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.
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).
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 replied 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 would aid Arthur in his destiny to become the Once and Future King and unite the land of Albion. Merlin was skeptical of this at first and 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. When Gwen's father contracted a mysterious plague that had stricken Camelot, Merlin used a magic poultice to cure him. His attempt to help 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 prevent Guinevere's execution by confessing 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 Afanc. 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.
When Merlin tried to warn Arthur, Uther commanded him to drink from the cup himself. Ignoring Arthur's protests, Merlin drank from the goblet and collapsed moments later, proving that it 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. Gwen managed to retrieve the flower from the dungeons and brought it Gaius, who was able to complete the antidote and save Merlin's life (The Poisoned Chalice).
Merlin next used his magic to help a swordsman named Lancelot, who wanted to become a Knight of Camelot but was prohibited by the First Code, 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 Gwen, 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 the punishment was his to bear alone.
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 mentor him, 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 had also used one to harm 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. 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 Mordred escape from Camelot 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 Mordred 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 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. His words made Merlin realize that his freedom was all that the dragon had ever cared about, and he angrily vowed that he would ensure that the dragon was never released for what he had 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 for Gaius's death and attacked her with his magic.
The ensuing duel ended with Nimueh striking 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 to revive Gaius and used 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 all right, 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.
After Merlin convinced her tell Arthur, the prince quickly concluded that Elyan was being held at the Castle of Fyrien and decided to form a rescue party. Unfortunately, Morgana found out about their plans and insisted on accompanying them (The Castle of Fyrien).
The Trio Reunited
Merlin is later reunited with Gwaine, who helps him find Arthur, who is slowly having his strength drained by Morgana's Eye of the Phoenix. During this foretold quest, which is apparently his, instead of Arthur's, Merlin is known as "Magic" for obvious reasons, with Gwaine as "Strength", and Arthur as "Courage."
Merlin uses his Dragonlord ability to save the unconscious Arthur from a pair of Wyvern and later encounters the Fisher King. The Fisher King gives him water from the Lake of Avalon, foreboding dark times ahead in which Merlin will need all the help he can get. He then asks Merlin to kill him as a favor in exchange for the boon, for he has lived far beyond his natural lifespan, waiting for the arrival of The Once and Future King, whose age is now dawning, and since he is unable to die without Merlin's help. Arthur, meanwhile, retrieves the Fisher King's Golden Trident and they say goodbye to Gwaine before returning to Camelot (The Eye of the Phoenix).
A Prophecy Come True
Later, Merlin creates a disguise in the shape of the same man he saw in the Crystal in order to save Guinevere from being executed. Guinevere was accused by Morgana as having placed a spell on Arthur to love her, as Morgana was having nightmares of Gwen becoming queen.
Since Merlin hasn't been able to reveal to Uther that Morgana used magic and so he decides to create a sorcerer of his own. In the disguise of an old man, Merlin thwarts Morgana's plan and saves Gwen but is nearly executed himself. He escapes, taking a potion Gaius prepared, and transforms back into himself before Arthur and his knights can find him. Arthur thinks that Merlin spent time in the tavern due to a lie told to him by Gaius (Queen of Hearts).
Guiding a SorcererMerlin later encounters a sorcerer named Gilli when a tournament is taking place in Camelot. After meeting him, Merlin immediately notices that Gilli uses magic to help him defeat his first opponent. Fearing that Gilli will get exposed for using magic and that he will get corrupted by his powers, Merlin tells Gilli to withdraw from the tournament but Gilli tells him that he wants to use his magic so that he achieves glory and that his father was afraid of magic. Gilli then chooses to withdraw when he unintentionally kills a thug named Nollar, but when everyone shows him respect, he again changes his mind and chooses not to withdraw. Merlin later confronts Gilli about his decision and reveals his magic to him. Gilli argues that Merlin has hid his gift for a long time and that someone with magic should strike Uther as he had many people who had magic executed. Merlin, when learning that Arthur's heart would be hardened against magic if he witnessed Uther die at its hand, foils Gilli's attempt to kill Uther. Merlin tells Gilli that using magic to fight and to achieve glory is not the right way to use his power, making Gilli realize that his father was only afraid of the power magic has to corrupt and not magic itself. After Gilli apologises for his actions, Merlin comments that they will meet again before Gilli leaves (The Sorcerer's Shadow).
Rise of MorganaMerlin's vision of Morgana becoming Queen also comes true. While he and Arthur search for the Cup of Life, meeting their friend Gwaine during the mission, Morgause and Cenred are also attempting to find the Cup. Merlin accidentally lets the Cup fall into enemy hands (literally) and Morgause creates an army of immortal soldiers. Merlin, Gwaine and Arthur return to Camelot and find Elyan and Gaius, the only two known people who have not been captured, wounded or killed by Morgause's immortal army. Despite being told to go with Gaius, Merlin stays with Arthur, who for once appears grateful towards him. They then witness Morgana being crowned Queen of Camelot, just as Merlin foresaw in the Crystal Cave. Merlin and Arthur join the rest of the group in the forest and Merlin takes the water the Fisher King gave him and uses it to contact his deceased lover Freya. Merlin is delighted to see Freya again, having contacted her by accident and Freya tells him that she missed him. She tells him to go to the the Lake of Avalon to fetch the sword Excalibur. Merlin calls Kilgharrah, who carries him to the lake and Freya gives Merlin the sword, though only her arm emerges from the lake. Merlin and his friends later meet Guinevere and Sir Leon who managed to escape Camelot though they accidentally bring a group of Morgause's immortal soldiers with them. Fortunately their lives are saved by the arrival of Lancelot and Percival who cause an avalanche allowing the group to escape. Wielding Excalibur, Merlin join a Arthur, Gwaine, Elyan, Lancelot and Percival in their mission to bring an end to Morgana's rule. Merlin uses the sword to destroy the soldiers that stand in their way and has almost made it to the Cup of Life before Morgause intervenes. Fortunately Gaius arrives in time to attack Morgause with magic, dazing her and protecting Merlin. Before she can recover, Merlin smashes her into a pillar with his magic, seriously injuring her. Merlin then empties the Cup of the Knights blood, destroying the immortal army. A devastated Morgana rushes into the room and cradles her unconscious sister just as Morgause did for her when Merlin poisoned her. Merlin tells Morgana that it is over but Morgana tells him that it has just begun and uses magic to bring the room crashing down on them. Gaius later states that there was no sign of her or Morgause in the rubble, meaning that they must have escaped. Finally Merlin places Excalibur in a stone in the forest where no "mortal man" can wield it (The Coming of Arthur).
The Darkest Hour
Though Camelot experiences another year of peace after Morgana is overthrown, this peace is interrupted during the Samhain Eve celebration. As a result of Morgana's blood sacrifice on the Isle of the Blessed, Merlin is greeted with shock as a mysterious woman appears during Arthur's toast to the king.
As she calls out to Merlin, calling him Emrys, he faints prompting treatment by Gaius. When Merlin recovers, he explains to Gaius what happened. Gaius concluded that the woman Merlin saw is the Cailleach, gatekeeper to the spirit world. Although Gaius is unsure as to why the Cailleach would appear to Merlin, he speculates that trouble is coming to Camelot once again. This speculation proves to be correct as there begin to be reports of villages being attacked by unknown assailants with no one being left alive. Once Arthur gets word that this was occurring, he rides out with his knights and Merlin to investigate. Once they arrive at a village, Merlin encounters a strange wispy creature that somehow disable his magic and is almost killed.
However, Lancelot manages to drive the creature away using his torch before it can do so. Upon returning to Camelot, Merlin finds it in an uproar. The supernatural creatures, identified as the Dorocha, have begun to launch attacks on the castle and many are killed. He confides in Gaius and confesses that his magic has no effect on the creatures. After the attack, Gaius informs Arthur that the Dorocha can not be killed through conventional means but that the veil from which they came must be sealed with another blood sacrifice. Arthur then designates himself to be the next sacrifice so that the veil might be closed. Unable to forsake his destiny, Merlin becomes determined to take Arthur's place as the sacrifice despite Gaius' protests. Arthur once again rides out with Merlin and his knights to the Isle of the Blessed to repair the damage to the torn veil. On the way, Lancelot attempts to convince Merlin that the undertaking they are performing is too dangerous. Merlin replies that his duty is to protect Arthur as Lancelot's duty is to protect Camelot. Upon arriving at the Isle of the Blessed, Arthur and Merlin are attacked by a Dorocha and are forced to seek refuge inside the catacombs. After a friendly exchange, another Dorocha manages to find them. Before Arthur can confront it, Merlin pushes Arthur out of the way and takes the full brunt of the Dorocha's attack. When the knights rejoin Arthur, they discover that Merlin is apparently dead. Merlin survives the attack but becomes gravely ill and has to be taken by Lancelot back to Camelot. However along the journey, Vilia, who are spirits of the brooks and streams help them and heal Merlin from the sickness. Merlin then rides back with Lancelot to help Arthur. Along the way, they are attacked by a Dorocha but Merlin summons Kilgharrah to repel the Dorocha with his fire. Kilgharrah then tells them that the Dorocha cannot be allowed to remain in the living world and that a sacrifice will be demanded by the Cailleach to defeat them.
After rejoining Arthur and the others, they continue the journey to the isle of the Blessed. Merlin offers to be sacrificed instead of Arthur but the Cailleach says it can not happen. Before Merlin can stop him, Lancelot walks into the veil and heals the rip. After a funeral is held for Lancelot, Merlin and Gaius learn that Morgana is aware of his identity as Emrys. Gaius then tells Merlin that he suspects Arthur's uncle Agravaine, who has supported Arthur after Uther was broken by Morgana's betrayal, is loyal to Morgana before warning Merlin that Morgana should never learn the truth that he has magic and that he is Emrys (The Darkest Hour).
The Once and Future King
When Uther is mortally wounded by an assassin when protecting Arthur, Merlin sees this as a chance to return magic back to Camelot because Arthur plans to use magic to save Uther. Merlin returns to his old man disguise to help him convince Arthur. Merlin gains Arthur's trust with help of his disguise and goes to Uther's chambers with Arthur. However, Morgana learns of Arthur's plans and enchants a necklace to repel healing spells which Agravaine plants around Uther's neck. Merlin casts a healing spell but due to the necklace, it backfires and Uther dies. An enraged Arthur blames the disguised Merlin for Uther's death but Merlin knocks him unconscious to prevent Arthur from attacking him and transforms back into himself.
Gaius later shows Merlin the necklace and Merlin realizes what Morgana did. Arthur then tells Merlin that he lost both his parents due to magic and that he sees it as pure evil. Merlin blames himself for Uther's death and worries that his magic will never be revealed to Arthur but Gaius reassures him that Arthur will soon learn of his magic and that he is not to blame for Uther's death. Merlin then watches as Arthur is crowned King of Camelot, despite being heartbroken at his failure and chants 'Long Live the King' (The Wicked Day).
The Dragon Egg
When the mysterious Julius Borden visits Gaius telling Gaius of his plan to bring forth a new dragon into the world, Merlin is gravitated to help him. After telling Kilgharrah of this matter, Merlin promises the Great Dragon that he will fulfil his duties as a Dragonlord and rescue the egg. Merlin steals Arthur's key to the vaults in order for Julius to enter and retrieve the final piece if the Triskelion which is the key to the Tomb of Ashkanar which contains the last remaining dragon's egg. Julius however betrays Merlin by knocking him unconscious after he unites the Triskelion. Gaius is furious at Merlin for helping Julius despite his warnings. Merlin, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table embark on a journey to stop Julius Borden before he gets to the egg. Julius manages to hurt Sir Percival by shooting him with an arrow and later poisons the knights by shooting a poultice into their stew, but they are saved by Merlin. With the knights unconscious, Merlin continues the journey to the Tomb of Ashkanar alone and manages to save the dragon egg.
By taking the egg, the tomb comes tumbling and Julius dies in the rubble. After showing Gaius the egg, he takes the egg to Kilgharrah and is told to use his Dragonlord power and name the young dragon in order to summon it from the egg. Merlin names the white dragon Aithusa, meaning the "light of the sun". Kilgharrah says that a white dragon "bodes well for Albion" (Aithusa)
Caerleon vs. Camelot
When Arthur is faced with a difficult decision to kill King Caerleon, Merlin advises Arthur not to do so, as it is unlikely for Arthur to not show mercy. Arthur, however, listens to Agravaine, who tells him to kill Caerleon. Caerleon's wife, Queen Annis, orders war upon Camelot because of Arthur's actions. Merlin travels with Arthur, the other knights and Camelot's army to go to war. Arthur sneaks out one night to meet with Queen Annis and proposes an agreement; that one champion from Camelot and one from Caerleon will fight to the death to avoid the deaths of thousands of innocents. Merlin is found eavesdropping, and is ordered executed, but Arthur saves him and the two go back to the campsite. Arthur questions Merlin's inability to leave things alone, and Merlin says he is Arthur's friend. Before the fight, Arthur gives Merlin a ring and requests that he give it to Gwen if he dies. Morgana, meanwhile, has enchanted Arthur's sword to allow it to malfunction during the match. Her plan is thwarted by Merlin, who makes Annis’ champion's sword fall, allowing Arthur the advantage to kill him and win. Arthur, however, spares his life and agrees to be with peace with Annis. He and Merlin return to Camelot, where Arthur is considered a hero and admits to Merlin he should have listened to him at the beginning, despite the fact that he is "one of the worst servants in the five kingdoms" (His Father's Son).
Under Morgana's Control
While out with Arthur and the other knights, Merlin is ambushed and injured, and he and Arthur are forced to spend the night in the forest, where Arthur confesses that Merlin is brave. The next morning, Merlin's condition is worse. He is more pale, and can't move willingly. Arthur attempts to carry Merlin to safety, but they are ambushed by mercenaries again. To protect Arthur, Merlin sacrifices himself by allowing rocks to fall, trapping him with the mercenaries and separating him from Arthur. Merlin is brought to Morgana, who takes him to her hut and binds him by his wrists to the ceiling.
Although Merlin tells her he will die happy knowing that Arthur is safe, Morgana reassures him that he won't die just yet, and that she won't make it easy. Arthur attempts repeatedly to search for Merlin and refuses to believe that he is truly gone. Morgana, meanwhile, tends to Merlin's wounds while questioning his loyalty to Arthur. Merlin replies by saying she will never understand loyalty, and Morgana retaliates by stating she has nobody to be loyal to. She then uses a spell to put Merlin to sleep. When he wakes later, Morgana conjures the Fomorroh, a snake with multiple heads, and explains to Merlin that Priestesses of the Old Religion used them to take over one's mind; she then orders him to kill Arthur and inserts one of the snakes in his neck. Arthur and Gwaine venture out to look for Merlin, and find him in bog.
They bring him back to Camelot, and Merlin acts oddly towards Gaius and Gwen, and attempts several times to kill Arthur, all failed or prevented by Gwen. When Gwen knocks him out and takes him to Gaius, Gaius paralyses the snake. Merlin gains freedom with his own mind for an amount of time before Gaius tells him that he needs to kill the mother snake in order to be fully free from Morgana. Merlin disguises himself as Dragoon, and after witnessing Agravaine leaving Morgana’s hut, attempts to take the jar of Fomorroh and flee, but Morgana stops him. A small battle ensues and Merlin manages to knock Morgana unconscious. After destroying the Fomorroh, he goes back to Camelot, where Gaius removes the remains of the snake. Arthur, who is increasingly angry at Merlin for his absence, orders him to be trained by George, a very dull servant, as punishment (A Servant of Two Masters).
Later Merlin and Gwaine race to rescue Gaius who Agravaine has managed to convince Arthur was the traitor. In reality, Gaius has been abducted by Alator, a Catha and priest of the old Religion, who Morgana has enlisted the services of to find the location and identity of Emrys. Splitting up, Merlin is confronted by Morgana who gleefully threatens Merlin with death, unaware that she has Emrys at her mercy when Alator arrives. She asks if Alator has discovered Emrys’ identity. The sorcerer approaches Merlin confirming he has. When Morgana asks for a name Alator tells her she shall never know and blasts her away from the pair with magic. Fearful at first of the Sorcerer; Alator tells Merlin he does know who he is and then bows before Merlin.
He tells the young warlock he knows of the burden of hiding what they truly are, that he and the other survivors of his order know of the great prophecy involving Merlin and Arthur, and that they and other surviving magic users believe in the world Merlin will one day create. Should Merlin ever require his or his order's services Alator and the other priests would be ready to aid him. Back in Camelot Merlin is glad Gaius is safe but both men know they need to find a way to expose Agravaine quickly for everyone's sake (The Secret Sharer).
Among finding out that the village of Longstrong was struck with a mysterious illness, Merlin ventures out along with Gwen and the other knights to fix the problem, with Merlin serving as a substitute for Gaius. He attempts to use magic to heal the three victims but to no avail, and soon decides with the knights to return to Camelot for Gaius. While returning they encountered bandits, and after defeating them, they save a young woman named Lamia. Lamia is cold towards Merlin and refuses his help several times, not even allowing him to touch her. Lamia begins to take over the knight's minds to make them more aggressive towards each other, and this makes them turn against Merlin and Gwen on several occasions. Lamia strikes Sir Elyan, and while Merlin and Gwen tell the knights that they have to bring him back to Camelot, Lamia manipulates their minds again to make them follow her into an abandoned castle. There, she strikes each knight one by one and attempts to kill Merlin, but he is quickly saved by Gwen and later Arthur (Lamia).
When Arthur proposes to Gwen, everybody is happy about the engagement and celebrates by means of jousting. Lancelot, however, returns from the dead, much to everybody's bewilderment, and Merlin grows suspicious. Morgana, however, has previously resurrected Lancelot and ordered him to present Gwen with a bracelet that would make her fall in love with him. Merlin eventually finds out with Gaius that Lancelot is a shade of his former self and suspects that he wants to harm Arthur. Lancelot and Gwen (under the bracelet's influence) meet in the council chambers, where they share a kiss. Arthur catches them in the act by Agravaine and both are imprisoned. Arthur spares Gwen's life but orders her exiled from Camelot forever. Merlin tries to persuade Arthur to lift the sentence, suggesting that Agravaine was merely manipulating him but Arthur stays true to his word, stating that although he may one day be able to forgive her, he will never again be able to trust her. Meanwhile, Lancelot kills himself by Morgana's orders and is given a proper burial by Merlin. Merlin briefly resurrects Lancelot, to which he thanks Merlin. Merlin then casts his coffin away in the water before burning the body (Lancelot Du Lac).
Soon after, Arthur, Merlin and the Knights go on a patrol around the forest where they come across a strange Druid Shrine. Merlin warns all of them to not disturb the shrine, but Elyan ignores Merlin's warnings and disturbs water from a well in the Shrine. He is soon haunted by a dripping wet ghost boy who gives him the task of killing the King. Elyan's first attempt goes wrong, and he is imprisoned. Merlin plans to break Elyan out of prison so he can use magic to get rid of the ghost, but the plan goes wrong and Elyan knocks Merlin out and escapes. Merlin later awakes with a bruise and goes to Gaius. The two travel back to the shrine to investigate and Merlin hears cries and screams coming from the well. They conclude that the shrine was a place where Uther had slaughtered many innocent Druids. Elyan attempts to kill Arthur once more, but Merlin intrudes and convinces Arthur to spare Elyan's life. Merlin later catches Arthur sneaking into the woods in the middle of the night and follows him. It is revealed that Arthur, and not Uther, had sent for the soldiers to slaughter the innocent Druids. He begs forgiveness from the spirit, and is forgiven. Elyan returns to normal and Arthur later sees to it that Druids are respected and never again harmed in any way (A Herald of the New Age).
Arrival of Princess Mithian and Guinevere's Return
Merlin is soon heard of Arthur's intention to marry Princess Mithian and is shocked and upset. After he claims that Arthur still loves Gwen, Arthur threatens him with exile, and Merlin shows coldness towards Mithian upon her arrival and repeatedly foils Arthur's dates with her. Mithian soon notices Merlin's unwelcoming behaviour and confronts him kindly about it, even asking permission if she can have a chance on Arthur, as she knows Merlin's opinion is valued most by the king. Soon, Arthur and Mithian, along with Merlin, go on a hunting trip where Merlin discovers Gwen after he sees a deer with her reflection. He tries to stop Arthur and Mithian from hitting her, but Gwen is hit by an arrow to the leg. Merlin later visits her and heals her, and she later tells him about Helios' and Morgana's plans to seize control of Camelot with Agravaine's help. Merlin reports this to Arthur but to no avail and the king threatens him with exile yet again. Arthur later asks for Merlin's assistance in a delicate matter, questioning why he still loves Gwen after her betrayal. Merlin says he should listen to his heart, and Arthur soon scraps his plans to marry Mithian. He later thanks Merlin for his assistance (The Hunter's Heart).
Morgana Captures Camelot
During the feast of Beltain, Agravaine assists Morgana in her attack on Camelot. This unpredicted attack forces Merlin and Arthur to flee. Merlin, realizing Arthur will not leave his people, casts an enchantment on the King in order to change his wit. Merlin, Arthur, Elyan and Percival flee, leaving Gaius and others behind. On the way Percival goes missing and Elyan is captured. Merlin and the confused Arthur continue on their journey until they reach a small hut (seen in The Darkest Hour Part 2 and The Wicked Day). Here, Merlin advises Arthur to disguise himself and the witless Arthur does as he is told. Later, the pair is found by the leaders of a gang of Smugglers - Tristan and Isolde. Tristan and Isolde allow Merlin and Arthur to travel with them in exchange for gold. However, they do not know Arthur was the King of Camelot
A day later Arthur regains his wit and the camp is attacked by Agravaine and his men. As they flee, Tristan and Isolde discovered who Arthur truly is. With Isolde injured Merlin, Arthur, and Tristan take her to Ealdor where Merlin is reunited with his mother Hunith. Guinevere is also reunited with Arthur as she was living in Ealdor. Agravaine's army soon reaches Ealdor and Merlin, Arthur, Tristan, Isolde, and Guinevere quickly leave Ealdor. As the group flees into the caves, Merlin calls Kilgarrah to come and help. However, Agravaine and a small number of men make it into the caves. This forces Merlin, despite Arthur's protests, to go back and stop Agravaine from catching up with them. He faces him, where Agravaine threatens him to reveal where Arthur is. When Merlin refuses, he reveals his magic to Agravaine before killing him. He goes back to a relieved Arthur, leaving the caves and into the forest. While taking cover, it becomes apparent that Arthur has lost hope in himself, telling Merlin he thinks of himself as a bad king and has lost the support of his people. Desperate to find a way to convince him otherwise, Merlin goes to the Great Dragon for help. Following the advice of Kilgharrah, Merlin goes out in search for the survivors of Camelot in the forests and gathers them to watch Arthur pull Excalibur out of the stone. He casts a spell on Morgana while disguised as "Dragoon the Great" that will temporarily block her powers.
The following morning, he tells Arthur a story about Excalibur, that a great king once put it there, casting a spell that will only allow the true king of Camelot to pull the sword out of the stone. Arthur grasps the sword as his people look on, and pulls it out with the help of Merlin's magic. His faith is restored and so they go on to lead a great army against Morgana to reclaim Camelot. He, Arthur, Isolde, Guinevere, and Tristan make it to the throne room where Morgana lies in wait with Helios. Morgana flees when she realises she can't use magic, chased by Merlin and Guinevere. Merlin uses magic to save the life of Guinevere but Morgana has disappeared by the time he comes to look for her. Merlin returns to the throne room, witnessing the death of Isolde. In the end, he is on the front row standing by Gaius as he is present to proudly witness the crowning of Guinevere as the Queen of Camelot (The Sword in the Stone).
Witnessing Arthur's Death
Three years later after Guinevere's crowning, although Merlin enjoys a time of prosperity and peace, he still sees the signs of an ominous future. Gwaine, Percival and a big number of Arthur's soldiers have gone missing, and Merlin learns that Morgana has to do something with it. While searching for them, Merlin finds a dying druid seer named Lochru, who tells him that he would do well to fear Arthur's Bane, and then shows Merlin a battle between Arthur and Mordred, where Arthur meets his demise. After this, Merlin warns Arthur repeatedly not to go to Ismere, but Arthur says he cannot abandon his men. After the group of knights is assaulted by Ruadan, Morgana and their men, Merlin uses magic and saves Arthur, along with himself. Being hungry, however, he lures Arthur and himself in a trap, and soon they are discovered by Morgana's men, and about to be killed, but a familiar figure emerges and spares their lives (Arthur's Bane: Part One).
Much to Arthur's surprise Merlin reveals the man who spared their lives to be Mordred, who insists on bringing them to Morgana instead of killing them. On the way to Ismere Merlin and Arthur argue and Arthur is hit by Ragnor, the leader of the troop of Saxons, who tells them to move faster.Near the Fortress of Ismere, the Saxons, along with their prisoners, rest for the night. While Ragnor and Mordred sit by the fire, Merlin observes them from his places near the sleeping Arthur and distanced from the other prisoners. Mordred tries to convince Ragnor to give the prisoners some food, but is ignored. As the new day dawns, Mordred approaches Merlin and gives him some bread. Merlin then asks him why he is acting like this, and Mordred explains that he does it because he owes a debt to Arthur. He also confronts Merlin about not fearing him, assuring Merlin that his secret is safe with him. When Merlin asks what Morgana is looking for in Ismere, Mordred reveals to him that she wants to find the Diamair, the key to all knowledge.
When they continue their journey to Ismere, an apparently exhausted Arthur falls down and Merlin beseeches Ragnor to stop. Annoyed, Ragnor threateningly drags Arthur up and Merlin offers to help Arthur. When Ragnor leaves, it is revealed that this was merely a ruse for Arthur to stealthily steal Ragnor's dagger. As the group continue their journey towards the fortress, Merlin makes goods fall off a wagon. This makes Ragnor even more angry and he attacks Merlin, trying to kill him. Arthur fights back, taking on Ragnor and several of his men. Arthur and Merlin take a few weapons from the wagon and escape. As the Saxons are approaching quickly, they have to jump over a large gorge in the icy landscape to escape. Arthur jumps first and Merlin, after a few moments of hesitation, follows. Arthur shoots the approaching Saxons with the crossbow, while Merlin uses an axe to break some of the icy ground near him, widening the ravine. As Mordred nears the opposite side, the ground falls off, making it impossible for him to jump to the other side. Arthur aims at him with the crossbow, but decides to spare his life.
When Merlin and Arthur finally arrive at the fortress, they use the garbage shaft to get inside . Then they use a wagon to get to the dungeons where the Knights are working and go to find them. In the dungeons, Arthur and Merlin find Percival, who tells them that Gwaine hasn't been seen for a few days.
When they find him, Merlin and Arthur see the Euchdag, who had healed Gwaine, as she disappeared, shying away from them. The three make their way back to find the other knights, but are soon attacked by Aithusa. All of them escape, as Aithusa is breathing fire at them. Merlin tells Arthur to get Gwaine to Percival, while he will lure the dragon the other way. He soon finds Aithusa and recognizes her. She breathes fire at him, but he protects himself with a spell. He asks her what happened to her and realises that she cannot speak. He then hears Arthur calling for him and commands the dragon to leave. Merlin goes back to look for Arthur, but, when he finds him, he is attacked by Morgana, who slams him against a wall. As Morgana prepares to kill Arthur, Mordred stabs her and saves Arthur. Merlin then falls unconscious but is later healed by the Diamair. The Diamair tells him that Morgana will never find what she is searching for and Merlin realises that she herself is what Morgana is after, the Diamair, the Key to all Knowledge. Merlin asks what Arthur's Bane is, and the Diamair says that it is Arthur himself.
Back in Camelot Mordred is knighted by Arthur. Merlin then confronts him, asking him why he saved Arthur. Mordred responds that the love that binds them together is stronger than the power they wield, which is something Morgana had forgotten.
When Gaius and Merlin have dinner, Merlin tells him that Mordred troubles him and that the Great Dragon had said Arthur would be killed by a Druid, leaving out that the Great Dragon had believed Mordred to be that Druid and that the last time he had seen Mordred before the incident in Ismere, they had parted on bad terms, with Mordred threatening never to forget it. Gaius tells him it is not certain that it is actually Mordred that will kill Arthur. Merlin says that he feels the Great Trial for Albion has begun (Arthur's Bane: Part Two).
The Return of Uther
While Merlin and Arthur out hunting they come across a village where the execution of a sorceress is taking place. Arthur ordered the villagers to release the old woman as she had not had a fair trial. Moments before the old woman dies she thanks Arthur for sparing her and gives him the Horn of Cathbhadh saying that it has the power to summon the dead. Gaius warns Arthur about the great dangers which came when spirits were called. That night Arthur celebrates his anniversary since assuming the throne of Camelot, however he is depressed as it marks the anniversary of Uther's death.
The next morning Merlin is told by Arthur that they are going somewhere and to not a breathe a word of it to anyone. The eventually reach the Great Stone of Nemeton where the Horn of Cathbhadh is to be used. Merlin waits as Arthur contacts his father in the spirit world. That night Arthur confides in Merlin about his father's negative views. Merlin reassures the King saying that his has always done what believes to be right and that his subjects respect him.
Back in Camelot, during a meeting of the Round Table a candelabra falls unexpectedly, breaking the round table. Later on that night, Percival is injured by a falling axe and visits Gaius for treatment. He tells Gaius and Merlin that he sensed that someone was there just before the attack. Gaius, realising that something is wrong, asks Merlin who tells Gaius that Arthur used the Horn. Gaius tells Merlin that if Arthur looked back as he was leaving through the veil Uther's spirit would be released. At once Merlin tells Arthur that he believes Uther's spirit is responsible for breaking the round table and injuring Percival as they represent the things Uther didn't stand for. Arthur does not accept this and tells Merlin to leave.
Later that night as Gwen is walking through the castle, she senses someone there as windows open and wind blows through. Suddenly she is attacked by an invisible force and eventually knocked out in a burning room. Merlin then finds Gwen unconscious and takes her to Gaius who says that she is lucky to have survived. Arthur is still shocked to believe that his father would do such a thing (The Death Song of Uther Pendragon).
Fight Against OdinWhen Morgana and Odin form an alliance, Merlin and the knights of Camelot set out with King Arthur to rescue Princess Mithian's father and the kingdom of Nemeth. When Mithian tries to warn Merlin that Morgana was forcing her to lead the knights into a trap, Morgana catches him before he is able to get to Arthur. She then nearly chokes him to death using magic. When Merlin is brought to Gaius unconscious, Arthur tells Gwaine to stay with Gaius and Merlin while he takes the others to King Odin. Gwaine is clearly concerned for Merlin, and is glad to stay with him. A while later Gaius tells Gwaine that Merlin was getting cold, and that he needs more firewood. Gwaine, eager to help, rushes off immediately. Meanwhile, Gaius uses a spell to heal Merlin. When Gwaine returns, Merlin is awake. The two hurry to Arthur's aid.
When Merlin and Gwaine arrive at the tomb, where King Rodor is being held, Arthur and his men have already been captured. Merlin goes into the tomb to rescue Arthur and Percival, while Gwaine stays outside to help the rest of the knights. Merlin enters the tomb and interferes with magic, knocking Morgana unconscious and escaping with Arthur (Another's Sorrow).
When three soothsayers from the court of the Disir pass judgement on Arthur for rejecting the Old Religion, the young king sets out with Merlin, Mordred and a handful of knights to a sacred grove to demand an explanation. But when Arthur refuses to appease the Disir, his patrol comes under attack and Mordred is critically wounded. Wanting to save the young druid, Arthur must make a difficult decision - accept magic back in Camelot or condemn Mordred to die.
Arthur then decides to travel back to the Disir and ask for their mercy on Mordred. He travels alone with Merlin. When they arrive back at the cave, Arthur apologises to the Disir and asks them to have mercy on Mordred. They tell him to accept the Old Religion, but he refuses so. The Disir tell him to choose wisely, and give him until dawn to decide. At night, while at a campfire, Arthur asks for Merlin's advice. Not wanting Mordred to survive for Arthur's sake, Merlin tells him that "There is no place for magic in Camelot" (The Disir).
The Dark Tower
When Guinevere is captured by Morgana, Merlin sets out with Arthur and the knights of the round table to rescue her. Merlin makes a promise to Arthur that they will find Gwen. During the entire journey, Arthur is increasingly discouraged, but Merlin was consistently reminds him of his promise.At the camp, during the night, Merlin senses the presence of Mab. He follows it, where he meets the impish Queen, who knows he is Emrys, who is the spirit of the place they are within and every place that brings despair to the hearts of men. Mab speaks in riddles, much to Merlin's annoyance, and tells him the way ahead is the opposite way they think. She also tells him someone will not come back alive, then vanishes before Merlin can ask more questions. The sun casts upon the forest and the knights continue travelling. Arthur says they need to find a clearing. Merlin says for them to head north and tells him which way north is, and he and Elyan convince Arthur to give Merlin a chance. Merlin uses his magic to lead the way ahead, using a satellite vision to visualise the path ahead. They exit the forest and now have direct view of the tower, which lays in a desolate piece of flat land ahead.
The knights enter the doorway of the Dark Tower, and draw their swords. They climb the same staircase Morgana and Gwen did earlier, encountering several skeletons on the way. As they climb the staircase Merlin spots Arthur and tell him something is wrong- venturing the tower appears too easy. As usual, Arthur rebuts by telling Merlin he is never pleased. The knights enter a room filled with booby traps- traps which set off darts. Percival is stricken by a dart and Merlin stops Another which almost strikes Arthur in the head. Elyan rushes ahead of everyone into the next room where Gwen is being held.
By the time that Merlin and the other knights arrive, Elyan is dead. Elyan's body is burned at the same lake Lancelot and Freya were burned. Merlin tells Gaius he was warned one would not return, and Gaius says the blade that pierced Elyan would've most certainly been intended for Arthur (The Dark Tower).
Darkness steals into the very heart of Camelot, as Morgana and her puppet Queen hatch a sinister plan to murder the King, but when stable hand Tyr Seward becomes caught in the crossfire, he threatens to ruin everything. He is then set up to be seen as guilty for the attempt on the King's life, and is sentenced to death.As they leave the meeting, Merlin tries to persuade Arthur to reconsider his decision, but he refuses. He then discusses with Gaius that he does not understand Arthur's decision and that he thinks someone else was involved. Merlin then visits Tyr in prison, and brings him some food to eat. As Merlin asks Tyr how he could have done this. Tyr explains that it was not him that caused the King to fall from his horse but someone else. Tyr is hesitant in naming the person who was messing the saddle, as they promised harm to his mother. Merlin explains that everything will be fine and for him to say who he saw. Soon Merlin suspicions are confirmed as he discovers that it was indeed the enchanted Queen Guinevere who was plotting against Arthur.
Guinevere poisons Arthur as they are dining and blames it on Merlin who is then arrested by the gurads. In prison Merlin uses his magic to break out and saves Arthur and returns back to his cell. Sindri is then brought before Arthur who questions him about the poison and Sindri reveals Morgana bought them from him and is taken away. Arthur then commends Gwen for finding out about Sindri and the entire court chants Long Live The Queen while Merlin watches Gwen with a suspicious gaze (A Lesson in Vengeance).
Lead into a trap
When Merlin agrees to help a young Druid boy, Daegal, he has no choice but to leave Camelot on a dangerous mission. With the citadel distracted by the visit of the fearsome Sarrum of Amata, it seems that no one will notice his absence. Merlin and Daegal travel through the woods. Noticing Daegal's arm wound, Merlin cares for it. Daegal is astonished by Merlin's proficiency, but Merlin waves it off, crediting Gaius. He asks after Daegal's family and learns that Daegal is an orphan. Merlin asks if Daegal's mother was a Druid as well, and Daegal nods. They continue on their way.
Merlin and Daegal continue to traipse through the forest. Daegal returns an apple that Merlin gave him, claiming he doesn't want it. They continue on but Merlin notices some bandits creeping nearby. He calls out telepathically to Daegal, but Daegal continues on, about to walk right into the bandits' eyesight. Merlin lunges and grabs Daegal, dragging him into hiding just as the bandits pass by. Daegal thanks Merlin for saving his life, but Merlin says he's not safe yet: the sooner they reach Daegal's sister, the better.Too late does Merlin realise that Deagal is not who he claims to be, and that he is helping Morgana. Morgana knocks Merlin to the ground with magic, then gives him a dose of agonizing poison. A while later Merlin is dealing with the agonizing poison Morgana gave him. He coughs up foam and bleeds black blood from sores. His attempts at magic fail, and he passes into unconsciousness. Merlin continues to suffer terribly. Daegal returns and shakes him awake, giving him water. He begs Merlin to tell him how to heal him. Merlin tells him to gather some herbs and grind them into a tincture, quickly. Daegal does so and administers the antidote to Merlin, but Merlin convulses and then goes limp.
Once Merlin is able to walk, with the help of Deagal, they head towards Camelot to save Arthur from Morgana and Guinevere's plan to kill him. Merlin and Daegal reach Camelot. As they search for Arthur, Merlin notices the unlocked door; the pair climbs the stairs and interrupts the assassin, who is aiming a crossbow at Arthur. The man lets fly some arrows at Merlin and Daegal, which Merlin deflects. The man begins to throw knives at them, but Merlin's leg gives out and he trips as he dodges. Merlin uses his magic to hurl an arrow at the assassin, throwing off his aim and causing an arrow to the Sarrum instead of Arthur.
Merlin looks back and sees that one of the assassin's knives is embedded in Daegal's chest. Merlin stays by his side as Daegal dies, having finally done something good in his life. That night, Merlin served dinner for Arthur and Guinevere. Arthur asks Merlin about his girl, saying that Guinevere told him that Merlin was seeing someone. Merlin looks at Guinevere, who merely smiles.
Merlin and Gaius bury Daegal. As they walk away from his grave, the two decide they need to do something about Guinevere (The Hollow Queen).
The warlock is determined to break Morgana's twisted control over Gwen. But it will be no easy task, even for Merlin, as only the most powerful magic can save the Queen - and the high priestess will not give up her puppet without a fight.
When Merlin brings Arthur to watch as Gwen meets Morgana in the woods to plot against him, Arthur is shocked. The two agree that they must find a way to bring Gwen back from Morgana's spell.
Merlin goes disguised as Dragoon to see the Dochraid, who recognizes him as Emrys. She tells him that he must take Gwen to the Cauldron of Arianrhod and there use all his powers to summon the The Triple Goddess herself. The waters of the Cauldron held the Goddess' powers and only their touch could heal her, but Gwen would have had to enter the lake willingly; if she were tricked, forced or beguiled, she would fall into the abyss and be lost forever.
Merlin relays this information to Gaius who says that they must tell Arthur which they do and they conspire to drug Gwen using Belladonna which Merlin and Arthur are forced to taste then while Gwen and Arthur are dining they slip the belladonna in to Gwen's drink and knock her out.
They then leave Camelot to go to the Lake to free Gwen. However on the way they fall from a cliff and Merlin is badly injured and unconscious. Arthur tries to help but is unable to move because his arm is stuck under a rock. Mordred then appears, saves them and journeys on with them to the Lake however while they are just near the Lake they are ambushed by Morgana and Aithusa which forces them to retreat. Merlin tells Arthur to leave which he does and uses his Dragonlord powers to cause Aithusa to flee however just as he and Mordred are leaving they are ambushed by Morgana.Once the trio arrives at the lake, Merlin leaves Arthur and dresses up as a woman and uses magic to disguise himself as an old woman called Dolma and visit Arthur saying she has taken Merlin, an that he will not return him until the queen is restored to herself. After a rather humourous conversation, Gwen wakes up, and with Merlin/Dolma's help, Arthur is able to reach the part of Gwen's heart that remains pure, she walks into the lake and is healed by the White Goddess (With All My Heart).
Journey with Finna
Merlin met an old women named Finna who Gaius suspects is with Morgana, but she is actually an ally of Alator, who is later killed by Morgana. The two of them are pursued by Morgana and Merlin gets badly injured from an arrow in his side. They later escape to a tower where Morgana finds them, and Finna says she will hold them off for Merlin. Her last words to him are a warning not to trust the druid boy, Mordred. Merlin escapes to the top of the tower where he falls from his injury. In his weak breath he calls Kilgharrah to save him but later finds that he is dying himself of old age (The Kindness of Strangers).
Bringing out Mordred's dark side
When Mordred allows a druid, Kara, to escape from the knights, he helps her with her leg wound and asks Merlin to promise not to tell Arthur about her, but in the end, Merlin must do what he knows is right and he goes against his word, leading to the girl's arrest. Mordred, now with a strong hatred for Merlin, gets her out of prison but is caught again because of Merlin. After Kara is executed, Mordred escapes and goes to Morgana's side and tells her the truth about Merlin--that he is Emrys, and the evil that has been foretold is starting (The Drawing of the Dark).
Losing his magic
Morgana has a creature of the old religion that can take a man's magic away from them, she uses this creature on Merlin before the final battle of the Saxons against Camelot. Once the final battle for Camelot has begun, Merlin must go to the Crystal Cave to restore his magic. Merlin is accompanied by Gwaine to the cave where he see's the spirit of his father and eventually restore's his magic and heads to the plains of Camlann as Dragoon the Great (The Diamond of the Day: Part One).
Revealing His Magic
In the final battle for Camelot, Merlin appears as Dragoon the Great and protects Arthur and the knights of Camelot. Using his power as a Dragonlord, he sends Aithusa away from the field and transports the mortally wounded Arthur to safety. When Arthur awakes in the forest, Merlin reveals his magic to the king. At first, Arthur does not believe him but when Merlin proves it to be so Arthur feels betrayed. As the two travel to the lake of Avalon Arthur comes to realize that Merlin uses his magic for good. When they are very near the lake, Morgana attacks, but Merlin kills her with his sword forged by the dragon's breath. Arthur watches as Morgana falls to the ground and dies. The two are now reconciled...but they are too slow getting to the lake of Avalon and Arthur dies. Merlin calls on Kilgharrah to take him to the lake but Kilgharrah says that there is nothing Merlin can do. He states that one day when Albion is in need, Arthur will rise again. He says that its been a privilege to know the young warlock, and that the story that Merlin and Kilgharrah have lived will live long in the minds of men. Merlin sends Arthur's body away on a boat and throws Excalibur, to see it caught by the hand of his old love, Freya (The Diamond of the Day: Part Two).
Many centuries later, Merlin still lives in the modern world, wearing the appearance of a vagabond, very old Emrys, waiting for the day that Arthur will return.
Merlin is portrayed as being selfless, heroic, protective, honourable, noble, brave, modest, empathetic, kind, caring, optimistic, compassionate, intelligent, and wise. In the beginning, he is also seen to be rather naive and idealistic. He shows exceptional talent and potential in his magical abilities and his enthusiasm to further his education despite the risks carried with using magic. He can be outspoken and slightly foolish, as with his first meeting with Arthur. He does at times use his magical abilities for himself, as when he fought Arthur in the market place (The Dragon's Call) and to soften his workload (Valiant). However, as Merlin gets older, he uses his abilities rarely for himself and mostly for the benifit of others. He also has a very good, quirky sense of humour, enduring Arthur's frequent teasing and frequently engaging in verbal sparring with him; he was capable of coming up with insults on the spot, notably calling Arthur a clotpoll on more than one occasion and when Arthur asked him to describe it, Merlin claimed that Arthur was the description of the word. Occasionally Merlin's humour is portrayed as dry or sarcastic, especially when he is in disguise as Dragoon the Great. Although Arthur constantly told Merlin that he was an idiot, Merlin was more intelligent than he appeared, as noted by Gaius. He also developed some of his mentors cunning, as shown when he frightened Morgana in order to send her to her bed in the disguise of Dragoon. This allowed him to block her magic before Arthur confronted her in Camelot.
Merlin used to be impulsive, reckless and naive: he appeared completely oblivious and unaware that Gwen had romantic feelings for him (or doesn't feel the same way), telling anyone who asks that they are just friends (Lancelot). He is also very selfless; when Gwen is sentenced to death for witchcraft he confesses that it was him who cured Gwen's father with magic, despite the fact it would have cost him his life (The Mark of Nimueh). Also, after he had been poisoned by Nimueh, he sent a light to guide Arthur out of the caves beyond the Forest of Balor and advised him not to take the Mortaeus flower despite the fact that without it he would die (The Poisoned Chalice). He later offered to give his life in return for Arthur's on several occasions (The Labyrinth of Gedref, Le Morte d'Arthur, The Darkest Hour). This selfless nature often impairs his equally strong sense of duty; more than once he has put his life on the line to save a loved one even though his survival is imperative to the future of Albion. As manifested also by his attempt to save Gwen from execution by admitting the truth that he had been the one to use magic to heal Gwen's father, Merlin is very concerned with fairness. He does not want anyone else to suffer punishment for his own actions. Merlin becomes guilt-ridden whenever somebody takes the blame, either knowingly or ignorantly, for something Merlin, himself, did, as Gwen and Gaius both have, and becomes determined to clear the name of the innocent individual no matter what it takes to do so.
Kilgharrah also noted that Merlin had a habit of attempting to see good in everyone and warned him that this could prove to be his undoing. Even after Morgana turned against Camelot, Merlin pleaded with her not to help bring down the kingdom, pointing out that there were innocent people living there. He also tried to make Morgana realize that people did care about her and that she was being selfish and evil, because she was working against the very people that cared for her.
Merlin's time in Camelot has made him very wise and Arthur has noted his wisdom on several occasions. Most of the time, however, Arthur states he was an "idiot," loyal and good-hearted, but foolish, overprotective, and sometimes weak. Merlin's wisdom was also shown when he guided a sorcerer named Gilli to prevent him from killing Uther. Merlin often called Arthur names that most servants would never call a prince such as "Dollop Head", "Clotpole", or "Prat", showing that he was unafraid of insulting people of a higher class than himself and that considered Arthur as a person and not just a prince. He has also insulted Uther, calling him a "stupid, arrogant old tyrant", though it should be noted that he was disguised as an old man at the time and was thus unrecognisable. Merlin, also, has shown a keen sense of observation, being able to recognise Gwaine even while he was in armour because of his unusual fighting style.Nonetheless, there is also a darker side to Merlin's personality. He will go to extreme measures to protect those he cares about, even if it means killing enemies. Merlin has been forced to directly kill people an alarmingly high number of times in order to protect others, such as Mary Collins (The Dragon's Call), Edwin Muirden (A Remedy to Cure All Ills), Sophia and her father Aulfric (The Gates of Avalon), and Tauren's henchmen (To Kill the King), and Nimueh (Le Morte d'Arthur). He has also directly killed others while in combat, such as the Sidhe elder, another Sidhe, Grunhilda, (The Changeling), The most notable displays of Merlin's darker side were shown when he killed Nimueh because he believed she had killed Gaius, when he poisoned his close friend Morgana because he saw no other option to save Camelot, and when he killed Agravaine after the man discovered his magic. Merlin was normally indifferent towards those he killed and he has rarely showed remorse, although poisoning Morgana was an exception because she was once his close friend. In addition to killing people, Merlin sometimes showed a cold, cruel, and sadistic demeanor towards his enemies, such as when he used a snake to scare Morgana's horse (The Castle of Fyrien), and when he disabled her powers while overthrowing her (The Sword in the Stone: Part 2). However, Merlin's brutality is only ever directed at his enemies and he has never harmed anyone who wasn't a threat, occasionally trying to talk to them and convince them to change prior to turning his brutality onto them if he is unable to peacefully persuade them to abandon their dark path. This darker side of his personality is probably part of the reason that so many people fear Emrys, as Merlin is often known by other magical beings.
Later in his life, Merlin was also shown to be a hypocrite since he automatically thought Mordred was up to no good simply because Mordred was trying to protect someone he cared about. Gaius noted that if Merlin was in Mordred's position, he would do exactly the same thing. Mordred attempted to smuggle his love interest, Kara, out of Camelot but Merlin told Arthur despite the fact that he had intended to do exactly the same thing with his own lover Freya several years earlier. (The Drawing of the Dark)
Merlin originally had an antagonistic relationship with Arthur, seeing him as nothing more than an arrogant bully and even saying that he'd help anyone who wanted to kill him. However, this changed quickly once he found out they were linked by destiny. Merlin became Arthur's manservant after saving his life for the first time. They have since become as close as brothers, and they constantly insult and bicker with each other. Arthur regularly threatens Merlin when Merlin treats him with disrespect, but Merlin remains unafraid of him and takes great pleasure in making fun of Arthur. Arthur in turn often abuses Merlin for laughs, such as giving him massive loads of chores to complete and notably pouring water on him several times.Nevertheless, he admitted that some of his actions were "a bit unfair" when he tried to cheer Merlin up, unaware that it was the loss of Freya and not his pranks that was upsetting Merlin (The Lady of the Lake).
Their relationship is marked by a keen awareness of their differences in status. As a prince, Arthur is expected to treat those of lower class, like servants, with less respect than those of a higher class. Merlin and Arthur are not supposed to see each other as equals. They often forget to treat each other with inequality; shifting between these two dynamics strains their relationship.
Beyond mere status, Merlin's secrets quickly become the biggest impediments of a proper friendship between him and Arthur. Merlin has hard time confiding in Arthur, as he cannot speak of some of the biggest upheavals of his life despite Arthur's urging (leaving Ealdor, his magic, Freya's death, his father's death, Morgana's fall) due to the fact they might raise suspicions of his magic. Arthur, on the other hand, seems to trust Merlin with most of his secrets, including disguising himself to fight as another knight in a jousting tournament (The Once and Future Queen), his feelings for Gwen, and his many secret missions such as helping Mordred and going to see Morgause (The Beginning of the End, The Sins of the Father).
Despite such constraints and differences, Merlin and Arthur have proven loyal to each other and to their friends. From the outset, knowing that he must protect Arthur for his "destiny," Merlin had been willing to sacrifice his life for Arthur ( The Poisoned Chalice, The Labyrinth of Gedref, Le Morte d'Arthur, The Last Dragonlord, The Darkest Hour). Morgause notes this remarkable feature as she threatened him, but Merlin refused to say a word about it (The Tears of Uther Pendragon). Merlin had repeatedly claimed that he believed in Arthur's future to be a great king and rule Camelot with justice. For this, he is willing to disguise himself as a servant and secretly save Arthur's life for no credit. Arthur, in return, had proven that he had no second thoughts about risking himself when Merlin's life was in danger, in spite of his father's disapproval and orders (The Poisoned Chalice, The Moment of Truth, The Labyrinth of Gedref). Also, when Merlin was dying after getting attacked by the Dorocha, Arthur was noticeably distressed. (The Darkest Hour). Merlin came to consider Arthur a friend regardless of position and uses this to advise him, which in turn Arthur respects and is grateful for. Arthur has sought Merlin's council on a broad range of subjects, from the truth of his birth, the right thing to do politically, how to express his feelings toward women and which shirt to wear to a banquet. Several times he has expressed admiration for Merlin's wisdom, though each time in a rather indirect fashion.Arthur also allowed Merlin to sit at the Round Table, showing that he respected and trusted him as much as his most trusted knights. Apart from Gwen, he was probably the only other person of his class who had a real influence on the prince. In Series 4, Merlin and Arthur became closer and Arthur admitted that Merlin was a brave man. Merlin then risked his life by sacrificing himself to protect Arthur again. Arthur planned to return Merlin to Camelot so that Gaius could cure him but Lancelot offered to take him. When Uther was mortally wounded by an assassin, Arthur planned to use magic to save him and Merlin saw this as a chance to convince Arthur to return magic back to Camelot. Merlin, however failed to save Uther and was forced to escape. Before Arthur was crowned king, he finally called Merlin his friend, showing how close he had become to Merlin despite their differences. Arthur even hugged Merlin after finding him in the forest when he was kidnapped by Morgana, which is a notable display of affection since Arthur was unwilling to hug him when Merlin helped him prove to his father that his wife was a troll (A Servant of Two Masters, Beauty and the Beast - Part Two). Later, when Camelot was recaptured by Morgana and Helios, Arthur lost his faith and believed himself unworthy of the role as King. Merlin helped restore his faith by convincing Arthur to draw Excalibur out of the rock Merlin had forced it into. Together, Merlin and Arthur soon overthrew Morgana.
Merlin is very close to Gaius and considers him as the father he never really knew. His mother sent him to live with Gaius in the hopes that he could help him with his powers. Although magic has been banned and Gaius respects the law, he gave Merlin a spell book to study from in order to increase his magical skills. Gaius loves Merlin like a son and is willing to sacrifice his life for him which has been shown at least twice. One time was when he travelled to the Isle of the Blessed to save Merlin's mother Hunith at the cost of his own life (though he was saved when Merlin managed to kill the powerful sorceress Nimueh) and another time when he took blame for sorcery to protect Merlin and was almost burned at the stake as a result. When Gaius was possessed by a Goblin, Merlin and Gwen poisoned him to get the Goblin out of his body but managed to give him an antidote before he died. While waiting for Gaius to recover Merlin called him a "stubborn old goat". Unlike Morgana, Gaius felt no resentment towards Merlin for poisoning him and their relationship remained as close as ever (Goblin's Gold). However, Gaius and Merlin did have a falling out when Gaius' old fiancée Alice returned to Camelot. Gaius didn't believe that she was slave to a manticore and thought that Merlin simply didn't want to see him happy, but after he was proved right, Gaius apologised and they were back to normal again (Love in the Time of Dragons).
When Merlin first saw Morgana, Uther's ward, he appeared to be smitten with her, and they became friends when they needed to work together to cure Camelot of a magical plague and prove Gwen wasn't the one who had caused it. They appeared to grow closer when they were harbouring Mordred from Uther's guards. However, their friendship appeared to have taken a downturn in the aftermath of Morgana's attempt on Uther's life. Merlin had distanced himself from her, and appeared to be less sympathetic towards her. By the time Morgana's magic began to reveal itself, Merlin's attitude towards Morgana had become friendly once again. Merlin, despite being advised not to do so, helped confirm to Morgana that she had magic and that it was not something to fear. Merlin's actions during this time led Arthur to believe that he had fallen in love with Morgana.
However, Merlin later learned from Kilgharrah that Morgana was destined to ally with Mordred and become an enemy of Camelot. Morgana later sided with her sister Morgause to bring down Uther, and Merlin poisoned her to get Morgause to stop. While Merlin told Morgana that he was sorry, she had turned against him for trying to kill her and their friendship thus ended. When she returned to Camelot, Morgana tried to get Merlin to forgive her for what she did, but she later led him into a trap, so that Morgause could attempt to kill him. It should be noted, however, that Morgana had not told Uther that Merlin poisoned her, even though Uther would have believed her with no evidence and executed Merlin without hesitation if told. Why she hasn't attempted to have Merlin executed is unknown, but it was possible that she still remembered the friendship they once shared. Another speculation as to why she did not tell Uther is because she would much rather kill him herself, or let Morgause kill him, for what he tried to do to her. Merlin felt sad about Morgana's betrayal but even though she had tried to kill him at first he didn't hate her. He also tried to reason with Morgana when he found her summoning an army of skeletons. Gradually, however, Merlin grew darker and more aggressive towards Morgana, using magic to cause a snake to scare her horse and was indifferent when she claimed she'd hurt her ankle.
However, he still persuaded Kilgharrah to give him a spell to heal Morgana after he seriously injured her by accident. It is more likely that he healed Morgana because he was unable to bear seeing Uther and Arthur in distress when she was dying, but he was remorseful at what he did to her. When Merlin defeated Morgause, Morgana began to loathe Merlin immensely. When Merlin told her the battle was over, she tells him, raging, that it had just begun. She then used magic to bring the room down with her screams before escaping with Morgause. In Series 4, Morgana eventually learned of a sorcerer called Emrys but was still unaware that he was Merlin and that Merlin had magic. Merlin and Morgana met for the first time since she had fled Camelot when he was kidnapped by mercenaries and taken to her. Morgana was seemingly merciful towards him and cleaned his wound, but she later tortured him by inserting a Fomorroh snake in his neck to have him at her command. Her plans to brainwash him into killing Arthur fell to pieces when Gaius and Gwen intervened. Merlin and Morgana soon met again when she cornered him after he went in search for Gaius. She threatened him with a slow and painful death but was quickly stopped by Alator. Although Merlin was increasingly angry at the trouble Morgana had caused, he found himself unable to kill her, maybe due to the memories he had from when they were friends (A Servant of Two Masters).
While Arthur is Merlin's perfect counterpart, balancing him out, Morgana is his foil, his dark side. Kilgharrah has told Merlin more than once that his and Morgana's destinies are intertwined, and that they are both alike and totally opposite.
Gwen became one of Merlin's first friends in Camelot when she told him that she was glad he stood up to Arthur. They became fast friends, initially bonding over a mutual dislike for Arthur, and eventually over their mutual desire to protect him and Camelot. More than once Merlin has been willing to sacrifice himself for Gwen's well-being, and she is often the first person to offer Merlin help and trust in difficult situations (The Witchfinder, Lancelot, Sweet Dreams). During the first few years of their relationship, Gwen had a crush on Merlin that he never really became aware of. However, when she kissed him after saving him from the brink of death, Merlin responded that it was "more than fine." Eventually all romantic feelings boiled down to deep, sincere friendship.Merlin is one of very first few people who knew about Gwen and Arthur love. He was very happy for them and worked very hard to keep their relationship going, finding ways to give them time together and encouraging them when they feel disheartened by the obstacles facing them. Merlin is the only person Gwen really talks to about her and Arthur's relationship (Sweet Dreams, Goblin's Gold, The Castle of Fyrien) and he has even teased her about it. Merlin proudly watched as Arthur and Gwen finally get married after the second recapture of Camelot. He, along with Gaius and Elyan watched on proudly as Arthur crowned Gwen as Camelot's long awaited Queen.
While Gwen is queen they have a more professional relationship then when they were both servants. Merlin still very much cares for Gwen. This is shown when he rescued her from a fire that Uther trapped her in.
Kilgharrah, also known as the Great Dragon was one of the lucky few who knew of Merlin's magic and the one who informed Merlin of his destiny with Arthur. Whenever Merlin didn't know what to do, particularly when it involved magic, he turned to Kilgharrah for advice or outright assistance. Kilgharrah acts as a mentor to Merlin, even though he didn't do what Kilgharrah would advise him to do at first. Merlin actually considered Kilgharrah a friend but when he discovered Kilgharrah only cared about his own freedom and had tricked him into sacrificing his mother, Merlin turned his back on him, vowing to never allow him to be released (Le Morte d'Arthur). Merlin returned to Kilgharrah when he needed help defeating the spirit of Cornelius Sigan. Kilgharrah agreed to help him, on the condition that Merlin promised to one day free him, which he reluctantly agreed to do. Merlin eventually learned to have regained some level of trust in Kilgharrah, and continued to seek his aid when he needed it.
Kilgharrah appears to be quite fond of Merlin and he has proven that he can care about more than his own freedom, as he felt genuinely sorry for Merlin when he told him he was unable to help Merlin save Gaius. Merlin later released Kilgharrah, who proceeded to lay waste to Camelot as revenge for his imprisonment and his species' near-eradication. Merlin, who inherited the powers of a Dragonlord, managed to get Kilgharrah under his control, but chose to spare him instead of kill him. Kilgharrah was grateful for Merlin's choice to not kill him, noting that this clemency reflected what he would become in future, and departed after telling him he was sure they would meet again. Merlin learned Kilgharrah's true name from his father Balinor and shortly before he used his Dragonlord powers to stop Kilgharrah, he heard his father's voice which told him that he and Kilgharrah were spiritual brothers (The Last Dragonlord). Since releasing him, Merlin used his Dragonlord power to call Kilgharrah whenever he needed him. However Kilgharrah seemed to feel that Merlin was taking him for granted sometimes. On one occasion Kilgharrah was angry when Merlin forced him to help him heal Morgana but they soon reconciled (The Crystal Cave). Nevertheless Merlin still valued Kilgharrah's advice and rode him on three occasions, Kilgharrah also commiserating with his dilemma when Merlin was faced with the possibility of killing another magic-user in order to protect Uther (The Sorcerer's Shadow). After Merlin inherited Dragonlord powers and released Kilgharrah, he and Kilgharrah became very close and trusted each other a lot more. Merlin valued Kilgharrah's advice a lot more as well and would take heed in his warnings, listening to what had to be done, instead of ignoring them like he used too.
Merlin and Lancelot were close friends; so close that Lancelot was the only one able to tell Merlin was planning something when Arthur planned to rescue his father from Morgana and Morgause. He was the only Knight of Camelot to have learned about Merlin's magic. They first met when Lancelot saved him from a Griffin, and the two quickly became friends. Merlin helped Lancelot join the Knights of Camelot by using his magic to create a fake seal of nobility, though Lancelot later had to leave because it was found that he was truly not of noble birth. Lancelot returned to fight the Griffin, and Merlin enchanted his spear to allow him to kill it. Although this act could have reinstated Lancelot as a knight, he declined because he knew Merlin was the one responsible and left after promising to keep his magic secret. Lancelot and Merlin met again whilst rescuing Gwen. After the rescue, it was Merlin who informed Lancelot of Arthur and Gwen's feelings and the only one who said goodbye when Lancelot left because he didn't want to risk coming in between the future King and Queen.
Lancelot returned again to save Camelot with Percival at Merlin's request. The night before storming Camelot, Lancelot knew Merlin enough to realise he had an ulterior motive and sets about being the one responsible for Merlin succeeding. He led Arthur to believe that he and Merlin would silence the warning bell, when in actuality they were searching for the Cup of Life. They made a good fighting team and successfully reached their goal, although Lancelot was wounded in battle. Lancelot later sacrificed his life to save Merlin, Arthur and Camelot to defeat the Dorocha and to prevent Merlin and Arthur from sacrificing themselves. Merlin was devastated at Lancelot's death and mourned his death along with Arthur, Gwen and everyone else. Lancelot was later resurrected by Morgana and Merlin grew suspicious of his sudden return, later discovering that he was a shade who returned to prevent Arthur from marring Gwen. Lancelot then kissed Gwen, who had been enchanted by Morgana, betraying Arthur before killing himself under an order from Morgana. Merlin managed to free Lancelot's soul from Morgana's control, bringing him back to life for a moment to thank Merlin before dying again, devastating Merlin. Merlin was the last person Lancelot saw before he died on both occasions, showing that their relationship was very close.
Merlin disliked King Uther Pendragon because of his views of and persecution of magic but sometimes also felt compassion for him. When he saw him grieving and crying because Morgana was fatally wounded, Merlin could not stand seeing his friends' and also Uther's desperation which made him heal Morgana. He had been tempted on several occasions to allow Uther to die when his life was in danger but also saved him on other occasions without hesitation, obviously sometimes due to his personal morals and at other times due to compassion his sense for justice. He also knew that Arthur was not yet ready to assume the throne, and needed his father's guidance. Although he was polite to Uther most of the time, Merlin got the opportunity to secretly show his dislike towards Uther when he was disguised as an old man, even criticising him and his actions. Uther was unaware of Merlin's dislike of him and had shown to be grateful to him for looking after Arthur. However, whenever Merlin's life was in danger, Uther was indifferent and sometimes believed that Arthur's life was more important than Merlin's as he was the future king while Merlin was just a servant. Despite his dislike of Uther's actions, Merlin obviously did not think of Uther as an evil man and saw the difference between him and Morgana. Therefore he always put Uther's life over Morgana's when she started to plot against the king, tried to drive him insane and tried to kill him several times. Only later, when Uther was mortally wounded by an assassin, Merlin was willing to save Uther's life only because saw this as a chance to make Arthur return magic to Camelot, even though he had had the chance to save Uther before Arthur decided to use magic. This time Merlin was willing to watch Uther die despite his usual compassion and Arthur's despair, showing and unsual coldness towards a defeated and desroyed man who was no threat to him or anyone anymore. Merlin failed to save Uther due to Morgana's interference, and grieved Arthur's intensified aversion to magic more than the fact that his best friend lost his father and that an emotionally destroyed and helpless Uther had suffered a painful death.
A few years later, Arthur becomes in possession of a horn that, when blowed into, it opens a rift, allowing him to go into the Spirit World and visit Uther's ghost. As he leaves, Arthur accidently releases Uther's spirit. Roughly a day later, Arthur confronts Uther and Uther tries to kill Arthur so that Arthur can't do anymore "harm" to Camelot. However, Merlin arrives and stops Uther, revealing his magic to Uther. This makes Uther desperate to kill Merlin. He doesn't succeed as Arthur trapped him into the spirit world again (The Death Song of Uther Pendragon).
Merlin was drawn to Freya from the moment he saw her. In the short time he knew her, he developed a very strong relationship with her, falling in love during his visits to bring her food and candles while he harbored her in safety from the bounty hunter's search through Camelot. He promised to protect her and love her. Merlin cared about her so much that he was willing to abandon Camelot, along with Gaius, Morgana, Gwen, Arthur, and his destiny, just so that he could be with her. Though Freya originally agreed to Merlin's plan to leave Camelot together, she had decided to slip away while he was gathering supplies because she could not bear the thought of endangering him or killing him when she succumed to her curse. Every night at midnight she was cursed to become a monstrous creature called a bastet. Sadly, Freya was fatally wounded by Arthur while in her beast form. Merlin followed her in her retreat. A bastet would typically attack any human nearby, but Freya, even in bastet form was able to recognise Merlin and allowed him to pet her head without attacking him, possibly manifesting her own love for Merlin. In the early morning, Merlin carried her to a nearby lake, possibly the Lake of Avalon, where she died after promising to someday return the favour of being loved and treated with gentleness despite her beastly curse. Merlin honoured Freya beautifully by giving her a proper water-burial. He lovingly placed her body, surrounded by ferns and other wild plants, into a small boat and sent it floating into the middle of the lake. Once the boat was a good distance away from the shore, Merlin magically set it alight, tears in his golden eyes as he did so. As he watched it burn, Merlin cried over the loss of the girl he loved (The Lady of the Lake). Despite his grief Merlin did not blame Arthur for killing her, as he still remained a faithful friend to the prince.
Merlin later used the water given to him by the Fisher King to contact Freya, who had become the Lady of the Lake. Whether this means she is alive, dead, or somewhere in between is unknown. Merlin was surprised and delighted to see her and Freya told him that she'd missed him. She fulfilled her promise by giving him the sword Excalibur which he wielded against Morgause's immortal knights (The Coming of Arthur Part Two).
Freya is notable for being the only person that Merlin has fallen in love with since he only loved Gwen as a friend and his crush on Morgana, which never turned into a romantic relationship, no longer exists because Morgana has turned evil.
GwaineMerlin and Gwaine have a close friendship. They first met after Gwaine helped him Arthur and him in a tavern brawl. Later, Merlin learnt Gwaine was the son of a knight and tried to persuade him to join the Knights of Camelot, but Gwaine refused because he, like Merlin, disliked Uther Pendragon. In a short space of time, Merlin got to know Gwaine well enough to recognise him even while he was in armour due to his unusual fighting style (Gwaine). Merlin later searched for Gwaine in order to ask him for assistance in helping Arthur find the Golden Trident. Just as he had when they first met, he found his friend engaged in a tavern brawl. Gwaine decided to help Merlin with Arthur's quest, stating it was because he wanted to help his only friend - Merlin. They worked together to find Arthur and helped him retrieve the Golden Trident. When Merlin accidentally stood on a trap, Gwaine saved him by pushing him out the way of a heavy slab of concrete and separating them both. When they were reunited, Gwaine appeared delighted to see that Merlin was unharmed, giving him a hug (The Eye of the Phoenix). Gwaine returns once more in the series finale. Merlin shows implicit trust towards Gwaine, informing him of Arthur and Merlin's quest to find the Cup of Life despite Arthur's protests, and Gwaine helps them out when there doesn't appear to be any chance of success. After Morgana's first victory over Camelot, Gwaine was knighted. He is loyal to Arthur and is still a close friend of Merlin although sometimes he playfully teases and abuses him. When Gaius was kidnapped Gwaine went to see if Merlin was alright and joined him on his mission to rescue Gaius from Morgana's clutches. Additionally Gwaine was the only knight who was not openly hostile towards Merlin when they were being controlled by the Lamia, showing that he was closer to Merlin than Percival, Elyan and Leon were. Merlin has not yet told Gwaine about his powers, though it is likely that he will be the next knight of Camelot to discover them.
Merlin was close friends with William, a young man from his village, and apart from Merlin's mother William was only person from his village to know about his magic. At first Merlin and Will had opposite opinions of Arthur and Will even planned to leave Ealdor before a group of bandits arrived, but later changed his mind. William sacrificed himself to save the life of Arthur Pendragon and claimed to be the one who used magic against the bandits, so Merlin would be off the hook. When Will was killed by Kanen, Merlin was upset. Even after Will died Merlin claimed that he was still a close friend (The Moment of Truth).
MordredMerlin was the one who found the druid boy Mordred when he was in Camelot after his father got captured. It was from Mordred that Merlin learned his other name – Emrys which was the name Mordred called him but he was unaware why Mordred called him that until the Great Dragon told him that it was one of his names. Merlin hid Mordred along with Morgana, who developed a bond with him, until Mordred was fit enough to return to his people. However Merlin learned that Mordred was destined to kill Arthur and was doubtful about whether to save Mordred or not but eventually chose to save him. Merlin, however grew suspicious of Mordred because of this and when Mordred blasted some knights away from him when the Druid camp was ambushed. Merlin also learned that Mordred was destined to form an evil alliance with Morgana and this led to Merlin finally betraying Mordred by attempting to stop him escaping when he formed an alliance with Alvarr but Mordred retaliated by killing two knights. From that moment Mordred now resented Merlin for his betrayal and swore that he would never forgive or forget him for what he did, before escaping. Eight years after the incident in which almost had Mordred killed by Arthur's men, Merlin and Arthur are reunited with a now teenage/adult Mordred who saves them from the hands of both Morgana and her men. Merlin becomes frightened by Mordred's reppearance and fears for Arthur's life after seeing a vision of Mordred, in league with the Saxons killing Arthur. When Mordred questions Merlin later about why Merlin is so scared of him, Merlin reminds him of what happened all those years earlier but Mordred reassures him that what happened in the past is long forgotten and that he no longer holds a grudge against him for what happened. It is unknown whether this is the truth or a lie.
LeonAt first Merlin had little interaction with Leon, until Arthur created the Knights of the Round Table, after which Merlin and Sir Leon appeared to develop a friendship. This was shown by Leon's cheerful greeting when Merlin was found alive after being captured. 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 first met Merlin when Arthur went to rescue him from Cenred (The Castle of Fyrien). When Elyan became a Knight of Camelot, Merlin had a lot more interaction with him. 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.
Merlin was very close to his mother, Hunith. He put her safety and happiness above his own life, Arthur's life, and therefore the fate of Albion. 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. 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. Hunith and her village was the first place Merlin thought to take Arthur after Morgana seized Camelot and briefly sought refuge there.
The Dragonlord, Balinor, was Merlin's father. Merlin grew up with no memory of him since he and Hunith separated before Merlin was born, due to the fact that Uther was hunting him. 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.
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.
Alator protected Merlin from Morgana and told the young sorcerer that he was honoured to be in his presence and would gladly die for him if necessary. 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 afterall the name used by the druids who are very secretive.
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. And 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.
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 Legendof 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.
- 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