Uther Pendragon is the King of Camelot and the father of Arthur Pendragon and Morgana. He is eventually dethroned by Morgana, who crowns herself Queen of Camelot, but she is soon defeated by Merlin, Arthur and his Knights. Afterwards, Uther was left in an incapacitated state of melancholia and depression, leaving his son, Arthur poised to ascend the throne, though perhaps temporarily.
Life before the series
After discovering his queen, Ygraine, was unable to have children, he sent Gaius to ask the sorceress, Nimueh, for advice (Le Morte d'Arthur). She used magic to allow Ygraine to conceive an heir. Unfortunately at the time, in order to create a life, another life had to end in order to protect the natural balance of the world. As a result, Ygraine died in childbirth (Excalibur).
Heartbroken over the loss of his beloved wife, a grief-stricken Uther turned on Nimueh, accusing her of treason and banishing her from the court. He then began The Great Purge, ordered the executions of hundreds of sorcerers, good and evil alike, as well as banning magic from Camelot. The purge ended with the capture of The Great Dragon, who was imprisoned beneath the castle to serve as an example to all magic users.
Ruler of Camelot
Uther could be a tyrannical ruler who would stop at nothing to set things right in his eyes, especially if magic was involved. He believed that all magic was evil, and all those who practices magic were evil. Despite his paranoia about magic, Uther sometimes did not realise when sorcery was being practised, even when presented with evidence (Valiant). When he believed that magic was being used however, he would deal with it decisively, such as when he sentenced Gwen to death when she was suspected of creating a plague with dark magic, despite having no proof (The Mark of Nimueh). Similarly, he executed a Druid, Cerdan, and attempted to kill Cerdan's young apprentice, Mordred (The Beginning of the End), stating that the druids were plotting his downfall.
Because of his crusade against magic, Uther constantly found himself, his family and his Kingdom in constant threat by enemies who were out to take their revenge against him, for killing their friends and family. He barely escaped death on three occasions during the first series: (A Remedy to Cure All Ills; Excalibur; and To Kill the King).
Despite his often harsh and tyrannical display of temper, Uther displayed a caring and softer side. When he realized that Arthur was going to fight a wraith, a creature that couldn't be killed by any mortal weapon, Uther decided to sacrifice himself and fight the wraith instead, so that Arthur, his son would live. He also cared deeply for Morganna, and while he locked her in the dungeons when she defied him and pushed his temper too far, he later apologised to her, admitting he was wrong, and told her that she was like his daughter (as a matter of fact Morgana was his daughter). He also cared for the well being of common people, even those outside his kingdom, as he sympathized with Hunith when she asked for his help against raiders, but unfortunately he couldn't send his knights to help the village because the ruler of the Kingdom in which Merlin's village resided would see any rescue attempt by him as a declaration of war.
Uther grew darker in Series 2. A troll used magic to cause Uther to become infatuated with and marry her, enough so that when presented with evidence he refused to believe it. Eventually Merlin, Gaius and Arthur faked Arthur's death and Uther's tears broke the spell causing him to realise that his wife was a troll.(Beauty and the Beast)
When Gaius was accused of being a warlock by the Witchfinder, Aredian, Uther refused to believe it until Gaius confessed. He sentenced his old friend to death but was clearly reluctant and upset about the thought of killing Gaius, even though he had told him he was a sorcerer. However, when Merlin proved that Gaius was framed by Aredian (who Uther now believed to be the sorcerer also thanks to Merlin) he went to apologize to Gaius for the suffering he endured at Aredian's hands.
Gaius pointed out politely, but coldly that he didn't suffer at Aredian's hands, but by Uther's because Aredian was following his orders. Shocked, the king told Gaius that he was tricked, but Gaius quickly lashed back, saying that his hatred of magic and obsession with destroying it caused him to lash out at anyone in his path, that his friends become foes and his servants become sorcerers. As a stunned Uther stared at him, Gaius states that he wasn't the first person to be wrongly accused of magic by Uther (possibly referring to Gwen in The Mark of Nimueh) and that he was one of the lucky ones (unlike Gwen's father, Tom in To Kill the King). He then asked for Uther to leave him alone and the king left, clearly shaken by Gaius' words and the thought that if Gaius was innocent, how many other innocent people he had put to death in his quest to destroy magic.
Morgause and Morgana Rebel
When Arthur was defeated in combat by a woman named Morgause, he was spared only on the condition that he come to her and accept another challenge. When Uther learned that Morgause knew something of Ygraine, he refused to allow Arthur to go, fearing that what she knew was the secret of Arthur's birth. But with Merlin's help, Arthur managed to break out of Camelot and go to Morgause. Uther later learned that Morgause is the daughter of Gorlois and Morgana's half-sister. Uther wanted this kept from Morgana to prevent her loyalties from being divided.
Arthur and Merlin reached Morgause's castle, where they learned that Ygraine had died in childbirth because Uther had turned to magic to concieve an heir. Arthur was furious, and returned to Camelot to confront his father. After a heated shouting match, Arthur challenged Uther to mortal combat in the throne room. When Uther refused, Arthur said he would simply kill him where he stood if he didn't defend himself. Uther said Arthur would never do this, and was shocked when Arthur proved him wrong by attacking. Uther was forced to fight his son, but was ultimately disarmed and at his mercy. But before Arthur could deal the death blow, Merlin managed to convince him that Morgause had lied to him.
Uther's guards later captured Alvarr, a sorcerer who was ploting against him. Uther tried and had him condemned to death. Morgana, who had secretly been swayed to his side, furiously disowned him and told him he "will go the hell." This left Uther stricken. Later, Morgana freed Alvarr, and Uther suspected her, but had no proof so he had to let it drop.
Morgana was later taken from Camelot by Morgause after her half-sister attempted to destroy the kingdom. Uther was devestated, and became determined to find his ward. He remains unaware that Morgana was part of Morgause's conspiracy and that she has completely turned against him.
Finding MorganaUther was determined to find Morgana and spent almost a year sending soldiers to look for her, he refused to give up no matter how many Knights died. She was eventually found one day in a bandit's camp by Merlin, Arthur and his men. Around the same time at the citadel Gaius told Uther telling him that after an entire year he should call off the search and accept that she's gone, but Uther persisted he would never give up. After she recovered and slept she went to see Uther who was overjoyed to see her back again. Morgana thanked him for taking care of her as if she was his own daughter and apologised for her previous attitude towards him. However Morgana was lying and during year from Camelot she was turned to Morgause's allegiance. Morgana met up with Morgause and confirmed that Uther didn't suspect her true loyalties and handed Morgause a hankerchief, which contained his tears. Morgause dropped it in a cauldron filled with black liquid along with a mandrake root which emitted a piercing scream as it was thrown in; Morgause explained that the scream could only be heard by those with magic. For those without magic, it could pierce someone's soul and bring their worst fears to life. Morgause pulled out the mandrake root, covered in the black liquid. She handed it to Morgana, who later placed it under Uther's bed. Uther asked Gaius how Morgana was, and he replied to him that she had made a remarkable recovery.
Uther held a celebration party for Morgana and got a little drunk in his happiness and toasted Morgana's return; on the surface, she was polite and smiling, but in private scowled in disgust at having to hug and be pleasent to Uther. He went outside for some air, and he heared a noise in the well. Initially thinking Arthur was playing a trick, he walked over to it, when all of a sudden, a withered arm grabbed him; looking down, Uther saw Ygraine in the well, begging him for help. Uther backed away and fell to the ground, screaming in terror, where he was found by guards. Uther was taken to his room, where he was to rest at Gaius's orders. Everybody except Morgana left, she held Uther's hand, and as everybody left, she let go in disgust and smiled evilly over him. Morgana informed Morgause that rumours of Uther's condition had already began to spread through the court. Morgause informed Cenred of Uther and that Camelot was free to be attacked. But Cenred was unsure, stating that even with Uther incapacitated, an assault on Camelot was not to be taken lightly. Morgause reminded him of their ally in the city; when Cenred expressed doubt about the loyalty of traitors, Morgause assured him Morgana could be counted on until the end, convincing Cenred to take the fight to Camelot.
Arthur and Sir Leon alerted Uther to the fact that mercenaries were flooding into Cenred's kingdom; they feared he was raising an army. Suddenly, Uther saw a dripping wet boy, one of the many child sorcerers he had drowned during the Great Purge, but nobody else could see him. He shouted at the boy to leave, and everybody believed he was going mad. He was taken out of the chamber by Arthur and Leon and taken to his room.As Cenred's army entered Camelot in their thousands, Gaius and Merlin went to Uther's chamber, not knowing that Morgana was there before them and had used the enchantment to worsen the curse; when Gaius and Merlin entered Uther's chamber, they found him curled up in a corner crying, tormented by ghosts of Ygraine and several drowned children staring at him. Acting quickly, Merlin removed the mandrake root causing the enchantment from under Uther's bed and threw it into the fire, immediately breaking the enchantment and restoring Uther's sanity. After leaving Uther to sleep and recover from his ordeal, Merlin insisted they must tell Uther Morgana was responsible, but Gaius replied that Uther would never believe their word against his beloved ward.
During the siege of Camelot, Uther, despite his less than perfect condition, threw himself into the battle but was injured by an arrow which hit him in the leg. Camelot's army was then attacked from behind by skeletons summoned by Morgana but Merlin managed to thwart her.
In the battle's aftermath, Morgana told Uther and Arthur that she destroyed the staff and stopped the skeletons. At a ceremony to recognise her bravery and that of all those who fought and died in the battle, Uther again asserted vigilance in Camelot against magic.(The Tears of Uther Pendragon).When a Goblin was set free by Merlin, Uther was cast a spell by the creature and become bald. He then suffered of flatulences in front of the entire court, because he had drunk a potion given him by Gaius. When the Goblin, while possessing the court physician, accused Merlin of being a sorcerer, Uther sentenced the young warlock to death (Goblin's Gold).
Revelation of Morgana's heritage
When Morgana's birthday arrived the whole of Camelot celebrated. However when Morgana left Camelot to visit Morgause, Merlin accidentally used magic to send her falling down a flight of stairs badly wounding her. Uther was frantic and even went so far as to suggest using magic in order to cure her. He finally told Gaius a secret that he had been hiding for many years; he was Morgana's true father. Unfortunately Morgana, despite being near deaths door, overheard him. When Morgana recovered Uther was overjoyed. However Morgana was furious that Uther had lied to her all her life, thinking he cared more about his reputation than he did about her. She attempted to murder her father in his sleep but was stopped by Merlin who woke Uther by smashing the window of his chamber. Morgana hastily dropped the knife she'd been holding and kicked it under the bed before telling Uther about the fire in her bedroom (which she had started) and saying he was the only person she felt safe with.
Morgana later recieved visions of a future where Gwen was crowned queen of Camelot. Seeing this as a threat to her and Morgause's plans, Morgana revealed to Uther that Arthur and Gwen were courting. Uther, thinking that Arthur was merely having a fling, told his son to break off his relationship with Gwen. However, Arthur insisted that he truly loved Gwen. Upon realizing this, Uther banished Gwen from the kingdom.
Morgana later learned that Arthur planned on leaving Camelot with Gwen and he planned to return once Uther was dead so he and Gwen could reign. Morgana, determined to stop Gwen from becoming queen, suggested to Uther (who was incapable of understanding why Arthur was in love with a serving girl) that Arthur was under an enchantment, planting false evidence in Arthur's room to prove it. Uther sentenced Gwen to death in an unfair trial, and his resolve only strengthened when Arthur furiously objected. Fortunately, Merlin managed to once again stop Morgana's plans: using an aging spell to disguise himself, he declared that he had enchanted both Arthur and Gwen to fall in love in a plot to bring shame upon Camelot. Convinced, Uther released Gwen.
Fall of a tyrant
Uther eventually sent Arthur to retrieve the Cup of Life from King Cenred's kingdom. His treacherous daughter, Morgana, overheard him and told Morgause. Arthur and Merlin failed in their mission and Morgause created an army of immortal soldiers out of Cenred's army. Morgause (after killing Cenred) launched an invasion of Camelot. When Leon returned and reported that the soldiers in Morgause's army couldn't be killed, Uther realized that Arthur had failed in his quest. Uther asked Gaius how Cenred could've known about the Cup, and Gaius said the only explanation is that there was a traitor in Camelot.
Morgause's army overwhelmed Camelot's defences and captured the once unconquerable city. Those who weren't killed in the battle were imprisoned, including Uther. The fallen tyrant was later dragged into the throne room where Morgause removed his crown. Uther furiously declared that Morgause had no right to the throne, only for Morgana to reveal herself and declare that she did. Uther was both horrified and devastated to learn that the traitor Gaius spoke of was his own daughter, and was forced to watch as Morgana was crowned Queen of Camelot.
Uther was chained in a dungeon cell that had a window to view the courtyard. About a week after Morgana's coronation, Uther watched as she had her soldiers slaughter a crowd of innocent bystanders in an attempt to get the remaining knights of Camelot to swear loyalty to her. He was later visited by Morgana who mockingly called him father. Uther told Morgana that the people she had just killed were innocent but Morgana retorted by saying that he had been just as bad, perhaps worse, when he was ruling the kingdom. Uther said that if Morgana wanted to kill someone than it should be him. Morgana said that she was going to execute him, but only after she was satisified with the amount of suffering he had been through. As she left, a broken Uther asked his daughter if she truly hated him so much as to torture him like she was doing, and was further devestated when Morgana said he could never know how much she hated him.
Uther was later freed by Arthur but was so devastated by his daughter's betrayal that he didn't even try to defend himself from Morgause's army of immortal soldiers. He only survived because Arthur, Elyan, Gwaine, Percival and the other surviving Knights of Camelot were protecting him. Uther is currently in the grip of a nervous breakdown so Arthur looks poised to ascend the throne.
It has been confirmed that Uther will return in series 4, however his attitude in light of Morgana's betrayal is unknown. It was implied in The Coming of Arthur that Arthur will become the Regent King of Camelot, as Uther was left traumatized following the coup d'etat.
When it came to any form of magic, Uther was very much a tyrant. His hatred for it was caused by the death of his beloved wife, Ygraine. Ygraine died in childbirth after magic was used to allow her to give birth to their son, Arthur. Uther refused to tolerate magic at all and executed anyone found using it. However he was known to have difficulty realising when a person was using magic, unable to believe that Valiant or Aredian were using magic until he saw actual evidence and refused to believe Gaius was a sorcerer until Gaius confessed to him, even though he knew Gaius had been a sorcerer in the past. Sometimes however, in desperation to protect his kingdom, Uther would have people executed simply for being suspected of sorcery which has almost resulted in the death of Guinevere on at least two occasions.
When Arthur discovered Uther asked Nimueh to use magic to make Ygraine pregnant, he furiously called his father a hypocrite and a liar. Uther also never revealed that he was Morgana's true father until Morgana was a fully grown adult and even then Morgana only knew about her heritage because she overheard him telling Gaius. It should be noted that when Morgana was badly wounded falling down a flight of stairs, Uther was so desperate to save her that he gave Gaius permission to use magic to heal her. This displays the extreme level of trust he had for Gaius as well as the love he felt for Morgana. Even though he loved her, Morgana, who had become evil, hated him.
Despite his attitude towards magic, Uther genuinely cared about his kingdom and tried to be a good ruler. He cared very much for his people and wanted to ensure that peace and stability remain in Camelot. He also cared for people outside his kingdom, as shown when he wanted to help Hunith defend her village from raiders and only refrained from doing so because it would be considered an act of war on the kingdom Hunith's village resides in.
Uther was a very proud man and hated admitting when he was wrong. However he swallowed his pride to tell Gaius that he was wrong to assign Edwin Muirdun as Court physician. (A Remedy to Cure All Ills) He later admitted to Morgana that he was wrong to have Guinevere's father, Tom killed. (To Kill the King) However he didn't apologise to Gaius for causing his suffering at the hands of Aredian and sentencing him to death, even though this act was far worse than assigning a new Court physician, instead trying to blame it on Aredian. Gaius firmly told him that it was Uther, not Aredian, that caused his suffering and told him that Uther had had other innocent people killed because of his paranoia of magic. This left Uther very shaken but he still didn't directly say sorry to Gaius for what he'd done, though he did imply it. (The Witchfinder)
Uther was stubborn, independant and strong willed. However his willpower was weakened by an enchantment Morgana put on him. For a time he was plagued by visions of his dead wife and people he had executed during the Great Purge. These visions caused people to think that Uther was going mad, and he even cried on a couple of occasions. However he still retained some of his old willpower and, even though he was not in perfect condition, he fought against King Cenreds soldiers during the siege of Camelot.
After discovering Morgana's true allegiances, Uther essentially became a broken man: he was so miserable and depressed that he didn't even attempt to defend himself from Morgause's immortal army when Arthur rescued him and only survived because Arthur and his allies were protecting him. It seems that Morgana's betrayal had hit him so hard that he lost much of the confidence and willpower he had before.
Uther was very critical of Arthur, spending a great deal of time ordering him around like a second-in-command or scolding him. As a consequence, Arthur routinely believed himself to be "a big disappointment". However Uther cared about Arthur more than anyone except Morgana, saying that he meant more to him than the entire Kingdom and certainly more than Uther's own life. (Excalibur) After discovering the truth about his birth, Arthur made a serious attempt to kill his father but was snapped out of his rage by Merlin. Arthur was devastated after trying to kill his father and both of them were crying about the death of Ygraine. (The Sins of the Father)
Arthur clearly loved his father a great deal as he was devastated when Uther was driven mad by Morgana. Even though he frequently disagreed with Uther, Arthur was willing to risk his life to protect his father and when Camelot was captured by an immortal army he tried to find Uther even though he was wounded and the enemy soldiers couldn't die.
Uther was the one who appointed Merlin to be Arthur's servant, meant as a reward for saving Arthur's life (The Dragon's Call). He was unaware that Merlin was a warlock because of Merlin and Gaius' constant cover-ups, which had given Uther the idea that Merlin was incompetent. However, he was very grateful to Merlin for his devotion to Arthur, which he noticed went beyond that of a regular servant, and trusted Merlin to look after him (Excalibur).
Uther had a somewhat strained relationship with Morgana, his daughter. While he did care for her, his constant executions of people who use magic often put him at odds with Morgana. He was also unaware that she was a witch. After Morgana was found hiding a Druid boy he was trying to locate, Uther told her that he would not hesitate to break the promise he had made to Gorlois if she ever betrayed him again. On the occasion he executed Gwen's father for supposedly conspiring with a warlock and having her chained in the dungeons for speaking out against him, Morgana conspired to have him killed, though she changed her mind at the last minute when she realized that Uther honestly regretted his actions. However, Morgana eventually sided with Camelot's enemies, and no longer saw Uther as her family. Uther had no idea that his ward had magic and that she sided with her half sister.
After Morgana was "kidnapped" by Morgause, Uther became obsessed with finding her, to the point that he has nearly destroyed his army by sending them on repeated searches. It was eventually revealed that he was Morgana's true father after Morgana was badly wounded from falling down a flight of stairs. Despite the difficulties of their relationship, and the fact that Morgana secretly hated him, Uther loved his daughter very much, though Morgana was either unaware, or simply ungrateful, about how much he cared about her as she attempted to kill him in his sleep. Morgana was enraged that Uther had never told her the truth about her heritage and thought that he cared more about his own reputation than he did about her. In fact, Uther loved Morgana so much that he was even willing to use magic in order to save her.
Uther discovered Morgana's treachery when Morgause successfully conquered his kingdom. When Morgause took his crown from him, Morgana revealed that she was working with her half-sister to dethrone him so she could become Queen and also told him that she hated him beyond understanding. Uther was so devastated by Morgana's betrayal that when Arthur rescue him from the dungeons he didn't even attempt to defend himself from Morgause's army and only survived because Arthur and his allies were protecting him.
Gaius was a good servant to Uther and Uther looked on him as a friend, probably his closest since Morgana's father died (A Remedy to Cure All Ills, Excalibur). Despite this, Uther still sentenced him to death when he was accused of using magic by the Witchfinder, Aredian. Nevertheless Uther felt regret at the thought of killing his old friend and refused to believe that Gaius would use magic until Gaius told him so. Uther was too proud to admit that he was the one who had caused Gaius' suffering until Gaius told him so. Gaius wasn't afraid to stand up to Uther and was one of the few people brave enough to argue with him when necessary. Despite the creases in their relationship Gaius still remained loyal to the king and Uther's trust in him strengthened after discovering he was innocent. (The Witchfinder) Uther trusted Gaius so much that he even suggested allowing Gaius to use magic to cure Morgana after she was seriously injured falling down a flight of stairs.
Uther loved his queen very much and when she died giving birth to Arthur, he was devastated. His sorrow was so strong that he began persecuting the thing that he believed caused her death: magic. Twenty years after her death he stills mourns her, saying to Nimueh that Ygraine was his heart and soul. It is likely that Ygraine was also very much in love with him.
Though Uther truly did love Ygraine he had a brief relationship with Vivienne the wife of Gorlois, while Gorlois was away fighting a battle. This one time adultery resulted in the birth of Morgana. He felt guilty for having a relationship with Vivienne, not only because he had betrayed his wife but his closest friend as well.
Uther had a brief relationship with Vivienne, the wife of Gorlois, while Gorlois was fighting in a war. This resulted in the birth of Morgana. Uther felt guilty about betraying Ygraine by making Vivienne concieve and therefore didn't reveal Morgana's true heritage until many years later.
Uther claimed that Morgana's father, Gorlois, was the greatest man he'd ever known. Uther said that Gorlois was extremely dedicated to defending his kingdom and unafraid to question his judgement, a trait that he had passed on to his step-daughter Morgana. When Gorlois died, Uther promised to take care of Morgana. However he once threatened to break this promise. Considering Morgana was actually his daughter and not Gorlois' he was almost certainly bluffing.
Uther once secretly betrayed Gorlois: while Gorlois was away from Camelot, fighting during the war against Magic, his wife grew lonely and turned to Uther, the result of which was Morgana. Whether Gorlois ever discovered this is unknown, however Morgana viewed him as her father until he died in battle when she was ten.
Before the Great Purge, Uther was friends with Nimueh and welcomed her into his kingdom. He asked Nimueh to use magic to allow his wife, Ygraine, to concieve a child resulting in the birth of Arthur. However after Ygraine died, Uther thought that Nimueh had betrayed him, though Nimueh actually hadn't intended for Ygraine to die. Nimueh became Uther's most dangerous enemy until her death at the hands of Merlin.
Uther was a knight before becoming king and was a powerful warrior. He was a skilled swordsman and this was proven when he managed to slay Tristan De Bois' Wraith using the sword Excalibur. However Arthur teased that Uther needed to improve on his footwork, saying that it had always been his weakness. Uther was also unable to defeat Arthur when he attempted to kill him though it should be noted that Arthur had the advantage of being younger and fitter and he was fuelled by rage over the death of his mother. Uther also fought during the siege of Camelot despite being weakened by a mandrake root placed by Morgana. However he did receive a wound and was taken to the infirmary.
|Series 1 Enemies|
|The Dragon's Call: Mary Collins † • Lady Helen (indirect) † |
Valiant: Valiant † • Devlin • Serpent Shield
The Mark of Nimueh: Nimueh † • Afanc †
The Poisoned Chalice: Nimueh † • Balorian Spiders • Cockatrice
A Remedy to Cure All Ills: Edwin Muirden † • Elanthia Beetles
The Gates of Avalon: Sophia † • Aulfric † • Sidhe elder
The Beginning of the End: Uther Pendragon †
Excalibur: Nimueh † • Tristan de Bois †
The Moment of Truth: Kanen
The Labyrinth of Gedref: Arthur Pendragon (indirect) †
To Kill the King: Tauren • Morgana † • Uther Pendragon †
Le Morte d'Arthur: Nimueh † • Questing Beast • Kilgharrah
|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 †