Template:Magical individual infobox Merlin is a young warlock and the last dragonlord in existence, the only son of Hunith and legendary dragonlord Balinor. When he was nineteen, Merlin was sent to Camelot by his mother to stay with Gaius, his mother's friend and the court physician of Camelot, to help him understand his unusually powerful magic. There he met Arthur Pendragon, the crown prince of Camelot, and was made his servant after saving him from an assassination attempt.
However, magic was not welcome in Camelot, as the king Uther Pendragon had any creature of magic found in the kingdom slaughtered. Merlin was forced to hide his abilities from nearly everyone. However, Merlin was told by Kilgharrah, a great dragon who had been imprisoned as an example of what happens to magical creatures, that Merlin's destiny was to ensure that Arthur survived long enough to become the king of Camelot, as he would become the greatest king in the history of Camelot.
Merlin was born in Ealdor, a small village in the countryside of Cenred's kingdom. His mother is Hunith and his father is Balinor, a Dragonlord. Gaius helped Balinor escape from Uther's persecution of magic and hid him with Hunith. The two fell in love, but Uther 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 a strange power that enables him to slow down the movement of time, both mentally and physically, and move objects to wherever he wishes. 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") and it is the name Mordred calls him by. (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 return magic to the land.
Arriving in Camelot
Upon his arrival in Camelot, Merlin saved Gaius from a fatal fall off a balcony in his apartments. 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. One day, he 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.
As well as being Gaius' dogsbody, Merlin became Arthur's manservant after he saved him from being impaled by a dagger thrown by Mary Collins. Although the pair shared an antagonistic relationship at first the two quickly began to trust each other. Merlin also befriended Guinevere, known as "Gwen", servant to Morgana, and later Morgana herself.
Merlin frequently used his magic to help others, sometimes without thinking of the consequences. When the life of Gwen's father was threatened by a strange plague in Camelot Merlin used his magic to heal him; an action which subsequently led Arthur to assume that Gwen had healed her father with witchcraft, and Uther to believe she had caused the plague in the first place. (The Mark of Nimueh). Merlin also used his magic to help a swordsman named Lancelot by using his powers to forge a false seal of nobility in order to enable him to join the Knights of Camelot. He used his powers again to enchant Lancelot's lance to aid him in killing a Griffin. Lancelot discovered that Merlin had magic through this act. (Lancelot).
Merlin used his powers to save Uther from being killed by one of Edwin Muirden's beetles, despite the risk of his powers being discovered. (A Remedy to Cure All Ills). He took this risk again when his home village was attacked by raiders and he raised a wind in front of Arthur in order to help them win the fight. However his friend Will, who was fatally wounded during the battle, took the blame for the magic before he died. (The Moment of Truth).
However, Merlin's magic has also helped expose witches and warlocks with more sinister motives. He managed to expose Knight Valiant's magical snake shield during the final 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 chose the former when Mordred begged him to help him. (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 chose 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).
Showdown with Nimueh
After an encounter with a Questing Beast, Arthur and Merlin went on a hunt for it. Merlin killed it, but Arthur was bitten by it. Knowing that a bite from a Questing Beast meant death, Merlin went to the Dragon. The Dragon told 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. (Le Morte d'Arthur).Once at the Island, Merlin once again encountered Nimueh. He was told that to save Arthur's life, he had to sacrifice another. Merlin chose to sacrifice his own, and Nimueh gave him a vial of water from the Cup of Life that would revive Arthur. But the life that was taken was not Merlin's, but his mother became ill with a terrible illness that would kill her. Merlin went to the Dragon and accused him of tricking him. The Dragon said his own life was too valuable to waste, since he had to protect Arthur until he claimed the throne, at which time the Dragon would be freed. Realising that was all the Dragon ever cared about, Merlin turned his back on the Dragon, vowing to never allow him to be released for what he had done. (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Merlin intended to once again visit Nimueh to bargain his own life for his mother's, but Gaius beat him to it, and sacrificed his life for Hunith, who later recovered from the illness. Merlin blamed Nimueh for Gaius' death, and attacked her. Nimueh easily overpowered him in a magical battle, and seemingly killed him. But as she turned her back to him, Merlin rose up and and used magical lightning to strike her down. He then used the power of life and death to revive Gaius, using Nimueh's death as payment. (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Meanwhile, the Dragon appears to have a terrible rage about Merlin's desertion and angrily calls Merlin's name (which appears to have been heard by Morgana.) (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Cornelius Sigan's Return
During the time a buried treasure was unearthed, a con-artist named Cedric attempted to muscle in on Merlin's position as Arthur's manservant, which he succeeded in doing for a time. When the spirit of Cornelius Sigan was unleashed by Cedric and threatened to destroy Camelot, Merlin revoked his vow and returned to the Dragon for help. He promised to free the Dragon if he helped Merlin to defeat Sigan, and the Dragon complied by giving him the spell he needed to defeat the evil sorcerer. When Sigan realized how powerful Merlin was, he offered Merlin a chance to join him, saying Arthur didn't deserve his loyalty. Although he appeared to be tempted by this offer, Merlin refused and sealed Sigan's spirit away again, using the knowledge that the Great Dragon had given him. Arthur also gave Merlin his position back after Cedric's betrayal was exposed. (The Curse of Cornelius Sigan).
When Morgana's magic began to reveal itself, she was terrified. Merlin wanted to help her, but Gaius refused to tell Morgana the truth, and the Dragon refused to help Merlin do anything that would help Morgana, saying it would be best if she never knew the full extent of her powers. But Merlin refused to abandon Morgana and advised she visit the Druids to get help with her powers. Unfortunately, Morgana's disappearance led Uther to believe she had been kidnapped and ordered for everyone who was under suspicion of having anything to do with magic to be arrested and executed unless she was returned. Merlin immediately went after Morgana and tried to convince her to return to Camelot. But an army, led by Arthur, raided the camp, forcing Merlin to use magic to protect the Druids. Morgana was found and returned to Camelot, but she was no longer afraid of her magic and thanked Merlin for what he did. Arthur, meanwhile, thought Merlin had fallen for Morgana, and advised 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, believing her to be Morgana, Merlin and Arthur set out to rescue her. During the 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 happen between him and Gwen, 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).
One day, Merlin was gathering wood in the forest when he saw a pillar of smoke rising nearby. For his own entertainment, he used magic to temporarily turn the smoke into the shape of a horse. But a nearby peasant, named Catheryn, saw the magic, and, fearing for her life, informed Uther of what she had seen. Uther, determined to wipe out the last traces of magic in Camelot, sent for Aredian, a feared witchfinder. When Aredian started searching the kingdom for sorcerers, he came across a magical amulet in Merlin and Gaius' house. Merlin was publically accused of being a sorcerer, but Gaius took the blame in order to protect Merlin. (The Witchfinder).
Distressed over what he had caused, Merlin went to the Great Dragon for advise. But the Dragon, in genuine regret, couldn't help him because he didn't know how to do so on this matter. Merlin later visited Gaius in the dungeons, and both came to realise that the amulet found belonged to neither of them. Merlin then discovered that Aredian would plant false evidence of magic wherever he was called to further his own gains. Merlin then took revenge upon Aredian by exposing his treachery as well as framing him for being a sorcerer, which ultimately resulted in the witchfinder's death. Gaius was also released after he was found to be innocent. (The Witchfinder).
The Secret of Arthur's Birth
Arthur was later challenged by a mysterious woman named Morgause who, unknown to everyone except Gaius, was Morgana's half-sister. After defeating Arthur, much to Merlin's amusement, Morgause made him promise to come visit him and accept another challenge. After helping Arthur break out of Camelot, Merlin accompanied him on his quest. When they reached Morgause's castle, Arthur passed Morgause's test and, as his reward, he was allowed to speak to the spirit of his deceased mother, Ygraine. From her, Arthur and Merlin learned that she had been unable to bear a son and Uther turned to magic as a way to do so, which resulted in her death. (The Sins of the Father).
Enraged at his father, Arthur returned to Camelot and attempted to kill Uther. Merlin, meanwhile, talked to Gaius about what they had been told. Gaius confirmed that Arthur was conceived by magic, and that he never said anything because he feared what Arthur would do. Realizing that Arthur and Uther were going to kill each other, Merlin ran into the hall to stop them. While he was tempted to let Arthur kill his tyrannical father, Merlin knew Arthur would never forgive himself if he did so and convinced him that Morgause had lied to him. Uther personally thanked Merlin for what he did, ironically saying that he was a true ally in the fight against magic. (The Sins of the Father).
Merlin met his first and only true love, Freya, a druid, while returning home late one night with Gaius after a visit with one of Gaius' patients. He first lay eyes on her in the cage of a bounty hunter named Halig, who had parked his wagon outside a tavern. Merlin instantly saw in Freya a kindred spirit with whom he could connect and identified with her being trapped in the cage. Later in the night, Merlin snuck back out to the wagon and helped Freya escape. He hid her in the tunnels beneath Camelot, where he brought her food and clothing. Finally Merlin had met someone who was like him, with whom he could be free to be himself. Warmed by Merlin's kindness, Freya was soon won over and they fell in love. Unfortunately, Merlin and Freya were not quite the same, for Freya was cursed. While defending herself, she killed a man, whose mother was a witch. She vengefully cursed Freya to kill forevermore. This curse turned Freya into a winged, bloodthirsty, black panther (a Bastet) at midnight. The two nights that Freya was in Camelot, she transformed into the Bastet and went on a rampage, killing both times. Despite this, Merlin still loved her and showed his unconditional love for her by rescuing her from Arthur and his men while she was backed into a corner in Bastet form. Merlin caused a stone gargoyle to fall, creating a diversion, while Freya escaped. Returning to the tunnels, Freya, the Bastet, was calm before Merlin, showing that their connection was stronger than the witch's curse. But, it was too late, Freya had already been mortally wounded by Arthur. Merlin carried Freya to a nearby lake, where she died after telling him she would repay him someday for loving her. (The Lady of the Lake).
A sorcerer named Alvarr came 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 enlisted Mordred into his group of bandits, knowing that Mordred could use the crystal. Merlin and Arthur later found that the crystal had been stolen, and Merlin came to believe that Morgana was behind it. He followed her, and saw that he was right. He went to the Great Dragon, who told him his reason for advising him not to trust Mordred and Morgana: an ancient prophecy spoke of an evil alliance between the two. The Dragon advised Merlin that the alliance had to be prevented, whatever the cost.
Merlin later ended 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 tried to prevent Mordred's escape, the young druid simply killed the guards that were after him, as well as telepathically telling Merlin that he wouldn't forgive or forget his actions. Morgana, meanwhile, freed Alvarr from Camelot's dungeons.
Also during this time, Merlin got hold of the crystal and saw a future where the Dragon attacked Camelot once he was freed. While Gaius told him that was merely one of many possible futures, Merlin was clearly shaken from seeing this (The Witch's Quickening). That night, Merlin was haunted by the Dragon's telepathic calls for him to honour his promise.
Morgana continued her descent into darkness when she later sided with Morgause when she returned with the Knights of Medhir and put all of Camelot to sleep in an attempt to destroy the noble kingdom. At first unsuspecting, Merlin lied to Arthur to keep Morgana's magic secret, and tried to comfort her when she seemed flustered, to which she replied that he was "a good friend" (The Fires of Idirsholas).
Merlin later went to the Great Dragon, who informed him that Morgana was sustaining the sleeping spell with her life, and her death was the only thing that could end it. When Morgana and Merlin were alone, he reluctantly tricked her into drinking hemlock, an obscure form of poison. As Morgana began to die, she realized what Merlin had done but could not speak. She then fell unconscious as she struggled against the poison in Merlin's arms. Morgause discovered them, and demanded Merlin tell her the poison he used so that she could save Morgana's life. Merlin refused to do so unless she stopped the Knights. Morgause obliged, and Merlin showed her the hemlock. She then took her half-sister away before anyone could stop her, leaving Merlin believing that Morgana was dead for good. That night, he returned to the Great Dragon and finally fulfilled his oath by setting him free. (The Fires Of Idirsholas).
Release of the Great DragonMerlin's worries about what the Great Dragon would do once free were justified as the creature proceeded to attack Camelot and kill many innocent people. Merlin attempted to stop the Dragon himself, but his magic was ineffective. Merlin later learned 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 lived by himself far away from Camelot. Before Merlin set out with Arthur to find Balinor, Gaius told him that Balinor was Merlin's father. A noticeably shaken Merlin then travelled with Arthur to find Balinor and persuade him to help Camelot rid itself of the Dragon.
After Balinor healed Arthur of his wounds from a previous battle with the Dragon, Merlin revealed to him that he was his son. It was soon after this that Balinor revealed that Dragonlords pass on their powers down the generations from father to son and carved a wooden dragon for Merlin. Unfortunately, the three of them were ambushed by enemy Knights, and Balinor was fatally wounded in the ensuing battle. Merlin was heartbroken at this and Arthur deduced that Camelot was now doomed. However, when the two returned to Camelot, Merlin realized that he now has all of Balinor's powers as a Dragonlord and was able to stop the Dragon once and for all. He decided to go with Arthur into battle.
The Dragon decimated Arthur's men in this battle and Arthur himself was knocked out by a blow from the Dragon, leaving Merlin on his own to face the beast. Merlin then spoke in a language that appeared to stop the Dragon attacking him. Merlin then commanded the Dragon to leave Camelot for good and never return. The Dragon agreed to do so, but said as a parting message that he would not forget how Merlin spared him and that he was sure that they would one day meet again. Once Arthur regained consciousness, Merlin told him that Arthur had dealt the Dragon a fatal blow to avoid revealing his Dragonlord heritage. (The Last Dragonlord).
In Series 3, Merlin's relationship with Arthur has greatly improved, as, even though he is still merely a servant, he is also an advisor to Arthur, and they still have their silly moments. Merlin makes a big deal of the effort he puts into his job, but Arthur just makes fun of him for it. Arthur remains convinced that Merlin has no special powers and "cowers in fear" and "hides behind trees" in battles (in truth, Merlin had been using his magic to defend himself).
In the year Morgana has been missing, Merlin appeared to have been worried about finding Morgana and what she may do to him. Not only that, but his powers seemed to have increased. When Morgana was finally found, he began to worry that Morgana would tell Uther that he had poisoned her and he would be executed. However, when Morgana spoke to him, she told him that she forgave him for what he had done and that she would have done the same to save her friends. This made Merlin cheer up significantly, until he found the magic mandrake under Uther's bed and realized that Morgana was still up to no good. He followed her into the forest, unaware that she knew of his presence (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
After Morgana and Morgause left him to be killed by serkets, Merlin called to Kilgharrah in the Dragon language and the Great Dragon rescued him. After Merlin recovered he returned to Camelot to try and stop Morgana, Morgause and King Cenred. Morgana was shocked and puzzled when she saw Merlin alive and well the following day, and viciously warned him that if he spoke a word of her betrayal, she would tell Uther that Merlin had poisoned her. Meanwhile, Arthur had become irritated by Merlin's constant disappearance and odd behavior, turning his own chambers into a giant mess in the single day that Merlin was trapped by Morgause. Despite this, he reluctantly admitted that Merlin sometimes displayed "wisdom" when Merlin consoled him before the battle.
During the siege of Camelot, Merlin discovered that Morgana had resurrected the dead to attack Camelot from within. Merlin pleaded with his former friend to stop what she was doing but Morgana cried that he did not understand what it was like to be an outsider and to be ashamed of her magic. At this speech, Merlin appeared to consider revealing his true identity, but eventually told her that he believed her gift was to be used for good. Unconvinced, Morgana told him that "there is no other way" and proceeded to attack him as he attempted to reach the staff she was using to bring the dead to life. Merlin was easily disarmed twice by Morgana's superior swordplay but he managed to bring part of the roof down on her using magic. He then used his sword to break the staff. However, Morgana survived and later claimed that it was she who had destroyed the staff and saved Camelot. She and Merlin then glared at each other while Uther praised Morgana for her deed.
After this incident, Merlin's relationship with Morgana remained hostile. When Merlin's secret was briefly exposed by a Goblin-possessed Gaius, she gave him a delightful look when Uther sentenced him to death. When Gaius was returned to normal and Merlin was pardoned, she was clearly irritated that he had once again escaped death (Goblin's Gold).
A new friend
Merlin later met and befriended a man called Gwaine who helped him and Arthur in a tavern brawl. He and Arthur took the injured Gwaine back to Camelot but Gwaine was later arrested by Uther for assaulting a pair of knights (who were actually on a mission to kill Arthur). Arthur persuaded Uther to merely banish Gwaine but Gwaine later returned to save Arthur from the two knights that wanted to kill him. Merlin noted that Gwaine had an unusual fighting style and was thus able to recognise him even while he was in armour. (Gwaine)
An Inconvenient Future
At some point after meeting Gwaine, Merlin accidentally caused Morgana to nearly kill Uther after foreseeing the future in the crystal cave (he also saw an image of himself as an old man with long white hair and a beard, an image of Morgana as Queen of Camelot; however these prophecies would not come true until a later date). In an attempt to prevent that future from happening he actually caused it to happen. Merlin accidentally seriously wounded Morgana by making her fall down a flight of stairs. He then overheard Uther telling Gaius that he was Morgana's father. Merlin called Kilgharrah to provide him with a way to heal Morgana but once she recovered Morgana attempted to murder Uther in his sleep. Merlin saved 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 was later reunited with Gwaine who helped him find Arthur who was slowly having his strength drained by Morgana's Eye of the Phoenix. During this foretold quest, which was apparently his, not Arthur's, he was known as "Magic" for obvious reasons, with Gwaine as "Strength" and Arthur as "Courage." Merlin used his Dragonlord ability to save the unconscious Arthur from a pair of Wyvern and later encountered the Fisher King. The Fisher King gave him water from the Lake of Avalon, foreboding dark times ahead in which Merlin would need all the help he could get. He then asked Merlin to kill him for he had lived far beyond his natural lifespan, waiting for the arrival of The Once and Future King whose age was now dawning and since he was unable to die without Merlin's help. Arthur meanwhile retrieved the Fisher Kings Golden Trident and they said goodbye to Gwaine before returning to Camelot. (The Eye of the Phoenix)
A Prophecy Come True
Later Merlin created 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 couldn't reveal to Uther that Morgana was using magic he decided to create a sorcerer of his own. In the disguise of an old man, Merlin thwarted Morgana's plan and saved Gwen but was nearly executed himself. He escaped, taking a potion Gaius had prepared, and transformed back into himself before Arthur and his knights could find him. Arthur thought that Merlin had been spending time in the tavern due to a lie told to him by Gaius. (Queen of Hearts)
Rise of the Princess
Merlin's vision of Morgana becoming Queen also came true. While he and Arthur searched for the Cup of Life, meeting their friend Gwaine during the mission, Morgause and Cenred were also attempting to find the Cup. Merlin accidentally let the Cup fall into enemy hands (literally) and Morgause created an army of immortal soldiers. Merlin, Gwaine and Arthur returned to Camelot and found Elyan and Gaius, the only two known people who had not been captured, wounded or killed by Morgause's immortal army. Despite being told to go with Gaius, Merlin stayed with Arthur, who for once appeared grateful towards him. They then witnessed Morgana being crowned Queen of Camelot, just as Merlin had forseen in the Crystal Cave.
Merlin and Arthur joined the rest of the group in the forest and Merlin took the water the Fisher King had given him and used it to contact his deceased lover Freya. Merlin was delighted to see Freya again, having contacted her by accident and Freya told him that she'd missed him. She told him to come to the Lake of Avalon to fetch the sword Excalibur. Merlin called Kilgharrah, who carried him to the lake and Freya gave Merlin the sword, though only her arm emerged from the lake.
Merlin and his friends later met Guinevere and Sir Leon who had managed to escape Camelot though they accidentally brought a group of Morgause's immortal soldiers with them. Fortunately their lives were saved by the arrival of Lancelot and Percival who caused an avalanche allowing the group to escape.
Wielding Excalibur, Merlin joined Arthur, Gwaine, Elyan, Lancelot and Percival in their mission to bring an end to Morgana's rule. Merlin used the sword to destroy the soldiers that stood in their way and had almost made it to the Cup of Life before Morgause intervened. Fortunately Gaius arrived in time to attack Morgause with magic, dazing her and protecting Merlin. Before she can recover,Merlin attacks her with the same spell Gaius used, albeit more powerfull ,smashing her into a pillar and seriously injuring her maybe even killing her.Merlin then emptied the Cup of the Knights blood, destroying the immortal army.
A devastated Morgana rushed into the room and cradled her unconscious, or perhaps dead, sister just as Morgause had done for her when Merlin poisoned her. Merlin told Morgana that it was over but Morgana told him that it had just begun and used magic to bring the room crashing down on them. Gaius later stated that there was no sign of her or Morgause in the rubble, meaning that they must have escaped.
Finally Merlin placed Excalibur in a stone in the forest where no ordinary man could weild it. (The Coming of Arthur)
Merlin shows exceptional talent and potential in his magical abilities and his keenness to further his education despite the risks carried with using magic. He can be outspoken and foolish, as with his first meeting with Arthur. He will at times use his magical abilities for himself, as when he fights Arthur in the market place (The Dragon's Call) and to soften his workload. (Valiant) However most of the time Merlin will use his magic to help others, although this sometimes has consequences.
Merlin used to be naive; he appears 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).
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 realise 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.
As Merlin grew older he also grew wiser and Arthur noted his wisdom on at least two occasions. Most of the time however, Arthur thought he was an idiot, saying that he only had brief periods of wisdom and was stupid the rest of the time. Merlin often called Arthur names that most servants would never call a prince such as "Dollop Head" or "Clotpoll" showing that he was unafraid of insulting people higher ranked than himself. He 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. Merlin was also observant, 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 where 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 Sophia and her father Aulfric (The Gates of Avalon), Tauren's henchmen (To Kill the King) and Nimueh. (Le Morte d'Arthur) The death of Nimueh was one of the most notable displays of Merlin's darker side because he showed rage and hatred towards her before summoning lightning to destroy her. He also had to poison his close friend Morgana when he thought that her death was the only way to save the people of Camelot, although he refused to do so until he was certain that there was no other option. (The Fires Of Idirsholas) He also directly killed others while in combat, such as the Sidhe elder, another Sidhe, Grunhilda, Mary Collins, Edwin Muirden and, indirectly, Aredian by using magic to heat his knife so that he fell to his death and Tristan De Bois's wraith by allowing Uther to use Excalibur (however, this particular death is up for debate, as the wraith was already dead). (Excalibur) During the siege of Camelot he burned quite a few of Cendred's soldiers by throwing a wave of fire against them (The Tears of Uther Pendragon). More recently, during Morgana's reign over Camelot he used the sword Excalibur to destroy the immortal army controlled by Morgana and Morgause, killing thousands of soldiers simultaneously- although the evidence suggests that these soldiers were all essentially dead anyway-, and later, with the help of Gaius, seriously wounded or possibly killed Morgause (The Coming of Arthur: Part Two). Merlin didn't appear to feel any remorse for killing so many people though Morgana was an exception but this was only because Morgana had once been a friend. However Merlin's brutality was only directed at his enemies and he never harmed anyone who wasn't an obvious threat, occasionally trying to talk to others and convince them to change until he is certain that he cannot.
Merlin is very attached to his mother Hunith. When her life was in danger, he was willing to sacrifice himself so she would live. The Great Dragon has remarked that Merlin cares more about his mother than he does about himself.
The Dragonlord Balinor is Merlin's father. Merlin grew up with no memory of him since he and Hunith separated 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. However, he 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.
Merlin is very close to Gaius once saying "you are more than a father to me". His mother sent him to live with Gaius in the hopes that Gaius could help him with his powers. Although magic has been banned and Gaius respects the law, he gave Merlin a spellbook 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)
Gaius and Merlin had a fall 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, however, when Merlin was proved right, Gaius apologised and they were back to normal again.(Love in the Time of Dragons)
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. This changed very 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 close, almost like brothers though 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.
There are also things that impede on 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). 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 girls, 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 Melin 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.
Merlin first met Gwen when she introduced herself to him while he was in the stockades. They became fast friends quickly, bonding over a mutual dislike for Prince Arthur (although as the series went on they both grew to like and respect him). Merlin was willing to sacrifice himself for her when she was accused of being a witch, and Gwen often offers Merlin help when he has nobody else to turn to (The Witchfinder, Lancelot, Sweet Dreams) When Merlin recovered after he was thought dead, Gwen kissed him, and Merlin responded that it was "more than fine" when she apologized for it. However, Merlin is unaware that Gwen had romantic feelings for him, loving her only as a friend. Gwen, meanwhile, has lost her romantic feelings for Merlin. Merlin is the only person who knows Gwen and Arthur are in love and has told Arthur that he thinks that Gwen is "very worthy of your love." He appears delighted that his closest friends in Camelot have fallen in love with each other, despite the difficulties. Merlin is the only person Gwen really talks to about her and Arthur relationship (Sweet Dreams, Goblin's Gold, The Castle of Fyrien) he has even teased her about it. They were so close that he would sacrifice his life to save hers.
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 appears to have taken a downturn in the aftermath of Morgana's attempt on Uther's life. Merlin has distanced himself from her, and appears 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 the Dragon 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 has 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 has 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 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. When Merlin defeated, and possibly killed, 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 uses magic to bring the room down with her screams.
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 advise or outright assistance. The Dragon acts as a mentor to Merlin, even though he doesn't always 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.
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 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.
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. Nevertheless Merlin still valued Kilgharrah's advice and rode him on two occasions, Kilgharrah also comiserating with his dilemma when Merlin was faced with the possibility of killing another magic-user in order to protect Uther.
Merlin and Lancelot are close friends; so close that Lancelot was the only one able to tell Merlin was planning something in the series three finale, and is currently the only Knight of Camelot who knows about Merlin's magic.
They first met when Lancelot saved him from a Griffin and quickly became friends. Merlin helped Lancelot join the Knights of Camelot, though Lancelot later had to leave because it was found he was 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.
In series two, Lancelot and Merlin meet whilst rescuing Gwen. After the rescue, it's Merlin who informs Lancelot of Arthur and Gwen's feelings and the only one who says goodbye when Lancelot leaves because he doesn't want to risk coming between the future King and Queen.
In the final episode of series three, Lancelot returns to save Camelot with Sir Percival at Merlin's request. The night before storming Camelot, Lancelot knows Merlin enough to realise he has an ulterior motive and sets about being the one responsible for Merlin succeeding. He leads Arthur to believe that he and Merlin will silence the warning bell, when in actuality they are searching for the Cup of Life. They make a good fighting team and successfully reach their goal, although Lancelot is wounded in battle.
Merlin dislikes King Uther Pendragon because of his views of and persecution of magic. He has been tempted on several occasions to allow Uther to die when his life was in danger. However, his personal morals stopped him from letting that happen. Uther is unaware of Merlin's dislike of him and has been shown to be grateful to him for looking after Arthur.
Merlin had a very strong relationship with Freya and helped her by giving her food and safety. He promised to protect her and over a short period of time, he fell in love with her. Merlin cared about her so much that he was willing to abandon Camelot, along with Gaius, Morgana, Gwen and Arthur just so that he could be with her. But Freya, who had been cursed to become a monstrous creature called a bastet, was fatally wounded by Arthur when she was in her beast form. Merlin carried her to a nearby lake, where she died after promising to return the favour of being loved some day. Merlin was heartbroken when Freya died. Despite his grief Merlin did not blame Arthur for killing her as he still remained a faithful friend to the prince. Notably Freya's bond with Merlin was so strong that she didn't attack him while she was in her beast form, despite normally being unable to control herself.
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 weilded against Morgause's immortal knights.
It has been confirmed that Freya will grow closer to Merlin, and considering they had very little time to talk when Merlin contacted her, this should mean that she will return in later seriess.
Despite only knowing each other for a short time, Merlin and Gwaine had a close friendship. They first met after Gwaine helped him and Arthur 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.
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 are reunited, Gwaine appears delighted to see Merlin is okay, even giving him a hug.
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.
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.
Merlin's magical abilities go far beyond that of other sorcerers. According to Gaius magic needs to be studied and perfected for many years, but Merlin's basic magic ability has been there since his birth, and his powers developed with no training. (The Dragon's Call) Merlin 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. (To Kill the King) He also quickly recovered from Nimueh's fireball just before killing her. (Le Morte d'Arthur).
Merlin is able to learn magic at an incredibly fast rate, learning in less than two years enough to take out numerous opponents with many more decades of learning than him; by his third year 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, such as making a tree apparently fall over after it was hit with a sword (The Tears of Uther Pendragon). Some of his powers include the ability to slow down an object's movement and even appeared to be able slow time itself (the most impressive part about this skill was that he seemed to do it instinctively) and the ability to move objects telekinetically such as when he stops an axe in mid air and turns it around on Edwin Muirden. (A Remedy to Cure All Ills et al) He does this without using incantations and can use it to 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). He 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. (To Kill the King) (The Coming of Arthur)
Merlin even mastered the power of life and death, which he achieved after only two encounters with it. It should be noted that the only other person known to master this power was Nimueh. (Le Morte d'Arthur) He shows great aptitude in the use of elemental spells. He summoned fire against Tristan De Bois' wraith and threw a wave of fire against the soldiers of king Cendred during the siege of Camelot, burning and killing quite a few of them. He was also able to heat an enemies weapon which forced them to drop it as displayed when Aredian threatened Morgana. He was also capable of manipulating wind, using it to destroy an Afanc by combining it with fire and summoning a whirlwind driving away Kanen's force of brigands in the battle of Ealdor, and conjuring lightning which he used to destroy Nimueh. He can also throw blasts of raw magical power, through the use of Sophia's Sidhe staff. The power of these blasts is capable of killing enemies instantly. He can also throw a similar blast of magical power with his bare hands like the one he used against Nimueh (Le Morte d'Arthur) though the sorceress absorbed this easily, it is likely new to him and therefore undeveloped, as Merlin himself seemed surprised when he used it. Using powerful forms of magic instinctively when his emotions are heightened is another indication of how powerful he is to become.
Merlin is also capable of forming a magical shield which he used to defend himself from the Great Dragon's fire, again indicating his great magical power as Dragons are immensely powerful magical creatures. (Le Morte d'Arthur) 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, close inspection shows that 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 Merlins ability to wield these crystals, and therefore see the future, is much greater than anyone suspects.
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.) This connection makes this possible as it is unknown how closely Dragonlords are related to Dragons, thus possibly making 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. He is shown forcing multiple enemies backwards with a dragonlike roar, similar to Mordred's sonic screaming. (The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part 1) He is also able to command any Dragon to do anything he wishes by speaking to them in their language even if they are a long distance away. He can also command Wyverns, Dragons distant cousins, though it should be noted that one of the Wyvern attempted to kill him and Arthur shortly after he used his Dragonlord ability, suggesting he wasn't able to command them as effectively as Dragons.
Merlin currently has possession of the Sidhe staff (a wooden staff with a blue gem and inscriptions of words of life and death, capable of helping Merlin cast spells and firing blasts of magical force) and the Book of Magic, containing numerous spells Merlin has used as well as a great deal of arcane knowledge.
Merlin also had some skill with a sword 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. 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 weilding Excalibur. (The Coming of Arthur)
Also, although it is not said in the show, Merlin has great power when it comes to seeing the future. Everything he sees in the Crystals from the Crystal Cave always occurs, even if it does not happen that episode. Gaius is always saying that the Crystals are meddlesome and do not always show the future that will unfold, but for Merlin they are always accurate. He just interprets their meaning incorrectly sometimes.
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.
Merlin is based on the famous wizard 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.
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 Fey 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.
|Kingdom of Camelot|
| Queen: Guinevere Pendragon|
Court Physician: Gaius
Keeper of the Royal Library: Geoffrey of Monmouth
Knights: Sir Leon • Sir Percival • Sir Brennis • Sir Cador • Sir Geraint
Other Allies: Merlin • Annis • Odin • Rodor • Mithian • Godwyn • Bayard • Elena • Alined • The Diamair • Vivian • Olaf
Former Allies: Morgana Pendragon † • Nimueh † • Cedric † ? • Cornelius Sigan † • Tristan de Bois † • Lady Catrina † • Edwin Muirden † • Uther Pendragon † • Agravaine de Bois †• Sefa• Mordred †