The Order of Merlin (abbreviated O.M.) was an award bestowed upon wizards and witches who had achieved great things for the wizarding world. It had three different levels: First Class, Second Class, and Third Class.


Merlin, the most famous wizard of his era, for whom the Order of Merlin award was named

An organisation called the Order of Merlin was founded by Merlin in the Middle Ages.[1] Merlin believed that wizards and witches should help Muggles, and, thus, the Order of Merlin established rules against the use of magic on Muggles.[1]

The award known as the Order of Merlin was created in commemoration of Merlin and was first given out by the Wizengamot in the 15th century.[2] It is unknown whether this award was connected to the earlier organisation of the same name.

As often happens with such highly coveted awards, Ministry of Magic favourites seem to receive the Order of Merlin, especially the higher classes, more often than one might expect. Notable unworthy recipients are Cornelius Fudge, who gave it to himself despite his less-than-distinguishable career, and Arcturus Black III, who was widely believed to have bought it by loaning the Ministry a large amount of gold.[2]

Appearance and classes

The Order of Merlin consisted of a "handsome" golden medal which hung on a coloured ribbon indicating its class.[2]

There were three different classes of Order of Merlin that were awarded:

  • First Class: Awarded for "acts of outstanding bravery or distinction" in magic. The colour of the ribbon for this class was green, which was believed to represent Merlin's Hogwarts house, Slytherin.[2]
  • Second Class: Awarded for "achievement or endeavour beyond the ordinary." The colour of the ribbon for this class was purple.[2]
  • Third Class: Awarded to individuals who "have made a contribution to our store of knowledge or entertainment." The colour of the ribbon for this class was white.[2]

Known recipients

Order of Merlin, First Class

Portrait Name Date Notes
PodricBatworthy2.jpg Podric Batworthy Unknown Batworthy held, additionally, the title of Grand Sorcerer, which suggests he was particularly accomplished in magic.[3]
Arcturus Black III.jpg Arcturus Black III Between 1901 and 1991 Awarded for his "services to the Ministry", which, according to Sirius, was another way of saying that he had given them a lot of gold. Sirius threw the medal into the garbage when he was cleaning 12 Grimmauld Place.
Albus Dumbledore (HBP promo) 1.jpg Albus Dumbledore 1945
(Minister Leonard Spencer-Moon)
Awarded for his defeat of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, effectively putting an end to the global wizarding war. During the campaign to discredit him, it was suggested by Remus Lupin that the Ministry would consider taking away the Order of Merlin from Dumbledore. Dumbledore claimed that he didn't care as long as he wasn't taken off of the Chocolate Frog Cards. However, when Dumbledore's credibility was restored, the Ministry's consideration to retract the medal was cancelled.
Cornelius Fudge 2.jpg Cornelius Fudge Between 1990 and 1995
(Minister Cornelius Fudge)
Presumably for his work as Minister for Magic; awarded by Fudge to himself, which caused controversy in the wizarding community.[2]
85px Remus Lupin 1998
(Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt)
Awarded posthumously for his role as a member of the Order of the Phoenix and for his death during the Battle of Hogwarts. Remus was the first werewolf ever to be accorded this honour.[4]
Mcgonagall headshot.PNG Minerva McGonagall 1998
(Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt)
Awarded for her unwavering allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix during the Second Wizarding War, and her actions during the Battle of Hogwarts.[5]
85px Orabella Nuttley 1754
(Minister Hesphaestus Gore)
Awarded for her use of the Mending Charm to repair the Colosseum after it was destroyed by an explosion that occurred when a fight broke out between supporters of two broom racers in 1754.[6]
Pettigrew COS UE booklet 1.jpg Peter Pettigrew 1981
(Minister Millicent Bagnold)
Awarded posthumously (or so it was believed at the time) for a "heroic confrontation" with Sirius Black. The medal was given to Pettigrew's mother. In 1994, it was revealed that he had been the one who betrayed the Potter family, and that Black was just the scapegoat.
Tilly Toke.jpg Tilly Toke and her family 1932
(Minister Hector Fawley)
Awarded for saving the lives of several Muggles during the Ilfracombe Incident in 1932.
Norvel Twonk.jpg Norvel Twonk 1957
(Minister Wilhelmina Tuft)
Awarded posthumously for saving the life of a Muggle child from a runaway manticore.

Order of Merlin, Second Class

Portrait Name Date Notes
NewtCrop2.png Newton Scamander 1979
(Minister Harold Minchum)
Awarded "in recognition of his services to the study of magical beasts, Magizoology".

Order of Merlin, Third Class

Portrait Name Date Notes
Lockhart CoS.png Gilderoy Lockhart Between 1982 and 1992
(Minister Millicent Bagnold
Minister Cornelius Fudge)
He received this award for his encounters with many dark creatures and for penning his autobiographic works instructing people on how to repel them. In 1993, it was revealed that he had only taken credit for these deeds and had not really done any of them.

Recipients of unknown class

Portrait Name Date Notes
Cottismore Croyne - MHP.jpg Cottismore Croyne Unknown May have been awarded for his tenure as Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.
AlbertGibberingStump2.jpg Albert Gibbering Stump Between 1662 and 1700
(Wizards' Council)
For unknown reasons.
Damocles Sometime after the mid-1970s[7] May have been awarded for his invention of the lycanthropy-treating Wolfsbane Potion.[8]

Behind the scenes

    • As Fudge was heavily disgraced for his lack of actions against Lord Voldemort's return (not to mention that the worth of his award was heavily questioned to begin with), it's possible that his Order of Merlin has been retracted following his sacking from office.
    • When Lockhart's true actions of theft and plaguerism of others' literatural works, and his deceit and trickery for boosting his own fame are revealed, it is possible that his was retracted from him while he was still incarcerated in St. Mungo's.
    • When Pettigrew's true actions of betrayal and frame-up of his friends, and his membership in the Death Eaters are revealed, it is possible his Order of Merlin was retracted from his mother's possession and passed on to Sirius Black.
  • It is possible that Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were awarded Order of Merlin awards later in their lives due to the contribution throughout the Second Wizarding War and the defeat of Lord Voldemort.
    • It is also likely that Albus Dumbledore received another Order of Merlin for gathering all of the information of Lord Voldemort's past and secrets.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Famous Wizard Card (Merlin)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Order of Merlin" at Pottermore
  3. Harry Potter Limited Edition - The Paintings of Hogwarts: Masterpieces from the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Sets
  4. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Remus Lupin" at Pottermore
  5. Pottermore Presents - Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Chapter 1 (Minerva McGonagall)
  6. Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs), page 258 "The Potion that Professor Snape has been making is a very recent discovery...Before the Wolfsbane Potion was discovered, however, I became a fully fledged monster once a month [when I went to Hogwarts]"
  8. Horace Slughorn states in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7, "I was just telling young Marcus here that I had the pleasure of teaching his Uncle Damocles. Outstanding wizard, outstanding, and his Order of Merlin most well-deserved."
*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.