Merlin is a young 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 Arthur Pendragon. Having left his childhood in Ealdor for Camelot, Merlin became the manservant of the Prince of Camelot, Arthur Pendragon, with whom he eventually became extremely close friends. From then on, acting on the prophecy of the Great Dragon, Kilgharrah, Merlin began his duty to protect and guide Arthur on his way to the throne. Merlin is destined to become the greatest and most powerful sorcerer to ever live, and to use his powers to free the magical people and revive the Old Religion to coexist with the New Religion. He is also destined to stand at Arthur's side as an advisor and partner, as he reunites all the kingdoms of the land back into Albion, calling forth an era of peace and prosperity.
Early LifeMerlin was born in Ealdor, a small outlying village in Lot's Kingdom. His mother is Hunith and his father was Balinor. Gaius helped Balinor, a Dragonlord, escape from Uther's persecution of magic and hid him with Hunith. The two fell in love, but Uther soon discovered Balinor's hiding place and sent knights to arrest him. Balinor was forced to flee and leave Hunith behind. Whether she knew before or after his departure, Hunith discovered she was pregnant and later gave birth to Merlin. Merlin wouldn't see his father until many years later. Merlin was born with magic. According to The Great Dragon, Merlin's birth has been prophesied by many cultures. For example, the Druids refer to him as "Emrys" (meaning immortal), which is first used by Mordred (The Beginning of the End). The Dragon states that it's Merlin's destiny to protect Arthur Pendragon and aid him in uniting the kingdoms of Albion and returning magic to the land.
Arriving in Camelot
When he was eighteen his mother sent him to her friend Gaius for help controlling his magic. Upon his arrival in Camelot, Merlin saved Gaius from a fatal fall off a balcony in his chambers. He gave Merlin a magic spell book in order to advance his skills, but advised Merlin to hide his powers as the king, Uther Pendragon, has made all forms of magic illegal.
During his first week in Camelot, Merlin heard a voice calling him. Within a few days, he had followed the voice to the dungeons of the castle and discovered The Great Dragon. The dragon told Merlin that he is destined for great things, and that he will aid Arthur in his destiny to become king. Throughout the series, the dragon frequently gave Merlin advice, although Merlin rarely understood it at first as the advice was usually in riddles.
Although the pair shared an antagonistic relationship at first the two quickly began to trust each other. Merlin also befriended Guinevere, known as "Gwen", Morgana's maidservant, and later Morgana herself.
Early AdventuresMerlin frequently used his magic to help others, sometimes even without thinking of the consequences. When the life of Gwen's father, Tom, is threatened by a strange plague that is spreading in Camelot, Merlin uses his magic to heal him, an action which subsequently leads Uther to assume that Gwen healed her father with witchcraft and to believe she caused the plague in the first place (The Mark of Nimueh).
Merlin also uses his magic to help a swordsman named Lancelot by using his powers to forge a false seal of nobility that would enable him to join the Knights of Camelot. He uses his powers again to enchant Lancelot's lance to aid him in killing a Griffin. Through doing so, he enables Lancelot to discover that Merlin had magic (Lancelot). However, Lancelot leaves Camelot because Arthur disagrees that he should have his knighthood taken away since his seal of nobility was false. Uther wished to have him banished, so father and son argued, Lancelot bade them farewell because he couldn't stand the fact he had caused a rift between the King and the Prince. Merlin, watching him leave, forsees that they will meet again.
He takes this risk again when his home village is attacked by raiders and he raises a wind in front of Arthur in order to help them win the fight. However his friend Will, who is fatally wounded during the battle, takes the blame for the magic before he died (The Moment of Truth).
Despite hiding his own powers, Merlin's magic has also helped expose witches and warlocks with more sinister motives. He managed to expose Knight Valiant's magical Serpent Shield during the final match of a sword tournament, saving Arthur's life (Valiant). Merlin frequently, also, has to make life altering choices, often dealing with the Dragon's advice to him. The first of two notable examples occur when he has to choose whether to help Mordred escape from Camelot or to allow him to be caught and killed; Merlin ultimately chooses the former when Mordred begs him for help (The Beginning of the End).
The second is after Uther has Gwen's father executed and Morgana plots with the rogue sorcerer, Tauren, to kill Uther and the Dragon advises him to do nothing. Despite his intense dislike of Uther because of his persecution against his kind, Merlin refuses to believe that it is right to kill him. He ultimately chooses to save him when Gwen states that she wouldn't kill him because that would make her no better than Uther himself (To Kill the King).
After an encounter with a Questing Beast, Arthur and Merlin go on a hunt for it. Merlin kills it, but Arthur is bitten by it during the hunt. Knowing that a bite from a Questing Beast meant death, Merlin goes to the Dragon. The Dragon tells him to travel to the Isle of the Blessed and accept the heavy price that he would have to pay to the priestess of the Old Religion he would find there, in order to save Arthur's life. Once he arrives at the Island, Merlin once again encounters the enchantress Nimueh. He is told that to save Arthur's life, he has to sacrifice another. Merlin chooses to sacrifice his own, and Nimueh gives him a vial of water from the Cup of Life that would revive Arthur. Unknown to Merlin, the life that is taken is not his. Instead, his mother becomes ill with a terrible sicknessness that would kill her. Merlin goes to the Dragon and accuses him of tricking him. The Dragon says his own life is too valuable to waste, since he has to protect Arthur until he claims the throne, at which time the Dragon will be freed. Realizing that is all the Dragon ever cared about, Merlin turns his back on the Dragon, vowing to never allow him to be released for what he has done. Merlin intends to once again visit Nimueh to bargain his own life for his mother's, but Gaius beats him to it, and sacrifices his life for Hunith, who later recovers from the illness. Merlin blames Nimueh for Gaius' death, and attacks her. Nimueh easily overpowers him in a magical battle and seemingly kills him. However, as she turns her back to him, Merlin rises up and and uses magical lightning to strike her down, killing her. He then uses the power of life and death to revive Gaius, using Nimueh's death as payment. Meanwhile, the Dragon is at terrible rage over Merlin's desertion and furiously calls Merlin's name (which appears to have been heard by Morgana) (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Cornelius Sigan's ReturnDuring the time a buried treasure is unearthed, a con-artist named Cedric attempts to muscle in on Merlin's position as Arthur's manservant, which he succeeds in doing for a time. When the spirit of Cornelius Sigan possesses Cedric and threatens to destroy Camelot, Merlin revokes his vow and returns to the Dragon for help. He promises to free the Dragon if he helps Merlin defeat Sigan, and the Dragon complies by giving him the spell he needs to defeat the evil sorcerer. When Sigan realizes how powerful Merlin is, he offers Merlin a chance to join him, saying that Arthur doesn't deserve his loyalty. Although he appears to be tempted by this offer, Merlin refuses and seals Sigan's spirit away again, using the knowledge that the Great Dragon has given him. Arthur also gives Merlin his position back after Cedric's betrayal is exposed (The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).
When Morgana's magic begins to reveal itself, she is terrified. Merlin wants to help her, but Gaius refuses to tell Morgana the truth and the Dragon refuses to help Merlin do anything that would help Morgana, saying it would be best if she never knows the full extent of her powers. But Merlin refuses to abandon Morgana and advises that she visit the Druids to get help with her powers. Unfortunately, Morgana's disappearance leads Uther to believe she has been kidnapped and he, consequently, orders for everyone who is under suspicion of having anything to do with magic to be arrested and executed unless she is returned. Merlin immediately goes after Morgana and tries to convince her to return to Camelot, but an army, led by Arthur, raids the camp, forcing Merlin to use magic to protect the Druids. Morgana is found and returned to Camelot, but she is no longer afraid of her magic and thanks Merlin for what he did. Arthur, meanwhile, thinks Merlin has fallen for Morgana and advises him to not pursue his feelings for her since Uther would "have his head" for it (The Nightmare Begins).
When Gwen was kidnapped by bandits who believed her to be Morgana, Merlin and Arthur set out to rescue her. During they're journey, Merlin noticed Arthur's odd behaviour, and managed to get Arthur to confess that he was in love with Gwen. Arthur insisted that nothing could ever happen between Gwen and himself, namely because of his father, but Merlin said that could change when he became king and that Gwen would wait for him if she returned his feelings. Merlin and Arthur arrived at the bandits' hideout in time to save Gwen and Lancelot, who had also arrived to rescue her, from being killed. During the return home, both Merlin and Arthur noticed that Lancelot and Gwen had feelings for each other, but after Lancelot learned of Arthur's feelings for Gwen from Merlin, he decided to leave so he wouldn't come between Arthur and Gwen (Lancelot and Guinevere).
A while later, a troll disguised as Lady Catrina comes to Camelot. Unlike many of Uther's guests she and her servant Jonas are very kind to Merlin. Gaius becomes suspicious of the Lady Catrina and Merlin discovers that her servant has a tail. Merlin then uses a mirror from Arthur's chambers to spy on the Lady Catrina and sees that she is actually a troll. Merlin attempts to tell Arthur, but the prince takes it as a joke. To ensure her marriage to Uther, Lady Catrina enchants him with a necklace. Uther does exactly as she wishes and the couple is getting married the following morning. Jonas catches Merlin spying on the Lady Catrina and attempts to use magic to reveal her true form, so they set a trap to capture him.
Lady Catrina then imprisons Merlin in the dungeons underground using a rock wall too powerful for Merlin to break. During the wedding, Merlin eventually breaks the rocks apart but is too late to stop Catrina. After becoming Queen of Camelot, Catrina begins to undermine Arthur. She convinces Uther that Arthur is a disappointment and, eventually, becomes heir to the throne. On the day of her coronation, Merlin and Gaius switch her potion with a fake potion, which does not allow her disguise to last as the real potion would have. The troll is revealed to all of Camelot, however Uther is still enchanted and does not see Catrina for who she really is. Merlin goes to the Great Dragon, who, through fits of laughter, tells Merlin that Uther has to cry tears of true remorse for the enchantment to be broken. Merlin and Gaius then feign Arthur's death by convincing him to drink a poison and the enchantment is broken. Merlin iss rushing back to Arthur with the antidote when he iss hit on the head with a pot by Jonas. The antidote spills and Merlin uses his neckerchief to soak up the antidote and revives Arthur by wringing the damp neckerchief over Arthur's mouth. With the help of Merlin's magic, Arthur kills the troll.
One day, Merlin is gathering wood in the forest when he sees a pillar of smoke rising nearby. For his own entertainment, he uses magic to temporarily turn the smoke into the shape of a horse. A nearby peasant, a young woman named Catheryn, witnesses the magic and, fearing for her life, informs Uther of what she has seen. Uther, determined to wipe out the last traces of magic in Camelot, he sends for Aredian, a feared witchfinder. When Aredian starts searching the kingdom for sorcerers, he comes across a magical amulet in Merlin and Gaius' house. Merlin is publicly accused of being a sorcerer, but Gaius takes the blame in order to protect Merlin. Distressed over what he caused, Merlin goes to the Great Dragon for advise. But the Dragon, in genuine regret, can't help him because he doesn't know how to do so in this matter. Merlin later visits Gaius in the dungeons and both come to realize that the amulet that was found belonged to neither of them. Merlin then discovers that Aredian would plant false evidence of magic wherever he is called in order to further his own profits. Merlin then takes revenge upon Aredian by exposing his treachery as well as framing him for being a sorcerer, which ultimately results in the Witchfinder's death. Gaius is also released after he was found to be innocent (The Witchfinder).
Falling in Love
Merlin meets his first and only true love, a druid named Freya, while returning home late one night with Gaius after a visit with one of Gaius' patients. He first lays eyes on her as she huddles in the cage of a bounty hunter named Halig, who parked his wagon outside of a tavern. Merlin instantly sees in Freya a kindred spirit with whom he could connect and identifies with her being trapped in the cage. Later in the night, Merlin sneaks back out to the wagon and helps Freya escape. He hides her in the tunnels beneath Camelot, where he brings her food and clothing. Finally, Merlin has met someone who is like him, a person with whom he could be free to be himself. Warmed by Merlin's kindness, Freya is soon won over and they fall in love. Unfortunately, Merlin and Freya are not quite the same, for Freya is cursed. She had once accidentally killed a man while defending herself. The mother of that man was a witch and the woman vengefully cursed Freya to kill forevermore. This curse turns Freya into a Bastet, a winged and bloodthirsty black panther, at the stakes of midnight every night. The two nights that Freya is in Camelot, she transforms into the Bastet and goes on a rampage, killing both times.
Despite this, Merlin still loves her and shows his unconditional love for her by rescuing her from Arthur and his men when, in Bastet form, she is backed into a corner. Merlin causes a stone gargoyle to fall, creating a diversion, while Freya escapes. Returning to the tunnels, Freya, the Bastet, is calm before Merlin, showing that their connection was stronger than the witch's curse. Sadly though, it is too late, for Freya has already been mortally wounded by Arthur. Early in the morning, Merlin carries Freya to a nearby lake, where she dies after telling him she will repay him someday for loving her an treating her with kindness despite her curse (The Lady of the Lake).
A sorcerer named Alvarr comes to Camelot with the intention of stealing a crystal that can tell the past, present, and future if wielded by the right person. He also enlists Mordred into his group of bandits, supposing that Mordred would be able use the crystal. Merlin and Arthur later find that the crystal has been stolen and Merlin comes to believe that Morgana is behind it. He follows her and sees that he is right. He goes to the Great Dragon, who tells Merlin his reason for advising him not to trust Mordred and Morgana: an ancient prophecy speaks of an evil alliance between the two. The Dragon advises Merlin that the alliance has to be prevented, whatever the cost. Merlin later ends up leading a number of Camelot's guards to the bandit camp, using his ability to hear Mordred's telepathic voice to guide him. When he tries to prevent Mordred's escape, the young druid simply kills the guards that were after him and telepathically tells Merlin that he won't forgive or forget his actions. Morgana, meanwhile, frees Alvarr from Camelot's dungeons.
Also during this time, Merlin gets hold of the crystal and sees a future where the Dragon attacks Camelot once he is freed. While Gaius tells him that it is merely one of many possible futures, Merlin is clearly shaken from seeing this vision. That night, Merlin is haunted by the Dragon's telepathic calls for him to honour his promise (The Witch's Quickening). Morgana continues her descent into darkness when she later sides with Morgause when she returns with the Knights of Medhir and puts all of Camelot to sleep in an attempt to destroy the noble kingdom. At first unsuspecting, Merlin lies to Arthur to keep Morgana's magic secret, and tries to comfort her when she seems flustered, to which she replies that he is "a good friend."Merlin later goes to the Great Dragon, who informs him that Morgana is the vessel that sustains the sleeping spell with her life, unbeknownst to her, and that her death is the only thing that can end the spell. When Morgana and Merlin are alone, he reluctantly tricks her into drinking hemlock, a form of poison. As Morgana begins to die, she realizes what Merlin has done but can not speak. She then falls unconscious as she struggles against the poison in Merlin's arms. Morgause discovers them and demands that Merlin tells her the poison he used so that she can save Morgana's life. Merlin refuses to do so unless she stops the Knights of Medir. Morgause obliges and Merlin shows her the hemlock. She then takes her half-sister away before anyone can stop her, leaving Merlin believing that Morgana is dead for good. That night, he returns to the Great Dragon and finally fulfills his oath by setting him free, but setting him free was only the beginning (The Fires of Idirsholas).
Release of the Great DragonMerlin's worries about what the Great Dragon would do once free are justified as the creature proceeds to attack Camelot and kill many innocent people. Merlin attempts to stop the Dragon himself, but his magic is ineffective. Merlin later learns that only certain people, known as Dragonlords, could control and kill a dragon and that all the Dragonlords were killed as part of Uther's Great Purge. But, according to Gaius, one Dragonlord known as Balinor still lives by himself far away from Camelot. Before Merlin sets out with Arthur to find Balinor, Gaius tells him that Balinor is Merlin's father. A noticeably shaken Merlin then travels with Arthur to find Balinor and persuade him to help Camelot rid itself of the Dragon. After Balinor heals Arthur of his wounds from a previous battle with the Dragon, Merlin reveals to him that he is his son. It is soon after this that Balinor reveals that Dragonlords pass on their powers down the generations from father to son when the father dies and carves a wooden dragon for Merlin. Unfortunately, the three of them are ambushed by enemy Knights and Balinor is fatally wounded in the ensuing battle. Merlin is heartbroken at this and Arthur deduces that Camelot is now doomed. However, when the two return to Camelot, Merlin realises that he has now inherited all of Balinor's powers as a Dragonlord and is able to stop the Dragon once and for all. He decides to go with Arthur into battle. The Dragon decimates Arthur's men in this battle and Arthur himself is knocked out by a blow from the Dragon, leaving Merlin on his own to face the beast. Merlin then speaks in a language that appears to stop the Dragon attacking ro him. Merlin then commands the Dragon to leave Camelot for good and never return. The Dragon agrees to do so, but says as a parting message that he will not forget how Merlin spared him and that he is sure that they will one day meet again. Once Arthur regains consciousness, Merlin tells him that Arthur dealt the Dragon a fatal blow, to avoid revealing his Dragonlord heritage (The Last Dragonlord).
Morgana's ReturnIn the year Morgana has been missing, Merlin appears to have been worried about finding Morgana and what she may do to him. Not only that, but his powers seem to have increased. When Morgana is finally found, he begins to worry that Morgana will tell Uther that he poisoned her and he would be executed. However, when Morgana speaks to him, she tells him that she forgives him for what he did and that she would have done the same to save her friends. This makes Merlin cheer up significantly, until he finds the magic mandrake under Uther's bed and realizes that Morgana is still up to no good. He follows her into the forest, unaware that she knows of his presence (The Tears of Uther Pendragon). After Morgana and Morgause leave him to be killed by serkets, Merlin calls to Kilgharrah in the Dragon language and the Great Dragon rescues him. After Merlin recovers, he returns to Camelot to try and stop Morgana, Morgause, and King Cenred. Morgana is shocked and puzzled when she sees Merlin alive and well the following day and viciously warns him that, if he speaks a word of her betrayal, she woill tell Uther that Merlin poisoned her. Meanwhile, Arthur has become irritated by Merlin's constant disappearances and odd behaviour, turning his own chambers into a giant mess in the single day that Merlin is trapped by Morgause. Despite this, he reluctantly admits that Merlin sometimes displays "wisdom" when Merlin consoles him before the battle. During the siege of Camelot, Merlin discovers that Morgana resurrected the dead to attack Camelot from within. Merlin pleads with his former friend to stop what she is doing, but Morgana cries that he does not understand what it is like to be an outsider and to be ashamed of her magic. At this speech, Merlin appears to consider revealing his true identity, but eventually tells her that he believes her gift was to be used for good. Unconvinced, Morgana tells him that "there is no other way" and proceeds to attack him as he attempts to reach the staff she is using to bring the dead to life. Merlin is easily disarmed twice by Morgana's superior swordplay, but he manages to bring part of the roof down on her by using his magic. He then uses his sword to break the staff. However, Morgana survives and later claims that it was she who destroyed the staff and saved Camelot. She and Merlin then glare at each other while Uther praises Morgana for her deed. After this incident, Merlin's relationship with Morgana remaines hostile. When Merlin's secret is briefly exposed by a Goblin-possessed Gaius, she gives him a look of delight when Uther sentences him to death. When Gaius is returned to normal and Merlin is pardoned, she is clearly irritated because he once again escaped death (Goblin's Gold).
A New Friend and An Inconvenient Future
Merlin later meets and befriends a man called Gwaine who helps Arthur and Merlin in a tavern brawl. He and Arthur take the injured Gwaine back to Camelot, but Gwaine is later arrested by Uther for assaulting a pair of knights, who were actually on a mission to kill Arthur. Arthur persuades Uther to merely banish Gwaine, but Gwaine later returns to save Arthur from the two knights that wanted to kill him. Merlin notes that Gwaine has an unusual fighting style and is thus able to recognize him even while he is in armour (Gwaine).At some point after meeting Gwaine, Merlin accidentally causes Morgana to nearly kill Uther after foreseeing the future in the crystal cave (he also sees an image of himself as an old man with long white hair and a beard and an image of Morgana as Queen of Camelot, however these prophecies will not come true until a later date). In an attempt to prevent that future from happening, he actually causes it to happen. Merlin accidentally seriously wounds Morgana by making her fall down a flight of stairs. He then overhears Uther telling Gaius that he is Morgana's father. Merlin calls Kilgharrah to provide him with a way to heal Morgana, but once she recovers, Morgana attempts to murder Uther in his sleep. Merlin saves the king by using magic to smash his window, waking him up and forcing Morgana to abandon her assassination attempt (The Crystal Cave).
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 hiddee 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 iss 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 joina Arthur, Gwaine, Elyan, Lancelot and Percival in their mission to bring an end to Morgana's rule. Merlin usea 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 assasin 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 thethumb|right|200px|The summoning of Aithusa 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" (Aithusa). Kilgharrah says that a white dragon "bodes well for Albion".
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. Athumb|200px|Morgana and Emrys 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. Inreality 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 stayes 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 calles 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 Ishmair, 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.
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 icey 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 unconcious 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 theatening 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.
Merlin is portrayed as being brave, honourable, modest, compassionate and wise. 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 good 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 tells Merlin that he's an idiot, Merlin is more intelligent than he appears, 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 naïve; he appeared 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 people he disliked, 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.
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). There are also things that impede their relationship and make it difficult for them to be proper friends to one another. Firstly, they are separated by 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. They are not supposed to see each other as equals and so this causes problems in their friendship. There is also the issue that Merlin has hard time confiding in Arthur, as he couldn't 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). Merlin now considers 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. 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.
Kilgharrah, also known as the Great Dragon was the one who informed Merlin of his destiny. Whenever Merlin didn't know what to do, particularly when it involved magic, he turned to the Great Dragon for advice or outright assistance. The Dragon acts as a mentor to Merlin, even though most of the time he doesn't do as the Dragon advises him. Merlin actually considered the Dragon a friend but when he discovered the Dragon 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 the Dragon when he needed help defeating the spirit of Cornelius Sigan. The Dragon agreed to help him, on the condition that Merlin promised to one day free him, which he reluctantly agreed to do. Merlin appears to have regained some level of trust in the Dragon, and continues to seek his aid when he needs it.
The Dragon 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 the Great Dragon, who proceeded to lay waste to Camelot as revenge for his imprisonment and his species' near-eradication. Merlin, who inherited the powers of a Dragonlord, managed to get the Dragon under his control, but chose to spare him instead of kill him. The Dragon was grateful for Merlin's choice to not kill him, 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 the Dragon, 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. 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 two 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).
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, 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.
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 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. 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.
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.
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 (The Castle of Fyrien). When Elyan became a Knight of Camelot Merlin had a lot more interaction with him. When Elyan accompanied Merlin, Arthur 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 he was born, because 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 vunerable when he could not use his magic freely. He had a huge hatred for Uther ever since his father was excecuted, 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). 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 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 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) 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 was 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 weakened by having aged his body as a disguise. While their powers were nearly evenly matched, Merlin possessed much greater experience in using magic in combat, while Morgana was accustomed to using magic indirectly, and was thus able to overpower her (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).
Merlin was also a skilled swordsman which he learned from Arthur. At first he was a clumsy and unskilled swordsman 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 three 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.of the same name, advisor 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 baptised 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 advisor, 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 after stealing all his magical knowledge by the Lady of the Lake. 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 advisor.
The name Merlin is of Welsh origin, and the meaning is "sea fortress".
- In Series 4 the opening monologue by John Hurt changes from young boy to young man, seeing as Merlin has grown a few years. He was 18 when he first arrived in Camelot meaning that Arthur is 3 years older than him.
- Merlin was able to move items with his mind before he could talk.
- If Colin Morgan could change one thing about Merlin, it would have to be Merlin trying to revive Arthur so much.
- 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 scenes 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 and Arthur's relationship is that of deep friendship.
- 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.
- Colin joked that he wouldn't have to shave as often for Series 5 in order to show Merlin ageing into the old man of legend. We know from a set picture of Colin (as Merlin) that Merlin will be the same as ever and that Colin has had to shave so that Merlin doesn't age much physically in the upcoming season.
- 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'.
- Angel Coulby who plays Queen Guinevere stated in an interview, Gwen's friendship with Merlin will change very little but went on to say that on occasion he will address her formally.
- "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.
- "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