to hit Sarrum instead of Arthur, killing him instantly.
After making sure that Arthur was still alive, Merlin turned his attention to Daegal and was horrified to discover that he'd been hit by one of the assassin's daggers. The knife was lodged in the boy's stomach and there was nothing that could be done to save him. Aware of this, Merlin gently reassured Daegal that he'd done the right thing, comforting him as he died. Merlin and Gaius later buried the boy in the forest and decided that something needed to be done about Gwen before she and Morgana made another attempt on Arthur's life (The Hollow Queen).
Determined to break Morgana's hold over Gwen, Merlin brought Arthur to the forest to witness the women conspiring against Camelot. Shocked and horrified by the betrayal, Arthur immediately moved to attack the witch, but Merlin stopped him by pointing out that Morgana was too powerful to take on alone. He explained that Guinevere had been enchanted to act against him and promised that they would find a way to bring back the woman Arthur loved.
The next day, Merlin disguised himself as Dragoon and sought advice from an ally of Morgana's called the Dochraid. She initially refused to speak with him, but soon changed her mind after Merlin threatened her with Excalibur. The Dochraid explained that Gwen was a victim of the Teine Diaga, an ancient ritual wherein a High Priestess used unimaginable terror to bind a victim's will to her own. To be freed from this control, Gwen would have to be cleansed by the White Goddess at the Cauldron of Arianrhod, but the ritual would only work if she entered the water of her own free will. If she were tricked or forced in any way, her soul would be lost forever.
Merlin relayed this information to Gaius and they conspired with Arthur to drug Gwen and smuggle her out of Camelot, after which Merlin and Arthur took her by horseback to the Cauldron of Arianrhod. The terrain became too steep for the horses as they neared the lake and they were forced to continue on foot. During their journey, Merlin fell from a cliff and was knocked unconscious and Arthur also fell while trying to climb down to help him, his arm becoming pinned beneath a rock. Fortunately, Mordred had secretly followed them from Camelot and came to their rescue.
Arthur explained to Mordred why they were taking Gwen to the Cauldron and he decided to accompany them. As they neared the lake the next day they were ambushed by Morgana and Aithusa. Worried that Gwen would wake up before they reached their destination, Merlin sent Arthur ahead with her, then used his Dragonlord powers to order Aithusa away. With the dragon gone, he and Mordred tried to flee, but Morgana attacked them with magic and Mordred was knocked unconscious. Focused on his mission, Merlin left him behind.
After meeting up with Arthur at the lake, Merlin used magic to disguise himself as a sorceress called the Dolma. He then returned to Arthur, Gwen, and Mordred (who had managed to escape from Morgana) and explained what would have to be done for the queen to be restored to her normal self. When he was certain that Arthur understood the risks, he used his magic to wake Gwen from her slumber, then summoned the White Goddess to heal her after Arthur had convinced her to enter the Cauldron.
Later, after Gwen had been successfully freed from Morgana's enchantment, Merlin asked Arthur to remember that it was magic that had saved his wife and that there was no evil in sorcery, only in the hearts of men. He then departed from the group and returned to his normal appearance, after which he and the others returned to Camelot (With All My Heart).
Journey With Finna
While on a picnic with Arthur and Gwen, Merlin discovered a tree with an odd symbol etched on its side. Arthur dismissed the blemish as stags marking their territory, but Merlin suspected that magic was the real cause, especially after he found a medallion abandoned on the ground nearby.
Later, back in Camelot, Arthur received word that Morgana had attacked the city of Helva, one of the few places where magic was practiced freely. Curious as to why she would attack her own, Merlin returned to the picnic site to look around. He found an abandoned carriage and some papers that Gaius later identified as belonging to their friend Alator of the Catha, which led them to suspect that Morgana was hunting the priest in order to force him to tell her Emrys's true identity.
The next day, while picking flowers for Arthur to give to Gwen, Merlin was approached by a mysterious woman named Finna who warned him that Arthur's enemies were closer than he realized. She begged him to meet her at the temple of Earu that night and instructed him to come alone or not at all. Though Gaius was suspicious of Finna, Merlin decided to trust her and met with her at the temple that evening. She introduced herself as a friend of Alator and explained that he had entrusted her with a warning for Merlin.
Unfortunately, Gaius, worried that Finna was a spy sent by Morgana, had gone to the king and told him that a sorceress had been seen near the temple. Their meeting was consequently ambushed by the Knights of Camelot before Finna could relay Alator's message. Merlin instructed Finna to flee, promising to find her later, then used his magic to create a wall of fire between him and the Knights to cover his own escape.
Determined to find out why she would risk her life for him, Merlin returned to Camelot for a sword and some supplies and set out to find Finna. He located her the next day, but unfortunately Morgana had learned from Alator that Finna knew Emrys's identity and had ordered her men to find and capture her. They caught up with Finna soon after Merlin did, and though they managed to fight them off, Merlin was badly injured when an arrow struck him in the side.
With Morgana and the rest of her men closing in, Finna helped Merlin to an abandoned watchtower where they could hide. She gave him a small scroll containing Alator's message and instructed him not to trust the Druid boy, Mordred, then sent him on ahead while she held off Morgana. Merlin escaped to the tower roof and collapsed from his injury. He called Kilgharrah to save him and woke the next day in a meadow, where he found that his wound had been healed and that the dragon himself was dying of old age. Later, back in Camelot, Merlin and Gaius discovered that Alator's message was a prophecy predicting that Arthur would died at Camlann (The Kindness of Strangers).
While on their way home from a hunting trip, Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights found a Camelot patrol that had been attacked by Saxons. Arthur ordered everyone to search for survivors and Merlin saw Mordred allowing a cloaked figure to escape.
Worried about Finna's warning, Merlin told Gaius what he'd seen and concluded that Mordred was not to be trusted. Gaius tried to point out that Mordred had been a loyal knight and become good friends with Arthur, but Merlin replied that they had all been beguiled by him and that he wouldn't make the same mistake.
Merlin later confronted Mordred and learned that the person he was protecting wasn't a Saxon, but an injured Druid girl named Kara. He begged Merlin not to tell Arthur about her and Merlin promised that he wouldn't. Unfortunately, Arthur later discovered Mordred's tracks while he and Merlin were on a patrol. Though Merlin tried to divert his attention, the king insisted on following his trail. Kara revealed herself when they reached her hiding place and tried to kill Arthur with a dagger. Merlin stopped her with his magic and she was subsequently arrested.
Mordred was furious with Merlin for his apparent betrayal and swore that he'd pay. However, he later learned at Kara's trial that it was his own carelessness that had led Arthur to her. After she was sentenced to death, Merlin and Mordred separately approached Arthur and tried to convince him to spare Kara's life. But though he sympathized with Mordred, Arthur remained adamant that the law must be upheld.
After Arthur refused their appeals, Merlin went looking for Mordred and discovered that he was planning to break Kara out of prison and run away with her. Afraid of what would happen if Mordred left Camelot on bad terms, Merlin told Arthur what Mordred was planning and joined him and the Knights in recapturing the fugitives. However, he realized afterwards that his actions had only made things worse. He tried to remedy his mistake by convincing Arthur to give Kara another chance to repent of her crimes, which he hoped would appease Mordred, but she rejected their offer and was executed the following morning.
Grief-stricken and furious, Mordred used his magic to blast the doors off his cell and escaped. He went to Morgana and pledged his allegiance to her cause, then exacted his revenge by revealing that her sworn enemy, Emrys, was in Camelot, and that Merlin was his true identity (The Drawing of the Dark).
Losing His Magic
While Merlin was out at the tavern with Arthur and the Knights, one of Morgana's men snuck into his and Gaius's chambers and hid a box beneath his bed. The box contained a Gean Canach, a creature of the Old Religion said to devour the magic of others. The creature attacked Merlin when he returned home and though Gaius quickly killed it with a shovel, Merlin regained consciousness later to find that his magic was gone.
That same night, Morgana, Mordred, and their Saxon army launched an attack on Fort Stowell, declaring war on Camelot in the process. Arthur called a meeting of the Round Table to discuss their response and decided to make their stand at Camlann instead of the citadel in order to minimize civilian casualties. Recognizing the place from the prophecy about Arthur's death, Merlin became desperate to protect the king and decided to go to the Crystal Cave, the birthplace of magic itself, to see if there was any hope of restoring his magic.
Because he'd be powerless to defend himself if he ran into trouble, Merlin asked Gwaine to accompany him as far as the Valley of the Fallen Kings. Unfortunately, the knight told his lover, Eira, about their errand, unaware that she was a spy for Morgana. As a result, Morgana was waiting for Merlin when he arrived at the Cave and created a rockfall to trap him inside. Alone, injured, and unable to escape, Merlin followed a mysterious light deeper into the Cave, but fainted before he reached its source.
Merlin was later roused by the spirit of his father Balinor, who encouraged him not to give up hope and told him to rest, promising that he would awaken into the light. Merlin did as he asked and woke sometime later to find that his injuries had been healed and his magic restored. He tested the latter by creating a butterfly, then used the crystals to observe and warn Arthur about Morgana's plans.
Balinor then sent Merlin to the heart of the Crystal Cave, where his true self would be revealed to him. Taking his advice, Merlin bid his father farewell and followed the light deeper into the Cave. He later emerged from the Cave in the form of Dragoon the Great and headed to Camlann to join the fight against Morgana (The Diamond of the Day).
Revealing His Magic
Merlin, disguised as Dragoon the Great, arrived at Camlann to find that Morgana and her army of Saxons were winning the battle against Camelot with the combined might of her magic and her dragon ally Aithusa. He quickly turned the tide by decimating her troops with lightning and using his Dragonlord powers to send Aithusa away. However, he failed to stop Mordred from mortally wounding Arthur.
As the Saxons retreated and Camelot's army pursued, Merlin carried the unconscious king from the battlefield and set up camp in the forest. When Arthur woke that night, Merlin tearfully revealed his magic to him and apologized for failing to prevent Mordred's destiny. Arthur didn't believe him at first, but Merlin proved that he was telling the truth by conjuring a dragon made out of sparks, leaving Arthur angry and betrayed.
Gaius later joined them and examined Arthur's wound. He explained that the blade Mordred had stabbed him with had been forged in a dragon's breath and that its point was traveling toward Arthur's heart. The only hope they had of saving his life was for Merlin to take him to the Lake of Avalon and ask the Sidhe to heal him. During their journey, Merlin used his magic to protect them from Morgana's Saxons and continued to serve the king as he always had, which eventually led Arthur to understand and accept his talents.
As they neared the lake, Merlin and Arthur were confronted by Morgana. Merlin killed her with Excalibur, but not before she'd spooked their horses and left them stranded. Though Arthur appeared to be at peace with his death, bidding Merlin an emotional farewell and thanking him for everything he'd done, Merlin refused to give up and summoned Kilgharrah to fly them the rest of the way to the lake. Unfortunately, it was too late; Arthur was already dead when they arrived.
Heartbroken, Merlin was certain that he'd failed his destiny, but Kilgharrah comforted him by revealing that when Albion's need was greatest, Arthur would rise again. After the dragon left, Merlin cast Excalibur into the lake and watched as it was caught in the hand of his old love, Freya, who drew it back under the water. He then placed Arthur's body in a boat and used his magic to set it adrift.
Many centuries later, Merlin lives as an elderly vagabond in the modern world, waiting for Arthur to return (The Diamond of the Day).
Merlin was portrayed as being kind, caring, compassionate, brave, heroic, protective, intelligent, optimistic, and wise. When he first arrived in Camelot, he could be naive, outspoken, and slightly foolish, as shown in his first meeting with Arthur, and often acted impulsively without thinking of the consequences (The Dragon's Call).
Merlin showed exceptional talent and potential in his magical abilities and was eager to further his education in spite of the risks associated with practicing magic. He could be careless with his powers and initially depended on them to solve every problem, a habit that created trouble for himself and others on several occasions (The Mark of Nimueh, Lancelot). Sometimes he used his magic for selfish or frivolous reasons, such as fighting Arthur in the marketplace or softening his workload (The Dragon's Call, Valiant, The Once and Future Queen).
As Merlin got older, however, he learned to rely on his wits as well as his magic and to use his powers for the benefit of others. At first he tended to seek advice from mentors such as Gaius or the Great Dragon, but over time he became more independent, conducting his own research and figuring out his own solutions. Combined with his cunning, intelligence, and observational skills, these traits made Merlin a formidable amateur detective (The Witchfinder, Goblin's Gold, The Secret Sharer, Lancelot du Lac).
A mischievous soul, Merlin often used his magic to play tricks and create distractions (Goblin's Gold, Love in the Time of Dragons, Aithusa). Occasionally his humour was portrayed as dry or sarcastic, especially when he was disguised as Dragoon the Great (Queen of Hearts, A Servant of Two Masters, A Lesson in Vengeance).
Merlin often used humour to endure Arthur's teasing and frequently engaged him in verbal sparring. He was fond of creating unique insults for the prince, referring to him as such things as a "clotpoll" and a "dollophead" on several occasions. When Arthur asked him to define the latter, Merlin cheekily replied that Arthur was the definition of the word (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Merlin was very selfless. He regularly risked his life for his loved ones and was willing to sacrifice himself for Arthur on numerous occasions. However, his selfless nature sometimes impaired his sense of duty, as did his concern with fairness. For example, though his survival was imperative to the future of Albion, when Gwen was arrested for sorcery that Merlin had done, he tried to confess that he was the one responsible even though it would mean his own execution (The Mark of Nimueh). Merlin also had a habit of trying to see good in everyone, which Kilgharrah once warned him could prove to be his undoing (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Though initially rash, impatient, and somewhat bumbling in his attempts to help people, as Merlin got older he learned from his mistakes and became surprisingly wise. Examples of his wisdom include guiding a young sorcerer named Gilli and preventing him from killing Uther (The Sorcerer's Shadow); convincing Arthur to fight back against Morgana and her immortal army (The Coming of Arthur); and restoring Arthur's faith in his ability to rule (The Sword in the Stone).
However, there was also a darker side to Merlin's personality. He would go to extreme measures to protect his friends and was forced to kill his enemies an alarming number of times. Examples include Mary Collins and Edwin Muirden, who he killed in defense of his loved ones, and Grunhilda and the Sidhe Elder, who were killed in combat (The Dragon's Call, A Remedy to Cure All Ills, The Changeling).
Some of the more notable displays of Merlin's darker side were when he used the power over life and death to strike down Nimueh and trade her life for Gaius's (Le Morte d'Arthur); when he poisoned Morgana to save Camelot (The Fires of Idirsholas); and when he killed Agravaine after he discovered his magic (The Sword in the Stone).
Merlin often appeared indifferent to those he killed and could sometimes be cold and calculating towards his enemies, such as when he used a snake to scare Morgana's horse or disabled her powers to overthrow her (The Castle of Fyrien, The Sword in the Stone). However, this brutality was only ever directed towards his enemies; he never harmed anyone who wasn't a threat to the safety of either himself or his loved ones. He was devastated when he had to poison Morgana and sometimes tried to convince his enemies to abandon their dark paths, only resorting to violence when they refused.
Merlin was also shown to struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. He longed for recognition and considered his magic to be a cornerstone of his identity, implying more than once that unless someone knew his secret, they didn't truly know him (The Moment of Truth, The Wicked Day). He sometimes expressed sadness and confusion about having been born with magic when he wasn't allowed to use it and wondered at times if it made him a monster (The Dragon's Call, The Lady of the Lake).
These feelings continued to plague Merlin as he grew older. He became increasingly somber and weighed down by his destiny to the point that even Arthur noticed how unhappy he was (The Disir). He also became colder and more ruthless towards his enemies, such as when he berated Arthur for sparing Mordred despite the fact that he'd been kind to them and no longer posed a threat (Arthur's Bane). Later, after Mordred became a Knight of Camelot, Merlin constantly gave him the cold shoulder and refused to believe that he meant no harm, an attitude which directly contributed to Mordred's betrayal (The Drawing of the Dark).
Merlin originally had an antagonistic relationship with Arthur. He believed him to be nothing more than an arrogant bully and even said that he'd help anyone who wanted to kill him. However, this changed after he found out that they were linked by destiny and he decided to save Arthur from Mary Collins's attack. Merlin was later appointed Arthur's manservant as a "reward" for saving his life (The Dragon's Call).
Though in time they came to be as close as brothers, Merlin and Arthur's relationship initially remained somewhat hostile. Merlin took great pleasure in insulting and playing tricks on Arthur, who was often annoyed by Merlin's insolence and inexperience as a servant. They were also divided by their differences in class. Arthur frequently used his status as prince to rebuff Merlin's claims of friendship and to tease and abuse him for laughs, such as when he gave him massive amounts of chores to complete or poured water over him (Valiant, The Lady of the Lake).
Despite their differences, however, Merlin and Arthur quickly developed a grudging affection for one another. They were willing to risk (or even sacrifice) their lives for each other very soon in their friendship, even it it meant acting against the advice or orders of others (The Poisoned Chalice, The Labyrinth of Gedref, Le Morte d'Arthur, The Darkest Hour). They also soon became attuned to one another's emotions. Merlin was particularly adept at deciphering Arthur's thoughts and feelings, and though Arthur tended to be more oblivious, he frequently noticed when Merlin was upset and often tried to cheer him up (The Lady of the Lake, The Last Dragonlord, Love in the Time of Dragons, The Disir).
Merlin's secrets proved to be one of the biggest obstacles in their friendship. He found it difficult to confide in Arthur because he could not tell him about his magic, and was forced to hide or downplay many important events in his life, such as the reason he left Ealdor, Freya's death, Morgana's downfall, and Balinor's death (The Moment of Truth, The Lady of the Lake, The Fires of Idirsholas, The Last Dragonlord).
Arthur, on the other hand, trusted Merlin with most of his secrets, such as his plan to enter a jousting tournament in disguise (The Once and Future Queen) and his feelings for Gwen (Lancelot and Guinevere), and included him in many of his secret missions, such as his meeting with Morgause (The Sins of the Father), his search for the last Dragonlord (The Last Dragonlord), and the quest for the Cup of Life (The Coming of Arthur).
As time went on, Merlin gradually began to take on the role of Arthur's unofficial advisor. Arthur noted Merlin's wisdom on several occasions (usually in a rather indirect way) and sought his counsel on a number of subjects. Some were highly important, such as the right thing to do morally and politically, and some were more trivial, such as how to express his feelings towards women (The Changeling, Sweet Dreams). Merlin was also one of only a handful of commoners invited to sit at the Round Table, showing that Arthur respected him as much as his most trusted knights, and Princess Mithian once noted that Arthur valued Merlin's opinion above almost all others (The Coming of Arthur, The Hunter's Heart).
When Uther was mortally wounded by an assassin, Merlin tried to use his influence to convince Arthur that magic could be used for good. Unfortunately, his plan to heal the king backfired and killed him instead, leading Arthur to conclude that magic was pure evil. Certain that he'd turned Arthur against magic forever, Merlin was devastated and worried that Arthur would never know who he really was (The Wicked Day).
In the wake of his father's death, Arthur came to rely more and more on the counsel of his uncle Agravaine, who was secretly allied with Morgana and did everything he could to undermine Merlin's influence. Arthur frequently chose to follow his uncle's advice over Merlin's and refused to believe Merlin when he tried to tell him about Agravaine's treachery (His Father's Son, The Secret Sharer, The Hunter's Heart).
Despite Agravaine's interference, however, Merlin and Arthur continued to grow closer. Arthur openly called Merlin his friend on several occasions, found the thought of him dying to be unbearable when he was attacked by the Dorocha and captured by Morgana's mercenaries, and even hugged him when he found him safe in the forest (The Darkest Hour, The Wicked Day, A Servant of Two Masters, The Secret Sharer, The Sword in the Stone). Later, after Camelot was captured by Morgana and Helios, Merlin restored Arthur's faith in his ability to rule by using his magic to help him pull Excalibur from the stone he'd lodged it in, which he'd told Arthur only the true King of Camelot could do (The Sword in the Stone).
Merlin finally revealed his magic after Arthur was mortally by Mordred in the Battle of Camlann. Angry and betrayed, Arthur initially wanted nothing more to do with Merlin, but changed his mind when he learned that his only hope of survival was for Merlin to take him to Lake of Avalon and ask the Sidhe to heal him.
Arthur carefully observed Merlin during their journey, and after seeing how he used his magic for good, he gradually came to understand and accept his talents. Unfortunately, an encounter with Morgana prevented them from reaching the lake in time to save his life. He used his final moments to thank Merlin for everything he'd done for him and later died in his arms. Heartbroken, Merlin sent Arthur's body to Avalon and spent the rest of his life waiting for him to return (The Diamond of the Day).
Gaius was Merlin's friend and mentor and one of the few people who knew about his magic. In fact, the main reason Hunith sent Merlin to live with Gaius was so he could help him with his powers. Gaius was initially reluctant because magic was banned in Camelot, but soon came around to the idea and gave Merlin a spell book to help him learn about his gifts (The Dragon's Call).
Gaius quickly grew to love Merlin like a son and was willing to sacrifice his life for him on several occasions. When he discovered that Merlin was planning to trade his life for his mother's, Gaius went to Nimueh ahead of him and bartered his own life instead (Le Morte d'Arthur). Gaius also tried to take the blame when Merlin was accused of sorcery and was nearly burned at the stake as a result (The Witchfinder).
Likewise, Merlin thought of Gaius as the father he'd never had and frequently used his magic to protect him. He saved his life by killing Edwin Muirden, revived him by striking down Nimueh and trading her life for his, and exposed Aredian as a fraud to save him from being burned at the stake (A Remedy to Cure All Ills, Le Morte d'Arthur, The Witchfinder). Merlin also saved Gaius from being possessed by a Goblin by poisoning him. He administered the antidote as soon as the Goblin had been captured and Gaius felt no resentment toward him for what he'd done (Goblin's Gold).
Though usually very understanding of one another, Merlin and Gaius did have a few arguments over the years. One such incident concerned Gaius's former fiancée Alice. When Merlin discovered that she was being controlled by a Manticore in a plot to kill the king, Gaius refused to believe him and accused him of not wanting him to be happy. After he was proven correct, however, Gaius apologized for his behavior and together they were able to save both Uther and Alice (Love in the Time of Dragons).
As Merlin got older, he became more independent and less reliant on Gaius's advice, at times even outright rejecting it. For example, when Uther was mortally wounded by an assassin, Merlin ignored Gaius's warnings that his plan to heal him could backfire (The Wicked Day). He also ignored Gaius when he tried to tell him that his former student, Julius Borden, was not to be trusted (Aithusa).
However, Merlin still deeply cared for Gaius and continued to depend on him as both a friend and confidant. When Gaius was kidnapped by Alator of the Catha, who had been hired by Morgana to torture Gaius into revealing Emrys's true identity, Merlin defended him from accusations of treason and stopped at nothing to find him. He later forgave Gaius for telling his secret to Alator and assured him that he was just happy he was alive (The Secret Sharer).
Gaius, for his part, often expressed pride in the man Merlin was becoming and continued to look after him to the best of his ability. He frequently covered for him when Arthur noticed his absence and even used magic to heal him when he was badly injured during the rescue of King Rodor (Another's Sorrow). He was also uneasy when Merlin decided to meet with Finna and tried to protect him by convincing Arthur to apprehend her, though this ultimately proved to be a mistake (The Kindness of Strangers). The last thing Gaius said to Merlin was that he'd have his favorite meal waiting for him when he returned home (The Diamond of the Day).
Merlin and Morgana initially had a friendly relationship. Morgana was one of the few people who sympathized with the plight of magic-users and Merlin appeared smitten with her at first sight, though his crush gradually faded away over time (The Dragon's Call). They first became friends when Camelot was stricken by a magical plague. After Gwen was mistakenly arrested as the culprit, Merlin and Morgana worked together to prove her innocence by finding the true source of the illness (The Mark of Nimueh).
They appeared to grow closer while harbouring the Druid boy Mordred from Uther, who intended to execute him. As they worked together to return him to his people, Morgana told Merlin that she disagreed with the king's feelings about magic, which seemed to give Merlin hope (The Beginning of the End). She later volunteered to help save Merlin's home village of Ealdor when it was threatened by bandits (The Moment of Truth).
However, after Morgana attempted to have Uther assassinated, Merlin appeared to lose trust in her and their friendship became more distant (To Kill the King). This became apparent when Morgana's magic began to reveal itself. Though he empathized with her situation and wanted to help, Merlin ultimately decided not to tell her his secret. He did, however, advise her to seek out the Druids, who reassured her that her magic was nothing to fear and could be used as a force for good, and after she returned from their camp, he promised that her secret was safe with him (The Nightmare Begins).
Their friendship took another downturn when Morgana allied herself with Alvarr and Mordred in a plot against Camelot. Aware of her treachery, but unsure of how to deal with it, Merlin went to Kilgharrah for advice and learned that Mordred and Morgana were destined to form an alliance of evil against Camelot (The Witch's Quickening).
After Morgana agreed to help Morgause bring about Uther's downfall, Merlin poisoned her in order to force Morgause to call off her attack. Morgana was deeply betrayed by Merlin's actions and resisted his attempts to comfort her while she was dying. She was ultimately saved by Morgause, who teleported her away from Camelot (The Fires of Idirsholas).
When Morgana returned to Camelot one year later, Merlin was terrified that she'd tell Uther about how he had poisoned her. Much to his surprise, however, Morgana told him that she understood why he'd done it and asked him to forgive her for betraying Camelot. Unfortunately, Morgana's change of heart was nothing but a ploy to divert suspicion and she later led him into a trap so Morgause could kill him. After Merlin managed to escape, Morgana threatened to tell Uther about his attempt on her life if he told anyone what he knew (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
Though they were now enemies, Merlin empathized with Morgana at first and was sad for how hateful she'd become. He tried to reason with her when she summoned an army of undead skeletons to conquer Camelot and when she, Morgause, and Cenred kidnapped Elyan to lure Gwen and Arthur into a trap. However, she rejected his pleas on both occasions (The Tears of Uther Pendragon, The Castle of Fyrien). Merlin also used magic to heal her fatal skull fracture, though he likely did this out of compassion for her loved ones more so than for Morgana herself (The Crystal Cave).
As time went on, however, Merlin grew to be more ruthless towards Morgana. He caused the ceiling to collapse on top of her during the Great Battle for Camelot and caused her horse to throw her during the mission to rescue Elyan (The Tears of Uther Pendragon, The Castle of Fyrien). Morgana was equally ruthless towards Merlin. She appeared gleeful when he was sentenced to death after being framed for a Goblin's sorcery and left him to possibly burn to death after her stunning spell not only knocked him unconscious, but toppled a candle that lit the room on fire (Goblin's Gold, The Crystal Cave).
Morgana began to loathe Merlin after he destroyed her immortal army and injured her sister Morgause, forcing them to flee Camelot (The Coming of Arthur). They met again roughly one year later when Merlin captured by her men. Agravaine wanted to kill him, but Morgana had Merlin taken to her hovel instead, as she believed that he might prove useful.
Morgana seemed merciful at first, cleaning his wounds and asking about his loyalty to Arthur. However, she later tortured Merlin by inserting a Fomorroh into his neck that allowed her to control his mind and force him to kill Arthur. Luckily, Gaius and Gwen managed to neutralize the snake before her plan could succeed. Merlin later returned to her hovel disguised as Dragoon and defeated Morgana in a duel, after which he regained control over his mind by destroying the Fomorroh (A Servant of Two Masters).
Prior to this encounter, Morgana had learned that an old sorcerer called Emrys was her doom, though she was unaware that Emrys and Merlin were one and the same (The Darkest Hour). After recognizing Dragoon as the sorcerer from her vision, Morgana became determined to uncover his identity. She hired Alator of the Catha to kidnap and torture Gaius, who she was certain had the information she sought. Merlin eventually tracked them down and tried to rescue his friend, but Morgana cornered him and threatened him with a knife. Before she could kill him, however, she was knocked out by Alator, who turned on her after learning Emrys's identity from Gaius (The Secret Sharer).
Morgana's treatment of Merlin became even harsher after her three year imprisonment by Sarrum of Amata. She badly injured him by throwing him into a wall when he and Arthur rescued Camelot's knights from her fortress in Ismere and nearly choked him to death during the rescue of King Rodor (Arthur's Bane, Another's Sorrow). She also tricked Merlin into leaving Camelot so she could poison him and prevent him from interfering with her plan to kill Arthur. When asked by her accomplice why she'd gone to such lengths, she replied that Merlin had meddled in her plans once too often (The Hollow Queen).
Morgana also renewed her search for Emrys's identity after Merlin thwarted her plan to force an enchanted Gwen to kill Arthur. She tracked down Alator and his servant Finna intending to torture the information out of them, but ultimately learned the truth of his identity from Mordred (The Kindness of Strangers, The Drawing of the Dark).
Though stunned by the news, Morgana quickly put together a plan to remove Merlin's magic and declare war on Camelot. When she learned that Merlin hoped to restore his powers in the Crystal Cave, she ambushed him there and trapped him inside. Despite Morgana's efforts, however, Merlin succeeded in restoring his magic and freed himself in time to decimate her army during the Battle of Camlann, though he failed to prevent Arthur from being mortally wounded.
Desperate for revenge, Morgana attacked Merlin and Arthur as they traveled to the Lake of Avalon. Merlin confronted her with Excalibur and said that he blamed himself for what she'd become, but now it had to end. Undaunted, Morgana made no move to defend herself and allowed him to run her through, but much to her surprise, her powers failed to protect her. As she gasped in shock and pain, Merlin revealed that the sword had been forged in a dragon's breath and was one of the few things capable of killing a High Priestess. Morgana died seconds later in his arms (The Diamond of the Day).
Gwen was one of Merlin's best friends and the first that he made in Camelot. They first met when Gwen commended him for standing up to Arthur. They quickly bonded over their mutual dislike of the prince, and later over their mutual desire to protect him and Camelot after the three became friends (The Dragon's Call).
Gwen was very helpful to Merlin when he was learning to be a servant. She taught him about armour and was supportive of his plan to help Lancelot become a knight, as she shared his belief that commoners deserved the same opportunities as noblemen (Valiant, Lancelot). Gwen also allowed Merlin to take her father's strongest sword to help Arthur defeat the Black Knight and volunteered to protect his village from raiders (Excalibur, The Moment of Truth).
Merlin, in return, was deeply loyal to Gwen. He risked his life to prove her innocence when she was accused of creating a magical plague, gave her comfort and a place to stay after her father was executed for sorcery, and accompanied Arthur to rescue her when she was kidnapped by bandits (The Mark of Nimueh, To Kill the King, Lancelot and Guinevere). She was often the first person Merlin turned to for help or advice, such as when he struggled to prove Gaius's innocence or needed her help to free Arthur from an enchantment (The Witchfinder, Sweet Dreams). He was even willing to reveal his magic to her when they were attacked by a Lamia, but Arthur intervened before he could do so (Lamia).
Gwen initially had a crush on him and even kissed him once after he nearly died (The Poisoned Chalice). However, Merlin was never truly aware of her feelings and they gradually faded away as she became more interested in Arthur. Merlin was one of the first to learn of their romance and was very happy for them (Lancelot and Guinevere). He worked hard to keep their relationship going by finding ways to give them time together and encouraging them when they felt disheartened by the obstacles they faced (Sweet Dreams, Goblin's Gold, The Castle of Fyrien, Queen of Hearts).
Merlin was devastated when Gwen was exiled for her affair with Lancelot, but remained loyal to her and tried to help her as best he could. After he discovered that Gwen had been magically transformed into a deer, he tried to protect her from Arthur and Mithian's hunting party, healed her injuries after she was wounded, and watched over her until she regained consciousness. Gwen was delighted to see Merlin and greeted him with a hug, but refused to return to Camelot with him, as she felt she deserved her banishment. She later sought refuge with his mother Hunith in Ealdor (Lancelot du Lac, The Hunter's Heart, The Sword in the Stone).
When Gwen and Arthur were married after the second recapture of Camelot, Merlin stood proudly with the rest of the court as she was crowned their long awaited Queen. Their relationship seemed to become more professional at this point, but Merlin still deeply cared for Gwen, as shown when he rescued her from a fire in the kitchens and freed her from Morgana's enchantment (The Sword in the Stone, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, With All My Heart).
Gwen also continued to care deeply for Merlin. She was concerned when he chose to go on a mysterious errand instead of accompanying Arthur to Camlann, but trusted that he would only have left his side for a matter of the utmost importance. Later, after witnessing a mysterious sorcerer strike down Morgana's army during the Battle of Camlann, Gwen questioned Gaius about the sorcerer's identity and correctly deduced that it was Merlin, which both comforted and pleased her (The Diamond of the Day).
Kilgharrah, also known as the Great Dragon, was one of the few individuals who knew of Merlin's magic and the one who informed him of his destiny with Arthur. He often acted as a mentor to Merlin by providing advice or outright assistance when he didn't know what to do, such as when he told him how to kill the Afanc poisoning Camelot's water supply and agreed to burnish a sword with his breath to help Arthur defeat the Black Knight (The Dragon's Call, The Mark of Nimueh, Excalibur).
Merlin trusted Kilgharrah and considered him a friend. However, after he discovered that the dragon cared only about his own freedom and had tricked him into sacrificing his mother, he turned his back on him and vowed never to allow him to be released. Unfortunately, Merlin was forced to go back on his vow when Camelot was attacked by the spirit of Cornelius Sigan. Though Kilgharrah agreed to help him defeat the sorcerer, he would only do so if Merlin would promise to one day free him. With no other options, Merlin agreed (Le Morte d'Arthur, The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).
Though uneasy about the promise he'd made, Merlin eventually regained some level of trust in Kilgharrah and continued to seek his advice when he needed it. Kilgharrah, in turn, grew to be quite fond of Merlin and was genuinely sorry on the rare occasion he was unable to help him (The Witchfinder). Despite their friendship, however, when Merlin finally freed him, Kilgharrah didn't hesitate to seek revenge against Camelot by laying waste to the city. After inheriting the powers of a Dragonlord, Merlin was able to gain control over the dragon and force him to stop his attack, but chose to spare his life rather than kill him. Grateful, Kilgharrah promised never to forget Merlin's clemency and left Camelot in peace (The Last Dragonlord).
After releasing Kilgharrah and becoming a Dragonlord, Merlin became very close to the dragon and trusted him with his life. He frequently used his powers to call him for help or advice, such as when he was faced with the possibility of killing a young sorcerer to protect Uther (The Sorcerer's Shadow). Merlin also relied on Kilgharrah for guidance when fulfilling his duties as a Dragonlord, such as when he learned of the existence and discovery of the last dragon egg (Aithusa).
Though generally happy to help Merlin, Kilgharrah sometimes felt that the warlock took his advice for granted and was furious when he forced him to help heal Morgana (The Crystal Cave). Fortunately, though they parted on uneasy terms, by their next meeting Kilgharrah appeared to have already forgiven Merlin and merely reminded him that he shouldn't abuse his powers (The Sorcerer's Shadow). Kilgharrah was deeply loyal to Merlin; he saved his life on several occasions and even allowed him to ride on his back in times of emergency (The Tears of Uther Pendragon, The Coming of Arthur, The Darkest Hour, The Kindness of Strangers, The Diamond of the Day).
On one such occasion, after rescuing Merlin from Morgana and her men, Kilgharrah informed him that he was dying of old age. Saddened by the news, Merlin asked if he would see him again, but the dragon made no reply (The Kindness of Strangers).
After Arthur was mortally wounded during the Battle of Camlann, Merlin took him to the Lake of Avalon to ask the Sidhe to heal him. As they neared their destination, they were ambushed by Morgana and Merlin was forced to summon Kilgharrah to fly them the rest of the way. Unfortunately, they arrived too late; Arthur was already dead.
Merlin was heartbroken and certain that he'd failed his destiny, but Kilgharrah comforted him by revealing that when Albion's need was greatest, Arthur would rise again. The last thing he ever said to Merlin was that it was a privilege to have known him and the story they had been a part of would live long in the minds of men (The Diamond of the Day).
Lancelot was one of Merlin's closest friends and one of the few people to know about his magic. They first met when Lancelot saved him from Griffin. Hoping to repay him, Merlin helped Lancelot join the Knights of Camelot by using his magic to create a fake seal of nobility, but their ruse was soon discovered and Lancelot was forced to leave.
Later, when Lancelot redeemed himself by fighting the Griffin, Merlin enchanted his spear so it would have the power to kill the creature. But though this act might have persuaded Uther to reinstate him as a knight, Lancelot refused to take the credit for something he knew Merlin was responsible for and left Camelot after promising to keep his magic a secret (Lancelot).
Merlin and Lancelot met again whilst rescuing Gwen from bandits. Though Lancelot had fallen in love with Gwen, after Merlin told him that Arthur also had feelings for her, he decided to leave rather than come between them. Before he left, he asked Merlin to tell Gwen that she'd changed him forever, but some things could not be (Lancelot and Guinevere).
Merlin apparently kept in contact with Lancelot after he left, as he knew where to send word to him when Camelot was conquered by Morgause and Morgana's immortal army. While Arthur and their allies put together a plan to storm the citadel, Lancelot realized that Merlin had a plan of his own and agreed to help him with it. He covered for their absence by leading Arthur to believe that they would silence the castle's warning bell, then accompanied Merlin on his search for the Cup of Life. They made an effective team and successfully accomplished their goal, though Lancelot was wounded in battle (The Coming of Arthur).
One year later, Lancelot sacrificed himself to banish the Dorocha from Camelot and to prevent Merlin and Arthur from sacrificing themselves. Merlin was devastated by his death and was among those who mourned the most intensely (The Darkest Hour).
Lancelot was later resurrected by Morgana as part of her plan to prevent Arthur from marrying Gwen. Merlin soon realized that something wasn't right with his friend and used necromancy to determine that he was a Shade. He was unable to stop him from fulfilling his objective, however, after which the Shade Lancelot committed suicide at Morgana's command.
Merlin took Lancelot's body to the Lake of Avalon and used his magic to free his soul from Morgana's control. The spell he used unexpectedly brought Lancelot back to life for a moment, which he used to thank Merlin before dying for good. Heartbroken, Merlin pushed Lancelot's body out onto the lake and set it ablaze (Lancelot du Lac).
Merlin disliked Uther because of his persecution of magic. He was tempted to allow him to die on several occasions where his life was in danger, but Merlin's personal morals and sense of justice ultimately compelled him to save him, as did the knowledge that Arthur was not ready to assume the throne and needed his father's guidance (To Kill the King). He also sometimes felt compassion for Uther, such as when he healed Morgana because he couldn't stand his friends' and Uther's grief (The Crystal Cave)
Merlin was able to secretly express his distaste for Uther while disguised as Dragoon the Great (and even criticize him and his actions), but their differences in status forced him to be polite to the king in public (Queen of Hearts). Because of this, Uther was unaware that Merlin disliked him and was even shown to be somewhat grateful to him for looking out for Arthur (Excalibur). However, Uther was also shown to be indifferent when Merlin's life was in danger and believed that Arthur's life was more important because he was the future king while Merlin was just a servant (The Poisoned Chalice).
Though he disliked Uther's policies, Merlin did not believe him to be an evil man and saw the difference between him and Morgana. As such, he usually put the king's life over Morgana's when she began to plot against him (The Tears of Uther Pendragon). However, Merlin's determination to save him was not entirely altruistic. When Uther was fatally wounded by an assassin, Merlin was only to willing to use his magic to heal him because he saw it as a chance to convince Arthur to return magic to Camelot, and when his plan backfired due to Morgana's interference, he was more upset by Arthur's intensified hatred of magic than by the fact that his best friend had lost his father or that an emotionally destroyed and helpless Uther had suffered a painful death (The Wicked Day).
Three years later, Arthur used the Horn of Cathbhadh to talk with his father in the Spirit World and accidentally released him. Uther disapproved of the changes Arthur had made since his death and tried to kill him to ensure that he didn't do any more "harm" to Camelot. Fortunately, Merlin arrived in time to stop Uther, revealing his magic to him in the process. He also revealed his true feelings to the former king, telling him that Arthur was a better and more worthy king than him and that even while he'd been alive there had been magic in the heart of Camelot. Furious, Uther trapped Merlin and tried to kill him, but Arthur used the Horn to send him back to the Spirit World before he could succeed (The Death Song of Uther Pendragon).
Merlin was drawn to Freya from the moment he saw her. Though he only knew her a short time, he developed a strong relationship with Freya while harboring from the bounty hunter Halig and fell in love with her during his visits to bring her food and candles. He promised to love and protect her and was even willing to abandon Camelot, along with Gaius, Arthur, Gwen, Morgana, and his destiny, to be with her.
Though Freya initially agreed to leave Camelot with him, Freya decided to slip away on her own while Merlin was gathering supplies. She had been cursed to transform into a murderous Bastet every night and couldn't bear the thought of endangering Merlin or making him give up a life and people he loved. Merlin searched for Freya, but Arthur and his men found her first and mortally wounded her while she was in her Bastet form. Merlin then distracted the knights by causing a statue to fall near Arthur, allowing Freya to escape.
Merlin went after Freya and found her still in her Bastet form. She appeared to recognize him and even allowed him to pet her without attacking him, a possible manifestation of her love for him. After returning to her human form, Freya said that her injuries were too severe for Merlin to heal and asked him to leave her. Instead, he took her to the Lake of Avalon, where she died in his arms after promising to one day repay him. Heartbroken, Merlin placed Freya's body in a boat and pushed it out onto the lake. He then used his magic to set it ablaze (The Lady of the Lake).
One year later, Merlin used the water given to him by the Fisher King to contact Freya's spirit. He was surprised and delighted to see her and Freya told him that she'd missed him. She later fulfilled her promise by helping him to retrieve the sword Excalibur from the bottom of the Lake of Avalon, as it was the only thing capable of destroying Morgana's immortal army (The Coming of Arthur).
Freya is notable for being Merlin's only love interest. He appeared to be unaware of Gwen's initial crush on him and his early crush on Morgana faded away over time and had disappeared completely after she became evil.
Gwaine was one of Merlin's best friends. They first met when Gwaine helped him and Arthur in a tavern brawl. When he learned that Gwaine was of noble birth, he tried to persuade him to join the Knights of Camelot, but Gwaine refused because he disliked Uther Pendragon. Merlin also got to know Gwaine well enough to recognize him even when he was in armour due to his unusual fighting style (Gwaine).
Merlin later sought out Gwaine for help when he decided to help Arthur with his quest to find the Fisher King's Trident. Gwaine agreed and together they helped Arthur recovered the Trident. At one point Merlin accidentally set off a trap that caused a heavy slab of concrete to fall from the ceiling. Gwaine saved him from being crushed by pushing him out of the way, but they were separated when the slab came down between them. When the group was eventually reunited, Gwaine was delighted to see that he was unharmed and hugged him (The Eye of the Phoenix).
Merlin and Arthur next met up with Gwaine when they were kidnapped by slavers during their quest for the Cup of Life. Merlin was delighted to see him and trusted him enough to tell him about their errand. Arthur was angered by this, as it was supposed to be a secret, but allowed Gwaine to accompany them on their quest. Later, after Morgause and Morgana conquered Camelot with their immortal army, Gwaine was among those who volunteered to help Arthur with his plan to rescue his father and was subsequently knighted (The Coming of Arthur).
Merlin and Gwaine remained close friends after the latter became a knight. When it appeared that Gaius had turned traitor, Gwaine sought out Merlin to see how he was coping, accepted his theory that the physician had been kidnapped, and volunteered to help rescue him (The Secret Sharer). Gwaine was also the only Knight not openly hostile towards Merlin while being controlled by the Lamia, which may indicate that he was closer to him than Percival, Elyan, and Leon were (Lamia).
When Merlin was badly injured by Morgana during the rescue of King Rodor, Gwaine was very concerned and stayed behind to help look after him. He was relieved when Merlin recovered and later helped him rescue Arthur, Mithian, Rodor, and the other Knights from Morgana and Odin's trap (Another's Sorrow).
After Mordred and Morgana conspired to take away his magic, Merlin decided to travel to the Crystal Cave to see if his magic could be restored and asked Gwaine to accompany him. Upon reaching their destination, Gwaine left to catch up to Camelot's army, but insisted on leaving Merlin his sword so he would be able to defend himself in his absence (The Diamond of the Day).
William was Merlin's closest childhood friend and the only person in Ealdor - apart from Merlin's mother Hunith - to know about his magic. When Hunith learned that he knew, she sent Merlin to live in Camelot, which upset Will and later caused some tension in their friendship when Merlin returned to help defend Ealdor from bandits.
They were further divided by their opinions on how to deal with Kanen and his men. While Merlin felt the villagers should defend themselves, Will distrusted Arthur and believed they should give the bandits what they wanted. He also criticized Merlin for not using his magic to help, accusing him of caring more about Arthur's opinion of him than his friends and family, and even planned to leave Ealdor before the bandits arrived.
However, Will ultimately changed his mind and fought alongside Merlin during the battle. He sacrificed himself to save Arthur's life and covered for Merlin by telling Arthur that he was the one who had used magic to chase away the bandits. Merlin was very upset by Will's death. When Arthur tried to comfort him by saying that Will had been a good friend, he replied that he still was (The Moment of Truth).
Merlin first met the Druid boy Mordred after his master was captured by the Knights of Camelot. He took Mordred to Morgana, who helped Merlin hide and care for him until he was able to be returned to his people. It was from Mordred that Merlin first heard the name Emrys, which the Great Dragon later told him was what the Druids called him.
The dragon also informed Merlin that Mordred was destined to one day kill Arthur, which forced him to choose between helping the boy escape and allowing him to be captured and killed. He initially chose the latter option, but later changed his mind and decided to save Mordred instead (The Beginning of the End).
The next time Merlin saw Mordred was when Arthur and his men ambushed the Druid camp to rescue Morgana. While trying to escape, Merlin found the boy surrounded by several knights and saw him blast them all away with a nonverbal stunning spell, which left him uneasy about how powerful his magic had grown (The Nightmare Begins).
Merlin became even more suspicious of Mordred after he and the rogue sorcerer Alvarr recruited Morgana to steal the Crystal of Neahtid. He later learned from Kilgharrah that Mordred was destined to form an evil alliance with Morgana, which prompted him to finally betray the boy by attempting to stop him from escaping during a raid on Alvarr's camp. However, Mordred retaliated by killing the two knights who tried to seize him and swore that he would neither forgive nor forget what Merlin had done before escaping (The Witch's Quickening).
Several years later, Merlin and Arthur were reunited with a teenage/adult Mordred when they were captured by slavers in Ismere. Because they'd parted on bad terms and Merlin had seen a vision of Mordred killing Arthur, he was wary of his attempts at kindness and unmoved by his promise not to reveal his magic. He urged Arthur to kill Mordred when he had the chance, but the king refused. Mordred later betrayed Morgana and saved Arthur's life, for which he was made a Knight of Camelot (Arthur's Bane).
Despite this, Merlin refused to trust Mordred and rebuffed his attempts at friendship. He even urged Arthur to reject the Disir's ultimatum in the hope that it would lead to Mordred's death and left him at Morgana's mercy during the quest to restore Gwen at the Cauldron of Arianrhod (The Disir, With All My Heart). Merlin's behavior ultimately contributed to Mordred's decision to betray Arthur after his lover, Kara, was executed for treason (The Drawing of the Dark). He went to Morgana and revealed that Merlin was her enemy Emrys, then worked with her to strip him of his magic and declare war on Camelot (The Diamond of the Day).
Though Merlin had little interaction with Leon when he first came to Camelot, they appeared to develop a friendship after Arthur created the Knights of the Round Table, as shown by Leon's cheerful greeting when Merlin returned to the group after being injured by the Dorocha (The Coming of Arthur, The Darkest Hour).
Along with Arthur and the other knights, Leon enjoys playing practical jokes on Merlin, which he largely takes in good humour (Aithusa). Leon trusted Merlin greatly and knew that Merlin often got frustrated with Arthur; however this caused him to think that Merlin was joking when he said he wanted to kill Arthur while he was being controlled by Morgana (A Servant of Two Masters).
Elyan accompanied Merlin and Gwen to help a village that was in distress after an attack by the Lamia. Elyan stood up for Merlin when the head of the village didn't think Merlin could heal the sick and injured (Lamia).
When his mother's village was threatened, he went immediately to help her and even told Arthur he would remain there as his duty was to his mother beyond all others (The Moment of Truth). He also demonstrated his love for Hunith by offering his own life instead of hers to save Arthur, furious that he had been deceived by Kilgharrah and Nimueh (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Merlin sought him out when the Great Dragon was released and attacked Camelot. While Balinor at first refused to help Camelot, he was eventually persuaded to change his mind, due to Merlin mentioning Gaius, who had helped him escape Camelot when Uther had first started hunting him. However, he gave his life for Merlin's after finding out he was his son and was fatally wounded by a patrol of enemy soldiers before he could do so.
Before dying, Balinor told Merlin that he was proud of him. Merlin was devastated when his father died. Even after Balinor died, Merlin heard his voice shortly before he managed to stop Kilgharrah from destroying Camelot. Merlin continued to remember his father, keeping one of Balinor's carvings as a memento of the brief time they spent together and mentioning him to Gwaine (The Last Dragonlord, Gwaine).
Gilli is a friend of Merlin. He felt vulnerable when he could not use his magic freely. He had a huge hatred for Uther ever since his father was executed, however, that hatred almost caused him to kill Uther, forcing Merlin to stop him.
However, he proved to be a good man when he protected Merlin from the two thugs Nollar and Tindr. When he realised that his father was not afraid of magic as he thought, Gilli forgave Merlin for preventing him kill Uther, and accepted that magic would one day be permitted again and that their paths would cross again one day (The Sorcerer's Shadow).
Apparently Alator did not know of Emrys before Morgana asked him to find out who he was because he switched sides after he learned who Emrys was. Presumably he originally thought that Emrys was not an important sorcerer, merely one who was an enemy of Morgana, and it was only after Gaius revealed his identity that he realised Emrys was actually destined to be the most powerful sorcerer who had ever lived.
He had heard of the destined Albion but didn't seem to have heard the name Emrys previously - it was after all the name used by the druids who are very secretive (The Secret Sharer).
The Druids are allies of Merlin. Druids of a certain level of authority all seem to know at least of Merlin and seemingly are at least partially aware of his destiny, as all Druid Leaders so far encountered have called him Emrys and recognised him on sight.
Most of these Druids have also hinted at knowledge of his future. They have also helped Merlin on several occasions. For example, after Iseldir gave Arthur the Cup of Life, he telepathically contacted Merlin, referring to him by his name by the Druids, Emrys, informing him that he was now the Cup's caretaker (The Coming of Arthur).
When the Knights of Camelot are going to the Tomb of Ashkanar, Iselder helps him once more. As the Knights camp during the night, Merlin hears a voice inside his head calling to him and it leads him to the Druids. Iseldir tells Merlin that Borden has stolen the keys parts from them and that the way to the tomb is at a place which appears to be a dead end. He also warns him that the key is also a trap, as is the tomb itself (Aithusa).
Merlin's magical abilities go far beyond that of normal sorcerers. For most, magic needs to be studied and perfected for many years, but Merlin's magic developed from birth with no training (The Dragon's Call). Merlin is able to learn magic at an incredibly fast rate, learning in less than one year enough to take out numerous opponents with many more decades of learning than him; by two years in Camelot, he has mastered enough control of his abilities to use magic in a fight when surrounded by soldiers of Camelot without anybody noticing what he is doing (The Tears of Uther Pendragon), by three years his powers had grown to the point where he could defeat four elite knights of Camelot with relative ease (A Servant of Two Masters). Merlin is one of the most powerful creatures in the world of magic more powerful than any other sorcerer like Morgana, Morgause or Mordred.Only deities like the Cailleach or dragons of great power like Kilgharrah are able to overpower him(although that is not certain since Merlin can command Kilgharah to do his bidding). His instinctive abilities include the ability to slow down an object's movement (possibly extending to slowing time itself) and the ability to move objects by telekinesis (A Remedy to Cure All Ills). This ability is used without spells and can enhance incantations (The Gates of Avalon). His magic powers have greatly increased over the period of three years to the point where he can now use blasts of telekinetic energy to push enemies away either with an incantation (The Fires of Idirsholas) or non-verbally (The Last Dragonlord). The power of his blasts is capable of incapacitating,wounding or even killing enemies without having to hit them in a wall or some other surface, just through direct damage caused by the kinetic power of his spell. His telekinesis can also have a wide range like a wave, hitting as many as seven men simultaneously, once killing six opponents directly and momentarily stunning another.
Merlin can also use telepathy to contact other people with magical abilities, (The Beginning of the End) as well as learn magic through telepathy. Merlin could sense powerful magic, such as the Mage Stone and the Cup of Life. He could also sense the presence of the spirit that was possessing Elyan, and its presence in the shrine. He was even able to sense Gwen when she was turned into a deer (The Hunter's Heart).
Merlin even mastered the power over life and death, which he achieved after only two encounters with it (Le Morte d'Arthur). He shows great aptitude in the use of elemental spells, especially fire, using it against Tristan De Bois' wraith, heating enemies weapons so they can no longer hold them, throwing a wave of fire against Cendred's men possibly killing many of them, causing an explosion in order to escape from Arthur and the soldiers of Camelot when he, as Dragoon, was to be executed and also conjuring a small flame in his palm to show Gilli his magic. He can also manipulate wind using it to destroy an Afanc by combining it with fire, or to create and control a whirlwind like he did in Ealdor and conjure lightning which he used to destroy Nimueh. He can also throw blasts of raw magical power, through the use of Sophia's Sidhe staff. Later, he learns to throw a similar blast of magical power with his bare hands (Le Morte d'Arthur). The power of these blasts seems capable of killing enemies instantly unless they can deflect them such as Nimueh or if they have a natural resilience to magical attacks such as a pixie. He also shows the ability to use powerful forms of magic instinctively when his emotions are heightened, and perform spells correctly either non verbally or without proper preparation, something few sorcerers are capable of. Merlin's greatest display of power was when he used lightning to decimate the Saxon army and knock out Morgana (The Diamond of the Day).
Merlin is also skilled in defensive magic, capable of forming a magical shield that held against the Great Dragon's fire, again indicating his great magical power as Dragons are immensely powerful magical creatures. It should also be noted that he had not inherited his fathers Dragonlord powers at the time because he inherited the ability after Balinor died (Le Morte d'Arthur, The Last Dragonlord).
Merlin is also able to wield the Crystal of Neahtid and the crystals in the Crystal Cave to great effect. Although it has never been mentioned, all the events Merlin sees in these crystals always come to pass (The Witch's Quickening, The Crystal Cave). Though Gaius repeatedly tells Merlin that the events he sees may not occur, so far they have. This suggests that Merlin's ability to wield these crystals, and therefore see the future, is much greater than anyone suspects. He has also on one occasion preformed a necromancy spell to reveal the true nature of Lancelot, who was resurrected as a Shade (Lancelot Du Lac).
Merlin also has that magic that can influence other creatures other than dragons and wyverns. He once ordered a snake to scare Morgana's horse (The Castle of Fyrien). He also had a brief moment with a unicorn (The Labyrinth of Gedref), turned a dog statue into an actual dog, revealed the snakes that were on Valiant's shield (Valiant), was able to summon a frog from the Witchfinder's mouth (The Witchfinder), and had an understanding with Freya when she was in the form of a bastet, although in this case it is possible that Freya simply loved him too much to attack him rather than being influenced by magic (The Lady of the Lake). Though not strictly an ability, it is stated that Merlin is a Creature of magic (his father is revealed as a Dragonlord – spiritual brothers to Dragons) and as it is unknown how closely Dragonlords are related to Dragons, thus possibly makes Merlin half human, and half magical Creature of the Old Religion. Due to his status as the Last Dragonlord (as the powers of a Dragonlord are only passed on when the previous Dragonlord in their family line – in this case his father – is dead) he begins to realise even more new abilities and powers. He is shown forcing multiple enemies backwards with a dragonlike roar, similar to Mordred's screaming (The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part One). He is also able to command any Dragon, including their cousins the Wyvern, to do anything he wishes by speaking to them in their language even if they are a long distance away.
Merlin is skilled in magical combat as he defended himself from other people with magic and even killed people with magic. The people who Merlin has killed while fighting with magic include Edwin Muirden, Nimueh and the Sidhe Elder. It should be noted that Nimueh was a very powerful and skilled sorceress and had more experience with magic which further contributes to Merlin's skill and power. Merlin even fought against Tauren and Morgause with magic, although Tauren overpowered Merlin with the Mage Stone while Merlin only defeated Morgause with the help of Gaius. It should be noted that Morgause caught him off guard, making it unclear about whether she could have defeated Merlin in direct combat. Merlin was also able to outmatch a Goblin in a brief fight but could not kill it because it possessed Gaius (Goblin's Gold). At one point he also fights most of the Knights of the Round Table at once, and easily defeats all of them. He later engaged Morgana in a magical duel, despite being physically and magically weakened by having aged his body as a disguise. Merlin, possessing much greater experience and magical power, was thus able to overpower her but with great difficulty (A Servant of Two Masters). Merlin also defended himself against a Lamia with magic and possibly would have killed it if Arthur hadn't impaled it with a spear (Lamia).
Extreme Magical Resilience
Merlin also possesses considerable natural magical resilience, even surviving the force of his own killing spell when it was reflected due to the power of Tauren's mage stone, and many other magical attacks that were meant to kill him (To Kill the King). He was also able to survive the touch of the Dorocha, although he was still greatly injured and would have probably died, if the Vilia hadn't saved him (The Darkest Hour).
As confirmed by Balinor, creatures born with magic, like Merlin and Morgana Pendragon cannot die, unless they are stabbed through the heart by a sword forged in a dragon's breath. It is the only magical weapon that can permanently kill them; another possible reason why Merlin is till alive in modern days is that he discovered or created an immortality spell that stop him from aging, or keeps him from dying from his age. If so, he may not have discovered or created this immortality spell until he was 80 years old.
Merlin is also a somewhat skilled swordsman, which he learned from Arthur. At first he was clumsy and unskilled, but over time, his swordsmanship improved to a point where he was able to defend himself against some of the men that raided his village, killing a few (The Moment of Truth). His sword skills are shown again during the siege of Camelot where he is able to hold his own against both a skeleton warrior and at least temporarily fend off Morgana, though he was disarmed twice by the latter. Although it should be noted that Merlin's main goal was not to defeat Morgana but to get past her to destroy the Rowan Staff. Merlin was also quite agile, being able to avoid being killed by Morgana even without his sword (The Tears of Uther Pendragon). He later became fully confident with a sword when fighting against Morgana and Morgause's immortal army, managing to kill several of them whilst wielding Excalibur (The Coming of Arthur).
Merlin could also use a crossbow and he and Arthur covered Tristan and Isolde while they were running away during Agravaine's attack in their camp.
Following six years of helping Gaius, Merlin had learned some knowledge of medicine, enough for Gaius to recommend him going in his place to help a village with an illness, when he was unable to go (Lamia) and even Mordred noted that he was a skilled physician (The Disir ). However, while he did have knowledge of medicine and was skilled in many types of magic, Merlin at first did not have much talent of healing spells as he failed several times to heal Arthur with magic, although he did save Gwen's father and Morgana by using healing spells. Gradually, however, his talent with healing magic grew as he was able to save Arthur and the knights of the Round table when their food was poisoned and later saved Gwen when she was wounded by an arrow.
In addition to his magical abilities and sword skills, Merlin was extremely talented at keeping secrets, being able to hide his magical abilities from everyone in Camelot excluding Gaius. Arthur once said he couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it and Merlin retorted that he would be surprised though Arthur didn't realise what this meant. There were times when Merlin was framed of using magic and when his secret was almost exposed but Merlin managed to convince people that he was innocent. People who currently know of Merlin's magic are Gaius, Hunith, Balinor, Kilgharrah, Will, Aithusa, Lancelot, Freya, Grettir, Alator and Gilli although Lancelot, Freya, Balinor, and Will are dead. Surprisingly, Merlin proved to be a very incompetent assassin, and when Morgana bewitched him into attempting to murder Arthur, all his attempts failed, though that was more by luck than lack of skill (A Servant of Two Masters).
Beliefs in the Old Religion
It is hinted though out the series that Merlin worships some form of a polytheistic religion (Le Morte d'Arthur). In King Cenred's kingdom, where Merlin is from, the outer regions still appear to follow the Old Religion as far as worshipping the gods. In a scene in Series 1, Merlin tells his mother that "The gods will look after me," when he was talking to his mother when she was ill shortly before he went after Gaius to the Isle of the Blessed (Le Morte d'Arthur). In the legends, King Arthur, as a majority of kings within the British Isles at the time were, was Christian. Nonetheless he was clearly more tolerant towards the pagan religions as Merlin is frequently referred to as being a druid.
It is Merlin's destiny to recall the Old Religion from hiding and unite it in peace with the New World. This implies that he is really partial towards neither, and just believes in his right to practice magic.
In the Legend
Merlin is based on the famous wizard of the same name, adviser to King Arthur in the Arthurian legends. Merlin is said to have been the child of a Demetian princess who was impregnated by a demon, specifically an incubus. Other legends state his father was a fairy, an angel or the devil. He was feared from a young age by many people who believed him to be the son of a devil due to the fact he had no known mortal father. However, he was baptized at birth, and blessed by God with the ability to see the future. He is credited at having been present at Arthur's birth. He predicted Arthur's greatness and became his tutor and trusted adviser, ultimately aiding him in becoming King by helping him to win wars against the kings who opposed his succession. Merlin was enchanted and trapped in a cave by the Lady of the Lake after she stole all his magical knowledge from him. Other minor legends attribute his death to Morgan le Fay who, after seducing him and was his lover, turned herself into an oak tree and buried him. Merlin's death was a leading cause in Arthur's ultimate downfall, as the King lacked his protector and adviser.
- Merlin is a masculine name of Welsh origin. The meaning of the name is "sea fortress" or "of the sea fortress".
- Other spellings of Merlin include Merle, Merl, Meryl, Murl, Murle, Merlen, Merlinn, Merlyn, Merlynn, and Merlino.
- Merlin's real name, Emrys, means "immortal".
- In Series 4 the opening monologue by John Hurt changes from young boy to young man. In Camelot men come of age at 21 meaning he was 17-18 when he first arrived in Camelot and that Arthur is around 3 years older than him.
- The original script of the first episode stated that Morgana is around Merlin's age, as it said: "She is about the same age as MERLIN, but her obvious sophistication makes her seem slightly older".
- Merlin was able to move items with his mind before he could talk.
- Hundreds of men auditioned for the part of Merlin. The producers were imperative to come up with an actor with a broad range acting, who was able to do drama, comedy and to act in front of a green screen. They also wanted someone likeable, so the audience would tune in again after the first episode.
- Before auditioning for the role of Merlin, Colin Morgan was sent the script for Arthur by mistake. He didn't get the whole script so he prepared those assuming they wanted to see him for the role of the prince. It was only right before for the audition that he got the scenes for Merlin so he only had about 5 minutes to read over them. He ended up getting the role.
- Merlin is the only male besides Gaius and Sir Leon (who was already a knight), whom Arthur did not knight in "Coming of Arthur".
- When Merlin first met Morgana he was infatuated with her however these feelings soon passed, seeing her as more of a friend. This is seen with his interest in Nimueh in her disguise as Cara in The Poisoned Chalice (Series 1).
- In order to keep his role as Merlin, Colin is ordered to stay out of the sun and wear strong sunblock because the character of Merlin must stay pale.
- Merlin's druid name comes from his name in welsh Myrddin Emrys.
- Out of all the characters, Merlin gets injured the most, the second-most injured character being Arthur.
- Merlin's druid name, 'Emrys' means 'immortal'.
- It is interesting to note that most non-magical characters who find out that Merlin has magic end up dead in the exact same episode. There are exceptions, however, such as Gaius and Lancelot.
- In the Italian version of the series his name was translated as Merlino.
- "You should be ashamed of yourself, you're old enough to be her grandfather!" on Gaius and Gwen.
- "If I can't use magic then what have I got? I'm just a nobody and I always will be." to Gaius.
- "How long have you been training to be a prat...my lord?" to Arthur.
- "I have fought griffins, witches, bandits, I have been punched, poisoned, pelted with fruit and all the while I have to hide who I really am because if anyone finds out Uther will have me executed, sometimes I feel as though I'm being pulled in so many directions I don't know which way to turn!!" to Gaius.
- "Arthur's thanking me, Uther's grateful, you're proud, I've never been this popular." to Gaius.
- "Being different's nothing to be scared of." to Freya.
- "I willingly give my life for Arthur's." to Nimueh.
- "People should marry for love, not convenience. And if Uther thinks an unhappy king makes for a stronger kingdom, then he's wrong because you may be destined to rule Camelot but you have a choice... as to how you do it." to Arthur.
- "You have wronged so many people in so many ways. You're blinded by your hatred of magic, you have tortured and executed so many people, you Uther Pendragon are a stupid arrogant old tyrant." to Uther as Dragoon the Great.
- "And you, I have heard how you...mistreat your servants, they do everything for you but do they ever get any thanks? No! You're a spoilt arrogant brat with the brains of a donkey and the face...of a toad." to Arthur as Dragoon the Great.
- "It doesn't have to be like this. We can find another way." to Morgana.
- "Oh, but they do concern me, cause they're my friends too. And I'll do whatever it takes to protect them" to Morgana
- "I believe in a fair and just land." to Morgause
- "Then I swear I will protect you or die at your side." to Arthur
- "I feel that the die is cast...and that, for good or ill, Albion's great trial has begun." to Gaius
- "We all matter." to Daegal
- "I am a sorcerer. I have magic." to Arthur
- "I was born to serve you Arthur and I'm proud of that and I wouldn't change a thing." to Arthur
- "Oh! Oh, what's that Wilddeoren eating? It's all right. It's just Merlin." to Arthur