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Name: Percival
Occupation: Knight of Camelot
Fandom: Merlin
Percival by ReniMilchstrasse, one of several knight's portraits made for 2013 Paperlegends
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Percival is a character in the BBC production Merlin. He first appeared in the episode 3x13, The Coming of Arthur Part 2. He appeared with Lancelot to save Arthur and his followers by pushing boulders down on their attackers. He was accepted into Arthur's group and later knighted, along with Elyan, Gwaine, and Lancelot. He became a recurring character in Series 4, usually grouped with the other knights on various adventures.

Percival is recognisable by his strong physique and sleeveless clothes. Having few lines in canon, he is most often seen interacting with other knights or acting as protector of Camelot's people. He is played by Tom Hopper.

Much like Gwaine, before appearing on screen Percival had been used in fanworks based on his presence and characterization in certain Arthurian legends. For example, "Percy" was the protagonist in Magog_83's series Route to Advancement, where he was a clumsy, new knight who befriended Merlin and had cracky adventures in court.

Reception in Merlin fandom

Percival is a generally well-liked character, both as one of the main characters in fanworks, and as a background character. Not much controversy has surrounded Percival, whose first appearance at the very end of series 3 provided very little by way of in-depth character information.

Based only on his brief interactions in The Coming of Arthur Part 2, many of the first Percival-related works were based greatly on fanon interpretations and characterization. Percival's characterization in fandom works immediately following the series 3 finale depicted him as generally quiet or shy, but extremely protective and loyal.

Because of his height and big muscles, works involving Percival often involve size-kink, to a degree, characterizing Percival as someone who works to overcome his size and be seen as more than just muscle.

Due to his size, in many Modern AU fanworks, Percival has often been cast in the role of a bodyguard, becoming a bit of a fandom trope. For example, in Beyond the Line of Duty, Percival is hired to protect Arthur from anyone who might target him due to his father's wealth and position.

Series 4 canon portrayal of Percival only served to support the already-established fanon characterization as a strong man with a heart of gold, but it also helped establish a stronger bond with the rest of the knights, giving way to many more Percival-centred works with various pairings.

Percival's Arms

Being the only knight whose chainmail is regularly sleeveless on the show has been a bit of a running joke in fandom and has created a specific focus on Percival's muscular arms. And while many joke that his arms are simply too large for any regular chainmail to contain them, the issue has been mentioned in some fanworks in a more serious manner, focusing more on the possible dangers of having no adequate protection. One such work, which includes Arthur repeatedly inquiring about Percival getting adequate armour is We’ll Burn Our Bridges After Us As We Go by misswinterhill.

Because of his arms, some fans decided to use the last name "Armstrong" for Percival in modern AUs.[1]

Many of the comments and jokes about Percival's muscles were further fueled by members of the cast and crew commenting about them on their Twitters, [2] often directly teasing Tom Hopper about Percival's wardrobe. [3] [4] They were also fueled by a scene in 4x01 The Darkest Hour, in which Percival rescued three children by carrying them all to safety at the same time.[5]


Since Percival arrived at the end of Series 3, fans have created a number of new pairings and moresomes involving him. By the end of Series 4, most of these were slash or poly, but het and gen also existed.[6][7]

Many of the Percival pairings and moresomes involved him with the other Knights of Camelot or with Arthur and/or Merlin.



Arthur/Percival is the most popular Percival-related pairing in LiveJournal fandom[8][9], having its start in canon in Series 3 Episode 13, with Arthur giving Percival a very appraising and approving look when they met, and Percival promising Arthur his loyalty by declaring "Your enemies are my enemies" at the Round Table.

The pairing has its own community on livejournal (ArthurxPercival), where fanworks continue being linked and posted.

Knight Orgies

Percival has frequent appearance in knight fanworks where the knights of the Round Table are present as a group either as the romantic or sexual focus of the work. For instance, he is presented as a potential love interest in many Merlin/Arthur stories focusing on Arthur being jealous of the knights' relationship with Merlin. In PWP works, he is often one of the many partners in orgies such as in The Ritual or the Aliens Made Them Do It story Bespelled.



Elyan and Percival were knighted at the same time, along with Gwaine and Lancelot. Their first moment together came in 4x01, where Percival saved some children by carrying them to safety at the risk of his own life, and Elyan rescued him. This led to a smile between them that remains one of the main images for Elyan/Percival shippers. Letseyesex also created a gif from 4x10, Archived version that takes a moment out of context to create sexual tension through eyesex. The Fuckyeahelyan tumblr included a Percival, Archived version tag.

There is a community for this pairing, PercivalxElyan.



In 3x13, Percival first appeared with Lancelot, coming to the rescue of Arthur and his group. One of the earliest proposed Percival pairings was Lancelot/Percival, and the first kinkme_merlin fill for Percival was Say You Like Me, Call Me Shapely (or PERCIVAL: The Story of the Overly-Muscled Not-Quite-A-Knight), a Lancelot/Percival UST fic from Percival's point of view. Foreshadowing the future development of Arthur/Percival, "Shapely" also highlighted Percival's thoughts about Arthur.

After Lancelot's death, relatively few fanworks dealt with Percival's reaction, possibly because the Merlin/Lancelot and Gwaine/Percival ships were given boosts during that episode, or because fans were focused on how Lancelot's death affected the Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot triangle.[10][11]



Percival isn't present in a lot of fanworks as a main character proportionally to other Merlin characters. Yet, he does have fanworks in a variety of medium, including salt dough (just how you do), shoes (Merlin Shoe Series 4 Edition) and podfic (Gwaine’s masterful, brilliant and fool-proof plan).


Perhaps because of his few canon appearance, in fanvids Percival is most present in vids focusing on the knights as a group. These are often atmospheric such as in the vid Moving, or cracky such as in We've Got It Goin' On.


Percival is popular amongst other knights and by himself principally in graphics. Tumblr has an important Merlin fandom presence which regularly posts picspams, wallpapers, manips and gifs of Percival. [12]

Examples of graphics sections with Percival:

Examples of individual fanworks:



Percival has inspired several communities, and is represented on even more. Some communities that promote Percival are:


  1. ^ Percival's Last Name by sheswatching, Accessed Feb 4, 2012.
  2. ^ Tweet by Dale McCready, on April 8, 2011. Accessed Feb 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Tweet by AliceMerlin, on Dec 11, 2011. Accessed Feb 4, 2012.
  4. ^ Tweet by Eoin Macken, on Dec 11, 2011. Accessed Feb 4, 2012.
  5. ^ I throw my kids (even though they aren't actually, by Misslemonbar on October 1, 2011. Text reads: “I THROW MY KIDS (EVEN THOUGH THEY AREN’T ACTUALLY MINE I JUST DECIDED TO CARRY ALL THREE IN MY ARMS BECAUSE I AM A MANLY MAN KNIGHT OF CAMELOT) UP IN THE AIR SOMETIMES / SAYING AY-O / DON’T NEED NO SLEEVES, NO”. Accessed February 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Pinboard search for "Percival _fill", returning kinkme_merlin results. Accessed February 4, 2012.
  7. ^ Pinboard: Bookmarks for BBC_Merlin, showing 5 slash pairings, 1 het pairing, and 1 poly pairing in the sidebar, more under the "Pairing: Rarepairs" category. Accessed February 4, 2012.
  8. ^ Pinboard: bookmarks for bbc_merlin tagged 'pairing:arthur/percival' with 28 items tagged. Accessed February 4, 2012.
  9. ^ Pinboard: bookmarks for kinkme_merlin tagged "Arthur/Percival+_fill" showing 14 fills. Accessed February 4, 2012.
  10. ^ merlin_tv: Season 4 Episode 2 Discussion Post, by Kepp0xy. Comments included: "So THAT'S how they got around the love triangle? really?" by Mparf; "They're pushing Gwaine/Percival so hard on us" and "The writers decided to bypass subtle, didn't they? :D" by Pepsi_twist9 and Tsumetaikaze. Accessed February 4, 2012.
  11. ^ Merlin, S4 Ep2 – The Darkest Hour, Part II, by Melissa. "In the Valley of the Bubble Brook Spirits, Lancelot wakes up to Merlin fishing with a spear. They have an adorable little conversation about how disobedient Merlin is that does nothing to discourage the Lancelot/Merlin shippers[.]" Accessed February 4, 2012.
  12. ^ Percival tag, Tumblr search for recent items tagged with "Percival", Accessed February 4, 2012.