Arthur Pendragon (Merlin)

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Name: Arthur Pendragon
Occupation: Crown Prince of Camelot, Once and Future King
Relationships: son of Uther and Ygraine, half-brother to Morgana, friend/destiny/employer of Merlin, eventual husband of Gwen
Fandom: Merlin
Other: future High King of all Albion
"Whiteshirted Arthur looking over his shoulder while riding through a green forest"
Art by Schweetheart, created as part of the Merlin Canon Fest 2017
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Arthur is the the Crown Prince of Camelot (aka the Once and Future King) and one of the main characters of the series Merlin. He is the son of King Uther, and Ygraine. In the show he is portrayed as an arrogant prat at the beginning of series one, when Merlin first meets him. However, his character undergoes significant development as his relationship with Merlin develops, and he is seen to be noble, brave, and caring. Arthur shares an intense friendship with Merlin, despite early tension and class differences. Arthur also has significant relationships with Uther, where he seeks to gain his father's elusive approval, and Morgana, with whom he shares a volatile relationship on top of mutal deep affection.

In season two, Arthur has declared romantic interest in Gwen, and in the season 4 finale, Gwen and Arthur get married.

Arthur is played by the actor Bradley James.

Season Two

Character regression

The beginning of season two caused an outcry from some fans, many of them Merlin/Arthur shippers, because of perceived regression of Arthur's character, often referred to as 'the reset button'. Many pointed Arthur's attitude and his relationship with Merlin during early episodes, and believed it was discontinuous with the end of season one. Notably, Arthur reverted to behaviors similar to early-season one, such as treating Merlin poorly, and acting very arrogant. This created more distance between Merlin and Arthur, which made many fans unhappy.

Explanations for this discontinuity were explored in many fanworks. For example Fluency by Rageprufrock.

Romance with Gwen

The appearance and development of canon Arthur/Gwen in series two was the subject of much controversy. Some fans claimed the relationship was too sudden and not well developed.

Much speculation of the reasons behind the quick progression of the relationship has been discussed, including theories such as the producers wishing to tone down the perceived homoerotic subtext or wanting to move the story along in regards to Arthurian legends.


Arthur is portrayed in a wide variety of media from fanfic, fanart and vids to everything in between. Merlin/Arthur is the biggest pairing in the fandom and Arthur/Gwen is the biggest het pairing. He is paired with other characters as well. See the statistics on the BBC Merlin News page for more information.

Arthur's character has been interpreted in a variety of ways. In modern AUs, he frequently appears as a businessman in his father's company, or a professional.




Influential fanvids portraying Arthur include Red and The Bitch Prince, both of which are Merlin/Arthur. They are both notable for being retrospectives on Arthur's character, and for having a serious tone that contrasted with the mostly humorous tone of the episodes that had been broadcasted by the time they were created.

Art Gallery

Arthur-Centric Resources