Characters: Merlin Others
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Characters Introduced in Season 1
The Great Dragon: Kilgharrah (John Hurt)"There is no right or wrong. Only what is and what isn't."
The last of the dragons who was captured during the time of the Great Purge and imprisoned in the dungeons under Camelot as an example of Uther's victory over magic. With an extensive knowledge of future events, the dragon introduces Merlin to his destiny and provides guidance over the course of his life.
- Androcles Lion: Inverted
- Anti-Villain: Until his Heel Face Turn, as he has very good reason to despise Uther.
- Because Destiny Says So: Practically his motto.
- Big Bad: The final episode of series two.
- Big Damn Heroes: Comes to Merlin's rescue in The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part I, then again in The Darkest Hour Part II.
- Breath Weapon: He shoots fire from his mouth, mostly as a defence weapon.
- Demoted to Extra: In Series 5. With good reason, as he is dying of old age.
- Eccentric Mentor
- Fan Nickname: Slash Dragon.
- Giant Flyer
- Heel Face Turn
- It Has Been an Honor: In The Darkest Hour Part II this is his reaction to Merlin stating that he’s going to sacrifice himself to seal off the spirit world. You can clearly hear the fondness and grief in his voice at the notion of Merlin dying, but it’s also obvious that Kilgharrah is incredibly proud of Merlin’s conviction and good nature.
- Last of His Kind: Not anymore due to the hatching of Aithusa.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Morally Ambiguous Mentor
- Mr. Exposition
- No Name Given: For the first two series at least. In the last episode of series 2, he was identified as "Kilgharrah" for the first time.
- Omniscient Morality License: He's advised/ordered Merlin to do some incredibly dodgy stuff, including letting a child die and killing a terrified woman.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Talkative and controlled by Dragonlords.
- Sapient Steed: Whenever Merlin hitches a ride.
- Secretly Dying: Although the secret's out in The Kindness of Strangers.
- Treacherous Advisor
- What the Hell, Hero?: In The Crystal Cave he’s enraged at the fact that Merlin forces him to divulge a spell to heal Morgana by using his Dragonlord powers, considering it a serious breach of trust.
- Would Hurt a Child: At least by omission: he tries to prevent Merlin from saving Mordred, when Mordred was a little kid and still very innocent.
Nimueh (Michelle Ryan)"I have watched so many people I love die at your hands, Uther Pendragon. Now it is your turn."
The sorceress who cast the spell that allowed Uther and Igraine to conceive Arthur. After Igraine died in childbirth as per the conditions of the magic, it served as a catalyst for Uther's hatred of magic and the massacre that followed. Throughout the first season, Nimueh works against Uther from a distance in order to undermine his rule. She appeared in The Mark of Nimueh
, The Poisoned Chalice
and Le Mort d'Arthur
Lancelot (Santiago Cabrera)"I would die for you one hundred times over. Live for me, or everything that I am has been for nothing."
A commoner who desires to become a knight of Camelot. He shares a brief romance with Gwen and becomes one of Merlin's long-term Secret Keepers
. He appeared in the first, second, third and fourth series.
- All Love Is Unrequited
- Back for the Finale
- Betty: To Arthur's Veronica.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Merlin. Lancelot is seen to be highly protective of him.
- Big Damn Heroes: With Percival.
- Brown Eyes
- Came Back Wrong: Deliberately so on Morgana's part.
- Catch Phrase: In the three episodes named after him he utters the phrase: "My name is Lancelot". In all three cases, it's his first line of the episode.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Always between what he wants and what he thinks he deserves. In his first appearance it was between becoming a knight of Camelot and staying true to his ideals by not taking credit for something Merlin achieved; in later episodes it exists between his fealty to Arthur and his desire for Guinevere.
- Did Not Get the Girl
- Dying as Yourself: When he dies the second time, he thanks Merlin for freeing him from Morgana's spell.
- Evil Costume Switch: When he comes Back from the Dead as Morgana's Unwitting Pawn, he's dressed in black. It's a wonder the good guys didn't notice...
- Failed a Spot Check: He did not, which is the reason he is aware of Merlin’s magic. He clearly overheard Merlin’s incantation that helped him kill the Griffin. Worthy of noticing that he has been the only character to come to this logical conclusion.
- Foil: To Arthur. He adheres to the same knightly code of honour but is unfailingly nice and polite as opposed to Arthur's temper tantrums (especially early on in the series). And he's the accessible with open admiration suitor to Gwen in contrast to Arthur's Uptown Girl and hot-cold attitude.
- Go Out with a Smile: Twice, even.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Merlin. It helps that they both think the world of each other.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Issac Mendez is Lancelot.
- Honor Before Reason: Rejects the offer of becoming a real knight of Camelot in favor of first being true to himself.
- I Gave My Word: In The Darkest Hour he promises Gwen that he'll protect Arthur, no matter what. He sacrifices himself to uphold the promise.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Leaves in Season 2 after realizing that Arthur is in love with Gwen, and he doesn't want to come in between them.
- And again in The Darkest Hour in which he sacrifices himself to preserve the Arthur/Gwen relationship.
- Killed Off for Real: The writers have confirmed that his story arc is finished, and he won't return to life again. He's Dead, Jim.
- Knight in Shining Armor
- Longing Look: His expression of choice whenever in the vicinity of Guinevere.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Nice Guy: Is he ever. Perhaps the nicest person in the entire series.
- Perma Stubble
- Puppy-Dog Eyes
- Rescue Romance: Played straight and then subverted in Lancelot and Guinevere. The two of them bond extremely quickly due to the life-or-death situation they find themselves in, but it is actually Arthur who ends up saving both of them.
- The Rival
- Romantic False Lead: His reappearance causes some conflict to the Arthur/Gwen romance.
- Romantic Runner Up
- Sacrificial Lion
- Scars Are Forever: Subverted. In 2x04 he's given a scar on his cheek which has disappeared by his next appearance in series 3.
- Secret Keeper: One of only two regular characters that knows Merlin's secret.
- Self-Made Man: Born a commoner.
- Soulless Shell: In 4x09
- Spanner in the Works: To Arthur and Guinevere's relationship.
- Starcrossed Lovers: With Gwen.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- White Stallion
Mordred (Asa Butterfield/Alexander Vlahos)"My name is Mordred."
Mordred is a young Druid boy who Morgana grows instantly attached to. According to the Great Dragon, Mordred will one day kill Arthur. Merlin's desire to help Mordred becomes heavily strained because of this. Also, another prophecy states that Mordred and Morgana will be united in evil
. He appears in the first, second and fifth series.
- Adorkable: When the older knights tease him.
- Ambiguously Evil
- Because You Were Nice to Me: This is most likely the cause of Mordred's loyalty towards Morgana.
- He also wants to save Arthur 'cause Arthur saved him when he was a child.
- Big Bad: Eventually.
- Big Brother Worship: Towards Arthur. Ironic, considering Mordred is his son in the legends.
- Considering that Mordred was originally just another foe of Arthur's in the earliest tellings (who was upgraded to major villain and Arthur's incestuous spawn in later tellings - Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory can probably be credited for this), one can argue that this is Mordred's character being brother full-circle.
- Broken Pedestal: All the time. He idolized Merlin, who's like the magic world's greatest rockstar, and he keeps trying to kill him for no reason. He has a special bond with Morgana, who was sweet and caring, and she became a vengeful woman driven by hate. He worships Arthur, and he has his beloved hanged. He considers the knights friends, and they let him down when he needed them the most.
- Child Mage
- Child Prodigy
- Children Forced To Kill
- Creepy Blue Eyes: His unblinking gray-blue eyes when he is a child can be quite unsettling.
- Creepy Child
- Dark and Troubled Past: His father was killed; he was injured and sentenced to death; he saw his village destroyed; he was hunted down and forced to kill and after the Time Skip he said he learned to keep a low profile to not be burned to the stake or sold out. Also, considering how clueless he is about the Old Relogion, he probably didn't meet other sorcerers after leaving Alvarr.
- Deliberately Cute Child
- Designated Villain: He is prophesied to be the one who will kill Arthur. When he was still a child and apparently did no harm, the Great Dragon bluntly told Merlin to leave him to his death. Later Merlin himself adopts the belief that Mordred will be up to no good.
- The Dreaded: To Merlin, who believes that he'll one day kill Arthur. Which he does, but only because the entire situation was a twisted Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
- Enfante Terrible
- Evil Sorcerer: A very young one.
- Foil: To Merlin. They are both born having powerful magic with grand destinies. Both serve Arthur in hope to find acceptance. Their love interests die by Arthur's hand. Merlin forgives Arthur for failing to live up to expectation. Mordred does not.
- Foreshadowing: He will someday kill Arthur.
- Right now there is a proper vision of him killing/wounding Arthur.
- Freudian Excuse: Mordred's storyline starts with him seriously injured by Camelot's guards and his father executed by Uther; then he is imprisoned and sentenced to death. He returned to his people only to have his mentor killed, his village destroyed by Arthur and he's forced to leave Morgana to save himself. After that he's openly hostile to the Pendragons, plus his caretaker is Alvarr; then Merlin, someone he considers sort of an ally, sides with Camelot instead. Three episodes, and he already has a hell of a Freudian Excuse for the day he will be the Big Bad.
- And now the girl he loved gets killed on Arthur's orders.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: In his first appearance he was just a helpless kid. With each subsequent episode he displays considerably more power, until he returns as an adult, and is one of the few villains who not only unnerves Merlin, but genuinely terrifies him.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Subverted. He did have traces of it at the start, but at the same time he was also a Creepy Child from Day One.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Though he's supposedly destined to kill Arthur, his loyalties are hard to determine, especially when he turns on Morgana and stabs her In the Back, saving Arthur's life in the process.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: As a child he was Bruno and Norman.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: No one is quite sure what he's up to (if anything), least of all Merlin.
- I Know Your True Name: He constantly (but telepathically) refers to Merlin as "Emrys"; in fact, he's the first person in the show to mention that name to Merlin.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: When he first appears.
- Innocence Lost: Probably because destiny says so: he has to kill Arthur, so a lot happens to make him change from a scared little boy to a vindictive kid.
- Killed Off for Real: As of The Diamond of the Day Part 2.
- Little Mister Badass: As demonstrated when he kicked the asses of a bunch of Camelot's guards with his magic in 2x03 and 2x11.
- Magic Knight: In 5x01, we see a prophetic vision of Mordred on the battlefield, wearing chainmail and wielding a BFS.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: When his father in Series 1 and girlfriend in Series 5 are killed, his scream shatters a mirror in the former case and breaks the prison door in the latter.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: He seems able to sense Merlin/Emrys' presence. He can also sense the deaths of his father and girlfriend.
- Mysterious Past: Particularly in the Time Skips. How'd he go from Iseldir's care to Aglaine's care to Alvarr's care to working with bandits?
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Mordred
- Now Let Me Carry You: Mordred is glad to take care of an injured Morgana, in thanks for her previously caring for him.
- Not So Different: To Merlin. Both were born having powerful magic and have to hide their talents to non-magical people. Lampshaded by Mordred himself.
Mordred: We are not so different. You and I.
- Oracular Urchin: It would seem so, as Alvarr says Mordred is the only one powerful enough to use the Crystal of Neahtid. Considering even Merlin had trouble with it, this would suggest great power indeed.
- The Other Darrin: He's been recast as 23 year old Alexander Vlahos.
- Parental Abandonment: His father died and his mother was never mentioned in the first place.
- Parental Substitute: Not very lucky with them: the first one was killed by Camelot's knights and the second was a Manipulative Bastard who wants to use him and Morgana to bring Uther down.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Oddly, teen-Mordred seems a puppy who's trying to be loved much more than child-Mordred.
- Put on a Bus: Unfortunately, Asa Butterfield (Mordred) won't be in Season 3 and 4 because of scheduled filming conflicts. He ran off into the forest at the end of season two and hasn't been seen since.
- Reformed, But Rejected: Seems the case with Merlin: since his returning Mordred has done anything evil or wrong, he actually saved Arthur life twice, one almost dying in the process, but Merlin doesn't trust him and basically wants him dead.
- Rule of Three: Has appeared three times in the first two seasons.
- With the recasting he is in three seasons.
- The Runaway
- Scarf Of Ass Kicking: And it's bigger than Merlin's.
- Schiff One-Liner / Wham Line: 1x08 when he reveals his identity — the above quote.
- The Sociopath: A budding example.
- Sonic Scream
- Start of Darkness: In 2x03 Mordred is forced to kill some soldiers in self-defense, but shows absolutely no remorse.
- The Team Wannabe: Looks like Mordred really wants to be part of something, and he's trying really hard to gain Merlin's trust and friendship.
- Telepathy: Has contacted several characters — including Merlin and Morgana — with his thoughts.
- This Is Unforgivable: When Merlin attempts to prevent Mordred from escaping the Camelot knights in 2x11, Mordred ends up killing the knights and warning Merlin telepathically that he will not forgive Merlin nor will he forget this betrayal.
- Looks like he did forgive him, though: some things he said seems to imply that Mordred considers his old attitude a result of being a child, not fully understanding what was going on and all the implications.
- Harming his beloved is an entirely different thing.
- Time Shifted Actor: Thanks to the Time Skips between seasons, it's been seven years since Mordred was last seen, thus allowing Alexander Vlahos to step in as an older version of the same character.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Merlin is shocked when he witnesses Mordred killing several knights with a Sonic Scream - even worse is the kid's reaction - he looks around at the bodies with a small smile and casually runs away.
- The Voiceless: Played straight in 1x08, where Morgana start to wonder if he's too afraid to speak or he can't. In later episodes Mordred is more verbal, but still seems to prefer telepathy over voice.
- Wild Card: Season 5. Stabs Morgana in the back, joins the knights, shows kindness to the prisoners, doesn't use his magic, and doesn't reveal Merlin's identity to either Arthur or Morgana. So far, the show's doing a very good job not letting us know if he's heel or face.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Or so it would seem.
- You Are Not Alone: He tries this on Merlin and Morgana in 5x02, only to be cold-shouldered by Merlin and on the receiving end of a crazy rant from Morgana. One gets the sense that he chose Arthur not just because I Owe Him My Life but because he doesn't fully trust the only other two magic-users on the show.
Characters Introduced in Season 2
Sir Leon (Rupert Young)
A Knight of Camelot seen throughout series 2 and made a semi-regular in the third, fourth and fifth series.
- Ascended Extra
- Back Story: Is linked with Gwen. We find out at the end of season 3 that her mother was a maid in his family's household, and the two of them grew up together.
- Badass Normal: It really shines in The Tears of Uther Pendragon.
- Bearer of Bad News: It's usually his job to inform people that evil forces are advancing on Camelot.
- Big Brother Instinct: Like the other knights, Leon is seen to be protective of Merlin.
- Canon Foreigner: On account of him starting as a Bit Character and becoming an Ascended Extra thanks to the actor's popularity among the rest of the cast, Sir Leon is the only knight of the Round Table that has no basis in Arthurian legend.
- Characterization Marches On: In one of his first appearances (The Witchfinder) he is shown tearing apart Gaius's study in an attempt to find evidence of magic, smashing bottles and overturning tables. It's difficult to imagine the later, more gentler, Leon doing such a thing.
- Though in fairness, it was during a Witch Hunt that left tensions running high. After all, if he hadn't have searched everything and it later turned out that Gaius was a sorcerer, Leon could have been burnt at the stake as a collaborator.
- Childhood Friends: With Guinevere.
- Disguised in Drag
- Knight in Shining Armor
- The Lancer: To Arthur.
- Number Two: He seems to be this to Arthur among the Knights.
- Mauve Shirt
- Older and Wiser: Among the Knights. And it shows, as he is often calm, collected and sensible.
- Romance on the Set: There are persistent rumors that he's dating Angel Coulby.
- Shirtless Scene: Which cemented his position as a major cast member.
"Arthur Pendragon, a great destiny awaits you. The battle for your soul is about to begin."
A mysterious sorceress who has a connection to Morgana, Morgause desires the doom of Uther and Camelot. She appears in the second, third and fourth series.
Freya (Laura Donnelly)"You already saved me. You made me feel loved."
Freya is a young Druid woman with a dark secret who Merlin protects from captivity. They develop a strong bond in the process. Freya becomes Merlin's first love. She appears in The Lady of the Lake
, The Coming of Arthur Part II
and The Diamond of the Day Part II. *
- Back for the Finale
- Birds of a Feather: Merlin is able to develop such a strong bond with newcomer Freya because of the fact that they are both born of magic and must keep it a secret. In the process, they fall in love.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: Freya runs away so that Merlin doesn't lose his chance at a good life in Camelot.
- Break the Cutie
- Broken Bird
- Brown Eyes
- Chekhov's Gunman: She returns at the end of Season 3 in order to deliver Excalibur into Merlin's hands so that he can defeat the immortal army.
- Dark Secret: Freya is cursed and is a Bastet, which is a winged panther.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight
- Disproportionate Retribution: Perhaps. Freya turns into a Bastet because she killed a man in self-defence and was subsequently cursed by his vengeful mother. That's Freya's version of events, and there's no in-show reason to disbelief her.
- Distressed Damsel
- The Dulcinea Effect
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Enigmatic Empowering Entity: In her second appearance. Freya becomes the Lady of The Lake and returns as a spirit to deliver Excalibur into Merlin's hands.
- First Love: For Merlin. Merlin fell hard for Freya, so much so that he wanted to run away with her and choose her over his destiny.
- Giant Flyer: In her winged panther form.
- Go Out with a Smile: Freya manages one before she dies.
- The Gwen Stacy
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: She transforms into a giant winged panther at the stroke of midnight.
- I Am a Monster: Freya thinks of herself as this.
- Kuudere: Arguably.
- Lady in Red
- Love at First Sight: With Merlin.
- Love Redeems: She's not evil, but Freya says that Merlin's love for her saved her in more than one way.
- Meaningful Name: Even though "Freya" isn´t one of the names given to the Lady of the Lake in the Arthurian legend, her name is Old Norse for "Lady", and alludes to Freyja, a goddess associated with love who rules over the fields of Fólkvangr, ''where half of those that die in battle go upon death.''
- Mix-and-Match Critter: Freya in her Bastet form has a panther's body and bat wings.
- Mysterious Waif
- One Shot Character: Though, it is implied that Freya will one day return as the Lady of the Lake in future to help Merlin for helping her.
- Freya appeared in the final episode of Season 3, at least somewhat.
- Painful Transformation
- The Promise: Freya to Merlin: "Someday I will repay you." She does once she becomes the Lady of the Lake.
- Really Big Cat
- So Happy Together: With Merlin. Sadly, it doesn't last.
- Spirit Advisor: For Merlin. Freya becomes the Lady of the Lake who will help Merlin.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Merlin.
- Her romance with Merlin was implied to have been known or destined according to the Fisher King in 3x08.
- The Quiet One
- Unkempt Beauty
- We Hardly Knew Ye
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Freya turns into a Bastet.
- The X of Y: Freya as The Lady of the Lake.
Characters Introduced in Season 3
Cenred (Tom Ellis)
The ruler of the rivaling kingdom of Cenred (named after himself), Cenred seeks the downfall of Uther and Camelot by becoming an accomplice of Morgause's. He appears in The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part I
, The Castle of Fyrien
and The Coming of Arthur Part I
- Curtains Match the Window
- Early-Bird Cameo: Was first mentioned in 1x10.
- Enemy Mine / Fire-Forged Friends: Morgause and Cenred seem to be allies over their mutual hatred for Uther.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He refuses to let his army die and withdraws the battle against Camelot once he realizes they can't win.
- Killed Off for Real
- Oh Crap: When he realizes Morgause is going to kill him, and there's nothing he can do about it
- Ship Tease: There seems to be something going on between Cenred and Morgause. According to Morgause, Cenred only wishes to please her.
Cenred: You are very beautiful when you're angry.
Morgause: Is that why you continue to defy me?
Cenred: You wouldn't like it if I made it easy for you.
- And this:
Morgause: Of course you do. After all, you stand to gain much from Arthur's death.
Cenred: I don't deny it. But I'm rich and powerful already. I do this only to please you.
Morgause: (with a seductive look) Is that so? Then please me.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Tall, Dark and Snarky
- The Unfought: He barely interacts with any of the good guys, and is ultimately killed by Morgause. (He does briefly get in a Sword Fight with Arthur, but it's in a Deleted Scene for The Castle of Fyrien and occurs off-screen).
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
Gwaine (Eoin Macken)"If there's one thing that I learned from my father's life is that titles don't mean anything. It's what's inside that counts".
A man who saves Arthur during a brawl at a town tavern, Gwaine is given hospitality at Camelot until his injuries heal. He resents nobles and is secretly the son of a knight. He helps Merlin in protecting Arthur from danger during the melee. He is a future Knight of the Round Table
. He appears in the third, fourth and fifth series.
- The Alcoholic: Though not, by any means, in a bad way. Most of the time.
- Back for the Finale
- Badass Longhair
- Badass Mustache / Badass Beard
- Badass Normal: So, so badass.
- Big Brother Instinct: Seems to have adopted this stance toward Merlin and Elyan, the youngest of the new knights.
- Big Damn Heroes: Three times no less.
- Blue Blood: Gwaine comes from a noble family, although Gwaine never acknowledges it in the beginning.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Gwaine is friendly, extroverted, charming and fun-loving.
- The Charmer: Flirts with Gwen in a playful manner, but when he notices Gwen's feelings for Arthur, the two remain good friends. In fact, their "friendliness" is enough to rile Arthur's jealousy (and Merlin's amusement of said jealousy).
- Deadpan Snarker
- Disappeared Dad: Which gives Merlin and Gwaine something to bond about.
- The Drifter: At least until he's knighted.
- Dual Wielding: And he makes it Badass.
- Foil: To Arthur. According to the creators, Gwaine shows the possible friendship between Arthur and Merlin had Arthur not been royalty and is genuinely nice to Merlin (this review says it best). He's also defiant to Camelot's elitism as opposed to Arthur, who upholds it. Last but not least, he's fun-loving, casual and a flirt as opposed to Arthur's formality.
- Guest Star Party Member: Throughout series three, before becoming a regular recurring character in series four.
- Hair Flip: Reached Memetic Mutation status by the end of his first episode.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: He's often seen with Percival, the two implied to have become close friends.
- His friendship with Merlin.
- Hidden Depths
- Honey Trap: Falls into one at the hands of Eira in a subversion of the Rescue Romance. He does figure it out pretty quickly, though, and is able to use her to feed Morgana false information. He seems pretty shaken by the whole thing despite previous hints that he is something of a womanizer.
- Honor Before Reason: Refuses to expose his identity as the son of a knight out of his resentment towards nobles — when Gwaine's father, a knight, died, Gwaine and his mother were left penniless, and the king in their land refused to give them any compensation. Gwaine would later change his opinion of Arthur after Arthur defends him.
- Killed Off for Real: As of The Diamond of the Day Part 2.
- King Incognito: Gwaine isn't royalty, but secretly comes from a noble family, seeing as his father was a knight.
- Knight Errant: Gwaine is a knight but he's also a bit of a drifter.
- Knight In Shining Armour: Gwaine becomes knight of Camelot in season three.
- Knight in Sour Armor: A minor example. His friendship with Merlin seems to be wearing down his cynicism.
- Loveable Rogue
- Man Hug: Gives one to Merlin in 3x08, being the first one to hug Merlin.
- And again in 4x02 when Merlin comes back, healed and alive after the Dorocha attack.
- Master Swordsman
- Mr. Fanservice
- Muggle Best Friend: To Merlin.
- Odd Friendship: With Merlin. The two seem to have absolutely nothing in common, but bond fairly quickly.
- Perma Stubble
- Plucky Comic Relief: Gwaine is one of the most humorous characters in the series, especially alongside Merlin.
- Shirtless Scene: At least three in his introductory episode (oddly enough, titled Gwaine) — and if he is wearing a shirt, the collar of said shirt is at least hanging open enough to give the audience something to look at.
- The Slacker: Even after becoming a Knight of Camelot, he's the one most likely to be goofing off.
- The Snark Knight: Gwaine is the king of sarcasm and snark.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Tall, Dark and Snarky
Elyan (Adetomiwa Edun)Gwen: "He's just one of those people, never settled down, never thinks about the future, just follows his heart wherever it leads him".
Guinevere's estranged brother and only sibling. He appears in the third, fourth and fifth series.
Percival (Tom Hopper)"Your enemies are my enemies."
A warrior who arrives with Lancelot in order to help Arthur and his loyalists take back Camelot. Having showed up in the very last episode of the third season, we learn very little about him. He appeared in the third, fourth and fifth series.
Characters Introduced in Season 4
Gaius: "I suspect he's not as virtuous as he seems."
Arthur's uncle on his mother's side, Agravaine has been helping his nephew run the kingdom during Uther's sickness. It soon becomes clear that he's not a man to be trusted. He appears only in the fourth series.
- Affably Evil
- All Love Is Unrequited: He seems to have a thing for Morgana. She couldn't care less.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Played very straight.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Black Cloak
- Bridal Carry: Carries Morgana like this when he finds her injured in the forest in 4x05.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: He wears black, as does Morgana. That pretty much sums it up.
- Consummate Liar: He can look his nephew in the eye and swear on his dead sister's life that he isn't betraying him. (He is).
- Cool Uncle: What Arthur sees him as.
- Corrupt Politician
- Creepy Uncle
- Dark Is Evil
- Devil in Plain Sight
- Dirty Old Man: Seems to be creepily fascinated by both Morgana and Guinevere, and enjoys standing behind their chairs with his hands close to their necks. Overlaps with Foe Yay and UST, especially in Morgana's case.
- Evil Chancellor
- Evil Is Not Well Lit: He is first introduced stepping out of the shadows.
- Evil Uncle
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The bad to Merlin's good.
- Handsome Lech: A sinister version.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Hey, it's Inspector Lynley!
- Hidden Agenda Villain: He wants to sabotage Arthur's reign, but as of yet, we're not really sure why. Unless his hatred of Uther extends to Arthur by proxy.
- Hidden Depths: The end of 4x06 reveals that his feelings for Morgana run deeper than than we'd been led to expect.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Agravine is much more capable that Morgana as a manipulator and user of Xanatos Speed Chess. In fact, if it where not for devotion towards Morgana, he would be a much better villain.
- Karmic Death: Especially since no one really cares that he's dead.
- Killed Off for Real
- Love Martyr: His devotion to Morgana is rather inexplicable considering she holds him in utter contempt.
- The Mole
- Obviously Evil: Painfully so.
- Oh Crap: A fairly priceless one◊ when Gwaine catches him about to slit Gaius's throat.
- Treacherous Advisor
- Promotion to Opening Titles: As of 4x04 after Uther's death in 4x03, he's credited as a main cast member.
- Regent for Life: Played with. Though Arthur is more or less running Camelot, he appoints his uncle regent in his absence.
- Remember the New Guy
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Dies unmourned and unburied in an underground cavern.
- Shoo Out The New Guy: After being introduced at the start of series 4 and promoted to the opening titles in episode 3, he's written out permanently at the end of that same season without really doing anything particularly memorable or important during his run. Even his death scene is all about Merlin.
- Thicker Than Water: Arthur's reason for trusting him so implicitly.
- Toxic Friend Influence: On Arthur
- Villain with Good Publicity
- What Measure Is a Mook?: His Plot Armour eventually fails him, and he is killed alongside a bunch of Faceless Mooks.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Especially throughout 4x6.
The White Dragon: Aithusa"The white dragon bodes well for Albion, for you and Arthur, and for the land you will build together."
A white baby dragon that Merlin hatches from a long-dormant egg, and said to be a good omen for the coming Golden Age of Arthur's reign. The events of the series four finale throw this into some doubt. He appears in the fourth and fifth series.
- Ambiguous Gender: At his birth Kilgharrah identifies Aithusa as a "he", yet latest interviews with the cast refer to the dragon as a "she". It's either a Retcon or a Gender Flip.
- Character Title: The episode in which he first appears is named after him.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Appears in the very last scene of series four in order to save Morgana's life.
- Cool Pet: To Morgana.
- Cuteness Proximity: Merlin is moved to tears.
- Diabolus Ex Nihilo: In the series four finale.
- Egg MacGuffin
- Evil Albino: Apparently, though in his first appearance Kilgharrah comments on the auspiciousness of his whiteness.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Not as much insane as very severely rattled, but at an attempt to attack Merlin and an inability to speak seem to indicate he's not all there.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
- Intellectual Animal
- Kick the Dog: By all appearances, he went through a lot of crap between series 4 and 5. He's emaciated, limping, and can't talk (either because he was never taught or because of some injury). He seems pretty loyal to Morgana, so it seems unlikely that she's responsible.
- Finally explained in 5x08. He was trapped in a oubliette with Morgana for over 2 years and was left horribly crippled when he eventually outgrew his prison. According to his captor, his screams were even worse than Morgana's.
- Licked by the Dog: Aithusa's affection toward Morgana performs this function.
- Living Emotional Crutch: To Morgana. As of series 5, Aithusa seems to be the only thing keeping her tenuously sane.
- Meaningful Name: Means "light of the sun" in the language of dragons.
- Ironic Name: Due to Morgana being captured, he spent the first two years of his life trapped in a dark pit.
- Outside Context Villain: No one yet knows why he chose to heal Morgana. And since he can't talk, he'll never be able to tell.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter
- Shoulder-Sized Dragon: In series 4. In series 5, not so much.
- There Is Another: His birth means that Kilgharrah is no longer The Last Of His Kind.
- The Voiceless: Because apparently he's never learnt to speak.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: When Aithusa first hatches, Kilgharrah says that he's a good omen for the future of Albion. A few years later, this "good omen" is sick and malnourished, perhaps to indicate that Arthur's death is imminent.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Merlin banishes Aithusa in the Grand Finale, never to be seen or mentioned again for the rest of the episode.
Helios (Terence Maynard)"Were you expecting something different? Perhaps campfires and raw meat."
A womanizing warlord that Morgana enlists in her crusade against Camelot and whose army attacks it at the end of series four. He appears in The Hunter's Heart
and The Sword in the Stone Part I
Geoffrey of Monmouth (Michael Cronin)
Camelot's court genealogist, though he also works as a librarian, is a member of the royal council, and officiates over weddings and coronations. He appeared in the first four series, but not the fifth.
Parents of the Main Cast
Hunith (Caroline Faber)"It is every mother's fate to think her child is special, and yet I would give my life that Merlin were not so."
Merlin's mother, who sends her only son to Camelot at the start of the series in the hopes that he will learn to control his magical abilities under the guidance of her (much) older brother Gaius
. She appears in The Dragon's Call
, The Moment of Truth
, Le Mort d'Arthur
and The Sword in the Stone Part I
- Absurdly Youthful Mother
- Action Mom
- Back for the Finale: In series four.
- Berserk Button: To Merlin. Nothing gets him more riled or dangerous than if someone threatens his mother.
- Bring Help Back: In 1x10.
- Give Him A Normal Life: Inverted. Though she wants this for Merlin, she knows that he's exceptionally gifted. Rather than hide him away in Ealdor she sends him to Camelot to get tutelage for his abilities.
- Good Parent
- Hot Mom
- Let's Get Dangerous: When her village is attacked by bandits, she insists that she's going to fight or die trying.
- Mama Bear: Towards Merlin of course. She's highly protective of him.
- Open Minded Parent
- Parent In Distress: Hunith becomes gravely ill at the end of season one after Merlin makes a deal with Nimueh to save Arthur's life. Merlin does everything in his power to save his mother by sacrificing himself to Nimueh again.
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: It's easy enough to buy her as Merlin's mother.
- So Proud of You
- Team Mom: She appears to be maternal to everyone, including Arthur and Gwen.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: On two occasions she disappears abruptly from the episode; first when she falls sick (we're told that she recovers, but it happens off-screen) and second when mercenaries attack Ealdor at the end of series four (Merlin, Arthur and Gwen lead the attackers into the forest, and we're just left to assume that they left Hunith and the other villagers alone).
Queen Ygraine Pendragon (Alice Patten)"He sacrificed my life so the Pendragon dynasty could continue. It makes you no less my son, nor me any less proud of you."
Arthur's mother, Agravaine's sister, the late wife of Uther, and the former Queen of Camelot. She appeared in Sins of the Father
and The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part I
Balinor (John Lynch)"You don't choose to become a Dragonlord. It's not something you're taught. It's a sacred gift. For thousands of years it's been handed down from father to son."
Merlin's father and the last of the Dragonlords. In his youth he helped subdue the Great Dragon before Uther betrayed him and tried to have him executed. With Gaius's help he escaped to Ealdor where he was taken in by Hunith, only for Uther's men pursue him into the wilderness. He appeared in The Last Dragonlord
and The Diamond of the Day Part I
Tom (David Durham)"We're on the up now. Things are going to be different."
Guinevere's father, the local blacksmith. He appeared in The Mark of Nimueh
and To Kill The King
Morgana and Morgause's mother. Very little is known about her beyond the fact that she was married to Gorlois and had an affair with King Uther (which resulted in Morgana).
Kings, Queens, Princesses, and Other Assorted Royals
King Bayard (Clive Russell)
The King of Mercia. He is falsely accused of trying to poison Arthur as part of an Evil Plan
devised by Nimueh. He appeared in The Poisoned Chalice
King Odin (Fintan McKeown)"I want you to kill the man who murdered my son. I want you to kill Arthur Pendragon."
The King of a land refered to only as "Odin's Kingdom". He has a vendetta against Arthur after his son was killed in a duel. He appeared in The Once And Future Queen
and Another's Sorrow
- The Bus Came Back: In one of the most surprising displays of Continuity this show has ever done, Odin returns forty-one episodes after he was last seen to finish off a Story Arc that had lay dormant for three seasons.
- Cycle of Revenge: Arthur attempts to stop this when Uther demands retribution from Odin after his attempt on Arthur's life. It doesn't appeared to have worked.
- Duel to the Death: How his son was killed.
- Feuding Families: With the Pendragons.
- It's Personal: Subverted in that it's the villain who wants revenge on the hero.
- Misplaced Retribution: Perhaps. We know very little about what really happened between Arthur and Odin's son, save that the latter ended up dead at the former's hands.
- Revenge Myopia: Odin wants Arthur dead because he killed his son; but Arthur claims that he was just defending himself.
- Small Role Big Impact: He's been on-screen for about two minutes back in series 2. In series 4 he sends an assassin to kill Arthur, who ends up fatally wounding Uther instead. He's also been mentioned frequently throughout the series.
- He returns in series 5 for an expanded role.
- Sympathetic Murderer
- You Killed My Father: Inverted. This is a father seeking revenge for his son.
King Alined (David Schofield)"If Olaf kills Arthur, then Uther will start a war. If Arthur kills Olaf, then his men will start a war. We cannot lose!"
The ruler of one of the Five Kingdoms. He comes to Camelot as part of a Peace Conference
, determined to stir up enough trouble to drive the kingdoms back into war. He appeared in Sweet Dreams
King Olaf (Mark Lewis Jones)Alined: "Olaf is the most overprotective buffoon I've ever met. It would surely end the peace talks if anyone were to lay a finger on his daughter."
The ruler of one of the Five Kingdoms and father to Lady Vivian. He unknowingly plays into the hands of King Alined
when his protectiveness of Vivian leads him to challenge Arthur to a duel, having been led to believe she's been seduced by him. He appeared in Sweet Dreams
."I am not most of your guests."
Lady Vivian is the bratty daughter of King Olaf. Accompanying him to the peace talks hosted at Camelot, she becomes the target of a love spell in an attempt to disrupt the proceedings by playing on the emotions of her Overprotective Dad
. She appeared in Sweet Dreams
Princess Elena (Georgia King)"I'm not the perfect princess, am I?"
The Princess of Gawant and daughter of Lord Godwyn. Unbeknownst to her, she was possessed by a Sidhe fairy whilst just a baby, causing her to grow up with a variety of embarrassing traits and peculiarities. She appeared in The Changeling
Lord Godwyn (Simon Williams)"Maybe it's time things changed."
The ruler of Gawant and father of Princess Elena. Due to his old friendship with Uther, the two have organised an Arranged Marriage
between their children. He appeared in The Changeling
King Caerleon (Steven Hartley)"You did not choose anything, boy. It is I who choose to die, and I alone".
The King of Caerleon. After being caught trespassing in Camelot's territory he is caught and beheaded by Arthur. He appeared in His Father's Son
Queen Annis (Lindsay Duncan)"There is something about you Arthur Pendragon. Something that gives me hope for us all."
The Queen of Caerleon. After her husband is executed at Arthur's hands, she is goaded by Morgana into seeking revenge. She appeared in His Father's Son
and Arthur's Bane Part I
Princess Mithian (Janet Montgomery)"I would give up my own kingdom to be so loved."
The Princess of Nemeth. She comes to Camelot in order to wed Arthur as part of a peace settlement between their kingdoms. Though she finds herself genuinely falling for Arthur, he breaks off the engagement on realizing that his heart still lies with Guinevere. She appeared in The Hunter's Heart
and Another's Sorrow
- All Love Is Unrequited: Even by the end of Another's Sorrow, it appears that she still has a little bit of a crush on Arthur.
- Amicable Exes: With Arthur.
- Beauty Equals Goodness
- Big Entrance: She certainly makes an impression when she first arrives in Camelot.
- Birds of a Feather: With Arthur, a deliberate contrast to the Opposites Attract relationship he has with Guinevere.
- Bridal Carry: Leon carries her like this when she faints outside the castle.
- Burping Contest: With Arthur, or though she thinks, even though it's actually Merlin deliberately trying to embarrass the two of them with magic.
- Costume Porn: Her gold and white gowns.
- Die for Our Ship: Merlin takes an irrational dislike to Mithian simply because he ships Arthur/Guinevere. He's notably much nicer to her when she returns to Camelot three years after Arthur and Gwen are safely married.
- Disposable Fiancé
- Distressed Damsel: In 5x04.
- Dramatic Unmask: Or rather, "unveil".
- Ermine Cape Effect: She's wearing a massive white fur coat for her arrival and departure scenes.
- Fainting: Of exhaustion in 5x04.
- Honey Trap: In 5x04, though more in the capacity of a Distressed Damsel than a Femme Fatale.
- Hourglass Plot: A slight one with Guinevere. They completely switch roles between The Hunter's Heart and Another's Sorrow.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: She travels in a white fur coat and goes hunting in a gold silk dress.
- Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Mithian's flaw is that she isn't Guinevere. In breaking off their engagement, Arthur ends up giving her the disputed lands between their kingdoms in order to avoid war.
- Nice Girl
- Nice to the Waiter: Somewhat ironically considering Merlin often complains about his treatment at the hands of nobles - but when this one is actually nice to him, he's too busy giving her the cold shoulder to appreciate it.
- She's not just doing it for Arthur, either; she's just as nice to Merlin when she comes back in 5x04 and is visibly upset when her attempt to warn him about Morgana gets him nearly killed.
- Politically Active Princess
- Princess Classic: She looks, sounds and behaves like the quintessential fairytale princess, with one striking subversion: she Does Not Get The Guy.
- Princesses Rule: There's no sign or mention of her parents, yet she's a princess and not a queen.
- Though her second appearance expands on her background and reveals that she does in fact have a father.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: At least in Another's Sorrow, in which Mithian's hair seems to be several shades darker than it was in The Hunter's Heart.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: She wears a coronet throughout The Hunter's Heart.
- Romantic False Lead
- Romantic Runner Up
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Subverted. She and Arthur would be perfect for each other, were it not for the simple fact that he's in love with someone else.
- Pretty in Mink: Wore a long white fur coat◊ when she arrived in Camelot.
- Proper Lady
- Spoiled Sweet
- Unknown Rival: She and Guinevere never meet.
- They do eventually meet in Another's Sorrow, but although Mithian can now put a name and face to the mystery woman that she was passed over for, it's unclear if Guinevere knows whether Mithian is anything other than a visiting princess in need of help.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Narrowly averted. In a bid to impress Arthur, she shoots a young deer in the forest. Unbeknownst to her, the deer is actually Guinevere under an enchantment.
- Woman in White: In her first scene she wears a white fur coat and sheer white veil, designating her role as a prospective bride.
- Woman Scorned: Subverted. Despite the snub, she remains on good terms with Camelot. In fact, she seems rather moved by Arthur's devotion to Guinevere - see her page quote.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: She knows she's in a love story, but doesn't realize that it's not hers. As such, she spends the first half of The Hunter's Heart acting like (and being treated as) the sole Romantic Love Interest, only to eventually learn she was the Romantic False Lead all along. Exit stage left.
King Rodor (James Fox)"Don't look so surprised. I commanded an army in my time."
The King of Nemeth and father of Princess Mithian. When his kingdom is invaded by King Odin, he's held hostage and used as bait to lure Arthur into a trap. He appeared in Another's Sorrow
"I promise you, before these celebrations are over, you will share my tears."
A witch whose son is executed at Uther's behest. She decides to take her revenge by assassinating Prince Arthur, disguising herself as a singer due to arrive in Camelot. She appeared in The Dragon's Call
A knight who enters a tournament at Camelot with a magical shield that will ensure his victory.
Edwin Muirden (Julian Rhind-Tutt)"I want my face to be the last face you ever see. You took my childhood from me. And now finally, I take my parents' revenge."
A physician whose parents were burnt at the stake at Uther's command and who returns to Camelot years later to seek his revenge. He appeared in A Remedy To Cure All Ills
Sophia (Holliday Grainger)"For a moment, I felt what it would be like to die a mortal death."
The daughter of a renegade Sidhe, Sophia is desperate to gain immortality and return to Avalon by offering up Arthur as a human sacrifice to her people. She appeared in The Gates Of Avalon
Aulfic (Kenneth Cranham)"It is my fate to live a mortal life."
A member of the Sidhe who was exiled from Avalon, Aulfric promises his people the blood of Prince Arthur if they agree to return immortality to his daughter. He appeared in The Gates Of Avalon
Tristan de Bois (Rick English/Christopher Fairbank)"Who will take up my challenge?"
Queen Ygraine's brother, who blamed Uther for her death and challenged him to a duel. Though he was killed, he swore with his dying breath that he would return to Camelot to have his revenge. Years later, Nimueh resurrects him so that he might fulfil this vow. He appeared in Excalibur
Catrina (Sarah Parish)"Uther's so stupid, so blinded by pretty things. Already he falls for me. It's only a matter of time before he is completely under my control."
A hideous troll that takes on the visage of an old friend of Uther in order to seduce him. On becoming Queen of Camelot, she uses her newfound power to accumulate her deepest desires: riches and dung. She appeared in Beauty and the Beast Part I
Aredian (Charles Dance)"It's all around us, the foul stench of sorcery. It's infected your great city like a contagion."
A Witch Finder
, who comes to Camelot at Uther's invitation in order to root out any witches or wizards in the kingdom. Due to Charles Dance's performance, he ended up being one of the show's most memorable One Shot Villains
. He appeared in The Witchfinder
Alvarr (Joseph Mawle)"To be an enemy of Camelot is no crime."
The leader of a group of Druids that desires the downfall of Uther and who manipulates Morgana (and Mordred) into joining his cause. He appeared in The Witch's Quickening
Julius Borden (James Callis)
An old pupil of Gaius who left his tutelage under murky circumstances. Since then, he gradually collected the three pieces of a golden triskelion that is said to open the Tomb of Askanar where the final dragon egg was hidden centuries ago.
Lamia (Charlenne McKenna)Gaius: "They could control the mind of a man, suck the life from him with a single embrace."
A creature of dark magic, created by the High Priestesses of the Old Religion as a weapon against the Ancient Kings by mingling the blood of a girl and a serpent together. She appeared in Lamia
Ruadan (Liam Cunningham)
A powerful druid who allies himself with Morgana in order to topple the Pendragon regime, informing her of a mysterious entity called the Diamir that holds the key to all knowledge.
Kara (Alexandra Dowling)"It is not a crime to fight for your freedom. It is not a crime to fight for the right to be who you are."
A druid girl who joins forces with Morgana in order to destroy Camelot and free her people. After trying to assassinate Arthur she is sentenced to death, but her history with Mordred complicates matters. She appeared in The Drawing of the Dark
A devious woman (yeah, another one) who is sent by Morgana to infiltrate Camelot as a spy, using her feminine wiles and a show of helplessness to gather information. She appeared in The Diamond of the Day Part I
Will (Joe Dempsie)"Are you telling me you'd rather keep your magic a secret for Arthur's sake than use it to protect your friends and family?"
Merlin's Childhood Friend
who remains in Ealdor after Merlin travels to Camelot. He participates in the battle against the local warlord Kanen to defend his home. He appeared in The Moment of Truth
Alice (Pauline Collins)Gaius: "Alice is the kindest and most compassionate person I've ever known."
A gifted healer who suppliments her natural talent with magic. She and Gaius were once engaged to be married before the Great Purge forced her to flee Camelot. She appeared in Love In The Time of Dragons
Gilli (Harry Melling)"I'm not going to apologize for who I am!"
A young man with a Ring of Power
who arrives in Camelot in search of honour and glory. After befriending Merlin, he goes through a surprisingly complex Story Arc
over the course of his single episode appearance. He appeared in The Sorcerer's Shadow
Alator (Gary Lewis)
A High Priest
of the Catha, a sect of wizards who specialize in mind control and psychic torture. Alator is hired by Morgana to seek out the identity of the mysterious "Emrys." He appeared in The Secret Sharer
and The Kindness of Strangers
Tristan and Isolde (Ben Daniels and Miranda Raison)"Caught? Tristan and Isolde? I don't think so. We're too quick and too smart for the halfwit king in Camelot."
A pair of smugglers (and lovers) who don't think highly of Camelot or its King, but who decide to throw in their lot with Arthur after he and Merlin save Isolde's life. They appeared in The Sword in the Stone Part I