At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
Merlin was born sometime during the medieval era. During his formative years, he attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and was sorted into Slytherin House. It is possible that he was taught by Salazar Slytherin himself, given the time period Merlin lived in. It is said that Merlin's wand was of English oak (though his grave has never been found, so this cannot be proven).
Either while or after he attended the school, Merlin studied the five secret rooms at the school that would one day come to be known as the fabled Cursed Vaults and, not only the purpose for their existence, but also the ancient magic surrounding them. Later on in his life, as an old man, a portrait was painted by him, which he educated to speak and act like himself, and taught about the vaults so that once hung at Hogwarts, it could advice future residents about them, although its warnings were cryptic and, thus, of little use in regard to finding the vaults and breaking the curses.
At some point in his lifetime, Merlin became a part of the Court of King Arthur, assisting him during his reign. It is also widely believed by the wizarding community that he was friends with Sir Cadogan, which helped him secure a position on the Knights of the Round Table. He was the enemy of Arthur's half-sister, Morgan le Fay (otherwise known as Morgana), a dark witch.
Merlin believed that wizardkind should help Muggles and live peacefully with them. To this end, he founded the Order of Merlin, an organisation which promoted Muggle rights, creating rules against using magic on them.
At some point, either during Merlin's lifetime or after his death, the Order of Merlin switched from a Muggle rights organisation to an award bestowed upon witches and wizards who performed a great deed at personal risk or contributed to the betterment of wizarding society in some way, a sign of the estrangement of the Muggle community from the Wizarding one.
Slytherin students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry took special pride in Merlin — "the most famous wizard in history" — having been Sorted into their House. However, this fact is one that the other houses do not like to recognise.
Merlin had at least one portrait at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was located one of the walls by the Grand Staircase. This portrait gave advise to Jacob's sibling about the Cursed Vaults while they were trying to free Beatrice Haywood from a painting in 1988. It said that they needed to know what the vaults were built to hold before they could learn the nature of the portrait curse protecting the fourth vault and a warning that this curse was their punishment for abandoning ancient magic and to the vaults, the people in Hogwarts were the curse.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical Mastery: Arguably the most powerful wizard of all time, it can be assumed that Merlin was rich in learning and experience and that his skill and knowledge in magic was of a standard few had ever seen before and unmatched by any other witch or wizard in his time.
- Charms: Merlin's skill in using charms, bewitchments and enchantments are legendary, to the point of him being dubbed the "Prince of Enchanters", which speaks for his exceptional ability in this field of magic.
- Wandless magic: Merlin was also capable of performing magic without his wand, something that only wizards of superior magical ability are able to accomplish, given how it extremely difficult to cast spells this way.
- Spell creation (possibly): It was thought by some that the Disarming Charm had been a creation of Merlin's, although some (like Miranda Goshawk wrote in the Book of Spells) maintain that that spell was created in the 14th century by Elizabeth Smudgling.
- Wand: Merlin owned a wand that was of an unknown length and core, which was believed to be made of English oak wood (although his grave has never been found, so this is unproven).
- Book: Merlin was believed to own this mysterious book, the contents of which were unknown and either potentially mundane, mysterious or even dangerous. It was written in an unknown runic alphabet.
Behind the scenes
- Merlin is a wizard featured in many British legends. Though he first appeared under the name Myrddin Wyllt (Merlin the wild) in Welsh literature as a half-crazed prophet of the forest, he is perhaps most famous as a central figure in the Arthurian legend. He is most commonly depicted as the adviser of King Arthur.
- As the legends and tales of Merlin is known both to Muggles and wizards alike, and Muggles have written about how Merlin is said to have been the child of a human woman who was impregnated by a demon, many fans have speculated that Merlin may have been a Half-blood wizard, and that his father may have been a fearsome Warlock who used dark magic against Muggles and were both so widely feared by Muggles that he was recorded in myth as an evil entity. However, as mentioned, this is just speculation.
- In some myths about Merlin, he proved capable of making prophecies, change his appearance at will and predict the future, and if this indeed is true for his wizarding counterpart, Merlin would have been both a Seer and either very skilled at human transfiguration or a Metamorphmagus.
- Some myths claim Merlin to be a Druid and/or raised among them. While yet to be confirmed, this may very well be the case of his in-universe counterpart, as the Druids' respect and veneration of nature and all of its beings fits very well with the fact that Merlin not only reportedly was chosen by a wand made of English oak, a wood known to have "an affinity with the magic of the natural world", in which he would be likely to have already established an interest prior to his Hogwarts years, but it would also explain his desire to promote Muggle rights, as learning about the philosophy of the Druids from a young age would have shielded him from being influenced by the common belief in the inherent superiority of pure-bloods found in Slytherin house, which would have been especially notable if he indeed was taught by Salazar Slytherin himself.
- One of the possible questions in the Sorting quiz at Pottermore mentions that Merlin marked his possessions with a mysterious rune. Since this is just a possible answer to a hypothetical question, it is unclear if Merlin actually used this symbol as his mark in historical canon.
- A Pottermore "Features" article about what the portraits at Hogwarts do when no one is looking, asks us to "imagine an ancient portrait of Merlin stopping a student for a chat because the boy she likes will be coming down the corridor any minute now" While this is just a hypothetical scenario, there is at least one portrait of Merlin at Hogwarts as shown in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
- Albus Dumbledore, an extraordinarily talented and powerful wizard, resembled Merlin in many ways, such as the iconic long beard and prodigious magical skill. Both were "Muggle sympathizers", although Merlin's belief in the pure-blood elitism is unknown, it likely was the same as Dumbledore's.
- It is unusual that Merlin, one of the most famous proponents of Muggle rights and tolerance, would be placed in Slytherin, a house strongly associated with anti-Muggle views, although since he was such an ambitious person with all his plans for the Order of Merlin, it is not entirely surprising. Slytherins are not necessarily evil or malicious individuals, nor is there any reliable information on whether or not the House of Slytherin actually held the same views in Merlin's time.
- In fact, the entire placement of Merlin at Hogwarts is paradoxical. Hogwarts was founded in the 9th/10th century, and while the early 9th century was the time the first records of the Arthur-myth were written, the actual myth plays around the year 500 A.D., meaning that the 'historical' Merlin in fact predates Hogwarts by roughly five-hundred years.
- Coincidentally, Colin Morgan, who plays Merlin in BBC One's Merlin, was sorted into Slytherin in Pottermore.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (Mentioned only)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Appears in portrait(s))
Notes and references
- ↑ Given Hogwarts was founded in around 993 A.D. or earlier and that Merlin attended it, he must have been eleven by or after the school's founding.
- ↑ Accio Quote!
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 All About Slytherin at Pottermore
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Famous Wizard Card (Merlin)
- ↑ Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Famous Wizard Card (Morgan le Fay)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
- ↑ The Daily Prophet (31 July 1998) - Page 3
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (see this image)
- ↑ Merlin on Wikipedia
- ↑ Pottermore - Features: "Things we bet the Hogwarts portraits do when no one is watching"