List of Merlin Characters
Minor characters, even those who have appeared in only one or two episodes of Merlin, are often taken up by fans and made the subject of fanworks. This page will list major and minor characters, with links to those who have their own pages and brief information about those who do not. This page will add new and recurring characters as they appear so expect SPOILERS!
Other characters appearing in series 1
Geoffrey of Monmouth
The Great Dragon is a mystical creature who has two article pages dedicated to him due to his shipping preferences. He was imprisoned below the castle and is mostly known for giving cryptical advice to Merlin.
Hunith is Merlin's mother appears in episodes 1x01, 1x10, 1x13 and 4x12. She has a close, affectionate relationship with Merlin and appears to ship Merlin/Arthur. Mystery surrounding Merlin's father caused some fans to ship Hunith with the Great Dragon, Nimueh, and other characters.
Kanen was a bad guy who tried to raid Ealdor, Merlin's home village, but Arthur, Morgana and Gwen helped Merlin defend his home and Kanen was defeated. He mostly appears in canon era AUs where he somehow succeeds and enslaves a Merlin who never went to Camelot or he appears in the role of villain in Modern AUs.
Lancelot is a knight of Camelot who appeared in a number of episodes, first in episode 1x05, when he was still a commoner. He is a popular character in Merlin fanworks and the fifth member of the OT4/5 with the four young main characters. Lancelot is canonically in love with Gwen and fanworks reflect that as he is most commonly paired with Gwen. Often Gwen/Lancelot is a secondary pairing in Merlin/Arthur fanfiction, especially in modern AUs.
The sorceress Nimueh is the principal antagonist of series 1 and the source of much fannish debate about whether her hatred for Uther and Camelot are justified, and whether the show tends to depict women's magic as evil. Much mystery surrounds Nimueh's past and fans have speculated about relationships between her, Uther, Ygraine, and other members of the older generation.
- Main article: Nimueh
Sophia was a sidhe who enchanted Arthur to make him fall in love with her. Merlin rescued Arthur before Sophia could kill him. Sophia often appears as Arthur's girlfriend or ex in modern AUs, especially Merlin/Arthur ones. Fanworks with Arthur/Sophia and Morgana/Sophia as the main pairing are less common. Sophia appeared in episode 1.07.
Tristan de Bois, the Black Knight
Will appears in episode 1x10, "The Moment of Truth" (an important episode for Merlin/Arthur and OT4 fans), as Merlin's best friend from his childhood in Ealdor. He resents royalty for the death of his father and is hostile toward Arthur, which many slash fans have interpreted as jealousy since both men are in love with Merlin. For example, see the vid Surrender by Newkidfan or the modern AU fic The Perils of Merlin: The Prat Magnet by Lachatblanche, which uses the trope of Will and Arthur fighting for Merlin's affections, a battle Will usually loses. Another similar trope is Will as Merlin's ex-boyfriend, as in Inside Outright by Frantic-allonsy.
Perhaps more than any other one-episode character from Series 1, Will has been embraced by slash fans and frequently appears in fanworks, especially AU fanfics as Merlin's childhood best friend or first boyfriend. Canon works following this pattern include Halcyon Days by Lassiterfics, As the Day Is Fading by Lovestories, and Shadows of Ealdor by Fitz_y. For modern AUs that include Will in those roles, see Camelot's Sweethearts by Mariana_oconner and "There's No Makebelieving" by Miakun. There are also truly Merlin/Will-focused modern AUs, such as Be So Bold (The Boys' Own Remix) by Significantowl.
Occasionally, Will is paired with other Series 1 characters such as Lancelot (A Second Chance by Themauvedecade - the first fic for this pairing - and I'd Fight For You (If You'll Let Me) by Vicky_v - the first long fic), Hunith (Touching Me by Anonymous and I'll Take Your Hat, Your Hair Looks Swell by Miakun), or Nimueh (Surviving Death by Lassiterfics).
Other characters appearing in series 2
This section includes some characters who were mentioned in Series 1 but did not appear then, and also some characters who were originally borrowed from the legends by fandom before they became actual characters on the show.
Alined was one of the five kings who gathered to sign a peace treated in 2x10, "Sweet Dreams". He instigated the love potion plot in an attempt to start a war. When he appears in fanworks, he is almost always an antagonist with little to no moral scruples, just as in the show.
Aglain was a druid leader in episode 2x03, "The Nightmare Begins". He welcomed Morgana to the druid camp and told her that magic was neither good nor evil, but could be used for both. He was shot during Arthur's attack on the camp and apparently died.
Aglain was played by Colin Salmon.
Immediately after the episode aired, fix-it fics were written to show how Aglain hadn't really died. In some circles, he became a symbol of oppression due to his peaceful philosophy and his undeserved death. His death was also seen by some as part of a disturbing pattern of black male characters on the show being killed off.
Aredian was the witchfinder in episode 2x07, "The Witchfinder". He was an antagonist who attempted to prove that Gaius, Merlin, and Morgana had magic so Uther would execute them. His methods included torture. He died at the end of the episode, falling to his death in classic Disney villain fashion.
Aredian was played by Charles Dance.
General fan reaction to Aredian seemed to be either outright hatred or a fascinated repulsion. He featured in some stories and kink meme prompts as a rapist. He is sometimes used in modern AUs as an antagonist, often taking the place that Valiant once did. See for example Ethics of Attraction.
Balinor is the last Dragonlord and Merlin's father. He appeared in episode 2x13, "The Last Dragonlord". Merlin and Arthur found him living in a cave in Cendred's kingdom, where he had fled after leaving Hunith, Merlin's mother. Balinor informed Merlin that Uther had tricked him into helping trap the last dragon. Merlin informed Balinor that he had a son. Balinor died shortly after.
Before Balinor's appearance, fans had long speculated about Merlin's parentage. His father was everything from the Great Dragon to an incubus to Hern the Hunter. See for example The Beltane Cycle. Balinor was quickly incorporated into post-S2 fics focusing on Merlin's depression after the finale. He was also paired with Hunith.
Lady Catrina refers to two characters: the real or original Lady Catrina, a (presumably deceased) woman Uther courted in his youth who as afflicted by a bone disease that caused severe pain, and a troll who disguised herself as Catrina in order to marry Uther in episode 2x05-06, "Beauty and the Beast". Along with her assistant Jonas, Catrina-the-Troll took control of Camelot through a love spell on Uther. She eventually abandoned her altered appearance once it became clear that Uther would remain in her power. She was killed by Arthur after the love spell was broken.
At least two stories have been written about Catrina-the-Human, but mostly she has been ignored by fandom. Catrina-the-Troll was argued by some fans to be another element of mysogyny added to a show already full of them. A debate ensued before the episode even aired. After the airing, some fans found Sarah Parrish's acting to be delightful. In general, however, Catrina-the-Troll has not been incorporated into many fanworks at this time, except in some cases as one of Uther's girlfriends or ex-wives in modern AUs.
Cedric is a thief who was possessed by Cornelius Sigan in 2x01, "The Curse of Cornelius Sigan". He ingratiated himself to Arthur in order to become Arthur's servant and gain access to Arthur's keys, which he used to unlock the tomb of Sigan. After his possession, he attempted to destroy Camelot. He may or may not have died when Sigan left his body.
Cedric appeared in several Arthur/Merlin stories that attempted to improve the relationship shown between Arthur and Merlin in 2x01. However, he does not appear to have taken much hold outside of that, and does not often appear in AUs.
Cornelius Sigan was a sorcerer executed during Camelot's murky past. He returns in episode 2x01, "The Curse of Cornelius Sigan", when his tomb is discovered and he possesses Cedric the thief. Sigan then attempts to destroy Camelot by making the gargoyles come to life.
Most of Sigan's appearances in fanworks were in 2x01-centric vids and fic. Some versions had him winning the battle for Merlin's soul and destroying Camelot or committing personal acts of violence against Merlin's friends. In the constructed reality vid I Don't Care by 7_key, Sigan was replaced by Nimueh, possessing Cedric to take her revenge on Merlin.
Sigan was also popular as a villain in the Summer Pornathon 2010 Villains Challenge. He featured in 3 of the 31 entries and was mentioned in one other. The common theme was his possession of others and enticing or forcing them to act against their will, creating non-con and mind control situations.
Forridel appeared briefly in episode 2x03, "The Nightmare Begins". She was a druid sympathizer on Uther's list for arrest. Merlin saved her in return for information about where to find the druids.
Forridel was one of those odd minor characters who has almost no screentime but who is adopted by certain parts of fandom. In particular, Miarrow adopted Forridel and promoted her. She began to appear in both rarepairing works and as a minor character in gen works, though she still doesn't tend to appear in AUs.
Freya first appeared in episode 2x09, "The Lady of the Lake". She was a magic user who had been caught by a bounty hunter. Merlin freed her and fell in love with her, despite the terrible secret she kept. After her death, he placed her body in the same lake with Excalibur, fueling speculation (with the encouragement of cryptic producer remarks) that she will return in Series 3 as the keeper of Excalibur.
Fan response before airing was in some cases cautiously interested but bemused by her name, since it's not one of the three names commonly used for the Arthurian Lady of the Lake. After airing, fan opinion split fiercely. Some hated the character and said she had no chemistry with Merlin. Others loved her and adopted her into their stories, vids, and art. Icons of her became available almost immediately.
Another reaction to the casting of Freya as an Irish actress was a meta discussion among fans about whether or not the producers were stereotyping magic people as having classic Irish features. This led to a discussion about possible fan fetishization of Colin and Katie's accents.
Freyaofthelake is a LiveJournal community for fanworks featuring Freya.
Geraint is a knight who appears in 2x01, "The Curse of Cornelius Sigan". He organizes the defense of Camelot in Arthur's absence and even orders King Uther to stay indoors for his own safety. He belongs to the very small group of knights who has not died on-screen, though he did not appear for the rest of series 2.
Geraint appeared to be well-received, and fans began talking of including him in fanworks. However, once 2x02 aired, he was almost immediately superseded by Sir Leon. He has been mentioned in discussions since, but is a rarety in fanworks.
Leon is a knight who appeared in 2x02, "The Once and Future Queen". He then made several more appearances in Series 2, culminating in what appeared to be his Dragon-induced death in 2x13. However, producers almost immediately admitted he would be back for series 3, so fan outcry only lasted a short time.
Leon's acceptance into fan canon was almost immediate. By the end of series 2, he was being written not only as a speaking member of the knights but also into threesomes and moresomes with Merlin, Arthur, Lancelot, and others. He even had an entire comm dedicated to his relationship with Morgana.
Some have suggested that Leon's quick acceptance had to do with the lack of surviving knights before him, and that fans were simply transferring their thwarted affections from now-dead characters to the living Leon. Others suggest it's the awesome beard or the way he hesitantly speaks up to Arthur and even Uther. Whatever the cause, many fans were greatly relieved to find out he would be back in series 3.
As of series 3 and 4, he is still a Knight of Camelot (in fact one of the top 5, consisting of Leon, Gwaine, Elyan, Lancelot (deceased) and Percival). During Series 3, some fans began to jokingly refer to Leon as immortal, since he survived several near-death experiences, often with no explanation whatsoever.
Morgause is Morgana's half-sister and a powerful sorceress. She tried to manipulate Arthur into killing Uther and later later saved Morgana and turned her against Uther. She allied herself with Cenred to take over Camelot and killed him when he stopped being of use to her. Her character was drawn as The Chariot in the Merlin Tarot Project (art by littlewolfstar) and as Aries in the Merlin Zodiac Project (art by xenakis). Her alliance with Cenred was already anticipated in the Paperlegends story The Tournament of All Magicks.
In the first episode of series 4, she sacrificed herself on the Isle of the Blessed, and is now dead.
- Main article: Morgause
In episode 2x10, "Sweet Dreams", Trickler used magic to cause Arthur and Vivian, the daughter of the visiting king Olaf, to fall madly in love with each other. Vivian appears as a spoiled child and is rude to Gwen, but some fans were bothered by the fact that she is not freed from the spell by the end of the episode. One story that is fixing that is Sweeter Dreams where Merlin and Arthur travel undercover to king Olaf's kingdom to break the spell.
Since Vivian and Viviane are names for characters in the Arthurian legends, they had been used by fans for original characters before this episode aired. Afterwards, Vivian was used in some femslash stories with various partners and as a replacement for Sophia in AUs where Arthur needed an ex-girlfriend. Though the character was played as truly obnoxious on the show, some fans have been forgiving of her flaws, possibly due to the controversy surrounding the end of the episode.
Uther's wife and Arthur's mother Ygraine had been mentioned several times in series one but did not appear on the show until episode 2x08, "The Sins of the Father", when Morgause allowed Arthur to speak to his mother while Merlin looked on. Fans have debated about whether this was really Ygraine speaking or a trick played by Morgause.
Ygraine's spirit was played by Alice Patten.
- other things unclear
- Nimueh/Ygraine/Uther etc
Other characters appearing in series 3
Cenred looks really hot in leather. At least that seems to be the general fannish opinion. He was first mentioned in series 1 because Ealdor, Merlin's home village, belongs to Cenred's kingdom. Because of that he has often appeared in fanfic as an ugly villain. The ugly part now has been completely jossed but fandom isn't complaining. His name used to be spelled as Cendred in fanfic and no one knows the name of his kingdom.
Elyan is Gwen's brother. Like his father, he is a blacksmith; he's also an excellent swordsman. He appeared in 3x07, 3x12, and 3x13, when he was knighted by Arthur for his pledge to help retake Camelot. A Sir Elyan existed in Arthurian legend.
Perhaps due to the death of Tom, some fans were wary that Elyan might die in his first or later appearances and were excited when he survived 3x07. Icons proclaiming "Not Dead Yet" and other slogans appeared immediately after the episode. However, Elyan did not see the same kind of adoption into fanworks that Gwaine enjoyed in Series 3, Leon in Series 2, or Lancelot in Series 1. For example, only three kinkme_merlin prompts featured him in the two months after his first appearance. For comparison, Percival appeared in 3x13, and he was paired off in four kink meme prompts and a fill within four days of that episode airing.
Elyan is played by Adetomiwa Edun.
Gwaine is a knight of Camelot.
- Main article: Gwaine
Percival is a knight of Camelot.
- Main article: Percival
The knights as a group often play an important part in fanfiction as secondary characters because bringing in the knights allows to show Arthur as a leader and a soldier. Sometimes it's important whether they are more loyal to Arthur or to Uther. When they choose Arthur's site, it helps to show what kind of king he is going to be and that he commands the respect of his men. They can be either accomplices in hiding Merlin's magic or a threat when they won't keep the secret and report to Uther. Sometimes they are the people Merlin and Arthur need to hide their relationship from and other times they are the only ones who know and where they can be together without fearing the consequences. Sometimes Merlin tries to gain the respect of the knights and other times the knights try to befriend him to gain something from Arthur. There are almost always some of them, wherever Merlin and Arthur go, and often they are the redshirts of the series and the fanfic, sometimes even jokingly referred to as "redcloaks".
As of the end of series 3 and onto series 4, the top 5 Knights of Camelot were Sir Leon, Elyan, Gwaine, Percival and Lancelot.
- The Route to Advancement Series features a knight who is trying to gain a better position at Court to make his family proud. This has been more difficult than expected until someone gives him the advice to befriend Prince Arthur's manservant. That actually helps but also makes the knight's life a lot more complicated. The series shows the friendship between Merlin and Arthur from a different POV and has great comic timing.
- The Knights Have a Thousand Eyes shows the knights in a matchmaker role where they conspire to bring Merlin and Arthur together.
- Kink Me! Merlin, the Merlin kink meme, lists "Knights" as a group in at least 12 pairings on their Pinboard account. Sometimes this refers to the named group of knights from series 4-5, and sometimes to knights pulled from legend. These fills mostly involve the knights in a sexual capacity; they also play non-sexual roles in many other fills.
- The Archive of Our Own includes many fills that tag the knights as a group, either as "Knights" or as "Knights of the Round Table".
- Themadlurker. For Great Justice! (2x03 spoiler party): Fix-it ficlet "I thought you were dead," said Mordred, speaking the words directly into his mind. "They took the lady Morgana, and they tried to attack me, when I was alone in the woods." (accessed 19 December 2010)
- Such_heights. Merlin Meta: Race and Gender Statistics. If you are both white and male, you've got a 40% chance of dying. If you're male but not white, you have a mortality rate of 67%. (accessed 19 December 2010)
- Anonymous in anon_merlin. untitled thread. Um. Wow. So misogyny gets a two parter? and You mean you're not tired of the evil women with their evil magic and evil vaginas PREYING UPON THE HAPLESS PENDRAGONS? (accessed 30 December, 2010)
- Anonymous in anon_merlin. untitled thread Is here anybody around who doesn't think troll = misogyny? (accessed 30 December, 2010)
- Srin in Camelot_fleet. If you'll just step into my cave.... (2x05 spoiler party). Oh man, how much do I adore Sarah Parish? I mean, the whole troll thing is so beyond ridiculous, but she owns it and is kind of fabulous. (accessed 30 December 2010)
- CHALLENGE SIX VOTING. Entries 7, 16, 27, and 29. (accessed 19 December 2010)
- anon_merlin: Anon II: Yes we can! (haz beer), thread by anon. Comments include: "It's interesting, the decision to cast so many powerful magic users with Irish actors or who have similar 'black Irish' coloring, given the long history of exoticizing Irish and Welsh people." "Yeah, it's been on my mind, especially given the massive Irish!kink in this fandom ("omg hot Irish people! kissing! and they have accents!!1!"). Which I think the show subtly emphasizes/plays up with the casting. It's a pattern for the more regular and especially powerful magical characters, , but there are outliers, which is a good thing -- Morgause is blond as well, though I suspect that's for plot/family purposes." "I think the fannish squee would be less problematic if the show didn't create a subtext (especially in S1) of "dark!Irish = magic user = Other", because the text of the show itself others magic users." "I'm not sure if it's subtle, really. They made Michelle Ryan wear those contacts, right? So they're definitely playing up the connection." Accessed February 11, 2012.
- Merlin Fact No. 1: Sir Leon is immortal., by Srabolson. "Merlin Fact No. 1: Sir Leon is immortal. 1. The Great Dragon killed ALL the knights EXCEPT for Sir Leon. 2. In the beginning of "The Coming of Arthur", ALL knights were killed EXCEPT Sir Leon. 3. The Immortal Army killed every single knight EXCEPT Sir Leon. (He was chase [sic] by men on HORSES, but he RAN faster.) Conclusion: Sir Leon is immortal.". Posted November 28, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2012.
- Anon_Merlin: Anon III: Our Love Potion Brings All the Trolls to the Yard, thread "2x08 S&M" by anon. Comments included: "I know the stuff they say in sources like these is hardly conclusive, but having watched the Secrets & Magic for 2x08, I get the impression that the writers did intend for Igraine to be real." "I also liked the theory about all three of them having emotionally distorted memories, which is wonderfully psychologically realistic and tragic etc., but a simple misunderstanding fits in much better with the aesthetics of Merlin canon. So I think this is what we'll get from the show, if we're lucky and they address the inconsistencies in the stories at all." Accessed February 11, 2012.
- King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table: Sir Bors de Ganis. Bors became the father of Elyan the White, later Emperor of Constantinople. (Accessed 08 December 2010)
- camelot_fleet. Every rule I had you break... (3x07 spoiler party) - Vigil, 23 October 2010. (Accessed 08 December 2010)
- heather. shit son, y'all knew this was coming, 23 October 2010. (Accessed 08 December 2010)
- heather11483 in camelot_fleet. Every rule I had you break... (3x07 spoiler party) - Re: Icons/gifs/fic tags/etc., 23 October 2010. (Accessed 08 December 2010)
- Kink Me! Merlin Search for 'Elyan'. (Accessed 07 December 2010)
- Spoilers for 3.13, by anon: "Arthur/Gwaine/Lancelot/Leon/Merlin/Percival; cross-dressing, possible shaving kink" (accessed December 8, 2010)
- Spoilers 3x13, by anon: "Arthur/Percival" (accessed December 8, 2010)
- Spoilers for 3x13, by anon: "Arthur/Percival" (accessed December 8, 2010)
- Spoilers for 3x13, by anon: "Lancelot/Percival" (accessed December 8, 2010)
- SPOILERS for 3x13 - Say You Like Me, Call Me Shapely, by anon: "Say You Like Me, Call Me Shapely (or PERCIVAL: The Story of the Overly-Muscled Not-Quite-A-Knight)" (accessed December 8, 2010)
- Tumblr post, by Ensignshabootie in October, 2011. Text reads: "Anonymous characters all dressed in red. Why does this look familiar?" and "Uh oh". Accessed February 5, 2012.
- Kinkme_merlin's Pinboard account, tags visible on the right side. (accessed 30 December 2011)
- Pinboard search for "knights" and "_fill". (accessed 30 December 2011)